First, I am typing this while it is still fairly fresh in my mind in the hope that my mistakes will help other newbies. Second, I hope some of the more experienced members will offer advise if I have done something wrong. If you are a newbie and find this post helpful, come back in a few days to see if any of the more experienced members have offered advice, or have pointed out anything I have done incorrectly. And third, I hope to give enough detail to include things that have become second nature, (and done without thought), by long timers.
So my first attempt at each of these is close to finished. overall I am satisfied if not really happy with my first attempt. Grinding the distal taper was easy compared to grinding the full flat grind. I used a welder's magnet to hold the blank while grinding the tapers, but that doesn't seem to work for the flat grind - too much chatter. I need my hands closer to the grinder to keep the blank steady.
Here we go: I made a pattern and ground my blank, (1/4" 5160), to rough shape, (I don't have a metal cutting bandsaw). Then I scribed a centerline on the spine and edge using a 1/4" drill bit. I flipped the blank over and scribed from the other side of the blank and the two lines were on top of each other. I had painted Dykem on both the spine and edge first. Then I placed a 1/8" bit under the tip to raise it a little. Next I took a larger bit, (can't remember what size), and scribed the taper on both sides of the blade and the tang. I got lucky because the tapers almost met in the middle of the blank. Almost forgot - I have a decent sized piece of 1/2" plate glass to use as a flat surface and that's where I did the scribes.
Now it's time to grind. I used a 36 grit Blaze belt, (I think it's Blaze - bright orange??), and held the blank with the welder's magnet and parallel to the belt. I held the blank against the running belt at an angle as close to the scribed angle as I could and ground the taper on each side leaving about 1/32" outside the line on all four sides - two each for the blade and the tang. This went fairly well although the grinds did not parallel the scribed lines exactly. I think it went well because there of the large surface area touching the belt making it easier to get a flat grind. You need to be extremely careful doing these grinds because the 36 grit belt removes material quickly, and any mistakes will, (and did), cause problems later.
Next came the flat grind. For this step, you have to hold the the blade perpendicular to the belt, so there is less of the blank touching the blade at any time . It's very easy for the blade to wobble a bit from side to side and that will round the blade from edge to spine. I think practice is the answer here - my first attempt was not close to perfect. I held the blank with the edge up and started grinding with a larger angle than necessary, and I decreased the angle by small amounts hoping that I would eventually wind up reaching the spine and a full flat grind at the same time. I was close, but wound up taking a bit more off the edge than I had planned. It's also easy to lose the flat taper because you have to move the blank across the belt from side to side.
With the heavy grinding done, I reached for a 12" course bastard file. I forgot to start with a drawing motion and started filing across the blade. After a few strokes, I realized I was supposed to be draw filing the length of the blade and switched. That worked much better, but I now had to remove the cross filing marks. I needed to do this slowly because I don't have the correct motions down yet. I had to remove the crowning in the center caused by my poor grinder technique, but I did get it done. There was no problem with swarf buildup causing scratches, but I was still cleaning the file every few strokes. Next I switched to a smaller fine file and carefully filed across the blade so that I could tell when all the course marks were gone. This required short strokes to keep from rounding the flat surface. Once your hand starts to move off the blade, it's very easy to tilt the file, so short strokes worked best. I found out the hard way that the fine file catches more filings that gouge the blade. This means more filing to remove the gouges, and more careful cleaning of the file. Almost forgot that I also had to remove several spots where I carelessly let the blank touch the moving belt at the spine - this look a long time and removed way too much material. By the time I finished with the fine file, the edge did have an edge... I had to go back to the grinder and grind the edge until it was about 1/32" thick.
Next came the sanding. I looked for a chart that would list the grit equivalent of various files, but did not see one. (Can anyone point to one?) I started with 120 grit, but think I could have probably gotten away with 220 grit. Next came 400 grit, and then 600 wet or dry. I did;t have any 400 grit W/D Again I changed the sanding direction 90* every time I switched grits, and used short strokes when sanding across the blade. This is where I am at now.
General notes: I messed up the ricasso not paying close enough attention, and I don't have a guide yet. I watched a bunch of youtube videos on draw filing and one caught my attention. He would wipe the file after every stroke with his fingers. Then he would wipe the blade with his thumb. This was a very quick action and looked like it would work, so I started doing it. NOT a good idea because my thumb picked up a bunch of tiny metal splinters. They were too small to see, but I could feel them and they caught on any fabric I touched. I have probably forgotten some things I meant to include, so sorry for that. OK - here are a few photos: