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Grinding Battle Rat from 6mm down to 4mm Pig Sticker. What does it take?

Discussion in 'Swamp Rat Knives' started by alaus, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. alaus


    Nov 11, 2007
    Has anyone here ground SR101 steel and what does it take? I have no experience in knife grinding, but I'd like to take some serious fat off my Battle Rat, grind the blade down to 4mm, straighten the belly, make it pointier and turn it into a quick, light Pig Sticker/Fighter. Any suggestions, warnings? I'm thinking slow speed belt grinder, coarse belt...how many belts I'm looking at?
  2. SpyderPhreak

    SpyderPhreak Rocketman for hire Platinum Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    Unless you're really experienced, I would recommend sending it off to a pro for this kind of work.

    It really needs to be done on a cooled belt (yes, likely ceramic), or with a flood-cooled surface grinder for best results and to prevent damage to the heat treatment. Also, keep in mind that the Battle Rat was differentially hardened, which will make it more difficult to grind down properly.

    It would likely be cheaper and easier to find one of the flat-ground Battle Rats instead. Satin Battle Rat (there was one for sale on the exchange not long ago) or Battle Guard.

  3. elof_alv

    elof_alv Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 13, 2009
    It takes guts!
  4. Hard Knocks

    Hard Knocks Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 1, 2012
    I'd definitely stick with ceramic for the heavy work. I tackled three smaller 'Rats with A/O belts, but that blade of yours is a much bigger chunk of steel.
  5. ragnerok


    Oct 25, 2008
    Have been grinding on both Infi and Sr-101, they are wery tough both of them! Taking down a blade from 6 to 4 mm takes a LOT of time and belts....would recommand a pro on this job. SR custom shop does excellent work.
  6. Maggot Brain

    Maggot Brain

    Jun 11, 2012
    Perfect opportunity to learn how to grind, being that you care about not ruining the knife you will not pick up any bad habits. Use the coarsest belt you can find 24-36 grit, this will keep heat minimum. Use very little pressure, let the belts do the cutting… do not force it and certainly avoid any kind of sparks, do not dip hot blade in water or let blade become hot. In fact, you can use a bucket of ice water to cool the blade before grinding to allow for a bit more grinding before having to stop before knife gets hot… let the knife cool at room temp before repeating process. Do not grind at the very edge, thin cross section will heat up very quickly and possibly damage temper.
  7. alaus


    Nov 11, 2007
    Thanks for the advice.
  8. alaus


    Nov 11, 2007
    How about taking off most of the steel with a bench grinder and then straighten out with a belt? I'm thinking saving money on belts.
  9. SpyderPhreak

    SpyderPhreak Rocketman for hire Platinum Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    While some of what he says may be true, be careful listening to advice from this guy ^^^. I don't think I've seen anyone else mangle more Busse blades than him, save for maybe one other guy. :rolleyes:

    Bad, bad idea! A bench grinder will not do an even job, and will heat the blade up extraordinarily quickly.

    Based on your questions, I do not get the impression that you have a lot of experience. For that reason, I stand by my original advice that you send it to a professional.
  10. alaus


    Nov 11, 2007
    Yes, I'm new to grinding, but I'm not giving up on the idea yet.

    I need a setup that allows me to modify more blades in the future cost effective. Most hunting knives on the market come with overly thick blades for my liking.

    I was able to thin the lower half of the blade of my Son Of Dogfather with a Chosera 400 grit benchstone CONSIDERABILY (took me 8 hours roughly and needed to use a lot of pressure).

    During that time I also tried a Tormek, but it was TOO SLOW and the Tormek stones too expensive to replace, so I sold it again. Useless for me.

    Belt grinders are very expensive in Australia (so are the belts) so my idea is to use a half speed bench grinder with a very coarse and cool running wheel like the Norton 3X or even a CBN wheel on one side. With that I would remove the stock roughly. On the other side of the grinder I would mount a belt grinding attachment to finish off the blade.

    Is it an illusion? Or doable?
  11. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 29, 2010
    I don't think a wheel is what you want to go with if you want it to come out even and without screwing the HT, maybe a linisher with a fine belt. Sticking knives are quite specialised and I think there are better options to get that than grinding a BR, though the ResC grip is a big plus.
  12. SpyderPhreak

    SpyderPhreak Rocketman for hire Platinum Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    It might be doable, but at pretty high risk of messing up either the grind or the HT. You'd be doing something pretty unique, with likely some kind of completely custom setup, and few people will be qualified to give you good advice. You'd be best served to take your question over to the shop talk forum and ask there.

    However, I suspect you'll get the same advice as you have here. I personally think a grinding wheel is a terrible idea, especially if you're doing the stock removal by hand. It's just asking for an accident. Good luck!

    BTW, here's a couple pics of what I still think you might want to consider instead, the Battle Guard:



    Basically a full-flat ground Battle Rat with a guard. Perfect pig sticker IMO! (Especially with my re-worked tip.)


    Let us know how it goes. If you're really serious about wanting only 4mm thickness, you might almost want to consider some kitchen knives at that point.

    PS - The Battle Guard feels VERY light and fast in-hand (yes, that's mine in the pics). The flat grind and guard serve to pull the balance point much further aft than the Battle Rat, and it still weighs a bit less than a BR. The flat-ground Satin Battle Rat (SBR) is 1.5oz lighter than the BR at 15oz versus 16.5oz. I wouldn't call any of them heavy knives for their size.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  13. elof_alv

    elof_alv Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 13, 2009
    Left you visitor message mate.
  14. cut it out

    cut it out Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    I would sell it or trade for a Basic 10le. That would be a close alternative to what your trying to get I think. The 10 is very light and fast
  15. Uncle Timbo

    Uncle Timbo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    If your heart is really set on this, why not practice messing up some cheap, crap blades before you turn loose on a good blade? I know the steel will react differently, but if you still want to pursue after downsizing 2 other blades, then you might just have to go whole hog.
    Something I don't recommend either. Dad always said to give the dough to the baker.....
  16. skyhorse

    skyhorse Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    On a scale of 1 thru 10 of bad ideas this is an 11.
  17. elof_alv

    elof_alv Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 13, 2009
    and then some...
  18. Uncle Timbo

    Uncle Timbo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    I suppose after this venture, you'll take a Ratweiler and grind her down to a Ratmandu?
  19. Maggot Brain

    Maggot Brain

    Jun 11, 2012
    You could try a Sigma Power 120 waterstone, would be much faster compared to the stone you used… it has a pretty strong bond for a waterstone. I use this stone personally to regrind my blades, as like you said they all come to thick to be useful from pretty much any production knives (excepting Spyderco)… though I do tend to limit myself to doing shorter blades than the Battle Rat so the job doesn't become to unreasonable.

    If you feel confident that you can use the grinding wheel safely, go for it… just use light pressure as always when power grinding… make sure the wheel grit is sharp and coarse. Pretty much as easy applying pressure with your fingers to the spot on the blade you want to remove metal, it's not like we are talking about rocket science here… people have been making knives for millennia with much less. That being said a grinding wheel will have more of a learning curve than a belt grinder, especially the smaller the wheel gets.

    It's actually a great idea to use a knife you care about to practice grinding, as it reinforces pretty heavily to your brain that you want to go about it carefully as to not pick up any bad grinding habits that will stick with you like if you decided to practice on $5 machetes all day… that would be a terrible idea, IMO of course. Don't hit thin cross sections with the grinder, pause to let the blade cool and refresh your focus… you'll be just fine… if you just keep envisioning your endpoint goal your brain will fill in the blanks and get you from A to B.
  20. tinfoil hat timmy

    tinfoil hat timmy Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2014
    I'm more than likely that 'one other guy' who's 'mangled' a number of Busses, but "One man's mangled Busse is another man's treasure" as it were.

    Its never fun to buy a blade that I think will be 'IT' but turns out will be used less because it's not 'IT' for a small reason or another. This is very anticlimactic.

    Good for you for taking on such a project! It takes guts. You will come to the end of it knowing that you have learned something, and put a bit of yourself into your blade. This is a special thing. To me, it's no different than taking on the task of sharpening. Sure, you COULD send it off to a pro, but what will you learn from doing so? The pro will have started his or her journey right where you are now no doubt. There's something cool about someone saying 'Man that's SHARP. Who did that for you?' and answering with 'me' 'i did'. The exact same coolness applies to modifications. Don't be afraid to make it yours because of what someone else may or may not think.

    First and foremost, for the sake of your sanity, practice on a few blades that you care less about first. It will only get easier the more that you do so. No matter how much you care for a blade, mistakes happen. The more that you practice, the more techniques you can determine are or are not what you'd like to use, and the fewer mistakes you will end up making. True story. ;)

    There's some GREAT advise and info for you in this thread. In the end however, it is YOUR BLADE AND YOU WILL HAVE YOUR NAME ON THE FINAL PRODUCT.

    Blah blah blah. :D

    Use this:


    Tape it to a flat surface and give her hell.

    And don't forget the work in progress pictures!

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017

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