- This topic has 5 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 4 years ago by Anonymous.
November 9, 2015 at 7:20 pm #5899Anonymous
Anyone have any ways to learn how to keep my blades sharp? I bought a sharpening stone but maybe I am not sharpening at the right angle because my blade is not getting as sharp as I want it. Suggestions?November 30, 2015 at 11:18 pm #5973April 24, 2016 at 3:53 pm #6731Anonymous
For a consistant razor sharp edge – wickededge
The packages are expensive but you will remove hair when you are done attending to your blade.February 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm #8076Anonymous
Realizing this is an old thread, maybe this will still help someone who happens along.
Unless your edge is nicked or rolled, you should only need to strop it with leather to bring the cutting edge back. You can get a barber’s strop on Amazon for around $10-12, which is what I use, or a block-mounted strop if you don’t care about the convex edge option (convex is stronger, however). I recommend using a general purpose (yellow) stropping compound, also in the same price range on Amazon.
If I have to reprofile an edge, and am at home, I use a course Smith’s diamond block to take out the nicks or reform any chipped points. I’ll then use a Japanese water stone – 1000 grit followed by 6000 grit. LIGHTLY draw the edge across a ceramic or Arkansas stone, and then strop. That should give the edge a mirror polish when you’re done, and it should cut standing paper (fold in half) so long as you’ve kept your angles consistent.
If I’m on the road or in the field, I use three grits of diamond, coarse-fine, ceramic, and leather strop, in that order. Should shave with ease. For this I use a Smith’s diamond sharpener and a Worksharp field sharpener. The latter has a finer diamond that that of the Smith’s, so it’s my third pass. It also has a ceramic rod, 20 degree bevel guides (although I usually go a bit shallower), and a leather strip. The Smith’s is $20 and the Worksharp is about $35, both at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
If all else fails, send your blade to me because I’ve sharpened everything in my house…LOL.
Hope that helps.February 7, 2017 at 1:14 pm #8077Anonymous
Oh – and be careful of the draw-through sharpeners. Especially the carbide blades – you get consistent angles but the carbide digs deep into the metal, reducing the life span of your knife. Electric sharpeners or belt sanders can mess up the tempering if you don’t cool the blade enough also. Go with the stones if you can. It takes practice, but it’s worth it.February 8, 2017 at 7:00 am #8083Anonymous
I keep thinking of notes to add – sorry.
Whether using diamond or regular stones, keep them watered (except oil stones). The slurry it creates assists with honing. If you hone the blade dry, the metal shavings will build up and reduce its effectiveness. This may be the case with the field sharpeners if you don’t have water nearby, so I usually wipe the stone on my pants leg every few passes to remove the micro-shavings. You will feel the difference in the bite as you push the blade across it.
As for learning proper angles, it just takes practice – but you need to be mindful of the grind angle for the type of knife. For example, a Scandinavian grind is an 18 degree inclusive angle (9 degrees each side of the edge). Kitchen knives are about 10 degrees per side, and standard factory edges are deeper at about 20 degrees. Best bet is to use a cheap WalMart knife to practice on until you get the hang of it. You’ll know by feel and sound if you inadvertently shift your angle and eventually will imprint the muscle memory to get consistency.
Just as with drilling technique, it’s a good idea to train your offhand to sharpen so you can push the blade away from you as you do so and avoid accidental cuts. This is especially important if you have to sharpen a longer blade. This really takes practice, so again, use a cheap throw-away for starters. A good way to train both hands, by the way, is to mark the cutting edge with a Sharpie and check your progress with each pass. This will also reveal faults in the factory edge that need correction after you’ve established the skill.
While honing, push the cutting edge against the stone with two hands – one on the handle to guide the blade, the other to apply light pressure to the end of the blade. When stropping, draw with the cutting edge and avoid turning the wrist at the end of the pass – this will convex point while leaving the base of the blade flat. If you want a full convex edge, lay a foam pad under the strop or use a barber’s strop hung from a hook. Otherwise, keep the strop on a solid surface.
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