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Old 06-10-2010, 04:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c3shooter View Post
Many knives will have a "razor edge" that is a wire edge- sharper than a mother-in-law's tongue- but it will go away at the first cut.
Getting rid of that wire edge should be the last step in your sharpening routine, get that burr off and polish the edge nicely. Then you'll have a proper "razor edge".

The easiest way I've found to do that is to strop the knife on a piece of leather with some fine abrassive. Fine buffing compound is ideal, but Flitz will do and I've even used toothpaste in a pinch (minty fresh knives!).

I'm not a fan of any type of sharpening jig or guided system, they all have loads of limitations (blade shape, size, grind...). With the possible exception of the Edge Pro system, that's rather expensive.

My opinion is that a knife user should learn to sharpen free hand. It might be frustrating at first, but once you get the hang of it you can take that knowledge with you everywhere and sharpen anything with simple tools. You won't waste money on bulky gadgets, just on quality stones that will most likely last you a lifetime.

I like Spyderco's ceramic stones. You can get a much nicer finish than with diamond stones (I find them too coarse, even the extra-fine ones), you don't need to worry about oil or water and they aren't too pricey. They are available as large benchstones and also as rods (great for travel, recurve blades, serrated edges).

For convex blades I use sandpaper backed with an old mouse pad or leather (depending how much "give" I need).

I finish all my edges on a leather strop with fine buffing compound.

Learning might take a while, but it's definitely worth it. When I go hunting I just fold a couple of pieces of sandpaper into my wallet and know that I can keep all of my tools shaving sharp.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:20 PM   #12
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Good idea about the sandpaper, Francisco. What grit do you use?
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:32 AM   #13
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It depends on how dull the knife is. I use 200 for reprofiling (when a lot of steel needs to be removed), 400 & 600 for really dull and damaged blades, and 1200 & 1500 for touching up and finishing edges.

The good thing about sandpaper is that it's cheap enough to get a bunch of different grits. It lasts quite a long time as well when used for sharpening. It's also very light and easy to pack.
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:09 AM   #14
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Do you use something for backing the sandpaper? Thinking a piece wrapped around a wallet would work well, I'm going to start carrying some 400 and 800 wet or dry in my hunting license wallet. Thanks for the idea!!
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:47 PM   #15
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For convex edges I back it with an old mouse pad stuck on a piece of wood or some leather (usually my leather strop), depending on how much "give" I want. For non-convex ground blades I use anything flat. For recurve, hawkbill or serrated blades I just wrap the sandpaper around a pencil or a rat tail file.

When out in the field I carry my sharpening gear as well as some oil and other tool maintenance supplies in an Altoids tin. I glued a piece of mouse pad on one side. I keep it closed using "ranger bands" (basically, inner tube from bike tires) which I can also wrap around the tin to hold sandpaper in place either over the mouse pad or the flat metal lid depending on what I need to sharpen.

I've got lots of expensive sharpening toys, but I just love my little Altoids tin kit. It took 10 minutes to put together and probably cost less than 20 bucks.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:46 PM   #16
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For slab sided blades every thing is about the bevel. What you are going to do with the knife should determine the bevel you use. Large degrees, 15 to 22 on a side for chopping implements like axes, 10 to 14 on a side for generic cutting knives, less than 10 degrees on a side for razors and slicing tools. Usually the larger the angle, the stronger the edge, but the lower the cutting ability. Decrease the angle and the edge can deform with sideways pressure or upon cutting hard objects, but the generic cutting function (due to a smaller wedge) is increased. From the bevel we go to the fineness of the edge. There are rough stones, medium stones, fine stones, and honing stones. Most knives will never be put to a use where an ultra fine honing stone is needed. You are into razor and scalpel territory then. Done properly, even a medium stone can produce an edge that can shave the hairs off your arm.

The little carbide steel V sharpeners will do a fast and dirty sharpening (usually at about a 12 degree angle), but they will also shave steel off your blade. For a cheap $10 knife that is probably just fine.

The Lansky system (and similar) will put a VG edge on a blade, but they take much longer to do a dull knife than simply using a handheld sharpening stone because of a) open the box, attach each stone to the rod, clamp the holder to the blade, use stone 1, then switch to stone 2, etc., then put it all back in the box when done.

The Lansky (and similar) rod systems are somewhat fast, and easy to use, but a steady hand does the best work.

All sharpening mediums require periodic cleaning. Use light oil and a rag for your stones.

The hardest thing about a stone is learning to be consistent in every pass and with every time in what angle your knife glides over the stone.

Some humans using stones do well with small circular motions of the knife against the stone, but others advocate consistent one way passes of the blade over the stone. Tomato vs. tomatoe. As long as the passes and the angle of approach are consistent and edge will result. Takes practice. In the past 20 years there is a lot of debate over which cuts better, polished edges, or edges with micro-striations. To me, the school is still out. I think what you are cutting is the deciding factor. micro ridges seem to do a better job of bread and rope slicing. Of course if you are trying to de-bone the meat of a steer, this may not be the best choice of edge.
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:56 AM   #17
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I would suggest you check out a Pro knife maker. Murray Carter is a manufacturer of high end knives that he recorded the term Scary Sharp with a copy write. If you go to murray@cartercutlery.com. He will send you instructions over a 2 week period (8 emails) on how to clean, repair maintain and sharpen a knife to his scary sharp specs.

You can tell if a knife is scary sharp if you put your thumb on the back and the first 3 fingers on the edge. If when you slide your fingers up and down the edge front to back and the edge feels oily... even though it will shave, it is not scary sharp.

He will direct you to use waterstones (one 2000 grit and one 8000 grit) with his instructions doing the work over your kitchen sink with the stone in use having a slow flow of water to carry off the rerfuse from sharpening. A major part of using water stones is keeping the surface flat. He will discuss methodology to use to make flatening the stone to be as infrequent as possible.

When I started following him I had to reflatten after 50-60 strokes. Now it is around 250 strokes and then only minor to do. I use a purchased concrete yard block (12" x 12" x 2") as my flatener to work wet like a waterstone to get the wet water stone back flat. There are professional flatening tools which are back in the 3 diget range. I have found using the yard block meets my needs at an acceptable cost of maintenance. It will take a little time to learn from his directions, it did for me, but when you do learn, all blades are sharp, with most being scary sharp.

You asked about methology. Angle for the first layout grind/cut 20 degree and roughly 1/8+- wide. The finished edge at 22 degrees, BUT that edge is only +-1/128 inch! Just a few strokes over the stone to put it in place. Do that final work one stroke at a time per edge to keep all things centered.

One other thing I found most challenging was converting from pushing the edge of the blade into the stone... the cutting edge leading like cutting a 2x4. He will have the edge trail... like you do when strpping on a razor strap.

Those four things:
Murray's training,
2 good stones (roughly $100 each),
the correct angles (20 degrees first cut, 22 degrees finish),
sharpening on the pull with the edge trailing (I learned how to hold the knife so my thumb was the guide to the angles... even on the rounded edge to the point)
WILL bring you to be place of having an edge you can be proud of.

Murray left Canada after HS and went to Japan where he was trained to become a Japanese rated bladesmith. His knives are high, kneck knives in the $150 range Kitchen knives in the 400 range and a Katura sword touching $1,200 but beautiful and custom made.

I keep a double sided diamond toolmakers hone if I am going out in the field and may work my edge down. This is my back up tool. I use the water stones for my set up work

If you can get to a Tandy's Leather... they have small scraps of thick leather and jeweler's rouge you can pick up as well. They do have that which you can buy. But if you do not have Tandy's near by call them for the smaller pieces to use as a pocket strop Get them to sort the scraps for you. A rough cost on scraps would be +-$3 per sf at 1/8 inch thick. Do not go thinner. Too dificult to keep from wrinkling. This will be an odd shape not square but something off if a leg skin, maybe 2 1/2 - 4 inches wide an 6-8" long. It will be random with few if any straight edges. You will trim it to shape.

Enjoy...

Last edited by beaufordqrastus; 04-04-2015 at 11:07 PM.
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