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Old 06-22-2010, 05:56 PM   #1
MaxTheKnife
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Default Foot treadle knife/tool sharpener project

Well, I've been working on a project for a few weeks now that I hope to finish very soon. Its the blending of an old foot treadle sewing machine base with an old sharpening stone like the ones used with a foot pedal setup. It has been a trial because none of the shaft sizes have been what I expected and everything has required lots of old fashioned elbow grease to get to where I am right now.

Anyway, I have a pic of the project where it stands right now and thought I'd go ahead and post it and update as I make progress. I had ordered a pair of 1" pillow block bearings for the shaft that I had hoped would slide right on and of course, it didn't happen like that. I will need to get that shaft turned down to an even 1" so that will take a few days. I worked the threaded end of the shaft down with a file and that took a good while. I needed that down to 3/4" for the pulley I had on hand to drive the shaft.

So here is the pic of what is gathered and done so far. I know, its almost painful to look at and wonder how its all going to come together. I wonder myself. But I have all the stuff I need to get it going and all that's left now is to get the shaft turned down. If you've ever done a project like yourself you will know how frustrating the discovery phase can be. I usually will cost a great deal more than you planned for in time and $$. This project is like that. I will make updates as they become available.

If you're wondering why I posted this thread I'll tell you why I started this project. I'm always trying to find ways to make money with little to no investment. This seemed like a good thing to do for a new business sharpening knives and garden or hand tools of all kinds. And it uses no electricity so can be set up anywhere. Makes sense in a way, don't it? That's my goal and that's the plan. There you go. Look below for a pic of what's happening right now. I sure do like to think it will work...
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:13 PM   #2
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Max, that is a very clever idea. I see treadle machine bottoms for sale on Craigslist all the time. The sharpening stone is another matter. That's a gem. I'm interested in seeing how easy it's going to be to turn that heavy wheel.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:23 PM   #3
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Well flourbug, I figure to give the stone wheel a pull with my hand and start pumping the footfeed. The stone wheel will give the momentum needed to keep the whole thing going. As long as I keep the pressure on the wheel down to a minimum with what I'm sharpening I should have no problem keeping it spinning. Of course, that's what it says here in fine print anyway...
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:27 PM   #4
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Yeahhhh... that fine print will get ya every time.

Are you going to cut a hole in the tabletop for the wheel or suspend it above?
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:33 PM   #5
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in mexico guys would go through the neighborhoods with portable knife sharpeners..somehow they were attached to their bicycles..they'd attach the stone to their bikes and turn the petals to spin it. They had a distinctive whistle and when they blew it the housewives who wanted to have their knives sharpend would go ut front of their houses and he would sharpen them.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:00 PM   #6
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The wheel was quite a find. We paid $15 for it at a garage sale. As you can imagine, we were tickled with the deal. It's been sitting around waiting for Max to become inspired

Love the pic lisa! We talked about doing something like that and may still incorporate something like it into the process....ya just never know...
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:13 PM   #7
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Yes flourbug, I'll cut a slot in the tabletop for the wheel to fit into. I will let the wheel hand out in front just enough that I can sharpen a knife with no interference from the front of the treadle base. It should be just about almost perfect.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
We paid $15 for it at a garage sale.
Oh, that was a sweet deal!

All I find at garage sales are dirty plastic baby toys and mismatched chipped dishes.

Max, keep the pictures coming.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:56 AM   #9
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Well, it turns out that I had to take the shaft with the grindstone on it to a machine shop to get both ends of the shaft turned down to a true 1". I don't know what it will cost in $$, but it shouldn't be too much (I hope). They can't get to it until the middle of next week so the project is on hold till then. I was hoping to get it done today so I could set up at the local farmers market and sharpen a few knives and see what kind of interest there is in that type of service. I'm hoping for the best and expecting the worst. That way I won't be dissapointed either way.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:15 PM   #10
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You'll probably have to have a regular presence for a few months until word spreads that people can bring their tools in to be sharpened. A new service like that takes a while to get off the ground.
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:18 PM   #11
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You could set up at SCA events too. I expect lots of people would like a proper edge on their daggers and swords.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:35 PM   #12
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In the late 1950's I remember an old man who would from time to time would come around on a bicycle-like vehicle ringing a bell, he had a front mounted grinding stone that was almost like another front wheel. He'd sharpen your knives for a quarter,

I remember that once when I heard him coming (the bells) I grabbed my Moms butcher's knife and ran outside for him to sharpen it so I could watch. 25 cents was alot of money at that time, My mom expressed her disappointment, and I never didn't again.
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Alanna View Post
You could set up at SCA events too. I expect lots of people would like a proper edge on their daggers and swords.
For that use a spring pole lathe but instead of lathe turning use it to turn the sharpening wheel.


http://www.manytracks.com/lathe/lathe.pdf


LOL, this thread is already #2 on Google when searching for treadle sharpening stone.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=treadle+sharpening+stone
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:25 PM   #14
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Max, Do you know if the wheel is Arkansas sandstone?

12 Knife Bikes
A bicycle makes for an excellent machine even when stationary, something that is shown nowhere better than in the home-brew design phenomenon of bicycles and knife sharpeners. This is a design typology that spans continents and traces back to 19th century pedal powered machines. Here are our favorite examples from around the world.


http://www.oobject.com/category/12-knife-bikes/

!



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Old 06-28-2010, 04:31 PM   #15
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I've looked the stone over pretty well and it seems to me that its some kind of cast masonry. It might not be, but thats what it appears like. Its about 80 grit, best I can figure. And very regular in appearance, with no detectable grain or figuring.
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:19 AM   #16
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That looks like a very cool project!
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:29 AM   #17
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Well, I've had a setback to my little project that will probably add another week or two before I can get everything up and running so I can start making some sharpening $$. The machine shop I left the shaft and stone with last Friday said they should be able to get it done by the middle of this week and I waited till this morning to call and check on it. Turns out they had some kind of manufacturing plant go down on them and my little piddly project was set aside till the smoke clears. I can sure understand that, but I don't understand why someone couldn't have taken a few minutes to call to let me know it might be another week or so before they could get to it. I don't like to pester folks and tend to treat them like I want to be treated, so I didn't call on Wednesday or Thursday to check on the progress. It's the story of my life I guess. So I can either go pick up the shaft and stone and try to get some other machine shop to do the work (on a Friday - big duh), or just wait on them to do their best. Big sigh...

Maybe I should have put this in the July gripe thread.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:00 AM   #18
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That is so cool, Max! My granddad, an old-school blacksmith, had one of those in his shop, iirc. I've very vague memories of it but I'm pretty sure it was a similar set-up.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:48 PM   #19
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Max got his shaft turned today!

He spent the afternoon putting it together and all that he lacks is the belt. He put a trial belt on it and it works like a charm.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:01 PM   #20
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Yes! After waiting only ten days my shaft has been turned!!! I cobbed together a temporary rope for the belt and sat there and worked the footfeed and got that wheel up to about 50 RPM or so. It was like magic!!! I feel like a new man with a freshly turned shaft and I'm 50 years old! I feel like a kid again! Beth helped with the rope belt, but it was the maiden voyage and the mend job we did had a cold spot in it and broke pretty quick. But it's a beginning and next time we'll get it right. This is going to work like a charm and I'm pumped! I guess it don't take much to make me happy but I like it like that.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:26 PM   #21
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Are you going to build a little tray so the bottom of the "rock" sits in water? (Of course you have to make sure the rotation is the right way or you get a lap full of water.)
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:02 AM   #22
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My plan is to keep a spray bottle of ballistol and water handy to occasionally spritz the surface of the stone as it rotates. The water will evaporate fairly quick and leave the oil on the stone. The water bowl that the stone rides in idea was a good one. But this stone will rotate at around 60 - 90 RPM (best guess), and it would probably spew water and make a mess. Besides, I'd have to drain the water off after every session of sharpening before I could load the sharpener into the truck. This is a mobile sharpener, after all. I'm trying to keep things simple to keep the frustration down. No need for extension chords or time hunting up an electric outlet is a big plus.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:14 AM   #23
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OK, when I was in COlonial Williamsburg I saw a few knife sharpeners. Almost all of them had a little water trough to keep the stone clean and the metal cool.

Of course the rocks rotated from the bottom to over the top and spun the water the opposite way. There was a shield on the back to direct the water back in the tray.

Here is an interesting picture. It also has a water tray it appears but it is mobile.

Might be cool if you were doing Civil War reenactment or "Old West".

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Old 07-07-2010, 09:15 AM   #24
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:16 AM   #25
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Super sized versions of the pictures here:

http://www.beverlymorganpark.net/

Look for "Tony the knife sharpener" toward the bottom. Click on the pictures and they will "super size" showing the detail.
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Last edited by Potemkin; 07-07-2010 at 09:28 AM.
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