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Hi Tourist,

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by DeTerminator, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. DeTerminator

    DeTerminator Well-Known Member

    And other tinkers!

    I' m just wondering what your advice what be to those others that sharpen knives as to what stones or methods you would advise?

    I'm sure that there are more advanced methods than the basic Spyderco Sharpmaker. My question is, where does one jump off from there?

    I'm wondering about the waterstones and freestyling?

    As a teenager, the Arkansas stone was the epitome of sharpness. As an oldtimer (50 y.o.), I would like to hear some opinions fron the pro's!

    Thanks in advance!

  2. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Not sure you'll like the answer.

    Go to a library, and get books on knives, sharpening and metallurgy. Prepare to spend several years with dirty hands. Find beauty in things. Find your joy in creating, not destroying. Accumulate wealth for the day you give it away. Then put all of this into another man's hand.

    And we who can, will curse you. Are you absolutely sure you want to be this?
  3. RLsnow

    RLsnow Well-Known Member

    You make it sound like the quest for the holy grail man xD

    "None who take on this quest, can return unscathed"
  4. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    In many ways it is a quest, Just beginning to learn and find it very Zen like. Like Tourist said, read, study, practice and each day I learn more and get better.
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Any craftsman strives for perfection. Whether the cabinet maker or the gardener or the bladesmith or sharpener. There is a perfection in the act of creating different from many other sorts of work.

    If you talk to makers-of-things, folks that take a raw material and turn it into an object, they almost always talk about the nature of what they do and how learning to do it changes them as people and how doing it gives them a sense of peace and accomplishment. Athletes talk about it and people "hear" them, craftsmen talk about it and usually only other craftsmen hear them.
  6. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Even the idea of a "quest" isn't exactly right. On a quest, the journey is over when the object or task is completed. This craft has no end.

    I listened to the youtube interview of the Japanese polisher, and I listened good.

    He spent ten years with a master, fifteen years on his own, and in all that time he was satisfied only once. His "goal" in life is to approach the skill of his master.

    I believe this to be true. Most artistic depictions of sword makers and polishers in art define them with "chin whiskers," the painters' idiom of an older man.

    Having said that, did you ever try to teach a younger man any craft where "time" is an element of the process?

    Like any other form of art--and yes, polishing weapons is an art (as I found)--you will find craftsmen who "get it," and you will find schlockmeisters who have a smattering of skill but focus more on your credit card.

    As a boy, I may have dreamed of holding the CMoH. As a tinker in age, I'd like to be remembered as a husband with a craft.

    A few days ago, the former neighbors of mine had to bury their 24 year old son. Being a small town, word quickly spread that it was a suicide. I rode my bicycle over to their new home to pay my respects yesterday, but found the driveway full of cars. I remembered that it was "Father's Day." What a crushing, hopeless day this must have been.

    I might, in fact, be a good sharpener, but there are clearly more important aspects of life than a polished edge. What I do is nothing within a larger scope. And if I had to "teach" an apprentice, that is what I would teach before all else.
  7. DeTerminator

    DeTerminator Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Tourist, and...

    Thanks to all that replied to my question.

    I see a great deal of thought and insight went into the replies. Food for thought, most definitely.


  8. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Kerry, join us, if you will. I believe that you'll find "the sharpening" to be the very surface.

    I believe I've told the group about one of the KF tinkers that got his arm caught between a tow-strap and the underside of a car. They don't even know how badly hurt he really is, and if the damage is permanent.

    Tinkers from all over the USA offered to do his work so he could bill his clients and support himself--they offered their services for free. His supplier, Ben Dale, sent him free supplies to make it through his lean times. When he used his neck knife to free himself, he lost the knife. The forum bought him a replacement.

    Not bad for guys who rub stuff with a wet rock.
  9. DeTerminator

    DeTerminator Well-Known Member

    Saying hi again...

    Hi "T",

    Thanks for your invite and kind words, not to mention your heart felt advice!

    I keep checking the sharpness of my stubby, and I'm pretty well satisfied for now. The chisel end seems unbalanced, but certainly adequate.

    I used a Sharpmaker on my Cold Steel neck knife Talon style, and it is extremely sharp! I don't know the steel, but it was very easy to get VERY sharp! I really like that knife!

    I'm having trouble with my AJ Russel scalpel (ATS-34). I read that it's a very hard steel. It is certainly trying my sharpening skills (limited, for sure).

    Most of my knives are pretty good, but I need to try to sharpen all of them with the Sharpmaker and try to understand more.

    I looked at my AJ Russel scalpel with my Radio Shack Pocket Microscope, and I wasn't impressed with the edge. I have a long way to go...

    Thanks again, Tourist, for your insight, experience, knowledge, and hospitality!

  10. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Well-Known Member

    Tourist, your Post #2 just rings. With your permission, that's going into my Quotations file.


    I'm hearing the terms, "a discipline" and "a practice," in the deeper senses of those terms.

    That's how a Master behaves.
  11. Yarr

    Yarr New Member

    I've been making, fixing, sharpening knifes for a number of years now. I put in my two cents by starting out a sharp knife is one that you could shave your whiskers smooth with. My style starts with a well oiled India stone, and by hand setting the angle with a the swirling motion alternating the sides every few seconds. To set the edge i use down strokes till i can feel all the burrs are bent to one side and then ever so lightly up strokes to take those off and finish the edge. To polish i use a leather glued to a wood backing and impregnated with polishing compound. in about two minutes i have my blades ranging from AUS-8 to D2 sharp enough to shave with.

    I must add ive tried every easy way out of it but nothing works better than a skilled hand on a favorite stone.
  12. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Welcome to THR. :)

  13. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    I love sharpening things...

    Sometimes, when all the knives are sharp, I sharpen scissors. The little scissors on the Swiss Army knives are a real challenge.
  14. sm

    sm member


    Welcome to THR.

    Fella free hand sharpener myself.

    So... what is the score around here on Free-Hand vs Doo-Dad ?

    *stirs pot*
  15. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Well-Known Member

    Howdy, Yarr, and Welcome.

    With 1 left hand + 1 right hand, I have enough brain space to watch the angle between 1 blade and 1 stone. Add a gadget to the mix and my concentration reacts like a house of cards when you drop an encyclopedia on it.


    Yarr, I'm still working toward the "skilled" part. ;)
  16. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    Freehand. Here's a sample:
    I've tried using a guide and it was a miserable failure...

    But I'll probably try again because I like tinkering. :D

    Attached Files:

  17. sm

    sm member


    Very nice!

    I cannot get over how well you used a sharpie marker to color your blade.
    I mean the shading and attention to texture is wonderful!

  18. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Well-Known Member

    Free-hand. Gadgets do nothing for me.
  19. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    It's like my father told me when I asked why he couldn't teach me to be as good a woodworker as he was. He just looked at me and said, "Snatch the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper."

    Okay, he didn't say that, but wouldn't that have cool? He did say that he could teach me to cut, sand, fit and finish, but he couldn't teach me to "feel" the wood. Only I could teach myself to do that. I was 17 so I gave him one of these :rolleyes:. To which he replied, "and you're not ready to teach yourself anything yet."

    That was 21 years ago and I can throw together a mean cabinet, table, jewlery box, tone drum, but to this day I don't know what he meant, and to this day I'm so far below his skill I wonder if we're related.
  20. Rupestris

    Rupestris Well-Known Member

    Very nice John. Is that a Convex edge?

    I've yet to find a factory edge as clean as Spyderco but your edge looks like you might have trumped 'em.


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