Free hand sharpening.


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Carl Levitian
June 18, 2008, 01:29 PM
I've never used a sharpening thing-a-mbob, they comming along many years after my daddy and uncle tought me to sharpen a knife with a stone held in the left hand. People tell me they work great, but I can't say personally. But to me it puts something between me and the knife, and I don't like that.

I have to admit something here, and maybe it's a little weird. To me, sharpening a knife is not a chore that I have to do when it gets dull. It's more of a communion with the knife, kind of like a zen thing I can't quite explain. Like all the family that went before me, I was tought to hold a pocket stone in the left hand, and with the knife in the right, (me being right handed of course) start at the blade kick, and in small circles work my way to the tip of the knife on one side, then repeat on the other. Learning to hold the right angle seemed pretty easy with the blade in constant contact with the stone. After I got good at it, I enjoyed the rythmatic shhh, shhh, shhh, sound of the blade going around in its circular honing. Once in a while I'd wipe off the dust with a rag, I never use any oil or anything on the stone.

For decades I used the same little Norton carborundum pocket stone in a leather sheath. After about 25 years its worn deeply concave on both sides and the pocket sheath is worn through on both bottom corners where the stone corners worn through. I ended up replacing it with an Eze-lap diamond wallet hone that fits in my wallet like a credit card. I still use it the same way, and the fine grit diamond puts a nice razor edge on my sak. It still makes the same comforting shh, shh, shh noise as the blade circles, so I still get that zen thing. Putting a fresh edge on a blade is deeply satisfying. It's like a renewal of your aquintance with the blade.

Or maybe I've gone round the bend. If I start talking to my knife, I'll get proffesional help.:D

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22-rimfire
June 18, 2008, 02:35 PM
I shapened using small circles when I was younger (ie. as a kid and young man). Switched to essentially "cutting" with the blade on the stone at the proper angle now. Seems to work better for me and I'm less apt to scratch up the side of the knife. I have lots of choices of stones to use. I used to love the moonstones as I could get a razor edge if I tried. Now I'm using various grits of DMT stones the most. I like the big ones the best. I can't help buying more stones when I see something new or different to try out.

Chuck Dye
June 18, 2008, 03:10 PM
I like the "shaving a thin layer from the stone" motion and think it produces a better edge than circular honing.

I have heard and read arguments that, without the use of a jig, only one person should sharpen a given blade. Otherwise each person sharpening the blade resets the angle of the edge costing unnecessary metal removal and shortening the life of the blade.

Norton (http://www.nortonstones.com/Data/Element/Node/ProductLine/Product_line_edit.asp?ele_ch_id=L0000000000000005676) has a fair illustration on their site, and a good text description (http://www.knifecenter.com/knifecenter/norton/instruct.html), also.

Midway USA (http://www.midwayusa.com/) has a great selection of stones, including a set of Arkansas rods that will sharpen most serrated blades.

Goblin
June 18, 2008, 05:20 PM
I've tried and tried to learn to hand hone,but I always seem to roll the edge!!!:(

Cougfan2
June 18, 2008, 05:31 PM
I've tried a few knife sharpening gimmicks including the Lansky system and just never could beat what I got out of using my good old Arkansas stones and some good honing oil. Sometimes will use a pair of crock sticks to touch up a blade just before or right after use.

TrapperReady
June 18, 2008, 06:47 PM
I achieve a Zen-like state with a number of activities. Knife sharpening just isn't one of them. I free-hand to fix major problems, but get better and quicker results from a Sharpmaker when I'm just looking to keep them sharp.

esq_stu
June 18, 2008, 07:05 PM
hand sharpening?

couldn't resist :evil: (scene from Terminator 2)

JShirley
June 18, 2008, 09:45 PM
Sorry, I don't think that's appropriate.

Brian Dale
June 19, 2008, 12:05 AM
I have to admit something here, and maybe it's a little weird. To me, sharpening a knife is not a chore that I have to do when it gets dull. It's more of a communion with the knife, kind of like a zen thing I can't quite explain.I read as a kid that "weird" comes from an Old English word that means "clairvoyant" (="clear-seeing") or "visionary." You're not alone with the Zen thing, as you've read here.

Or maybe I've gone round the bend. If I start talking to my knife, I'll get professional help.I've read about mystics who go out into the wilderness and talk to the stones, then listen to what they say. When I do that with my sharpening stones, they tell me, "Keep practicing." ;)

Good post, Carl. Thanks.

JohnKSa
June 19, 2008, 01:11 AM
I always seem to roll the edge!!!Less pressure, let the stone do the work. As you get closer to the end of the process, you need less and less pressure.

22-rimfire
June 19, 2008, 02:14 AM
You can also change to a finer grit stone, say from fine to very fine or extra fine.

CZ.22
June 19, 2008, 02:14 AM
Can't do it. I bought a Lansky for 35 bucks and it works great.

JohnKSa
June 19, 2008, 03:06 AM
You can also change to a finer grit stone, say from fine to very fine or extra fine.Yes, in fact that's the only way to get a really nice edge.

But even with a very fine stone, you'll have to use less pressure towards the end of the sharpening process. In fact, you're much more likely to roll an edge with a very fine stone. If you apply a lot of pressure with a coarse stone, you'll just grind off a lot more metal. If you do the same with a fine stone, it can't remove any more metal, you'll just bend the edge over.

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