Tips, Tricks, & Useful Finds(FAQs too)

May 18, 1999
Originally posted by ddean
Matt Matheny

"Good hot melt
Then the answer struck me. Arrow glue. ......heated up the glue and the brass and put the whole thing back together. Clean up was easy. I waited until the glue wasn't blistering hot, and rubbed it off with my finger. Now both are good as new!!
Life is short, art endures."

Dean where did you get the Hot Melt Arrow glue? And in your meanderings around town have you seen any Sno-Seal? WalMart used to carry it, but so far I haven't seen any this year. I gave my jar to my grandson without removing any for my own use and now I'm having trouble replacing it.:( I'm thinking about getting the Pecard's, what do you think, would it make a good substitution? Better perhaps?
Mar 26, 2002
Originally posted by Yvsa
Dean where did you get the Hot Melt Arrow glue? And in your meanderings around town have you seen any Sno-Seal? ........( I'm thinking about getting the Pecard's, what do you think, would it make a good substitution?
That was someone else's post that I copied in.
Don't know that brand.

EDIT: I guess it doesn't reference a particular brand,
I've seen several brands of hot-melt adhesive
in sporting goods for both arrow nocks & tips
and for ferrule glue for fishing rods.

Sno-Seal I'm sure I saw at the Army Surplus at 41st & Mem.
I have a 25-year old can you can have sometime.:D
I've seen it also at the Academy sporting goods store.

Pecards 'dressing' is different from Sno-Seal waterproofing.
I think Pecards also makes a waterproofing product or two.
Mar 26, 2002
Here's something interesting I came across.

"The only honing compounds that I recommend are the "Yellow Stone" sold by Woodcraft and chromium oxide, which can be had most everywhere. For some tools I will use both.

Yellow Stone is peach in colour and cuts very quickly. Apply it dry to your strop. It is less fine than the chromium oxide.

Chromium oxide is green like the paint (it's the same stuff, different binder) and give the sharpest edge. It cuts quickly and is more wax like than the yellow hone. You can rate this stuff like an 8000 grit stone and if you use it after an 8000 grit waterstone you should gain maximum in edge sharpness for your tool.

If you can't find the green compound, you can take good quality chromium oxide oil paint and paint it onto a strop or dowel. When it dries you can use it like a normal hone, though it may cut a bit slower than the above, it will give fine results.

Eli Griggs
Charlotte N.C.


I recently found some green poster paint at the dollar store
& tried it just to see if it was chromium oxide,
Probably it is, but much coarser than that mentioned above---
it leaves visible scratches on the metal;
sure not 8000 grit.
Mar 26, 2002
See correction at bottom.

I picked up a can of Old Dutch Cleanser,
thinking it might be another calcium carbonate product.

A browse through the web led me to some very interesting info:

Here is a detailed description of the mine & minerology of
Old Dutch Cleanser:

Which indicates it is basicly a sedimentary formation
of sharp microscopic needles & flakes of silica/glass
from volcanic ash.
It's called pumicite. Finer structure than powdered pumice.


Tried vinegar & Old Dutch Cleanser------
so now it's calcium carbonate.

Have to find out when it changed.

Ah. A closer read of that article indicates the mine closed in 1947.
So I guess it's been CaCO3 ever since then.
Sorry for the initial mis-information.

Now, if I can find some pure pumicite to add to my collection.....
Mar 26, 2002
Alternate honing stones.

Not sure how practical on a daily basis,
but good to know 'just in case'.

Natural grey pumice stones from $1 store.
Sold here & elsewhere as callous sanders.
Seen it sold as scouring stone for grills & kitchen.
2"x5"x1/2", big coarse pores
Very friable,
powders under use,
but this is not necessarily bad
as it provides a cushion on finer powder.
Needs water or oil to keep the powder on the blade.
Push the stone toward the edge,
otherwise the edge just cuts into the stone.

I've seen more dense pumice in the past,
but not recently.

Coaster stones (for under cold drinks)
At least one Arkansas-whetstone maker
also makes coaster stones.
I tried one on our fine-grained coaster stones
briefly on a khuk & an axe.
Worked fine on both.
These are usually about 4" diameter
(some square)
so a whole one doesn't reach well into
the inward curving areas on the edge.
Some of these stones are natural & some artificial.

And others here have previously posted about using
any unglazed ceramic surface,
such as the unglazed foot on the bottom of a ceramic plate.

Along that line.
Browse the ceramic tile aisle of the local building supply
for a great variety of unglazed backs of many types of ceramic tile.

tiles cut from slate, ?sandstone, marble,
& other natural stone.
The tops are often polished,
but the backs are usually rougher.

Marble thresholds are about 30" long
& 2"-6" wide for under $10.
Polished on top & smooth as-cut on the back.
Haven't tried it yet,
but I'm sure it's hard enough.

Surfaces could be sanded with your choice of sandpaper
to get the surface texture you want.
Dec 24, 2003
Originally posted by ddean
At the $1 stores ("Everything's a Dollar!") you can find:

Find me one of those $1.00 stores here in Italy, Dean; now that's a real challenge for you! :p Fortunately, there's one by my mom's in Virginia, so thank for your invaluable input, and kindly excuse my sarcasm now, and in the future. :D

Happy New Year! Dan


Mar 8, 1999
Don't forget Revlon diamond nail files. Don't last forever, but so thin you can tuck a few into the scabbard or wherever.

BTW, this thread should have been stuck up here a long time ago. Thanks DDean.
Mar 26, 2002
No Longer Active Links
Google cached text added below:

Steel patinas: blue, brown, black, parkerize, phosphoric
"Blueing and metal patination are the processes of putting a decorative or protective finish onto the surface of a metal item. Usually this is steel, especially for protective finishes to prevent rust, but brass and bronze are also decoratively patinated.

In the next week or two, I'll be adding some descriptions of old blueing processes, and my experience of recreating them for the home workshop.

Oil blueing
Hot salt blueing
Cold chemical blues
Preserving blued finishes
Some rough notes on blueing, thanks to the 'Bat

Lots of processes for this, with a range of colours and qualities (in rough order of increasing difficulty).

Heat blueing
Cold phosphoric acid
Hot oils
Cold selenium blues
Nitrate blues
Parkerizing etc.
All blueing processes rely on scrupulous cleaning beforehand and degreasing with acetone. Any oil or grease left behind will ruin the finish, even if it's a small crack with oil that only leaks out when heated.

Don't use the hot processes (oil or salt) on firearms, unless you're sure that the heat won't cause damage. This applies particularly to side-by-side shotguns, with soldered barrels.

Heat Bluing
When tempering steel, colour is commonly judged by watching for the progressively darker "temper colours" to form. One of these is a deep and attractive blue.

This oxide film isn't robust, and so it's not a finish that's useful for gunsmithing. It's popular amongst watchmakers though and is the traditional finish for clock or watch hands protected under a glass crystal. The British Horological Institute has some good notes on bluing clock parts

It's simple to form this blue colour. Clean and polish the item as usual, then heat it. You'll need to watch carefully until the correct colour forms. Once coloured (and cooled) protect with a wax polish, like Renaissance wax. Heating can be done with either a spirit lamp flame, a hot air gun, or heated in a dish of sand. The presence of brass encourages this blue colour, so watchmakers often use a bed of brass filings, rather than sand.

Phosphoric Acid
Cold acid processes are familiar to car-repair and rust prevention. Wipe or dip the piece with concentrated phosphoric acid, to form a nice stable black finish. This works better on slightly rusted steel, so clean and degrease the piece first, then "brown" it to form a thin rust layer by hanging it up somewhere warm and damp for a few days (shower cubicle, airing cupboard, heated "tent" with a dish of water at the base).

Conc. acid is better than diluted (blackens better, causes less corrosion). Cheapest source is from a garden hydroponics supplier (pot growing supplies) ! "Naval jelly" and similar potions are very expensive. Many commercial potions are thickened as jellies, to make them easier to apply. This is just a little methyl cellulose - you can even use wallpaper paste or another starch.

After blackening, wipe with oil or wax to preserve.

Hot Oil
Oils are a matter of heating the piece with a blowtorch, then wiping with an oily cotton rag. Repeat until the colour is adequate, then use a wax polish to finish. Expect the rag to catch fire a few times, so work appropriately. Vegetable oils give browns, mineral oils a blue (nice - I have a steel desk done this way), the best black comes from used engine oil.

Cold Chemical Blues
Cold blues are best bought from shops - look for Birchwood Casy products. They're easy to use, but the selenium is highly poisonous, so wear appropriate protection. Although they give a good looking finish, it's not as rust-resistant as a hot blue.

Follow the instructions on the tin, with two caveats; degreasing must be obsessively clean (wirewool, then a wash with acetone on clean kitchen roll). also the selenium compounds are horribly toxic (gloves, glasses, don't work in the kitchen etc.).

I'm not kidding about selenium toxicity. Mercury inlaying is fine by me, so is asbestos, nitrates, and all sorts of other stuff. Selenium OTOH, is worrying.

Hot Salt Blues
Salt blues give a deeper, glossier finish that's more rust resistant. They should only be used by those who appreciate the chemical and fire hazards inherent in the process. There are several chemical compositions that can be used, but they're all an oxidising salt like saltpetre, used at high temperatures. This is a major fire hazard, comparable to fireworks manufacture ! Some mixtures use caustic soda too, to reduce the melting temperature, at the cost of also being highly corrosive. It may be difficult or illegal to obtain the necessary chemicals in you locality.

Nitrate blues are great fun, but easier on small pieces than large ones. Simply immerse the piece in a bath of molten potassium nitrate (saltpetre) for some 10s of minutes, then admire the beautiful "colour case-hardening" effects. Of course it's not that simple - the Chemist wil be along shortly to explain the full process.

The downside of this is that saltpetre is, of course, a powerful oxidiser. Purchase and posession may be difficult (or even illegal) in your locality. There's also the safety aspects of very hot liquid baths, hot oxidisers, and many others. If you don't degrease carefully, it will catch fire. If the piece is wet, you can get a steam explosion spraying oxidiser around the workplace. Certainly don't try to stir it with a wooden stick.

Another issue is that it's a white powder that's potentially poisonous. Don't leave it on the kitchen table in an unlabelled coffee jar.

That said, "kitchen stove" blueing can be a rewarding process and can give good results, even on your first attempt. Useful tools are a cheap stainless steel stockpot (deep pan) and a stainless steel tea strainer / tea infuser; a wire mesh sphere used to hold small components like screws for blueing. Personally I'd also use a thermocouple thermometer.

Hot blueing is hazardous ! Large pots full of hot oxidisers are not to be trifled with ! If you stir them with a wooden stick, it will catch fire immediately, so imagine what could happen if you spilled it. Don't even think about it without a couple of large CO2 fire extinguishers to hand.

Other Processes
Parkerizing is another interesting process, but these phosphating processes are beyond the home workshop.

A few other texts, sourced from around Usenet.

The following is from "Foxfire 5", pages 334-336:

1 oz. Muriate Tincture of Steel
1 oz. Spirits of Wine
1/4 oz. Muriate of Mercury
1/4 oz. Strong Nitric Acid
1/8 oz. Blue Stone
1 qt. Water

These are mixed well and allowed to stand to amalgamate. After the oil or grease has been removed from the barrels by lime, the mixture is laid on lightly with a sponge every two hours and scratched off with a wire brush every morning until the barrels are dark enough, and then the acid is destroyed by pouring boiling water on the barrels and continuing to rub them until they are nearly cool.

Presumably "muriate tincture of steel" is ferrous chloride (FeCl2), "Spirits of wine" is ethyl alcohol, muriate of mercury", is mercuric chloride also known as corrosive sublimate (HgCl2), and "blue stone" is Copper sulphate.

Another recipe for "Birmingham Imitations" calls for the following:

1 oz. Sweet Nitre
1/2 oz. Tincture of Steel
1/4 oz. Blue Vitriol
6 drops Nitric Acid
14 grains Corrosive Sublimate
1 pt. Water

When the barrels are dark enough, drop a few drops of muratic acid in a basin of water and wash the barrels slightly to brighten the "twists". [This obviously refers to finishing a twist in shotgun barrels, the final acid wash to remove some of the brown finish.

It is important that all grease or oil be removed using lime as mentioned. Dust hydrated lime on a cloth pad and rub vigorously, renewing the lime as necessary. Otherwise, boil the barrel in a weak solution of lye. Do not handle the cleaned barrel in the bare hands as oil from the skin will leave finger marks. When boiling, if you do it that way, put wood plugs in the ends of the bore and hold by the projecting ends.

We found these recipes in For Beginners Only, by B. M. Baxter, published by the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association.
After sitting overnight, a fine coat of rust would cover the barrel. Give it another coat of solution, being careful not to touch the barrel. In humid weather, the barrel will rust rapidly. Repeat the process for four or five days or until it has a good coat of rust. When it has a good, even rich covering, scald the barrel by holding it under a hot faucet until the barrel is hot. This will neutralize the acid in the browning solution. Then give it a good coat of linseed oil or motor oil while the barrel is still warm.

Hacker Martin explained his blueing and process to Ogilvie H. Davis in the August 1970 issue of Muzzle Blasts:
Gun browner is made by taking a pint of water, a pint of rubbing alcohol or radiator alcohol, mix and throw in a handful of Bluestone along with a teaspoon of nitric acid. Shake the mixture well and set away for a few days. If you want it extra fast, add a quarter of an ounce of Corrosive Sublimate of Mercury. Wet the iron with the solution, then let it set until dry and rub off with steel wool, wet again and repeat until the brown suits you. This may take three days or three weeks.

You can blue the above by boiling the rust off in plain water, then wooling down, continuing until the color is dark enough to suit. No trouble getting this solution to take hold, I wipe the surplus grease off a barrel, and smear it on hard. I scrub the iron, in fact no trouble in getting it to stick. Do not get the mixture on your skin, as too much will cause a burn.

For applying the mix, a piece of rag set in the cleft end of a wooden stick is fine. This can be thrown away when the job is done, as the acid eats up the stick pretty fast.

Heat the armour to a dull red and then quench it in oil. This would give you a matte black finish, tumbling it in nutshells would give a satin black finish. It will also create a case hardening within the armour pieces. It will need to be drawn down probably an oven may work at 400 degrees for 2 hours, then bump it down to 350 degrees for 1/2 hours, 300 degrees for 1/2 hours and turn off oven and allow to cool with out opening the oven door. That should take it to a rockwell 60 or 80, which would take a direct hit with an axe and barely sustain a scratch.

Another method would be to heat the armour to a dull red, then quench rapidly in a salt brine solution. This will also need to be drawn in an oven as above. If it isn't drawn correctly it will be very brittle almost like glass. This one will give a black to charcoal finish of varying shades and hues within the same piece.

Try these recipes out on a small piece first, until you get comfortable with the processes. The last two methods are from what I remember from working in a heat treat shop. Coloring was not a great concern the case hardening was though. "

"Blueing and metal patination are the processes of putting a decorative or protective finish onto the surface of a metal item. Usually this is steel, especially for protective finishes to prevetn rust, but brass and bronze are also decoratively patinated.

These are just some rough notes on oil-blueing. I'll improve and illustrate them when time permits.

Hot Oil
Oils are a matter of heating the piece with a blowtorch, then wiping with an oily cotton rag. Repeat until the colour is adequate, then use a wax polish to finish. Expect the rag to catch fire a few times, so work appropriately. Vegetable oils give browns, mineral oils (including fresh engine oil) a blue (nice - I have a steel desk done this way), the best black comes from used engine oil.

The best torch is quite large and powerful, but relatively cool. An oxy-acetylene welding torch will work, but tends to cause local warping and is slow to work with. Better is an oxy-propane nozzle, especially a wide, flat flame-cleaning nozzle


Sealing wax recipes
for cutler's pitch experimenters

'paint' for rustproofing iron

Glossary of old chemical names
Mar 26, 2002
See below for keyword list with some significant results
of searches in this forum (and the archived HI forum):

Of course, more recent threads, originating after I added a search result below,
or that I simply missed, will not be included in the results listed below.
So searching for yourself is a good idea.

Go to the last page of the found thread list to start reading at the earliest threads.
For some or all people,
the search page stops at 500 threads found.
If you need to go earlier,
use the master search page, enter the keywords, & specify a date range.
Click for the master search page:

Note: If you try to make a -link- to a particular search you have just done;
Search links only last a short time. This I discovered when I tried to post several last year.
The search only can be referenced, I think, while the original searcher is still using it.
Shortly after, it vanishes.
That's why I list keywords when I recommend a search.


these are SOME related threads
'search' for more, & more recent, & older

best favorite
all around camping hiking trekking
horn wood grip handle

in the HI forum

Other threads Re: khuk recommendations,
:D including
"Dean's 'Why you need a Chitlangi' "

my comments on:
18" AK & 14" village:

18" BGRS & 18" Chitlangi

convex profile grind sharp sharpen

in the HI forum & archive

scabbard tighten loosen

in the HI forum & archive

gelbu magic
magic khukuri

in HI Archive forum:

wood finish

in HI forums:


rust removal

rust prevention

sharpen grit
sharpening grit

strop compound

everest katana
in the archive forum


keywords: search searching post posts thread threads topic topics look looking help about links where find finding khuk kukri khukuri khukri gurkha gurka gorka gorkha

<:eek:> THEY call me
<> Noobee <> Tips <> Baha'i Prayers Links --A--T--H--D
Mar 26, 2002
Interesting correction to an earlier post in this thread.
Actually a refinement:

What is rottenstone?
"ROTTENSTONE is a light, porous, somewhat friable,
siliceous rock used for polishing steel and other metals.
It consists almost entirely of silica, with a small percentage of alumina and other impurities,
and is derived from siliceous limestones
after the removal of the calcareous matter."

So rottenstone is silica/quartz of a different source than pumice.
So essentially the same hardness,
but naturally smaller particles so finer grit.
Mar 26, 2002
'New' file for steel & horn.

And anything else.

Look in the tile installation aisle of your local
hardware or builders supply store.
There you should find a grit coated file
intended for filing down ceramic and stone tile.
About $5 if i recall correctly.
Very course grit cuts almost anything.
Heavy scratches.
Measures about 1" wide by 6" long, steel.

There are other versions not as handy.
Typical knife sharpening stone design,
& a heavy 'screen' type filing board that is flexible,
but I'm not sure how durable.
Mar 26, 2002
Dust filter masks for the handsomely bearded among us.


Original under $50:
Junior version about $10:

I had this idea about 6 months before finding it
in a catalog last year.


Chief Cook & Bottle Wash
Nov 11, 2003
Buffing Compound Info (longish)
As a newbie, I went surfing and found this at the website below...pretty good info for those already working blades, or those like me, wanting to get started doing so.

This is from:


Use tighter sewn buffs with more aggressive compound. The looser the sewing the softer the buffs. This means the less aggressive compound should be used with the softer (looser sewn buffs). A loose buff is typically used with jeweler's rouge, or chrome rouge. The thickness of the buff can also adjust the amount of pressure you apply in a specific area. Compounds are in order from most aggressive to least aggressive

P-145 Stainless steel

Gray/black (cut and color) Used for more aggressive deep cutting/polishing when you want to cut down the top layer. This product is generally used before Tripoli when Tripoli cannot provide sufficient cut. Use a tighter sewn buff in this step, typically 1/4 in or 3/8 in sewing.

P-327 Tripoli

Brown (all-purpose cut and color) Used for basic clean up on minor scratches and light work, many times the first step to get an even finish and good color. Use a medium spiral sewn buff here, typically 3/8" sewing.

P-126 Chrome rouge

White (fine cut mostly color) Used in many applications as a final finish on very good quality metal or to color after Tripoli. Using a 3/8 spiral sewn buff is acceptable and for final application a loose buff is used.

P-130 Jewelers rouge,

Pink (fine compound color only for mirror finish) Used to achieve a custom high quality "mirror" finish which is a final application after Tripoli or Chrome rouge. A loosely sewn buff is appropriate, but most often a loose buff is used with jewelers rouge.

Plated parts

Note: All compounds can cut through plating. You can do more damage than good polishing a thinly plated part. Also be careful polishing clear coat. Generally, you should remove all clear coat to do any polishing. Try not to mix aggressive compounds with color compounds on the same buff. If you need to use the same buff, clean it with a raking action. A file edge is best, but any heavy gauge metal, hard and straight will work.

Aluminum wheels.

For polishing or cleaning an aluminum wheel or wheels first check for clear coat (this has to be removed to polish ex: Sanded off). The Polishing is usually a two step process. First using P-327 Tripoli and a buffing wheel remove scratches and blend out for the first step. Second using P-130 Jewelers rouge and a new buff, finish out the fine lines and blend. The last product we recommend is our new liquid L-1000 hand polish for basic cleaning, polishing, and protection.

Stainless Steel

The best polish for stainless steel is based on the abrasive you need the most common is 143 a medium cut (gray) stainless steel compound or polish (good for a consistent finish and light scratches) or 126 white bar for a mirror finish on stainless steel. These compounds both work well with an 8 inch X cs (concentric sewn) buffing wheel X 40 ply the tighter the stitching the more aggressive and faster it will polish. Then using the same type of buff with less stitching for mirror finish.

Stainless steel

Polishing stainless steel requires two steps to polish. First step cloth covered sisal buffing wheels and 143 stainless steel compounds and second 126 chrome rouge with a tight sewn 1/8 or 1/4 stitched buffing wheel.


Tripoli 327 is the first step to polish brass and copper, the second step is 130 jewelers rouge with a separate buffing wheel for each. We recommend a 40 ply concentric sewn buff 3/4 stitched you choose diameter and arbor to fit your buffer.


Tripoli 327 is the first step to polish brass and copper, the second step is 130 jewelers rouge with a separate buffing wheel for each. We recommend a 40 ply concentric sewn buff 3/4 stitched you choose diameter and arbor to fit your buffer.


When polishing aluminum, brass copper, pot metal, and soft non-ferrous metals, use tripoli or gray compounds by holding the bar up to the wheel while it is spinning. Let the buff spin about three or four turns on the compound, while moving the compound in a clockwise motion. (NOTE: Do not use water with compounds). If you can hold the part under the wheel after loading, you'll notice the compound spitting on the part when there is enough on the wheel. At this point your wheel is loaded and your ready to begin the polishing process. It is very important to load your wheel every 20 to 30 seconds and keep the heat up on your part. Keep the part moving under the wheel, this will keep you from burning the metal. Never touch the edge of the part to the wheel, this will keep the part from being pulled from your hands.

Emery Compounds

These compounds contain emery grit, a very fast cutting action. It is used for coarse buffing, removing scratches, and buffs from iron and other hard metals. Use with sisal or a tightly sewn buff to bring from cast to smooth surface.

Gray Compounds

Gray compounds are for cutting ferrous metals (iron, steel, stainless, and aluminum.) They have cutting action to remove minor scratches. Use with sewn buff.

White Compounds

White compounds are primarily a coloring compound to produce a brilliant mirror- like shine for all metals. This is the final step before plating. Use loosely sewn or loose buff.

Yellow Compounds

This is primarily a coloring compound that produces a brilliant mirror-like shine for all metals. Use a loose buff to add a high luster and color to all metals.

Tripoli Compounds

Tripoli is for general cutting of non-ferrous metals (aluminum, brass, copper, and zinc die-casting), and mild cutting action. Use with sewn buff.

Jewelers Rouge

Jeweler's rouge is a fine abrasive for gold and silver. It is a final color for all non- ferrous metals, and is excellent for high gloss on soft precious metals. Use on a loose buff. Works well on plastic at 1800 RPM or less.

Green Compound

These are Ideal for tail light refinishing. Great for color action and removing scratches from plastic. Use with loose, flannel, or string buffs to avoid heat build up. For deep scratches simply block sand the imperfection. Then buff to a shine. The ideal speed is 1800RPM, a faster speed will build up heat. Keep your buff clean and soft, rake every 20 to 30 seconds, and keep the part moving under the wheel.

Glass Polishing

Glass polishing is used to clear wiper haze. Try this simple test to find out if you can remove the scratches. Run your fingernail over the damaged area. If your nail does not get caught then your windshield can be renewed. Use a buff at a low speed (1800 RPM or less). Keep the glass as cool as possible, never hold buff in one spot, move around the buff to avoid heat build up. Keep a spray bottle of water near by to prevent heat build up with the glass polishing compounds.

Anodizer Remover

This solution will strip the anodized coating from aluminum trim. This leaves a satin finish that can be buffed to a mirror finish with the white compound. Use loose or canton flannel buffs.

Preparing The Part

First, prepare your part by stripping any anodizing, clear coats or paint, etc. from the part. This can be done by using our Anodize remover. Paints and clear coats can usually be removed by using paint or aircraft stripper. Wash the part with soap and water to remove the extra grit from the part, this will save you from adding any extra scratches to the part that will have to be buffed out later. Another way to prepare the part is to sand the clear coat, anodizing, or paint off the part.

Removing Dents

To remove dents, start with a small tapping hammer, tap around the dent in a circle until coming to the dent itself. The dented piece can be hammered with a sandbag under the dent, this will help to form the piece you are working on. Check the dent after you finish, file away any high spots and always crosshatch to prevent the metal from gualing or rolling. Sand the area starting with 120 grit, 180 grit, 240 grit, 320 grit, till you reach 400 grit. Remembering always cross hatch to prevent the part from gualing and rolling. Now your ready to buff once you have removed the dent.


All of your sanding operations you will generally pick a coarse enough abrasive to smooth out or remove imperfections in the part you want to buff. For example, on a cast aluminum intake you would start off with 80 grit and follow up with 120, 180, 240, 320, and finish with 400 grits. If you are working on a part that is stainless steel you will be better off taking it to a 400 grit finish before you begin buffing. Always use grinders grease when working on aluminum, and be sure to use a crosshatch sanding motion to prevent the metal from gualing or rolling. Sand all large areas first, saving the smaller tighter areas for last. Once the part has been sanded completely, rinse off and let dry, this will remove any grit from sanding. Now you are ready to buff.

How Do I Tell What I Am Buffing

The first step in polishing is to determine what type of metal you are working with, such as cast aluminum, billit aluminum, or stainless steel. If you are dealing with aluminum wheels, but not sure which type, do a test patch on the part where the tire goes. Sand a patch with 2000 grit sandpaper, then buff to see if the scratches buff out. If they don't buff out, you are probably working with billit aluminum.

Billit Aluminum

Buff the part or wheel with emery first, with a sewn wheel, then switch to a sewn stitched buff with a white compound, then switch wheels again and go to a yellow compound, with a loose buff. Make sure you rake the wheel every 30 seconds to a minute so you don't get any scratches.

Buffing Plastic

Apply the blue compound or jewelers rouge to a canton flannel buff or a loose section buff. Apply compound as you did when you used the gray or white compound. ( 3 to 4 turns on a spinning wheel, for 20 to 30 seconds.) On a plastic lens heat is not your friend, keep the lens as cool as possible, and keep the plastic lens moving. Do not use too much pressure against the wheel, let the compound and the wheel do the work. Too much pressure will build up heat and could melt your lens.

Super Sisal Wheels

Super sisal wheels are made of layers of woven tampico and cloth, and are aggressive. Extra firm buffs are used mostly on stainless steel. The emery compound (gray) is used with this buff to remove heavy scratches, sandpaper scratches and marks after straightening. You will need to tame this buff before its first use. Do this by placing the buff on a motor and turning the motor on, allowing it to run between 30 seconds and one minute. Turn off the motor and then trim the wheel with a pair of scissors (not a knife). You are now ready to apply compound. It is important to work the part by criss crossing your passes, you will actually leave scratches. These are easily taken out in the next step using the sewn wheel. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of your time will be spent with the sisal buff and the gray compound. Do not use too much pressure against the wheel, let the compound and the wheel do the work.

General Buffing

If you are buffing aluminum, brass, copper, or pot metal; start off with the tripoli compound. If you are buffing stainless steel, use the emery (gray) compound. Gray can be used on aluminum if you have some scratches to remove. Ninety percent of your buffing time will be spent with the cutting compound tripoli or gray. Here again, buff all the large areas first then move to the smaller ones last. Some people prefer to heat up there part first. This can be done by putting it in the oven @ 150 degrees F, setting it in the sun, or in front of a heater. By keeping the part warm the compounds will stay on the buffs. If the part is cool the part will draw the compound out of the buff, leaving deposits of black glob on the parts. People may preheat their parts because it is hard to build up heat on a part when you are using a small buff.(Note you will need to wear cotton gloves to be able to hold onto the part). Once finished with the cutting step, the white rouge will bring out the shine. Remember that heat is still very important in the final white stage. You still only spend ten percent of your time with this step, but in order to eliminate the finishing haze you will have to keep the heat up.

Finishing Your Parts

Finishing your part with the white compound brings in the mirror shine to the metal. To do this you will need to use either a canton flannel or a loose section buff with white compound. You can use the sewn buff with the white compound for the finishing step if you like the sewn buff (being careful and keep the buff clean and soft). It doesn't have the flexibility the loose and flannel buffs do, but sometimes it may be the better choice. Apply the white compound to the buff the same way you did while using the cutting compound. On a used buff , rake it before you start, and every 20 to 30 seconds to keep the buff soft and clean. Only ten percent of your time is spent buffing with the white compound. Keeping the heat up will eliminate streaking or cloudiness. You may need to pre-heat your part by placing it in the sun, or near a heater, and remember heat is your friend and a very important part of the buffing process. Do not use too much pressure against the wheel, let the wheel and the compound do the work.

From Russ Kay:
That's a lot of interesting and useful info. Thanx.

One compound I rarely see mentioned that I like a lot is called Yellowstone. I bought a tube of this at Country Knives, in Intercourse, PA, six or seven years ago, and I've used maybe 5% of it by now.

It's a peach-colored stuff that's very hard and doesn't look particularly homogeneous. You dig out some of it with a screwdriver and put it on a leather strop. Then "butter" it in and use this now-shiny-black strop as the final polishing medium. It cuts faster and puts a mirror polish on edges faster than anything I've ever used. I wouldn't be without it.
Russell Kay
NCCA life member

From Yvsa:
Looks good to me, but more complicated than what I use. I've also found that to get the "Full Body Shiver Convexed Edge" on any knife that a hard felt buff along with the green chromium oxide works best for me.
I use tripoli, then a black compound, jewelers rouge, and then the green compound.
I use a sisal buff for the rough buffing and a 3/8" sewn buff for the final polish.
I would sure like to find an 8"-10" dia hard felt buff from 3/4" to 1 1/4" wide to fit a 5/8" arbor.
Dec 27, 2003
I would sure like to find an 8"-10" dia hard felt buff from 3/4" to 1 1/4" wide to fit a 5/8" arbor.
Yvsa, a while back, when I was restoring my pickup, Sears had an autobody restoration catalogue that contained many buffing supplies...
I'll see if I can dig this out and find a buffing wheel for you.
They has all sorts of neat compounts and wheels, cones etc. for restoring steel and alloy wheels.

Yvesa...You've Got Mail !!!
May 18, 1999
I think I may have posted this long ago but I'm gonna post it again as if I did it's probably lost in the archives.

To clean up the grooves in a khuk's handle I use artificial sinew which is nothing more than nylon thread that is waxed and -Not- twisted or braided. This enables it to be pulled apart into multiple smaller pieces if desired.
I cut a piece the desired length and re-wax it with the sewing beeswax that can be bought at any good fabric store or sewing center.
Then I take it over to my Grizz and roll it in the grinding dust that's on its table, unless my Barbie has cleaned it up lately.;)
Then I 'roll' it by twisting it to get it started and then rolling it on my leg. Anchor the khuk in a vise or clamp it down and then place the grit embedded string in a groove and pull back and forth as you would a shoe shine cloth and rotate all around the groove.
This makes a nice smooth and polished finish in the grooves and removes any excess material of most any kind that may have been trapped.
If you don't have a grinder so that you can use the dust I would suggest getting some valve grinding compound at any auto parts store.
It's possible that simply pulling a waxed thread or string through some tripoli or other buffing compound may work just as well.
I think I may have posted this long ago but I'm gonna post it again as if I did it's probably lost in the archives.
I did this to my Foxy Folly today to finish getting it ready for the oil finish on the 400 grit sanded Saatisal handle.:D

Then I went to put some Tru-Oil on the Foxy Folly's handle and found that it had solidified in the bottle, didn't realize it was that
Then I went to use my Formby's Danish Oil and found that it had done the same thing. It was alright three months ago.
I threw them both in the trash.
However someone had mentioned a Watco's Finish a while back as a possible treatment for horn.
I knew I had another oil finish but didn't realize it was the Watco brand finish and I happily discovered it to be all right so I'm using it on the FF's handle.
It has always worked well in the past. but I don't know how it would be for horn handles. It is a very thin solution that's not overly sticky like the Tru-Oil and the Formby's so it might penetrate well into horn as it -is- a penetrating oil.
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