Sharpening Knives

Knife, axe and edged tool discussions.
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Sharpening Knives

Postby Montanapatriot » Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:25 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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Re: Sharpening Knives

Postby ridurall » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:55 am

After wearing out several ATS-34 and S30V steel knives by Benchmade, Buck and GT I finally pretty much went the way you have Montaniapatriot. I've got all kind of sharpening equipment here but I was given a Chefs Choice electric sharpener. It does an okay job but sure wears out good steel. I've got a 2 sided Duo Sharp 5"X12 diamond 2 sided fine (600 mesh or 25 micron) and super fine (1200 mesh or 09 micron) I've also got a bunch of others round, flat and even a diamond South Africa Warthog cross diamond sharpener. But to finish everything off I've got a 1"X42" leather belt strop "Surgi Sharp" made by Wheatland that strops my knife to a shaving edge. It mounts on my Craftsman belt sander. I also have 140 grit to 1000 grit 1"X42" sanding belts that are great for sharping tools or knives that are going to take too long on the diamond sharpener. I try to use it more than anything so I don't wear out so many more new knives. I'm always amazed at how many people carry a dull knife. I also learned from my Dad to not loan a knife until you know what they want it for. Dad always kept good care of his knives and a coworker asked to borrow his one day. Dad caught him using it to clean the acid and corrosion out of a battery cable. The other guy didn't want to mess his own knife up.

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Re: Sharpening Knives

Postby robalo23 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:20 am

Lansky sharpening system: ... al-system/
Works on just about anything. Gives you a perfect angle every time.

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Re: Sharpening Knives

Postby BULLDOG » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:17 pm

For the last 20+ yrs.? I bought all of my sharpening ?Stones etc.? From Smokey Mountain Knifeworks.? I have their Arkansas Stones in different grits.? And I use their Horning oil as well.? With a little time & some work.? they bring all of my knives,? Axes, To Razor sharpening edges.? I never had any reason to try or switch to a Diamond type stone etc.? I say " IF IT AINT BROKE.? Well you know the rest of it.? 8)

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Re: Sharpening Knives

Postby Stoble » Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:15 pm

Ridurall your dad's experience with his friend was the first laugh I have had today. The old "cleaning the battery cable with the pocket knife trick" is never good! Is that not something, a guy borrows someone else's knife to do work he would not dare to use his own for? Plus, wonder what the lead battery cable connection looked like when he finished with it! Thanks for the story.

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Re: Sharpening Knives

Postby riadat » Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:13 am

I use the lansky crock sticks with box. And a smith's sharpening stone. Pretty much those two give me a working edge in no time. I don't keep my knives shaving sharp just sharp enough. Rough it up on smith's then lansky at 25 degree angle. I have a lot of knives. ATM I'm carrying a 9 inch Frank Beltrame switchblade with the standard edge.

My opinel is such a thing flat knife that I sharpen it at 20 degrees and it will shave but the thin edge doesn't hold up to heavy cutting and soon looses its edge. Quick to resharpen however.

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Re: Sharpening Knives

Postby yankeejib » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:40 pm

I think 22 is the magic number but better to err on the shallow side. I always work on just one side of the blade until I can run the back of my finger nail along the edge and detect a small hook/edge where you've finally ground the edge to the point where you're now just pushing the edge over into a J. Then I flip it over and run the other side just a few strokes to straighten it out, and repeat with a finer grit. Nothing more fun than taking the rock to family or friends and making all their kitchen knives kick ass in 15 minutes.

Great primer:
Professor Stu Padasol

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Re: Sharpening Knives

Postby Eric_in_FL » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:24 pm

Just grabbed one of those Work Sharp tools for 60 bucks. Been meaning to get something to go through our kitchen knives with and get all sharpened and squared away, and all my personal, carry, and camp/hike/survival knives as well.

Looong over due to get a sharpening system setup. The handheld whetstone block my dad gave me so many years ago, well it'll be for memory-sake, not daily use. lol

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