Rob Brown Custom Knives
Tapering Tangs
Rob discusses his technique.
 
Fitting Guards
Rob reveals the secret to a clean fit.
 
Fitting Bolsters
Rob discusses the method used for his curved bolster design.
 
Mirror Finishing
Rob has become known for his mirror polish - here's how it is done.
 
 
Mirror Finishing by Rob Brown
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There are many ways to reach the desired finish on your knife - from hand sanding up through the various grades, to hi-tech micro finishing belts and diamond finishing pastes. No one way is right or wrong, your knife will be judged on the finished product and not the system you use to get it there. The process you adopt and master depends more on your dedication to achieving a good finish than anything else.

I started my system way back in '85 on a hobbyist budget, by gluing odd belt material around home made wooden contact wheels to grind my first blades, then going on to a finer paper for the finishing. Although slightly more refined today the basic process remains very much the same. If you are having problems in this area, perhaps you'd like to give it a try.

Image 1
Once the heat treatment of your knife is complete your first step should be to sand the ricasso and any other flat areas on your blade.

The guard has been cut to fit the notch in the blade and will have its slot cut once the ricasso has been sanded to 1200 grit. For further information, view the Guards and Bolsters articles by clicking here.
 
Image 2
Prior to heat treating, the blade and flats were finished on a 220 grit belt and disc. The flats are now sanded as shown on the disc running at +- 950 r.p.m. - Note the position the blade is held on the disc which spins clockwise and pulls the knife directly away from your left hand while the champagne cork gently applies pressure. Use 400, 800, and 1200 Wet or Dry paper (used dry). It is advisable to blast the paper with hi-pressure compressed air to remove/unclog the disc of all metal dust frequently.
 
Image 3
The blade should now look something like this - the flats finely sanded but now extend onto the tang and have thickened along the top edge of the blade.
 
Image 4
The tang should now be carefully sanded against a dull 50 grit disc to ensure it is flat (all possible warpages removed) and the run-out is in line with the back of the guard position as shown, refer to the Tapering Tang article by clicking here.
 
Image 5
At this stage we take time off to complete the guard, so it is ready to fit the knife once we have completed the blade. If you end up scratching the ricasso or blade in this process - rather now than once you have finished the blade.
 
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