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Cold Steel Stonewash -or is it?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Shorttime, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. Shorttime


    Oct 16, 2011
    I like stonewashed blades, and the contrast against the black handles of Cold Steel knives seems to make it stand out better.

    So, when I got a Micro Recon, the first step seemed obvious.

    Not wanting to disturb what Cold Steel had already done right, I worked on the spine of the blade with 400 grit dry sandpaper. The coating would come off, but the abrasive was too fine to polish out the stonewashing marks.

    When I got done, I was left with a satin finish on the spine, and some deeper scratches left over from the factory.


    What happened?

    So I got a small wire brush and started work on one of the swedge grinds. After a few minutes, the coating came off, and there was that stonewash look I had admired on other people's Cold Steels before.

    It wouldn't really make sense for CS to go through the extra step of stonewashing the blades, since they are going to coat them, anyway. It would be adding cost, without adding value.

    This is something we're doing ourselves, when we use aggresive material removal processes (Scotch-Brite, wire brushes, etc) to strip away the epoxy.

    I like the idea that doing it "wrong" (by using very coarse abrasives on a finished blade) leads to such a "right" result.
  2. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    As Mike Stewart says, a stone wash finish is an unfinished finish. Or something like that anyway. :D
  3. kreole


    Jul 23, 2009
    It could be they don't like how the coating looks with a satin finish underneath so toss the blades around in a tumble to smooth the finish first, giving the finish you see. Or, perhaps it's because they know the coating wears off easily so want the blade to have a decent polish for rust resistance purposes. Those are both guesses, but there are plenty of reasons one might want to tumble the blades despite coating them. A stonewash finish is not just for looks.
  4. mkjellgren


    Nov 1, 2005
    I believe the stone wash underneath helps the coating to adhere better to the blade. You definitely aren't creating a stonewashed type finish while removing the coating with a wire brush, I can tell you that much.
  5. PainInMyIrish


    Oct 6, 2012
    I think mkjellgren is right. The teflon coating they use is so feeble as is that if they tried to apply it to a polished or satin finish you could almost just wipe it off with a rag. But a second reason could be that since the coating wears so readily, the stonewash finish cold be to make the underlying steel more attractive to the eye once the coating is gone.
  6. james terrio

    james terrio Sharpest Knife in the Light Socket Moderator

    Apr 15, 2010
    Tumbling and bead-blasting are cost-effective ways to smooth out coarse grinding marks... whether the blade is going to be coated or not. Whether or not you think that sort of finish is attractive really isn't the point (despite marketing to the contrary). And as others have said, it would be folly to put a costly fine finish on a blade, then coat it.
  7. Shorttime


    Oct 16, 2011

    When I sanded the epoxy coating off with 400 grit, I got a satin finish!

    Am I wrong?
  8. rycen

    rycen Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod

    Aug 22, 2002
    The satin was caused by the sanding you did.
  9. Heiheit


    Feb 4, 2009
    That's what happens when you use sandpaper to remove a coating. The black coating cold steel uses can be removed by using a razor blade, screwdriver, etc.
  10. thebrain


    Dec 12, 2007
    You gave it a satin finish in 400 grit, I have stripped more than one cold steel folder and no matter the method the underneath is the same stonewash. I am sure the reason is tumbled/stonewash is the easy cheap way to clean up some otherwise not so smooth machine marks and is not a costly "nice looking" finish going to waste. I do like the stonewash because I tend to scratch my users and it hides the scratches well ...hmmm hides scratches huh...
  11. Shorttime


    Oct 16, 2011
    Yeah. The idea was that the 400 grit would not be aggressive enough to remove the stonewash. I guess it was.
  12. flatface77

    flatface77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 3, 2007
    I scraped the black coating off of a Recon 1 with some dull Smith & Wesson folder I had lying around & it came out stonewashed with no scratches. I then Flitzed it to a near mirror with no intermediate steps. It was my first attempt at refinishing my blades.

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