I am looking for information on custom grinding shaper knives. I gather that corrugated back steel is not suitable for freehand grinding and I'm not quite ready to step up and buy a Weinig profile grinder.
We are running a 3 HP Delta HD shaper with 1/2" and 3/4" spindles and an old Beach 5 HP with a 1" spindle.
I'm aware that you can have custom profile knives ground, but I would like to develop the in-house capability for short runs of odd-shaped stuff. Whether or not this will make financial sense remains to be seen.
It is very difficult to hand-grind corrugated backed knives (as you mentioned). One of the main reasons is that you will not be able to adjust the projection (the knives must fit the corrugations on the head).
I use lock edge shaper collars with beveled steel knives. These can be adjusted to the projection needed. In the old days, we used smooth beveled steel knives, which were a safety problem if not set up properly (the knife could fly out of the collar).
This is not a problem with the lock edge "system." Unfortunately, I believe that there is only one company still making/marketing lock edge collars (Schmidt).
I thought about trying to grind, but I figured with the time I would spend making the knives, I could get more work done and just buy the knife made professionally. A $35 template fee and $20/inch/knife didn't sound that bad to me.