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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 07-06-2016, 08:46 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Hanging on to that nice finish?

I've got some nice ScotchBrite finishes on blades that are fine. I actually use a SB wheel on a buffing motor. So the finish runs perpendicular to the blade, as opposed to longitudinally. I suppose a ScothBrite belt would do the same.
But I typically hand sand after about a 400-600 grit belt to get an even finer finish before the SB finish. I back my emery paper with a piece of flat steel, working it longitudinally. Taking this up to about 2000 grit makes a nice finish.

Here's the problem.

After attaching the handle scales, wiping epoxy, peening pins, sanding and shaping the handle, applying finish, wiping, sanding, polishing and the hundred assorted steps, I always end up with some very light scratch or other "cootie" around the ricasso area, in spite of covering the blade with blue painters tape. I've found it virtually impossible to remove these, trying to work longitudinally right up to the forward edge of the handle as you get the little swirls and "j" patterns when reversing the emery paper. Even starting against the handle and drawing in one direction leaves very light swirls and various obvious blemishes. And so, I end up with that ScotchBrite buffing wheel, because it CAN be run right up against the front of the handle scale. But the end result is reducing my nice hand finish to a light satin finish. Again, nothing wrong with that but I question how to maintain that nice hand sanded finish.

So, any tips? Am I too obsessive compulsive? Is it simply a need to be extra careful? Am I missing a "trick of the trade"?


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  #2  
Old 07-06-2016, 09:53 AM
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MVPeterson MVPeterson is offline
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I completely finish the the blade and ricasso area before putting on the guard, and/or scales.
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  #3  
Old 07-06-2016, 10:29 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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If I understand correctly, you have completely finished your blade, covered with blue tape, and then attached and finished your handle. During that last step you got some goobers on the ricasso area of your blade.

Finish the front end of your scales before you put them on the knife. Then, mount the scales, clean off excess glue, and wait for the glue to set. After the glue sets add more blue tape to cover the ricasso right up to the scales, then do the handle finishing.......


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  #4  
Old 07-07-2016, 01:54 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MVPeterson View Post
I completely finish the the blade and ricasso area before putting on the guard, and/or scales.
I completly finish the blade as well before putting on the handle scales. That't the problem. In finishing the scales I invariably end up with some small booboo on the nicely finished blade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Rogers View Post
If I understand correctly, you have completely finished your blade, covered with blue tape, and then attached and finished your handle. During that last step you got some goobers on the ricasso area of your blade.

Finish the front end of your scales before you put them on the knife. Then, mount the scales, clean off excess glue, and wait for the glue to set. After the glue sets add more blue tape to cover the ricasso right up to the scales, then do the handle finishing.......
I finish the front of the scales, sanding down to about 600 grit or so before mounting, glueing, and pinning the scales. However, it usually comes at the point of applying the oil finish to the handle wood. I've been having good luck with Boiled Linseed Oil followed by TruOil with 0000 steel wool sanding between coats. (Since TruOil contains BLO I've almost quit using BLO except as the first coat) I apply anywhere from 3 - 5 coats. That finish will seep under the edge of the tape covering the blade. I suppose I could apply oil to that front edge before of the scales before mounting the scales, or use a small brush to apply carefully not allowing any on the steel.
But following the final coat, I steel wool the TruOil finish to kill the gloss and then buff with a cloth.

Somewhere in all that, shaping the scales, steel wool, cleaning the blade, removing tape, etc. it seems I end up with some small mark(s) that need removing.

I suppose the "secret" if there is one is to be so careful as to not make a mark.
Further I guess it isn't an issue with synthetic scales, or a natural wood that requires no oil like padauk or cocobolo, or use stabilized wood, something I'm not particularly fond of, or make hidden tang knives, or be extremely careful, or, or...

Thanks guys for the tips.

I'm starting a knife shortly for someone and I'll try to pay particular attention and take it to the end with a nice 2000 grit finish without creating a cootie on the blade.


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Old 07-08-2016, 04:14 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Careful taping works for most of us. Clean up any finish/sealer "slop" before it sets on the steel. However, even tru-oil can be cleaned up later with Qtip and acetone.
Biggest thing, you said it yourself twice ......"be extremely careful", "Is it simply a need to be extra careful?"

"Am I missing a "trick of the trade"?" ...... no Trick, just careful due diligence.


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Old 07-08-2016, 01:22 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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wnc goater.....i had that same exact problem a while ago and it drove me absolutly mad and to be honest most people wont even notice those small blemish's BUT we will thats the point we see these things because it was us who put them there and i really get it like i said it really got me angry trying to solve this problem and yeh there are techniques that might make it less likely to happen but as you said bottom line slow down and be extremely carefull....for me slowing down is hard just not i my nature but i force my self to do this during "assembly" of the knife there is nothing worse than junking it up at that point you will get it this problem plagued me for a bit but i figured it out so i am sure you will to
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:01 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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I'm going to add something else I'm starting to believe. In an enclosed space, perhaps without adequate ventilation and some type of dust collection, fine steel dust gets on stuff just like wood dust in a woodworking shop. It gets on stuff like shop towels, clean cloths and paper towels. I believe there are cases of carefully wiping off epoxy and other finishes with a "clean" cloth or wipe, that may actually be contaminated with some fine steel dust.

Just a hypothesis based on what I'm observing in my shop. I'm finding steel dust in some surprising places. It actually drifts around like fine sawdust and settles "up there" where you wouldn't expect.
I'm still roughing out profiles from the bar steel with an angle grinder but I've moved that operation outside. I have an overhead dust collector that pulls through a filter. It's amazing, and a bit scary, how much steel dust is filtered out with it. Wearing a respirator when grinding is without question.

I believe dust control is best, but I'm also going to start putting my rolls of paper towels, shop towels and cotton cloths in some type of sealed container. Wiping a 2000 grit finish with a "clean" shop towel that has steel dust contamination, well think about it.

And I'm going to be more careful too! (Crex)


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Last edited by WNC Goater; 07-08-2016 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:48 PM
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MVPeterson MVPeterson is offline
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Sorry goater, guess I misread, or didn't realize you completely finished blade first. I guess my previous reply was no help at all. For removing epoxy at front of scales that didn't get wiped away while wet, a sharpened piece of micarta or hardwood works pretty good. As far as dust particles on rags, I've gotten into the habit of blowing them off with my compressor before wiping down finished areas. Perfection is very elusive. The pursuit of perfection can be very frustrating. And the closer you get to it, the more work you have to put into obtaining very little gain it seems. All part off the fun.
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Old 07-08-2016, 05:22 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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As for the metal dust getting everywhere your right.....i used to do alot of car detailing out of my house so you can imagine i need CLEAN microfiber towels and buffing pads all the time not to scratch any paint with some tiny bit of dust oh and it is amazing what manages to scratch car paint trust me. what i did is i have one of those big craftsman 5 shelf shelving unit that fits in the corner of the room. i i took rubber sheeting and heavy duty double sides tape and sealed off the back of the sheving unit on 3 shelvs. the front is broken in 3 pieces sealed one with same method as the back with the other to i got some clear plastic sheeting not the real thin stuff its thin but thick enough to hold shape i then ran velcro all the way around the edges on the sheets and the shelf itself. not knoing it when i started i never would of though it was so easy to scratch metal i dont know if you saw that polished dagger i did i scratched that many times just using paper towels and stuff like that as soon as i started using those microfiber towels in the sealed off shelf that problem was no more.....now i keep any towel i may use to clean the blades my polishing towels and a roll of paper towels in there works great.....my grinder and all that are in the garage i have to go into basement and through 2 doors to get to that room and trust me the dust still finds a way to make it there its amazing how long that stuff can stay in the air
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Old 07-09-2016, 02:29 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Unhappy I have done that as well.

Made a small anomaly on the ricasso. I have learned to take it off with 1200 grit sandpaper. It must be a leather or cork backed sharp edged flat piece of wood or metal. This would be easier to show you, but I'll try and explain. The paper should hang off of the edge by about 1/16 or a little more and make sure your backing material goes all the way to the edge, start your sanding stroke on the scales and angle your sanding stick up and in a continuing motion slide down the scale and onto the ricasso, when you hit the ricasso twirl the stick up just a bit and slide away from the scale and pull the paper up and away when removing from the blade. It takes practice, but it will not leave little whirls and uneven surface scratches, then take it to 2000 grit after the initial scratches are gone.

Or you can buy some round cratex and jewel the ricasso, I jewel the edges of some of my knives as they cut better that way. I start down the ricasso and then go along the edge of the blade. Cheapest place for cratex sticks btw is Boride Engineered Abrasives (even beats Amazon). You can buy them direct from Cratex, but their shipping costs are outrageous. They last a long time by the way.

Last edited by jimmontg; 07-11-2016 at 06:33 AM.
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  #11  
Old 07-10-2016, 06:26 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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"Perfection is very elusive." - MVPeterson
Ha! That it is though I follow your posts, especially your photos and would say you get pretty darn close. I love your knives. Being a jeweler I have a very critical eye and though I have handmade many thousands of pieces of jewelry totalling who knows how many tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, I cannot say I've ever acheived perfection.
I just believe that is a fact anytime a craftsman is making anything. Thats the point, it (whatever it is) is handcrafted and not stamped out by some machine and thus will have imperfections.
I've also learned that paying attention to small details is what seperates a real artist and master jeweler from a "good" jeweler. I believe small details (yes there are other factors I realize) are what separates a good knife from an average knife, cosmetically speaking. Thanks for the tips.

Thank you to everyone for all the great tips.


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