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How do you sharpen your knife

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jim_B, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Jim_B


    Feb 25, 2009
    Independence, Mo.
    This is a take off from the pocket knife post.

    I use a synthetic 600/800 oil stone for shaping, a 4000 grit Japanese water stone for sharpening and a set of 70s era crock sticks for dressing the edge. What I don't know about sharpening could fill a book, but I manage to keep a pretty good edge.
  2. Sangetsu


    Apr 18, 2009
    Years ago I worked in a cutlery shop, and I learned to sharpen pretty much anything which had a cutting edge. Knives were the easiest of things to sharpen, the hardest things were barber's shears.

    Regardless of the type of stone you use, water works better than oil. Hobbiests and amateurs use oil on their wet stones because it gets the job done and leaves a coat of oil on the blade. Water is better lifting the particles of metal left behind as a blade is sharpened, and it is easy to rinse them away. Oil tends to hold the particles, and they stick to the stone.

    For the finest possible edge you need to use an electric buffing/polishing machine with a hard felt wheel. Red jeweler's rouge works well to put a literal shaving edge on any decent quality steel blade.

    "Dressing" the edge means to remove the burr along the edge left behind after sharpening. If the burr is left in place, it folds over as you make a cut, which makes the blade cut poorly. I prefer to use a thick piece of leather instead of a piece of wood. A little more technique is involved with this method, but it will leave you with the sharpest possible edge.

    Carbon steel knives hold a much better edge than stainless knives. For 99% of use, stainless is okay; the last 1% are those who need the finest edge, sushi chefs and such, and they will prefer a carbon steel blade. Carbon steel rusts and discolors, but it holds a finer edge, and holds it longer than a stainless blade.
  3. Jim_B


    Feb 25, 2009
    Independence, Mo.
    I would perfer a knife that was carbon steel, but most are stainless these days.

    Is it difficult to dress the edge on a buffing wheel and not over heat the edge?
  4. I am lucky enough to have a large Arkansas black, along with the common gray, I still use oil, and always wanted to try the Japanese water stones. My knife is not finished until it shaves. This is a lost art, and even many old farts like myself, know little of sharpening an edge.

    You leave out the most important thing. A consistent angle.

    I do use a dressing wheel esp. on turning tools, but here. unless you do a lot of it, a mistake is easy to make.

    I use many different cutting tools. I have ceramic slips for the odd shapes and small items.
    heavy damaged goes to pro shop, no sense wasting my time here, and a mirror edge is applied at home.
  5. gladjo

    gladjo Guest

    I take them to a shop.
  6. SteveAikens


    Jan 4, 2009
    Clovis, NM
    I have one of them at Benchmade as I type. Best $5 ever spent.
  7. Jim_B


    Feb 25, 2009
    Independence, Mo.

    I don't think you would be disappointed with a waterstone. It's an all together different experience than with a oil stone.

    The one I use is Item B, the standard stone:


    By the way, Lee Valley is a 5 star company in my book, have been doing business with them for 15-20 years now. Everybody smiles when they are selling you something, it's only when something goes wrong that you find out who you really are dealing with.
  8. Well the price is certainly right, but they are way too short to my liking.
  9. Jim_B


    Feb 25, 2009
    Independence, Mo.
    Too short? It's 7" long.
  10. My stones are 12" and 14", but not cheap, very hard to get long Arkansas blacks, as it is very brittle.

    To me it is just more efficient to use a longer stone.
  11. Jim_B


    Feb 25, 2009
    Independence, Mo.
    You'd pay a fortune to get a water stone in that size. The stone in the description is actually a knock-off of a Japanese stone. To get an authentic stone is quite a bit higher.
  12. I use a device called Diamond Fingers from Australia for all my kitchen and carving knives. Haven't found anything to compare with it.

  13. I don't know about your stone, but Typically diamond embedded stones remove way too much material, and are usually limited to rough work such as shaping and repair of damaged areas, they do put a quick serviceable edge on a blade though. i would never put an expensive edge on a diamond.
  14. Jim_B


    Feb 25, 2009
    Independence, Mo.
    For a kitchen knife you want some "tooth." Not what I want on my pocket knife.
  15. DangerKilo


    May 14, 2009
    I sharpen my blades using the tears of my enemies :biggrin:

    actually, I sold my blade before i moved away from WA, and left my kitchen knives with my mother.

    I used a carbon fiber wand.
  16. I use the Spyderco triangle ceramic knife sharpening kit, The reason I use this over my wet stones is really simple, I can not lock my wrist properly so can not keep a constant angle and if there is one thing I hate it is blunt knives.
  17. This seems to be the device here

    Looks interesting, one thing good about it, you shouldn't get a wire edge using this.
  18. darkone


    Nov 13, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Wow!!! Just like Chuck Norris.
  19. I'm lazy...I buy and carry only Benchmade knives and use the Lifesharp program to sharpen my knives. They also do a complete check up of the knife and replace anything that is showing wear for my life time.
  20. I don't do much with knives, but for my plane irons and chisels I use water stones primarily and sometimes, although rarely anymore, the "scary sharp" method.

    For me it's more important to get a good edge quickly and spend my time woodworking opposed to spending time sharpening.

    If you want to start a good debate, ask this question over at WoodCentral.com
    It's a great WW'ing site much like NikonCafe with friendly helpful people.
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