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How do you sharpen?

Discussion in 'Knives' started by Water-Rat, Mar 22, 2014.

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How do you sharpen your knives?

  1. Sharpening Stone

    57 vote(s)
    41.6%
  2. Pull-through sharpener

    10 vote(s)
    7.3%
  3. Clamp system (Lansky)

    30 vote(s)
    21.9%
  4. Stones at a set angle (Sharpmaker)

    51 vote(s)
    37.2%
  5. Electric Sharpener

    6 vote(s)
    4.4%
  6. pocket sized stone or rod

    18 vote(s)
    13.1%
  7. Ask or pay someone to sharpen for you

    3 vote(s)
    2.2%
  8. Other

    31 vote(s)
    22.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Dedrich

    Dedrich Loaded Pockets

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    I have cheaper knives now (just starting on the path to this addiction) and got a smith pocket sharpener. I read all kinds of mixed reviews from people who think it's great to people saying it ruins knives.

    What was your experience with it? Any tips? And that could include tossing it and getting something else.

    Thanks!
     
  2. rbent

    rbent Loaded Pockets

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    I use paper wheels on a grinder, I won't go back to stones. 2 minutes or less to get shaving sharp, yes please.
     
  3. Dedrich

    Dedrich Loaded Pockets

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    Let me add some more info: I live in a 1 bedroom in a city. I don't have space for a grinder. Looking for the best value sharpening solution. I have a few serrated knives but mostly non serrated. Is the sharpmaker the only way to go? Would love a solution around $30 or less.
     
  4. FighterZak

    FighterZak Loaded Pockets

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    Sandpaper (400/800/1200/1500/2000) on a mouse pad and use it like a stone.
     
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  5. Adahn

    Adahn Loaded Pockets

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    I like the idea but you should add first not to use it like a stone, meaning don't sharpen like cutting into the stone, pull it over the paper instead.
    Another point to note, the soft mouse pad will give you a convex grind, if you don't want that, lay the paper on a glass plate (or glass table). some drops of water on the glass will hold the paper flat, just make sure it's made for wet sanding (like 3M wetordry paper).
    For most of my knives I don't go over 800 grit, if I want to have it shiny I just strop it with chromium oxide (green compound) afterwards but for many things a toothy 600 grit sharpened knife is better (to me).
     
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  6. Dedrich

    Dedrich Loaded Pockets

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    I am a newbie so forgive. Pulling means pulling it back toward me, blade pointing away from me. As opposed to pushing forward with the blade? Is this correct? Thank you.
     
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  7. FighterZak

    FighterZak Loaded Pockets

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    Oh , I thought that that is the way you sharpen on a stone , maybe thats why they dull after me "sharpening" them.
     
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  8. Hangman
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Hangman Loaded Pockets

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    correct, it can work either way, just with paper it is easier to pull than to push
     
  9. Hangman
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Hangman Loaded Pockets

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    if a knife is more dull after you sharpen, it is most likely because your not at the right angle or you are using too much pressure.
     
  10. MTFatboy
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    MTFatboy Loaded Pockets

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    Your best bet in your available space and price would be good, old-fashioned whetstones; these are still the best value in knife sharpening. I recommend three different grits. You can ruin your knife going the cheap, easy route. The smith pocket sharpener will help rejuvinate the cutting potential of an edge, but to really take a knife back to sharp, you have to grind a new edge. A Tri-Hone from Smith's would get you started (a Norton Abrasives combination course/fine bench stone and a separate, medium-grit stone are what I would really recommend if you can find them), but to really put a shaving edge, you will need to finish it on a steel, and then a strop. You don't need any compound on a strop if you have honed the edge by stone first, bare leather will do. Some tips for hand sharpening:

    Using Stones
    • The exactness of the angle isn't as important as the consistency. Hold and move the knife as if you are trying to carve a very fine layer off the surface of the stone. At the end of the stroke, keep the knife in contact with the stone, and reverse the stroke you just made, returning the blade to its original position. You only need to apply moderate pressure throughout each stroke.
    • Use a pyramid method to gradually reduce the number of strokes on each side so that the edge remains perfectly centered. That is, Do 5 strokes per side, then 4, 3,2,1 for each grit (coarse, medium, fine). You won't need more strokes than that on any particular grit unless the edge is severely damaged (chipped).
    • Use oil, not water to lubricate your stones. Mineral oil from the pharmacy department of any large grocery/dept. store is an inexpensive, easy to find, and nontoxic honing oil (don't worry about residue on your knives, you would have to actually drink the stuff to unleash its laxative properties).
    • When your stones get gummed up, clean them with dish soap and an old toothbrush.
    Using a Steel
    • After all three grits of stone, align the microscopic cutting teeth you have just ground with a steel. Again position and move the knife as if you are trying to shave off a fine layer of steel. Only use the forward stroke, not the reverse. Apply fairly light pressure. Count down strokes again from five per side to one per side. You can probably get by with fewer, but you don't want to overdo it. I just count down from five in every step of the process for simplicity.
    Using a Strop
    • The strop polishes the edge to perfection. If I were to try to explain it better than that, it would just be conjecture, but I can tell you from experience that a stropped edge is much sharper than one that is not stropped.
    • Any leather strap will work, including the inside of a solid (unstitched) leather belt. It also doesn't much matter whether you use the smooth side or the rough side. I typically use the rough side.
    • Tie one end of the strop off to something secure and pull it tight. Lay the knife down on the strop, and using only reverse strokes, position and move the knife as if trying to shave a fine layer off the edge using the strop. The strop is very forgiving if you don't have the angle quite right, just don't go too steep. Apply light to moderate pressure. Again, I count down from five strokes per side.
    Alternative Systems:
    • Lansky sharpening systems are multi-stone systems that will help you grind a new edge at what they market as the perfect angle. They are compact, but I don't like them. Fiddling with the clamp and the rods takes time and solves a non-problem; holding the blade at a consistent angle only requires careful attention until your hands learn the movements, and then a traditional whetstone setup is much faster. Lansky systems take up less room in your apartment, though. You will still need a steel and strop to really get a knife sharp.
    • You can use a series of strops with compound like JRE industries' strop bat in lieu of stones to restore cutting edges. The downside is that these systems are more expensive in the long run (strops will wear out faster than stones, and there is no pharmacy-department substitute for stropping compound). You also won't reprofile a damaged blade on a strop as you can on a course stone. The advantage of these systems is that they will eventually give your edge a convex profile, which can offer better retention.
    • You can also use decreasing grits of wet/dry sandpaper clamped to a sanding block. JRE industries sells these as their EMS sharpening block system. This system regrinds an edge very well but does not grind past damage as well as a stone. This system also yields a convex edge profile, and I keep one for a handful of blades on which I want convex edges. A single strip of paper is really only good for one or two uses, though, so this system is very expensive in the long run. Like strops, these use only reverse strokes (A hand stone uses a circular stroke and works much faster).
    EDIT--LOL, didn't realize others were describing the sandpaper system while I was writing too much.
     
    Last edited by MTFatboy, Dec 6, 2014
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  11. Adahn

    Adahn Loaded Pockets

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    On hard bonded stones like normal whetstones/diamond stones you should "cut" into the stone till you get a burr, do same on the other side till you get a burr from that pass and go on to a higher grit if you like.
    To remove the fine burr you can either hone it or/and cut slightly into a piece of soft wood to remove the burr, better before honing.
    Honing you do in a pulling motion but that is also correct to soft bonded water stones like japanese stones or the Belgian stone for polishing. With these mediums, same as with sandpaper, you have a bigger risk to use up the stone or cut into the paper.
    Most of the time I use diamond stones in the cutting motion, but that won't work with my Higonokami.
    The steel is so hard that it always chipped so I sharpen it with the pulling motion, working good so far, but the Higo is more for show than for edc...
     
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  12. ghuns

    ghuns Loaded Pockets

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    Santa's bringing me a set for Christmas.;) I have an old grinder sitting in one of my barns. Been there for as long as I can remember, 30+ years. Drug it up to my garage the other day and plugged it in. It runs like a champ.
     
  13. bpeezer

    bpeezer Loaded Pockets

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    I use waterstones and a strop with 0.5 micron paste. It yields sharp and pretty edges :D

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Brian_T

    Brian_T Loaded Pockets

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    I've been free handing for a while now and there's not much I can't get sharp with this setup:

    [​IMG]
     
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