Knifemaking: How to Get a Mirror Polish?

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Here’s a question from a BLADE reader:

I’ve been having trouble getting a mirror finish on my blades, whether it be carbon or stainless. I can get them mostly polished, but it seems I always have sanding scratches after hand sanding that won’t buff out. I change direction with each grit sanding to 2,000 grit, and everything looks fine but when I finish buffing, the center always seems to be cloudy looking.


Try to buff a couple of times early in the sanding, this will make the scratches not removed by the previous grit easier to see. If your last grit was 400 at a diagonal you would not expect to see any scratches parallel with the blade. You can also mix up your angle so you can determine the grit of the scratches. If I am getting clouds I clean my wheel and apply fresh compound and finish the buff with a lighter touch.

David F Pitt:

Isand my blades wearing a magnafocaser and floresent light.I change directions with each grit.I will finish at 800grit I polish with matchless white,green chromeK&G Green and finish with matchlees pink . You can check out my knives at DAVE

Bear Goode:

I use 3 lights,so that I get a little light from different directions. It helps me see the scratches better. At first I will cover the blade with a black felt tip pen. Some times I do this twice,just to make sure that I got all the scratches at that grit. I use the felt tip on say 120 grt,then on 220 grt. It helps with the “big” scratches. I then go to the next grit say 320 & I sand in 2 different directions. Then I slowly move on to the next grits. Buffing will help as per PatrickKnives.I then do what David Pitt reccomends Buffing with white,K&G Green, then finish with noscratch pink.

Jeffery E. Wagner:

I would also recommend you finish with pink. It is available through, Jantz Supply.

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  1. I found the information in the article very helpful. I want to attempt to get a mirror polish on a few blades I currently own and I’m getting up the courage to try my first one, and I’m still researching the process and materials. What do you use for a mirror finish, such as the grit #’s from (sand paper, belts, discs, or something else?) from start to finish. What would you typically start with on a stainless steel blade? What do you use after sanding for polishing stage(s), such as the hardware, compounds, lubricants etc.? Thank you.


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