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Jesus, sanding is stressful.

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by TheOTBalisong, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. TheOTBalisong


    Jun 28, 2012
    :eek: Alright guys,
    Yet another question, from me, to you.

    A few things, one, I'm having problems with a very blotchy finish.
    Like, one tone of silver there, different tone of silver here.
    The coloration is varied across the knife, what's the solution?
    I'm sanding with a paint stir stick (Yeah, I know).

    Also, I'm finding that chasing scratches back down stages of grits isn't really worth it.
    It's frustrating when you sand to 600, then find a scratch from 120.
    Do you guys really think it's worth it, in sand paper cost, and time, to
    chase scratches down to lower grits, and I'm not talking one grit, I'm saying re-sanding the whole knife.

    Also, does quality of sandpaper actually affect the finish?

    Say, If I have some Aluminum Oxide 300 grit, and some, say, ceramic 300 grit,
    Will the surface finish actually vary between AO and Ceramics?
    Other then duration of good cutting time,
    What difference does the grit material actually make?

    Thanks in advanced,
  2. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    Yes, it's worth it for a nice finish. Yes, the source of the sandpaper matters. What you pay for with good paper is grit consistency and long paper life. Cheap paper has inconsistent grit, nearly impossible to get a nice finish. Make sure you have good light, and make sure you progress the grits right. I usually go 400 on the belt, then 400 hand, 600 hand.
  3. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator

    Jan 9, 2011
    You may be seeing decarb which will seem blotchy if partially sanded through.

    Heck yeah it's worth it to go back and fix it, it may take an hour or two but the knife will be around for a long time.

    You will also learn from it, keep a good eye on those scratches and after a while it will get a lot easier to spot them and to know what grit to go back to. You really shouldn't be going back more than two stages, they should show up at that point most every time.
  4. G. Shahan

    G. Shahan

    Jul 19, 2008
    Yes, its worth doing things the right way.
    cheap ao sand paper costs more in the long run, in money and more importantly, time.
    Not to mention frustration.
    Buy good paper, work though the grits and be diligent.
    Once you get past 320 it goes fast.
    keep at it.

  5. TheOTBalisong


    Jun 28, 2012
    Lol, what was I thinking, Asking weather or not it was worth it to perfect a knife on a knife maker's forum. :rolleyes:
    I think the cheap paper is whats making me have to re-sand some grits back.

    I'll look into it.
  6. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    I will sometimes jump back on a high grit belt to speed those things up. Usually up 100 - 200 from my sanding grit, then back to hand sanding.
  7. wolffbite


    May 7, 2010
    Rhynowet Redline A/O seems to be the favorite hand sanding paper by several makers on the forum (myself included). Supergrit has it in 10 and 50 packs and it should average you ~$0.50 a sheet which is pretty damn good.
  8. P. McKinley

    P. McKinley KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2008
    I have yet to get some of this Rhynowet stuff. I'm still buying and liking the Norton 3x or Premium for dry sanding and the Norton Wet Sand in the higher grits to 2500. Occasionally I'll get a few sheets of high grit Black Ice which I'm told is THE stuff, but it doesn't seem to cut as well as the Norton Wet Sand.

    Alax - I've done enough hand sanding now to have realized that I have gotten faster/more efficient with the process. I've learned how to look for scratches. I've learned how much pressure I need to apply. And, I've learned that good strong, perfectly flat, non-flexible sanding block is an essential. know the For me, I like the look of the hand sanded blade so "is it worth it"? To me, yes.

  9. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    If it were easy, everybody would be doin it... :D
  10. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    silicone-carbide wet/dry paper.
    remove all the 60 with your 180 before proceeding to 280. Remove all 180 with your 280 before proceeding to 360, etc.
    Learn to look for residual scratches.
    It needn't be stressful. It can be zen.

  11. Frank Niro

    Frank Niro Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    Look around locally and see if you can find some Sia brand made in Switzerland it is the equivalent of the Rynowet . It's a winner for sure and is no more expensive - less where I buy - than 3M or Norton, or ---- . I get mine from a supplier here called KMS Tools. Frank
  12. james terrio

    james terrio Sharpest Knife in the Light Socket Moderator

    Apr 15, 2010
    All I can really add is try your best to get the surface straight and clean on the grinder or with files. I come off the grinder at A45 (about 320 grit, I think?) then drop down to 220 or even 100 by hand. There's no sense moving forward until you have a nice consistent pattern at that point. I'll sometimes do a couple passes back on the grinder at A45 - that will quickly show, and help even out, any problem areas. It seems like extra work, but it's really not - a good 220 finish actually looks fairly decent, and 400 starts to look like a real knife. After that it goes very quickly. I use water or windex to start with, switch to light oil for the higher grits, then do the final few passes dry.

    When I get it right on the grinder and work diligently (but not rushing) I can get a 4-5" O1 blade finished to 400 in 60-90 minutes. Mind you, with wear-resistant steels especially, I sand up to 400 before HT just to save time later. It doesn't have to be a mind-bending struggle - work smarter, not harder.
  13. gomipile


    Apr 17, 2010
    Rather than using a paint stick as a backing, use a piece of hard rubber or such which can provide even contact over the are you are applying pressure to.
  14. TheOTBalisong


    Jun 28, 2012
    I'm planning on making a sanding block out of some spare Epay wood I got laying around.
    Also, for papers, I'm using Gatorgrit Aluminum Oxide for 60-320.
    Then Gatorgrit Silicone Carbide for anything higher in grit.
    I have tried Rhynowet and Black Ice at a local Knife maker's shop, and really liked both of them.
    So I'm planning on ordering some soon, and thanks for all the advice, gents, really appreciate it.
  15. Karl B. Andersen

    Karl B. Andersen KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 27, 2003
    Keep in mind that a nice sanding job is NOT the product of a lot of sanding - a good sanding job is the product of a good grinding job. ;)

    Also, when you're "sanding out scratches", you're not sanding scratches.
    You're sanding everything that's NOT! a scratch.

    If you find yourself with a bunch of renegade scratches at one certain grit, don't sit there and go through tons of sandpaper - go back to the grinder!!! and get those scratches out with your next grit.
    You weren't done.
  16. SBuzek

    SBuzek KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 7, 2006
    Karl hit the nail on the head.

  17. james terrio

    james terrio Sharpest Knife in the Light Socket Moderator

    Apr 15, 2010
    What am I, chopped liver? :p :D
    Just teasing. It was Karl who helped me clarify that in my head in the first place.
  18. mgysgthath


    Dec 15, 2009
    I may have missed it but I don't think anyone mentioned.. when you change grits change sanding direction too, so the lines are contrasting the previous grit scratches.. makes it easier to see when the last grit scratches are gone.
  19. TheOTBalisong


    Jun 28, 2012
    If only I, poor, miserable, me, even had a grinder. :D
  20. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    I don't envy you the lack of grinder. Maybe save up and get one of those... :D

    Lots of good tips in here though. Hopefully I too will be able to improve my finish quality. Thanks for posting this thread.

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