View Full Version : Surface finishing

Mike Davis
10-14-2011, 09:30 AM
What do you guys like the surfaces of your knives to be at? Also what would you take your damascus to? I am taking the damascus to 2000 grit before etching, too much?

10-14-2011, 10:28 AM
The more contrast the damascus has the less sanding is required and the stronger the solution can be. Example; 1095 and nickel taken to 600 grit and etched in a 50/50 solution of ferric chloride and water is fine.

For damascus with less contrast like carbon steel and mild steel mix it is best to take it to 1200 grit and etch it in a very dilute solution of ferric chloride and water.

For a mix like 1084 and 15N20 take to 800 grit and etch in a solution of 20% ferric chloride and water.

For a finer finish hand sand with finer grits inbetween etching.

Hope this helps.


10-14-2011, 10:42 AM
devin...i have heard some makers say they bring a knife up to a mirror finish before they etch it...any thoughts on that and what if anything it could accomplish depending on the mix of steels....ryan

10-14-2011, 10:49 AM
With some mix of steels you can over finish and it will not etch as cleanly. The finer the finish the more resistant they are to etching and rusting.


Mike Davis
10-14-2011, 11:09 AM
Maybe i will stop at 1000, i notice that at 600 grit i can sometimes see the scratches. I took the blade to an A30 grit belt and will start hand sanding at 220 and work it pretty thoroughly up to 600 and do pull strokes with 1000 to straighten it out...Maybe i will do my pulls with 600 and see how it looks, btw it is 1095 and 15n20. Thanks guys :D appreciate it.

HHH Knives
10-14-2011, 04:33 PM
Mike, On a standard pattern damascus like the billet your using for the Suji. I normally stop at about 400 then take to 1000ish after and during the etch.
For a mosaic pattern damascus I take it to 16x with old used up Norax style belt. Which is close to mirror B4 etch, Then hand finish at 1500 then 2000..

10-14-2011, 08:46 PM
I had fun experimenting with different dammy finish's.I do like a dammy blade that is not so deeply etched.Mike I thought the billet was 1084 not 1095,maybe Randy jr. can correct me.

Mike Davis
10-14-2011, 10:18 PM
You know....That might be right Mario. I am thinking that does sound right, but so much was going on, it is hard for me to remember everything lol.

10-15-2011, 03:28 AM
i typically go to 800 or 1000. From 600 on, I am only sanding lengthwise. One of the tricks to hand sanding is to not start with too course a grit. When I first started off, i would start with 120 and that took FOREVER to get the scratches out. What I do now with PITA steels like CruForge is to hit the hard to reach spots and the heavy grinder scratches with a 220 grit EDM stone and then go over the blade with some aggressive medium grit (by out standards) paper like the 280 grit Black Ice. With normal steel like 1084, I can go straight from the stones to 400 grit. I still use the stones and 240-280 grit for things like file marks when I file in swedges. I typically have tried to not go over 320 grit and usually stopped at 220 on many things on the grinder with flexible belts, but since i bought some of the Gator belts a month or so ago, I find it easier to go to finer grits like tge 45 micron, which appears to be about a 325 grit equivelant as they do not bump and leave ugly little divets like thin AO belts can and leave a much more even finish more like what i would expect from a 400 grit belt.

HHH Knives
10-15-2011, 12:21 PM
I had fun experimenting with different dammy finish's.I do like a dammy blade that is not so deeply etched.Mike I thought the billet was 1084 not 1095,maybe Randy jr. can correct me.

Jr's not here so Ill field this one. :) Its a 1084/15n20 mix. Random pattern 300+ layers..

10-15-2011, 03:02 PM
Mike for what its worth, I've changed the way I finish damascus a bit, I used to go to 1200gt and give it a series of short etches in strongish ferric, cleaning the oxides off in between. These days I just take a bit more time to get a really even 400 or 600 gt finish and give it an hour in a really weak ferric etch. Maybe 8-1 dilution. I iike the results much better on the steels were talking about.