Any hints on sanding 440C

#1
I have mostly used carbon steels like 1075, 1084 and 1095. I never had any complaints about hand sanding. Almost always start at 100 grit, and proceed to 180 grit, 240, 320 grit, 400 grit, 600 grit, etc. etc. etc.

Recently, I started using 440C. Man, is it hard. And, hard to sand. It seems to take forever to make any progress. 100 grit does not seem to make a dent in it. Am I just missing something? Any hints??
 
#3
Dennis...I haven't tried these...but they seem maybe like what you're looking for...I have an account with McMaster so I use them but they are NOT cheap. Some times I call and ask what brand they are using...and then shop it elsewhere....they never sell junk....never.

https://www.mcmaster.com/#polishing-stones/=1dp4ax0

I don't know if I linked correctly...but the "fast cutting" crystalon stones are what I'm talking about.

Hope this helps.
 

EdCaffreyMS

Forum Owner - Moderator
#4
Steel with enough Chromium to make it "stainless" + handsanding = lots of time, and every grit. :)

Just because hand finishing stainless seems like a never ending affair, I typically do as much work, to as fine a grit as possible on the grinder, before I ever attempt hand finishing that type of material. Even then, hand finishing compared to carbon/alloy steels can get exasperating.
 
#5
"Even then, hand finishing compared to carbon/alloy steels can get exasperating."

Exactly what I experienced. Probably five times (5x) as much work/time as carbon steel. Seems to take forever. It seems more difficult to get a good looking finish.

I was hoping someone would share the magic recipe to sand stainless...
 

opaul

Well-Known Member
#6
"Even then, hand finishing compared to carbon/alloy steels can get exasperating."

Exactly what I experienced. Probably five times (5x) as much work/time as carbon steel. Seems to take forever. It seems more difficult to get a good looking finish.

I was hoping someone would share the magic recipe to sand stainless...
Hmm...…...I was thinking about going to SS :(
 

Von Gruff

Well-Known Member
#7
I have done a bit with 12C27 and found the same thing. I much prefer carbon steel but have another set of 4 chefs knives to do so will do the finer belt work as far as possible before setting in with hand work.
 
#8
Dennis, all I use is stainless, I did stop using 440-C a long time ago though. somewhere something along the line changed in who or how it was made. I always mirror polished it , but all the sudden I started getting funky orange peal kind of irregularities in the finish, no matter where who I bought it from, so I went to 154-CM followed by CPM-154 which is what I use now.

I finish my grinds with 400 grit gator belts. I then back up and hand sand 220, 320,400, then heat treat.
after heat treat I clean up real quick with 320 then go to 400, 600 then 1500.

about half of my knives end up with a satin finish, usually not all the way to 1500,
the other half get mirror finishes, for the mirror finishes I use a Baldor 3/4 hp buffer with 10" sewn wheels at 3600 rpm.

I think the big thing in getting a good finish on stainless is REALLY getting a good finish prior to heat treating.
after it's been heat treated it is a bear to sand scratches out. unless you go ahead and regrind the bevels and leave a belt finish.
I never leave belt finishes though, it's either satin, parallel with the blade or mirror.
I do glass bead a few here and there but not often.
 

oldknife

Well-Known Member
#9
Dennis, I started making 440 C & ATS 34 knives 25 years ago, I was taught to rough them out and heat treat but you are dealing with that hardend steel. I rgind to 220 and hand stone with 220 finish every thing then heat treat, start with 320 stone then 400 stone then finish with 400 sand paper and put a saten finish on them, if some one wants a 2000 finish they need to come up with more money. If they warp I can usually striation them on the first draw back, if I could shrink my pictures I would show you two damascus knives that are at 220 ready for heat treat, this may not for everyone but works for me.
 
#11
Boy, you guys are spoiled! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Welcome to my world where every knife is stainless!

Ed gave the golden piece of advice: Get it as nearly perfect as you can off the grinder. A few random leftover 60 grit scratches will take literally hours to sand out. My suggestion is to move to 120 grit on your bevels earlier than you think you should to make sure that there is nothing left on that blade courser than 120 grit. Then finish on the grinder with 220. That way you can begin hand sanding at 320.

Mobil 1 synthetic and Rhynowet Redline changed my life.
 
#12
Dennis,
A while back (as in few years) I watched a YouTube video by, um, I think it was Carter Knives that addressed that very question. I found the video to be very informative, as well as entertaining. Mr. Carter went thru his process of mirror polishing a Bowie, and his results were amazing. You might try searching for it as a source.
 
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