Mirror Polishing AUS 6 by hand

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by kamtheman, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. kamtheman

    kamtheman

    16
    Jul 14, 2019
    Brothers of the blade,

    I've got a big bowie knife in aus 6 steel that I want to mirror polish. I don't have a shop or tools, so this would have to be done by hand with sandpaper. I'm good with my hands and don't mind it taking a long time, but this is a knife I really like and I've never mirror polished anything before. Is something that can be done fairly easily? Is there a big chance I could screw up my blade? Any tips to not screw it up?

    I have pretty much every grit of sandpaper from 400 to 3000, and I've watched a bunch of youtube videos about it. The knife has a large blade of 10 inches, so it may take some time. Is is likely I'd ruin my blade trying this, or is the process pretty forgiving for a beginner?
     
  2. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2005
    Can you please post a picture? I don't mind typing out some advice, but it would help to see what you are working with.
     
  3. kamtheman

    kamtheman

    16
    Jul 14, 2019
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Part of it is I want to get that ugly writing off the blade.
     
  4. kamtheman

    kamtheman

    16
    Jul 14, 2019
  5. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2005
    Ok, got it.
    I suggest you leave it alone and I'll tell you why.
    I just finished hand sanding two Bowies this week, but they don't have handles yet and are nearly a full flat grind, just convexed to the edge.
    I was able to clamp it at the tang to a support board. Then I sand using a rectangular piece of steel as a backing.
    In your case you will keep hitting the handle and creating fishhooks and lines. I couldn't do a good job in yours. It takes quite a bit of practice and good sandpaper. Rhynowet red is a good one. You also would need to do the bevel and keeping a crisp transition is tricky.
    If you are determined to try it, I would start at 180 and work up to 2000. Then switch to 3M polishing sheets. It starts to mirror after 4000 grit with those. For 800 and higher I fold some paper between the steel backing and the paper, but keep it tight so you don't wash out your transition.
    Good luck.
     
  6. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    This is a massive amount of work.

    The chances of you being able to mirror polish this blade properly are slim.

    You could just have someone bead blast it if you want the logo removed.
     
    jbmonkey likes this.
  7. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    It’s doable. Start with large grits and work your way up. I’ve done it on smaller blades in 1095, and started on a Condor Kukuri.

    It’s going to take a lot of time and patience, but it can be an enjoyable process.
     
  8. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    This was done with wet/dry sandpaper up to 5000 grit.
    34884BC2-7F03-4E13-A27E-BB53C826CB48.jpeg
     
    jbmonkey likes this.
  9. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2005
    I can't really appreciate the surface you achieved from that photo.
    It is much easier without a handle, like this tanto I did.
    [​IMG]
     
    MolokaiRider likes this.
  10. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    I polished the blade on a AUS 6 folder once. Once!

    Getting the writing off the blade took a long time.

    My goal was not a mirror finish. I just did not want a bead blasted finish or writing on the blade.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
  11. kamtheman

    kamtheman

    16
    Jul 14, 2019
    [​IMG]Thanks everyone for the info. I don't mind putting some work in, and making a project out of it might be fun. But I'm pretty picky, and I like this knife, so it occurred to me that maybe I better see what I'm getting into before I start, before I bite off more than I can chew. It sounds like this would be a tough job, and the chances of it not coming out great are pretty high. I may hold off and think about bead blasting to remove the ugly writing on the blade.

    I like a good challenge, but if the knife ends up looking worse than when I started, I'm going to regret even trying.
     
  12. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    PM me with your cell number.
    I will send you before and after pictures.

    Trying to post pictures here still escapes me.
     
  13. jbmonkey

    jbmonkey Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    id start with a smaller knife. 2 main reasons...practice and get mistakes that slow it down more out of the way and to see how dedicated you are first. once ya start ya dont have to finish, but some folks it will irritate them if they don't. that may be you, it may not be you.
     
  14. kamtheman

    kamtheman

    16
    Jul 14, 2019

    I always have a hard time with the pictures on here too. But I don't think I can PM you as I'm not a private member.
     
  15. kamtheman

    kamtheman

    16
    Jul 14, 2019

    This sounds like a good idea. Start small first.
     
  16. CWL

    CWL

    Sep 15, 2002
    If you try to hand polish a big blade, especially when removing writing, you'll likely wear uneven surfaces on the blade which will really stand out on a polished blade.
     
  17. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Then email me at [email protected]
     
  18. kamtheman

    kamtheman

    16
    Jul 14, 2019

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