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Polishing Old JA Henkels Steel
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Thread: Polishing Old JA Henkels Steel

  1. #1

    Polishing Old JA Henkels Steel

    I am new to the forum and my first knife project is repurposing an old (50 to 75 years old) JA Henkels knife that I bought at a garage sale. The knife was so rusty that there were no visible markings and I only saw those when I started grinding it down. I am almost finished with the knife and am having difficulty doing the final polish. I didn't anneal the blade before grinding it and was careful not to overheat it while grinding. The steel seems very hard and sandpaper kind of skids across the surface rather than cutting and when I use stones they make the surface frosty. I am wondering if this is difficult steel to work with or if I need to try something different. I am new at this and it could easily be me. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    The frosty-ness you get from the stones is just a factor of the stone you are using. Some stones just go to mirror finish. It shouldn't be any more difficult than other steels. Put the knife on a hard and stable surface and clamp it there. Then wrap the sandpaper around something flat, I use a 1.5inx1.5inx8in piece of wood. Then put some WD-40 on the blade and start sanding by putting pressure on the wood instead of just holding the sandpaper by itself. It is a tedious and time consuming process, but it works for me on 52100 at 61hrc, and I doubt that the steel of that knife is harder or tougher than that.

    Good luck and have fun. I am sure other people have better methods than I just gave you, I am interested in those as well.
    "Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something." -Jake the Dog

  3. #3

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by greasedbullet View Post
    The frosty-ness you get from the stones is just a factor of the stone you are using. Some stones just go to mirror finish. It shouldn't be any more difficult than other steels. Put the knife on a hard and stable surface and clamp it there. Then wrap the sandpaper around something flat, I use a 1.5inx1.5inx8in piece of wood. Then put some WD-40 on the blade and start sanding by putting pressure on the wood instead of just holding the sandpaper by itself. It is a tedious and time consuming process, but it works for me on 52100 at 61hrc, and I doubt that the steel of that knife is harder or tougher than that.

    Good luck and have fun. I am sure other people have better methods than I just gave you, I am interested in those as well.
    That method works for me too. Nice if you can get the handle off and clamp the blade flat, though that wouldn't be posible on an old Henckels.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the replies. I am new to this whole forum thing and so forgive me if I do something wrong. It is good to know that regular wet/dry sandpaper will work. I am a woodworker and I guess I sand like one. I will try a stick and more pressure along with oil. I have also been reading the post below about micro mesh and may try that as well. I thought there might be something odd about the steel and it sounds as if fairly hard steel can be sanded with sandpaper. Regarding pictures, I didn't take any before starting and I am kind of sorry about that now. I started this before I had ever heard of KKF and so I plead ignorance. The knife was extra crispy as far as condition goes. It had scales that I removed, held with about 8 small pins, and removable pewter like bolsters. I was left with a flat piece of metal that I had to reduce about 4" in length and 1/2" in height just to get all the pitting out. I ground it a lot and thought I had most of the scratches out before I put the handle on. Now it needs a bit more work to give a finished appearance. I will post some pictures when I am done if I can figure it out.

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