Reconditioning the blade of a beater khuk.

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Jun 10, 2011
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[size=+1]Out of all[/size] the "chopping" khukuris that I have, I find the WWII my least favorite. As a result it's the one that I choose to bring with me whenever I go anywhere where chopping will be necessary. It gives me the freedom to really beat on it without having second thoughts (my beater). I know that it's kind of a twisted way of thinking, but also it helps me get better acquainted to the beater after which I usually like it more and a different knife will end up on the traveling rotation. Anyway, the WWII took some hard use chopping/batoning through kiln-dried oak and other hardwoods.

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Also see the thread, some outdoor fun.

[size=+1]As a result[/size] the WWII came home with some minor damage to the blade.
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[size=+1]Two different[/size] close-ups of the same blade.
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[size=+1]I use a metal file[/size] to start the process...I guess this would be called reprofiling the blade to a flat grind, however it is only temporary...just to get the chips out. I hold the blade in one hand and the file in the other and run the file along the blade. I'm better on one side than the other due to being right-handed. Here's some close ups of each side after the first several passes.
This is the side I am "less good" at, but usually by the time I finish filing I've got the pattern down much better on this side.
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My better side:
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A little more filing, but can still see traces of the chips.
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I'm getting better on my off side:
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Pretty even finish on this side if I say so myself...no trace of the chips left.
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[size=+1]Now the chips[/size] have been ground out and it's ready for the sandpaper and mouse treatment. Here's my setup. A little 2x4 construction to raise the mousepand and sandpaper so I can push the blade along it without bumping my hand on the workbench.
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[size=+1]I was not[/size] inclined to stop and snap pics after each grit, but I started with 150 grit to start to undo the flat grind and return it to a convex. After the 180 the knife was probably "sharp enough" to call it quits, but the compulsive in me wants a razor sharp khuk. Grits 220, 320, 400, and finally 600 take some faith to keep working through. It almost seems that the knife gets less sharp during this part of the process - it was pretty shiny and wicked looking after the 180 grip. This series of steps really polishes the blade edge kind-of making it look "softer." But once the 600 grit step is done it has started to become sharp enough to shave. Some stropping with green compound and it's ready enough for me. Could it be sharper? - you bet! But by now my compulsiveness has been overcome by my attention span.
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[size=+1]Shaves the hair[/size] on the back of my hand (amazing how quick these grow back, but I guess I never thought about it really...the face needs a shave daily).
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[size=+1]During the process[/size] above, I stopped and put some WD40 on steel wool sitting on the workbench and ran the flat part of the blade across it on each side several times to clean off some of the wood residue and buff out some of the scratches. Also, on the 400 grit, 600 grit and the stop I took some strokes with the full flat side of the blade to further buff it out a bit. Once done I spray some WD40 on kleenex and lay the kleenex on the steel wool and wipe the knife back and forth on the kleenex to get the compound off. If you're looking for a great way to badly slice your finger(s) you can pick up the kleenex with the oil and wipe it back and forth on the blade (ouch!). :eek:

[size=+1]Reconditioning complete[/size] and ready for the next beating...
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[size=+1]You can see[/size] that the convex edge has returned nicely leaving almost no trace of the flat grind. I say almost because maybe to a trained eye there is a bot of flat grind with a secondary convex, but it looks pretty much full convex to me.
 
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My Tirtha WWII is a favorite. Certainly not a heavy chopper, but perfect for your campsite and general use. Some of those chips look like they were rolled a little, which is preferable to chipping. I've dealt with some of these by steeling/burnishing the edge with the chakma with pretty good success. Your sharpening skills are surely superior to mine. You put a nice edge on that thing! If it started as a high polish khuk, which is how it looks, they sometimes have a very small amount of softer steel at the edge from polishing. I've encountered this several times. I bet that new edge won't roll as much next time. In the archives you can find reference to khuks getting sharper with use. Many believe it was due to working through that softer steel to get to the real hardened stuff. I'd like to hear back when you use it again to see if you notice that. I have on several high polish khuks. I also bet that beater WWII will grow on you:). I have really become so fond of mine. It's just very handy and capable of taking such really hard use. I enjoyed the action shots. Thanks for the post and the very informative sharpening info. Take care.
 
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Feb 20, 2008
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Bric; Thank you for the informative post and what a great job you do reconditioning the edge. Nice job. I totally understand how the current "beater" ends up being a favorite after a while... I do the same thing. The thing that amazes me about HI is that the more you use them, the better and sharper they get. I have a WWII that I did the same thing with and now it is a sentimental favorite with many memories borne of hard use.
 
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Jul 19, 2006
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yeah of all my blades I would say my Tirtha WWII is also my favorite :) You got that sucker returned to absolutely admirable conditions [thumbs_up]
 

Howard Wallace

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Thanks for sharing this. It gives a good idea of how to take care of a tool that actually gets used.

I might have stopped after the file.
 

Karda

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Yes, Thank you bric !
This is exactly how you fix a blade after hard use. Although i would remove the v-grind and restore it to true convex with the mouse/sandpaper method.

To answer the question "Is chipping Normal?".......

Some chipping IS normal. Small folds ARE Normal. It is tearing out of chunks that we do not consider Normal.
No knife or steel is completely unbreakable. Even INFI will chip under hard usage, almost in the same manner as this, as illustrated in this thread.....take some time, it is a pretty good read:
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...t-Khuky-quot-question...-)?highlight=chipping
 

arbiter

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Jun 4, 2011
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Nice post Bric-Proves how tough these blades are and that one doesn't have to fear putting them to hard work. Could you get it sharper? Perhaps, but green compound is .5 micron or approx.30,000 grit-extremely fine abrasive. Stropping on newsprint will polish the edge a little finer,but isn't necessary.
 

Howard Wallace

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On chipping. Every axe I've ever owned eventually got dings in the blade. I try not to hit rocks or nails with a sharp axe, but stuff happens. You soon learn how to take out the dings, or else you continue on with an underperforming axe.

A khukuri often does axe-type work, and is subject to the same kind of damage. I most often see it when I hit a rock, or am somehow inspired to chop through frozen bone. (The bone stuff happens with my hurry-up-and-get-it-in-the-pot style of cooking.) Learning to deal with dings, as explained in this thread, is an essential part of living with a working khukuri.

People may search for a magical steel that does not ding, but to my knowledge none such exists. Variations in heat-treat make some difference, with harder steel tending to chip easier while softer deforms. The khukuris are heat-treated by hand so there is a larger degree of vairiation than in some modern production processes.

We have all probably seen an old gentleman's well used pocketknife, with the blade worn down to something like a toothpick through years of care and sharpening. Bill used to talk about similar khukuris he had seen in the hills of Nepal, worn thin through generations of use. The handles would be replaced every few years, and the blade grew thinner and thinner as the decades drifted by, and multiple dings and dull edges were cared for.
 
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Nice tutorial Bric. Thanks for taking the time to document your procedures and share them with us.
 
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Thanks Karda and Wallace. I'm pretty new to the Khukri world. That makes sense about chipping. Thank you
 
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I was wondering how you got the scratching off of the blade?

My WW2 has some pretty heavy scuffing right around the kami mark. I put it back in the sheath and I guess some moisture or water got on there and the oil on the section of the balde had rubbed off from drawing and putting it away. Anyways it developed some surface rust and discoloration by the time I had gotten home. no big deal, took the course end of a scotch brite pad to it and was able to take it right off. Unfortunately I also managed to scratch up the finish pretty handily on that area of the blade. I feel like I shouldn't care but the scratches there are so uneven it's almost funny so I would like to ideally get them out. Is there a preferred buffing compound to use on the blade? I was thinking about putting on a movie grabbing a cloth and just hand buffing it until I got some of that surface scratching cleaned up. I just wanted to make sure I found a compound that isn't going to damage the blade steel. Is it possible to just rub the hell out of it with an oily rag and buff it that way?
 
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Pormogo, I recently had the same question About my mcc. Karda suggested using fine grit sandpaper starting with about 400 going to 600 going to about 1500 grit. You can go further than that but I restored a mirror polish to my mcc. Hope this helps.
 
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Sandpaper will really polish out scratches? I figured sandpaper would scratch the life out of it! Interesting revelation! Are you using any kind of lubricant or buffing compound or are you just using it on the "dry" blade?
 
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So you wrapped a drill attachment in sand paper? I think I'll just grab a little square and try and rub it out by hand.
 
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Jul 25, 2011
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No, I had a small buffing attachment for my drill it was cotten. I hand rubbed the blade with the sand paper
 
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pormogo said:
I was thinking about putting on a movie grabbing a cloth and just hand buffing it

I would not recomment this. I would very pay close attention to the blade and my hand while the two were in contact. In fact I recommend not bringing them into contact in this manner - a momentary lack of concentration could have painful consequences.

Here's the paragraph where I talk about getting the scratches out.

bric said:
... put some WD40 on steel wool sitting on the workbench and ran the flat part of the blade across it on each side several times to clean off some of the wood residue and buff out some of the scratches. Also, on the 400 grit, 600 grit and the stop I took some strokes with the full flat side of the blade to further buff it out a bit. Once done I spray some WD40 on kleenex and lay the kleenex on the steel wool and wipe the knife back and forth on the kleenex to get the compound off. If you're looking for a great way to badly slice your finger(s) you can pick up the kleenex with the oil and wipe it back and forth on the blade (ouch!).

What I'm talking about above is have the sandpaper on the mousepad and hold the blade flat on the sandpaper and push it away from you (one hand on handle and other hand on top flat part of blade) - sharp edge facing you, rubbing the scratched surface of the blade along the sandpaper. Pay attention doing this as well because your palm (the one on the flat part of the blade) will be near the sharp edge of the knfe and if the knife catches or otherwise stops moving forward while you are pushing, your palm could keep moving forward and get sliced by the blade.
 
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