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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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Old 06-11-2024, 08:19 PM
Johnnyjump Johnnyjump is offline
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How to get a Satin Finish

I'm working on a few Axis Lock folders, and am struggling with getting the right satin finish to my blades. I create my bevels before heat-treat with 120 grit. Then I clean up my bevels and plunge cuts after heat treat with 180, 220, 320, and polish with 500 and 600 grit. I alternate between grits by hand sanding to make sure I get all of the scratch marks out. I've used surface conditioning belts in the past, but never completely satisfied with the results. Sometimes they leave the blade looking streaky. On my last blade I ended with a 600 grit Deer Belt, which look OK but still looks streaky, though not as bad as the scotchbrite belt. It's one of those situations where I'm not completely satisfied, but my better judgement says not to risk ruining the blade. I've used gator belts in the bast, but end up with similar streaky finishes at 500 grit. I've actually had more success hand sanding at the higher grits, with i hate. Any suggestions? I get the belt sequence, but struggle with the right belt for the higher grits. Thanks.
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Old 06-12-2024, 12:03 AM
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M&J M&J is offline
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What steel?

My process while the steel is still soft is to go to 220-320 grit then those go to heat treat.

The Gator belts have a fairly wide block pattern that can come through so keeping it moving at a regular speed relative to sfpm is important. The Norton Norax U254 has a smaller size so for me that results in a consistent scratch.

The surface conditioning belts are ok but depends. I use an X-fine blend pad by hand to go over yet I've used the belts to do quickie passes to. Those are usually coarser finishes that the stray grit isn't as obvious.

The finer abrasives load up at the finer grits so that contributes to the streaking. Once it loads up, it's done. I have used water with a drop of dish detergent as a wetting agent which helps for certain steels. Spray it on and make a couple passes and repeat. Others use a bit of Flitz, Simichrome, Mothers Mag polish, etc on the abrasive or blend pads. Once I'm past 600 grit all hand labor and slow. If your final finish is at 600, go to 800 or 1K then back down to 600 and a blend pad.

Wear gloves, the polishing chemicals can bring on various dermatitis issues and long term skin issues as it is absorbed.

All practice and lots of it. It isn't any easier but you'll get the touch you want and know how to achieve that result.


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Last edited by M&J; 06-12-2024 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 06-12-2024, 06:47 AM
Johnnyjump Johnnyjump is offline
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Thanks! All good information. I'm using S35VN steel.
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Old 06-12-2024, 03:46 PM
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M&J M&J is offline
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My compliments to you for wanting a hand rubbed finish on a blade. Once it is hardened this process becomes more challenging. I suggest doing as much prior to HT and when it comes back you'll already be close. Will save you LOTS of abrasive paper too. Aiming for mirror or a satin finish?

These are some of my hand rubbing accessories in the process. For radius and flats I also have blocks with a 7-8 ounce leather pad glued to the backing and when finishing, apply the abrasive to the leather as it conforms to the blade surface evenly. That is one aspect that if there is a high spot it will cause a streak, uniform pressure yields an even and consistent scratch line and the pad helps greatly.

The wood ones are hard maple which I use for the coarse grits. White blocks are Sintra/PVC sheets that I use for 220+ before going to the ones with leather backing at 400-2K grit ranges. I cut up and routed a few more a bit back.

The structured abrasives are glued to a phenolic and run those from A160-A6. I had a spell where a bunch of the structured abrasive belts broke at the splice so I saved them for various finishing tasks. A few of them pictured as examples.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg radius blocks.JPG (314.5 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg structured-flats.JPG (319.3 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg maple-blocks-routed-s.jpg (338.6 KB, 2 views)


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Last edited by M&J; 06-12-2024 at 03:57 PM.
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a, axis, belts, blade, blades, block, ca, clean, finish, hand, heat, heat treat, how to, knife, knives, leather, lock, make, polish, sanding, satin finish, scratch, steel, surface


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