How to Make a High-Tech Folder

How to Make a High-Tech Folder

For the next step, I switch to a smooth 90-durometer contact wheel. I am using a 120-grit belt and this is the belt with which I do most of my work. The 120-grit belt removes all the 60-grit scratches, bringing the grind line close to where I want it to be. The thickness of the cutting edge is finally established.

When I stop using the 120-grit belt, I know that all the 60-grit scratches have been removed.

Something to keep in mind about the speed of my grinder is that I use a variable-speed, 2-horsepower DC grinder. With the 60-grit belt, I run the grinder at full speed, and while using the 120-grit belt, I reduce the grinder to 80-percent speed. This prevents the steel from getting too hot as the grit becomes finer. It also allows me to have better control of the grind so I do not overly grind the blade.

After taking the 120-grit belt to the blade, the height of the grind is close to where I want it. The grind is straighter, and the cutting edge is a lot thinner.

The next step is to complete the center grind. I use a 1-inch-wide, 8-inch-diameter, 70-durometer, smooth contact wheel. The softer wheel is more forgiving when used with finer grits. I use a 1-inch wheel for two reasons: First, it allows me to work both plunges on the left and right side of the grind; and secondly, it helps concentrate your grind into one specific area. I will be using 320- and 600-grit belts with this wheel. I split my belts so they overhang the wheel on both sides. This gives the grind a nice radius in the plunges.


The center grind is completed. I have stayed away from my reference points while grinding, and the two plunges exhibit nice radii. The finish on the grind is fine because after I use the 600-grit belt, I add white rouge to the belt. This helps polish the bevel and brings it to a much finer grit without removing any material.

To complete this blade, the front end, nearest the tip, needs to be ground. I repeat steps that I used for the center grind, but instead of grinding as high, I grind it much shorter. I also leave the cutting edge a little bit thicker to produce a blade with a strong tip and a robust cutting edge, all followed by a razor-fine edge for fine cuts.

After the blade is completely ground and the bevels have an extremely fine finish, I go around the edge of the blade with a Scotch-Brite wheel. This ensures that the edge of the blade has a fine finish and any deep scratches will be removed at this point.

It is now time for etching the damascus. I use muriatic acid in a preserve jar, and I set the jar on top of a piece of Micarta. The jar and Micarta are placed in a small fryer filled halfway with water and brought to a boil. The Micarta prevents the glass jar from breaking. When the water is at a boil, the blade is ready to be etched. I use a coat hanger with a plastic sleeve as a rod to suspend the blade in the acid. You must be careful when etching damascus blades using this technique; if you leave your blade in the muriatic acid too long, you will ruin it.

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