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Your "least enjoyable" part of bladesmithing? Why&How you prevail?


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Once I moved to a disc grinder for finishing, I shaved a ton of time off my hand sanding. They will make your flats FLAT and get rid of imperfections from the belt grinder. It’s become one of my favorite tools in the shop once I finally started to use it.

 

My least favorite part is grinding. I really enjoy the forging. I have a large number of forged blades laying around waiting to see the grinder... ugh.

 

Eventually I get in a mood to finish some knives and I just start grinding. I’ve got 4 2x72’s, each set up for a different process so no swapping stuff around. Gotta do something to shorten the amount of time I spend around those things.

 

I sure do feel good once the grinding is done and I can get on to cleaning up, hand sanding and guard/handle stuff.

Edited by Cody Killgore
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4 hours ago, Cody Killgore said:

Once I moved to a disc grinder for finishing, I shaved a ton of time off my hand sanding. They will make your flats FLAT and get rid of imperfections from the belt grinder. It’s become one of my favorite tools in the shop once I finally started to use it.

You must have talked to Dave Lisch, too....I've heard him recommend this on more than one occasion.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I really don't like the deflation of going from one step to the next, thinking i've knocked it out of the park, only to realise the step before was not quite as good as i'd hoped :D 

 

Forging 'yeah' neatest forging ever ! - heat treat ......... 'crack'

 

Perfect forging and heat treat ! 'yeah' straight as a die. Rough grind says bananna!

 

Perfect forging, heat treat, rough grind ' yeah!' - delam in steel on finish grind!

 

etc etc. I am getting better at seeing them to the finish post though. Incremental improvements.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Well ive recently got around to actually building a decent forge blower so nkw that i have the heat ill have to work on the neat. These past 6 months or so ive been working on my machining skills so i can actually build everything i need from scratch. Mostly so everything can be easily fixed on the spot instead of having to wait on parts. Ive built my own stick welder, fan and controls, tongs, ect. Next will definitely be a belt grinder and a small power hammer to deal with the tap tap tap of edge beveling and tang shaping. I have everything i need but free time hahahaha!

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  • 2 months later...

Least favorite part of knifemaking, is screwing something up, even if its a learning experience I hate making mistakes. Materials are costly.

Favorite part, is hand sanding, but I bought a mini laptop just for that use, I clamp up the knife, toss on a movie or a youtube video about something I enjoy and get through the grits. Since I have been on a W2 with hamon kick for the last while there is always that desire to get far enough into the grits to see what I was able to pull off. 

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Getting everything perfectly flat is a nightmare for me, especially the tang so I can actually get scales to sit flush. Messed up so badly with my current knife I gave up with scales and decided to cheat. Used paracord. Was actually kind of fun wrapping it. 

 

Also hand sanding at lower grits is the worst. Once I get around 220 grit and the steel actually starts to shine a little I actually kind of enjoy it.

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Roughing out scales to get the contours symmetrical is a chore 

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My least favorite parts are the final glue-up, and the last little fiddling with the parts right before it's ready for glue. I find the whole gluing process to be nerve wracking to say the least and getting everything tight, flush, and square, is truly one of the most frustrating parts of the process. I should probably use fewer pieces in my handle builds and focus more on take-down construction. That would alleviate most of the stress.

I noticed a lot of folks have hand sanding on the list. Cody talks about using the disc grinder and Billy mentioned David Lisch teaching folks to use it. David learned that technique from Tim Hancock (I was in the room with David, Tim, and Mike Quesenberry, so don't debate it).  But most folks don't use it effectively though.  If you really want your hand sanding to go quickly, you have to alternate between the disc and hand. Raise the grit on the disc, match it by hand. You will motor through the process.

 

9 hours ago, Dave Stephens said:

Grinding the scale off of billets between draws isn't my favorite.

Do you do it hot or cold? I do a "prep grind" hot at the anvil to remove the scale. (another trick Hancock taught me). Use a cup on the angle grinder and a Pritchell tool to hold the piece down. The scale comes right off in a few passes and you can get a fairly flat surface. If all you are doing is stacking for more layers, don't even take it to the surface grinder to get the flats really flat. Just put a slight crown in the billet, cut it hot, stack, and keep going.

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the best way to hand sand a blade is to start with a belt grinder (haha). i dont like buying things, i can put up with steel because good steel is great, but ive had the same six grinding belts for at least six months now but i forge very close to finished. i use a $2 A/O 80 grit belt (gotta get more of those because they work as well as the 3m cubitron2 belt i bought) then i go to trizacts in 80 grit, 220 grit and then 320 or 400, i cant remember exactly but usually i can start hand sanding from 220 grit. hand sanding at grits lower than 220 is a waste of time.

 

what i really want is an upside down disk grinder so i can see where im grinding on a blade

 

i still hate trying to sell my blades because i know they can always be better

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22 hours ago, Dave Stephens said:

Grinding the scale off of billets between draws isn't my favorite.

Agreed on this except it's my least favorite.

I soak in vinegar for a few days, but still hate running the angle grinder/wire wheel.  I'm thinking about progressing to pH Down, which I hear is stronger.

Edited by billyO
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I have to say, since I've been using the surface conditioning belts, its really cut down on my hand sanding times! My usual progression is grinding out the blank at 50, then I'll pre-sand the surface going 80, 120 and then 180. Then I'll put in bevels, heat treat and so forth using the same progression to get a good match. Then I'll use the maroon and blue condition belts. After that, I can finish the blade quickly hand sanding at 220 and 400, with usually less than a half-hour for both. Just using those belts takes a ton off my time. I need to get the grey ultra-fine belt

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14 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Do you do it hot or cold? I do a "prep grind" hot at the anvil to remove the scale. (another trick Hancock taught me). Use a cup on the angle grinder and a Pritchell tool to hold the piece down. The scale comes right off in a few passes and you can get a fairly flat surface. If all you are doing is stacking for more layers, don't even take it to the surface grinder to get the flats really flat. Just put a slight crown in the billet, cut it hot, stack, and keep going.

I draw my billets out to this kind of length, so grinding hot isn't really an option. I do "pop" the scale off with a final heat and edge tap on the press before the cut and stack, but it's still a major pain. And, yeah, I have a 7" angle grinder and use cup stones on it. I also crown the billet.

 

IMG_2336.jpg

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