1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

  2. Week 29 of the BladeForums.com Year of Giveaways is live! Enter to win a Ron Flaherty Folder

    Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Ron Flaherty folder , Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!
    Be sure to read the rules before entering, and help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread!

    Entries will close at 11:59PM Saturday, July 20 ; winners will be drawn on Sunday @ 5pm on our Youtube Channel: TheRealBladeForums. Bonus prizes will be given during the livestream!

    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

Recommendation? KMG MOAG or TW90

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by gruntinhusaybah, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. Michael.Drinkwine

    Michael.Drinkwine KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 17, 2015
    +1 for the TW-90. Another item the TW-90 brings to the table is the surface grinder add on. Not something to be discounted, especially if you are short on space for a dedicated surface grinder!
  2. Aidenag


    Apr 16, 2009
    As a Tw90 owner, whose used dozens of KMG grinders over the years at various shops, i wouldnt even consider a kmg if my budget was half of what you got to run with. They just arent that good, and quality has plummeted over the years. Meanwhile, everyone else making better and better grinders.

    Personal advice, if you got $5k+ just buy a TW90(or a northridge, yet to use one but hear great things) and then go take a look at https://claryxmetalworks.com/ grinders out of Bulgaria. Could get a Tw90, and kit it out with some of their accessories, OR even buy a 2nd grinder from em even. It's who im going with next since i already got the TW90.
    ryan9977, gruntinhusaybah and bjansen like this.
  3. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    Right now, if money were not a factor, I'd buy a TW-90 or a Northridge with all the bells and whistles. KMG just isn't the value or innovation that it used to be, and with the ever increasing reports of declining quality and customer service, it's difficult to even consider them, especially when there are literally dozens of other other options now days, many of which are the same or a better value.

    As for the Maximizer machine, I'd say it'd probably be great for a very specific production setup, but I'm not sure I see an overwhelming degree of practicality for your average knife maker. Not for that California price tag.
    gruntinhusaybah likes this.
  4. javand


    Oct 17, 2010
    Maximizer is a very interesting machine, but from my brief exposure with it, I wouldn't want one. Waay to much fiddle factor, lots of different fastener types to change tooling or make adjustments, belt changes are tedious as hell, etc. It's of course, subjective, but I've got a much simpler dedicated horizontal, and one of my major gripes, is the tedium of switching belts in this format, the Maximizer, is 20x more tedious.

    It's certainly an innovative machine, but I personally feel it could use some more refinement and should be "capable" of complex setups, but shouldn't try to do everything in the default setup mode, I do prefer simple modularity myself though.

    I'd personally be considering the Northridge, until the Wilmont redesign drops. The KMG setup has lots of expensive stuff you may never use, like a 14" contact wheel (I bought one, used it once or twice in years, finally sold it), and it's still limited by it's inelegant design with a single tooling arm slot, and a barebones toolrest that offers no adjust ability.

    Although if you already had tooling for a Bader, the TW-90 makes a lot of sense, and is a great machine. Starting from scratch, I highly recommend you join the 1.5" multiple inline tooling arm slot grinder tribe. You won't know how to utilize it for a while, but once you do, you won't want to live without it, especially when you have 3+ grinders sharing tooling, and keeping things setup for specific and complex ops.
  5. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009


    His sales must be hurting

    He is rebranding with a new name and a high price tag (>$=>Quality) without any changes or redesign.
    jll346 and Busto like this.
  6. bmilleker

    bmilleker Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 26, 2012
    KMG just showed their new grinder on Instagram. Axis neutral tracking, ratcheting tensioner, multiple tool slots..... a TW90 essentially. No prices released. Who knows about quality either.
  7. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
    from beaumontmetalworks.....shipping weight is roughly 200lbs. 2 boxes. The intro prices is $2800
  8. jll346

    jll346 Knife maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 29, 2006
    Having owned 2 KMG'S, a TW-90, Ameribrade, and now a PHEER 454...... IF money was no object. I would still buy the PHEER 454, 2 Tool rests from DD, surface grinder attachment from Oregon Blade, small wheel attachment from Ameribrade, and several sizes of contact wheels..... AND STILL HAVE CHANGE LEFT OVER FOR WHAT THE TW-90 COST!!! Sticking with the KMG/1.5" TOOL ARM platform gives you endless options for attachments and accessories.

    The most expensive grinder made will not make you a professional. However, Having a nice variety of accessories and tools will greatly help in the process.
    Ken H> and butcher_block like this.
  9. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    Interesting. Very curious to see more. Kind of surprised it took this long.
  10. jll346

    jll346 Knife maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 29, 2006
    Only took Rob 20 years to improve the kmg.
    Robert Erickson likes this.
  11. Augus7us


    Oct 9, 2014
    My next grinder would be a Northridge with all the bells and whistles. If not that I'd go with the TW-90. You can't lose either way.

    I own a KMG and would keep it and set it up for profile grinding or something like that. I don't think its a bad grinder but I do think it is dated. I bought it four years ago and maybe I got mine before issues started but I don't have the qc issues I've seen on here. Its got a 3hp motor and can be cranked up to full with no vibration or slipping. What I don't like is the lack of versatility in the work rest, it has zero adjustment. The tracking is not granular enough, that was the first thing I noticed for some reason when I played with the NRT. It had a real smooth but fine feel when turning the knob. I don't care for the tensioner on the KMG, I prefer the ratcheting system on the NRT. Some don't like direct drive, I'm fine with belts and as I become space conscious since I built a grinding room I like the option to mount the motor underneath the grinder.

    My experience is my KMG and over a month at my club using their grinders; Bader II, KMG, and two I'm forgetting. One is a burr king or something and the other was made by a knifemaker down south who is well known and I always forget his name. Someone will know, his grinder has a pneumatic cylinder for tension. Of all the grinders mentioned myself and the others all fought over the one with the pneumatic cylinder. I can't really tell you why I liked it, it did track very well. But really, it just felt right when using it. I wish we had a NRT or TW90 at the school, I've only played with the NRT at a demo.

    Just my opinion.

  12. Augus7us


    Oct 9, 2014
    I checked out the new KMG, it looks like an interesting and probably successful design considering he seems to have fixed all the major complaints everyone has had over the years. I think a lot of people have a bad taste in their mouth with Beaumont that some wont try it, but I think he still sells enough KMGs due to brand recognition this will probably carry over to the new grinder.

    In all honesty if it stands the test of time, it will probably join the ranks of the NRT and TW90. And truth be told there probably won't be a lot of difference between them. That said, my next grinder is still coming from NRT. I don't have the money for it now, but if there is a year long wait I may just put myself on the list.


  13. The new KMG looks real cool. I’d definitely be interested depending on the price.

    If I was to pick any grinder, it would be the Northridge with all the bells and whistles. I like the TW-90 too, but from what I can tell, the Northridge uses thicker steel plates on their grinder. It looks like the structure of the Northridge is made using 1/2” plate steel, and the TW-90 is made with 1/4” plate steel. I’m sure the TW-90 works great and the thinner plate works fine, but I like a more heavier duty built grinder.

    Right now I own a KMG with all the bells and whistles. I’d much rather have the Northridge. My KMG works fine though and I’ve used it to grind a bunch of knives over the years. There are things that can be done to improve/modify it, but IMO it’s best to get a grinder you can just plug and play with.

    One thing you might consider with your $5,000 budget. You’re going to need a LOT more stuff than just a grinder for making knives. Good abrasive belts are super expensive. So is good steel, like CPM stuff. You’ll likely need to make sheaths for your knives, so you’ll need either a kydex press or the tools to make leather sheaths. Will you be heat treating your knives in house or sending them out? If you will be doing them in house, you’re going to need a heat treating kiln/oven. You can get by with a forge if you’re just using 1084 high carbon steel, or similar simple steels. Either way you’ll probably want to get a forge to forge knives. Those are expensive. If you plan to build folders or hidden tang knives at all, a milling machine is VERY handy. So is a surface grinder. Do you have a drill press or bandsaw? You’ll need both of those. You’ll also likely need a bufffer too. The list goes on and on. What I’m getting at is, the grinder is just one part of the operation.
  14. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    The new KMG looks like it's going to be a good grinder, and at $2800 not all that bad - doesn't that include the motor, KBAC NEMA 4 drive, and platen?

    Just what does that knob shown on the left side of tension arm at tracking wheel do? I'd sure like to see more views, how does the tracking adjustment work?
  15. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    Looks like he's revised the "traditional" tracking assembly to be "axis neutral". I assume this means that instead of pivoting above the tracking wheel bearings (causing more of an arced movement), it pivots in line with the bearings/axle.

    I'm thinking that the $2800 would have to include the motor and drive. I'm curious if it comes with any other accessories like a small wheel holder, contact wheel, work table (which I'm also hoping he's revised), etc....

    If not, this thing could easily end up costing more than a TW-90, part for part. If he matches the TW-90 accessories for that price, he may have a real winner. Definitely looking forward to see what shakes loose...
    Ken H> likes this.
  16. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    12345678910 likes this.
  17. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    Yep, I think that's the idea - just like to see how they are adjusting the tracking assembly.
  18. mike-E


    Mar 2, 2013
    I think it's awesome that Rob chose to go with steel wheels and it appears to be a bolted, not welded frame. That chassis would be twice as easy to fab instead of using fasteners. Wonder if he'll also change to steel for the rotary platen wheels?
  19. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
    Like this . . . . . ;)

  20. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    Steel /Aluminum wheels are noisy & vibrate.. I had a KMG years ago and after using it as a small wheel machine only for about 3 years I sold it. Not interested in any more of his machines.

Share This Page