Out Darn Scratch Out

Aug 28, 2009
Out so I am back to working on the bowie that the handle broke on, I found a fix that works for me, so now I am trying to get the shiny parts shiny and I have run out of 400 grit paper:grumpy:

Normally I go from 400-600-800-1000-1500-2000-2500, but this one got a few extra scratches so I started a 320 to get those out

Looks like I am going to run out of 600 before I get the one side finished to no scratches too. Oh well my own fault I should have checked my stock before all the stores closed for the long weekend:eek:

So what is your normal progression for hand sanding?

Back to working the scratches out, just needed a little break.
I lube the blade with wd40 and work from 220 up to 600. I'm going to have to try going higher than 600 just for kicks.

I'm honestly impressed with how smooth a finish I get by wet-sanding to 600. That wd40, or similar, really makes a difference!
I am getting mirror finish at 2500 but it shows every scratch, I am thinking of cold bluing this one just for an effect. I would like to get and dark bluish satin blade finish, high polished brass guard and a satin polished black blue handle. Along with the black and red spacers I am using it should have a dramatic look
Just don't forget - when you're sanding out scratches, you're not sanding scratches.
You're sanding everything that is NOT a scratch.

If you have scratches showing up later, you just didn't make enough of THAT GRIT scratch.
Not the next grit.
That grit.

Look at it this way - say you have "A" scratch that is giving you fits trying to get "sanded" out.
Make another one the exact same depth.
You will have just DOUBLED the amount of area that you do NOT have to sand.
So, make a HUNDRED more scratches just like it.
You will have reduced the amount of area to be sanded dramatically.
Now, make a thousand.
Or two.
If it's Norton Black Ice, I go 320 to 600 to 1000 to 1500.

If it's Super Grit's Red Rhynowet I go 800 to 1200 to 2000.

I actually am starting to think I like the cheap Rhynowet better than the ridiculously expensive Black Ice.:eek:

I use whatever lube seems to work best on that day at that time and however I'm holding my mouth. Some of my favorites are Windex, Kool Mist, Ballistol, Cool Tool II, and WD-40. By far I use Ballistol and Windex the most.

I like to sand the whole blade to one grit.... CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN everything, the sanding block, the sanding fixture, and throw away that grit's paper towel.... THEN move onto the next grit.

I used to sand one side all the way up, tape it off, and then go back to the other. But if you get a piece of 320X grain mixed up somehow with your 2000X, it WILL RUIN YOUR DAY ;) :)

You are sanding at one angle, and then crossing that angle with the next grit right?

With all that said... I personally have no desire to sand above 600X unless it's a clay hardened blade and I have to in order to get the polish I want. A 320X or 600X CLEAN and WELL DONE hand rubbed finish looks like a million bucks on carbon and ss blades. (IMHO) :)
Yes I do go 90* to each grit while sanding and even have gotten anal enough to look for scratches from the previous grit with a x10 jewelers loupe. I just think I did too big of a jump going from 320-600, because I didn't check my paper stocks. It turns out Canadian Tire is open today and I am off to buy some 400, 600 and 800 grits right now. Its not the best paper out there but it gets the job done.

I also clean the crap out of everything between grits, even during to get a good look at my progress.

I have a 1X2 inch piece of 5160, same steel as I am working with, that I am going to through in my little coffee can forge today to do a rough home HT on and hit it with the cold bluing to see if I like the way it comes out. If I like it then the blade I am working on will get done too.
Well don"t have to worry about this one anymore, half of the tang broke off while sanding this afternoon, I could try and weld a piece of threaded rod on to the half that is left but I don't know anyone with a welder that will get in the area for the next 4 weeks, so that is 2 fails in one weekend. Who kicked Murphy over to me neck of the woods:grumpy:
If it's Super Grit's Red Rhynowet I go 800 to 1200 to 2000.

I actually am starting to think I like the cheap Rhynowet better than the ridiculously expensive Black Ice.:eek:

The Rhynowet is great isn't it? :)

I usually go to 600 on the belt sander then back to 400 on a hard backed palm sander, 400 on a stick, 600 on the palm sander, 600 on a stick. I use cutting lube with all of it except for the last few passes where I finalize the scratch pattern I use Windex. I tend not to do high grit finishes. (of course, I don't tend to finish knives at all either... :rolleyes: ). I can get to a finished 600 grit finish in about 15-20 minutes.