Is a 1″x 72″ belt sander the best tool for sharpening knives and similar edged tools?

Is a 1″x 72″ belt sander the best tool for sharpening knives and similar edged tools?

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0 thoughts on “Is a 1″x 72″ belt sander the best tool for sharpening knives and similar edged tools?”

  1. I have a 1 X 42 inch belt sander for sharpening. The secret is holding an exact angle with a guide. My last belt is a leather strop and I can shave with the knives I sharpen. I also sharpen scissors and drill bits and lathe tools. Go to the viel website for more information. That is the belt sander I have. I am not associated with them.
    You sharpen not because its dull but because you want it sharper.

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  2. There are very few machines I’d rate among the best tools for sharpening knives. Let alone the best. Of course a belt sander can be useful, but a sander that big specifically – though the belt size is good for reducing heat – have some unique issues and are generally better for knife grinding and making than for knife sharpening.
    For one thing finding high grit belts, let alone leather or fabric belts that can be used to achieve a high polish is difficult to impossible and you’ll pay an absolute fortune for a Trizact or 4,000 grit Aluminium Oxide sanding belt in that size. Secondly they are damned expensive and you can get some quite solid knife sharpening tools in that price range.
    I sharpen on a commercial basis and the only reason I’d reach for a belt is to sharpen serrated or unusual blades I just can’t approach with any other machine, but if I were sharpening them for myself and not trying to keep the cost down for stingy customers I’d just as soon do the same job by hand.
    If you are going to go for a belt I’d recommend either a 1×30 inch machine or a Work Sharp WSKTS especially if the larger rig is variable speed. Are they the best? Again no, but they’re not so expensive they have obviously superior competition like the Takagi Wet Grinder, a Tormek T2 or T4, or a custom grinder rigged with cabbing or paper wheels and quality jigs.
    On the other hand unless you despise hand-sharpening or are trying to maximise volume I’d recommend hand-sharpening over any of this. Even if you have to start with a fixed angle device of some sort. A good fixed-angle rig like this:

    Is a 1

    Will thrash any machine, and – with the right abrasives – will often sharpen just as fast as any machine that isn’t creating worrying amounts of heat, while even the smaller fixed-angle devices are getting fairly solid these days. I mean I recently bought some DMT Diafolds and the cheapest way to get them into the country was as part of a little magnetic fixed-angle setup. I usually have nothing but contempt for such toy-sized oddities, but even this has performed fairly well and if you lived in the US or Europe it would cost a pittance in contrast to any decent machine.

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  4. If you bought a good knife at a thrift store which had been so poorly sharpened so many times that the edge was completely out of true you might use a belt to set a new edge, if you have a good eye and a steady hand. You will still need to refine the edge on a series of progressively finer stones. It is really easy to make it much worse on such an agressive tool also. My preference would be a coarse grit diamond “stone” followed by a medium, fine, and extra fine stone set. If you keep the edge straightened with a steel it should only need a few strokes on your extra fine stone and not very often at that

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