Then the main bevels are ground (using a fresh 60 grit belt) until the guide bevel is gone, then again with a fresh 240 grit belt.
Then it’s time to hand sand. Here’s my sanding setup:
I have several different sanding sticks. I have flat ones for doing the flats (imagine that!) and convex ones for doing the recurve. I have a set each of hard and rubber coated. I use the hard ones for blades like this one that has a double grind, for keeping the grind line sharp. I sanded lengthwise with 400 grit paper until ALL the 240 girt scratches are gone.
One bevel done:
the other one done:
the ricasso done:
Rinse and repeat for the other side:
After etching in ferric chloride for 10 minutes:
I didn’t get pictures of every step of the etching process, but it’s pretty repetitive anyway. The way I do it is this. After sanding it to 400 grit, I etch for ten minutes, neutralize, sand the oxides off with 600 grit paper, etch for 10 minutes, neutralize, sand with 800 grit, then repeat with 1000 grit, then again with worn out 1000 grit. Some patterns I’ll buff, but not this one.
Here it is at some point in the process (after sanding with 600 grit, I think):
And here it is after the last etch. I might go over it with some 12000 grit paper if I think it needs more shine.
A few pics of making the guard. I used what was left of the billet that the blade came from. First, I welded a handle to it, since I hate using tongs, and put it in the fire:
and drew it out to 1/2″ square, and 18″ long:
I marked it in the middle, and twisted one half clockwise, and the other counter clockwise (anti clockwise if you’re on the other side of the pond).
Both sides twisted and squared up:
One side ground with the angle grinder and cut in half:
Next step on the guard is to cut each piece in two, and grind the mating surfaces flat and clean with the belt grinder:
Then arc weld them together and to a handle:
Then forge weld. I took three welding heats to make sure it was all welded solid. Then forged it down to 3/8″ thick and 3/4″ wide.
Then I did a few normalizing cycles to refine the grain. At the same time, I ground it clean again:
When I finished normalizing, I stuck it in the still hot forge to let it anneal. This usually works for me; if it doesn’t, I’ll have to use the oven instead.
Here’s the guard blank after thermal cycling and annealing:
After grinding clean with the belt grinder:
Then I run it through the surface grinder on both sides to make it nice and square and parallel:
Then it’s coated with dykem, a centerline is scribed (btw, the line is scribed on the weld seam, not the center of the chunk of steel) and marks are made for the drill bit:
Now the holes are drilled:
and the webbing is removed with a round file:
At this point, I made sure the tang was tapered and straight:
Then the slot is filed out until the tang slides most of the way up:
When it’s close, the guard is hammered onto the guard shoulders and inspected for gaps.
If there are gaps, (and there were, sadly) they are closed up by peening the material at the edge.
Once I’m happy with the fit, then I draw a couple lines so I’ll know where the center is: