hand rubbed blades

Oct 1, 2000
I know everyone probably does it different, but what process do you guys use in putting a handrubbed finish on a blade.

What progression of grits?
What is your final grit?
Do you use a lubricant such as water, wd40, 3 in 1 oil???

Special little tricks that make it easier for you?

Tony Huffman
Sporting Clays & Shotguns ... my other bad habit!
I think it takes me too long most of the time, so I'd like to see this answered as well.

I typically take the blade up to a very fine finish on the grinder, and then start with as fine of a paper as I can get away with.

Since I do hollow and flat grinds, I have lots of different sanding blocks made up.

I have tried a lot of lubricants, and hands down CoolToolII works the best FOR ME.

As far as the stopping grit, it's typically 600. But sometimes I'll stop at 400, and occasionally go all the way up to 2000.

My final finish blocks have leather faces.

But something I've been trying lately is taping paper to the same wheel I ground the blade on (for hollows on this one of course).

Bill Ruple told me he just uses a belt on the grinder and turns it every pass by hand, just enough to expose new abrasive. The only problem with that for me is the cost of belts compared to the hoards of paper sheet I have (maybe the time difference would balance the cost out).

Well, I sure rambled on that one!

I have only finished 4 knives, so I can add little, except for this point:

I have a little table, a little chair and a 2x4. I clamp my blade onto the 2x4, and clamp the 2x4 to the little table. Popping a movie into the VCR, I begin to sand. When the movie is over, I have a nice finish!

"Come What May..."
I typically start at 400 grit. The final grit is between 600 and 2000 grit. For a 600 grit finish, I take it to 1000 before final finish.
I tried using CoolTool II, but it seems to cut just as well with WD40 (which is cheaper).


It seems to take me longer than I think it should, too, especially when working steels like S90V.

I have a tutorial on my website that might help you out some.
As for how long it takes to rub out a blade.I have spent as much as 20 hours on one blade before.You just have to rub until all the scratches are gone,no need in rushing it and ruining the finish tht you are trying so hard to get...

Bruce Evans Handcrafted Knives
The soul of the Knife begins in the Fire!!!!!
Member of,AKTI#A000223 and The American Bladesmith Society
Carefull watching movies or doing anything else when polishing. I put the tip of a 12" juke under my thumb nail and all the way to the first joint
. It can get REAL boring but try not to let your mind wander too far.
I rough grind at 60 grit on a belt grinder, then go to 120 grit on a recriprocating sander, then 220 grit by hand, then 400 grit, then 600 grit, then lightly make one careful pass on each side on the buff wheel.

The recriprocating sander flattens any high points from the rough grind. It is shop-built and I have a couple of photos on my web site. The link is:


John Ownby