Steve Shackleford Blog

The Ford of Knife Grinders?

Burr King 960-272

Knifemaker Lucas Burnley shows students how it’s done on a Burr King 960-272 belt grinder under the Burr King-sponsored tent during the 3rd Annual BLADE University at this year’s BLADE Show.

When it comes to the go-to machine for knifemakers, the Burr King 960-272 2×72 may be the Ford of knife grinders.

“The 960-272 has been in production for 40 years. It’s a knifemaker’s grinder. It started with Bob Loveless,” noted Burr King’s James Krier during the grinding classes conducted by Tom Krein and Lucas Burnley in the 3rd Annual BLADE University at the 2016 BLADE Show. “It’s kind of interesting to have a machine over 20 years old that you can still get parts for.” Add the fact that Burr King is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year and you have a source for parts that’s been here for the long haul. “The knifemaker doesn’t have to worry about the company who made it [Burr King in this instance] going out of business,” Krier added.

In sales and marketing for Burr King for 10 years now, Krier said a number of companies that make grinders have passed by the boards in recent years. Not so with Burr King.

“I was talking to a guy about how many grinding companies there had been in the past 20 years and he was saying there were about 25 he could think of that are just out of business, that were up for about two years and then were gone,” Krier said. “That’s why pros who do it for a living will buy something they can actually get parts for 20 years later. It’s gonna be there when they need it.”

The 960-272 is cast aluminum construction. “Every machine is going to be the same. It’s not like it’s a fabricated design or this machine is different from that machine,” Krier continued. “If someone buys a machine and they have one that’s 10 years old and buy another one today, the parts are interchangeable. It’s like having a Ford you can get parts for.” Like old Fords, it’s tough as nails, too. “That’s thing’s bulletproof and ready to go,” Krier assessed.

Burr King makes about 15 different belt grinders, including those for factory knife companies, but the 960-272 remains the bell cow of the lot.


Learn How to Grind Knives

Knifemaking guide to grinding blade edgesTheĀ BLADEĀ staff put together this guide to grinding knives as a way to help new knifemakers jump into these essential skills. Download it now and start reading right away.

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