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What Is A Belt Grinder Used For?

Belt grinders are fantastic multipurpose tools, with the necessary power and versatility to carry out a number of functions. Perhaps one of the most common uses for a belt grinder is in knife making, but it does not end there. Belt grinders can remove material, so they can be used for anything that requires polishing, grinding or utilizing an abrasive surface.

Belt grinders come in a variety of different sizes and length, so it is a really diverse tool that can be applied to a number of different tasks.

what is a belt grinder used for


Using a belt grinder for knife making

Every knife is different and techniques vary dependent on the use for the knife, but this is a very rough guide to making a knife using a belt grinder.

The process usually starts with a piece of stock sheet metal, or a forged coarse blade shape.

A lot of knives are made in a forge as it's a cleaner process, producing less dust and not harsh on your lungs or eyes. However, other knife makers use a process called stock removal which is essentially removing material from a block of steel until the knife shape is formed. To do this, you'll need to trace the shape of your knife on sheet metal using a sharpie or similar or use a CAD program to create something a little more technical.

Once the design is complete and you are happy with it, you can start grinding. Many metalworking experts like to use an angle grinder before using the belt grinder, but the belt grinder can be used for the entire process.

If using a belt grinder instead of an angle grinder from the start, you will need to have a solid bench to work on. Most belt grinders have a built in work rest that you can use to rest the blade on. The process of sculpting the knife blade is to keep the metal pressed firmly down with pressure to the rest, while sanding along the belt to remove the desired material.

Once you have the shape of the blade, you’ll need to grind the blade edge, with which you can also use the belt grinder. You’ll need a coarse grit sand on your belt (somewhere between P36 and P150).

using a belt grinder


Using a belt grinder for deburring

Metal burrs commonly occur on workpiece surfaces. A belt grinder is the perfect machine for sanding these away easily. You can also use belt grinding for rounding metal materials and edge breaking.


Using a belt grinder for surface finishing

As mentioned previously, belt grinders are most commonly used to sand surfaces smooth. Belt grinding can be used to remove tiny burrs, cleaning, shaping and polishing material, and remove edges and mill marks.


Using a belt grinder for polishing

The fast moving belt and the power of the belt grinder machines are perfect for polishing metalwork to give it a fine, smooth final finish. Different grits can achieve different finishes, so this is a really great tool for getting an accurate polished finish.


Using a belt grinder for sanding

Of course, not all items need to be polished but can be sanded to ensure that they have a smooth finish. A belt grinder, used carefully, is a great tool for sanding to a smooth finish. Care needs to be taken in order to not remove too much material, as belt grinders can be powerful. But with careful use, they make the ideal tool for sanding.

a belt grinder being used


What other things can a belt grinder be used for?

A belt grinder is not just suitable for knife making and various heavy duty objects. It can also be used for many purposes in a variety of industrial and domestic settings. If your belt grinder has several different attachments, there's even more possibilities. Here are a few examples of what else can be achieved using a belt grinder:

  1. Watchmakers often use belt grinders for high brand watches. The belt grinder is a common tool to be found in a watchmakers workshop.
  2. Renovation and restoration. Many antique metal objects require serious renovation to restore former glories. The belt grinder can achieve this and so can also be found in restoration workshops.
  3. A farrier or hoof trimmer can use a belt grinder to help with the processes involved in that industry.
  4. A goldsmith or jewellery manufacturer can use a belt grinder for forming or polishing
  5. A belt grinder is a great instrument for sharpening garden tools, scissors or other practical household tools.
  6. A belt grinder can be used extensively to grind or polish musical instruments.
  7. Medical instruments or scale makers often have a belt grinder in their workshop or manufacturing center.
  8. Cabinet makers find a belt grinder useful when combining metal with wood in order to shape the items to fit.
  9. Door fittings can also be sculpted and shaped using a belt grinder.



The belt grinder is used for a multitude of purposes and there are many different types on the market. At Soul Ceramics, we have a range of belt and disk grinders, perfect for almost any metalworking or wood craft. We can advise you on the best machine for your needs, including things like speed, finish required and the belts, motor size and power you will need.

As you can see, the belt grinder is used in so many different industries and for so many different practices, that it's the perfect multitool to have in any workshop.