Need Help on Bowie Knife Blade

johnnyjump

Well-Known Member
I am hoping some of you "veteran" knife makers can give a beginner a helping hand on this knife. Its a gift for a nephew who asked for a big Bowie, and I am in the final stage of its grinding and assembly. I just got the blade back from heat treat, and I need to decide how to finish the blade. The primary bevel is ground at 120 grit with about a 4 degree angle, and the edge at .04" width. I will finish with a 20 degree secondary cutting edge. Ordinarily, I might take the blade up to about a 220 grit on the grinder, then hand sand to a satin finish at about 500 grit. Except with this blade, I have struggled keeping a straight plunge line due to the longer length of the blade. In time, I hope to overcome this inexperience with a longer blade, but I don't have the confidence to go back to the grinder and not mess it up. I have practiced on a few other prototype blades, with mixed reviews. See photos. The first photo is the Bowie back from heat treat and dry fitted. The second is my prototype with some pretty nasty gouges. The third shows the edge width, which is about .04" inch. My inclination is to hand sand the rest of the way, then grind the final edge when the desired satin finish is complete. (lot of hand sanding!) Anyone agree or disagree? Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Wayne Bensinger

Well-Known Member
Hey JJ,
Like the look, it's gonna be nice. I think trying to hand sand all of those gouges out of the blade that you have described may be a ton of work. Those look deep, you may never really get it to look the way your minds eye is seeing it. It does seem that you have a lot of "meat" left there on the blade, so it might be better to get a fresh belt on the grinder and get the grinder rest nice and solid and go at it again, even if it takes some time, I think you may get better results.
I too struggled and still struggle with uneven lines, sometimes they drive me crazy, sometimes I'm willing too let them go, and some times I tank the blade,(worst option). Anyway, as a lot of the guys here will tell you, a fresh belt makes a huge difference. I've noticed that that is my biggest problem when grinding, I'm always trying to get one more use out of a belt that is junk, not sure that's what's happening here, just thought I'd share my experience.
Anyway, that a good looking knife, I like the way the handle tails off at the angle.

Wayne
 

johnnyjump

Well-Known Member
What about the one that just got back from heat treat that is pictured with the dry fit handle? The lines are straight and even. Hand sand finish? Thanks!
 

Wayne Bensinger

Well-Known Member
I guess I was paying attention to just the one that you have in the second pic, sorry, if that's how good they are turning out, then I say hand sand away, lol. I need to pay more attention it would seem, sometimes the little things get by me!

Wayne
 

LR Adkins

Well-Known Member
Sometimes we tend to be a little too critical of our own work. From what I can see in the pictures, the one with the dry fit looks pretty good.if you feel more comfortable hand sanding go for it. Personally I have messed up blades trying to put that last touch with the belt sander and ended up trashing a blade. Remember practice makes perfect. Nice looking knife by the way.
 

BrandantR

Well-Known Member
You may consider using a higher grit belt if your a little worried about messing up your blade. It will obviously take longer to grind the blade, but the higher grit will remove much less material at a time giving you a lot more control. This is what I do when I feel a blade may be heading south.
 

Matt de Clercq

Well-Known Member
I totally understand the spot you're in. I would hand sand it in this situation. If you do go back to the grinder, use fresh belts. Nice work
 

wall e

Well-Known Member
Hand sanding you control all the pressure grit and speed to remove the imperfections. If your concerned with mucking up the blade then go the slower route and hand sand it.
REMEMBER YOU CAN ALWAYS TAKE AWAY MORE STEEL. YOU CAN'T PUT IT BACK. Looks good so far just hand finish the blade. Your only a couple of hrs away from finished. (May be longer I get lost in the time thing when hand sanding.)
 
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