Did you know that giving your knife a mirror polish finish enhances its wear and corrosion resistance?
Many uninformed knife owners think that sharpening a knife is enough for efficiency and performance.
While this is true, a mirror-polished finish not only gives your knife a shiny look but also protects it against wear and tear.
I heard a friend complaining that after polishing his knife, he still can’t remove the scratches. Others complain about a cloudy-looking center on the blade after polishing.
Some knife enthusiasts wonder why it’s even necessary to mirror-polish a knife. These are common challenges for many people.
In this article, you’ll learn the importance of mirror polishing and how to mirror polish a knife–the right way!
What Is Mirror Polishing?
A mirror finish means getting a smooth and highly polished surface on metal either by mechanical or chemical methods. For example, how to mirror polish a knife means giving the blade a mirror-like appearance.
To improve your understanding of this process, let’s look at the two methods of mirror polishing–mechanical and chemical techniques.
The mechanical mirror finish is the most common method for many knife users. It is the process of rough and fine grinding of a metal surface.
Continuous grinding of the knife’s surface removes corrosion or rusty parts to give the blade a shiny appearance.
Chemical polishing also removes the accumulated oxides on the knife’s surface and gives it a shiny effect.
Polishing a knife is all about sanding out all imperfections on the knife’s surface, which you follow with a buffing detail.
Imagine if you run into an old rusty knife, you can’t use it as is. Instead, you’ll need to work on the blade to restore it to a usable and appealing state.
This is what it means to mirror polish a knife. But there’s more to maintenance and mirror polishing.
While mirror polishing is about giving a knife a shiny look, you need to do more to restore the blade. You can have a shiny knife that is not mirror polished.
Mirror polishing entails giving that knife a mirror-like standard with absolutely no markings!
When grinding the knife blade with sandpaper or stone, you’re more likely to scratch it even more.
Mirror polishing demands more work to ensure that the knife’s profile does not have any scratches or lines.
The blade should be pristine after mirror polishing and be clear enough to see your reflection.
Reasons To Mirror Polish a Knife
Many people wonder why they should spend hours to mirror polish a knife. But is it worth all the trouble? Yes, the best care you can give to your blades is a mirror polish finish.
There are many reasons and advantages of mirror polishing your knife.
Before going further, mirror polishing a knife gives it a wickedly sharp edge with a neat finish.
Whatever way you look at it, the ultimate goal of mirror polishing a knife is to end up with a razor-sharp blade edge.
It’s interesting to know that knives with a mirror polish are better at releasing food than knives without polishing. You can try this yourself by having two knives.
One mirror polished and another one without polishing. Then, cut through two pieces of steak and see the difference.
A mirror polished knife profile does a better job in cutting steaks or vegetables and leaves less residue on the blade than an untreated blade.
Let’s have a detailed look at the many reasons why you should mirror polish a knife:
- Push cutting: Mirror polished knives outperform rusty or toothy edges when you are push cutting. Shaving, chopping, and carving are good examples of push cutting. These tasks do not require any force, just a highly refined and polished edge.
- Aesthetics: I would be attracted to a polished knife even before looking at its detailed specs. Mirror polished edges are aesthetically pleasing. If you are a knifemaker, the secret to adding value to your knives is proper polishing.
- Reduced friction: The smooth bevel of a polished knife means you experience less friction when cutting items. It’ll just glide through steaks,vegetables, or any other object you cut.
- Clean cuts: Cutting delicate food like fish requires clean cuts. A knife with a mirror polish does not crush or tear the fish. Instead, it gives the fish a clean-cut for better cooking and taste. Clean cuts also scientifically reduce the oxidation of object surfaces.
- Durability: Reducing blade friction means reducing the wear of the knife, which increases its durability. Removal of oxidized surfaces helps to preserve a knife’s durability by improving its corrosion resistance.
Guide To Mirror Polish a Knife
While knife owners have many reasons and benefits to mirror polish a knife, you may not enjoy them unless you do it properly.
For this reason, we went a step further to put together a guide on how to mirror polish a knife.
Many knife owners complain that their knife blades still have marks despite following mirror polishing instructions. But scratches from a previous grit are hard to remove if you don’t do it correctly.
So learning how to mirror polish a knife saves you a lot of disappointment.
There are two methods of polishing a knife, which are mechanical and using chemical compounds.
As with many cases, you can use mechanical polishing and chemical compounds to achieve that smooth, bright, shiny finish.
Alright, let’s get to it!
Tools and materials needed
Everyone has their set of tools for mirror polishing a knife. Therefore, we’ll give you a list of generic tools and materials for both mechanical and chemical polishing.
Mechanical tools and materials
- Buffing polishing wheels
- Dust mask
- Face shield
- Wheel rake
- Wire wheels
- Soft, medium, and hard density felt wheels.
- Stainless steel polishing fluid
- Polishing solution
- Grinding fluid
- Greaseless compounds: You can either use the Plasticlad solid or Brush-on compound
- Lubricants: Use Lubar for greaseless compounds only
- Grease-based compounds: Choose from a wide range of products; Emery and Tripoli help remove fine scratches.
- Fabulustre and Zam for removing residues and adding an invisible layer of protective coating on the knife.
- Rub polish finishing powders: Go for Pumice. It works best with steel.
These are a few tools and materials you’ll need to start with mirror polish for your knife blade. Of course, you don’t need all other them.
The long list is just a range of options to choose from. Ensure that you select the right tool to get the perfect polish for your knife.
Now that you have tools and material options let’s get into how to mirror polish a knife.
Here, you have a step-by-step guide to get the job done.
Step 1: Rough grinding
Complete the removal of the rough and irregular surfaces on the blade. Use sandpaper or medium-density felt wheels.
This procedure removes any accumulated rust on the surface of your knife. If you are restoring an old knife, you should consider hard density felt wheels.
The goal is to remove any unwanted, unsightly marks from the surface of the knife.
Step 2: Fine grinding
After you complete the first step, it leaves deep wear scratches on the knife’s surface. Fine grinding helps you get rid of these marks as you prepare the knife for the next stage.
Consider using soft felt wheels for this stage to avoid adding even more unwanted spots to the blade.
This step is vital if you want a knife with a smooth surface. The trick is to spend more time doing fine grinding to minimize later fine polishing work.
Once you do a great job at the fine grinding step, you can be confident that the knife will have a smooth mirror-like finish.
Consider using grease-based chemical compounds such as Emery and Tripoli. These compounds do a great job of eliminating those fine scratches on the knife’s surface.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to focus on small details. Detailing the knife’s profile is the surest way of getting a mirror polish finish.
Use a compound louver: Combining surface furnishing material is ideal for the removal of burrs and glare. Concentrated abrasive material also helps to eliminate irregular marks on the knife surface.
Step 3: Polishing
Your success at this step depends on the level of quality in steps 1 and 2. Finally, polishing is the last step before getting that glossy mirror finish on the knife.
To do a great job, use a stainless steel polishing fluid. It helps you achieve a shiny look following these simple steps:
- Add hot water to a metal cleaning solution in the ratio of 1:20.
- Add the polishing fluid (1:20 ratio) into the solution and mix for at least 5 minutes.
- Perform a roll polishing procedure on this solution.
- Wash away the water.
- Dry the knife.
- You can apply Fabulustre and Zam to give the knife a completely smooth look.
Mirror polished knives set a clear distinction between a regular knife and a sharpened knife. Unfortunately, many people are disappointed when they try to mirror polish a knife due to poor polishing techniques.
Learn how to mirror polish a knife before starting the process. It saves time and disappointment. Then, choose the right tools and material for the job to support your efforts.
If you are an amateur, take time to learn and improve your knife polishing techniques. It only takes a little effort before you perfect your skills in knife polishing.
Whether it’s for the kitchen or hunting, having a mirror polish knife is a must-have.