Verndahl's Bruno blade build!


AKA tintin
Snagged this awesome unfinished 8/8s Bruno blade on SRP. I chose the toe design but the finishing is up to me!. Hope I can make it worthy of the name. Pictured is some of the custom wet/dry paper holders i have used in the past to restore vintage blades. Any advise ? How does one keep the edges crisp? how high of grit should i go? (is will be etched when done to show the hamon.)


Staff member
My usual steps from this point is more or less:
  1. clamp the blade over a piece of wood so you don't risk your hands or other parts ramming into the edge because that can have disastrous results. I usually do this with a woodworkers clamp and a piece of plank, mounted on the side of a table. The blade is with the point to you and the tail pointing away from you.
  2. use a rubber object to sand back and forth in the hollow. I use an old rubber handle that was on an old file. It helps to have a rounded shape so that you can sand the hollow with a shape that more or less matches it. Take care that you do NOT sand over the edge itself. Ideally, you do not touch the edge more than very lightly, for the barest minimum.
  3. Also important: do not sand over the line that separates the spine from the hollows.
  4. after all grinding lines are gone, switch to a higher grit, and sand in a direction that is more diagonally. Still, do not sand over the edge.
  5. And for the next grit, go straight again. I usually have this progression: 240 - 400 - 800.
  6. Do the same for the other side.
  7. When the hollows are clean, do the same for the tand and spine. You can clamp the spine if you place the clamp right. Once you are clamping a polished side to the plank, use folded kitchen paper or so to prevent it from getting scratched up.
I'll discuss the etching in detail when the blade is polished, based on the options you have available at your place.


My process is similar. I change directions. Horizontal, vertical, diagonal, in part because it helps me see the lines I’m trying to eliminate. I also use hard backers. I lubricate the paper with WD-40 once I hit 600. The finer grit paper seems to plug up easily and that helps me keep it clean. I put a piece of tape at the edge as my no go line, sometimes I wonder how helpful it really is, but it only takes a second to put on. Your wood blocks look like great backers. I think as long as you are aware of where the lines are and make the effort, you will keep them crisp. The spine and the plunge lines are the two spots people blow it. I think you will do just fine. By the looks of the sanding blocks you’ve already put some time into sanding.

Mike Blue

Keep the blade clamped away from the edge of the wood base. Any blade can creep around a little unless your clamping rig is a good one. I would recommend making more shaped jigs to hold the blade to the plank so it can't rotate under a single point clamp.

I used to sit in a chair when sanding and then stand up and forget the pointy end. The blade does not have to be technically sharp at that point. It's very awkward to explain how you inadvertently tried to disembowel yourself. A razor causes a lot more blood loss before you feel it too. I'm grateful for my keg now instead of the six pack I think I had once. Think like a Roman gladiator, lots of fat to cut through means less exposure of the vital bits underneath.


AKA tintin
Thanks, my sanding blocks are backed with a thin sheet of cork or firm veg tanned leather. Is there a better backer?


Well my backers are not quite as made as yours are. I have a bunch of large hair curlers that geezer sent me some time ago. Previous to that it was wine corks split lengthwise. I have used a series of hard rubber blocks intended for wood work as well as some less formed pieces of wood. I suspect that yours are likely as good as it gets.