• JH Forgeworks
    The guys touched on my question during the podcast but I didn't really expound probably as much as I should. I recently got a forge press and am making damascus. I'd like to get into mosaic stuff plus I also do multiple restacks and welds throughout a regular billet to get the layer count I want. Given that, I'm thinking I need a surface grinder. I was initially looking at getting a disc grinder but I think, for my purposes, a surface grinder will be better. I don't do flat grinds on blades so the disc benefits in that are lost on me.

    Has anyone used the Origin Blademaker surface grinder attachment? I don't really have the space for a large surface grinder and think the 2x72 attachments are a better way to go for my needs and space. I look at the Travis Wertz version but cannot justify spending $1800 for it. If it's absolutely worth that money, maybe. But I can't see how it's almost $1000 better than the origin version. Anyone with any experience or input would be greatly appreciated.
  • Ron Shoemaker
    I don't have any experience with that type but I'm in the same position as you as far as not having space for a full-size surface grinder. I recently bought a grinder from Brodbeck Iron Works and I'm pretty happy with the quality. They are currently developing a surface grinder and they say it should be available this Spring. I have no idea what to expect but I think it may be worth waiting to see how it compares anyway. Just my 2 cents. I have no affiliation with them.
  • JH Forgeworks

    I've been seeing the Brodbeck show up all over instagram. Seems like a really nice machine. It's certainly been added to the "want" list. I can afford a surface grinder attachment, I don't know if I can spring for a new grinder AND a surface grinder. The "want" list is plenty long as it is haha. But I'll definitely be excited to see what they come up with. I still haven't pulled the trigger on the Origin surface grinder but, I get closer every time I forge a blade.
  • Smith Knifeworks
    I have one. It works pretty well, depending on what you're trying to accomplish. When i got it initially, i was hyper concerned on accuracy and repeatably. Not really because I needed it, but because I'm just a little nutty about things like that. It wouldn't be considered accurate or repeatable in a machine shop. I seemed to be able to get stuff flat to within .001-.002 if I recall correctly. I would think that is more than acceptable for anything other than maybe folder making. That may even be good enough for folder making. I have no idea what the tolerances or repatability needed for blade/bearing/scale stackups is.

    Initially, i bought it for using the tilt function of the table to grind repeatable distal tapers into knives. It worked very well for this with one exception. The magnet is 2" in width and is a permanent magnet. The permanent magnet is a hassle. You have to get creative if you have a big blade stuck on there with a lot of surface area in contact. It takes a tool to remove the blade. You ain't getting it off with your fingees. I was grinding knives that were over 2" at the heel. I had to grind and them move the knife over to finish the remaining 1/4" of blade height. It loses it's accuracy when you move the part. I know that's logical, but I assumed i could squeak by if i wasnt altering the tooling. The answer there is "nope." I got a variation in thickness/taper from the spine to the edge at the heel. Easily solved with the disc grinder and I've since ground the tapers in by hand. I always finished them by hand. The surface grinder was a good tool for hogging material relative to the distal taper with reckless abandon and then tickling it into the taper you want on the grinder. I did have some trouble with various fasteners on it vibrating loose, but my grinder was mounted in a way that it had a bit of excessive vibration.

    If all you're looking to do is make square and flat pieces flatter, it'll do that just fine. There is a limitation to how thick of a piece of material you can get in there. It has to fit between the magnet and the contact wheel when it is fully adjusted "open." I forget how big the "throat" is when fully open. Maybe 2"? You're not gonna surface grind a 4"x4" block of steel, but itll do tiles fine.

    If you're just trying to get it flat to forge weld, i would really suggest putting the $800 or whatever the attachment costs into a disc grinder. They will get stuff plenty flat to weld and it has other good uses like flattening scales, convexing edges a'la Nick Wheeler etc.

    It's a good attachment, but I wouldn't buy it again unless i was making a SHIT LOAD of damascus.

    If you MUST have a surface grinder, I'd shop around. You can likely find a real surface grinder for the cost of the attachment.
  • Ron Shoemaker
    That's good information. Thank you. I'm personally hoping for two things out of the Brodbeck surface grinder attachment (or any other one, for that matter)...
    1) Compatibility with any grinder using a standard 1 1/2" tooling arms.
    2) Some type of system to make removal or adjustment of the blade easier - like using mag-locs instead of permanently mounted magnets.
    I have no idea if either of these ideas is being considered. If not, maybe I just need to design my own...
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