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Fit & Finish Fit and Finish = the difference in "good art" and "fine art." Join in, as we discuss the fine art of finish and embellishment.

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  #1  
Old 07-05-2013, 05:32 AM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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"Hand Sanding" Tip

The final fit and finishing and hand sanding is one of the most tedious and un-pleasant things we do as knifemakers. Always being on the lookout for easier and faster ways of doing something has led me to this little trick for the final stages of making a knife. This works particularly well when sanding up close to a particular area of a knife such as touching up a finish after the scales have been affixed to the blade.
In my shop, I use a sawzall to do this, but any reciprocating tool would work equally well. Once a blade has reached the point where it no longer cuts satisfactory, I grind off the "point of the blade to get it nice and square, and I also grind off the set of the teeth for the last inch of the blade.. I then take a small strip of sandpaper of suitable grit and wrap it so that it wraps around the end of the sawzall blade and then I simply use a rubber band or duct tape to aattach it firmly to the blade. Doing this allows me to get up close and personal to those difficult and time consuming areas with much better control, less time and do a better job....and my fingers don't get sore in the process.
It's a simple trick, but it makes things go much faster and easier and that is a good thing.
It also allows me to get further use out of both the spent sawzall blades and my used up belts.
My sawzall is a variable speed model, but most of the work is done at full speed anyway, but for even better control, you can slow it down to a speed where you're comfortable using it. You can also apply much more pressure to the work than by doing it by hand sanding.

Last edited by Ed Tipton; 07-05-2013 at 05:35 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-05-2013, 05:59 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Nice tip Ed, how long did it take to get used to holding it "just so". That's a handfull of reciprocating sander! I can see other modifications developing for the old sawzall now.
I have used one for "scraping/chiseling" old paint from metal before....kind of tricky in the hard inside corners though.


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  #3  
Old 07-05-2013, 06:08 AM
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ericbrinkerhoff ericbrinkerhoff is offline
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I actually tried something just like that one time to put on my secondary bevel after H T .Except that I duct taped a sharpening stone to the sawzall blade.
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  #4  
Old 07-05-2013, 08:17 AM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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CREX...I actually made a "fixture" for holding the workpiece solidly. Manipulating the sawzall is really not that hard to do and it goes pretty quickly, so it's not like you have to hold it for a long time. Doing this has cut my hand sanding time down from several hours to just a few minutes...and it's much easier to do. I suppose it would work just as easily if the saw were held in a fixture and the blade was manipulated as needed, but it really isn't a big deal...but the blade would be lighter and smaller to handle. I also like the idea of being able to see the area where the sanding is happening. I think using a fixture to hold the saw could obscure the area where the work is taking place.
I'm still exploring all the possibilities and I'm sure there could be other applications such as possibly using the technique for cutting and cleaning up the plunge in the ricasso area, but for now this is how I've used the idea. I'm certain that others will expand the idea to their advantage...this is just the seed.

Last edited by Ed Tipton; 07-05-2013 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 07-06-2013, 04:53 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Hand holding powertools is no problem for me. I profile most of my freshly forged blades with a sidegrinder. Just a matter of getting a "feel" for them as they work. Going to try the sawzall trick in the next day or so.
Yeah, I like to see what's happening too. Easier to tell when your finished.


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  #6  
Old 07-06-2013, 10:21 AM
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Naboyle Naboyle is offline
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Ed I think I'm picturing this in my head the right way but I'm not sure. Could you post a pic of this set up? Sounds like a great idea.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:44 AM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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Naboyle...Sorry, but I don't do pictures well.
This is a really simple idea. All you do is take a sawzall blade (new or used) and grind off the pointed end of the sawblade until it is squared off. I also grind off the "set" of the teeth for about the last inch on the sawblade, but you could grind off the entire length of the sawblade if you're so inclined. Doing this just prevents the teeth from scratching your knife blade during use.
Then, I cut a "strip" of sanding belt or sandpaper. The strip only needs to be 3-4" long, and about the same width as the end of the sawblade I then wrap the strip around the end of the sawblade or around the "side" of the sawbladw if doing that works better for the task at hand. I simply attach the sandpaper to the blade using either a plain ol' rubber band or duct tape. I see no reason why you could not use a contact adhesive for attaching the sandpaper, but typically the paper will wear out rather quickly and will need to be replaced often...so a really permanent attachment is counter productive.
The end result is now a "stroke sander" with about a one inch stroke that can be used to get up close and personal with the scales on your knife blade. This works really well for cleaning up those smudges of epoxy the you;ve overlooked or for doing the final fit and finishing of the knife.
I made a fixture to hold the knife securely during the process. Doing this allows me to work one side of the knife blade at a time until I'm better satisfied.
I suppose it would be possible to damage the blade using this technique, but I never have. I have found this technique to be very fast and easy to do, and very controllable..
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:42 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Well tried it Ed. Got a lot of potential uses.
I epoxied a thin slab of micarta on one blade so I could shape the side edge to a "softened" 45* angle. Lets me get up close to the guard area without chancing a mess with the guard. Also, plan on gluing up another with a hard leather "shoe" for the finer grits.
Works ok with my filing support jig, just added a second clamp for a little better rigidity.


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  #9  
Old 07-08-2013, 05:18 AM
Ed Tipton Ed Tipton is offline
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CREX...Good deal. A good idea is just that...and if it gives birth to another good idea, then that's even better. Like I said in an earlier post...sharing this idea was really just planting a seed and see if it grows.
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  #10  
Old 08-12-2013, 01:07 PM
graveyard graveyard is offline
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ill try these one my self it might help to remove the SMALL spot of epoxy that sometime get hard first
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