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V bevel vs Convex sharpening

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by bikerdoc, Apr 10, 2009.

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  1. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Southern Virginia
    Any one use convex sharpening. It is a technique that uses a soft undersurface(mouse pad) covered by various grits of sand paper.
    Mike Stewart, the well respected, president of Bark River Knives uses it on all his knives and advocates for it on another forum.
    I am still trying to master it so I cant give an opinion yet as I have been a stone, V bevel guy for a long time.
    Anybody else?
  2. Pilot

    Pilot Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    A few months ago I bought my second convex blade, a Bark River Bravo-1 from Mike Stewart. My first convex was a Fallkniven F1. Both are great knifes with super sharp edges. I am about to enter the realm of sharpening these knives as I have never done the mouse pad/sandpaper thing before. I am a little nervous about it, but I have received a lot of good advice from a web site where Mike is a moderator.

  3. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Southern Virginia
    He is also a big gun and mod at Knifefoums.com
  4. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    0 hrs east of TN
    I'd advise something "stiffer" than a mouse pad, but still compressible.

    Use very fine grit and draw the blade in the direction of the spine instead of the edge and try to maintain the angle.

    As a knife distributor years ago I bought tens of thousands of dollars in Blackjack knives every year back when Mike Stewart owned BJK. The recommendation back then was thick leather on a 2X4. I suggested high density neoprene might be more forgiving. Brings back memories.
  5. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    In my personal experience, a mousepad is likely to be too soft for all but the most careful sharpening unless you find one of the very thin, hard ones. I'm fortunate to have a leather strop that when used under automotive sandpaper, renders an excellent convexed edge. 400 grit to set the edge, 600 to polish out the grind marks and 1000 grit to polish. Then, if I really want to see myself in the edge, I have some honing paste that goes right onto the strop.
  6. CWL

    CWL Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Try to get horsehide or heavy leather to strop with. I like using a barber-type shaving strop, but I also have horsehide glued to a block. Once you get used to it, it is a natural movement to roll the blade edge a bit as you strop, this will give it a convexed edge.

    With my convex edged knives, I've never needed to fully resharpen any of them, as regular 'touch-ups' on the strop has been enough to maintain their edges.

    If anyone wants a good kit to get their knives scary scary sharp, this one by Handamerican works well for those who don't mind spending the time.
  7. RifleGuy

    RifleGuy Member

    Feb 11, 2008
    Dearborn Heights, Michigan (Detroit - sigh)
    A custom knifemaker, Ed Kalfayan, showed me how to sharpen a knife on a leather belt on a bench-top belt sander.

    I purchased my belts from Handamerican, not sure if they are still making the belts, but the belt and a bit of "rouge" is just the thing for a finish hone that is scalpel sharp.

    My kitchen knives are usually sharp enough to shave with, and using the belt is quite easy.
  8. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Southern Virginia
    Thanks guys. Leather it is. Just an experiment. Dont think I will give up stone sharpening.
    And please do not tell SM (smile, wink to the mentor)
  9. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears

    I come up and started apprenticing before it was of legal age to apprentice in an industry.
    This besides the normal sharpening a kid comes up learning to do.

    The tools were such, one could not use gidets and gadgets to sharpen, this would be like buying a square drill bit, to drill a square hole. So one learned to do by hand.

    While there were powered tools, I could not use a power tool, until I learned to do by hand first.
    This was after I learned how to sweep floors, use a dust pan...as all apprentices learned to do, no matter what industry they were apprenticing in.

    So I learned to do by hand, for tasks. I chuckle, as we used tool and carbon steels...
    We made our own tools of tool and carbon steel so we could "cut" stainless steels.
    I mean I am a kid, and getting to see how some stainless things are made, the machine doing the cutting is tool, or carbon steel.

    This might explain my take on steels...

    Convex, has a place, and is another tool in the tool box.

    1. Take a pc of good leather, and glue this to pc of nice wood, sanded smooth.

    Use it dry, and it makes for one heck of a strop.

    2. Make others, and then start with 180 grit, 220, 400, 600, 800, 1000, then 1500.

    You can take a Old Hickory kitchen knife, Case Kitchen, Case pocket , Shrade-Walden, or any of the "carbon steel" , or "chrome vanadium", blades...
    That bastard file (W2), or 01, knife or "tool", and just use #2 to sharpen it, then #1 to strop, and to maintain it.

    Heat Treat and Geometry are two other factors besides steel type.

    Still, I have used "tool steel" or "carbon steel" with heat treat and geometry , to whittle stainless steels, and other metals.

    This is what we did, and that was what was needed.

    No, not every tool needs to be sharpened down to 1500 grit, nor does every tool have to have a polished edge.

    What is this tool needing to do?

    Sometimes I needed a tool to cut, and leave a polished finish, akin to what a engraver does with a graver, in engraving a gun.

    So that tool was sharpened to leave a "bright cut" and had a polished edge.
    Sometimes I did not, so that tool was not sharpened with a polished edge, or "that polished".

    Another trick...
    They sell strops, some are mounted on a pc of wood, much like a paint stick, or part of a yard stick.

    One can purchase ready made "emery sticks", just sand paper of various grits, already glued to the stick.

    Sometimes you do not want the padding, and sometimes you need the padding these ready made do not have.

    Make your own.

    I suggest using a yard stick, as most of the paint sticks I have seen recently are not worth a flip, ciompared to what they used to be.
    The yard sticks are not either, still better than paint sticks.

    Cut the yard stick at 12", this will give you 3 sticks from a yard stick of course.

    Standard sheet of emery paper is 9 x 11'.

    Emery side down, place the stick onto back, at the 9" edge.
    Carefully score the backing at the edge of the stick.
    Lift up stick.
    Score again at that edge.

    - we want to keep edges crisp and sharp-

    Continue to score, at every edge, as you "flip" or "roll" that paper onto the stick.

    Stop, when you have the emery "padded" to your tasks.

    Yes, you can continue to flip/roll until you use all of the 11" of emery paper you can, and have to trim excess, so it is the same width of stick. (you cannot get a full width of stick on next flip.

    Hold onto this, as you want this emery tight onto the stick.
    Take your stapler, open it, and staple up near the edge , top and bottom of emery paper, on both sides.
    Meaning you will staple 4 times.

    I personally use electrical tape, that I have cut to half width, to tape over the staples.

    Scotch tape will work, so will electrical tape not cut into...
    Just mentors had me do this, and if I had to apprentice stuff this way, you should too, if I am going to play the mentor role in all this. *grin*

    Yes I want that electrical tape cut nice and straight, and right down the middle! *chuckle*

    Now you have a emery stick, with some padding.
    As you use up one side, you can very carefully remove that side, and have a fresh sheet of emery.

    Pay attention here.

    There is more than one way to do something, and like most things, it is the person doing, not the tool that does.

    No tool is ever any better than the user of said tool.

    Yes, this emery stick will work as a Convex only tool.

    You can also take that new out of package Old Hickory knife, that is not sharp, and the geometry is off, and use that emery stick like a whet stone.
    I mean edge first, and doing little circles...

    Like a file, and knock off the rough spots, and finish out the geometry started, but not finished...

    You have various grits of emery sticks...common sense to start at the coarse you need for task.

    But yeah, you can take that OH paring knife from out of the package needing some attention to a scary sharp , polished edge (1500) using these emery sticks.

    Something else, most folks do not realize, 600 grit will cover 90% of the tasks folks actually use a kitchen knife for, and general use anyway.

    On that OH for instance, there is enough "tooth" to cut a tomato, and more than enough "sharp" for cutting meat at 600.

    Now...you can "strop" using that 1500 grit, as you would a dry leather strop.
    I mean 1500 grit is essentially a "polished" grit.

    The diamond stuff back when, was better when we purchased it from places in Europe.
    I am going w-a-y back.

    Then the US got their act together as some industries fussed about it.

    Still, back when, I/we had some diamond "strips", these are akin to the diamond strips on a Eze-Lap mini-hone, glued to the plastic.

    Strips from 4" wide to 12" long. These we had on leather. Sorta thick, and we used these just like folks use emery paper on mouse pads today.

    Many times, I /we used a magazine, or newspaper. Sometimes we did not want padding, so a nice pc of smooth sanded wood.

    Then there is the question as to why we had John Deere Green painted pcs of wood...

    Other questions might be asked, if one were to go back in time and see what the shop had.

    I know one thing, we had a old Rapela Fillet knife, the 4" one, and folks were honestly scared to use it.
    We finally put it up, so folks would not pick it up.
    It was not the boss griping about blood on the floor and buying band aids...
    it was about the third person that cut them selves to the bone....

    You did not want to mess with a Case Peanut, or Case Barehead Slimline Trapper I had either.
    Nor that custom fixed blade in 01. That small one, neat, that was made for me.

    I had some Betram Hen & Roosters.
    I earned these, and they were really special plus the ones some special folks gave me.

    Take a look at the Ivory one here:

    I had one like that one.
    It was sharp, and kept sharp.

    Folks ask about "defensive knives".
    Well, define "defensive", or "serious situations"

    Mine was used to do an emergency tracheotomy, and remove a bullet.
    It was that sharp,and the doctor needed something sharp, and right now!

    Folks ask why Doctors kept a sharp, small penknife on person, and in Doctor's bags...

    So after he used his Shrade-Walden, he used my Hen & Rooster, so as to not contaminant/risk for infection another person.

    Whittlers are not the only folks that kept a small pc of dry leather handy to strop with.
    Doctors did as well...
    Not that belt won't work...

    Many a wallet had a pc of emery and leather , much like folks carry a credit card diamond sharpener today.

    The Convex has a place.

    Just like anything else, it wise to know how to do something more than one way.
    Also a good idea to keep in mind there is no holy grail, or one best way, just there are often many ways to accomplish the same goal.
    It always falls back to the person doing, instead of what they are using to do something with.

    Best Regards,

  10. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Southern Virginia
    Again Sm you have given a semester of education in a few paragraphs. Thank you.
    Messing with the convex to expand my "tool box". Having fun and learning stuff. Sort of a self directed apprenticeship.

    Indeed you are right again

  11. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears

    It is I that thanks you sir.

    It ain't no thang.

    You have some kind of tool , made of some kind of steel, that needs maintaining or sharpening.
    Just maintain or sharpen the dang thang. If you use the tool , it will need to be maintained, and eventually sharpened.

    Life is too short, for some stuff, and not long enough for other stuff.
    Choose wisely.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
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