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View Full Version : Your Favorite Wood and Metal Polish



RebelYell
07-06-2010, 09:54 AM
Basically Im finishing up my first knives and wondering the good products people tend to use and any advice in that regard. I was going to sand the metal and give it a good finish with high grits and then polish it off and then wax/buff the wood down after I shape it. Anything Im missing? Do I need a separate polish and wax? How do you "care" for the knives in the long term?

EdCaffreyMS
07-06-2010, 10:48 AM
My personal favorite for long term protection of knives is Mother's brand caranuba cleaner/wax, paste wax. (I buy it a Walmart for about $12) I've tried all the "high dollar" waxes and such, but keep coming back the this stuff. I like it so much that I even use it on my firearms too. It sheds water, and doesn't attract grit/dirt like oils.

For handles I apply a good coat, and then hand polish it right back off. On blades/hardware, it only takes a little bit, used in the same manner.

Another wax that I like for natural handle materials is BriWax in the clear/neutral color.

RebelYell
07-06-2010, 10:58 AM
Sir you are following me and I am enjoying all your advice. Any advice on getting a good finish on the blades themselves for the initial polishing?

EdCaffreyMS
07-06-2010, 01:48 PM
Don't mean to be "following" you! :) I was answering when I saw nobody else had.

As far as finishing, I hand finish EVERYTHING. Machine finishes, including buffing make a blade look...well... machine finished. I go to 600 grit on my belt and/or disc grinder, then by hand from there. My final finish is generally etched, but I also like satin finishes. I create my satin finishes by going to 1200 by hand, then back up to 600 grit for the final finish.

Although it's just a person opinion, I detest mirror finishes....I think they look "cheap", and I just hate it when people ask "Who chrome plates your blades?" :bud:

James Terrio
07-06-2010, 03:05 PM
Although it's just a person opinion, I detest mirror finishes....I think they look "cheap"

Finally! I thought I was the only one who felt that way. I know many makers and buyers insist on a buffed mirror-finished blade, and more power to 'em. But I just don't like them, never have. A high hand polish, heck yeah. It's hard to explain but I can tell the difference.

Plus, I'm scared to death of buffers so it works out good for me :D

The wax recommendations are cool, thanks Ed. Renaissance Wax is often recommended for collector pieces but it's awfully expensive and I doubt it's worth it for a user knife.

Denny Eller
07-06-2010, 03:49 PM
Ed, I couldn't agree with you more about a mirror finish. The only knives that may deserve a mirror/highly polished finish are safe queens or ones that you are going to hang on the wall. Real knives that are and can be used should have a hand rubbed satin finish IMHO. Machines make mirror finishes, hands make hand rubbed satin finishes. Denny

Dan Pierson
07-06-2010, 04:25 PM
I don't like mirror finishes either. Keep feeling that I should do one someday just to prove that I can (mainly to myself) but why make a knife I'll dislike once it's done?

James Terrio
07-06-2010, 05:53 PM
Let's start a club! :D

BTW no offense to the many folks that love 'em. To each their own 2thumbs

Squawsach
07-06-2010, 07:39 PM
My personal favorite for long term protection of knives is Mother's brand caranuba cleaner/wax, paste wax. (I buy it a Walmart for about $12) I've tried all the "high dollar" waxes and such, but keep coming back the this stuff. I like it so much that I even use it on my firearms too. It sheds water, and doesn't attract grit/dirt like oils.

For handles I apply a good coat, and then hand polish it right back off. On blades/hardware, it only takes a little bit, used in the same manner.

Another wax that I like for natural handle materials is BriWax in the clear/neutral color.


I thought I was the only one that used car wax. I use regular old Turtle Wax paste.

Allen Newberry
07-06-2010, 08:40 PM
I like the Briwax.

RebelYell
07-06-2010, 09:25 PM
Don't mean to be "following" you! :) I was answering when I saw nobody else had.

As far as finishing, I hand finish EVERYTHING. Machine finishes, including buffing make a blade look...well... machine finished. I go to 600 grit on my belt and/or disc grinder, then by hand from there. My final finish is generally etched, but I also like satin finishes. I create my satin finishes by going to 1200 by hand, then back up to 600 grit for the final finish.

Although it's just a person opinion, I detest mirror finishes....I think they look "cheap", and I just hate it when people ask "Who chrome plates your blades?" :bud:

Oh no, I was glad you were. Im getting all the knowledge I seek from you is what I was saying. I have more to ask but Ill tie it into a post below.


Ed, I couldn't agree with you more about a mirror finish. The only knives that may deserve a mirror/highly polished finish are safe queens or ones that you are going to hang on the wall. Real knives that are and can be used should have a hand rubbed satin finish IMHO. Machines make mirror finishes, hands make hand rubbed satin finishes. Denny


I don't like mirror finishes either. Keep feeling that I should do one someday just to prove that I can (mainly to myself) but why make a knife I'll dislike once it's done?

By all means, Im willing to try something else. Mostly, I was just trying to learn methods and like someone said, to see if I could and better understand it all. I do enjoy satin finishes...could someone explain how they are achieved? This may shock yall but Im new to this.

Rudy Joly
07-07-2010, 09:55 PM
Add another to the "cheap looking club".
Every time I see a mirror polish it reminds of a couple knives I had in the sixties which peeled because they were plated. I don't know if it was chrome or nickel but I never forgot it. Although I can appreciate the work involved in a mirror finish and have done it just to do it, I can't get past those memories. I do mine pretty much as Ed does, give or take a grit or Scotchbrite belts.

Rudy

Meridian Blades
07-07-2010, 11:17 PM
Ren and Bri........but heard good things about the mother's quite a few times. I've tried some smoking pipe waxes, etc but got a big tub of ren for like $20 and it only takes a little to thin coat most things.

Larry

RebelYell
07-23-2010, 11:09 PM
Guys, maybe you can help me out here...I tried the go to 1200 and back down to 600 an uh...maybe Im just doing it wrong here but this is the result so far...I was going for the satin as I had read. Went to 1200 and then 600 sanding one direction..and then here I am...marching towards a mirror finish...little lost guys...could really use some input or detailed instructions or something...a baseline. Im not complaining but puzzled.:confused: Dont mind the scar down the middle, thats from the China Freight grinder.:mad:

And yes, I do love the '...'

http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt71/comeandtakeit/100_0464.jpg?t=1279944358

http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt71/comeandtakeit/100_0466.jpg?t=1279944358

http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt71/comeandtakeit/100_0467.jpg?t=1279944477

Fletch Helical
07-24-2010, 12:38 AM
From the looks of it you're not getting out previous scratches from lower grits before you move to the next. You have to get rid of EVERY scratch from a previous grit before moving on. When at the lower grits it's very helpful to sand in 2 different directions with each grits. Meaning, sand parallel to with the blade at sat 120 perpendicular with 220 parallel with 320 (or 400) however you jump. Once you pass 400 it goes a bit quicker getting those scratches out and you can start hand rubbing from there. I tend to like a hand rubbed finish as well, the limited knives I've done I did hand finishes up to 800 grit with Mobil 1 oil. Here's the last one I did with that finish.

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m35/Pok7_s/Knife%20stuff/knife038.jpg

I haven't taken a blade up with them yet but 3M sells polishing cloths that I believe are used quite a bit by jewelers and go up to 8000 grit and I can tell you that on handle material at least, it will put a great polished finish on. I have yet to bring steel up to a grit like that yet. I actually really like the 800 grit finish with the Mobil 1. I used them on that handle and that is just finished with tung oil finish, and I hand buffed it with the 3M cloths and finished with just a little buffing paste on a cotton cloth and hand buffed it a bit.

RebelYell
07-24-2010, 12:50 AM
A lot of it is just scratches from using crappy 80 grit HF belts and pushing the knife into the back piece. But you are right regardless. I was really hoping a nice even gray satin look was doable by hand but I still like the ones in the style you did. Im just puzzled by the fact that with 600, Im seeing something a lot closer to a mirror finish than you did with 800...maybe Im just using my sandpaper too long...

This look to me is so sexy. Is there any way to do this by hand?

http://knifedogs.com/gallery/files/5/4/sbs_061_731296.jpg

Fletch Helical
07-24-2010, 01:09 AM
Clamp the blade to something flat. I use a 1x2 clamped to my bench and hold the tang in place with spring clips. Use something flat to wrap a piece of sandpaper around. I switch between a piece of small square steel stock and block of wood for handle material depending on which way I'm sanding. Get ALL the 80 grit scratches out with say 120. Work up from there, check the blade at different angles, in different lights, with magnification if possible. Also is this a post HT blade or pre HT? Pre HT you don't necessarily need a super fine finish, 400 seems to be a fairly common finish pre HT. You're going to have to re-sand after HT anyway. If it's post HT you can get them out, it'll just take some time. I found some scratches I thought I got mostly out on my first knife after I spent hours taking up to a great 800 grit hand finish. I thought they would eventually work themselves out either through the grits or rubbing it for hours at 800... They never did. I took a fresh piece of 120 to my lovely finish and started all over again. It still pains me to talk about it ;)

Fletch Helical
07-24-2010, 01:16 AM
Not 100 percent sure but to me that looks more like a blasted finish. A lot of times lighting can play tricks with how shiny a blade looks. Here are 2 pics of my first knife. One looks almost mirror (at least to me) while in another shot and angle it looks more satin. That was shot in a bit "better" lighting in that it was overcast. Unfortunately it also started drizzling and it also really showed off the water droplets. Only real difference between both shots is the bottom shot I put an edge on it. Again that was taken to 800 grit with oil as well and needless to say I have a fairly crummy camera as well.

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m35/Pok7_s/Knife%20stuff/almostthere.jpg
http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m35/Pok7_s/Knife%20stuff/Knife029.jpg

CTaylorJr
07-24-2010, 08:10 PM
Rebel, the one you are showing is a blasted finish.

As the others have said you'll need to get the sanding marks out from the first grit before moving to the next.

Right now I'm using a HF special 1x30 and have found that if I move from the 80 to 120 and then to 220 or so for my final machine grinds I have an easier time removing the marks by hand. You also need to make sure the platen is square and true. Mine was not so I made a new one out of O1.

Take your time hand sanding, use a RIGID sanding block at first, and then go from there as you see fit. I spray WD-40 on my blades when sanding and also do the cross sanding to make sure I have everything out before moving up a grit.

Take it up to a final sand of 1000 or so and then hit it with 600 for a satin finish. The finish in the pic that's sexy is not going to be accomplished with paper.

Charlie

RebelYell
07-24-2010, 08:43 PM
The stock platen is the reason for most of those scratches you see honestly. I was a fool when i started and pushed it deep in and it pushed back at one particular point. This is what every bit of the finish I have done by hand since sand paper vertically cannot grind it properly, the blade itself has a convex shape to it in a sense. This is #1 so Im not worried about it but just FYI.

CTaylorJr
07-24-2010, 09:23 PM
For a first blade you are coming along well I would say.

A light and easy touch is the only way to go with the HF grinder since it stalls so easily.

If you can, try and make a new platen for the grinder or reinforce the one you have now to true it up a bit. That should help along with going higher in grit prior to final grind on the machine.

Charlie

bootstrap
07-25-2010, 03:22 AM
Let's start a club! :D

BTW no offense to the many folks that love 'em. To each their own 2thumbs

hey i want in! LOL

satin or etch all the way. As of right now, I have no interest in mirrors on my belt, but then again I like camper and hunters. :bud:

dan van
08-04-2010, 10:10 PM
I've heard many people recommending Ren wax, nice to hear of other options. I do like a good mirror finish on some knives but most makers end up with a cloudy look. I would prefer a good satin finish over a poor mirror finish. I feel the same way about file working, if it isn't done good don't bother. Dan

McClellan Made Blades
08-06-2010, 03:23 PM
Don't mean to be "following" you! :) I was answering when I saw nobody else had.

As far as finishing, I hand finish EVERYTHING. Machine finishes, including buffing make a blade look...well... machine finished. I go to 600 grit on my belt and/or disc grinder, then by hand from there. My final finish is generally etched, but I also like satin finishes. I create my satin finishes by going to 1200 by hand, then back up to 600 grit for the final finish.

Although it's just a person opinion, I detest mirror finishes....I think they look "cheap", and I just hate it when people ask "Who chrome plates your blades?" :bud:

Ed, when you refer to the" expensive waxes", do you mean Renassaince Wax? Or like it? I have the smallest can of it, and have been using it for over a year, I put it on every blade and handle I've made and some of my factory blades, as well as my band saw table, it just kept getting a light coat of rust on it all the time, until I applied a coat of that, it didn't last though, I would have had to keep applying it over and over. Gotta love Alabama Humidity! The Mother's products are great, I use the Mag and Wheel Polish for my Hamons, works great, especially if you don't like the too shiney look Flitz gives. I'll give the Mother's products you mentioned a shot to see if they are as economical as the Renassaince Wax. Great tip! Thanks, Rex

RodneyJ
08-09-2010, 12:15 AM
trying to understand the reason for taking the blade up to 1000 or 1200 grit and then backing up to 600 grit how is the finish different than just stoping at 600 on the way up thanks for the help

Rodney