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May 7, 2009, 07:25 PM
Tim M--I would like something simple and easy to use. For simplicity, you cannot beat an ordinary diamond-grit hone. It takes just a little bit of doing to learn to keep the knife angle steady on the hone, but once learned, it's a lifetime skill. I like having a medium-grit hone, for serious edge damage, and a fine-grit hone for finishing the edge.
(Another thought--How you gonna use that Grainger power-tool thing, out in the woods?)
I used to be an advocate of the Arkansas stone, but that requires the use of water, or better yet, oil, and can be a bit messy. (I still have my good Arkansas's, reserved now for "special" jobs.) The diamond hone you use dry, and wipe off afterwards with a dry paper towel. No fuss, no mess, no bother. One of the best diamond hones I own, I found @ a Wal-Mart. Have others from various sporting-goods stores, etc.
I do NOT like putzy, fancy devices like the Lansky sharpener. There are those who do use, and like, such.
One of the stickies at the top of this forum has detailed directions on hand-sharpening of knives.
I expect it's one of those things were seeing someone do it would help--find a good person with a hone and ask for a lesson. (OTOH, I learned, half a century ago, by trial and error. I can put a shaving edge on a knife.)
Bottom line: Tim, my friend, IMHO, it's high time you learned to sharpen your own knives!
May 7, 2009, 07:29 PM
I liked the spyderco ceremic stones out of all the sharpeners that I have tried so far. That and a nice arkansas stone.
May 7, 2009, 07:37 PM
Get you a ceremic rod kit and learn how to use it. Just follow the instructions.
May 7, 2009, 08:44 PM
I can only agree 100% with what Smokey Joe had to say!
Some day, maybe not this week, but someday, your going to find yourself out someplace, and needing to touch up your knife. If you carry a knife, you should have a means for sharpening it on your person.
With the advent of diamond hones, they became flatter, smaller, lighter. I cut down an Eze-lap model L to go in my wallet. It's all I mostly use to sharpen my pocket knives. That, and the back of my belt.
Get a dry erase marker, and blacken the cutting edges of the knife. Now lay the knife down on the hone and slowly raise the back of the blade till it looks like the edge is in contact with the hone surface. Now hone in small circles starting at the base of the blade by the kick, and move very slowly toward the tip with overlapping circles. Take abut a minute to get to the tip. Look at the edge. Did it take off the marker in a nice even way down to the edge? Flip the knife over and do the other side.
Practice this till you learn what the right angle feel like. It may take a while, but once you learn this, you'll be able to sharpen your knife anywhere, under almost any conditions. This may be invaluble some day. The gadgets to sharpen a knife are a crutch, that depending, on will in time cripple you.
There's no magic or rocket science to getting your knife sharp. Our gradfathers did it on stones, the bottom of coffee mugs, top of a rolled down car window, it all works.
I like the meathod of honing in small circles better than the slice off the top of the stone approach. It keeps the knife in contact with the hone, and has less chance of messing up. On a fine hone, it will give you a more polished edge.
Get a paring knife, (Victorinox or Old Hickory) and practice. You'll get it.
May 7, 2009, 09:10 PM
Spyderco Sharpmaker. This can be set-up to maintain either a 30 degree or 40 degree angle and you just drag your knife edge down the angles ceramic hones to maintain the same angle every time.
The best thing about the Sharpmaker is that you can sharpen several knives at the same time, doesn't matter if they have straight, curved or recurved blades. Will also sharpen scissors, and serrated edges (although not as efficient on these).
James T Thomas
May 7, 2009, 09:14 PM
It is too easy to add to the good advise you have already received here, and probably could not be any better than you have been given.
-But I would be negligent if I didn't also state this.
You are beginning, and so, don't be confused by terminology.
Some posters here will tell you about "sharpening" and what they are in actuality describing is "grinding" or reshaping the edge of your blade.
The profile, if you will. Much like you would do with a file and laborous work!
"Restoring" and edge to your blade does not take much effort nor does it require the application of force or hand pressure.
A few swipes of the stones or hones mentioned here is all that is required to get back to easy cutting.
The Japanese, who know much about it, refer to it as "polishing" and in effect; putting the glint back on the edge is where it is at.
That is maintenance in the field, unless you have damaged your knife.
And Mr. Levitian is right there; simple and easy, with his advise about the small and portable hone.
May 7, 2009, 10:17 PM
I think the easiest sharpening device for knives are the Crock Sticks (ceramic rods) as long as the edge is not totally destroyed.
Personally I use DMT diamond stones now for most things. Takes a bit of practice. Get one of the double edged ones in coarse and very fine and you will be set to learn. The key is in maintaining the angle that you are shaperning at.
For basic carbon steel, I like an Arkansas stone. Some are so fine grained that it can be qute tedious to sharpen a blade.
May 8, 2009, 12:43 AM
+1 for the Spyderco Sharpmaker. I generally just use a ceramic rod (Kyocera Ceramics makes a nice one) and a razor strop for general honing. the Sharpmaker is for heavy-duty work.
May 8, 2009, 02:55 AM
Carl Levitian post 5
James T Thomas post 7
I freehand, and use small portable dia stones.
May 8, 2009, 07:16 AM
same as # 10
May 8, 2009, 08:42 AM
I have a lansky and I really like it, but it isn't something that I use if I'm in a hurry, it isn't hard to use, but it is kind of slow if I just want to sharpen the kitchen knife real quick in wich case I use an Arkansas stone.
May 8, 2009, 10:26 AM
Another vote for learning to maintain an edge with simple tools, be they classic oil or water stones (synthetic preferred), diamond stones or ceramic rods.... It's an invaluable skill that will serve you well forever.
Please read the sharpening faq at the top of this forum. Skim thru it, then read it well. It is invaluable for those who value properly sharpened knives.
May 9, 2009, 11:47 AM
Thanks for the great responses guys. I think I am gonna pick up a Spyderco Sharpmaker and learn how to use it.
May 9, 2009, 03:03 PM
I agree 100% about the Spyderco Sharpmaker but years ago I learned sharpening using a bench mounted set of medium India and hard Arkansas stones.
Both my Grandsons are learning/have learned to sharprn their fillet knives using the stones.
Some one suggested practicing your tecnique on an inexpensive carbon steel paring knife.
I've been doing this for some time with knives Purchased at RMKW.
May 9, 2009, 04:10 PM
Restored the edge on a guy's MOD in Kuwait this week using the unglazed bottom of a ceramic ash tray and a 1 inch diamond hone from Ontario.:D
To answer your question, never heard of the contraption.
The Chef's Choice has a good reputation.
May 9, 2009, 04:40 PM
I am learning to use a Lansky rig to establish an edge on knives that have never been sharpened.
Right now, for example, I'm putting an edge on a little Damascus fixed blade that has no edge at all. I mean, it's square all along the "cutting" edge. It will be a birthday present for my sister, so I have to get it right.
Once I have an edge, of course, It'll be up to her to maintain it with her set of Arkansas stones.
May 9, 2009, 04:48 PM
The only thing that I dont like about the spyderco system is that it works on 40 degree and 30 degree back bevel.
But once you learn to use it better, you can lay the rods flat and work off that and get any degree you want.
I like it much better than the lansky. I couldnt stand that one.
May 9, 2009, 08:46 PM
i have a Lansky and love it. the only downside is it isn't very good for large blades or recurves. i've never owned a sharpmaker, but a friend had one, years ago. i think it would be a handier sharpener, all round, but less effective than a Lansky at restoring a damaged/chipped/super dull edge. so, the best bet is to get a deluxe lansky AND a sharpmaker :-D
May 9, 2009, 11:28 PM
Restored the edge on a guy's MOD in Kuwait this week using the unglazed bottom of a ceramic ash tray and a 1 inch diamond hone from Ontario.
I think that trumps my sharpening a Spyderco Delica, and Buck 110, in the wee hours, using a 3x1" Norton Combo stone, at the "T" of a property road, pitch dark , wind, rain, and using headlights...
I had to stop and run for da ditch...again.
May 10, 2009, 12:23 AM
i have a Lansky and love it. the only downside is it isn't very good for large blades or recurves. i've never owned a sharpmaker, but a friend had one, years ago. i think it would be a handier sharpener, all round, but less effective than a Lansky at restoring a damaged/chipped/super dull edge. so, the best bet is to get a deluxe lansky AND a sharpmaker :-D I actually had both for a while LOL! And you are right, the lansky was great at taking off metal when trying to create a new bevel edge or something. My problem with it was consistency. It works great on tanto-style knifes. But when it comes to curved edges, I didnt see how the system was keeping a consistent edge angle across the belly of the knife. Lets say it was set for a 30 degree edge, you clamp it on the knife. then start sharpening. The straight edge of the blade would get a 30 degree angle but once you hit the curve of the belly and tip, it seems that angle would change to a sharper angle. Not to mention if it was a longer blade and you have to re-position the clamp. Just minor things such as these that bugged me.
May 11, 2009, 12:31 PM
I will always thank my late great maternal grandpa for teaching me to sharpen his chisels, planer blades, and later his pocketknife when I had to sit on his lap to see the top of his work bench. When he was satisfied that I knew how to care for and sharpen a good knife, he gave me my first pocketknife- a small 2 blade stockman.
I like the Spyderco Sharpmaker and use it almost daily, but I'm really glad I learned how to use the traditional stones almost 50 years ago.
May 11, 2009, 12:41 PM
I have been known to use the underside of the Chief's coffee cup on the Buck 110.
May 11, 2009, 03:30 PM
Some of you seasoned veterans ought to show/describe to us unseasoned veterans how stone sharpening is done. I'm practicing with paring and various other kitchen knives to put a relief and then a final edge and it's going slow. Now I've got a neck knife that requires special 20 degree hollow ground convex edging. I need your insights.
May 11, 2009, 04:40 PM
The folks from DMT demonstrated estimating the sharpening angle. Hold knife blade vertical on the stone.... it's at 90 degrees. Next half that... it is now at 45 degrees to the stone. Next half it again and you are at 22.5 degrees to the stone. That is probably about as accurate a way of eyeballing the angle that I know. Look at the blade angle when it is at approx 22 degrees. Establish that in your memory banks. Then to sharpen, try to keep approx the same angle and slice away from you like you are trying to shave a thin piece of wood off a board or stick.
You can also use fine sand paper to sharpen on (600 grit or finer). It would be best to fold the sand paper onto a wood block to establish a easier elevated surface to sharpen from. It sort of immitates a bench stone.
May 11, 2009, 04:43 PM
No knife "requires" a specific grind. You put the edge style on it that suits you best.
Most of my cutting is light duty EDC stuff: Cardboard, packages, light carving. I like a low angle push cutting edge, not too far shy of a razor type edge.
Get a selection of stones, decent ones. I use a japanese waterstone, 800 and 2000 grit or somewhere near that, and a strop impregnated with some jeweler's rouge. I keep an old synthetic oil stone in 120/320 grit for putting edges on new knives.
Whether or not you use a liquid (oil or water) is a decision you make with a new stone. The liquid is intended to help float out the slurry and keep it from clogging the stone. I prefer to use my stones wet, but many don't. I store my waterstone submerged at all times.
When I sharpen a knife, first it's cleaned. Sap etc. ruin stones.
Lay out the stone on a solid bench. I put a papertowel under mine to keep it from making too much mess. I lay my knife on the stone, edge perpendicular to the long side of the stone, and blade lying flat. Now I lift the rear of the blade to the angle I'd like to set my edge at. Since we'll finish with a micro bevel, have the blade held about 3-5 degrees lower than the final angle will be.
It doesn't matter too much how you stroke the knife. Some only pull away from the edge, some push only towards it, and some run circles or figure eights. Pushing towards the edge removes any wire edge, pulling away from it makes the wire edge, circles and 8's remove material more quickly.
I start a badly dull knife with a circular motion on the stone, light to moderate pressure, and enough liquid that the knife is running in a bit of a pool. I'll work one side of the blade for 20 or 30 seconds, flip, lay the blade flat, lift for the same angle as previously, and do the same amount of work on side 2.
Repeat this, inspecting the progress until you've got the edge going full length and even on both sides. When it's almost ready for the next stone, finish with drawing strokes only to establish a good wire edge. Be sure you can feel the burr along one side of the edge, then clean the blade (to remove coarse grit) and move to your next grit.
Repeat same as previously, but only do enough to remove the coarse finish the previous stone made. Either move to your final stone now, or finish on this one.
To finish, raise the spine of the blade to the final angle, typically a few degrees higher than all previous work. If I did my starting coarse work at 10 degrees, now I'll go to 15 degrees.
Do draw strokes only at this higher angle, equal number per side, finishing with single strokes per side. Should be no or very fine wire edge now. The strop or steel or crock stick will take care of that.
Strop or steel pulling away from the edge, once each side, until the wire is gone. Knife should now be sharp. Shaving sharp.
Now, what were the keys? There really is only one: Keep to your angles!
How do you know what angle is best for you? Common knife angles run from 10 degrees per side (20 degree edge) to 25 degrees per side (about 50 degree edge). The more acute the edge is (say, the 20 degree one), the sharper it will feel, but the weaker it will be. Prone to chipping. The more obtuse it is, like one at 45 degrees won't chip when you stab a car door, but it'll dull quickly in more normal use. Experience will push you towards the best angle for you and this particular knife.
The best anyone can do starting out in sharpening is to read the faq at the top of this forum. It contains a real wealth of info.
I've yet to find a commercial knife who's angle wasn't too obtuse for my tastes. Even my newest store-bought, a Kershaw Leek composite was damned near 40 degrees, tho it was just barely shaving sharp. I drew that back to about 30 degrees or so, and now hairs jump off before it gets there. That took 1.5 hours to accomplish, all told. D2 is damned tough stuff.
May 11, 2009, 04:56 PM
[Some of you seasoned veterans ought to show/describe to us unseasoned veterans how stone sharpening is done. I'm practicing with paring and various other kitchen knives to put a relief and then a final edge and it's going slow. Now I've got a neck knife that requires special 20 degree hollow ground convex edging. I need your insights.]
I'll tell ya what, you find somebody in the Washinton D.C.-Baltimore area with a video camera, and I'll do a demo on keeping your knife sharp using a small pocket hone and a belt.
May 11, 2009, 11:50 PM
A Norton fine india, 8x2x1, and coarse diamond sticks do perfect, followed by stropping on a wood block, with a thin leather strop attached to which green rouge has been applied, using naptha as a solvent. I've used Lansky set-ups, in the early eighties; for a short time. I had a Al Mar Shiva, made by Kuzan Oda; that I angled-up with that device. Christ what an edge, bite like hell, too. Subsequently used a fine diamond stick to maintain that
May 12, 2009, 01:21 AM
What a ton of good info here. Thanks guys.
September 5, 2009, 01:40 AM
I've also used the Lansky kit, but the clamp-based arrangement makes it more of a pain than the Sharpmaker, and doesn't like to hold some of my more oddly-shaped blades (Spyderco Janich-Snody Yojimbo).
I also routinely end up using the edge of a cardboard box as a hone (at work).
used to know a guy who swore by the frosted edge of a car window.
September 5, 2009, 04:37 PM
I am going to throw the Wicked Edge system out there, because it is my favorite, but it's not cheap. I have Lansky, natural stones, diamond stones and the pull through type. I could never master anything but the Wicked Edge. The hand held pull through are good for work or field refreshing.
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