Mike Alexander's Belt Grinder

Belt grinders are one of the most fundamental tools used in the construction of custom knives whether the knife is made by stock removal or formed by forging. A professional level tool must use a large sized standard belt available in a wide variety of grits and grades. The 2 x 72" belt is the choice of real professionals as the range of belts available is simply extraordinary. Fine grinders must run smoothly, be easy to change around, and the belt must track very, very well. Good commercial grinders are anything but cheap! The start at about $1,000 ... unless you want a variable speed motor in which case they start at about $1600. When facing the problem of acquiring a good grinder at their very high cost, Mike decided to build his own ... and developed a genuinely winning design. It is presented in the linked page.

PLEASE NOTE: Powerful belt grinders are DANGEROUS pieces of shop equipment. They must be used will all due care and caution. As we CANNOT control the manufacture or use of this design, you're on your own and we CANNOT accept ANY liability whatever!

Salt Pots

Many mechanisms have been used to heat treat steels. Experienced low budget craftsman have been able to deliver consistent, high quality heat treating that is better than "store bought." However, this really is a high art and virtually cannot achieve the certain alloy compositions (Bainite) with consistency. Salt pots are a time honored way control the temperature, exposure to the atmosphere, and hold times required for highly consistent heat treating ... and heat treating IS the soul of a good knife. Here is a design for a rather robust salt pot installation. They're not expensive to build (with a little help from e-Bay on the controllers), and are very effective.

PLEASE NOTE: Molten salts (from 350F to 2100F) are amazingly vile and dangerous materials. The introduction of water into a hot pot results in instantaneous vaporization and a resulting steam explosion that projects molten salt where ever it wants to go! Molten salt does TERRIBLE damage to people. Overheating of low temperature salts can cause oxidixer explosions! Salt pots must be used will all due care and caution. As we CANNOT control the manufacture or use of this design, you're on your own and we CANNOT accept ANY liability whatever!

Mike Alexander's Edge Scribe

In setting up to grind a blade from a piece of steel, it is VERY helpful to mark the center of the billet's edge before beginning. Lots of approaches to edge scribers ... it is possible to use a Starrett height gauge if you have one available, but they are expensive. Mike Alexander devised this simple design that works beautifully. This one is a winner.

Mike Starling's Knife Vise

As a knife gets closer to being done, it gets more and more difficult to hold so that it can be worked on effectively. Here is a knife vise that is inexpensive and remarkably flexible. Can be made out of left overs, other cheap stuff, and offers two degrees of rotational freedom.