Jump to content

Wedge Grinding & Torching


Matt Saternus
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello all. For those of you who don't "know" me, my name is Matt and I'm a compulsive/sick/obsessive/crazy DIYer. I started a woodworking business because I was too cheap to buy furniture for my new house...you get the idea. Today was my day off, I had no pressing plans, so I decided that today would be the day that I finally started grinding my own wedges, among other things. Wedge grinds have fascinated me since I first got into golf equipment, largely because wedges are my favorite part of the game. I've always wanted to grind my own, but I could never find someone to give me definitive information about how to do it. I saw some people working with belt sanders, others with bench grinders, some using both...so I never knew how to get started. I decided that it was finally time to just try something, see how it worked, and share my results with anyone who might be in the same boat.

 

The day started with a trip to Harbor Freight. I bought their 8" bench grinder and brought it home. I also stopped at Ace and bought some naval jelly and muriatic acid. I got all of this home and set up in the garage with 5 wedges: 2 old Vokeys (60* bent to 64* and a 52*) and 3 random wedges that I picked up for a song at work (a 60* TM, a 60* Mizuno, and a 56* Vokey). Before I go any further, a word from Norm Abrams: "The first rule of shop safety is to always wear these (points to face) safety glasses." Also, when you're messing with acid, rubber gloves are a stellar idea. Back to the show.

 

IMG_3256.JPG

This thing is crap. More on that later.

 

IMG_3257.JPG

 

IMG_3258.JPG

 

IMG_3259.JPG

 

IMG_3260.JPG

 

IMG_3263.JPG

 

IMG_3264.JPG

 

IMG_3265.JPG

 

IMG_3266.JPG

 

IMG_3268.JPG

 

IMG_3269.JPG

 

IMG_3271.JPG

 

Alright, that's a heavy post already. Let's get that up and then I'll continue.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After pulling and weighing all the heads, the first thing I did was to mix up a water and acid bath for the 52* Vokey to remove the chrome. Another word to the wise: read all the warnings about that stuff and use it outside. It is seriously bad news. I've also heard that the fumes alone can remove chrome, so, again, keep it outside. With the 52* bathing, I spread the naval jelly on the black oxide Mizuno wedge and the raw 56* Vokey. The naval jelly knocked the black oxide off in seconds. It took some more work to get the rust off the Vokey, but I made some headway on that. After...10-15 minutes (?) I took the 52* Vokey out and it looked AWESOME! Some pictures comparing the raw Vokey to the standard chrome 64* are ahead:

IMG_3272.JPG

IMG_3273.JPG

IMG_3274.JPG

IMG_3275.JPG

IMG_3276.JPG

IMG_3277.JPG

IMG_3278.JPG

IMG_3279.JPG

IMG_3280.JPG

IMG_3281.JPG

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After the 52* had been raw-ed, it was time for the torch. A simple propane torch is all you need. I clamped the wedge into the vise, put the torch on full throttle and went at it for a couple minutes. After it turned all kinds of blues and purples, I dunked it in oil which made the whole thing much more brown. Then I torched it again which made it more golden with some blues and purples. Very fun.

 

Torch:

 

IMG_3282.JPG

 

IMG_3286.JPG

 

IMG_3288.JPG

 

IMG_3289.JPG

 

Oil:

 

IMG_3291.JPG

 

IMG_3292.JPG

 

Re-Torch:

 

IMG_3295.JPG

 

IMG_3296.JPG

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now, while things were soaking, I was starting to grind...and learn my annual lesson: don't buy anything more complicated than scissors from Harbor Freight. The grinder I bought from them was ear-shattering, bounced all over my work bench, and was, generally, a POS. Much time was wasted driving back to Harbor Freight to return it and driving to Lowes to buy a Porter-Cable bench grinder (not pictured here). I bought a simple 6" grinder and used only the wheels that were included (36 and 60 grit, IIRC). I also used some sand paper to smooth out the grinds at the end. A finishing wheel would be nice, or a flap wheel, or a belt sander with finer grit sand paper, but that's for another day. I am, overall, very happy with the results I got from my very simple (and cheap, $80) set up. That drama aside, I had a few things in my mind that I wanted to do:

 

On the raw 56* Vokey, I wanted to attempt a grind that I've seen done to Miura wedges before. It essentially creates channels in the sole that sand or dirt can move through to help the club move more easily. Whether or not it does anything...I'll figure that out in the coming days and weeks, but it looks kinda cool. This was definitely the worst of my efforts, which makes sense: toughest grind, first attempt, and done on a bouncing grinder. Still, I think it's pretty ok.

 

On the 60* Mizuno, I wanted to do a C grind to create relief on the trailing edge, toe and heel. I like this grind on my Scratch 60*, and it served as practice for doing the same grind to my 64* Vokey. The Vokey really needed it more because the bending turned a club with 4* of bounce into an 8* bounce club. I think both of these turned out pretty well.

 

Finally, on the 60* TM, I wanted to try a P grind - cutting a channel in the middle of the sole (similar to the Solus wedge). Again, a very tough grind, and I won't know how successful I was until I put it into play, but aesthetically, I'm not unhappy with it. I also took a little bit of material from the toe, trailing edge, and heel.

 

After I finished each grind, I weighed them and found that I didn't lose too much weight...I think 9 grams was the most extreme loss.

 

The final step was a bit of hand stamping, some paintfill (all paintfill looks better on a torched canvas, IMO), and a tasty lime green Cell Parts ferrule. All the clubs are drying in the garage right now, tomorrow I will get them bent to spec on my brand new Mitchell Loft & Lie machine (arriving tomorrow...so pumped!), and then they'll head to the practice green. I will keep you all posted on how these grinds actually perform.

 

Oh, I totally forgot: I also torched the 60* TM, the 56* Vokey, and the Mizuno. The Mizuno is probably my fave, very dark blues and purples which were created by giving it LOTS of time under the torch. The TM is, surprisingly, my second favorite. I didn't remove the satin chrome on this one (except from the sole where it was ground) and it turned a really awesome gold. The raw Vokey got a little heat and it turned mainly brown...nice, but nothing special in comparison to the others.

 

I'm a little burned out on posting, so I'm just going to throw up the last of the pics without labels. There are pics of each with and without flash, just trying to show the "real" colors of the torch...and failing, haha.

 

If anyone has any questions about anything I did, suggestions on how to do better, or if you want me to do some mad science on your clubs, please let me know.

 

-Matt

IMG_3297.JPG

IMG_3298.JPG

IMG_3299.JPG

IMG_3300.JPG

IMG_3301.JPG

IMG_3302.JPG

IMG_3303.JPG

IMG_3304.JPG

IMG_3305.JPG

IMG_3306.JPG

IMG_3307.JPG

IMG_3308.JPG

IMG_3309.JPG

IMG_3310.JPG

IMG_3311.JPG

IMG_3312.JPG

IMG_3313.JPG

IMG_3314.JPG

IMG_3315.JPG

IMG_3316.JPG

IMG_3317.JPG

IMG_3318.JPG

IMG_3319.JPG

IMG_3320.JPG

IMG_3321.JPG

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very cool post Matt, thank you for sharing. At some point when time permits I'd like to do some tinkering myself, and your post here will help me get on my way. One quick question that is probably elementary, but I'm curious. On the 52* Vokey you pulled it out of the acid bath and then it went straight to the vice for torching, right? I guess the reason for asking is that you didn't end up grinding on that particular wedge later AFTER you torched it. I'd want to do all of my grinding prior to torching the wedge for the finish, correct?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For looks and if you want to anneal it (soften it) you can by heating it smoking red hot and letting it air dry. You can also harden it (case hardening is done this way) by again getting it red hot and quenching it in oil, water, or anything that'll cool the metal rapidly. You harden it by heating the particles up and rapidly cooling them, suspending them in a tighter state. It softens by again heating the particles and allowing them to move slowly to evenly spaced gaps between them, which are further apart than they were previously. Sound complicated? Try explaining it in a concise manner. That's a cliff notes version.

 

Mainly, though, people torch for looks.

 

As for the OP's work, looks pretty good. The grinds, by far, were brave to attempt, especially on a grinding wheel. I tried it once and ended up buying the rest of the JET grinder attachment (the sanding belt attachment). Suffice to say, it's much easier to create grinds on it. You can go the cheap way, but the front wheel of the belt sander portion will likely be steel. You want a rubber front wheel to allow you to grind evenly and smoothly. Still, that looks damned good for a grinding wheel. Just bead blast the striking area and you're golden.

 

A few tips for the torching? Move the torch fast back and forth over the surface of the entire wedge/club to get even heating. It'll produce much more even colors. I have 4 torches here, 3 propane and one MAPP gas. When I want a nice even torch job, I use at least 2, sometimes all 3 propane torches. If I want something as dark as possible, I fire up the MAPP gas torch and heat everything with it as evenly as possible and as cherry red as possible. It'll be even when it cools.

 

Oh, and make sure to use a degreasing agent prior to torching, you won't get fingerprint stains afterwards (like one or two of those have). I usually degrease and pick up with nitrile gloves to move to my homemade torching stand. That way everything looks even.

 

Still, great job, and if this is your first effort at grinding, you really did do a fantastic job with it. The torching looks good too.

In The Bag
Driver: TaylorMade M2 (2017) w/ Project X T1100 HZRDUS Handcrafted 65x 
Strong 3 wood: Taylormade M1 15* w/ ProjectX T1100 HZRDUS handcrafted 75x
3 Hybrid: Adams PRO 18* w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4 Hybrid: Adams PRO 20* (bent to 21*) w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4-AW: TaylorMade P770 w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Black Onyx S400

SW: 56* Scratch Tour Dept(CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
LW: 60* Scratch Tour Department (CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
XW: 64* Cally XForged Vintage w/ DG X100 8 iron tiger stepped
Putter: Nike Method Prototype 006 at 34"

Have a ton of back-ups in all categories, but there are always 14 clubs in the bag that differ depending on the course and set-up. Bomb and gouge. Yes, I'm a club gigolo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, and as for the acid bath, make sure to wear a respirator and gloves. The bad thing is, you need a hazmat license to properly dispose of the waste. I hope you didn't just dump it down the drain. The chemical you create when stripping chrome using acid is hexavalent chromium, the same thing Erin Brockovich is famous for litigating against. It's highly caustic and highly hazardous. I prefer to take my stuff to a chrome shop and have them deplate it so they deal with the waste, health hazards, etc. Kudos for getting the job done, just make sure you do it safely. No need screwing your health up over a custom club job.

In The Bag
Driver: TaylorMade M2 (2017) w/ Project X T1100 HZRDUS Handcrafted 65x 
Strong 3 wood: Taylormade M1 15* w/ ProjectX T1100 HZRDUS handcrafted 75x
3 Hybrid: Adams PRO 18* w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4 Hybrid: Adams PRO 20* (bent to 21*) w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4-AW: TaylorMade P770 w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Black Onyx S400

SW: 56* Scratch Tour Dept(CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
LW: 60* Scratch Tour Department (CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
XW: 64* Cally XForged Vintage w/ DG X100 8 iron tiger stepped
Putter: Nike Method Prototype 006 at 34"

Have a ton of back-ups in all categories, but there are always 14 clubs in the bag that differ depending on the course and set-up. Bomb and gouge. Yes, I'm a club gigolo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very cool post Matt, thank you for sharing. At some point when time permits I'd like to do some tinkering myself, and your post here will help me get on my way. One quick question that is probably elementary, but I'm curious. On the 52* Vokey you pulled it out of the acid bath and then it went straight to the vice for torching, right? I guess the reason for asking is that you didn't end up grinding on that particular wedge later AFTER you torched it. I'd want to do all of my grinding prior to torching the wedge for the finish, correct?

 

You're very welcome, trying to help others learn (mainly through my mistakes) was exactly the point. With the 52*, you are correct, I went acid, water (to clean the acid off), then torch. I did not do a grind to the 52*.

 

I did take the 64*, the Mizuno 60* and the 52* to work today and hit them off the mat. The C grind on the 64* is killer - it's sooooo easy to open up and toss in the air with tons of spin. I even backed a couple up on the astroturf mats. The grind on the Mizuno was nice too. The other cool thing was feeling the difference between the raw and plated wedges - it is substantial. The raw wedges were a bit louder and clickier than the chrome plate, which was surprising, but they provided a MUCH better idea of where I hit the ball than the plated wedge. I think I will be looking for raw wedges exclusively in the future.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 2 of indoor grind testing revealed something pretty interesting. I had read that the P grind (channel in the middle of the sole) creates a "double bounce" effect which promotes higher, softer landing shots. Seemed silly to me, but I wanted to try it anyway. Results from the mats today confirmed that what I thought was silly was in fact 100% true. I had a number of people hit the P grind against another 60* wedge and everyone hit the P grind higher. I am very eager to see (hopefully tomorrow, weather permitting) whether or not this is true on grass as well. I'm also hoping to find a practice bunker where I can see the effect that the P grind and the multi-channel grind have in the sand.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
  • 1 year later...

This sure makes me wanna try torching a couple of my old wedges and putters.

 

A quick question... what sort of oil do you guys dip em in after the torching process? Mineral oil or it doesn't matter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ok, super curious about the P grind. has it played through on grass?

X2

 

Cool project too BTW!

BIRDIE COACH & MENTOR, FIRST TEE GREATER HOUSTON
HDCP: 12.0 (GHIN: 3143312)
In my bag, March 2021
:titelist-small: TS2 Driver Hzrdous Smoke Shaft (Stiff Flex)
:titelist-small: TS2 Hybrids  Mitsubishi Tensei Shaft (Stiff Flex)
:mizuno-small:  MP-59 5-PW; KBS Tour (Regular Flex)
 :callaway-small: PM Grind Wedges
:bettinardi-1:  Putter

:bridgestone-small: 2020 TOUR B XS
Sun Mountain Cart Bag
:Clicgear: 4.0 Push Cart (I'm walking 9 outta 10 rounds!!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for reviving this thread, I hadn't read it and it was a great read. Matt, did you keep using the wedges and have you messed around with grinds since posting this?

 

The revival of this thread made me nostalgic for concepts like "off day."

 

I haven't done any grinding since that day and all of those wedges moved on...I think I donated them all when MGS did a club drive for First Tee or a similar program.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not have time to read all of these posts for now, that pesky job is interferring again, but I do want to say, and it may have been said, you can get the gun blue from Dick's and put on the wedges. I do that to my Mizuno Raw Haze wedge it looks really cool, but it does wear off so you simply dab some on a paper towel and so it again.

 

I look forward to reading about his tomorrow night when I can.

 

Driver:      :ping-small:  G425MAX 10.5° -1° Flat on Project X HZRDUS Yellow Handcrafted 65g

Fairway:   :ping-small:  G410 3 wood LST & 5  Wood Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

                     :ping-small:  G425MAX  7 & 9  Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

Hybrid:     :ping-small:  G425MAX  6 H Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

Irons:     :ping-small:  i 500 7-P on True Temper Dynamic Gold

Wedges: :vokey-small: SM8 50°, 54° & 60° on True Temper Dynamic Gold Wedge

Putter:    :cameron-small: Studio Style Newport 1.5

Balls:      :titelist-small: Pro V1X :taylormade-small: TP5 

Shoes:     :footjoy-small:  

Range Finder: :918457628_PrecisionPro: Precision Pro  NX7 Pro

All grips are BestGrips Micro-Perforated

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Have anyone ever tried doing that with their irons?? I think would look really cool.....

 

 

It does look that way, right until the first time you're in the sand or in sandy soil.

In The Bag
Driver: TaylorMade M2 (2017) w/ Project X T1100 HZRDUS Handcrafted 65x 
Strong 3 wood: Taylormade M1 15* w/ ProjectX T1100 HZRDUS handcrafted 75x
3 Hybrid: Adams PRO 18* w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4 Hybrid: Adams PRO 20* (bent to 21*) w/ KBS Tour Hybrid S flex tipped 1/2"
4-AW: TaylorMade P770 w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue Black Onyx S400

SW: 56* Scratch Tour Dept(CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
LW: 60* Scratch Tour Department (CC grooves) w/ Dynamic Gold Spinner
XW: 64* Cally XForged Vintage w/ DG X100 8 iron tiger stepped
Putter: Nike Method Prototype 006 at 34"

Have a ton of back-ups in all categories, but there are always 14 clubs in the bag that differ depending on the course and set-up. Bomb and gouge. Yes, I'm a club gigolo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...