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Belt Sharpening

Thu May 17, 2012 11:44 am

Am looking into this, a la the Kalamazoo 1x42 machine. Wondering if anyone uses this, pros and cons, sharpness, etc.?



Re: Belt Sharpening

Fri May 18, 2012 10:12 am

Never used a Kalamazoo, but it is the go-to sharpening machine on a lot of forums. Price is very reasonable and performance is top notch.

I use my belt sander for a lot of knives. It's a nice option that's fast and once you get the hang of it, very easy to do.

Re: Belt Sharpening

Fri May 18, 2012 11:51 am

Get a harbor freight 1x30, much cheaper. Mine has been going for over 10 years now!

Re: Belt Sharpening

Fri May 18, 2012 3:23 pm

I love the Kalamazoo for sharpening. With respects to taz575, it's much better than the HF. I have two of them and both became doorstops once I had the Kalamazoo. The problems I had with the HF were the blazing speed of the belt and a general looseness of tolerances (ie wobble). The Kalamazoo runs at around 1/2 the speed of the HF. There are also a lot more belts available in the 1" x 42" size. The HF will definitely get the job done but if you can afford it the Kalamazoo is simply a better machine.

Pros include very fast belt changes. All you do is press down on the top pulley and take the belt off. You can change belts in a few seconds. The Kalamazoo is also very smooth and very quiet in operation. For the price it has few cons. One is that the platen could be designed better but it sounds like new models may be shipped with Mark's new-and-improved version.

Re: Belt Sharpening

Fri May 18, 2012 3:42 pm

What would you recommend for belts? Source? I guess something like 120, 220, 320, 600, 800, 1200, leather? Too much, not enough? I don't mind spending, just hate throwing away...........

Rob, thanks, hope this rabbit hole isn't as deep as the last one you got me into............(EP) :)

Re: Belt Sharpening

Fri May 18, 2012 9:09 pm

I dont recall how I found out about the site but leevalley.com has a decent selection of belts. I am in love with the 3m trizact belts. The perform very well and they will last way longer than most belt IMHO.

Re: Belt Sharpening

Fri May 18, 2012 11:47 pm

I can get the 1x30 belts at a local hardware store easily and there are a ton of 1x30 belts available online, including felt and leather belts. I remove the dust cover for faster belt changes and my harbor freight doesn't give me any tracking, wobble or speed issues, even with cheap belts. I also have a Grizzly 2x72 for grinding blades as well and a custom built 1x30 and I still use the HF. For the price of $50 for the harbor freight vs $280 for the Kalamazoo, the HF fits much better into most peoples budgets and works just fine. I've used it for around 10 years for sharpening and handle shaping without any problems. Not everyone wants to drop $280 on a belt sander just to sharpen knives with!! Maybe mine is better than the newer ones because it is older, but I haven't had any issues with it at all.

Belts: 80 (only for deep chips/nicks), 120, 220, 400 and leather or felt belt with buffing compound should take care of most of your sharpening needs. Tru Grit has a lot of belt choices

Re: Belt Sharpening

Sat May 19, 2012 11:03 am

My harbor freight has been running strong for a year now, and it gets used a lot. I mean a whole lot!

Looked at a Kalamazoo 1 x 42, but instead getting a 2 x 72 to go with my 1 x 30 seems more logical.

Re: Belt Sharpening

Sat May 19, 2012 4:27 pm

I have both a 1*42 and 2*72. Both are used the same amount. If I had to choose one, I would choose the 1*42. Lee valley does have a nice selection of belts.

Re: Belt Sharpening

Sat May 19, 2012 5:39 pm

Do any of them have variable speed motors on them? That would seem to be a good featrure for knife sharpening.
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