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Sharpening copper beryllium blade

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  • #53022
    Pat
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    • Topics: 16
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    Just purchased a Strider SMF with a CuBe blade.  Any thoughts on sharpening approach in terms of stones?  I have diamonds from 50-2200, DLF 6 and 3 micron and the ultrafine ceramics.

    My gut tells me this metal is much softer than the softest steel most knife blades are made of, so I can get away with less aggressive diamonds to start, but can end as fine as I like same as I would sharpening a steel bladed knife.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    Pat

    #53068
    Glenn Goodlett
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
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    Dude, use extreme caution!

    I don’t know anything, but, I copied this directly from Wikipedia.

    In solid form and as finished objects, beryllium copper presents no known health hazard.<sup id=”cite_ref-:0_2-0″ class=”reference”>[2]</sup> However, inhalation of dust, mist, or fume containing beryllium can cause the serious lung condition, chronic beryllium disease. That disease affects primarily the lungs, restricting the exchange of oxygen between the lungs and the bloodstream. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists beryllium as a Group 1 Human Carcinogen. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) also lists beryllium as a carcinogen.

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    #53089
    tcmeyer
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    • Topics: 35
    • Replies: 1893

    I did a little checking around and read that BeCu should not be sharpened in an open environment where the particles may be inhaled.  Berylium poisoning is nasty and incurable.  This Blade Forums thread claims knowledge of at least one death from it.  https://bladeforums.com/threads/copper-beryllium.349871/#post-3105300   I think it could be sharpened by wet sanding, but you’d need a way to gather the swarf for safe disposal.

    I think I read that the Strider in CuBe is only about Rc50 hardness, so should be limited in its use to softer media.  Strider does the resharpening at their factory.

    As I also understand it, Strider made them for EOD, dive and breaching teams, as they are non-sparking and non-magnetic.  I’m not sure if they were actually made for public sale.  Some are for sale at https://bladeforums.com/threads/copper-beryllium.349871/#post-3105300 for prices in the $750 to $875 range.

    Here’s a thread about a knifemaker getting beryllium poisoning when a supplier sent him CuBe by mistake instead of silicone bronze: https://bladeforums.com/threads/some-answers-to-questions.411280/#post-3831655

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    #53225
    tcmeyer
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    • Topics: 35
    • Replies: 1893

    Further proof that I can’t seem to shut up…

    We happened to watch Antiques Roadshow last night, where a woman brought a piece of metal sculpture by Harry Bertoia, an Italian artist of mid-20th century.  The sculpture was of about a dozen standing rods of beryllium copper, each about 1/4″  in diameter for the first 3 feet, then maybe 1/2″ diameter for the top ends about 12-18″ long (dimensions estimated from memory).  Think cattails.  What was impressive was the obvious precision in that the rods seemed closely spaced and perfectly aligned – this after maybe 50 years or more.   I started life with a decided bent toward the artist side, so I have more than a little appreciation for the beauty of this piece.  Bertoia tried to include sound in his works, and this was as musical as a wind chime when you brushed your hand across the rods, as you would a guitar.   He also published an album “Somnambient,” using the musical sound of his various sculptures.  He apparently used beryllium copper in quite a few of his works and died at 63 in 1978 of lung cancer.  Go figure.

    The appraiser estimated value as between $80,000 and $120,000.  The one I found below is a smaller version for sale at $60,000.

    Midcentury Harry Bertoia Sonambient Sculpture For Sale

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