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Serious Project: Maboroshi thinning

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ModRQC

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Now now, that's some real fun.

First step: getting it ready

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Good old sandpaper. I was preoccupied by a couple of obvious high spots on the wide bevel, especially at the tip. Contrary to my expectations, it was a short and sweet job to grind these away with automotive #180. Also most of the original shinogi I realized was pretty spot on despite the appearances: roughly 15mm from the edge, constant. All in all, 15 minutes and it was over with this.

For good measure, I gave a slight chamfer to the spine with #180, a good smoothing on the choil and finger hole with #1000 as well as smoothing the chamfer of the spine, then went with "cleaning" the handle of some of its easy to address faults. Still with #1000, just really cleaning and polishing: the scales, tang, bolster, welding marks. Any way I turn this however you can see in pictures those faults I cannot address - say ill-drilled rivet holes among others like spots on the tang that will require coarser sandpaper to address. #3000 sanding pad was used to polish the whole thing, blade and handle.

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Ok now this was as clean as possible for a roughly 30 minutes go. Very easy to help this knife, and yet the result is worth it times 100 - faults are now very hard to catch from any distance but close inspection, and the pinch now feels adequately smooth too. Of course the bevels were left rough - but they were so righteous underneath a few ill-ground spots that with so little work done they would now be fairly easy to polish to mirror. And I hope they'll be just as smooth and easy to follow on the stones.

I decided I would document each step of this with a choil shot and a weighing of the knife. I want to know how much time with coarse sandpaper and stones amounts to about what kind of metal removal and weight loss. Not scientifically, just really be more aware of a progress I didn't verify so much with the Moritaka. Choil shot just helps to assess progress where any, obviously. Securing thing when you don't have much experience - hey, that's me!

Therefore...

Choils.jpg

Left: original. Right: actual.

About nothing happened there, as expected. If I let my imagination go wild, the actual choil is just a tad... crisper overall. The obvious difference in height of the shinogi from one side to the other on both choil shots is not something that pervades on the whole length. The bevel at the heel on the cutting side has a smallish spot of overgrind over the shinogi, making the choil shot deceptive. Sanding the consistent part of the bevel brought that spot a bit more into focus at the choil. I just hope I won't "slide" at that spot because of this when thinning and mess up with the tsuchime finish.

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The insight from my poor scale says this blade lost 1g (207g originally from the same scale).

Being poor, at its level of precision, there's enough removed to tilt it down. Probably something around 0.25g in reality, from so little removal actually done. One could logically assert that the high spots I removed at both sides of the tip were a consistent enough amount of steel that I actually removed, still within error margin, about 0.75g - 1.5g. I'm not experienced enough to be able to assess this. I'd like a better scale, for sure.

Follow up soon... for me, right now, jumping on the stones in about 5 minutes.

To be continued...

Ah yes... was forgetting the prep for following on the stones:

IMG_6291.JPG
 

tostadas

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I enjoy following your projects. The documentation is great, and I learn something from both the successes and mistakes along the way.

I assume this is the 180mm? Do you mind if I ask where the balance point is?
 

ModRQC

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How are you mounting/using your sandpaper?
Ahem... if a critical eye you wish to lend on my work, the answer to this would probably suit your impressions; if an appreciative eye, for sure the answer would be quite a deception.

Let me get back to you with a single pic once I can go take it - hence when I'm done replying here.

I enjoy following your projects. The documentation is great, and I learn something from both the successes and mistakes along the way.

I assume this is the 180mm? Do you mind if I ask where the balance point is?
It's the 210mm, real measures 212/53, balance point about 20mm forward the heel.

Thanks for following really appreciated, makes me feel better about all my verbiage that you would say that, if anything you want to add or suggest feel free.
 

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IMG_6331.JPG


What is this... well it's a thingy that if standing the other way around would perhaps tell more of its original purpose: a supposedly portable smartphone screen cleaner "system". The hole you see bottom right is a sprayer for the little bottle tucked inside, and the mushy green-grey padding on one side was once vivid turquoise microfiber layer. "Psssh pssh - swik swik". But the swik swik aspect would get clogged with gunk pretty quick and then it became "pssssh psssh - ah f*** that s***"!

Stumbled on it on first Moritaka thinning. Posted about it in the thread I think. Hard plastic backing if I want, softer but firm backing if I want. Mostly the softer backing is used, but the hard is useful - say to remove most of the overgrinds on the Mabs here. Then finish the job and smooth the whole bevel with the soft backing. The demarcation shows (paler) where I wrap a band of sandpaper, pretty much always the same width by eye, the rest is somewhat of the palm rest and is now clogged with swarf. This one unit won't be cleaning any screen anytime soon for sure.

Not very comfortable but somewhat works way better than anything I had at my disposition or could think of buying for the purpose of freehand sanding - on such a narrow area difficult to approach or clamp with access to the full blade with conventional stuff, especially when a handle is on.
 

ModRQC

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Second part of this project is now completed. Will be posted tomorrow hopefully. Overall pleasing results with mitigating aspects. Still learning from my own process - and posts too! Here's a preview though:

IMG_6310.JPG
 

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Can it be that TF simply is of the opinion that his customers have their own thoughts about fit and finish and will take care of it (aside from ill fitting pins etc:oops: ) or have it done?
 

ian

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View attachment 95286

What is this... well it's a thingy that if standing the other way around would perhaps tell more of its original purpose: a supposedly portable smartphone screen cleaner "system". The hole you see bottom right is a sprayer for the little bottle tucked inside, and the mushy green-grey padding on one side was once vivid turquoise microfiber layer. "Psssh pssh - swik swik". But the swik swik aspect would get clogged with gunk pretty quick and then it became "pssssh psssh - ah f*** that s***"!

Stumbled on it on first Moritaka thinning. Posted about it in the thread I think. Hard plastic backing if I want, softer but firm backing if I want. Mostly the softer backing is used, but the hard is useful - say to remove most of the overgrinds on the Mabs here. Then finish the job and smooth the whole bevel with the soft backing. The demarcation shows (paler) where I wrap a band of sandpaper, pretty much always the same width by eye, the rest is somewhat of the palm rest and is now clogged with swarf. This one unit won't be cleaning any screen anytime soon for sure.

Not very comfortable but somewhat works way better than anything I had at my disposition or could think of buying for the purpose of freehand sanding - on such a narrow area difficult to approach or clamp with access to the full blade with conventional stuff, especially when a handle is on.
Nice, thanks. I was just curious why you were using sandpaper to even out the grind. That’s something I’d think to do on stones. And if it’s because you wanted to use a coarser grit than your coarsest stone, I’d probably have put the sandpaper sheet down on a flat, hard surface and pretended it was a stone. Interesting to learn about everyone else’s techniques here. Good luck with the rest of the project(s)! 👍
 

ModRQC

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Nice, thanks. I was just curious why you were using sandpaper to even out the grind. That’s something I’d think to do on stones. And if it’s because you wanted to use a coarser grit than your coarsest stone, I’d probably have put the sandpaper sheet down on a flat, hard surface and pretended it was a stone. Interesting to learn about everyone else’s techniques here. Good luck with the rest of the project(s)! 👍
It probably has to do with the fact I learned thinning through sanding the Moritaka before taking it to the stones. And if the Mabs didn't have those obvious high spots on the bevels I would probably have went with stones to begin with. I just thought I would "prepare" the bevel beforehand. Truth is that part of what I learned doing the second part was that you are essentially right. Meaning, it helped but didn't really help. More when I can organize some pics and comments. Thanks for your interest, I appreciate your input.
 
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ModRQC

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Can it be that TF simply is of the opinion that his customers have their own thoughts about fit and finish and will take care of it (aside from ill fitting pins etc:oops: ) or have it done?
You're just taking this a step to far for what it is. He just doesn't care much for anything but his own work - which admittedly he does very well. I'm guessing that to him, the finish and handle part are undeserving of his attention - just functional parts that work even when done halfway decently. I don't know. Truth is most of us wary about that will get one of his knives will most probably enjoy it very much. So...
 

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Can it be that TF simply is of the opinion that his customers have their own thoughts about fit and finish and will take care of it (aside from ill fitting pins etc:oops: ) or have it done?
"having it done" on these knives seems to involve:
grind the whole bevel, both sides.
sand spine smooth.
sand choil cutout smooth.
either weld the undercut bolster or grind it down to 90deg where it meets the scales.
weld the hole on the front of the bolster and grind smooth.
attach new scales with correctly drilled holes.
sand everything smooth with new scales in place.

you can just as well just simply build the knife yourself imo. its gonna take the same amount of time.
 

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I think at this point, TF could accept that this doesn't work, and ship just the blade to customers, charging like 50$ less. Sales would probably skyrocket among afficionados.
 

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You're just taking this a step to far for what it is. He just doesn't care much for anything but his own work - which admittedly he does very well. I'm guessing that to him, the finish and handle part are undeserving of his attention - just functional parts that work even when done halfway decently. I don't know. Truth is most of us wary about that will get one of his knives will most probably enjoy it very much. So...
i just dont think this knife should be as expensive as they are. you can buy a perfectly finished western from jck for around 100$ and if the knife is like 5-10x as expensive at least i would have some demands on the f&f.
 

ian

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It probably has to do with the fact I learned thinning through sanding the Moritaka before taking it to the stones. And if the Mabs didn't have those obvious high spots on the bevels I would probably have went with stones to begin with. I just thought I would "prepare" the bevel beforehand. Truth is that part of what I learned doing the second part was that you are essentially right. Meaning, it helped but didn't really help. More when I can organize some pics and comments. Thanks for your interest, I appreciate your input.
Yea, I think the issue is that if you want to reduce irregularities in the grind, you want the abrasive surface you’re using to be as flat and hard as possible, and also reasonably long and wide. If there’s any give to the backing, or if the implement you’re using is small (in the extreme, think of a fingerstone), then you’ll end up hitting the low spots in addition to the high spots, so your work won’t be as effective. Sandpaper is useful for making things look good, precisely because it’ll hide low spots and conform to a convex surface, but I wouldn’t use it early in the process. The exception is if you’re laying the sandpaper flat on some rigid, hard surface like one of those Kasfly holders, in which case it can be used as a cheaper alternative to a coarse stone. Early in the project, you don’t need the knife to look pretty.
 

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I think at this point, TF could accept that this doesn't work, and ship just the blade to customers, charging like 50$ less. Sales would probably skyrocket among afficionados.
maybe.
 

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you can also simply wrap sandpaper around a flat stone, put in the stone holder, and just grind away. this is best done dry. 180 is a good starting point. 80 and 120 might wear out too fast and/or create too deep scratches.
 

ian

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Also, maybe it’s worth noting that low spots (in general, any sort of curvature in the blade face) can actually improve food release, so if they’re not bad enough to cause a hole in the edge or something after some amount of sharpening, they can be viewed as beneficial. We hate them here because we’re all obsessed with our knives looking perfect with a beautiful kasumi finish right off the stones. But that may not be TF’s priority.

Now, I’ve seen a few TFs on here with actually problematic or just sh*tty grinds. I’m just saying that a knife that just has some low spots shouldn’t necessarily indicate that the maker doesn’t care about the grind.
 

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O I hear what y ou are saying, I was using a eufemistic way of saying that he likely does not care enough to do it but part of that is because he knows his clientele will care about it and still will buy his work. I'm sure, guess I will fing out, that when in communication about buying a knife TF is receptive of customer requests to a point.

BTW: I did round the choil and spine of my cheap knife, it was a first, I could have taken it to finer grits but it took me like 15 minutes. I don't care about the bolster as I don't want the western handle.

Similar to buying a new car, you get the tires the brand puts on it- probably not the tire you like best, would you not buy it because you like the Michelin Pilot Sport 4s so much (if you could not negiogiate a deal) or would you get them fitted anyway?
 

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Yea, I think the issue is that if you want to reduce irregularities in the grind, you want the abrasive surface you’re using to be as flat and hard as possible, and also reasonably long and wide. If there’s any give to the backing, or if the implement you’re using is small (in the extreme, think of a fingerstone), then you’ll end up hitting the low spots in addition to the high spots, so your work won’t be as effective. Sandpaper is useful for making things look good, precisely because it’ll hide low spots and conform to a convex surface, but I wouldn’t use it early in the process. The exception is if you’re laying the sandpaper flat on some rigid, hard surface like one of those Kasfly holders, in which case it can be used as a cheaper alternative to a coarse stone. Early in the project, you don’t need the knife to look pretty.
I understand the point very well. Thing is I was afraid that upon grinding them high spots on the stone they would have me slip and mess up with the tsuchime. Most high spots were simply leftover parts of the tuschime finish on the main bevel. Turns out, it probably wouldn't have been that hard to avoid that.
 
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ModRQC

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While I have some of you good people around, two questions:

Could I expect the NP400 to be about as fast as SP320?

And more importantly in the immediate of things, can someone show me what the Suehiro Rika leaves for finish on a wide bevel?

I only ever used it to refine an edge.

Thanks!!
 

ian

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Could I expect the NP400 to be about as fast as SP320?
Probably slower. People say it behaves like a higher grit stone... I don’t necessarily agree, but I haven’t used it enough to tell yet. Def doesn’t feel like a 300 grit stone in terms of speed tho.
 

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Say I want a stone that moves metal about as fast - not necessarily faster - and that doesn't dish much like the SP320... I buy another SP320? :D
 

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Could I expect the NP400 to be about as fast as SP320?
No way. I don't have the SP320 but the SG320HR, and the NP400. The NP is a fantastic stone, but not for fast, heavy thinning. Even with simple carbons I reach for the SG for serious thinning or reprofiling.
 

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Yeah those HR glass stones are hard to come by in Canada. NP400 is really tempting, but how much slower is it than SP320? I don't think I want a stone super fast, could get by well with slower than SP320, but if it's gonna be double the amount of work/time it's not what I am looking for neither.

No way. I don't have the SP320 but the SG320HR, and the NP400. The NP is a fantastic stone, but not for fast, heavy thinning. Even with simple carbons I reach for the SG for serious thinning or reprofiling.
 

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Much, much slower and requiring brute force for thinning. Is not impossible but far from tempting. Why not just the SP220 instead?
 

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the pro220 is very fast.

which brands of stones can you get in canada?
 

ModRQC

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Ok then...

Second step: thinning on SP320

I was patient enough to stop at the first three passes and take pictures. Not really sure why though, but I guess for people that haven't thin anything yet it may help to see the progression of the few first passes: to help distinguish what's a matter of a technique problem, what's a matter of a normal low/high spot, and insight on how to address such (or NOT to address such if my ways seem to fail :p ). Anyways, I have 10 pics I can use so I had to fill the quota somehow. The more the pics the less I seem to speak for no good reason. ;)

First pass:

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On this side I had the most major high spot that I first went to sand off. As indicated discussing with @ian the sanding didn't do nothing to prevent what would have happened anyhow: the first pass clearly shows a remnant of a high spot at the tip near the spine, and the obvious lower spot it generates a bit further up the path. This is truly nothing - should clear within 1-2 passes more.

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On the left side, some consistent high spots that sanding had simply not address at all, creating a low spot just a tad smaller than the State of California... For those who find this matter for high/low spots confusing to identify, obviously the low spot isn't difficult to observe, but for the high spots that actually create the low spot problem, you have to look at the very heel at the darker grey spot than the rest of the bevel, and same thing about mid blade, a huge darker grey spot. These two encompass the low spot, and the low spot won't get abraded as long as those two will maintain it above the stone. This will not clear so easily. To maximize the effect of each pass on this one would ideally insist a bit with putting pressure exactly at both high spots (from the other side of the blade obviously) with two fingers, rather than insisting on each high spot independently. Reason is a better uniformity of the whole high-low-high area.

Well, I think it's ideal. I simply go with a first few passes before I try to insist on anything though.

Second pass:

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On the right side, the low spot nearing the tip is already all but gone; the high spot at the spine of the tip hasn't changed one bit. I thought it was time that I would insist just a tad on this one next pass, since what little remnant of the low spot was sure to be removed with the next pass too.

On the left side, some coverage is starting to happen, but very slowly. This one I waited to see the result of the third pass before deciding on anything.

Third pass:

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Right side was simple enough: I settled the matter of the remaining high spot at the spine of the tip, and doing so pretty much got rid of the low spot remnant in one go. Rest of the pass yielded a consistent enough bevel for what I'm looking for at this step. Right side done for now.

Left side didn't change much after the third pass, so I started to insist on the high/low area, always equalizing with the whole bevel. You'll see on the choil shot the effect of my insistence: we have an almost lefty grind for now on that knife. However, the high/low area is all but disappeared. Left side done for now - I wouldn't insist any longer without reworking the right side first.

I think all of this can be done with the Cerax 320 at the next step: I'll create my mud with bringing the right side on par with the left, then I'll count on the very slow abrasive rate/easy coloring of a muddy Cerax to get both sides even and smooth with a consistent finish.

Choils.jpg

From left to right: original, after sanding in prep step, after thinning on SP320.

Scale says 1g less, again. In reality, we are somewhere between 1g - 1.5g loss total, I would estimate.

IMG_6330.JPG


To be continued...
 

ModRQC

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Much, much slower and requiring brute force for thinning. Is not impossible but far from tempting. Why not just the SP220 instead?
Why the SP220 more than the SP320?
 
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