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  • Thinning a Blade

    I have a blade that I like to use for old-world style chip carving, but the thickness of the blade above the edge is too much such that it causes the wood fibres to split when I drive it down. I'd like to thin out the blade a bit to help with this, but I don't have any power tools. I'm thinking of just getting a cheap coarse stone to grind it down manually and then use my other stones to resharpen it. I'm not too concerned about the longevity/quality of the stone because this is probably the only time I'll need something that coarse to remove so much material, but I do need to make sure it will last for that job. I've read some reviews of cheap diamond stones that say the diamond pieces can wear off quickly. Would it be better to get a water stone and just spend a little more time on it?

    Does it work to sharpen/grind a knife on a flattening stone? I found this https://www.amazon.com/Flattening-Wh...1518038&sr=8-3 and am wondering if that could work for me.
    I also found this Shapton brand stone, which I know is good, but it's a bit more than I was thinking for what might be single use, and it seems like the ceramic could take quite a while to work its magic. https://www.amazon.com/Shaptonstone-...1518038&sr=8-1

    I'd appreciate any advice on either of these products, other products, or any other suggestions on how I can thin my blade. Thanks.
    www.AgainstTheGrainChipCarvings.weebly.com
    www.facebook.com/AgainstTheGrainChipCarvings/
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  • #2
    There's a risk of thinning the blade by hand, only to discover that you have done it unevenly.
    Maybe start with cheap carborundum stones as the thinning will be a one-shot process anyway.

    If I had no choice, I'd try to visit somebody with a stationary belt sander for the rough beginning work.

    If I had choice, I'd look for other steel, thinner metal, to make a copy of the blade shape that I liked so much.
    Make three of them. One will certainly be what you wanted.
    It will be easier to work on a blade with no handle and do up a new handle last.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      i islike thick blades so i always cut them down sometimes not too well by the way. I usually use 40 grit sandpaper on a drill and basically cut the snot out of it. You end up by, like sanding, using progressively finer paper, 240, 600 etc and then you have to be careful about the bevel and of course trying to get a decent edge etc. Might you ruin the blade yes, and i have a couple and it safer to take it down progressively, that is work on it, get the edge back use it for awhile and then attempt to re shapen it again, that way you can see where the problems are. Most of you are probably wincing right now at my cave man aproach but i find most knoves, even the better make carving knives are too thick for my liking and i end up whacking at it. there is only one knife i have found that comes thin enough to make me happy. I can pm you the name if you like but i recently discovered them and they will be my go to blade from now on

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      • #4
        Brian, I don't make blades or know anyone who does, so that route isn't really an option. I'm not too concerned with the blade being uneven. I'm confident I can do it evenly enough, but I doubt it would make much difference to my carving even if I didn't. I check out some carborundum stones. Any suggestions for grit? I was thinking 120.

        Rick, I don't have any power tools available, so I'm looking at all hand work right now.

        Thanks for the replies.
        www.AgainstTheGrainChipCarvings.weebly.com
        www.facebook.com/AgainstTheGrainChipCarvings/
        www.etsy.com/shop/AgainstTheGrainChips

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        • #5
          You can use sandpaper for metal, i.e, wet and dry sandpaper. For what you're doing, I would start with 120 grit, then 220 grit, then 400 grit, then 800 grit, 1000 and finally 2000 grit. Once you've thinned the blade to the thickness you want, and set the angle of the edge--which should be to the spine of the blade--then it's a matter of going through the grit to remove the scratches. I can tell you it is a bit of work. But the end result is a lot of satisfaction and pride.

          If you can't find 2000 grit, check the auto parts places. The 2000 grit isn't an absolute necessity, but it does give the blade a smooth mirror like appearance and that helps when cutting the chips.

          From my own experience, you could go to 80 or 50 grit. But I found the extra work of removing the scatches and gouges isn't worth it. The 120 grit is good to start with and yes it will take longer, but in the end I think it's a better way to go. I even tried backing off the heavier grit before I reached the thickness and switched to 120 but it really didn't make much difference in the amount of work. Also, in that it was mentioned about having a blade unequal from side to side, using a grit that takes longer will give you more opportunity to keep an eye on the balance of the blade.

          Also, use a permanent marker to blacken the whole blade. It will tell you where you removing metal and where you need to focus.

          Bob L

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          • #6
            I’m going to add one more vote for sandpaper. Anytime I’m reshaping a tool go with sandpaper frankly I just don’t want to subject my stones to that kind of abuse and sandpaper is cheap and effective. MTCW
            Ed
            Living in a pile of chips.
            https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

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            • #7
              I don't do any knife work and I'd make the suggestion of why not buy the knife you wanted? Not trying to be a wise guy but it seems there could be unrecoverable errors.

              Usually the local High School, college, etc. will have sanders, grinders, etc. That could be an option?

              Regardless please keep posting the results...
              Bill
              Living among knives and fire.

              http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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              • #8
                Damon, I checked your website and you do excellent work. Certainly a nice art.
                Bill
                Living among knives and fire.

                http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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                • #9
                  Woodburner, I thought about that, but the knife I'm working with is rather unique as far as I can tell. It's made by a company in Ukraine, and I've not seen any other sources with this blade. Thanks for the compliment on my work. :-)
                  www.AgainstTheGrainChipCarvings.weebly.com
                  www.facebook.com/AgainstTheGrainChipCarvings/
                  www.etsy.com/shop/AgainstTheGrainChips

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                  • #10
                    The wet and dry sandpaper will be my choice, but, depending on how much steel you're going to have to remove I would probably start with 60 or 80 grit and work my up to the finer grits.
                    . . .JoeB

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TennsDog View Post
                      Woodburner, I thought about that, but the knife I'm working with is rather unique as far as I can tell. It's made by a company in Ukraine, and I've not seen any other sources with this blade. Thanks for the compliment on my work. :-)
                      I'm out of my league with chip carving blades, but Beavercraft is in the Ukraine and they sell knives, spoons gouges, etc. Amazon has them and the costs are low...quality?
                      Bill
                      Living among knives and fire.

                      http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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                      • #12
                        I hear lots of stories that Beavercraft out of the Ukraine is good stuff and very economical.

                        I agree with all of the above that 120 grit carborundum will be the grit to begin to scrub down a blade.
                        Then on sandpapers, work your way up to finish the bevels.
                        I go 1500 then hone with chrome green.

                        I really like to begin with used, worn down farrier's hoof-trimming knives.
                        I buy 2-6 at a time, I give the farrier $5 each for what he cannot use any more.
                        Some are really hard, I wreck a file for ever 2 blades I change from 25 degrees to 12 degrees.
                        Up around 800 grit, I stop and use a Dremel to cut the tip to suit the shape/style that I want for carving.
                        They are all crooked/curved but you can quickly learn to make straight cuts as needed.

                        Brian T

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                        • #13
                          Good call with Beavercraft. I see they do sell the knife I'm looking for (https://beavercrafttools.com/product...carving-knife/). The question is just: is it thinner than the one I have, or would I be in the same position but with two blades needing thinning?
                          www.AgainstTheGrainChipCarvings.weebly.com
                          www.facebook.com/AgainstTheGrainChipCarvings/
                          www.etsy.com/shop/AgainstTheGrainChips

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                          • #14
                            For those prices, I'd take a chance.
                            One could always be your practice blade for thinning, before you attack the one you really want.
                            Brian T

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                            • #15
                              if you dont have power tools a file can work and you can buy a drill at harbor freight for 18 bucks a good stone will cost you 50-100

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