I have been bladesmithing for a few years now, and I don’t have any big, crazy equipment. As time goes by and as my experience grows I have been gradually upgrading equipment. I started with a Harbor Freight cast iron anvil, home made brake drum forge, and an angle grinder. All functional, but not nearly effective enough to complete the amazing knives I can and want to make.
Eventually I got a propane forge from NC Tool Company, as well as a 112 pound steel anvil. These helped me to heat and move metal much more efficiently.
As far as a grinder for shaping and polishing….well…I converted a Harbor Freight wood lathe into a belt grinder. I made a two wheel arm with a small 4 inch flat platen. It only has a 3/4 horse power motor and I’m constantly overloading it. The biggest reach I could build was for 48 inch belts. Again, it works, but it is very limited in its capabilities.
That’s me with the lathe/ grinder in action.
When I went in Forged In Fire I had the opportunity to use a Travis Wuertz TW 90 2×72 belt grinder. And it was a BEAST! Maybe I got a little spoiled, or I was able to test drive that joker and was able to imagine the possibilities. Either way, I knew it was time to upgrade. Unfortunately, the TW 90 base model is REALLY expensive. None of the decent belt grinders are cheap, but dang.
I’ve been doing a lot of research and after spending time with the guys I competed against and found that the Bader BIII is about the best, all around grinder that will work for me. They’ve got an excellent track record and a ton of accessories.
So, for almost $1500 less than the TW 90 I am going to get a Based. This should be exciting, it only took me 2 years to decide. I’m going to give it one more day to sleep on it, and then I’m going to order one.
Let me know if you’ve used one, or both of these grinders and what your thoughts are.
Hope you have a great week.