Knife Material Matters: An Abrasive Discussion

abrasive belt

Humidity 💧 and bad storage 📦 are the fastest ways to RUIN YOUR ABRASIVE BELTS. Let’s talk about how you can free up space and get more life out of those expensive belts.

Thanks 👉 @balticblades for the 2nd pic! 🙏

❗ The most important factor in belt life is HUMIDITY.

In a perfect world, your belts would be stored at 60-80°F (15-26°C) with 45% humidity.

Heating & Forging

Heating your workspace with a PROPANE heater will greatly increase humidity levels.

Burning a pound
of propane gas
introduces up to
a pound of moisture
into the air!

For those of you FORGING near your belts, it’s the same deal!

IT’S THE BACKING

Organic backing (paper, cloth, and fiber) used on grinding belts will change shape faster than the bonded abrasive grits.

These changes can lead to dry, brittle backing and weakened belt joints.

👉 Belts should be stored near your grinder up off the floor, and allowed to adjust to the room’s humidity levels for 24h before use.

Photo from @balticblades

Unpacking

👉 Only unpack and hang up belts that you will use in a reasonable amount of time. ⏱️

Other belts can be stored in a more stable environment until needed.

🚨 Especially if your GARAGE
is your workshop!
Humidity levels
in your garage
can increase
by up to 80%
during rainy weather.

Storage

Hooks for hanging belts should be about 4” (10cm) in DIAMETER and perpendicular to the floor.
They should have a LENGTH of 5” (12cm) so you can fit two rows of belts on each hook.

Used belts go in the front and
new belts in the back.

Also, belts should be hung by grit size to avoid contaminating your higher grit belts. Store finishing belts like cork or scotch bright separately.

How I Store My Belts

For my personal belt storage, I use 110mm plastic drainpipes screwed to the wall, one for each grit.

If there is no room
on the rack for a belt,
I discard it.

This way I don’t have a bunch of old worn-out belts hanging all over my shop.

Once a belt gets used up it makes grinding clean lines impossible.
If your grinding starts to get wacky consider changing your belt

Thanks for reading!


Read Keith’s previous post: Packaging Shipping Do’s & Dont’s
This post is part of the Knife Material Matters column by Keith from knifematerial.at.

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