For a long time I have watched as more and more 2 x 72″ grinders on the market utilize Gas Spring Cylinders (https://www.mcmaster.com/#spring-cylinders/=1byb3fm) for belt tension. I’ve tried it too, and in the beginning, had durability issue….the cylinder rod seal would fail within weeks or days of me putting one of the grinder. I finally figured out that I could make them last by using a “boot” zip tied on, to protect the rod/seal from all the grinder debris floating around. But that’s a different story… the whole reason for this post is to expose something that I find very interesting. These cylinders are NOT the “end all” that many make them out to be….particularly when it comes to belt grinder tensioning. I have/use/like the KMG grinders. I have changed mine to direct drive, and love it’s rock solid/heavy build quality. I tried using one of the Gas Spring Cylinders on it, and found that when used on this particular grinder, Gas Springs seem to cause more issues than they solve. A few grinding session after installing the Gas Spring Cylinder on the KMG, I notice that I was getting serious belt chatter on both 50 and 120 grit belts. I tried adjusting the mounting locations and positions of the Gas Spring Cylinder, but nothing helped. When using a flat/glass face platen, the belt chatter was so bad it made grinding nearly impossible….no matter what brand, backing, or type grit of 50 or 120 grit belt I used.
I spent a small fortune on different poundage rated Gas Spring Cylinders from 20lb, all the way to 90lb, all with the same, or additional issues. depending on the poundage rating…….
Out of frustration, I removed the Gas Spring Cylinder, and reinstall the coil spring mount, and the coil spring….. NO MORE BELT CHATTER!!! I pondered this for a while, and can only come up with the following…… A Gas Spring Cylinder is built to apply a specific poundage of force. I believe that the pressure applied to the belt when grinding caused addition tension on the belt before it reached the drive wheel…..and a slight amount of slack after the drive wheel. The constant tension of the Gas Spring Cylinder is what caused this. On the other side of the coin, a typical coil spring provides for a “variable” amount of tension, based on the amount of “drag” I cause when applying pressure during grinding. Preventing the situation, or part of the belt having more tension than the other, and in turn, eliminating the belt chatter! Since returning to the simple coil spring for belt tension, the infuriating belt chatter has been eliminated!
OK, What’s the take away? 1st….. just because something is “cool” doesn’t mean it works well. 2nd….. the latest and greatest, just might not be. And finally……if you’re having issues with belt chatter on a grinder…… it MIGHT just be the TYPE of tension mechanism! 🙂
During this past week, I have fielded several phone calls & emails, most dealing with an individual telling me they wanted to purchase a forge, and asking my advice. In ALL cases the individuals first consideration was to find the cheapest forge they could, which is understandable, but it’s also DANGEROUS when that is the main consideration. Several of the emails sent me a link to a “new” outfit that is selling forges. Not having heard of them, I followed the link to their site. OMG!! Are you kidding me?!?! Besides the fact that these forges are VERY poorly designed, they had copper tubing and a needle valve affixed directly to the exterior of the forge body! If you have even a fraction of knowledge that propane ignites at around 900F, and that doesn’t scare the poop outta you, then you need to look something else besides forging to do….. you’ll likely live a lot longer!
In another email, an individual asked me what I used to etch damascus, and told me that he was using Muriatic acid MIXED with Clorox Bleach! I asked him why, and who’d told him to do that. His response was….. “I saw it on YouTube”. Again…. OMG!! This is a sure way to kill yourself! DON’T DO IT!!!!
FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE! IF YOU DON’T KNOW OF WHAT YOU’RE DEALING WITH, DON’T DO IT UNTIL YOU GET ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WITH EXPERIENCE…. OR AT LEAST SOMEONE WITH A FEW BRAIN CELLS!
Mark my words…… we are going to start hearing about home/shop/garage explosions, and/or people dying from doing stupid things like these! I’ve already been made aware of 2 incidents where somebody watched Forged in Fire, and decided “I can do that”…… and burned their houses to the ground!
I love it when a plan comes together! This is a “slice” off the billet I produced in the upcoming video “Canister Welded Damascus” The video was taken pre-heat treat, at a 220 grit finish. It’s gona look killer when finished out to 1200 grit! Look for the video to be available in the near future on the sale page. And look for this blade, and others from the same steel at the Blade Show in Atlanta, GA, June 1-2, 2018!
Tim and I have been filming a COMPLETE video on Canister or “Can” Welded Damascus. This will be as complete a video as we can offer…. from the type and size of “can” to use, to what goes inside, as well as tips and “tricks” to help you be successful. Here’s a short clip of a “slice” that I sawed off the finished billet….. This piece is fully annealed….so the high carbon steel have a “frosty” look. Once heat treated, those areas will be very dark/black. Look for the complete video to be available on KnifeMakerTraining soon. (Tim has a LOT of editing to do on this one, so it might be a couple weeks) 🙂
One of the things we want to do is help people get to know our amazing Mastersmith Ed a little better. The time and patience he dedicates to making our videos. We want to inspire as many people to check out his amazing workmanship and point them in the direction to where they can purchase his knives. So we start by asking some random questions with our Mastersmith in a new series called “5 Minutes With The Mastersmith”.
Today Tim and I put in a full day of filming. Tim had a great idea of “5 Minutes with the Master”….. a series of videos on who I am, about the ABS, and what I do. I’ve never been one to toot my own horn, and had Tim not suggested it, would have never thought to do it. But, he made me realize that there are a lot of folks out there who have no idea who I am, my experience level, or what I do. Once again….. Tim has proven himself to be the brains of this outfit! 🙂
We also started the first in a series of creating damascus videos. So look for those as Tim gets them edited and ready. We got so wrapped up today, that we didn’t get to start on “Basic Bladesmithing” but he’ll be back in the morning! I’m having a blast doing this stuff! 🙂
Since my December surgery, I’m feeling great, and have just about fully recovered! I am now taking reservations for One-on-One Bladesmithing/Knifemaking classes. I offer classes/instruction from basic beginner classes, to advanced classes in Damascus, Liner Lock Folders, and just about any area of Knifemaking. There is no set schedule for classes. One of the best thing about teaching One-on-One is that I schedule classes as requested by students. Dates fill up quickly, so if you’re considering a class in 2018, contact me with your desired dates, and I match them up with my schedule. If there are no conflicts, I will schedule you in.
Students must be 21 years of age, with exceptions being made on a case by case basis. Class fees are PER INDIVIDUAL, and each student is responsible for their own travel, lodging, meals, and safety equipment. As of today, I am scheduling classes for June 2018 and beyond. April and May are reserved for Blade Show preparation.