Knife sharpening for the clueless?

Walden

Les Stroud
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Hi all,
Part of my learning process is sharpening a knife correctly, something I have never been shown. I drag a knife over a ceramic rod sharpener regularly, but honestly don't know if I am doing it correctly. Given that I have just ordered my first knife for the bush I think it is a needed skill.
So the question is where should I start? The Lansky sharpening system looks good and has got some positive reviews on this forum. What are people's suggestions?

Thanks.
 

Templar

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Lansky will work well, especially if you have little or no experience with stone sharpening... just follow the instructions and it should be all good...
Later when you get more confident you may like to try bench stones, needs more practice, but allows you to get more "hands on" with the process...

[video=youtube;Lm53mCOQTR8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm53mCOQTR8[/video]


[video=youtube;D4y8u_iJf1M]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4y8u_iJf1M[/video]

Hope it helps...
 

bubba5603

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I have a Lansky sharpening system (bought it at the PX at Fort Knox on exchange) but really hardly ever use it any more. I definately agree with Templar in that a stone lets you feel the edge, and for sharpening a scandi grind you can with very little practice feel the bevel "lock in". I find that light pressure works best for me, particularily with steels like O1 and 1095.

For dealing with some steel, a diamond paddle, extra fine, works the best (for me) especially with some like the ZDP-189. I have a Spyderco Endura in this steel and only the diamond paddle will work. If someone has some other suggestions, please feel free to send them to me.

The one trick that I have been working with that seems to be very effective and is quite cheap is sandpaper. I get mine in the hardware store in the automotive paint section. You can get some very fine grit that will put a mirror shine on the steel and a wicked sharp edge. Depending on the grind of the blade, I either use it secured to a hard surface, or for convex grinds I use an old computer mouse pad so that it has some "give" to form to the edge of the blade.

I have no experience with the rod system, but would love to hear from some one who does to see if it is worth investing in a decent system.

Finally, and completely off topic so I apologize for thread jacking, I just wanted to add a quick thank you to everyone on here for allowing me to be a member of your community. This is now my favourite web forum that I am a member, and that says alot since I have only been here for a couple of weeks. It is like a tight-knit clan of friends on here and still small enough so that you feel like you start to know peolpe that you have never actually met...it has that personal feel to it. Sorry for rambling, but it is almost 4 am here and I am 10 hours into a night shift....
 
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Corin

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The Lansky is OK with limitations. I have never used the sharpmaker, but if any one would know if they are good it would be Stewart.

I definitely recommend buying a cheap mora, knocking the edge off it and working with a bench stone and strop. Yes it will take a few hours that you could be watching telly or on a forum, but the lessons you learn will stay with you forever.

@bubba 5603 Canadians and Australians have a lot in common, it is great to have you on here sharing your experiences.
 

bubba5603

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The Lansky is OK with limitations. I have never used the sharpmaker, but if any one would know if they are good it would be Stewart.

I definitely recommend buying a cheap mora, knocking the edge off it and working with a bench stone and strop. Yes it will take a few hours that you could be watching telly or on a forum, but the lessons you learn will stay with you forever.

@bubba 5603 Canadians and Australians have a lot in common, it is great to have you on here sharing your experiences.

Funny you should mention the telly...that is where I do most of my sharpening, sitting on the couch watching the television with one of the oak chairs from the dining room set as my "work bench" late at night when I am attempting to revert back to normal hours on my days off! As Murphy's Law of combat says "If it is stupid and It works, it is not stupid"
 

bubba5603

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Another suggestion for learning to sharpen, at least for me, is to, if you have one or can find on, is to learn on an older carbon steel kitchen/butcher type of knife. I find that they are relatively easy to get a great edge on, and the skills and practice inspire confidence before moving on to one of the more modern or stainless steels. Practice and make your mistakes not on your new knife
 

Walden

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Thanks guys. Not sure what I was expecting but the simple answer is obviously I just need to put in some time practicing. Might start with the kitchen knives.
 

Joe

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THIS LINK (hope its OK to link to outside sites) is a great thread if you have an hour or so to read through it.
 

Joe

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Yeah, the good thing about that thread is that even if you get 50% of his results you will still have a very sharp knife. Page 3 explains his technique which i found helpful.
 

Walden

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I definitely recommend buying a cheap mora, knocking the edge off it and working with a bench stone and strop. Yes it will take a few hours that you could be watching telly or on a forum, but the lessons you learn will stay with you forever.
What should I look for in a bench stone and strop? Sorry for the basic question but my knowledge in this area is very basic.
 

Red23

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before you sharpen, mark the edge with a permanent marker, as you sharpen you will see if you are removing metal from the correct place.


also freehand is mostly about consistancy and repitition. Also don't skip grits, it will cost you more time.

If you are looking at a quick sharpen, don't try anything coarse, just strop.

Are you willing to drop some money on sharpening gear? A decent strop with compound will set you back 50 bucks. Decent stones will also set you back a 100 bucks
 

Stewart Townsend

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As Red23 says
before you sharpen, mark the edge with a permanent marker, as you sharpen you will see if you are removing metal from the correct place.


also freehand is mostly about consistancy and repitition.
If using stones and you are not getting the consistancy buy a $5 protractor at the newsagency, cut out a block of wood at the correct angle and use the block to get the consistant angle. If you are "too tight" (LOL) get a piece of paper and fold in half (45 degrees), fold it again (22.5 degrees) and use that as your angle.
 

Templar

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Stewart, funny thing is Carl sold me one too... lol

Great bloke too, really knows his stuff.
 

Walden

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I had a good think about what I am trying to achieve here and I want to learn the skill of free handing, so it looks like a good set of stones, a strop and starting with a cheaper knife is the way to go. The process is more important than the outcome for me.

Any suggestions for the stones and strop and where to get them?
 

Templar

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A strop can be made easily by using an old leather belt or by gluing a piece of leather onto a paddle, autosol makes great compound too.

Stones are a different story, you can get the Japanese water stones, they can get expensive though, I use an Askansas oil stone myself or a ceramic block I bought from King of Knives a few years ago... they work quite well, my first stone was a Cardorundium stone from a hardware store it worked quite well but was a little coarse for getting a fine edge thought...
 

bubba5603

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Might seem a little strange if you were watching me shop, but the section where I found the best leather for making a strop was in the women's section of the used stores. I have found some excellent, wide leather belts, and the price is usually a buck or two. Just make sure that it is real leather as there are many close imitations out there.

Another cheap idea is the bottom of ceramic coffe mugs can be used, after a fine stone and before stropping. Just don't pull out your knife a a restaurant...scares the crap out of the "sheeple"
 
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