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  • Knife Polishing

    Hi all, I am trying to learn how to polish pocket knives and achieve a mirror shine and finish, no polishing marks. Metal materials are stainless steal, carbon steal, & CV chrome vanadium mostly. I'm trying to get the same finish it would have stright from the manufacture.( i.e. Case Knife Co.)
    I was wondering if any one here could HELP me out ?? I'm using a 3600 rmp buffing machine, with a polishing kit from Caswell. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Knife Polishing

    welcome to the forum first off. as for the blade polishing you will need to establish a grain pattern on the blade. if they are new knife blades this step can be skipped. i would start out with a 240 grit sand paper and sanding block. then move up in grit through 800 grit, wet sanding all from 400 grit up. then start with a spiral sewn wheel and emory. first work the blade in the direction of the sanding grain. after you have a good cut change directions 90 degrees. keep working this combo and changeing directions till you get the shine level you need. then move to a spiral sewn with white compound. this should give the glow color you are looking for. if still not quite right then move to loose cotton and white to finish. best of luck bro and keep us posted on your progress.
    when in doubt polish it out/ why replace it when you can refinish it
    G2 Polishing and Powdercoating

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    • #3
      Re: Knife Polishing

      I agree with pickleboy, but I would start (after sanding) with emory on a sisal wheel for the carbon steel (sisal will cut faster). For the stainless and I assume in cr v., you will have to start with a sisal and a SS compound (caswells sells 3 or 4 types) then move to spiral with the SS compound, then white on loose. Stainless is a very hard metal, if you try to polish that with emory on a spiral, you'll be there all day.

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      • #4
        Re: Knife Polishing

        Hi guys, and thank you for the help. What if i have a factory finished knife blade that has begun to rust in spots and has left little pitted out holes. Would i still need to follow the steps you've recomended and bring the metal down below the pitted holes to remove them?
        Also i have taken a factory finished knife that has got just very light scratches and tried to remove them, i am still leaving polish marks, and can't seem to get that smooth mirror finish that it originally had from the factory.
        I must tell you that i am totally a rookie at this type of professional polishing. Now that i am semi retired, i want to learn how to become a professional at this. I have been collecting and selling knives for 20 plus years. And eventually i would like to become a custom knife maker.
        As for now the only polishing equiptment i have is a 3400rpm polisher and the kit i recently got from Casewell. Any suggestions as to what other equiptment and tools i might need to get would be greatly appreciated. From your guys post it sounds like i need to get some type of belt sander.

        Again thanks for the info. and and help guys !!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Knife Polishing

          Yes sand past the pits and continue as described above. Polishing marks can either be sanding scratches that were from a previous step (which means keep going until they are gone) or it's coming from your buffer or your cleaning process. Rake your wheels more often, and rake the **** out of it before the final buff and use a soft cloth for the cleaning process. Keep your compounds in seperate plastic bags to keep grit off of them (makes them last longer too) be extra careful with the white, a tiny piece of grit can ruin a great finish. Some people claim that you do the final buff with talc powder and it takes minute scatches out, but I have never tried it personally.
          A belt sander would be perfect for doing knives, especially a stationary one.

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          • #6
            Re: Knife Polishing

            Thanks for the reply, as for the belt sander. Would just any belt sander work ? Should it be wet or dry or both ? And where might be a good place to pick one up for what I am looking to do with it ?
            Also what would Naval Jelly do to the finish on a knife blade, if I used it to try to remove some tiny rust spots ?

            Thanks for all the help !!!
            knife_man
            New User
            Last edited by knife_man; 11-19-2005, 01:07 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Knife Polishing

              knife_man,

              I think I would get a combination disk/belt sander. I would prefer a disk sander with a 6" disk the belt would be someplace around 36" to 42". The reason I would use a 6" disk is that the DA sanders use 6" disks therefore making sandpaper readily available. You can get some pretty fine sanding disks for a DA making your manual labor a lot less.

              Sears has a nice combination sander for around $100.00.

              Naval Jelly: I haven't used that in many years. What I use is ********s OxySolv to clean the pits out. How do you plan on sealing the blade after you get the pits cleaned put?

              John
              jrow
              Experienced Metal Finisher
              Last edited by jrow; 11-20-2005, 10:59 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Knife Polishing

                Originally posted by jrow
                knife_man

                How do you plan on sealing the blade after you get the pits cleaned put?

                John
                On the sanders, I thought that I would have neded a flat belt sander or even 2 seperate sanders one wet and 1 dry, or if they make a snader that does both. To be able to get a precise grind. I even thought that I might have to make some kind of jig or clamping device to be able to hold the knife in a precise position, so I could attain a level and precise grind. I'm not sure if I can get this by hand.
                As I have stated in my other post, I am totally a rookie at this. So as for your question about the sealing of the blade I have no idea. I didn't even know you needed to seal it. But it does make sence now that you have mentioned it. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Knife Polishing

                  hey knifeman there is a company in oklahoma that is just what you need for the knife biz. the company is jantz they have a web site http://www.jantzsupply.com/ and offer a great catalog, its $5.00 but well worth it. as for the final polish you are looking for, i just tried and like them, is felt polish wheels. i have 10 inch ones. you can use them with regular compound. it only takes a very light touch though or they will get scorched. i dont know if caswell offers them but if you call and ask they might be able to add them to the product line.
                  when in doubt polish it out/ why replace it when you can refinish it
                  G2 Polishing and Powdercoating

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Knife Polishing

                    Wow......sounds like just what I've been needing. Thanks so much guys, you all are a really big help to me.
                    Also I will give Casewell a call Monday and talk to them about that wheel.

                    Thanks again guys !!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Knife Polishing

                      I used to make knives in a former life (mostly from old files, saws, and leaf springs). I generally used a rubber drum sander to hollow and shape the blade, then the same machine up to 600-grit to polish it, followed by emory compound as final polish. I never had to worry about heat since I hardened and quenched after the polishing (then tempered the blade and spine according to what kind of knife I was making.)

                      But in your case, assuming you're not taking the knife completely apart, you do need to worry about losing your temper, so to speak. I imagine you could rig up something - all you need is a fine mist of water.

                      I strongly recommend a 1" belt sander, but try to find or make one with the top or bottom roller exposed (most of them have guards) - that way you can hollow out blades with the same machine. If you get a combo with a disc as well, you can use that to flatten the slabs for your handles.

                      I've found the green compound does a good final polish on stainless.

                      If you do get into making them from scratch, give me a buzz, I may have a few tips for you.

                      Mike

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Knife Polishing

                        Originally posted by mpierich
                        I used to make knives in a former life (mostly from old files, saws, and leaf springs). If you do get into making them from scratch, give me a buzz, I may have a few tips for you.
                        Mike
                        hey bro you are a man of many talents. i have a project knife i have been working on and off for about 8 yrs.i may need some advise how to finish i will drop you an e-mail when i get some free time to get back on it.
                        when in doubt polish it out/ why replace it when you can refinish it
                        G2 Polishing and Powdercoating

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Knife Polishing

                          Green on stainless is great, but I found out the other day, quite by accident, that blue on a loose cotton does a great number on stainless after the green. I don't know if it works across the board, but I have some beauty rings that need finishing. I'll post some pics if it works out.

                          Actually, blue was so successful that I tried it on a flannel applied after red on gold plating. Got rid of any fine marks and gave the gold a really nice color.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Knife Polishing

                            Originally posted by mpierich
                            I used to make knives in a former life (mostly from old files, saws, and leaf springs). I generally used a rubber drum sander to hollow and shape the blade, then the same machine up to 600-grit to polish it, followed by emory compound as final polish. I never had to worry about heat since I hardened and quenched after the polishing (then tempered the blade and spine according to what kind of knife I was making.)

                            But in your case, assuming you're not taking the knife completely apart, you do need to worry about losing your temper, so to speak. I imagine you could rig up something - all you need is a fine mist of water.

                            I strongly recommend a 1" belt sander, but try to find or make one with the top or bottom roller exposed (most of them have guards) - that way you can hollow out blades with the same machine. If you get a combo with a disc as well, you can use that to flatten the slabs for your handles.

                            I've found the green compound does a good final polish on stainless.

                            If you do get into making them from scratch, give me a buzz, I may have a few tips for you.

                            Mike
                            Basically, what I am doing right now is taking some old Case pocket knives that I bought that has some light rust and pitting on some of the blades and trying to get them back to the original factory finish and look. The knives are basically brand new out of the box, except for some light rust on the blades. I've been collecting for about 20 plus years and never would buy a knife it had any sign of rusting on them, but I couldn't pass these up. If I can get them cleaned up they will make a nice addition to my collection, plus it has presented me with the opportunity to learn how to do something I've always wanted to know anyway.

                            I see my next step is to purchase a sander, because some of the pitting can not be gotten out with buffing wheels. Although I've really done a pretty good job just with the wheels. Now I wished I had taken some pictures before I started cleaning them so you guys could have seen what they looked like......oh well, I'll take some pic's of the next ones I buy to clean up.

                            Again.....any and all advice and help is Greatly Appreciated !!!

                            Thanks, Ben

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Knife Polishing

                              knife_man,

                              Sanders: The sander that I was refering to in my original post was a combination disk/belt. Go to the www.Sears.com web site and do a search for "Disk Sanders". The sanders that I refered to have adjustable tables to set for different angles!

                              Don't think you'll need a wet sander if you are going to buff the blades.

                              By all means make some type on jig to hold the blades at the appropriate angle.

                              John

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