View Full Version : Soft finishes

05-01-2007, 10:27 AM
Steve (and anyone else),

I?ve watched your video several times and have picked up a lot from it but I have a question for you on the finishes.

My normal process is to shape on a band saw, profile & taper the tang on a 12? disc and than smooth every flat surface to about 320 ? 400 before flat grinding the bevels. At least for me it gives better grind lines and I don?t have to worry about messing them up going back and sanding the ricasso area. I than work with various grit belts from 60 on my hogging to Gator belts through typically 400.

I than switch over to die maker?s stones to remove the vertical scratches, normally starting at 200 grit and working to 400 ? 900 depending on the knife. I than have to do some light passes with sand paper to get a smooth soft finish.

I wanted you to see what I normally do for finishes for my question. It isn?t to bad compared to what I?ve seen others use and the stones are great for finishing fairly quickly. I can sand through a grit in about ? the time I would use on sandpaper and they last a lot longer. I go through all this and than after seeing your video I noticed you don?t hand sand at all!! I tried following how you went through it but I seem to not be able to get the smoothness you get in your knives. Hell, I can?t even get it to be like what I do above. What am I missing here? Is it because I flat grind?


Ice Tigre
05-01-2007, 11:24 AM
Well, I'll tell you, the stones are the best idea I've heard! Seems to me that they would be easier to use, especialy if they are good and flat(have had a hard time keeping sandpaper perfectly flat on a sanding block) I've started doing some finer~450 grit finishes, been going througn a lot of sand paper (and the wd40, it helps but it takes a lot...).

Any recamendations on a source for them?

Intetrsted in hearing what Steve has to say too..


05-01-2007, 12:06 PM
I learned about them from Tim Herman. They really only work well for flat grinds but they really hold their own on CPM steels and they can't tell the difference between annealed or hardened steel. Where hardened S30V steel goes through paper like water the stones allow you to work it fairly easily. Granted I have always done all my finish work before heat treat. I find it is easier to remove scratches before the steel gets harder. Funny that way that steel is easier to sand when soft:banplease .

I got mine from Gesswein. They do have issues about keeping the face flat. I get mine fairly thin so I just flip them over and by they time they ware on both sides there isn't much left. The ones that are out of true are still useful for spot sanding & touchup work.

Check out this thread:

Some really good info there.


05-01-2007, 02:50 PM
All I can say is thanks for teh stone tip. Sounds like a great way to work hard and soft blades. Flat of course.

I don't know about the polishing. Perhaps you're not using a smooth, 50-60 durometer wheel but using a serrated one for polishing?
Sorry, I'm wondering myself what the problem might be, if not with the wheel, and cork belts. Cork helps a lot in smoothing and blending, and even keeping grind lines sharp.

05-01-2007, 03:10 PM
My platen is the ceramic glass that is fairly common. I don't own a wheel yet which is why I stick with flat grinds;) I haven't gotten around to grinding hollows yet.

I haven't had much luck using the cork belts but I just got a couple in with an order of green rouge so I'll see if that is the issue.


05-01-2007, 05:13 PM
Gee, I'm not sure you'll get a lot of luck on a platen with cork, but it might work just fine. Doubt you'll get a really flat surface on the platen, however. Break them in correctly.

Have you tried using a disk after the platen? That's what I do, when every once-in-ten-year's I do a flat grind.......Buster use a disk on his perfect flat grinds. Clamp a "stop" on the ricasso, to help even up the end of the grind.

05-02-2007, 01:09 AM
Sounds like a wonderful idea! The stones should do a great job for flat surfaces. The is an ancient technique. think Japanese water stones here. Different stones, same technique. Like Steve, I very rarely flat grind. For Hollow grinding, I like a hard wheel for the inital grind, and then a softer wheel for blending, and finishing. I like to start with a 90 durometer, and finish with a 60 if possible. I do very little hand sanding. Even on the handles. For this, I use a technique called slack belting. Just works well for me. With this technique I am able to get a very nice high polish on just about any handle material. There are examples here of the finishes I get on both blades and handles. you can access under Featured Artist, or Mike Lovett. Thanks Mike and Manuela