As a woodworker, you would always aspire for the best tools to do the job and ease your efforts. For finding the best belt sander for knife making, you don’t have shell out hefty dollars to get the job done (there are expensive models out there though). However, with a good research and mapping the right product to your requirements, you can get great results in your knife making/sharpening projects. Our team has put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide for choosing the right belt sander for knife making along with their top 5 picks for 2017. You would also want to read quick reviews of those top 5 picks and quickly understand if they fit your requirements (and most of the scenarios, they do)! Afterall, we literally scan through hundreds of products before we compile any top list article. This research alone can save or narrow down your hunt to few specific, top rated products.
Best Belt Sanders for Knife Making – Our Top 5 Picks
Best Knife Sharpening Belt Sanders – Reviews
1. Kalamazoo 1SM Belt Sander
Based in Michigan, United States, Kalamazoo Industries is a manufacturer that has been making belt sanders, saws, vibratory finishers and related tools since 1960. A company that cares about its customers, Kalamazoo is also a major player in building custom machines according to a user’s requirements.
The Kalamazoo 1SM Belt Sander is one of the finest offerings from the company that not only takes care of knife sharpening needs, but also works with wood, plastic, and composite. A belt sander that has a really large number of users at present, the 1SM takes pride in completing its work with precision and quickness every time.
Although priced somewhat on the higher side, the tool makes up for that by providing quality work. Said another way, it works much better than the cheap imports available in the market.
A 1-inch belt sander in its core, the 1SM boasts of portability by weighing just about 32-pounds. It uses a 1/3 HP motor that utilizes 110V and 1 PH. As far as speed is concerned, the sander provides 1725 RPM. Coming with a tilt work table and 4-inch contact wheel, it attempts to give a lot of conveniences.
- The best thing about the Kalamazoo 1SM is perhaps its 1-inch belt surface, which is able to shape and sand a number of different material types.
- Other than that, its portability is a major plus when it comes to convenience.
- Coming with spring tensioned rollers, the tool maintains consistency in belt tension, as well as tracking.
- When it comes to changing belts, the tool makes sure that you are able to perform any change in less than 30 seconds.
- Apart from that, the motor is reversible, which is a good feature to have in some situations.
- For the price, its build quality is no less than excellent
- The motor is powerful enough to take care of most jobs without a single issue
- The sander comes ready to be used, which means less waiting and more work
- Changing sanding belt just requires a couple of seconds as you need not remove any guard or screw for the same
- It does not lead to much vibration while working
- Very versatile tool which can be used for sharpening, sanding, polishing and some other tasks
- It does not come with any sanding belt
- The tracking system cannot be used when the machine is turned on
- The tool is not equipped well to handle bigger sizes
2. Grizzly H6070 Belt and Disc Sander
One of the leaders in making woodworking and metalworking machines, Grizzly has been around for nearly 34 years.
Over the years, the company has shown a high amount of dedication toward its customers, and that is one of the key reasons why it has reached its position today.
The H6070 Belt and Disc Sander from the company is one of its leading products, and the same has impressed quite a lot of people lately. Being able to perform a variety of different jobs, the sander has the ability to replace your previous similar tools with ease and perfection. A reasonably priced machine, the H6070 is one product you must consider before reaching your final purchasing decision.
The Grizzly H6070 Belt and Disc Sander come with a 1/3 HP, 110V motor. The motor is single-phase in type and ensures RPM of 3450. Its belt sander table size is 5-1/8 x 5-1/8-inch, while its disc sander table size is 4 x 7-5/16-inch. Both the tables have a tilting capacity of 45 degrees. Its dimensions are 12.5 x 16.7 x 11.5 inches, and it has a weight of around 20-pounds.
The fact that it offers a belt sander and a disc sander on the same machine is one thing that makes the Grizzly H6070 a really good choice. Other than that, you can avail the benefit of direct drive, as well as tracking adjustment with it.
When it comes to dust collection, the machine provides two ports. Both of them measure 1-3/4-inch. All you need to do is connect one of them to your vacuum and dust will no longer be a problem.
- It is a very powerful machine that takes care of most jobs easily
- Compactness is a major plus of this tool, and owing to that you can work in a small space fairly well
- This tool is quieter compared to most of its competitors
- Even when you use it for a long time continuously, it does not give you any trouble
- The tool does not shake while at work mode
- Relatively, you get a lot of things for the money you pay
- The package includes sanding disk and belt
- Some of the parts are made of plastic, which is not very impressive
- Although it is powerful for its price and size, it cannot take care of jobs that are too demanding
3. JET J-4002 Bench Belt and Disc Sander
JET Tools was founded in the year 1958. At that time, it was just a dealer of trolleys and manual chain hoists.
But, unlike other small shops that remain the same size for decades to come, JET started to grow with time.
The turning point came during the 90s, when JET began manufacturing its own product line, instead of just importing things from others. After a while, it introduced its own line of metalworking and woodworking tools.
The JET J-4002 1-Inch by 42-Inch Bench Belt and Disc Sander is one of the newest offerings from the company.
The product claims to be one of the most reliable and versatile combination sanders in the market.
The JET J-4002 is a 1-inch by a 42-inch model that offers 1/3HP, 115V and 1 PH. That means, for most tasks, it offers sufficient power. The product has dimensions of 22 x 21 x 14 inches and weight of nearly 60 pounds. So, you cannot exactly call it a light machine by any means, which is more of a good thing than a bad thing in this particular case.
Other than the above, it offers disc speed of 1,725 RPM and a belt speed of 3,000 SFPM.
Overall, considering the amount you pay for it, you get good specifications.
This tool is blessed by an abrasive belt unit that removes material and finishes at once, doing the job of a jigsaw, hand file and coping saw simultaneously. Odd shapes and external curves are taken care of by finishing, grinding and sanding due to the presence of removable platen. You can also mount an optional flex shaft in order to drum sand, carve and perform deburing.
Other than that, its cast iron construction is a major plus.
- The J-4002 does its share of work quietly and without much vibration
- The machine is extremely well-made for its price
- It works well right out of the box, and you do not even have to adjust the belt before beginning work in some cases
- Changing the belt is a really easy thing to do
- In many ways, the tool is kind of an all-rounder
- Some customers complain that the power button is somewhat wimpy and could have been better
- It is a really heavy tool, so portability is not its forte
4. Grizzly G1015 Knife Belt Sander/Buffer
The G1015 Knife Belt Sander from Grizzly is a tool that is specially made for knife makers. It is the kind of tool a salesman will show you first the moment you ask for a knife making tool. The company claims that it can do a lot of other tasks too besides knife making. That is a good claim, but nothing substantial.
Note that while it is a fine tool for a beginner or a budget conscious user, it is not the most amazing thing available in the market in its category. That said, once you stop comparing it with other tools, and see it just for itself, it appears to be quite a good tool to have in your arsenal. In other words, this knife sander is perfectly adequate, nothing less, nothing more.
The thing that is the most important about this sander is that it has a belt size of 2 x 72-76 inch. That means you get a bit more power than tools that have a lesser belt size.
As far as the motor goes, you get a 1 HP, single-phase fitting. The motor utilizes 110V and 14A. It is able to provide a speed of 1725 RPM. Other than that, when it comes to belt speed, you get 3600 FPM to take care of your jobs.
The machine has dimensions of 30.5 x 16.2 x 15 inches and weight of nearly 60 pounds.
As the tool has a configuration of 2 x 72-76 inch, it can provide ample power to tackle various types of knife making jobs. In fact, unless you are a serious knife maker, you will never find yourself complaining about facing any power issue.
Plus, flap wheels or buffing wheels can be accepted by its auxiliary arbor, which is a somewhat nice feature to have.
For general metalwork and blacksmithing, this knife provides adequate goodies to perform everything satisfactorily.
Also, this Grizzly has a somewhat unconventional design which is liked by many of its users.
- It does its job with a humming sound, and overall, it can be regarded as a quiet machine
- Build-quality is one of its main strengths, and you are sure to find it a solid tool
- Due to quick-belt mechanism, you can change belts within seconds and get on with your work
- It is a sufficiently versatile tool, despite its company naming it as a knife sander
- It is one of the more durable machines out there in its category
- The biggest complaint people have about it is that its tracking is not up to the mark
- There is only a single speed, so you cannot adjust according to your needs
5. Central Machinery 1 x 30 Inch Belt Sander
One of the cheapest belt sanders in the market, this tool from Central Machinery can be used for working with knives to a good extent. Central Machinery is a brand that has been around for quite some time. Even though not a popular brand, it has a record of making good tools for woodworking and other needs.
This particular tool is a lightweight and capable belt sander that can be afforded easily by anyone who wishes to have a belt sander. The machine does not have a lot of bells and whistles but is good enough to tackle very basic jobs associated with knife making. Although not a top recommendation, this can be a good companion if you exercise some patience and do not expect much.
Coming with dimensions of 9 x 11 x 13 inches, this tool scores quite high on portability. Whether that is an advantage or disadvantage is up to you to decide. As far as its table dimensions go, you get 5-1/16 x 5-1/8 inches.
The motor provides 1/3HP, which is not too great but workable. Fortunately, the motor is capable of moving at a speed of 3400 RPM to ensure fast stock removal.
With 1 x 30 inches, this bench-top sander provides sufficiently good results to make you happy. But, keep your expectations reasonable considering its price. You must not expect too much from it.
One of the interesting things about this tool is that when the sanding belt moves around the drive wheel, it kind of opens up. That prevents it from clogging. Other than that, to provide convenience, the table tilts from 0 to 45 degrees.
If you want smoother finish than what you normally get, you can fit it with a fine-grit belt and have your way.
- It is a very affordable tool considering what it does
- The tool is designed to handle light jobs, and it can do those very well
- It has portable dimensions, so carrying it from one place to another is a breeze
- It gets knives sharper than many other similar tools do
- It is not the most durable machine out there
- If you want a powerful machine, this is not it
How to Choose a Good Belt Sander for Knife Making (Buyer’s Guide)
Choosing a good belt sander for knife making is all about being familiar with the various features and aspects of different machines. While there are all sorts of different machines out there with all kinds of big and small features, you don’t need to know it all to get a tool that will serve you well.
Basically, you just need to take into account the following main aspects before putting your money down:
The most basic specification of a belt sander is its belt size. Usually, a sander contains the size of the belt in its name itself. In practice, most serious knife makers use a belt size of 2 by 72 inches. So, ideally, that size should work for you too. However, in the market, various different sizes are available. Usually, it is best that you go for something that does your job well but is neither too narrow nor too wide.
For instance, if you go for something like 3 by a 72-inch belt, it may unnecessarily hamper your work without adding much value. The best thing you can do is think about your requirements and decide on the belt size according to them. If you are a beginner, something like 1 by 30 inches or similar may work satisfactorily for you. But, if you want to get into the knife making thing seriously, make sure to consider higher specifications. Just do not go too high because that will not really help.
The frame of a sander holds it together and allows the various components to perform their work. So, the better the frame, the better the machine! There are many different kinds of sander frames out there, and there is no one frame that is the best of them all. Since there are so many different frame designs available, talking about each of them will require hundreds of pages.
So, instead of getting into the intricacies too much, just consider whether the frame of a particular machine is robust enough or not. If a machine is built using quality materials that are very solid, that should be a sign to go ahead and purchase the same. If, on the other hand, during your research, you come to know that the frame of a machine is not too good, avoid the machine if possible.
It is important to take into account how powerful the motor of a sander is. Simply said, the more powerful the motor of a machine, the more powerful the machine is overall. Power is written as HP or Horse Power. The tools which are very affordable may have something like 1/3 HP or 1/2 HP, which is not that great. On the other hand, better tools may have 1 HP, 1-1/2 HP, or more.
The best advice that can be given is, try to go for the most powerful motor under your budget. However, note that the HP rating is not always indicative of the true power of a motor. Sometimes, certain other aspects matter, too. So, pay special attention to the user reviews of a product.
Some machines have a single speed, while others have a variable speed. If you are a true expert, you may not care about changing the speed of the belt much. However, if you are a beginner or intermediate, a machine with a variable speed is likely to help you perform your job better. Note, however, that variable speed tools are a bit more complex compared to single speed machines. They also tend to cost more.
Pay attention to the tracking mechanism of a tool. Ideally, you want to purchase a machine that has a robust tracking assembly. Something less may compromise on the quality of work you are able to produce.
Dust collection is one aspect that needs to be considered, too. Go for a machine that offers shop vac ports in order to help you navigate through all that dust. You may consider other kinds of dust collection mechanisms, too, so long as they are good enough to take care of the job.
Ease of use
How easy or hard a machine is to use will matter in the long run. So, try to find a machine that is really easy to use or handle. For instance, you do not want to spend several minutes just to change the belt, when there are many machines available in the market which allow you to do the same in just a few seconds. Similarly, if you go for a machine that has many accessories, you want to alter them quickly and efficiently.
Price really matters when it comes to belt sanders. That is because when you have a really low budget, you are forced to compromise on many things. For instance, if you are not willing to pay a decent amount, you will not get a machine that provides good tracking or superior build quality.
Also, when it comes to power, you may have to compromise on the aspect if you are not willing to pay a good amount of money to call a sander your own.