Buffing and polishing wheels - definitions INDEX

Purple ball bullet  BUFFING & POLISHING TIPS

Bringing your project to a perfect mirror finish is a very difficult and complex undertaking requiring certain steps in the proper sequence.
Skipping too many steps will force you to redo your work, and cutting away more material than necessary by overdoing your polishing process is a waste of time and money.
Important note:
Never use the same buffing wheel or belt for more than one compound, especially from coarser to finer. It just won't work. Once the grit has been applied, it is almost impossible to remove it. You could end up with unexplained deep scratches all over your work and will have to backtrack a couple grits to start afresh and having to purchase a new wheel replacement for the finer grit. This could be most expensive if it was a hard felt wheel. Mark your polishing wheels and belts with the permanent ink marker with the grit applied to it.
Keep all bars and wheels in Zip-lock bags when not immediately in use to prevent grinding and polishing dust contamination - translated into SCRATCHES.

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Recipe #1

STEP 1 80 grit applied to a felt or polishing wheel
STEP 2120 grit applied to a felt or polishing wheel
STEP 3150 grit applied to a felt or polishing wheel
STEP 4240 grit applied to a felt, polishing or sewed muslin wheel
STEP 5300 grit applied to a felt, polishing or sewed muslin wheel
STEP 6400 grit applied to a felt, polishing or sewed muslin wheel
STEP 7Cut & Color bar applied to a sisal wheel, or Blending bar applied to a sewed muslin wheel
STEP 8LA555 applied to a loose muslin wheel

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Recipe #2

STEP 1Grind blade using 60x
STEP 2Clean up with 120x
STEP 3Go heat treat at this time
STEP 4After heat treat, thin your blade and clean up any scale using 120x again
STEP 5Now clean up 120x marks with 220x. Make sure your grind lines are
where you want them, they are hard to move with finer grits.
STEP 6Proceed to 320x or 400x, try both and see which one works best for you.
At this point you can go from Aluminum Oxide to Structured or Trizact belts.
STEP 7After 400x or A45, proceed to 800x, than to 15 micron belts.
If you like structured abrasives, you can finish up with A16 and A6 belts.
STEP 8Go to a buffer using Matchless Green or K & G green, follow up with Pink no scratch.
If you see any scratches that won't come out with the buffer,
repeat the steps with 600x and up.
Do not try to buff out a scratch - it will hurt your finish.
STEP 9Most important - use 1750 -1800 RPM buffer. 3600RPM buffers are asking for trouble.

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Recipe #3

STEP 1Rough grind your blade with 36x or 50x
STEP 2Remove coarse grind marks with 80x
STEP 3Grind with 100x or 120x
STEP 4Finish all grind lines and flats with 160x to 220x
leave about 1/16" flat edge - blade too thin will warp by the heat treatment.
STEP 5Stamp your trademarks, numbers, drill holes, sand off raised metal at the stamps
STEP 6Harden and temper your blade
STEP 7Clean up the scale and discoloration with 220x. Do any final grind line matching.
STEP 8Follow with 320x to 400x
STEP 9Polish marks off with aggressive Green grease bar on the buffing wheel or belt.
STEP 10Time for the 320 degree oven and cryogenic treatment to temper the blade
to relieve the grinding and polishing stresses.
STEP 11Do not worry about "cloudiness" till you finish the handle and sharpen the blade
STEP XXMost important step: - - - - - (-: COUNT YOUR FINGERS AGAIN :-)

Of course there are many other recipes for that great mirror finish. The last one works for me. Doing most of the shaping and grinding on the belt grinder, either hollow or flat, beats trying to maintain the grind lines using all those buffing wheels with their progressive compounds any day.
Belts also run much cooler at same speed (Surface Feet per minute) as wheels.
But if you are stuck just with a buffer, use medium and hard felt or hard polishing wheels for that supper contour control and leave all those muslin wheels for handle finishing and final polishing.

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