September 7, 2013
Both God's Guardians get their bevels hand sanded to 400-grit.
Then it was time to grind the clips. In the past I've always ground Bowie-style clips legthwise on a wheel. But for these I decide to use the platen. I rarely use layout lines when grinding, but since this was my first time grinding a clip on the platen I thought it would be prudent.
After grinding I clean them up with EDM stones before finally hand sanding them to 400 grit.
Time to work on fitting the scales! This was my first time using bolstered scales on a tapered tang. In this shot one scale has been drilled through and I'm lining up both scales on the tang so I can use the first as a template to drill through the second.
After drilling the scales are roughly shaped with the bandsaw and grinder.
Then they're dry-pinned to their respective tang.
Brought flush and taken to 400-grit using the 1" small wheel on the grinder.
Then it's time to start shaping the handle. I use the 10" wheel with 36-grit and then 60-grit belts to rough out hollows to create the palm swell effect.
I then use the 2" wheel to further refine the shape before switching to slack scalloped belts to blend the various facets. This is what I have before final hand shaping.
I begin hand shaping with 60-grit paper and take the handles up to 400-grit. While shaping the handles I also clean up the perimeter of the tang and spine.
I pull the scales and use nonwoven attachments in the Dremel to break any sharp corners that the user's hand may come in contact with.
Now it's time to start working on the final finish. Both of these will have etched & polished hamons, which is an extremely time and labor intensive process. First I clean up the flats/ricasso to a soft 800-grit finish. I get this effect by using a piece of 50 durometer rubber between my sanding block and abrasive. This will create a nice contrast to the soon-to-be-polished bevels.
Then I begin hand sanding the bevels. It took me four hours to take one side of one knife from 400-grit to 1500-grit. Repeat three more times and that's sixteen hours of hand-sanding just to get me to the point where I can begin the etch/polish process.
For the hamon process I use white vinegar mixed with a few drops of dish soap and heated in the microwave. The dish soap helps break the surface tension so vinegar is less likely to bead up on the steel. The heat simply speeds up the etching process. I clean the blade thoroughly to remove any oils and then flood the surface of the steel with the warm vinegar using a wadded up paper towel. I spend about 10 minutes constantly rubbing both side of the blade with fresh vinegar. The result:
I then mix a concoction of Flitz polishing liquid with some old Outers polishing compound, Mobil 1 motor oil, and WD40. There are no rules here. I usually use a different concoction evertime just to see what kind of affects I get. I use my fingers to vigorously rub the mixture on the blade, which removes the oxides from the etch. It takes several cycles of this . . . etch/polish, etch/polish, etch/polish. I lost count how many times but it generally takes me anywhere from 10-12 hours of work on such a big blade before I'm happy with the results. For the last couple of polishing cycles I sometimes like to switch to a mixture of WD40 and Bar Keepers Friend.
Next, I clean up any inadvertent etching of the ricasso in preparation for the Alphahunter Lion logo.
My batch of 14 knives also returned from Peters this week, so I have lots of knives to finish!