Thoughts on the Lansky Knife Sharpener - Page 3
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Old 02-27-2010, 05:25 PM   #21
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Francisco,
Can you recommend any reading or videos that will help in learning to use stones instead of "gadgets"? I'd be really interested in learning more about it.

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Old 02-27-2010, 06:08 PM   #22
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There are tons of books out there, some are better than other but most of them cover the basics pretty well. Try "The razor edge book of sharpening" by John Juranitch.

As for DVDs, Murray Carter had some very useful ones: Murray Carter's Blade Sharpening DVDs | Carter Cutlery I'm a big fan of his work.

I've found that free hand sharpening is very personal, so don't be afraid to change a method to make it more comfortable. As long as you get the results, you're doing it right. Even if Mr. Carter says otherwise.

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Old 02-28-2010, 12:11 AM   #23
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The jig-type sharpening systems are all compromises. Mostly, they compromise your financial situation!
Not knowing how to sharpen a knife is akin to not knowing how to gas your car or clean your guns.
Hand sharpening is simple. Hold the knife at the proper angle and abrade it with the stone. Abrade each side until the edges meet. It's not hard, and requires very little practice. Refining the edge requires smoother abrasives. An inexpensive India stone works well.
If anyone has questions, feel free to ask and I'll try to help. I have sharpened quite a few knives.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:15 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillDeShivs View Post
Not knowing how to sharpen a knife is akin to not knowing how to gas your car or clean your guns.
Bill DeShivs
lol, you mean I don't have to keep buying new cars when they run out?
Seriously though, your analogy is very encouraging Bill. I may have to find a good stone or two and give it a shot.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:21 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillDeShivs View Post
Not knowing how to sharpen a knife is akin to not knowing how to gas your car or clean your guns.
I would respectively disagree with your assessment. Those that are in the know, know of your expertise, and I respect that. Your skill level is several times that of the average forum member in this regard.

Not everyone has your background.

Not everyone has several knives to "practice" on until they get the technique down. They may only have a couple of knives that they really cherish.

I don't believe the Lansky System is a great system, but it can help, on certain blades, if the owner just needs to touch up the edge.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:40 AM   #26
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I had used and liked the Lansky for a couple of years.
I started using the Mouse Pad method lately and I love it!
Took a little while to re-profile the edge on my spartan to convex, but once I got the edge "set" it takes just seconds to touch up.
I polished the edge on charged leather after but found it not to cut as well as leaving a courser edge. Ive been finishing with 600gr(finest I've got) and it works really well for heavy cutting.
I may experiment with some finer grits in the future.

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Old 02-28-2010, 12:07 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
Not everyone has several knives to "practice" on until they get the technique down. They may only have a couple of knives that they really cherish.

I don't believe the Lansky System is a great system, but it can help, on certain blades, if the owner just needs to touch up the edge.
One thing the Lansky has going for it, is that it's not terribly expensive. The boxed set with three stones is around $25, the one with three diamond stones is $55.

So I wouldn't call it a bad investment for a beginner. Sure, it's limited, but a lot of people find it's more than enough for their knife needs. It will work on most common pocket knives and medium sized fixed blade knives.

You can always use it while you learn how to sharpen free hand, and even when you don't need the angle guides anymore you can still keep using the stones. I think I got my $25 worth out of mine, and even though I haven't used it in years my girlfriend uses it for kitchen knives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatekeeper View Post
I had used and liked the Lansky for a couple of years.
I started using the Mouse Pad method lately and I love it!
Welcome to the convex edge brotherhood, Gate!! It's addictive, you'll soon find yourself convexing every blade you get your hands on. Do try some finer grit sandpaper, you'll get even better results. I finish my knives up to 1500-2000 grit and then move on to the charged leather strop. For regular maintenance, 1200-1500 and the strop are usually enough. I only go to 600 for really dull knives.

You might want to look at Fallkniven or Bark River for your next knife purchase, they make some great convex ground knives.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:29 PM   #28
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For an absolute beginner to the very concepts of consistent angles and a small 3 or 4 inch blade, I suppose the Lansky is okay, but my experiences with the things hasn't been that great. I'm lucky. Dad taught me how to sharpen with stones a half century ago. [Back in the days when a hard Arkansas stone was white, not grey or speckled like the little ones sold today, and available in 3" or 4" width, vs. today's i.5" variants.] In the late 70s or early 80s when Lansky introduced their system I picked one up (and have added stones to it as Lansky brought out serrated and other options). The biggest problem I have with the Lansky is the holes in the guide are too big so wobble is possible. Likewise the stones are attached to the guide wire by a thumbscrew and that annoyingly loosens from time to time. [Further, the stones are glued to their holder and with time, they drop out.] The larger the amount of blade area you are trying to cover before moving the guide, the more variation in bevel occurs. Straight in front, it is perfect, but an inch or two to the side and there is the variation.

I am also unimpressed with its performance on points and curved blades (like a kris), or really large blades. Take a wall decorator sword and try to put an edge on it with the Lansky. You will be there for days and pretty disappointed when you finally give up. I know, been there, done that.

For blades like those mentioned above hand stones are superior. [Anyone else remember the sharpening wheel? We had several of those in a corner of the basement. A (small) coarse one cranked, one (big one) smooth pedaled, and a medium he had hooked up to an old motor in lieu of the pedals. You really learn quick about bevels and angles (and too much heat) when dealing with power tools for sharpening.

There is another Lansky system, rods in a wooden block. Got one of those too (Gander Mt. carries both systems). It's okay for touchups. Nuff said there.

Stropping is an art worthy of its own post.

Personally I really prefer the Gerber diamond pocket folding angled iron thingie I mentioned elsewhere. [It's at Gander also. Gerber calls it the DF6.] It comes with a 30 degree bevel and is set up for axes and machetes, and it does them very well, and very quickly. With 20 acres of private woods and kudzu I do a lot of ax and machete cutting and they dull and time spent sharpening is money. The Gerber does them in the same time it would take you to open a Lansky box and pick a stone and attach it to the guide wire, then attach the guide to the blade at the point you want to begin sharpening, by then the Gerber tool is done, and back in your pocket and cutting is underway again. I have also used it with success on curve blades, It doesn't care and will sharpen a carpenter's knife. I like the Gerber thingie enough I bought more of them (any time I find a product I really like, some marketing guru takes it off the market).

Gerber, if you are listening, keep the 30 degree ax variant, but also introduce a steeper angle model for pocket and kitchen knives. Give us a variant that replicates the angle on a new Kershaw Leek.

Seriously, if you know nothing about sharpening, don't want to spend lots of money on stones, and want to do the job quickly, then look at the Gerber DF6.

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