My first Commission – Part 5 – Hell is Forever

Shiny already, but still not even remotely enough. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Wheef. Making a commission when I still have to spend forty hours a week at my daily job is not something I would recommend. I could find this weekend seven more hours for grinding and polishing, and I am currently at Trizact A65 (the equivalent of grit P320), but not finished.

The right blade in the picture is finished on this side with this grit, on the left blade the false edge and the flat are finished, but the bevel is still only at P240. And to make my life easier when picking up the blades next weekend (or perhaps some evening during the week, but most probably not – it is not a good idea to try polishing when tired and sleepy), I have marked each surface that is not finished yet.

Chasing scratches is a nightmare. Partly it is my (lack of) skill. Partly it is the tool – I had to repair and improve some parts of my belt-grinder because the belts were not tracking properly and wobbled from side-to-side. That means I have welded on a threaded nut for the screw that adjusts the tracking wheel and I have given a little twist to the spring that provides tension to the belt. The twist helps to keep the arm with the tracking wheel steady, it tended to bend and thus was not stable.

Also, the whole machine vibrated too much – I had to remove the clamps that were holding it to the table, because they got in the way, but now it has wandered around. I put a few bricks in it for weight and that seems to have helped a bit, but possibly not enough. I suspect I will have to bolt it down, something that I do not like to do in case I will make changes to the workshop.

But as they say, it is not about the tools, it is about the hands.

And regarding my hands, things do not look so good in the long term. For the last eight weeks, I had persistent pain in the first joint of my both index fingers, so I finally went to an orthopedist. On an X-ray he found nothing, which is good – I probably just strained the ligaments in the spring and those take a long time to heal. I do not have arthritis. Yet. But he also has told me that because my mother was heavily hit by arthritis in her fifties, to the point that she had to get two artificial joints in her thumbs, the odds are that I will get the same. And there is nothing I can do about it, except making it worse. Works he particularly discouraged me from doing were works including hammering and working in a wet environment with vibrating machinery. Hand-forging is probably out of the question for me completely and for grinding I will have to develop and put to use quite a few helping jigs to reduce the strain put on my fingers.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    I’m hoping that you can develop good helping jigs. Is there a chance that the helping jigs could also make the quality of the work more consistent and accurate (mechanical advantage means that large operator movements make small movements on the work piece, more accurate and consistent angles etc.)?

    What is causing the vibration, unbalanced wheels, the motor or the grinding process itself?

  2. Jazzlet says

    Oh Charly ;-( I hope you have inherited your father’s joints rather than your mother’s, but that making the jigs to help will mean you can go on making things longer either way

  3. voyager says

    I’m glad there’s nothing seriously wrong and I’m glad you saw your Dr. early. Now, you can make the changes needed to protect your joints before damage is done.

    I think your knife is beautiful. It has such lovely curves.

  4. rq says

    I too hope you have your father’s joints. I’m sorry to hear this will reduce the activities you should perform with regard to knife-making, but I hope the solutions you come up with for the rest will save your joints and you any future pain!
    And yes, beautiful curves, and a beautiful shine -- to me, that already looks super-shiny, but I can’t wait to see the final product!

  5. voyager says

    Ice Swimmer,
    Your comment @1 went into our pending folder. I’ve restored it, but I couldn’t really see any reason why it was there. I’ll keep an eye on the folder in case this happens again.

  6. says

    I think the source of vibrations is both unbalanced wheels (specifically the tracking wheel) and the grinding process. I do hope that jigs will not only help to save my hands from the worst, but also to improve the quality and consistency of my products. It will definitively be fun to try.

    I have inquired a bit about family history. From my mother’s side, her older sister has hands OK, but her younger brother had to give up wood carving because of rheumatoid arthritis. She herself thinks that the cause of the arthritis in her thumbs was heavy work.

    My father has arthritic knees, but his siblings afaik do not have arthritis at all.

    My older brother is a machinist, my older sister did her share of heavy work, they are both at the age when my mother got it and so far their hands are OK. But they both never had Reynaud’s -- I do.

    So I do not fall into despair over my future fate, but I still think I best be careful and not tempt fates too much.

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