Sharpening Knives

Knife, axe and edged tool discussions.
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Sharpening Knives

Postby Montanapatriot » Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:21 pm

We discussed this in the old forum and since sharpening seems to be a bugaboo for a lot here's how you do it.

#1. You will get better the more you do it like anything else. You learn the "feel" and get the muscle memory with practice.
#2 Get a $19.00 4 sided diamond block from Northern Tool etc, many other retailers have them for a similar price they have 200-600 grit.
You only need to put water on it and you will die before you wear it out. Stoke the blade like you are trying to shave a slice from the "stone" at a 25 deg angle an equal number of stokes on each side, if you do 2 on one side, do 2 on the other, if you do 4, then 4 on the other side.
#3 Use the first 2 roughest surfaces to establish an equal bevel on both sides of the blade about 1/8" of an inch wide, not more.
#4 When each side is even and equal and relatively sharp go to grit 3 then 4.
#5. Having a magnifying glass is helpful to spot any flat spots on the very edge of the blade, work until you have a zero edge and both sides are identical.
#6 It's now sharp, but not sharp enough.
#7 Get a "Translucent Arkansas" stone, it's about a 6000 grit. Put some Hoppe's #9 on it and stroke it at least 50 strokes per side on this maintaining the bevel you established. It will remove most all of the diamond stone marks and remove the microscopic sawtooth edge you can't see but is there.
#8 Get a stick of Dico Brand stainless steel buffing rouge, the kind made for a buffing wheel. Take a piece of smooth thick leather, an old belt works great and rub the surface with it until you have a layer built up. If you have a custom saddle shop nearby stop in and get a 6"x4" piece of heavy saddle leather, that's even better and will last a lifetime.
Strop your blade on this until the 1/8" bevel you established is polished like a mirror, keep your angle shallow so that you don't round that zero edge your previous work established.
Your knife is now as sharp as a surgeons scalpel, go ahead, shave some hair off the back of your hand.
#9 To resharpen you should now only have to get out the Arkansas stone and the leather strop. Sharpen often with these 2 and you won't ever again remove more than a few microns worth of metal and your knife will last a long time. Most knives are worn out by sharpening too often on too rough of a stone, rough stones don't make sharp knives, they can't, they are only for establishing a bevel. Fine stones make sharp knives.
Now practice.

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