Can anyone point me to easy-to-understand (i.e., non-technical) information about tumble polishing steel? All the tumbling links on Google are about lapidary and jewelry applications. I'd like to try it on a knife blade or two. The price of wet & dry sandpaper has gone through the roof and I've just about run out of elbow grease to go with it.
I remember building my own rock tumbler when I was a boy. Used it for several years before I discovered girls. So I know a little about it. But I've never tried it on steel or other metal.
I have lots of questions. What media do I use? Can I expect high-quality results with a shop-built small batch machine.? Will tumbling destroy crisp lines on a knife blade (I'm aware that the edge will have to be retouched)? Tumbling times? Anything else to be aware of?
Steel under consideration includes heat-treated carbon and stainless steels, D-2, ATS-34, S30V, 5160, etc. Probably finished down to220-grit or so before going into the tumbler.
Any info at all will be helpful in deciding whether or not I want to try this.