What was updated: New source of sanding belts in EU (CZ)
I will be updating this section over the time. If you are missing something or have an interesting source for some tools or materials please let me know.
The knifemaking scene i Europe does not seem to support all that large of different services and stores. In particulars tools like belt grinders or heat treatment ovens are not easy to find and nearly always a special order that will take 3-6 month to finish.
While I am not going to post a long list of all possible online shops that sell steel, handle materials and other knifemaking bits and pieces as these are easy to find, I will share a few links that may not be quite as easy to find.
Belt grinders available in Europe
When I first realised that sooner or later I will be getting a 'full size' belt grinder and started to look what is available I did not find much. It took me surprising amount of time to actually find a few interesting candidates. I am listing these, though please do not consider this to be an all-inclsive list. If you know another belt grinder makers in Europe do let me know and I will be glad to add them.
Please note I do not have experience with any of these so I can not give any recommendations or technical advice.
In no particular order:
- Wolf Borger - Wolfmaster (DE)
- Uwe Dosert - Model 2-SF (DE)
- Messerwerkstadt Steigerwald (DE)
- Dowland Engineering Services (UK) - they have a 'full blown' 2x72 and also a simpler and cheaper 2x42" model
- LD Grinder (IT)
- Titangrinder (IT) - they have a few demonstration videos on YouTube
- HAIM grinders (CZ - the webpage does not have an EN version unfortunately) These are very highly regarded among users.
- Claryx Belt Grinder (BG), they also have some videos on YouTube.
- Kamil Wisniewski (UK) - he is a guy who makes grinders as hobby. You can check out his grinders on BritishBlades.com here (the forum is gone unfortunately)
UPDATE 01/2018: I have ordered a grinder from Kamil back in 2016 and got the final parts delivered only in 12/2017. The grinder has a lot of issues. I will be posting a detailed article in the course of 2018, but as of now I can not recommend this maker.
- Konstantin Stefanov (BG) - you can see his grinder on bladecomunity.de here
Belts for belt grinders:
There is a simple rule. For grinding steel get the best belts you can get. At this moment I only need 1x30" belts. Selection for large belts (2x42" and 2x72") is larger, but there are still rather few places to buy belts. Now - what does 'best belts' mean. Well - that is a matter of taste, but the following belts have got very positive feedback. I may write a short article on belts later, but as of now my own experience is too limited.
- Norton Blaze R980P (orange ceramic belts)
- 3M Cubitron II (ceramic belts)
- Sait 7S (ceramic belts)
- 3M Triazact "gator" and "non-gator" belts. Gator is a nickname that is used a lot. These belts use different grit convetions (grain size in micrometers), a conversion table is here
So - where can you buy some of these (or other belts):
- schleifmitte-ab-werk (DE) They offer practically unlimited size selection.
- Der Kleine Messerladen (DE)
- BND Abrasives (UK)
- John from BritishBlades.com (user alias 'johnt1102' - send him a PM via the forum, I am not going to share his email here for SPAM reasons). He has a lot of experience with abrasives. I did order belts from him (Sait 7S and 3M Trizact) and will probably order again in the future.
- Carls.nu (DK) - I have recently ordered a bach of 2x72" belts from them after I got a recommendation from Robin Dalman, but I have not used the belts yet.
- Tru-Grit (US) ok, these guys are not in EU, but were one of the few places that had Norton Blaze and 3M Gator belts for 1x30" grinders + the shipping cost was reasonable
- Truhlarime (CZ) have both 3M Cubitron, Trizact as well as Norton Blaze and Scotchbrite belts.
I have to admit that I have also ordered belts from US as the 3M Cubitron II belts are not available in 1x30" size and I did not manage to find Norton Blaze R980P belts in EU.
Heat treatment in Germany
Since I am located in Germany I needed to find places that offer heat treatment services. I have found the following:
- Achim Wirtz (HT for carbon steels, also sells steels and is expert on the topic).
- Juergen Schanz (HT for stainless steels, also sells knifemaking supplies)
Heat treating kilns in Europe
I have finally found some HT kilns in Europe:
- Titangrinder and looks like it would be suitable for knifemaking. They have 2 sizes.
- Art4Fun (SW)imports Evenheat kilns from US, but I was told that the price is very high (about 2000€+ for a relevant size)
- Uterm (SW) builts HT kilns to order
- Prederi Vittorio (IT), I was told by another knifemaker who did ask for some more details, their kiln in relevant size would cost around 1600€