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Help with removing scuff marks/scratches


Feb 18, 1999
I have a few knives which over the years have developed small scuff marks, scratches and slight abrasions.Nothing too deep but deep enough not to be removed by normal polishing. Can anyone tell me what to use (technique or product) to remove these surface imperfections and return a mirror finish? Thanks.
I think it may be a bit radical for just cleaning up a knife, but a Scotchbrite wheel or pad will take out almost any scratch a knife might get in use. These apply really nice satin finishes of various degrees, and can be followed by normal wheel or hand polishing to reach a mirror finish again. This would definitely constitute refinishing the whole blade, though.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)

when using a scotchbrite pad (which I tried) should I follow the line patterns of the blade itself? or just scrub away and hope that everything will be uniform eventually?

I tested it on one knife I have here which has scratches, and it turns out that I made a real mess of the finish... ARGHH...


To get rid of a scratch, you must rub it away with the same "grit" of the scratch, or rougher. You can tell a scratch is going away if you rub at an angle to it. (i.e. not parallel) and you can't see it anymore. of course now you have made more scratches (uniform ones, but still scratches). so you find you have to do the whole blade. Then polish your way back up to whatever finish it was originally. Ain't it a bitch? hehe. Just live with the scratches, they add character, and after awhile you wont' even care anymore.
Personally, I don't worry about scratches on the blades of my knives, even the custom lockback that's my daily carry. But there was one blade a while ago that got so scratched up I figured I couldn't ruin the finish any more, and I surprised myself by obtaining a very good finish just by using wet/dry sandpaper which I obtained from Bob Engnath (Blades & Stuff). You can find similar paper at just about any knife supply store. Just estimate the grit used to finish your knife, and go with one notch up on the scale. (i.e. if your knife was finished at 600 grit, you might want to start with 400 grit and work your way back to 600).

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23


Until you start getting into a true mirror polish, a finish is nothing more than uniform scratches all going the same direction. My understanding is that you should go with a scratch to remove it, but going across it occaisionally will let you see where it is much more easily. An extreme example is that when grinding a knife you try to do each grit at a different angle than the one before so that scratches will really stand out. Once you get to re-applying the finish after taking out your scratch, just make long, even strokes all in the same direction. Very nice custom knives will often show a satin finish that runs along the length of the blade, but more often you will see the finish run across the width of the blade because it is just fine (or not so fine - e.g. in some Benchmades) grinding marks. In recent years its seemed to me that even the marks from a 220-grit grinding belt have come to be called a "satin" finish


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
I would have to agree with Jadis. If you are going to use this knife, then you will continue to get scratches. Although we all hate them, there is no way around it on a working knife. If they really bother you, they can be taken out, if they are not too serious. It is best done on a decent belt grinder with decreasing grit belts, then to a buffing machine to get a real mirror polish.
If you dont have a belt grinder, then you can do it by hand as Ryan said, with a little elbow grease. The thing is to be sure before you start, you dont want to make it worse. Practice a little on a scrap piece of metal, or better still, an old knife...Good luck!

Happy Knifemaking...
Go to your local optical center that makes eyeglasses. Buy some of the abrasive polishing pads they use to finish the lenses. They are self adhesive and I have used them on a random orbit sander to bring up a really nice finish on metals. They have about 5 different grits, one is so fine that it feels like a piece of plastic film.
About the only way to get back to a mirror finish is to buff the blade with a little buffing compound on the buffing wheel. I would suggest a stainless steel buffing compound because it removes scratches quickly and leaves a high shine.

If you have any problem finding the compound give me a call.


[This message has been edited by george tichbourne (edited 06 June 1999).]