Tools I Use to Maintain and Mod My Knives

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Sharperthansticks, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Sharperthansticks

    Sharperthansticks Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 19, 2017
    Periodically, Nick Shabazz posts a video that's usually titled something like "The Tools I Use to Maintain My Tools," in which he shows you all of the items he uses to maintain his knives, watches, and other gear. This is the list of items I use both to maintain my knives and also to mod them, and I freely admit that some items were taken from N.S., himself:
    • Work bench. Since I'm single, I can be as big of an animal as I like, so my kitchen table is actually McGyvered into a work bench. I eat there and I work on mechanical items there.
    • Table vise. Permanently attached to my work bench, this does a lot. It can hold a bit in case you have a free-spinning pivot that needs to be locked from the underside so that you can unfasten it from the top side. It can also hold items that you Dremel.
    • Wiha Torx Bits. I followed N.S.'s suggestion and have two sets, which helps a lot with free-spinning pivots.
    • Anodizing table. This is a dedicated table that has most of my anodizing equipment on it.
    • Baking soda from Dollar Store. My electrolyte of choice for anodizing.
    • Titanium wire from eBay. Again, for anodizing.
    • 120V power supply. For anodizing. This allows for much greater control than stringing 9V batteries together does, though both methods will anodize and will probably anodize with the same exact quality. The 120V power supply simply allows you to really fine-tune your color.
    • Dremel + Flexshaft. This has tons of uses, though for me, the biggest is grinding.
    • Grinding tips for Dremel. I use these to grind off hot spots on knives. For instance, the backs of clips usually dig into my palm. If you grind off the hot spot leaving bare titanium, you can re-anodize the clip so that spot blends in fairly well. I buy generic green grinding tips off of Amazon.
    • Cutting wheels for Dremel. Every once in a while I need to cut something that just isn't going to be cut by a knife. One of these bad boys and a little patience will cut through quite a lot of materials.
    • Flitz. To get out certain scratches, as well as to get a shiny finish, hand rubbing with Flitz and a paper towel is extremely effective. I'm still learning about when to use Flitz and when to use ceramic media and burnishing solution (in my rock tumbler).
    • Q-tips. Flitz + Q-tips will allow you to shine in nooks and crannies that are hard to get to, otherwise. When I was shining up the front scale of one knife, I used Flitz to get into the recesses of the front scale's design. Worked like a charm.
    • Rock tumbler and various media. This can do all kinds of things for you, rather cheaply. You can shine up a scale using ceramic media and burnishing solution; you can stonewash to get out scratches; you can stonewash because you just like the stonewashed look, and so forth. I am still experimenting with my rock tumbler and various media combinations to figure out how to achieve different surface preparations. I successfully used a rock tumbler with a combination of stream rocks and 60-grit media to rehab a scratched Norseman blade.
    • Automatic Center Punch. If you get a piece of ceramic media stuck into a blade stop hole in your knife (or any other hole), this tool, over the course of a few minutes, smash it to bits. I spent hours and hours and hours trying to get a piece of ceramic media out of a knife scale, until someone told me this trick. There's a good one of these on Amazon for $10.
    • Gorilla tape. Use this to mask off areas that you don't want your rock tumbler to touch. I'm also going to try to use this to mask areas that I don't want anodized.
    • Daiwa Reel Oil or Nano-Oil. To lubricate washers and bearings and detent tracks. I don't know which lube is best; I know people will argue about this forever. Sometimes I'm tempted to just use Mobile 1, quite honestly.
    • Frog Lube or other anti-corrosion agent. Again, Mobile 1 will probably protect your blade just fine; it has the disadvantage of not being good for food prep. Just find something you like that's edible, so when it gets in your apple slices that you cut at work with your EDC, you don't die. I use Citadel Black Knife Oil, but I also have Frog Lube.
    • Multi-Etch. For anodizing. This, in my opinion, is not exactly the god send that everyone makes it out to be, but I'll list it here, anyway.
    • Infrared Thermometer that doesn't touch the item in taking a temperature reading. Use this to figure out how hot your Multi-Etch is. Also use this to determine if your A/C is cranking out what it needs to crank out at your vent!
    • Frying pan or a disposable metal pan from the Dollar Store. As your cathode for anodizing.
    • Tupperware colander. To dip your part for anodizing.
    • Leads with allogator clips. For anodizing.
    • Distilled water. For anodizing.
    • Blue Loctite. I should really use this more often, but I admit that I don't, after really screwing up the action on my Kizer T1 from too much of this stuff. It made me a bit afraid of it. You might be more skilled than I am, though.
    • Compressed air bottle. Great for drying off knives and also for blowing out grit generated by your Dremel, before the grit works its way into the action of your knife.
    • KME. For sharpening knives.
    • KME Stones. I have yet to need to start with anything finer than the 1500-grit stone. My experiences may be a bit different from others'.
    • Stop collars for the KME. These are an insurance policy to make sure that you don't go too far with your diamond and wind up scratching up your blade. I bought a generic set from Amazon, not the official KME one. And I have two stop collars on my KME -- one to restrict upward movement of the stone, and one to restrict downward movement of the stone.
    • Upgraded KME stone mover handle. Did some research on the forums and bought a generic one on Amazon that isn't specifically made for KME. Works like a charm.
    • Sharpie. You can use this for lock stick, but I use it to trace out my knife edge to make sure my KME is set at the right angle. This principle of checking the angle with a Sharpie applies to any sharpening system.
    • Lapping Films. From large, cheap sheets that I buy from Amazon. This is much cheaper than buying the pre-cut ones with adhesive.
    • Glass blanks for KME lapping films. I bought some on Amazon. I think they're out, though.
    • 3M Adhesive from Home Depot. To affix the lapping films I cut, onto the glass blanks.
    • Strops for KME, from Reddit dude who makes them. I got three for $30.
    • Stropping compound. Choose what you like. I'm still experimenting.
    • Sandpaper of various grits. Sometimes I need to touch up some tumbling work, and 2000-grit sandpaper can do a great job (after tumbling in 60-grit media and rocks). Sandpaper also takes off anodizing. Experiment. Use it as you like. It's not expensive. I have various grits from 300 to 2000.
    • Nitrile gloves. Good to use if you are using Multi-Etch.
    • No-Cry Gloves. Good to use if you are a doing blade work on a grinder. These gloves don't protect from punctures, but they are very good at protecting from cuts from the knife edge.
    • Magnetic parts container/(non-magnetic) tupperware. If I've taken a knife apart, I can just dump all the parts into a magnetic container or into some tupperware, so I don't have to worry about that a tiny clip screw launching itself across the room for an adventure, just so Kizer can charge me $10 for it and have me wait 6 weeks to get it.
    • Budget Knife. Sometimes I put down gorilla tape on a blade and I need to trim it. If the blade is M390, I don't want to take another M390 blade to it, because it will scratch it. I don't even want to take an S30V blade to my M390 blade. This is when a nice 8CR13MOV or a razor blade or an X-acto knife comes in handy. I still only press as hard as I need to, but the threat to my expensive blade is greatly diminished.
    • Soldering iron. To break Loctite that won't break through mechanical means (like tapping the bit head with a hammer, as suggested by Spyderco technicians, when I called in).
    • Yet more tupperware! to divide all of your tools. I have one tupperware bin just for various liquids -- including lubes, Flitz, rust preventatives, Goof Off, adhesives, and more. Another container only houses small hand tools, like torx drivers, torx bits, hammers, calipers, and so forth. A third container houses all my media for my rock tumbler. Divide your tools into different bins so you can find what you need when you need it.
    • Gauze, bandages, hydrogen peroxide, and Super Glue. Eventually you're going to cut yourself. Have gauze ready to put pressure on the wound until it stops gushing. This may take up to 30 minutes. Don't panic; many bad looking cuts just need pressure. Have Band-Aids ready, and be prepared to change the Band-Aid when you re-open the cut when you bend your finger in some mysterious way, say around your tooth brush, for instance. I've tried to use super glue to bind wounds before, and I haven't been able to get it to work on wounds that cross joints, because I keep bending those joints. Feel free to try super glue, though, since it has worked for many people, and my doctor himself used it on my knife wound (the next day).
    In the upcoming months, I plan to purchase a cheap grinder to try to give some of my knives a satin finish, a sand blaster to experiment with different finishes, and perhaps a belt sander. The grinder will be my next hardware purchase.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
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  2. wade7575


    Apr 3, 2013
    I seen that you use the stop collar's on you KME to avoid scratching,my only problem with stop collars is they limit the full length of stones travel plus unless you tape the blade some water stones that release a lot of grit can scratch the edge.

    Try this trick I have been using for a while now,get the thick clear tape by 3M or Walmart sell's 3 roll's for a cheap price in Canada not sure about the states,don't use the real thin crap that always wants to fold up on itself and then you can't pull it part without tearing it,get single edge razor blade or a carpet knife and make sure it's used only for this and it will last a very long time.

    Put a peace of tap on the blade the full length of the blade and make sure it over hang's the edge and then just trim off what's over hanging the edge by sliding the single edge razor along the blades edge and don't trim the over hang on the spine of the knife yet,now lift the tape off the blade and then set it back down on the blade with the tape about 1 to 2mm higher then where it was and now you trim the tape off hang above the spine of the knife no point in doing twice right.

    Now just repeat the same process for the other side of the blade and your done.

    I had a KME a while back I got very tired of using real faster the Super steel's like everything from S30V S35VN M4 M390 S110V you get the idea,please don't think I'm bashing your system or anything like that but if I were you I'd look into investing into a different system if you want to increase the speed at witch you can sharpen.

    You wouldn't think that the extra 2 inch's of an edge pro would make a difference in the speed at witch you can sharpen but it does for me and I mean a lot,I also don't use a sweeping motion when I sharpen I push and pull the stone back and forth in the same spot 2 or 3 times then move over about 85 to 90% of the stones width overlapping a bit,I know some claim uneven wear can happen but I guess if they are doing that they need to stop wearing a blindfold and pretending they are knife sharpening Ninja that can sharpen knifes with their eye's closed,I can sharpen my knifes with a blindfold like a knife sharpening Ninja no really I can :):):)

    I also love the fact that my hands are not tied when it comes to stone select either because you name it and you can pretty much get any stone in the edge pro format.
    If you want to upgrade and not break the bank look at the Hapstone R7 or M2 depending whether you want a table or clamp based system,plus they are based in the USA now so the shipping will be cheaper plus the there's no import tax to worry about either.
  3. Sharperthansticks

    Sharperthansticks Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 19, 2017
    That's exactly why I use them; that's the intended effect.
  4. wade7575


    Apr 3, 2013
    I understand why you are using them I was just trying to point out that you can use tape and then not have to worry about using them if you use the thicker tape,also the KME stones are short enough why make them any shorter then they need to be by using the stop collars if you don't have to but that's up to you.
  5. Sharperthansticks

    Sharperthansticks Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 19, 2017
    The stop collars are adjustable, so I adjust them to exactly where I want to stop; I'm not making them shorter than they need to be. And this way I don't have to use tape.

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