Are you facing challenges choosing the best belt sander for knife-making? You are not alone. With so many options available on the market, finding the right grinder for your workshop can be a daunting task.
For our newbie do-it-yourselfers, a belt sander is a special tool used to shape, grind, and finish various materials. It comes with an electric motor coupled with a moving abrasive belt that is used to smooth the surface of your workpiece.
The type of sanding machine that you choose has a bearing on the type of knives that you can make. Therefore, it’s important that you do your homework diligently to find the right tool for the job.
This article is the ultimate guide to help you discover the perfect grinder for your knife-making projects. Our team of reviewers burnt the midnight oil scrutinizing dozens of belt sanders to come up with these reviews.
Our goal is to help you narrow down your search for the ideal tool. Furthermore, we hope to save you time and money you would have spent shopping around. Without further ado, we present our top 7 picks for 2020, along with their product reviews.
Knife-Making Belt Sander Comparison 2020
Top 7 Belt Sanders For Knife-Making Review
1. Grizzly H 6070 Belt & 5-Inch Disc Sander, 1 x 30-Inch
The Grizzly brand does not need any introduction, especially in regard to manufacturing high-quality belt grinders for knife-making. The company has been around since 1983, and it is considered one of the largest power tool brands in the United States. Bearing this in mind, you can always expect to find a good grinder from Grizzly.
The H 6070 is elegant in design and powerful in performance, and it is perhaps one of the most popular products available from the Grizzly Company.
Besides sharpening your knives, the H 6070 can work on a number of materials, including wood and plastic. In essence, it can easily replace a number of similar products in your workshop thanks to its exceptional versatility, reliability, and durability.
The Grizzly H 6070 contains a powerful 1/3 horsepower, 110V motor that can handle speeds of up to 3,450 rotations per minute (RPM). It features a combo belt and disc sanding table that can conveniently tilt up to 45 degrees.
Its overall dimensions are 12.5 x 16.7 x 11.5 inches. The belt sanding table measures 5-1/8 x 5-1/8 inches, while the disc sander table size is 4 x 7-5/16 inches. The machine weighs 20.1 pounds. Although this might seem bulky at first, its weight provides the much-needed extra stability required for sharpening and sanding projects.
- Direct drive motor offers superior performance
- Comes with dust collection ports for easy cleanups
- Features a removable belt platen for easy belt replacement
- Idler roller guard prevents the belt from moving accidentally
- Tracking adjustment mechanism is very easy to use
- Consists of a powerful motor that can handle a wide range of applications
- Combo kit that includes a sanding belt and disc
- Extremely versatile and can be used for sharpening, sanding, and stock removal
- Stable and doesn’t shake during operation thanks to its reasonable weight
- Comes in a compact design that does not occupy much space
- Comparatively quiet, making it ideal for noise-sensitive locations
- Offers good value for money with its advanced auxiliary features
- Belt sander table has a fragile yellow plastic handle
- Not equipped to handle heavy duty projects
- Anti-static wristband to prevent shocks required
2. Kalamazoo 1SM 1” Belt Sander
Established in 1960, Kalamazoo Industries is renowned for manufacturing top-range abrasive saws, grinders, belt sanders, disc sanders, and dust collectors, among many other tools.
The company has a good reputation for providing tools that are highly customizable for any type of woodworking or metalworking project. It, therefore, does not come as a surprise that the Kalamazoo 1SM is among our best knife-making belt sanders.
The Kalamazoo 1SM is one of the most reliable sanders available. It is designed to handle a wide range of projects with relative ease. Furthermore, it can be used with a variety of materials such as composite, plastic, and wood.
Although the Kalamazoo 1SM comes with a variety of features, the pricing might put off budget-conscious users. Nevertheless, we highly recommend this tool to anyone looking for a tool that delivers high-quality results with utter precision.
The Kalamazoo 1SM features a powerful 1/3hp motor that runs using 1hp with speeds of up to 1,750 RPM. It also features a tilt worktable that can be adjusted easily to handle any type of sanding or sharpening project. The sander also features a 4-inch contact wheel which acts as a belt supporter for added convenience.
- 1-inch belt sander that can grind and shape different materials
- Reversible motor makes it ideal for a wide range of applications
- Spring-tensioned rollers maintain consistency in tracking and belt tension
- Relatively portable as it weighs only 30 pounds
- Tracking system is very easy to use
- Contains a powerful motor that can tackle any type of job
- Exceptionally versatile, and can be used for sanding, sharpening, grinding, and polishing
- Does not require any set up as the sander comes fully-assembled
- Belt replacement is swift and super easy
- Extremely durable thanks to its all-metal construction
- Relatively quiet and doesn’t vibrate during operation
- Tool rest requires some improvements as it is very weak
- Sanding belts sold separately
- Limited in its ability to grind long blades
3. JET J-4002 Bench-Belt and Disc Sander
Since its launch in 1958, JET Tools has evolved from a conventional dealer to a widely-acclaimed tools manufacturing company. The brand has experienced significant growth in recent years thanks to its wide range of premium metalworking and woodworking tools. One such tool is the JETJ-400 2 bench-belt and disc sander.
According to our findings, this combo kit that consists of a bench-belt sander and disc sander is one of the most reliable and versatile tools you will ever come across. However, does it live up to the billing? Read on and find out.
This knife-making sander features a powerful 1/3HP motor that runs at 115VAC and 1ph respectively. It has a 1 by 42-inch belt that supports speeds of up to 3,000 SFPM for optimum performance. The disc speed stands at 1,725 RPM. The main highlight of the JET J-40 02 revolves around its versatility.
The JET J-400 2 is not your everyday portable knife-making sander, as it weighs close to 62 pounds. However, the tool makes up for this shortcoming by providing the extra stability necessary for tough jobs.
- Removable platen facilitates sanding and grinding of odd-shaped pieces
- Features a hinged idler wheel cover that provides extra safety
- Adjustable dust deflector for easy cleaning and maintenance
- Heavy-duty steel base provides added stability
- Extremely reliable and highly versatile
- Rubber feet that prevent vibrations
- Made using cast iron and other solid materials for enhanced durability
- Delivers quality results quickly
- Belt replacement is fast and easy for enhanced productivity
- Bulky and not easily portable
- On/off switch is delicate and requires some improvements
4. WEN 6502T Belt and Disc Sander with Cast Iron Base
WEN is a tools company that claims to have manufactured the first-ever power tool. The company has been around since 1951, producing everyday tools such as electric jigsaws, chainsaws, engravers, and knife-making grinders. Considering their experience in the industry, it is easy to see why the WEN 6502 made it into our best budget/cheap belt sander for knife-making
The WEN 6502 is a combination tool that consists of a 4 by 32-inch belt sander and a 6-inch disc sanding machine. The tool has a unique design that is not only appealing in appearance but also superior in performance. The sanding machine is capable of performing a variety of functions other than knife-making thanks to its auxiliary features.
Moreover, it can grind, smooth, and remove rough edges and splinters from a variety of materials with utter precision. Given all these features, the WEN 6502 is a machine that you should consider when looking for a dependable belt disc sander.
The WEN 6502 features a powerful 4.3A ½HP motor that can tackle any type of knife-making project regardless of the magnitude. The belt sander can handle speeds of up to 1,900 RPM, while the disc sander has a maximum speed of 3,600 RPM.
The belt is adjustable and can tilt anywhere from 0 to 90 degrees. The sander also features an iron cast base that provides extra stability and prevents vibrations.
- Spacious table with integrated miter gauge for added precision
- Heavy-duty base provides stability
- Comes with 2.25-inch dust collection port for easy clean-up
- Features an extended blade guard for extra safety
- Includes a safety bar for maximum safety and control
- 6-inch side disc for enhanced versatility
- Powerful machine that can tackle a wide range of projects
- Delivers superior performance for any project
- Does not vibrate during sanding thanks to its cast iron base
- Lever makes it easy to replace the belt with no slipping
- Belt can be moved to 90 degrees for odd-shaped pieces
- Relatively affordable
- Not equipped to handle tough projects for long periods
5. Grizzly G 1015 Knife Belt Sander/Buffer
The G1015 is yet another knife belt sander from Grizzly. The company describes it as the perfect sander designed specifically for knife makers. However, this machine does more than just make knives. It can perform additional woodworking tasks such as grinding, smoothing, and finishing.
When shopping for a wood sander or metal sander tool, first impressions do matter. However, this is not the case with the Grizzly G 1015. It must be mentioned that this tool does not come in an appealing design.
Nevertheless, all that matters is its ability to deliver remarkable results effortlessly. You do not have to spend time setting it up, as it comes fully assembled from the factory. Considering its reasonable price tag, this versatile knife belt sander is recommended for beginners and individuals working on a tight budget.
The G1015 features a 1HP 14A single speed motor that provides 1,725 RPM. The motor utilizes 110V for optimum performance. The main highlight of this tool is the belt size. It has a 2 by 72-76-inch belt that can handle speeds of up to 3,600 SFPM. This belt size is regarded as the ideal dimensions for professional knife making.
- Supplementary arbor that accepts flap wheels, sanding drums or buffing wheels
- Quick release mechanism for swift belt replacement
- 2 by 72 – 76-inch belt size range makes it a perfect tool for professional knife-making
- All ball bearing construction for added durability and stability
- Operates quietly, making it ideal for noise-sensitive areas
- Does not vibrate as it consists of a heavy duty cast iron base
- Great price-to-machine ratio
- Build quality is excellent
- One of the most durable units within its class
- Offers exceptional versatility thanks to its advanced features
- Unconventional design offers a fresh break from traditional sanders
- Weighing 60 pounds, this unit is extremely heavy
- Motor does not have enough power for demanding projects
- Speed is not adjustable, and the tracking mechanism requires improvements. These factors have a bearing on precision
6. Central Machinery 1 by 30 Inch Belt Sander
Central Machinery is a brand that has been around for a while. However, they are not as popular as other companies considering the fact that they are involved in the small-scale production of woodworking and metalworking tools. That notwithstanding, the company has made a name for itself for manufacturing premium tools that are efficient and highly affordable.
The 1 x 30-inch Belt Sander from Central Machinery is one of the most inexpensive knife-making tools available. It contains a variety of basic features that are simple and very easy to use.
For this reason, this knife grinder is often recommended for basic tasks such as sharpening your kitchen knife, sanding your tools’ blades, finishing your woodworking pieces and other light-duty projects.
Nevertheless, do not be deceived by the simplicity of this sander. With a little bit of fortitude, you can grind out the perfect knives using this sanding machine from Central Machinery.
Weighing only 18 pounds, this belt sander is highly portable. You can carry it from one job site to the next with relative ease thanks to its compact, lightweight design. It contains a 1/3 HP motor with speeds of up to 3,400 RPM, capable of tackling light-duty tasks effortlessly.
The 1 by 30-inch belt is not the best, but it is ideal enough for standard knife-making projects. The overall dimensions of this unit are 9 x 11 x 13 inches, while the table dimensions are 5-1/16 x 5-1/8 inches.
- Belt automatically opens up to prevent clogging
- Features a worktable that can tilt up to 45 degrees
- Supports fine-grit belts for smoother finishes
- Adjustable belt tracking mechanism
- Powerful 1/3HP, 120V motor for quick stock removal
- Simplistic design that is very easy to use
- Comes with rubber feet that prevent vibrations
- One of the most inexpensive belt sanders in its class
- Ideal for sharpening knives and light-duty projects
- Exceptionally portable due to its compact dimensions
- Cannot handle heavy-duty projects
- Not as durable as its competitors
- Does not come with a dust extraction mechanism
7. Palmgren Disc Bench Finishing Machine
Palmgren Machine Tools is a brand that has passed through the test of time. The company has been in existence since 1919, manufacturing tools tailored for the metalworking industry.
The Palmgren Disc Bench Finishing Machine is one of the latest tools from this company designed for making knives and other metalworking projects.
Essentially, this tool from Palmgren is more than just a finishing machine. It can be used for grinding, sanding, polishing, surfacing, deburring, beveling, and contouring. Furthermore, it can work with a number of materials, including wood, plastic, ferrous metals, composite, and non-ferrous metals.
It has a wide range of features that provides exceptional quality and good value for money. This unit is widely acclaimed by most professionals, as it is capable of replacing similar tools in the workshop with relative ease. By investing in this belt machine, you will not have to acquire other tools that offer the same functions.
Just like most belt sanders, this unit contains a 1/3HP motor that can handle belt speeds of up to 4,400 SFPM and disc speeds of up to 3,500 RPM. It is capable of accommodating two different types of belt sizes measuring 2 by 42 inches or 1 by 42 inches. Weighing only 36 pounds, this sanding machine is relatively portable compared to its competitors.
- Belt tensioning allows for swift belt replacement
- Tilting worktable for enhanced flexibility
- Direct drive motor for superior performance
- Dust extraction system for dust-free workplace
- Full belt guard for extra safety
- Cast iron construction for enhanced durability and rigidity
- Extremely versatile and can perform a wide range of functions
- Can work with a variety of materials including plastic, wood, composite, and metal
- Heavy-duty base that prevents vibrations
- Integrated miter gauge for maximum accuracy
- Offers good value for money
- Motor tends to overheat
- Tracking adjustment wheel requires improvements
BUYER’S GUIDE – HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SANDER FOR QUALITY KNIFE-MAKING
Whether you are a professional woodworker or a newbie DIYer, choosing the right grinder for your knife requires a bit of diligence and thorough research. It is certainly not easy, but with these pointers, you can make your search much easier.
Here are a few aspects that you should consider:
Ease of Use
When buying any workshop tool or machine, always consider its ease of use. You obviously do not want to acquire a sander that will get your hands full. A good sander should be very easy to operate, for increased efficiency and productivity.
The tracking adjustment mechanism is another important consideration. It not only determines the efficiency of the grinder but also has a bearing on the quality of the results. The tracking mechanism should be simple and very easy to use for maximum control.
Belt sanders for knife-making are often classified according to their belt sizes. The sanding machine that you choose should accommodate a variety of belt sizes for optimum results. The most common size used by professional knife-makers is 2 inches by 72 inches. For beginners, a belt size of 1 by 30 inches is ideal for most knife-making projects.
The motor power, usually defined in HP (horsepower), will determine the performance of the machine. Typically, budget-friendly sanders have a motor power ranging from 1/3HP to 1/2HP. Nevertheless, always go for a more powerful motor if your job revolves around tackling tough projects.
Power tools often tend to be noisy. However, this does not mean that you should opt for any noisy sander out there. Shop around for a tool that releases low noise levels to give you an easy time when working in noise-sensitive areas.
Different machines offer different speeds ranging from single to variable speeds. Beginners should opt for variable rate machines as they offer the privilege of setting your desired speed.
Working in a dirty environment is not only a safety hazard but also a health risk. For this reason, you should consider buying a sander that comes with dust collection ports for easy cleanup.
Belt sanders for knife making are often classified as long-term investments. For this reason, you should go for a tool that is durable and can withstand a harsh work environment. All-metal sanders are considered more durable than plastic versions. On the flip-side, sanders made using plastic materials and lighter metal are more portable.
The price of a good sanding machine all depends on the brand and the features involved. While it is advisable that you stick to your budget, you should always opt for a machine that provides good value for the money without compromising on your needs.
1. What should I look for in a knife-making belt sander?
Besides all the factors above, you must look for a grinder that is versatile, portable, and reliable. For enhanced efficiency, the sander must come with numerous auxiliary features that are easy to use.
2. Can I use customized belts with my sander?
Although not recommended, you may use customized belts for various projects. Some knife-making projects require the use of customized belts to deliver quality results. However, these customized belts are not readily available. You must place an order with a manufacturer to have it designed for your machine. You must also gather enough knowledge on how to measure your belt.
3. What should I do if my belt sander malfunctions?
Firstly, switch off the machine and disconnect from the power outlet before doing anything else. Check the sander for any damaged parts or a broken belt and make the necessary replacements. For any technical issues, always contact your service center or enlist a professional technician.
4. What is the purpose of a dust collection port?
Just like any other metalworking project, knife-making always involves a lot of dust and metal contaminants. The presence of these elements in your workshop can pose a health risk or even lead to dangerous thermal events such as fires. The dust collection port allows you to connect a hose from the sander to your vacuum cleaner for easy cleanups.
We have finally come to the end of our review. So what was your favorite belt sander for knife making?
After heated deliberations with our group of editors, we finally settled on the WEN 6502 Belt and Disc Sander. This sanding machine is an all-around solution to your knife making and sanding needs. The WEN 6501 is a combination kit that comes with an efficient belt sanding machine and a reasonable disc sander.
It also features a spacious worktable with an integrated miter gauge for extra support and added precision. What is more amazing is that the belt can be moved to 90 degrees for odd-shaped pieces. Its iron cast base offers the much-need stability for heavy-duty projects.
Besides its amazing features, this unit is extremely affordable. It also has a 2-year warranty that offers extra security for your long-term investment. How much more can you ask for?
Try the WEN 6501 today and spot the difference.
Knife-making can be fun and fulfilling, so long as you acquire the right tool to get the job done. Our reviewers did their level best to bring you the top picks for 2018.
We hope that you have found this in-depth review to be an eye-opener in your quest to unearth the ideal tool for your knife-making projects.
The ball is now in your court. However, remember to use our buying guide as a reference when shopping for the right tool. Be sure to let us know how it goes. We would be glad to offer any additional advice if you get stuck.