Bead Blast Bummer

Feb 25, 2001
I just tried getting the bead blast finish off of my carbon fibre M16 with a little polishing compound. No luck. I even tried using the compound along with a buffing whell on my dremel tool at high speed. It didn't even start to remove the bead blast!!!! Uggghhhh!!!!

I guess that Tuf-Cloth is gonna' have to do.
The bead blast is not that bad. Ive had a M16-03Z for about 6 months and have carried it almost everyday. I put some oil on it maybe twice in that time and have had no problems. Just put that Tuff Cloth on it and it should be just fine.

While it looks sort of like a surface coating, bead blasting actually goes fairly deep into the surface. You're not gonna remove it with a simple polishing technique. You'd have to grind the whole blade off. It's probably not advisable.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
I've got just the opposite problem. I have a Gerber A-F Covert with a bead blasted finish. While sharpening it in my Lansky sharpener, the metal vice rubbed off some of the bead blast on both sides of the blade. Is there anything I can do, or do I just chalk this one up to experience?

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James Caan in 'Eraser'
As I recall, the vise on a Lansky is aluminum. Aluminum is much softer than steel and shouldn't damage steel (which is why the vise is made of it). Sometimes, these Al vises will scratch mirror-polished finishes and so mirror-polished blades should be protected before clamped (I apply a layer of black electrical tape to the vise jaws when doing mirror-polished blades).

So, if the blade on your Gerber was so damaged by that Al vise, I've gotta suggest that you've got bigger problems with that blade than just a little cosmetics.

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!
You might want to clean the vise. Sometimes grit from the stones gets on it, damaging the finish. I always buffer it with cardboard to prevent that problem.


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Kirch, you probably just have a little aluminum stuck in the bead blast finish. Rubbing it with one of those green "scrubbie" used for cleaning, should get the aluminum particles out of the bead blast.

Daniel D.
careful with those green scrubbies. I got some little rust spots on the blade of my applegate combat folder and tried to scrub them off gently with a worn green 3M scrubbie. ended up scratching the blade finish pretty badly.
I don't know if you would call the finish on the Gerber EZ-Out, bead-blast, but after storing the knife in a tool box, I found a few specs of rust, so I used a polising paste on it and figured I'd rub the whole blade with it and found that it developed a frosty satin finish.
I have seen ARTSIG1 remove bead blast and come up with a fairly good satin finish. I believe he uses car polish with a small amount of abrasive in it. The key is time. He works it in and rubs it while watching entertainment and it takes a while. The result is very pleasing. It gives you an alternative to sitting in front of the boob tube and flicking you knife incessantly.
Maybe he will share his secrets here.

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Well it looks good to me! What I have found is, TIME IS THE KEY, just as David indicated. This is going away from the main topic but I'll go there anyway. I have used a couple of products with good success but the key has always been TIME. I use "Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish" and a product by Blue Magic called "Liquid Metal Polish" both available at Wal-Mart in the auto section. Neither of these have much, if any, grit. On stonewash blades I simply sit down in front of the tube and polish. I usually polish the blade several times a night. After a couple of weeks you begin to get a mirror like finish, especially on MT stonewash finish. It is sorta like a frosted mirror finish. Just got a Socom Elite-A with the two tone tanto blade. I have already mirror polished the screws, pivots, clip, and button. Course this voids the warranty as I have to disassemble, but looks great. In a couple of weeks I will let you know how the two tone finish comes out.

BTW, the Blue Magic does contain a small amount of grit and cuts faster. When I get to a finished point I always apply Rennasaince Wax. Best wax I've ever used for knives.

Art Sigmon
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I do believe part of the problem is also in the fact that there are 2 types of "bead blast" finishes. The real bead-blast which uses ball-bearings, or beads of glass or ceramic. This hammers the surface like a small ball-peen hammer and actually seals the surface. The treatment actually goes quite deep. (I think the other name for this process is shot-peening)

The other finish, which is usually sold as the same, and looks almost similar, but is actually quite different, uses sand or similar "gritty" particles. The effect of the treatment produces the same look, but opens up the grain on the surface of the blade and allows it to rust faster. Also the treatment does not usually penetrate very deep (probably due to the size and therefore kinetic energy of the particles). The other name for this process is sand-blasting.

The sand blasted finish will rust faster and get rubbed off easier. But, IIRC, it is cheaper and more widely used.
Got a sandpaper fetish myself...Done a MT and my Allen Blade Chipmunk.Went 200 grit - 400 - 600 - 1200 -1500 grits wrapped around a piece of foam...The last two being wet/dry automotive paper.Came out pretty good I thought..Done lock and screws also..Guess it took bout 3 hours to get a hazy mirror..