• Jeff Kushen
    I am sure we all have some steel, handle material or whatever that we hated working with...what I want to know is your story!

    Here is mine:
    Black Palm - Handle material

    This stuff looks gorgeous when finished, but I HATE IT!
    I had a custom knife order and the customer demanded black palm scales. I purchased 2 sets from a reputable supplier. Having never worked with it before I figured it would be prudent to get an extra set in case i screw it up.

    Well the first set splintered like a porcupine with every stoke of the file. I am glad i started soaking the second set in the cactus juice /vacuum chamber 3 days before i started working this set.

    So after 3 hours in the over at 240 degrees, then 3 days under vacuum, and and 3 more days soaking I pulled the second set out of the C Juice and baked it per instructions. It gained almost 19 grams.

    The stabilized palm did not splinter. But it took 2 portaband blades to cut it to shape! wth?!

    IF I agree to use it again, there will be an additional $100 upcharge!

    So what do you hate working with?
  • Finn Leslie
    I used aluminum to make a guard on a Kabar style knife. I wanted a lightweight material so it wouldn’t throw the balance point off. Thought it would be easy to work with but I was so wrong. If you grind it, it overheats every few seconds, wreaks havoc on your belts, and it’s soft enough it clogs all the teeth of your files. Haven’t used it since.
  • JR Knifemaker

    Jeff it’s all about fast belt grinders and sharp belts!

    Although the difficulty I had with this one was counter sinking a Corby into the angled section on the black palm scale. Nightmare. I would avoid using a file and keep the facets v simple. Once you’ve got a nice finish on it it’s beautiful and solid, but I agree, unless it’s belt grinders at speed, it’s a nightmare....


    It just finishes sooooo nice
  • Jeff Kushen
    Yeah i found faster was better, and I did use a brand new belt that 8 broke in with a section of 2x4. now it looks like this!hf4skhxlhmi0p91v.jpg
    :-). It IS beautiful when finished, but I'm going to limit my use of it.

    Thanks JR!
  • JR Knifemaker
    very nice!

    It polishes up like plastic. I sound like the black palm defence lawyer.

  • Jeff Kushen
    Counselor, are you using it stabilized or raw? I read all over that it doesn't need or take stabilization, yet i also see some offering it stabilized.

    The first block i ruined was raw, the second was one i stabilized. It almost looks like glass at 2000 grit.
  • Jeff Kushen
    I cant believe no one else has gotten in on ANY of the threads I've started recently! Including the recipes!!
  • JR Knifemaker

    I use it raw. It ends up almost like plastic- shiny and rock solid. Once you get past the initial difficulty in machining it, it’s alright.
    Stabilising it I’m not surprised it took some abrasives!!!
  • JR Knifemaker
    I just realised. Juma. I tried working juma and it just melted every time I tried it near the grinder. I have a one speed grinder unfortunately so limited options....... but it was a nightmare.
  • JH Forgeworks
    Aside from the dust/fiber issue when cutting/grinding, I love juma. It machines so easily and finishes out great. The trick is sharp belts and light pressure. I rough in with a 60 grit and then will finish out at 120. Don't take it any higher than that on the belt grinder as it's very heat sensitive. There's no need to really. It's so easy to finish that you can go from the 120 on the grinder to 400 by hand no problem. Then 800, and I finish out at 1200 and a light buff with blue compound on a soft wheel.

    I'm working on a blade with blue juma now. The stuff just looks too cool not to use.
  • JR Knifemaker
    I’m gonna give it another go then. This is like black palm all over again but in reverse!
  • Ryan Bales
    For me it's the 'non hardening stainless' like 303/304, both can be a bear. They are gummy and makes wicked splinters from the milling machine.
Add a Comment

Welcome to the Knife Talk forum!

Sign up to the forum for free to start discussions and get your questions & queries answered and engage with the community.