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newbie sharpening questions

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by sawdeanz, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. sawdeanz

    sawdeanz Well-Known Member

    Looked at the sticky but link was broken.

    Seeing as how I suck at sharpening on a traditional stone, how well do consumer kitchen knife/tool knife sharpeners work for a pocket knife. I'm talking about the handheld ones with the small criss-crossed stones. Are these suitable or would I be better off investing in a dedicated pocket knife sharpener?

    Second I understand my particular blade (cold steel ak-47) is hollow ground. How does sharpening affect the profile? Wouldn't it turn it from hollow ground to a straight grind after a while?
  2. dbb1776

    dbb1776 Well-Known Member

    Lansky knife sharpener or other system for maintaining a specific angle. After using one for a while you will see the correct angle. Then you should be better at using a bench stone. I personally never had good results with the V type sharpeners. YMMV
  3. NG VI

    NG VI Well-Known Member

    To piggyback, how are the Gatco-5 sharpeners?
  4. dbb1776

    dbb1776 Well-Known Member

    Never used one. But they're the same principal as the lansky. Once you see and feel what a sharp blade is supposed the be it's easier to get em that way and keep em that way. I am not an expert but maintain shaving sharp blades. I have a friend who strops his on his wallet. Gets scary sharp.
  5. Byrd666

    Byrd666 Well-Known Member

    I use a sharpening stick all the time. For my Chef's knives and cleavers and my pocket knives. But is really only for a "touch up" sharpening.
  6. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Well-Known Member

    I really like the Spyderco Sharpners but I'm sure that there are more inexpensive offerings out there that do just as well.
    For our kitchen knives it's all I use.
    I like a Ceramic stick also for a quick "touch-up".
    My daily carries are mostly Opinel knives and it's a toss-up between Bench mounted stones and the Spyderco.
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    The Lansky and Gatco sharpeners are good, especially for setting and holding a very consistent angle.

    The Spyderco Sharpmaker is really a nice piece of gear, but the results are going to be only as good as your technique. There's a lot of movement going on, all controlled by your hand position and how you're drawing the blade across the stones. If you don't hold perfectly plumb through the arc of motion, the blade edge won't remain consistent, and it's easy to get lazy.

    A set of bench stones is probably a little easier to be consistent with, but slower to use than the sharpmaker.

    Those "V" tools and junk for the most part. They do o.k. sharpening a cheap machete or bill-hook for clearing brush, but that's about it.
  8. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    Plus one to Lansky and Gatco, but dont give up on sharpening by hand eventually you will get it.
  9. mdauben

    mdauben Well-Known Member

    I've seen several knives destroyed using those kitchen sharpeners. I'd avoid them for any knife.

    If you don't have the skill to use regular flat stones (and I admit my ability with them is questionable), my first suggestion is the Spyderco Sharpmaker. Its a "system" for sharpening knives that is easy to use and produces very servicable edges for most people.


    The "hollow" part refers to the part of the blade that narrows from the full thickness of the blade to the edge. The actual edge itself isn't "hollow" so you would need to sharpen off a lot of blade before you start seriously effecting the hollow grind.

  10. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    Not addressing your question exactly but asking questions here and watching youtube videos you can learn alot in a short period of time. A few years ago I hardly knew the basics getting over my ego and asking questions I have enjoyed learning all sorts of techniques. Most important tip I can lend is practice on cheap knives. I wish I followed that instead of jumping right in on some of my nicer cutlery. have fun with it!
  11. Bhi curamach

    Bhi curamach Well-Known Member

    Hmm. Gonna have to look into some of these mentioned.
    I'm apparently utterly unable to sharpen any knife priced over $25.
    See my Benchmade Griptillian and the Hougue Extreme series folder for proof. They sit in a drawer unused as any attempt to sharpen them with a WIDE variety of stones and some devices only makes them duller.
    They will cut nothing. I suppose I could bring them out for anything that needs a good stabbing but that seldom comes up.
    For the record, Ive even had a few friends give it a go and nothing seems to change. Not sharper or duller really.
    ive cursed blades, I do.
  12. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    I agree, that is how I started.
  13. xjsnake

    xjsnake Well-Known Member

    Mark your edge with a sharpie and slowly work the knife over the flat stone paying particular attention to your angle. You can see the metal wearing away as as the sharpie disappears.
  14. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member


    I mined that out of the old rec.knives link that's dead now.

    You're pocket knives will have a different edge angle than your kitchen knives so there isn't a "one angle fits all" system that does "fit all". A system that can adjust angle to match the factory bevels will save you a lot of time and frustration.
  15. conw

    conw Well-Known Member

    I use the Spyderco Sharpmaker (including the excellent diamond rods) for EDC knives, particulary ones that don't need much other than a touchup, but have recently gotten into the Worksharp Knife & Tool Sharpener (WSKTS) and find it superb for kitchen knives and such used freehand.

    The "sharpie trick" for sharpening is probably the best self-teaching tool regardless of method. You simply draw all along the bevel with a sharpie and then upon sharpening a few times you can see whether you are hitting the cutting edge. If not, change the angle or keep sharpening until you have successfully changed the angle of the bevel.

    A step up that people who want truly sharp knives should consider is a cheap microscope ($20, handheld, not the lab kind) which lets you examine the evenness and even improve your Sharpie trick results, with 10-40x magnification.

    The WSKTS is really reasonably priced and yes, you can mess up knives on it, but it works so well it's worth the fairly easy learning curve, and all sorts of belts are available for under $1 each at micro-surface.com, just look for the 1/2"x12" category.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  16. JimStC

    JimStC Well-Known Member

    I also use the Worksharp Knife and Tool Sharpener. It is a nice set up. Three different grit bands. Makes short work out of sharpening. Hard to mess up your angles.

  17. conw

    conw Well-Known Member

    Actually I am not a big fan of the fact that it comes with an 80, 220, and then a big leap to the 6000 grit. 220 is actually really coarse and removes metal fast especially before it wears down.

    I know you can't make everyone happy but I think 160-320-600 would be a more useful 3 belt combo to include. The 80 is kind of a niche belt really since it is more for grinding, and 160 would still work fine for rough edges on hatchets and such. 320 would be the workhorse and 600 would be the go-to for fine touch-ups and plenty fine enough to be a precursor to hand-stropping.

    The 220 to 6000 leap leaves a lot to be desired for me. But the belts are about 75 cents each from that site I linked so it's really not a big deal!
  18. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    Lots of good postings on sharpening equipment you can use.

    I would not go with the knife sharpener you described...not for pocket knives. If you do not wish, or do not have the patience, to learn how to sharpen a knife by hand using stones, then investigate the other methods people have already mentioned.

    Hand sharpening pocket knives using stones takes practice to develop the steady hand, proper positioning, and even strokes you need. It's not difficult...just requires time and patience. I learned young by sharpening my own pocket knife, a skill I learned from my Dad.

    And I had no lack of knives to practice on...my test involved shaving the hair on my arms with the blade...and there were periods in my youth when I had nearly no hair at all on my forearms because of this!


    Every individual who sharpens by hand has their own specific angle on the edge of the blades he handles...however close it may be to another person's. I would recommend using a hard, coarse stone or a diamond sharpener to initially shape the edge of the blade. This way you're not wasting your time trying to do so with a hard, fine stone.

    After a few strokes to shape the edge, move to a fine stone and start putting the finishing touches on it.

    Once the edge is properly shaped, subsequent sharpenings won't take long to put a good, servicable edge on the knife. A little more practice will soon see you putting a razor edge on the blade, if the stone you have is fine enough and the steel of the blade is decent.
  19. DNS

    DNS Well-Known Member

    I just use a stone and actually drag the blade backwards. My stainless blades still test my patience though.

    My carbon steel blades are WAY easier for me the sharpen and get there faster too.
  20. xjsnake

    xjsnake Well-Known Member

    I usually am lazy and sharpen my carbon steel on the bottom of my coffee cup at work. It still gets stupid sharp...

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