How To Buff how do I shine and finish my over all knife
Posted 08 March 2012 - 02:15 PM
this is Jonathan and I was wanting to know how to take grinder marks out of my blades and also how to finish my handles. I have tried everything from water seal to polyurithane to epoxy and have not come-up with a satisfying smooth finish.
For the blades I have tried going from rough to fine grits but have not had much success there either.
Any help would be great.
Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:26 PM
The grinder marks can be taken out by going from the coarse grits to the finer grits. The dreaded 2" mark is a constant reminder to be very careful when bringing the blade in contact with the belt. The finer grit belts do not last very long and can cause the blade to heat up quickly, which can ruin the heat treat on the blade. I go to 320 grit on the belt and the 320 start on the hand sanding to what ever grit finish I want to acheive.
On the handles. Depends on handle material. Open pored woods need to be stabilized or some sort of filler that will harden to seal the pores. I use almost all stabilized wood for my handles and have no problems except where there is a void. This void can be filled with super glue if not too extreme. Hand sand to a 400 grit and the buff the handle. I usually have to do this twice as the buffing will reveal sanding marks that I missed.
IF you buff any handle material that has pores or cracks, the buffing compound will fill it and the you have to use some type of solvent to clean the handles. Check it for the pores and cracks before buffing.
IF, you still want to use the wood with pores, it is a hand sand down to about 1500 grit. Lots of elbow grease but a nice finish. Then you can use a good wax to seal the handles.
There are probably several ways to go about getting the knife to an acceptable finish and this is what I do for wood. For other handle materials, just check it for the mentioned cracks and voids before trying to buff.
I hope this has helped and if you need an answer to something I can help you with, call my cell, 918-207-8076. Not sure I may know the answer but will try.
Posted 08 March 2012 - 06:19 PM
So far the only woods that I have at my disposal are black walnut, zebra wood, and Colorado hardwood. These (as you might know) all have pores witch need to be filled. You mentioned super glue but would epoxy also work for filling these pores. I also would like to ask if you have had much success in cutting down your own wood. We have allot of fruit trees in our yard and I have been chopping some of it up for using for knife handles. I would also like know if there are any burlwood suppliers in the Hot Springs area that I could afford.
Again thank you very much for your information I will try that out.
Posted 08 March 2012 - 07:25 PM
For taking grinder marks out of a blade, let me quote a friend of mine - Karl Andersen. "You can not sand out a scratch, you have to take the rest of the blade surface down to the depth of the scratch". So the key is to be very even with your movement and pressure to have all the scratches even and at the same depth before moving on to a finer grit. This takes time and patients, but will come.
Also look at your blades and keep track to see if the same problems happen over and over in the same place. If so, watch what you are doing when grinding those areas and see if you can find what is causing you trouble.
For handles, I would encourage you to try having some of your wood stabilized. This process forces resins completely through the wood making it stronger and less apt to moving in different temperatures and humidity. Tru Oil gunstock finish is a good finish that you may want to try. If you want to get a really smooth finish and seal the pores, here is an old gunstock finishing method.
Start with the wood nearly finished. Wet the wood with TruOil or Tung Oil and sand the wood with 600 grit sandpaper keeping the wood wet with the oil. As you sand, you will create a slurry taht you will force into the pores. It will look like heck, but it is OK, set aside and let it dry. Repeat the steps again with progressively finer grits. Rub out the dried slurry with 0000 steel wool when it has dried and apply more coats of finish if desired. I suggest trying on a scrap piece of wood to see if you like the results.
Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:21 PM
I send all all my handle material (wood) to K&G Finishing in Lakeside, AZ. They do a great job. Just make sure that the wood is completely dry before shipping.
Brian has some very good suggestions for wood that you want to use without a lot of expense. I have used the Truoil and it is good stuff. Just takes a while and a lot of hand work. I really try to eliminate as much hand work as I can, not as strong as I used to be.
Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:47 PM
That information really helped (don't know what I would do without you guys) . Just one thing, what is kilm drying and what does K&G finishing do ( does it trim down and make slabs out of random tree limbs you send in)and do you know of a good you tube video that shows the kilm drying process. Once again thanks for your information. I kind of feel like I have been re inventing the wheel all alone (so to speak ) and now you are pretty much saying 'Hey kid, here's the wheel' so I am so thankful for all your help and am looking forward to meeting and getting to know y'all.
Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:52 PM
Guys, Jonathan is the young man I have posted about previously. He is 13 years old and very eager to learn bladesmithing. We're going to try to get him to the Piney Woods Hammer-In in April.
Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:06 PM
I usually use ironwood, which is a very dense, oily wood, and pretty stable. One big drawback to it is the cost. I also like stabilized woods. The main reasons I use these are, stability and looks. By stability I mean that the wood is much less likely to move when it is on the knife. Like when you go form a humid area to a dry one. Secondly I like the way they look.
K&G Finishing supplies has knifemaking supplies and does stabilizing of handle material. You have to send them handle sized blocks or scales I believe. Although I am not sure what size pieces they can handle.
For my wood finishing I normally take my finish to a 1200 grit hand sanded finish, then use
#0000 steel wool or white scotchbrite pads. My next step is a polishing paper that I get from a jewelry supply house ( Rio Grande). Then I usually use paste wax and buff with a soft clean cloth. Every one had different methods, you just have to find what works for you. And black walnut makes a very good knife handle, but you do have to watch out for those black stains all over your hands when you sand it.
Again if you need any help, just ask and we will try our best.
Anvil Top Custom Knives
Posted 09 March 2012 - 08:37 AM
My 2 cents about handfinishing...
First,It's important to have a couple of different types oflighting at
the bench where you'll do your hand sanding. One of them should be hologen
because that type will show scratches from the previous grit better than
other types. The second type may be either florescent,or incandescent.
I grind through 120 X and try to be certain that all coarser scratches are
gone,and that the edge is of uniform thickness, and the blade's straight.
For hand sanding,position the blade at a convenient height and angle so that
you can apply pressure. the full length of the blade should be supported. For
safety, the tip should not be protruding where you can be injured by it.
The first sanding block I use is a plunge block...a block of micarta with the long
edges rounded the same as the radius that the plunge cuts are to be. A sheet of 120X
sandpaper is drawn tight over the block and held by a yoke. each side of the blade is
worked on the block to insure that the plunge cuts mirror each other.
The next step is with a hand held micarta block about 9-10 inches long, and 1 X 1 3/4"
wide. The edges are slightly rounded to match the plunge cuts.
With a strip of 120 X paper wrapped around the block start sanding from plunge to
tip. Push the sanding block one direction forcefully, then draw it back lightly.
Never scrub,as this can cause abrasive to loosen from the paper and roll under the block
causing deep gouging....Also the change in direction can cause the trailing edge do dig
in as it becomed the lead edge...another source of blade ripples.
120X may be the most critical,as it lays the foundation for each step that
I use WD 40 as a cutting fluid through all hand sanding steps. Other fluids work also.
Once the 120X step is complete, I go to 320X. All thepapers I use are Rynowet. Their
320X is aggresive enough that 120X to 320X isn;t as much of a jump as it may seem.
To be most cartain of getting each step is done well, check by turning the blade so that
light and dark are visible in reflection, the line where they come together will show
any scratches that still need to be addressed.
Each grit of paper should be used in a different direction than the previous one, A change
of 20 or so degrees will be enough. Don't go across the blade any more than absolutely
For 320 and finer grits a 1" wide sanding bar will do the job faster and shouldn't cause unevenness
if your technique is consistant.
If my final grit is say 1500, I use that same grit with a leather covered block, then a rubber block
and the same grit...and a light touch. Sometimes spend an extra 20-30 minutes on this step, on
I hope this is of some use...I'll check back later..
Posted 09 March 2012 - 12:02 PM
I will have to try that.
as a mater of fact I am working on 2 videos. The first will just be me going around showing my shop and forge, so people will know what conditions I am working in and what types of tools I have.
The second will be not really a video but rather a set of photos showing the complete process of me making a knife and the steps I use.
The first will hopefully putt a better understanding between us. for example you could say specifics like 'use your belt sander for this and you grinder for this'.
The second one I hope will do the same only for example it would be more like 'try doing this step before this and that before that' (if you get what I am saying). I will also let you see a more updated and detailed view of my forging.
Once again thanks for all the advice everyone.
P.s. Mom says using "y'all" makes me sound like a "Ark'y" (Arkansas hillbilly) so unless it is otherwise obvious you and your means everyone who has posted.
Posted 09 March 2012 - 12:31 PM
Anvil Top Custom Knives
Posted 09 March 2012 - 06:03 PM