||[Feb. 5th, 2004|09:27 am]
Wow, it's been a while. I haven't been completely lame, just busy with other things for the most part.|
Most recently, finished off an axe for a commission (wrought iron with welded on homemade steel edge, ash handle), but I have also been spending quite a bit of time on the various tantos and other knives that had blades heat treated but not polished & etc. I must say, grinding out surface rust pitting on a blade that was near-perfect after HT is discouraging, but reminds me I just can't let the blades lie around without protection or at least finishing them up and sending them to rust at someone else's.
I definitely need to get a milling machine, the thought of hand-cutting out a dozen guards is pretty daunting. I'll be checking out the local metalworkers list, see if anyone has a machine they're not using, but most likely I'll be buying a mini-mill from Harbor Freight. Yeah, the machines are crud, but this will let me get started, and hopefully I'll be able to pay for a real mill using the profits from these knives. We'll see.
Polishing tantos is a slow, hand-eye coordination intensive process. Even cheating by using machines, it still takes over an hour per knife to get it right. I start by loading up the high-speed grinder with A65 trizact and the other, a Bader III with a small drive wheel, thus slower speed, with X30 Norax. I start on the x30 grit, and if I find a scratch or pit that is taking too long on that grit, I move to the A65 and remove it. Once all the knives I'm currently working on are at the x30 finish, I move that to the high-speed grinder and load an X15 onto the Bader. Repeat with A6 and I'm done with the grinder work. A6 is about 2000 grit, and really leaves a mirror finish with barely noticeable scratches -- hit it with a buffer, and you get a true scratchless finish. On differentially hardened knives, however, hit it with a buffer and you'll remove the visible hamon, which was the point of this exercise.
Next update will probably be Sunday, by which time I should have some finished blades to brag about.