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Grinding

Tools Utilized

It's possible that up until this point you're thinking, 'wow, that looks fun!' I can assure you, this is where the fun ends. :-)

I should back up a little and point out that Bladesmithing is a serious craft. Every step in the process demands attention to detail and quite a bit of skill. The only luck involved here... is bad luck. When learning to forge the blade, one is coping with a number of competing issues. You must learn to control the heat of the metal, you must develop the technique, and practice the hand eye coordination.

Dealing with the grinder involves a whole other set of learning curves. You must learn to control the angle at which the blade touches the belt. You must develop a sense of touch for the amount of pressure to apply. You have to learn the tricks of using the machine (Is the belt worn? How's the speed? Is it tracking where I need it to be?)

A poorly forged blade will not be salvaged on the grinder, but the sad thing is - a perfectly forged blade can be ruined here very quickly.

There isn't nearly as much I can pass on in writing about grinding as it's a subject that needs to be experienced. Suffice it to say that the first step is to finalize the shape of the blade, and knock off all of the scale (burned carbon). The following images illustrate the before and after sides of a forged blade.

Scale on Blade
Side A


Side B

All you have to do is learn how to go from side A to side B. How hard can it really be?

Here's Joe Flournoy showing how it's done in a series of videos. Prepare to eat up a lot of bandwidth if you are going to watch these:

After mangling completing your blade on the grinder, you crawl over to a nice warm corner and begin filing and sanding by hand to get the blade as smooth as you possibly can to prepare it for hardening and tempering.

Next Step

Beginning - Definitions - Forging - Normalizing - Grinding - Hardening - Tempering - Summary



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This page last updated 12/30/2004
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