Grinding the Blade

After forging comes grinding, which is what really makes or breaks the knife, aesthetically speaking.

Starting out, I use dull 40 grit belts. First thing I do is grind the blade to the profile I want. Still using the dull belt, I use a 3Ē wheel to knock the scale off. Scale is pretty rough on belts.

The tang gets tapered in thickness so the guard will slide all the way up later on.

The ricasso gets cleaned up, and I make sure itís the same thickness front and back.

Then I grind a short bevel along the edge. This has two purposes. First, this is when I establish the edge, making sure itís straight and centered. Second, it makes it easier on the fresh belt, when I go to rough grind it. Leaving the edge square tends to strip the grit off before it can do much work.

After all that, I put on a fresh 40 grit belt, and grind the flats of the blade, until the edge is about 1/16Ē thick. Then I take it to 240 grit, and thatís as fine as I go before heat treat. Leaving it coarser can cause cracking in the quench.

The next step is preparing the guard area. Since I harden the whole knife, I have to do this before heat treat. I use a file jig to get the shoulders square and flat, and use a round file to make sure the inside corner is nice and rounded, which prevents a stress riser from forming in this area.

Next step, the heat treat, when the knife is really born!

After heat treating, itís time to regrind the knife. At this point, itís very important to keep the blade cool, because we donít want to lose any hardness.

First I grind the edge carefully, again with a dull belt, to correct any warpage, and prepare it for the fresh belt in next step. I always use fresh, sharp belts for this part, because they cut cooler. Here we take all the extra metal off, and get it down to itís final thickness.

After itís ground down to final thickness (which is different for different knives) I switch to a 240 grit belt, making sure I get all the 40 grit scratches out. Sometimes I take it down to 400 grit on the machine, sometimes I go straight to the hand sanding, and then, finishing.