Satin the knife blade

6 min

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Satin finishing of the knife blade

Satin the knife blade

Satin finishing is a surface processing that allows you to obtain a smooth but matte finish of the metal, it is one of the finishes that I prefer and that requires a practical maker technique to obtain marked and precise lines that make the knife from my point of view precious even more than mirror polishing when it is performed well.

Steel, being an extremely resistant and hard material, requires careful and specific processing.

Satin finishing of this material is a special processing used to give the surface a matte appearance of the metal.

The satin finishing of steel is also one of the most popular methods in metalworking able to give the final component a modern and refined look, perfect for coatings of all kinds, which today is very fashionable especially in the field of design, watchmaking and even cutlery.

To understand there are some processes such as stonewashed knife, hammering or burnishing, etc. that have an aesthetic sense and surface protection of the blade that on some types of blades make a contribution to the design of the knife, but often some of these processes also hide technical details and inaccurate symmetries of the knife, they mask very well aesthetic defects of the blade.

This does not mean that the knife will not work or will not cut but the quality of the maker is also linked to its ability to make symmetrical beveling,the radius of the beveling,the parallel ricasso, constant sharpening, marked lines of the blade, etc.

Clearly you can deliberately make knives “mistreated” for the aesthetic sense of that particular blade but it is important to know how to perform all the surface finishes to improve your technical ability in the construction of knives.

Even the finishing such as satin finishing allows to mask any surface defects of the material and at the same time also eliminates the marks left by other mechanical processes because it makes the surfaces opaque but still maintains a low degree of roughness, to avoid the possible nesting of bacteria in the grooves of previous processes.

The next step to satin finish as a surface finish is mirror polishing which is a valuable surface finish.

Now to return to the satin finish of the knife blade an important thing that I must immediately tell you, to learn how to do it well you need exercise and above all, a lot but a lot of patience and a lot of abrasive paper :-).

One of the most popular methods of surface treatments of knives in the processing of blades? The satin finishing of steel!

Knife blade satin finish has multiple applications

The satin finish gives the details thus finished the characteristic matte appearance that is very elegant, but this type of processing does not only have purely aesthetic purposes.

In fact, such a finish is particularly in demand by manufacturers of surgical instruments.

The satin finish serves to make these surfaces opaque so that under the lights of an operating room they do not emit annoying reflections, but at the same time maintain an extremely low roughness and not to allow the possible nesting of bacteria in the grooves of previous processes.

Satin finishing is a type of finish increasingly in demand in the production and finishing of metals.

This type of processing is easier to obtain than mirror polishing and makes the product on which it is applied less delicate.

In addition, this workmanship covers any surface defects of the materials and the marks left by other processes.

Satin finishing in the industrial sector is obtained with three-dimensional abrasives, such as bear-tex, scotch-brite or surface conditioning but in the field of custom cutlery it is an operation performed by hand.

Using belts and abrasive paper with different grain, with the sander or by hand, the operation allows to obtain the surface satin finishing of the components with different levels of roughness.

Roughness is the property that has a surface of a body consisting of intrinsic geometric micro imperfections or resulting from mechanical machining; these imperfections generally occur in the form of grooves or scratches, of variable shape, depth and direction.

Satin the knife blade

How to satin the knife blade by hand

Satinare the blade of a knife is performed after the hardening of the knife using abrasive paper or through three-dimensional abrasives, there are several methods to perform it but on knives the most used method is the execution by hand, satin finishing methods are not used through for example lamellar rollers in non-woven even if today the evolution of abrasive belts and three-dimensional abrasive belts offer alternative solutions to hand execution, but top makers who do not work on quantity but on quality continue to perform satin finishing by hand.

It is important to use sanding blocks with a layer of rubber that is opposed between the block and the abrasive paper, knife maker vices to keep the blade firmly in place during this phase of processing.

As you can imagine if the bevel of the knife is flat a flat sanding block is fine but if instead the bevelling is concave, then performed with a contact wheel of the sander of a certain diameter then the template you use must have the diameter of the wheel also considering the thickness of the rubber and abrasive paper when you make it.

My advice before starting to perform the satin finishing is to already cut out the strips of abrasive paper in the various grains, then take the sheets of abrasive paper and prepare strips suitable for the sending block you use.

Satin the knife blade

Sand the blade by passing all the grains from 60-120-240-400-600-1000-1200 crossing the passes so that with the next grain you see the signs of the previous grain.
Until you can remove all the marks that are not in the same sense you can not move on to the next grain.
When you have arrived at the 1200 you have to pass it in the direction of the length of the knife (the longitudinal direction) and that direction will be the same as the finish you want to get.
So the last grain used before the final pass must have the same meaning.
At this point the finish will be all in the same sense but not yet homogeneous.
To make it become such, take a strip of new abrasive paper of at least 2 cm (0.78 inches) and the value of the satin finish you want to obtain (for example the 800 grain) and pass it from the ricasso of the blade to the tip with your thumb or forefinger for one time.
Ps. If it is not good you have to redo it but first bringing the blade back to grain 1200.

The final satin finish on a knife is usually done with abrasive paper with the grain 800 which is already very fine and makes the blade opaque but nothing prevents you from performing a satin finish at 600 or 1000.

As I told you to perform the satin finishing you need a lot of abrasive paper, a lot of calm and patience but the result is a well-executed satin finish and that makes the blade of the knife in my personal opinion beautiful.

So to summarize the execution of the satin finishing of the knife blade takes place in two steps:

1 – Polishing of the blade (not mirror clearly because it is not necessary) but up to grain 1200
2 – Satin finishing by hand usually with an 800 grain paper (the grain can change depending on the type of steel and opacification you want to obtain).

This process represents a specific surface finishing treatment of metals, through the use of abrasive belts and paper.

Satin the knife blade


Satinare the blade of the knife is a processing of the surface that allows you to obtain a smooth but matte finish of the knife and is one of the finishes that I prefer and that requires a practical maker technique to obtain marked and precise lines that make the knife from my point of view precious even more than mirror polishing when it is performed well.

But what exactly is satin finishing? I think it’s clear to you by now.

I hope that these tips are useful to you to perform satin finishing on your blades or that you decide to change the finish of your knife making the blade satin.

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121 shares, 121 points
Andrea F

Maker and Enthusiast of Knifemaking. Other: Engineer / Professional Blogger / Bass Player / Instructor of Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA / Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms. Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport! State Of Love And Trust!


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