odd sharpening materials


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Colt46
December 26, 2007, 07:48 PM
When caught away from home and you don't have a proper stone what do you use to hone your blades?
I just did a pretty credible job on my tactical folder using the top edge of my driver side window of my car.
Anybody ever try this? I suppose anything harder than the steel in your blade could work.

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Dave P
December 26, 2007, 07:54 PM
bottom of coffee cup

Nikdfish
December 26, 2007, 09:12 PM
If you've got the time, even cardboard works ...

I've seen more than one inmate made shank that got its final "hone" via hours of stroping on brown box cardboard.

That being said, I agree with Dave P that unglazed ceramic makes a good workable stand-in.

Nick

hso
December 27, 2007, 01:23 PM
frosted upper edge of car window

ceramic electrical insulators

disposable emory board

SeanSw
December 27, 2007, 01:48 PM
Leather belt, cinder block, skateboard grip tape, stainless steel tables (very handy when you can't find a sharpening steel in the kitchen)

You can also fold a small playing card sized sheet of high grit sandpaper and keep it inside your wallet.

Roswell 1847
December 27, 2007, 01:50 PM
We used black silicon carbide sandpaper to sharpen the trimming knives at an Upholstery plant I worked at.

When refurbishing old pocket knives I polish away pitting using the SC paper in progressivly finer grades down to 1,000 grit, then finish up the polishing by stoppin on leather impregnated with white steel chalk polishing compound mixed with alcohol. By then the blade has taken on a razor edge, and a mirror finish.

Hans Esker
July 18, 2008, 01:22 PM
Rocks, concrete curbs and floors, steel loading dock edge, uncut synthetic ruby, the back of a harder knife, wood with green chrome compound, stropping on copper to remove an excessively large burr. I reserve the right to add to this list if I remember any others

The Tourist
July 18, 2008, 01:25 PM
When in the south central Wisconsin area, perhaps the use of a cell phone...

conw
July 18, 2008, 01:42 PM
Good thread.

I like the coffee cup and car window ideas, and I also like to use baking soda and cigar ash (seperately) on various surfaces to strop.

sm wrote about stropping on the palm of your hand. I have been putting knives and such in the freezer before final stropping. Tourist can chime in, as I read it in his Razel thread, but I actually imagine that it stiffens the unwanted steel and makes it more brittle and easy to remove...maybe not but it seems to work.

Ridgerunner665
July 18, 2008, 01:46 PM
Leather works great for finishing an edge...many things can be used for getting a rough edge.

HoosierQ
July 18, 2008, 01:54 PM
Formica works well as a strop. I'll bet some of the solid surface counter tops may work as well but have not tried.

The Tourist
July 18, 2008, 01:57 PM
Tourist can chime in

Merciful heavens! Oh no, sharpening is vastly too complicated for a civilian! No, no, it reaquires years and years of debauchery, er, I mean, careful study, and self sacrifice...

Actually, the study comes in knowing the steel, defining the repair or condition of the edge, and then picking out the correct wet rock.

A magic marker helps. Smear the edge, make sure that whatever medium you are using keeps a constant and uniform engagement of your bevel. You must form a burr. When a burr forms on both sides, begin to polish. You can use the blue jeans are wearing, but always stroke dull spine first.

Your femoral artery is in that thigh, and you don't want to find it...

The hardest part of being a tinker is being a minstrel. You have to entertain the client while you're buffing the knife.

wheelgunslinger
July 18, 2008, 02:13 PM
So, do you play harmonica ala Bob Dylan or Paul Oschar while sharpening....maybe belt out some blues?

well this side is dull
that side dull too
do as I say
don't do as I do...

gonna raise a burr
on both sides
strop it on my leg
and polish it bright

cause I'm a tinker
oh, baby I'm a tinker
I'm a tinkering biker man
I'm gonna polish it for you

*ala muddy waters*

The Tourist
July 18, 2008, 02:23 PM
Wheelgunslinger, I do believe I'm getting a tad misty...

conw
July 18, 2008, 02:32 PM
Oh, I was curious about the freezing part Tourist...

The Tourist
July 18, 2008, 02:49 PM
Believe me, freezing is a debate we are having on KnifeForums.

Several months ago the idea of freezing a problematic knife (one that won't sharpen or fails to stay sharp) was proffered to me by a Canadian tinker.

On the knife I was sharpening at that moment, it worked.

I froze a few more, and it seems to provide an enhanced edge, if I freeze the thing solid.

In a week or so, you may want to correspond with waterhouse. He's the guy who won the auction knife, and his knife was frozen solid for many days.

I figure it this way, I feel the same way about not wiping my chin my black T-shirts when I'm in a fancy-schmancy restaurant.

"Hey, it wouldn't hurt."

conw
July 18, 2008, 02:58 PM
Since steel does get brittle at colder temps (not sure how cold precisely) it would stand to reason that freezing could help shave unwanted burrs etc.

The Tourist
July 18, 2008, 03:09 PM
That's my thinking. Since we never get down past 110 degrees below zero, there should be no long term damage to the HT parameters of the knife.

Carl Levitian
July 18, 2008, 04:36 PM
When we first moved to Washington D.C. when I was a boy, we lived in a nieghborhood that had alot of old school Italians. We kids played in the alley in back of the apartments where there was a small playground. A swing set, jungle jim, a small area for a ball game. We knew when it was getting close to dinner time, as all the old Italian ladies would come out back, and strop thier kitchen knife on the back cement steps. I guess those ladies never knew they wern't getting the knives sharp because they didn't have some latest gizmo to sharpen with. Yet those old butcher knives sliced alot of meat, bread and vegtables in meal preparation.

conw
July 18, 2008, 04:47 PM
Another finer point (so to speak) that I've lately realized is that past initial sharpening, less pressure is better...I maintain consistent contact, but when I'm sharpening and honing back and forth on my diamond/steel I really go pretty light.

This sub-forum is getting to be a real storehouse of information.

jaysouth
July 18, 2008, 11:18 PM
Sharpen on something abrasive, lots of good ideas above, hone on wood. I have a maple countertop that works great. If you do physical work for a living, a final strop on the palm of your hand, BEFORE a couple of beers.

hso
July 19, 2008, 01:48 AM
Since steel does get brittle at colder temps (not sure how cold precisely) it would stand to reason that freezing could help shave unwanted burrs etc.

Some steel gets brittle at colder temps, not all. The alloy determines whether the steel becomes "brittle" at what temperature.

Absolute statements universally applied are almost always absolutely universally a bad idea in most places.;)

John G
July 19, 2008, 02:21 AM
They say Ty Cobb used to sharpen his metal cleats on the dugout steps. If it was good enough for the Georgia Peach...

conw
July 19, 2008, 02:33 AM
hso, I can't say I completely agree with you :)

ArfinGreebly
July 19, 2008, 03:14 AM
Absolute statements universally applied are almost always absolutely universally a bad idea in most places.
NO way!

That's totally wrong!

Absolutes are always right.

It's generalizations that are always wrong.

:D

Ohen Cepel
July 19, 2008, 10:52 AM
Edge of a mirror.

When traveling I like to use the mirror edge often found on the folding closet doors in the hotels.

vicdotcom
July 19, 2008, 11:20 AM
I was in a cheap motel once and I actually used the toilet bowl lid LOL the underside of it has a lip that is not glazed and worked really well for sharpening my leatherman. Granted it was only 420 steel but I think it would have worked with my better knives in a pinch. The lid actually worked really nice because it was so heavy, it didnt take much to keep it stable while I worked the blade.

Kinda gross though lol

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 19, 2008, 11:26 AM
Wow, I'm amazed at the stuff I'm learning in these threads - thanks guys!

conw
July 19, 2008, 02:47 PM
I was in a cheap motel once and I actually used the toilet bowl

:barf:

Wow, that's awfully gross. It'd be kind of gross if it was your own toilet lid, but it's unbelievably gross that you did it at a cheap motel.

Kind of reminds me of Amazonian tribes impregnating their spears with poison...hope you didn't cut yourself after that. :p

Tom Krein
July 19, 2008, 03:42 PM
Since we never get down past 110 degrees below zero, there should be no long term damage to the HT parameters of the knife.

You are correct, there will be no damage, or benifit at that temperature...

If you get it colder you can actually get some benifits (not damage) from cryogenic treatment.

vicdotcom, that has GOT to be unsanitary! Imagine a cut from a blade sharpened like that... or worse yet forgeting and cutting up an apple later on. :eek:

As has been said silica carbide paper works really well and is pretty dang cheap.

I have used a window in my car and it works.

Tom

Caimlas
July 19, 2008, 04:31 PM
I'm very fond of smooth-worn stream-bed and riverside stones, myself. Sometimes you can find some that are of "mixed grit" - one on each side - and flat to boot, with a similar texture to a "real" sharpening stone.

conw
July 19, 2008, 04:57 PM
vicdotcom, that has GOT to be unsanitary! Imagine a cut from a blade sharpened like that... or worse yet forgeting and cutting up an apple later on.

Sounds like a strategy that might be used in prison.

a) Shank someone with a knife with, well, poop on it

b) Put poop on someone else's knife

Ok, enough.

Still...that's so gross.

kBob
July 19, 2008, 05:36 PM
A cobble stone. A red brick. A concrete curb. A smooth, flat, river rock. Edge of car window. Underside of ceramic sink. A marble shelf.

Old guy I knew swore by red brick followed by edge of car window. Of course the two kives he kept up that way were a hawk's bill Barlow and an Old Hickory butcher knife and not supper duper artsy fartsy serious collector custom made knives.

In the service I did keep my double sided stone in my pack and a cheap knife pouch type stone in my gear as well as a file for doing e-tools, axes and shovels and yes even knives' first passes with. I saw some of you cringe, hey it worked.

Knew a guy that thought the sole of his low quarters were made to be used in kife sharpening.

-Bob Hollingsworth

OldCowHand
July 19, 2008, 05:48 PM
<MildThreadDrift>
<if SqueamishCityFolk == TRUE>
Wow, that next post is really amazing! Slide right on down there and read it. This isn't the post you're looking for ...
<else>
On the topic of "you don't know where that knife might have been," my uncle (the original OldCowHand) always kept a small, very sharp folding knife in his pocket, a well-worn Arkansas stone somewhere close to hand, and his cowboy boots always had a spot just above the left ankle that showed the marks of countless stroppings. Different folks around had different skills, and at roundup time each would gravitate to the area where he could contribute the most. In my uncle's case, this was the castrating. Others were wizards with the dehorning tool, great ropers and such, but my uncle always ended up doing the castrating, and having watched him in action I understand why -- position, slice, extend, slight "haggling" cut to heal quicker, hold with one hand for the guy with the antiseptic powder while dropping the Mountain Oysters in the bucket with the other hand, and the bull calf was a steer before he quite understood what was going on.

My father was quite a bit younger than my uncle. One day when they were lucky enough to have apples (rare in their part of Texas in those days), my father asked to borrow his brother's knife to peel it. After scrolling off a neat, uniform-width peel from the whole apple with that well-maintained edge, my father wiped the blade dry on his pants, then, as he started to close the blade, something caught his eye. Inspecting the knife more closely, he asked his brother suspiciously, "What did you cut last with this knife?" My uncle casually replied, "Mmmm -- pigs, I believe." :)
<endif>
</MildThreadDrift>

vicdotcom
July 19, 2008, 07:25 PM
vicdotcom, that has GOT to be unsanitary! Imagine a cut from a blade sharpened like that... or worse yet forgeting and cutting up an apple later on. LOL yea my wife said "eeewww" also. But i did wash the lid in the sink with soap and wiped the blade down with an alcohol swatch afterwards. I even smelled it to make sure hahah :)

Ok, enough.

Still...that's so gross.
Yea it was pretty gross but you gotta admit that was an odd item to use! Id do it again in a pinch though! Maby thats one reason prison cans dont have lids haha.

Vic

gpdawg
July 19, 2008, 09:56 PM
when i was down by the river in arizona i was talking to this older indian.he was telling me that he kept his knives sharp with an old dull file.
he pulled this old case fixed blade from its belt sheath,it was very sharp but had a very toothy edge.he said his grandfather had taught him that and thats all he ever used on any of his knives.

FLoppyTOE
July 19, 2008, 11:07 PM
I've never heard of anything like this. Very interesting.

jpsimms
July 20, 2008, 06:50 PM
great thread guys, a lot of these are new to me, though I have used red brick, concrete, glass and ceramic, I keep some broken dishes for this

Mongrel
July 20, 2008, 07:40 PM
Great thread!

I must however interject (strongly) :cuss:

that the *underside* of a toilet TANK LID is the cleanest part of a water closet! A great idea to be sure if you get jammed up :what: Don't forget to put a couple of washcloths on the top of your thighs so your legs don't turn all red. And you can do a final strop on the toilet paper roll conveniently located at your elbow.

:D

Carry on...

conw
July 21, 2008, 01:28 AM
My reptile brain kept telling me it said "Toilet seat lid"...that isn't so bad after all.

NathanJK
July 21, 2008, 07:59 PM
I regularly strop on the edge of a cutting board, I doubt that's all that unusual though! I also use paper for stropping pretty often, I fold it over a few times put it over the edge of my desk and do it that way. I've also steeled against the back edge of another knife. That works ok if the other knife doesn't have any nicks on the spine.

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