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Thread: Sharpening with Belt Sander / Grinder

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Pennington, NJ 08534
    Posts
    613

    Sharpening with Belt Sander / Grinder

    I have no financial interest, but thought I would share a recent discovery that may be of assistance.

    I recently purchased the 1" x 42" belt sander/grinder from Lee Valley (leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=44884&cat=1,43072) and have been thrilled with it, especially for freehand sharpening. Unfortunately, I was not as comfortable using it for tools where more precision was needed, like plane and spokeshave blades.

    Unfortunately, LV didn't sell any hand tool jigs made for that belt grinder. Although I am a very loyal LV customer (and continue to be), I did some searching and discovered that Viel, the manufacturer of the grinder, makes grinding jigs for it. They even ship to the states! (vieltools.com/prod.php?s=OQ==&sc=MQ==&l=ZW4=]).

    They were very friendly and even willing to modify one of the jigs (the logosol knife jig) so that it would work to flatten the tops of plane and spokeshave blades.

    Just thought I would pass this on to anyone who might be interested.

    Steve
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 06-10-2009 at 5:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    184

    Good Information

    Thanks Steve, this is good information. I'm still on the steep part of the sharpening learning curve. Got some questions for you:

    Are you using one of the motors Viel sells for this machine?

    Which way does the belt run, toward the tool rest or away from it?

    Can you reverse the direction the motor runs?

    Can you compare grinding primary bevels with this little belt sander to the same task with a bench grinder?

    Thank you


  3. #3

    Thumbs up Thanks!

    Steve,

    Thanks for sharing this! I purchased this from LV too. I'm happy with it but some of these other attachments could be very useful. Going to give that chisel carriage a try. Wish the jointer blade jig accomodated 8" knives...


    Jack, I bought a dayton motor and it runs fantastic(see pic for specs). Can't remember what I paid... maybe it's selective memory though as I do remembering it being much more than I thought it would cost. I had to modify base a bit... see pics... needed some ply to raise the motor and still needed to file away a bit of the base for the wiring box (I couldn't raise it any higher with the ply to leave proper clearance of the motor shaft through base housing).
    The instructions advise you to wire the motor CCW which turns the belt towards the tool rest. Conveniently, the sanding belts have arrows so that you mount them in the proper orientation.

    This sander can both create a primary bevel and hone with use of different belts The silicon carbide belt is very fine. It comes with one of each belts... easy to change too... a little downward pressure on the upper pulley(there's a spring in the tube housing) and you can change out belts in two seconds.

    Here's the manual for this sander/grinder: http://www.vieltools.com/document/S5.pdf

    Looking forward to getting the chisel carriage and seeing how decent an edge I can get.
    -Charles
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Charles Davis; 06-10-2009 at 3:20 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Pennington, NJ 08534
    Posts
    613
    I bought an A.O. Smith motor locally Fits Perfectly and cost about $75. Specs are:

    Model #GF2024
    1/4 HP
    115 Volts
    1725 RPM
    Open Enclosure
    Split Phase
    Frame 48/56
    Reversible
    Single Speed
    4.6 AMPS
    1/2" x 1-1/2" Shaft

    After watching Leonard Lee's DVD, I made the belt run counterclockwise. It makes the spark fly down instead of up. I also read in his book that it is best to switch directions when using the leather belt, but I don't do that and it seems to work fine. It isn't hard to reverse the direction of the motor and I think it is even possible to attach a switch to do that, but I am not very comfortable tinkering with electric things, so I just keep the edge down to prevent it from cutting the leather.

    I can't compare this to a bench grinder because I don't have one. I was looking for the most versatile power sharpener I could buy without spending the money to buy a Tormek or similar system.

    The only problem I have found is trying to lap the tops of plane and spokeshave blades with it. I bought their logosol knife jig, but it's not great because the logosol knife must be thinker than my plane blade. I suppose I could just do it by hand, but it just seems to take forever with the A2 steel. I have been thinking about getting a wider stationary belt sander for that, but can't justify the cost.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Pennington, NJ 08534
    Posts
    613
    Update from Viel Tools

    I just spoke to Louis at Viel Tools about my problems with the Logosol jig and he gave me a 30 second fix. My plane blade is about 1mm - 2mm too thin, so he just suggested that I grind the opening in the grinder table by the needed amount.

    Why is it that we can never see the simplest solutions?

    Steve

  6. #6
    be sure and buy belts made for metal.
    I've used abrasive belts for years and years as my only power option for metal grinding shaping and initial sharpening. I used 'em for everything from my lawn mower blades to chisels and plane irons

    I consider abrasive belts an excellent way to go. I do however, think I prefer my 10" dual grinding wheels better.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Pennington, NJ 08534
    Posts
    613
    Cliff,

    Forgive my ignorance, but are there tools (or blades) that a 10" dual grinding wheel setup cannot do? I assume you can lap the tops of plane blades on the side, but how would you use it to sharpen curved edges (like carving gouges, bent knives, and adzes)?

    Thanks,

    Steve

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Friedman View Post
    The only problem I have found is trying to lap the tops of plane and spokeshave blades with it. I bought their logosol knife jig, but it's not great because the logosol knife must be thinker than my plane blade. I suppose I could just do it by hand, but it just seems to take forever with the A2 steel. I have been thinking about getting a wider stationary belt sander for that, but can't justify the cost.

    Steve
    Is it possible to build up the thickness of the A2 blade temporarily?

    You can get switches that will reverse the direction of a reversible motor.

    http://www.electricmotorwarehouse.com/drum_switch.htm

    http://www.drillspot.com/products/42...versing_Switch

    The early models of the S5 had only a flat platform with no miter slot.
    I see that they sell the new platform with the miter slot.

    http://vieltools.com/detail.php?p=Njg5
    Last edited by Danny Burns; 06-11-2009 at 3:16 AM.

  9. #9
    I have been sharpening for about 13 years now and I do most of the restaurants in my home town and I have tried many different methods of sharpening, the method I use the most is the Tormek grinder, I like it because I can maintain the correct edge constantly and I like using the water. I have two 1" by 30 " Harbor freight belt sanders and I dont think very much of them they are cheap and under powered I would never buy one again> Have you ever seen that that belt sander made by a guy named Jim Liechty from Indianapolis, that really intriegs me, but I can't get ahold of the guy, he also was or still is a professional fisherman

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