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Cleaning, polishing - Doug Ayen's Blacksmithing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doug Ayen

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Cleaning, polishing [Feb. 14th, 2003|12:38 pm]
Doug Ayen
Spent a couple of days cleaning up things, as I'm having dinner guests tonight. Looks like they may be staying for more than dinner, though -- snow is predicted. oh, well -- they're good company, and I have guest beds available.

When I wasn't cleaning, I spent some time on some tanto blades I'm trying to finish off. I did a quick polish down to A6 -- about .5 micron -- and am now working on the tricky bit, the edge work.

This is tricky because you can't do it on a high-powered grinder, as you'll just "burn" or distemper the edge. Steel at that thickness will just heat up almos instantly. So, to finish off the edge, get those two planes to intersect cleanly, I use a water-cooled grinder. I've been using one of those Makita doughnut wheels, but I picked up an older more traditional grinder a while ago -- like one of those Tormak, or the old delta grinders, but in this case made of cast iron, with an exposed double pulley system to slow down the stone. I mounted the grinder onto a piece of steel, mounted a 1/4hp motor (old GE motor, probably made in the 1930s), and rigged up the V-belts. It was quite clear that the wheel was turning way too fast with the initial setup, so I replaced the pulley on the motor with a smaller one, and it's much better now. I'm going to see if I can replace the large pulley on the grinder with an even larger one, as I'd like to slow the wheel down some more, but it's useable now. Pretty nice, too -- the old grindstone is fairly friable, probably an old aluminum oxide stone, though it could natural. It's not as smooth as the doughnut system, but for some angles of work, I think it'll come in very handy.

I've now got one tanto polished all the way to the edge. Given that the polish is even finer than the finest fingerstone, I'm going to try going straight to the nugui, a polishing compound composed of very finely ground iron oxide mixed with clove oil, filtered to removed any large particles. Though it does have a polishing effect, the primary use is to darken the steel, thus highlighting the hamon and helping to bring out any ji, nie, or other interesting figuring in the blade. I may go back and polish to a lesser grit, using the traditional materials and techniques, if I don't like the final result. We'll see.

Just got word that the grinder motor has been replaced, so I'm going to go pick that up now. Then some final cleanup, then I'll start cooking. Should be a great dinner.