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Starting With Nothing: A GD66 mod for under $40

Judging by the success of shows like Forged in Fire and the proliferation of cable shows, even entire channels, devoted to handcrafts of all different sorts, there seems to be a great resurgent interest for blades, metal and woodwork, and do-it-yourselfness in general. However, I think start-up costs may be a little daunting to the average Joe. So... Inspired by B&B's fine GD modification threads (and a couple of gift cards that have been laying around since Christmas), I'm attempting to complete a GD66 mod starting from absolutely nothing. No Hones. No strop. No Blade. Nothing. Under $40.00. Is it possible? I think that with the combined experience and knowledge of B&B we can make it happen. Let's find out!

Part 1: Acquiring Stuff

Trying to pull all of this off on the cheap means Ebay. And China. Ugh. I'll also be fabricating what I can from scrap that shouldn't be too hard for the average person to find for free. After spending too many hours searching, here is what I have so far:

3x GD66 @ 3.99
Not sure how I feel about planning for failure but chances are good I'll botch at least one of them. This might drop to 2 as other expenses add up.

1x 1000# 2.69
1x 3000# 2.99
1x 4000# 4.09
1x 5000# 3.39
1x 8000#/10000# 7.17
* 2.00

These stones are SMALL (100x25x10mm), and from what I've read, of questionable quality. They also seem to be odd# grits? If not for price concerns, I would have preferred a 1k, 4k, 8k/10k set, closer to the suggestions I've read here. I'm guessing that I'll be working more by feel than by the numbers printed on the hones... and hoping the wider variety of grits will will help minimize the quality issues. I'll need to build a jig of some kind to keep everything secure and level, which should be easy enough to do with scrap wood.

* In keeping with the 'from nothing' part of the challenge I'm budgeting $2.00 for some 100-300# stones and/or a couple of old files. I'll use these to remove metal from the spine, heel, tang, etc., as well as shaping the scales.

I'm not spending anything here. I'm lucky enough to have access to a lot of scrap leather of varying qualities. I realize that most people don't, so this feels a little like cheating. That being said, it isn't terribly uncommon to find leather furniture on the side of the road. Someone up the street from me threw out an old sofa last week; I'd scavenge it but someone beat me to it. Since everything else will take more than a month to get here, I'll keep my eyes open and I'm pretty sure I'll find something suitable by then. If not, I might spend a few bucks at a thrift store for a leather/canvas bag or jacket.

I'm assuming that the $2.00 strops on Ebay are near useless. Can anyone speak to that?

I'm not planning on spending anything here, either. I'll probably use scrap wood for this challenge (if you can't find scrap wood, you're not trying). In the future I'll play around other reclaimed materials (glass and maybe rubber seem like interesting choices) but those are probably outside the scope of this challenge.

Tools and Misc
1x 80mm Caliper (cheap plastic) @.75
1x 60x Loupe w/ LED @1.92

I have a hard time believing the loupe is as advertised but for the price I'll take a chance. It will be the first thing to go if the budget gets tight.

Current Total: $36.97

I'll finalize my order towards the end of week. Since everything is shipping via slow boat from China, it may be a month or more before Part 2. In the mean time, Help! I'm a newbie and still studying, so I may be missing some things or perhaps working from some bad assumptions. Any and all corrections, suggestions, advice, and/or criticisms will be much appreciated.

Hopefully this thread will become a valuable resource, not just for me, but for other potential hobbyists that may be off-put by the price of quality hones.
This is pretty cool, I would have recommended going with Lapping Film for the price as it is a sure thing and you'll get a much larger honing surface.
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This is pretty cool, I would have recommended going with Lapping Film for the price as it is a sure thing and you'll get a much larger honing surface.
I agree. I think that you are budgeting too much for too little on the hones. You could use W/D paper to 2000 grit, then 3 um and 1 um lapping film. Or go directly from 2000 grit W/D with lather to CrOx paste.
Yeah, early on I did 1200 diamond plate (3x1?) to crox to Feox on WD’s poor man’s balsa and got a shavable edge. It took awhile to get there, but I got there.
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