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Old 12-15-2003, 07:33 PM
AKmik AKmik is offline
Steel Addict
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kodiak island
Posts: 163
Bench height for new grinder?

Hello all,

I was just wondering about the best height for your grinder to be?

I will have my KMG on the way here in the next week or so and I am about to build a big hercy bench to mount it on. I have a chunk of old 1 1/2" butcher block maple and will build the base/legs out of 4x4's and 2x4's , It will be real heavy and solid. I was just curious what the optimum bench top height should be for someone 5'10"?

Thanks again for all the help.

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Old 12-15-2003, 07:45 PM
Bob Warner's Avatar
Bob Warner Bob Warner is offline
Living Legend
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Royse City, Texas
Posts: 1,820
It completely depends on your style. Some people like the blade at chest height when grinding, others like it crotch high. Some grind sitting down. I personally like it a little above my waist.

I would suggest you grab a piece of steel and hold it like you are grinding. Where is it? What position did you naturally go to?

Something to think about is if you have it high up, you loose stability by not being able to hold your arms close to your body. Grinders can grab blades also, not just buffers.

When you get your grinder, if you can wait, don't build the bench right away. Put the grinder on another bench and then stack bricks or lumber under it and ajust the height until you think it feels right. Then build you bench accordingly.

If it is not quite right, you will adapt. I mounted mine and mismeasured a piece of 6"X6" steel tube and the entire thing was two inches taller than I wanted it. I decided to make a few knives before cutting it all up (it is all welded) and fixing it. I adapted to the height and never did change it.


Tumbling down the road at 35 MPH is no fun, TRUST ME!
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Old 12-15-2003, 11:38 PM
Osprey Guy's Avatar
Osprey Guy Osprey Guy is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 2,965
As a newbie to grinding (and someone who also happens to own a KMG) I'd like to say that I think Bob's advice is right-on...

Prior to receiving my KMG I picked up a bench from my buddies at Woodcraft. It's one of those all steel, pre-fab jobs that has to be bolted together...Woodcraft had added a quite sturdy, nice looking, good-sized top made from sort of very solid, green, phenol-type material. They "gave" it to me for around $40 bucks!. (To this day I've never had so much as a shiver from my KMG...the grinder and it's stand are both rock solid!)

Anyway, it's just above my waist which seemed right given all that I'd heard about "keeping your arms snug against your sides"...Although I'm currently comfortable with that height I wouldn't want to say that I wouldn't change if shown a better way.

Having said that, ...
I've been making 3 1/2 hour trips every few weeks up to Larry Mensch's place for some pointers on grinding (and general chit-chat with someone who's become a good friend) Whenever I come up, Larry accomodates me at one of his 4 grinders by "Jerry rigging"* something for me to stand on. He has to raise me up quite a bit off the floor in order for me to get waist-high since his grinders are set so high. He has all four grinders positioned to be chest high allowing him complete freedom of movement for his arms...All of Larry's work is done free hand and his blades are flawless. (Coop just shot some great pics of several of Larry's knives at the Chesapeake Knife Show...I hope to have them posted in the next day or so...)

I tried Larry's grinders at that height and it felt very strange. In turn, he said he couldn't imagine working at waist height (but could see how keeping my arms to my sides does help enable me as a "newbie" to maintain consistancy, so that I could always "approach the grinder with elbows always the same distance from the ground"). Once you get good at it, I can see a real advantage to being able to work as Larry does...with complete freedom of arm movement.

As Bob suggests, it seems to be a matter of comfort and style. I think his idea of some practicing at a couple of different heights makes terrific sense.

Dennis Greenbaum

Yeah Baby!

* Here's what I think is an interesting tidbit:

For years I used the expression "jury rigging". I only recently learned that the correct expression is "Jerry rigging"...This apparently came out of the War when the allies would capture German equipment they would modify it to suit their needs. The Germans were also known as "the Jerries"...hence "Jerry rigging"...Makes more sense than the idea of rigging a jury...
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