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Sharpening Tools & Techniques

  • gregwalton Tuesday, July 20, 2010 3:44 AM Reply
    What tools and techniques do you guys use/recommend for knives?

    My understanding is that there are three stages to getting a sharp blade: shaping (removing metal to get the right profile), honing (to remove surface imperfections and jaggedness) and, optionally, stropping (to polish the edge).

    Shaping I don't need often but I use a double-sided coarse/fine diamond sharpener if I need to remove metal.

    For most of my honing I use a ceramic V-shaped handheld hone. This has crossed ceramic bars at the "correct" angle and just needs a few strokes through to get a decent edge. Not great at doing the full length tip-to-heel of the blade. I occasionally use an old fine grit oilstone for getting blade tips right.

    I don't have a leather strop and polishing paste but I have tried stropping blades on carboard (against a solid background) and it is surprisingly abrasive and polishes quite well. Stropping with the blade edge trailing removes any last hint of a burr and can get a shaving sharpness.

    What are the thoughts of more exerienced posters?
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    post edited by gregwalton on 7/23/2010 at 7:49 AM
  • flashin Tuesday, July 20, 2010 12:16 PM Reply
    i use a butchers steel to maintain the edge.

    it works pretty well on these dx knives.

    but to bring back an edge i use a fine stone.

    i would like to see sharpening kits here.
    complete with guides and stones.

    they have 'em at walmart so i know china makes them.

    i think you have some real good practices for sharpening.

    i ain't got anything to add really.
    Howdy from Ohio!

    (john 3:15-18)
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  • cantstopshopper Tuesday, August 3, 2010 8:09 PM Reply
    so far your system sound pretty thorough- short of buying an expensive kit such as the Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker, which I do not recommend.

    If you are looking for a kit then go with 'Wicked Edge' - it is wicked and excellent, but really expensive especially when you add on the extra stones.

    Or the more affordable 'Lansky' style kit is a great option as well.
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  • cantstopshopper Tuesday, August 3, 2010 8:10 PM Reply
    (posted twice)
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    post edited by cantstopshopper on 8/3/2010 at 8:11 PM
  • gregwalton Wednesday, August 4, 2010 4:23 AM Reply
    I've just got a Fallkniven DC4 which has a diamond side for shaping and a ceramic side for honing. It gives an excellent edge. The only thing I need to improve is keeping a consistent angle while I'm using it, so I'm thinking of knocking together a wooden jig which holds the stone at 20° off the vertical, then all I have to do is concentrate on keeping the blade vertical while I'm honing. In principle a bit like the Spyderco Tri-Angle and others.

    The Lansky sets look good and come highly recommended, but I'd be in danger of spending more on my sharpeners than my knife collection! And the Wicked Edge... wow!

    No, with the Fallkniven stone I'm getting a great edge after raising smaller and smaller burrs and then polishing on a paper pad - the only thing is that you can see the edge is convex when you get the light on it.
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  • gregwalton Monday, August 16, 2010 6:00 AM Reply
    I've made a frame to hold the Fallkniven stone at the correct angles (20 and 25° off the vertical) and I'm getting much more consistent result. When I was aiming for 20° by hand I was getting 25 to 30°! Now much better.

    I've just remembered that there is another step to (re)sharpening a blade that I forgot before: setting. When a blade is sharp and get used on something hard it can bent over at the edge. This feels a bit like a burr but is not quite the same. Professional sharpeners recommend "setting" the edge before resharpening. This straightens any bends at the edge and avoids you having to unnecessarily remove metal. One way is to use a smooth steel, other techniques include running the edge through a carbide (or similar) "V".

    To be honest not something I've tried yet, but if you notice such damage it might be worth thinking about.
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