A knife belt sander, also known as a knife belt buffer, or belt grinder, is a power tool that is used for smoothing metals, woods, and other materials. The best knife belt sander will support contour sanding, will have a tilt-able cutting disc, and will feature easy to change belts.
Knife belt sanders work by using a motor to spin a strip of sandpaper at high speeds, in order to rub away the surface of an item through abrasion and high friction. Knife belt sanders have many uses, including the removal of paint and rust, as well as smoothing out an object’s finish. Such sanders can even be used to make and sharpen knives (Source).
A knife belt sander will remove material and sand materials down quickly and efficiently. Changing out the sanding belt allows the coarseness to be adjusted, enabling you to fine-tune the knife belt sanders operation (Source).
Knowing which knife belt sander is best to buy can be difficult to figure out, considering the number of options out there. Before you purchase a knife belt sander, consider the dimensions, cost, and durability. It’s also vital to consider whether or not the cutting disc can be tilted, among other top factors.
In this article, we will take a look at all the top knife belt sanders. All of the sanders in this review will be able to shape your work material to perfection, whether you are creating a custom knife, or just needing to round off the edges of a piece of wood.
What Is The Best Belt Sander for Knife Making?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is The Best Belt Sander for Knife Making?
- 2 How Much Do Knife Belt Sanders Cost?
- 3 Comparing the Top 5 Models
- 4 1. Grizzly Industrial H6070-1″ x 30″ Belt/5″ Disc Combo Sander – Best Knife Grinder For Beginners
- 5 2. Kalamazoo 1SM 1″ Belt Sander – Highest Quality Sander
- 6 3. JET J-4002 1-Inch by 42-Inch Bench Belt and Disc Sander – Most Durable Sander
- 7 4. RIKON Power Tools 50-151 Belt with 5″ Disc Sander– Best Sander for Small Projects
- 8 5. WEN 6502T – Best Knife Belt Sander For Its Price
- 9 Knife Belt Sander Brands
- 10 Factors to Consider Before Buying Knife Belt Sander
- 11 How to Use a Knife Belt Sander
- 12 Ready to Get Knife Belt Sander?
The best belt sander for knife making is the Grizzly Industrial H60070-1 because it offers both a long belt sander and a disc sander, all in one portable unit. Unlike other sanders, it can be assembled in less than half an hour and has excellent power.
How Much Do Knife Belt Sanders Cost?
Most knife belt sanders will cost anywhere from $98-459. The cost varies mostly due to the material of the machine. For example, more affordable options are often made with less metal and more plastic. While this saves money, the quality of the device is also diminished.
If you’re looking to use your band saw regularly, you will find that the best quality, longest-lasting machines cost a little more. With this in mind, many of the higher-priced sanders also come with a warranty which could save you money over time.
On the other hand, if you are just getting started with knife forging, a more affordable option may be the way to go. The ones on our list will still preform nicely while not breaking the bank.
Comparing the Top 5 Models
|Grizzly Industrial H6070-1″ x 30″ Belt/5″ Disc Combo Sander|
|Kalamazoo 1SM 1″ Belt Sander|
JET J-4002 1-Inch by 42-Inch Bench Belt and Disc Sander
Disc: 1,725 RPM
|RIKON Power Tools 50-151 Belt with 5″ Disc Sander|
|WEN 6502T 4.3-Amp 4 x 36 in. Belt and 6 in. Disc Sander with Cast Iron Base|
Best Knife Belt Sanders: Our Top 5 Picks
1. Grizzly Industrial H6070-1″ x 30″ Belt/5″ Disc Combo Sander – Best Knife Grinder For Beginners
No products found.Made by a known maker of reliable machines and tools, including one of the best hydraulic bench presses, the Grizzly Industrial H6070 is a good sander to have.
This sander is the ideal size. There’s no need to wonder if a sander will fit in your small workspace. The Grizzly Industrial H6070 fits on almost any table or workbench and won’t crowd up your limited floor space. Its compact size makes it easy to transport as well.
Although it’s tiny by belt sander standards, it by no means lacks in power. The motor is 1/3 horsepower yet remains relatively quiet.
The Grizzly Industrial H6070 is an excellent choice for beginners. Unlike other sanders, the machine won’t stall or choke after extended use or if too much pressure is put on the belt.
2. Kalamazoo 1SM 1″ Belt Sander – Highest Quality Sander
It’s ideal for bladesmithing yet can handle just about any material you use on it from wood to plastic. Its diversity doesn’t stop there. It can be easily transported or even bolted down to handle even the toughest work.
Its heavyweight provides stability for projects that would otherwise cause a lot of movement.
Other features include a fan for keeping the machine cool and running at it’s best. The motor is also sealed to keep dust out.
3. JET J-4002 1-Inch by 42-Inch Bench Belt and Disc Sander – Most Durable Sander
This sander is hardy enough to remove large amounts of excess material while gentile enough to add finishing touches and small details on blades. The JET can also handle odd-shaped blades and tight angles. You can lock the miter gauge and turn it up to 45-degrees left and right. But if you need a detail sander, head on over to our top detail sanders list.
The machine comes with a one-inch by 42-inch grinding belt and eight-inch wheel.
4. RIKON Power Tools 50-151 Belt with 5″ Disc Sander– Best Sander for Small Projects
This lightweight grinder is recommended for light-duty projects. Although this model isn’t as durable as previous sanders on our list, it still has a strong motor that won’t bog down, and depending on the size of projects you tackle, this sander might be just the one for you.
Its small size makes it easy to transport and easy to store.
5. WEN 6502T – Best Knife Belt Sander For Its Price
The heavy cast-iron base virtually eliminates vibrations while the sanding disc comes with a cast-aluminum work table.
Your work area will stay tidy thanks to the 2.25-inch dust port capable of connecting to a dust extractor.
Best of all, WEN backs its product and offers a two-year warranty with your purchase along with tech support from their skilled technicians.
Knife Belt Sander Brands
Some brands have better reputations than others when it comes to knife belt sanders. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are an unreliable company or that their product won’t fulfill your needs. Instead, it is a good idea to do some research on a branch before making a purchase.
While many brands specialize in knife belt sanders, others focus on other products and may have less experience in the belt sander field. That fact shouldn’t scare you away from buying from the later brands. However, keeping in mind where your machine is coming from will help you make the best purchase based on your projects and experience level.
Here is a little more information about the top brands selling knife belt sanders.
Grizzly Industrial is one of the largest machinery companies in the United States. They were founded in 1983 and produce machines for anyone in sizeable industrial production to small machine and cabinet shops.
Their machines have won several awards over the years for the quality and value of the products.
Grizzly Industrial focuses on pairing excellent customer service with affordable, quality products that will last a long time. You can check out the Grizzly Industrial T27156, one of the Top Sandblast Cabinets on our list.
They sell their products directly and through Amazon.
Kalamazoo Industries Inc.
Kalamazoo Industries is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan and has been in business since 1960. They manufacture cut-off saws, belt sanders, 5C fixtures, and vibratory finishers.
Standard products can be modified based on what your needs are or a custom machine can be made completely to your specifications.
All of their products including this knife belt sander are guaranteed for up to one year.
JET Equipment started as a small hardware store in Tacoma, Washington. They got their start selling electric chain hoists and air hoists.
Over the years, their company began selling woodworking and metalworking tools, as well. By the 1990s, they began manufacturing their high-quality products and machines.
RIKON Power Tools
RIKON Tools has a certified factory located in Qingdao, China. They pride themselves in continually improving the quality of their products to meet the needs and expectations of their customers.
They stand by their products by including a 5-year warranty with their tools.
If you have questions or need assistance, their technical and parts departments are available to answer whatever questions you have or address any concerns you may have about the product.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Knife Belt Sander
Before pulling the trigger and buying a belt sander for knife forging, there are a few things you should consider. There are many options available, so you need to analyze what model will work best for you. You may even consider the best knife grinder for beginners if that is your preference.
Then, you can be confident that you are making the right decision. Keep in mind these belt sanders and different than straight-line sanders, which are more ideal for sanding tasks.
Dimensions & Weight
As you can see by the chart, knife belt sanders come in a variety of weights and dimensions. The best size for you will depend mainly on your projects and workspace.
For example, a lighter, small option would be best if you have limited space or if you plan on moving the machine regularly.
Otherwise, one of the more heavy-duty options will be your best bet. That’s especially true if you have large projects, and you will be using the machine for a prolonged amount of time. A big tool that’s great for this kind of job, is a top-rated bench sander.
The speed of the belt has little to do with the efficiency of the sander. Anything around 1,000 RPM is plenty to shape a knife. Of course, the faster the belt runs, the faster you will be able to remove material.
Most knife belt sanders come with a belt between one or two inches wide. It is recommended that for most knife making, a two-inch belt is ideal. This way, you can grind and sharpen your material. However, depending on the size of metal you are working with one-inch may do the job just as well.
The quality of the knife belt sanders on our list varies. For example, the more plastic found on a machine, the lower the quality it will have. Plastic wears down and breaks faster than metal.
If you want the highest quality of belt sander, look for machines that are primarily constructed in steel or cast-iron. These will outlast belt sanders that have several plastic, flimsy parts.
How to Use a Knife Belt Sander
A belt sander is relatively simple to use. As with most skills, the more you practice and experiment with different angles, speeds, and materials, the easier it will be.
Over time you will become more and more satisfied with your finished product. You will also feel more comfortable with the process.
Below is a reference to get you started with your new knife belt sander.
1. Plan Out Your Shape
Before you power up the sander, plan out the shape that you want your knife to be. You can even draw the shape roughly onto your metal. This is called profiling your knife.
2. Position The Material on the Table
It is easiest to keep your cuts level if you rest your metal on the small table in front of the belt at least until you get your basic shape worked out.
3. Power Up the Machine
Press the metal into the belt and follow the line that you drew before. Go into the belt at an angle. This will profile the knife much faster.
4. Sharpen Your Blade
When you start your project your sandpaper will be 80 grit. By the time you start sharpening and polishing you will move up to a 120 belt then finally a 220 belt.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Knifemaking using a belt sander is an acquired skill. You will learn by a lot of trial and error.
- Use a full-face mask to prevent metal shards from getting in your eyes and lungs.
Ready to Get Knife Belt Sander?
Similar to drywall sanders, before you make the purchase, it’s essential to understand which belt sander will best fit your needs. The casual knife building hobbyist may not need a sander as expensive and as durable as a professional knife forger using the machine daily.
If you are planning on using your belt sander for prolonged hours regularly, then the JET model is probably the sander for you. Otherwise, if you have limited space, then a smaller machine would be the better option.
Your budget, of course, is also important. If you are on a tight budget or not looking to invest too much into a belt sander, then stick with WEN as your most affordable yet durable option. You can even choose Grizzly belt grinder, which is an honorable mention.
Everyone looks for something different in a knife belt sander but knows that the right machine for you is out there and at a price, you can afford.