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Recommendation? advice on production set of 12 -grinding to hand sanding

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by HSC ///, Jun 11, 2019 at 2:23 PM.

  1. HSC ///

    HSC /// KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 7, 2012
    I have a set of 12 AEB-L steak knives I need to make,
    .08 thk AEB-L ht and temper to 61
    blade length about 4+"

    I'm accustomed to working with laminated steel which has soft cladding so I'm way out of practice on hand sanding and finishing hardened blades.

    I can grind each blade roughly in 5 minutes or so (80 grit), but I all I see after this is deep scratches.
    I finish with 120/220 on a leather backed platen and then hand sand and just see scratches.

    I practiced on two blades, the 2nd one I backed off on the 80 grit at about .015 edge thickness and then went to 120 etc

    I need to make this project work efficiently...I had done one for fun for myself but doing a set of 12 for an order, I'd like to be more efficient.

    I'm asking for advice on the grinding process to minimize hand sanding for the finishing...suggestions? thanks


  2. scott kozub

    scott kozub Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2018
    have you tried a cork or 3m finishing belt? I hear great things about cork but haven't tried one myself. Seeing as the grind is simple without a plunge line or sharp grind line I'd think that would be a good option on the flat platen.

    Or you can go to a fine finish on a structured abrasive belts and then jump up a coarse or two for the final hand sanded finish. I'll sometimes even hit a blade with a buffer quickly before hand sanding.
    Nick Dunham likes this.
  3. scott kozub

    scott kozub Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2018
    One more thing, if using a surface conditioning belt, don't be an idiot like me and my first time and grind handle up. The sharp point will catch the belt and break it.
  4. drew1972


    Oct 17, 2015
    I use trizac gators all the way to A30 about 6-800 grit. Then hand sand starting at 320 grit. No backers just on flat platen and aluminum block for hand sanding.
    Nick Dunham likes this.
  5. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 12, 2005
    "Cheat" with the belts as much as you can. Remember that with a plungeless grind like that you can run belts lengthwise and at a 45 degree angle if you are careful.
    Nick Dunham and Robert Erickson like this.
  6. robwil


    Aug 18, 2007
    With each change of grit sand in a different direction than the previous grit. this helps to highlight the deeper scratches that are remaining. If the previous grit has done its job, you should not see any remaining scratches, if you do, you need to go back and use the previous grit some more. When sanding with your belt sander, it goes unsaid to be careful about heat build up so as not to lose temper or create warps.
    Nick Dunham likes this.
  7. Robert Erickson

    Robert Erickson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 2, 2014
    I don't do any large batches of knives but still like to be efficient. I have found that going from grinder (60 and 120 grit) to disc sander (120 to 320 grit) to grinding length wise with a 10 inch contact wheel (gator belts up to A45) as @jdm61 suggests makes hand sanding time shorter.
    Nick Dunham likes this.
  8. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Just finished this set of six steak knives for our ranch cook, Brother Bill.


    [email protected] 63RC, elk handles with cocobolo spacers and a brass bolster. All grinding post heat treat from .082 stock. 36 grit ceramic first, then 50 ceramic, 80 trizac gator, 120 trizac gator, then 220 AO, cleaning up the plunge and finally hitting it with a green scotchbrite. I'll hit em twice with the scotchbrite. Once at the end of grinding and one more time after buffing the handles. This produces a solid, robust finish that does not damage or scratch easily with use. Very practical and no handsanding that these old arthritic claws don't like doing no more.
    Tim Pollack and Nick Dunham like this.
  9. Bob Duguay

    Bob Duguay

    Aug 28, 2017
    Mr. Ferry I believe you are a knife, and sheath making machine. Nice look steak slicers.
  10. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Keeps me out of the bars!
  11. timos-

    timos- KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 22, 2012
    id go with a low grit ceramic to .015 behind edge, A300 gator, A160, A100 criss crossing as you go. then just a few lengthwise pulls at 280 or 320 grit by hand for a nice satin finish, I dont believe you have to worry about stickage too much for a steak knife or corrosion with AEBL so a lower grit satin finish is both clean looking and functional.
  12. AVigil

    AVigil Adam Vigil knifemaker working the grind Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    A quick way is go from 50 grit to 220 AO, then gator A45 (400) followed by 400 cork, then 800 cork with compound and remove all scratches from lower grit.

    Getting it dialed in with the cork belts will really cut down your hand sanding time.

    Then go to 600 grit for hand sanding
  13. Storm W

    Storm W

    Feb 19, 2019
    These are crapy pics but are only done on the grinder with zero hand sanding. These are AEB-L so they are pretty easy but I have done S35VN the same way. I use a 220 ceramic from Pops after the 120 VSM. I can't remember the brand but they are green. After that its 3M micro film belts. Starting with the 220 I wet the belts with a spray bottle so it's a little messy. I think I took these up to around 1k (whatever that is in microns) but then backed them down to 600 followed by a new grey Scotchbrite. I forget if it was these but I think once I hit 30 microns I tossed a piece of leather on the platen with some spray adhesive. I cleaned that off with a old belt and some wd40. These belts don't have a seam that bumps so you can use them on the hard platen. They would cut M2 blades that should be in the 65Rc range but you will got through a lot of them. If they made Gator belts that could be run wet that would be the ultimate option.

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