Martyfish's Knife Makeovers (Thinning, Refinishing and Handle Making)

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Martyfish

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I wanted to create a new thread just to make it a bit clearer that I am posting knife related content instead of operating a dodgy beauty salon 😅

The previous thread, named 'Martyfish's Makeovers', which this is a continuation of, can be found here if anyone is interested:

https://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/threads/martyfishs-makeovers.66507/
Now, on to actual content. My Mazaki project is reaching the satisfying point where the knife starts looking better rather than worse. Today I pretty heavily altered the choil geometry and the geometry at the transition between the choil and tang, by removing 4ish mm of steel. This material removal was purely aesthetic in nature with the goal of bringing this area back into proportion with the future handle and the rest of the knife. Once the choil had been reshaped to my satisfaction, I also rounded the edges and polished it up to a semi-mirror finish, which are processes that I also repeated for the spine.

Refinishing the blade and the creation of a new handle to come.

Pictures and videos of the polished and rounded choil:

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Pictures of the polished and rounded spine:

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Is that the Mazaki I sold you?
Really nice thread, wish i would have found it earlier! Been toying around with similar projects!
Yep, that's your old Mazaki 🙂. Thanks, I'm glad you liked the content and hope to see some similar projects from you in the future.
 
Wife's Knife Part 2

I got around to refinishing my wife's knife today, after thinning it last weekend. There are still a few errant scratches here and there, but my wife couldn't care less 😅 and I didn't care enough in this instance to keep going.

Below you can see a choil shot comparison before and after thinning and refinishing, which really illustrates the performance based transformation the knife went through. The choil shots look a bit blurry and out of focus, but if you zoom in, you can see surprising detail.

The blade is now much thinner behind the edge and has some really nice low grind convexity. I'm honestly looking forward to giving it at try.

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Mazaki Makeover Part 3: Refinishing

I completed the refinishing of my Mazaki over the weekend and with that, my work on the blade is now done.

This was my first time working with iron cladding or kurouchi and both of these things caused me minor issues that I will improve upon next time I deal with them. The first issue was unintentionally creating a small and very shallow hollow section when refinishing an area of the cladding that was adjacent to a section of core steel with deeper scratches. The iron was softer than the stainless steel I am used to refinishing (or maybe the core steel was harder than what I am used to working with) and the cladding simply abraded away faster than I was expecting. Either way, that's something I'll pay more attention to in the future. The second issue was with my visualisation of the transition between the polished area and the kurouchi - I thought it would look cool to have a softer and more gradual transition between the two, which I polished in, but in hindsight, I think it looks better with a hard transition. I am still very happy with how it turned out, but there is room for improvement next time 🙂

Full disclosure - the first 4 photos where shot with exposure compensation set to -2ev to reduce the reflections off of the polished surfaces back to approximately the level that our eyes see, so that the polishing can actually be appreciated. Unfortunately in my experience, it is impossible to get accurate photos of highly reflective, polished surfaces directly out of a camera. The polished areas either light up like a lightsaber or the darker areas end up being far too dark. As a consequence, the kurouchi and background in these 4 photos look a bit darker than in reality, while the polished surfaces are accurately represented. The true color of kurouchi can be seen in the final two pictures for anyone curious.

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Looks good!
What did you use for polishing?
Thanks! I removed the deeper scratches left over from thinning and evened out the scratch pattern using sandpaper (P320 and P600 grit). I polished the core steel up to P5000 grit with sandpaper, but I wasn't so happy with the results, so I spent a few minutes using a Naniwa Pro 3k stone and Arashiyama 6k stone trying to remove some of the shallow but still present scratches in the core. I then spent some more time polishing the core with P3000 and P5000 grit sandpaper until I was happy with how it looked. Finally I made a slurry out of F360 grit silicon carbide powder and Windex and rubbed it into the blade using 0000 steel wool as an applicator, which brought out the contrast between the core and cladding.
 
Mazaki Makeover Part 4: A Roughly Shaped Handle

Here is a preview of the handle that I'm making for my Mazaki nakiri. The pieces are still hand-sawn, hence the very crude shape, but that will quickly change once I get it on a belt sander. The ferrule is ebony and the butt is olive wood. The olive wood is especially pleasant to work with, because it is very fragrant and smells amazing.

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Mazaki Makeover Part 5: An Almost Finished Handle

Here are some progress pictures from the wa handle that I am making for my Mazaki nakiri. Today I finished up shaping the facets on a belt sander, hand sanded the handle up to P2000 grit and gave the handle its first coat of tung oil.

The five pictures below were taken directly after shaping the facets on the belt sander and the handle is at P120 grit here:

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The two pictures below were taken after sanding the handle up to P2000 grit, but before applying tung oil. You can also see how the dimensions of my handle compare to the original chonk of a handle that came with the knife. There is nothing inherently wrong with larger handles, but the original handle looked a bit out of place on a 165mm nakiri.

Top / bottom:

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Sides:

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Mazaki Makeover Part 6: a Nice Handle, But Not a Very Tasty Popsicle

I applied the first coat of tung oil a few days ago and the oil has been absorbed and has also mostly cured. I'll probably apply 2 more coats of tung oil before I mount the handle, but it will not visually change in any meaningful way from this point. I'm really happy with how this one turned out and am looking forward to putting the knife to use 😄

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So for the Olive wood all you added was Tung oil and got that look? I have a raw Olive wood handle and was trying to decide what to do. I like the look of the tung oil and might try that. I did ebonizing on my other Olive wood and it looks how I wanted it, but not like this.

So this is what I am working with.
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This one looked like the one above before cutting,staining with tea and ebonizing with homemade Iron acetate.

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So for the Olive wood all you added was Tung oil and got that look? I have a raw Olive wood handle and was trying to decide what to do. I like the look of the tung oil and might try that. I did ebonizing on my other Olive wood and it looks how I wanted it, but not like this.

So this is what I am working with. View attachment 286469

This one looked like the one above before cutting,staining with tea and ebonizing with homemade Iron acetate.

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Here is collage showing the progression that the handle went through after shaping, so that you can see the effects of each process.

The top image is at P120 grit, the middle image is at P2000 grit and the final image is after the first coat of tung oil.

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Taking the handle from P120 grit up to P2000 grit makes a large difference to the depth of colour and contrast, which I would attribute to less light bring randomly reflected from the scratches in the wood. The tung oil then further deepens the colour and adds additional contrast. If you were to leave the handle at a relatively low grit and apply tung oil, you would still end up with a very similar result to the bottom picture, so polishing the wood isn't critical.

Our two pieces of olive wood have a similar colour and there weren't any more intermediate finishing steps (just polishing and applying tung oil), so it should yield a similar result for you.
 
Mazaki Makeover Part 6: a Nice Handle, But Not a Very Tasty Popsicle

I applied the first coat of tung oil a few days ago and the oil has been absorbed and has also mostly cured. I'll probably apply 2 more coats of tung oil before I mount the handle, but it will not visually change in any meaningful way from this point. I'm really happy with how this one turned out and am looking forward to putting the knife to use 😄

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That olive wood is lovely
 
Mazaki Makeover Part 7: Project Finished

After a long Christmas break I finally got back to finishing my Mazaki project. Over the course of the project, bevels were thinned, edges were rounded, a blade was etched, surfaces were refinished and a handle was created, as documented in the 6 previous Mazaki posts. I'm really happy with the end result and look forward to finally putting it to use.

This is probably the most representative before and after picture showing the visual change thaf the knife underwent. The stand-out differences are a nicer polish, kurouchi that appears cleaner and more even thanks to the etching and a nicer and more appropriately sized handle.

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Here're a few other pictures showing the finished product:

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