Knife sharpening for the clueless?

dmm

Russell Coight
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Following up my own post. I've now sharpened most of my knives with the exception of the convex edges.
I've really impressed at the results I've been able to achieve, and I haven't yet received the finest 1200 grit stones.

For best results, you use the jig as a guide, but just a very light touch, which is pretty much what people often say about free hand sharpening. I could well imagine using the stones stand alone also. Well worth a look if you are the sort of person who might spend $350 on a gadget.
 

Erdesz95

Les Stroud
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In the bush the best thing to use is a wet stone, if you already have one, grab your kitchen knives and start sharpening. Using one of those fancy sharpening things aint much good in the bush. Best'a luck to ya! :)

-Dave
 

AussiePreppers

Richard Proenneke
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I've been using knives for over 20 years and I still haven't mastered the art of sharpening on a stone. In fact, 99% of the time they end up less sharp than when I started. I always ended up getting a friend (abattoir worker) to do them for me.

Recently I bought a water stone from King of Knives for around $50. Medium and Fine. My first few tries have resulted in more dull knives. I just can't get the angle right, especially on my weak side.

When I bought a knife maintenance kit recently it came with a Gatco ceramic sharpener, which works on the same principle as the sharpmaker - it controls the angle and you just draw it through. I've been able to keep every one of my knives razor sharp with this, but it is limited in what it can do. For example, it's only set to the one angle, and it's only light duty you can't change the edge completely or work out any damage or foldovers.

6224-sharpener300.jpg

I need to practice some more and get the stone method down, as one of my new knives needs some major work done on the grind - it looks like they scraped it over rough gravel to get the edge.
 

Arron The Archer

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I've been using knives for over 20 years and I still haven't mastered the art of sharpening on a stone. In fact, 99% of the time they end up less sharp than when I started. I always ended up getting a friend (abattoir worker) to do them for me.

Recently I bought a water stone from King of Knives for around $50. Medium and Fine. My first few tries have resulted in more dull knives. I just can't get the angle right, especially on my weak side.

When I bought a knife maintenance kit recently it came with a Gatco ceramic sharpener, which works on the same principle as the sharpmaker - it controls the angle and you just draw it through. I've been able to keep every one of my knives razor sharp with this, but it is limited in what it can do. For example, it's only set to the one angle, and it's only light duty you can't change the edge completely or work out any damage or foldovers.

View attachment 5160

I need to practice some more and get the stone method down, as one of my new knives needs some major work done on the grind - it looks like they scraped it over rough gravel to get the edge.
sorry to thread dig.... aussiepreppers how is your sharpening now? an what style knives are you trying to sharpen? if they are not scandi grind (an i only saw this brought up once)
i can highly recommend the "apex edgepro" pricey yes but well worth it i've been sharpening knives for 25yrs now an or tho i still use a range of japanese water stones for scandi grind knives i can't go past the edgepro even my lansky kits now collect dust i like it that much

if you you are trying to sharpen with water stones the trick is always keep the stone as wet as possible an never clean off the paste that builds up on a water stone
my water stones are 240grit, 800grit, 1000grit, 3000grit an 8000grit the 240 an 800 is for heavily damaged blades 1000 is for damaged blades an 3000 an 8000 is just for touch up
an polish to a super fine razor sharp edge

if the water stone you got is like the first 2 of my grits they wont get your blade "sharp" they are just for refining the edge to get rid of chips an rounded edges

if i can help you or anyone with anymore advice i'm only to happy to help
 

Bartnmax

Richard Proenneke
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The secret to sharpening is learning to maintain correct angles.
Just buying expensive Japanese waterstones won't & can't guarantee that absolutely essential skill.
A knife sharpened properly with a cheap oil stone is far better than a knife buggared on a $1000 Japanese water stone.
I am not saying don't buy them at all, in fact I have one myself & intend purchasing a few more in the not-too-distant future, but they are a total waste of money if not used correctly.
That's why I usually advocate the use of one of the Lansky or Gatco kits for beginners.
They will teach correct angle maintenance & once learned, the sharpening of a knife with other media becomes much easier.
As far as their use in the field is concerned, if a knife is properly sharpened first, & steeled/stropped prior to use, often field sharpening is not even needed unless the knife is being used for extended periods of time or under adverse conditions.
I've been using a Wally Bidgood custom Sambar hunter for over 10 years now & apart from a touch up on my Eze-lap Model M diamond steel prior to use, I have never needed to sharpen this knife in the field.
 
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Burnsy

Malcolm Douglas
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I think all sharpening with a stone is a skill worth learning. For me you can not go past a quality Japanese wetstone. These are something that you do get what you pay for. I learnt through wanting to sharpen chisels and plane blades (google scary sharp chisel and you will find heaps of pointers) and have been transferring this knowledge to knives.

Like any sharpening, there is plenty of technique involved and mastering it takes practice but for me you can not go past getting a few wetstone jigs, watching some videos, grabbing an old knife, chisel and plane blade and practicing. You will find that you build your own technique that works for you and allows you to get scary sharp. Learn to sharpen on a stone with a sliding or rolling jig and you will quickly pickup technique and eventually be comfortable without the jig. At that point you are laughing as you now know that wherever you are you can sharpen any blade with just a stone. Remember to keep your stone flat. If you can find someone to give you some pointers take them on board as well. To many people get hung up on right and wrong ways and I believe there are more ways than one to skin a cat so find what works for you.

Scary sharp goes beyond shaving the hairs from your arm but I find it a decent measure and the first time you sharpen anything to that level you will get a big grin on your face and a sense of satisfaction.

The benefit is, you will forever enjoy using your knives and tools because they are scary sharp, therefore so much more pleasurable to use. If you don't have a spare $100 for a good stone get a sheet of plate glass (louvers are good) some spray contact adhesive and a heap of different grit wet and dry papers. You can finish with some green rouge polish (from woodwork stores) on mdf board for that scary mirror finish.
 

Bernoulli

Les Stroud
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It's not rocket science. The most important thing is to understand what you're trying to do. I have carborundum, Arkansas, water ceramic and diamond stones. I've used most of the systems that are out there. Most work well. Of course I prefer paper wheels, but there are many ways to establish an edge that will do your task properly. Here's an excellent youtube by Bop Kramer showing how to use stones. The ones he's using are $300USD + postage. His technique is worth watching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqqVN3LFFz8
 

Randall

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If I might jump in here, I have a question to ask that has puzzled me for some time. I have always used honing oil for all of my sharpening, except with diamond impregnanated sharpeners. I have seen time and again about water stones, and about not using oil on fine/extra fine arkansas stones. My question is what is the benefit of the water stone vs using honing oil. Any time that the pores of my stones start to have an appearance of being, for lack of a better explaination, clogged with residue, I have simply washed them by hand with dishwashing detergent, and after they have dried, just carry on with oil and go on sharpening. It seems to have worked for me for years, and now for the big question, am I doing something wrong? I know that that is a subjective question, but I will not take offence to any comments that a) can explain what, if anything, I am missing here, and b) can offer me a alternative that can assist in my blade maintenance, After reading Bill's posts, I definately understand his statements in refernece to beginners and needing to learn correctly. I am famous for quoting things that instructors in the military have taught me, and in this case it is "If you learn to do something right the first time, you will always do it right. If you learn to do something the wrong way, you spend the rest of your life trying to learn the correct way" or words to that effect (usually puncuated with much profanity).

If I can also be so bold as to use two quotes in the same response, I have been considering more on what Bill said about the Lansky system (which you can see previously in this thread that I already stated that I own and use one) and it brought to mind something that I tucked away in the memory banks a long time ago. I believe that it came from the exibition archer Byron Ferguson. It is something that I remind my kids of when learning new skills. That is "Practice does NOT make perfect...perfect practice makes perfect."
I know this is an older thread, however still relevant. I feel I have something useful to add, because I've been researching and practising with the lansky. First, I've found, if a bevel needs re angling (on new knives some are weird; one angle one side, a different angle on the other side), using the aluminium carbide stones of the lansky system just take forever. I've never successfully re bevelled an edge with those stones, even after hours. I pondered and thought "what if I bought just the extra coarse diamond stone". What a difference - five or ten minutes to rebevel. It's still an hour or so with the other stones from this point.

Re the oil, from lansky themselves: only use it for honing with the Akansas sandstone. It stops them drying out and breaking. Also use it to clean the aluminium oxide stones; when the stone gets clogged, put 2 drops or so on the stone, rub it in with your finger. You will see all the steel particles color the oil gray. Wipe clean with a rag. Also, I wipe toward the rod end. This is because you use the stones against the edge of the blade pushing toward the guide. The steel particles will be accumulated on the one side of the aluminium oxide grit, so you don't want to push them into the grit, if that makes sense. If you've cleaned a file with a wire brush you'll understand, assuming you used the file correcting (you only file on the push stroke). And the finer stones clog more quickly than the coarse stones.


Don't use oil on the diamond stones - it will clog them up.

I haven't found what to clean the diamond stone with yet - I was just going to use and scrubbing brush dry.

I have never been consistent with free hand sharpening. Using a strop is the limit of my freehand abilities :oops:
 
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Randall

John McDouall Stuart
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Oil won’t clog a diamond stone but is not necessary. To clean diamond stones use a Lansky eraser block or equivalent.
I got that from a lansky video, which of course doesn't mean it's true. I use an eraser on spyderco sharp maker ceramic rods - it works very well. And I still have a few ancient erasers that I've rarely used in years. Thanks for the tip :D

On another note, the honing oil - I wouldn't be surprised if it's just mineral oil. Baby oil is mineral oil with some fragrance (and no harmful additives in it like engine oil has).
 
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MongooseDownUnder

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The biggest issue with lubricant on diamond stones I think is they reduce the friction of the diamonds. The problem then is it feels like it’s doing less and people use more pressure and damage the diamond surface.
 
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