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volcaniclastic
07-14-2010, 09:07 PM
So, some of my knives are in need of sharpening. Lately, I've been borrowing a friend's diamond sharpener, and that seems to work alright, but since I seem to have lost my stone, I'm looking into buying a new sharpener.

I went to the knife store today and browsed around, but there are many different kinds (stone, ceramic, diamond, etc) and I was uncertain what to purchase.

Most of my knives are just bush knives, and I use them for many things, but I'd like to get them -really- sharp. What should I use?

BushBum
07-14-2010, 09:13 PM
I have a coupl eof differnt things I use.... hands down the easiest for me (on non-convex ground knives) is a spyderco sharpmaker... its like sharpending for dummies which is why I like it so much

I also have a set of DMT diamond benchstones THat work very well..IF your sharpening mojo is strong, than I would go with a medium/fine grit double sided diamond stone... Maybe a dmt diafold.. (about 25 smackers on Amazon) good luck)

Sgt. Mac
07-14-2010, 09:17 PM
What kind of grinds do you have on your blades?

Solphilos
07-14-2010, 09:17 PM
Get one of each, you will need them eventually :D

Personally, I use stones then ceramics to finish them off. Of course, if you want them scary sharp, a strop is recommended. I don't have one yet myself, but I do just fine touching mine up with a ceramic stone.

In the field, I carry an EZ-lap credit card diamond sharpener, and a ceramic 'dog bone' on my key ring.

It really depends on your preference, skill, and even your blades. I'd say go with which ever you are used to using, and continue to build your skill on that.

mischief
07-14-2010, 09:17 PM
Welcome to the land of knive confusion,at least for me.
After buying all the latest and greatest of sharpening gagets it boils down to only one thing------------>Practice makes perfect, sometimes.......maybe,,,if the all the planets are in alignment and the sun is up from the east while I have a gin & tonic.

I envy those who can stroke a blade a couple of time and have a razor sharp edge.
You guys suck.

Solphilos
07-14-2010, 09:26 PM
Welcome to the land of knive confusion,at least for me.
After buying all the latest and greatest of sharpening gagets it boils down to only one thing------------>Practice makes perfect, sometimes.......maybe,,,if the all the planets are in alignment and the sun is up from the east while I have a gin & tonic.

I envy those who can stroke a blade a couple of time and have a razor sharp edge.
You guys suck.

Yeah, I'm still honing my skill as well, lol. If the blades already have a well established edge, I can keep it in good shape no problem. However, some blades I cannot get sharp for shit once they become too dull to cut paper. That's why I never let them get dull.
It's a shame really; I've been a knife user and a fanatic all of my life, and this is still a skill that I'm working on diligently.

BushBum
07-14-2010, 09:33 PM
Glad to hear I'm not the only one LOL

volcaniclastic
07-14-2010, 09:40 PM
I have a coupl eof differnt things I use.... hands down the easiest for me (on non-convex ground knives) is a spyderco sharpmaker... its like sharpending for dummies which is why I like it so much


I didn't have a clue what this was, so I googled it, and holy crap - Those things are amazing.


What kind of grinds do you have on your blades?

Tell the truth, I could hazard a guess at 600, because that's what I've been using on it, but I really have no idea. They're knives. They cut things. They get dull, I sharpen them. Thus ends my knowledge of knives.

And I really like the idea of getting a little diamond thing with the ceramic thing afterwards. My skill with sharpening is...alright. I can make dull things sharp, but not good enough to make anything scary sharp.

amcardon
07-14-2010, 09:41 PM
After using a grinder to sharpen my knives I don't think I can go back to stones... I still bring them in the field for touchups but usually just need my pack strop that I carry as well. A cheap harbor freight 1x30 grinder works great for sharpening knives but you also have to practice - you can buggar up a blade faster than you can shoot snot if you're not paying attention! Add a loaded leather belt on the grinder for a "power strop" and you're golden!

But for stones, I'm a big fan of the Fallkniven DC4... Check out Bens Backwoods (http://www.bensbackwoods.com/servlet/Categories?category=Sharpeners) selection, you'll most likely find what you need...

kevin
07-14-2010, 09:44 PM
I get shave sharp on everything with dmt red followed up with green. really all you need (unless you need a coarse grade for occasional heavy material removal). could use a leather strop for final, but I don't always bother.

Solphilos
07-14-2010, 09:44 PM
Glad to hear I'm not the only one LOL

I think this may be a common issue that no-one likes to admit to :p

I've been freehanding my blades since I was just a little runt, but I'm considering giving the sharpmaker or a similar device a shot after hearing so many good things about them.

wrbthe3rd
07-14-2010, 09:51 PM
I am in the same boat as some of you guys-when trying to figure out how to sharpen a knife the right way,its like trying to figure out women.i am always confused,maybe i can just buy a box of moras,they come pretty sharp from the factory.

mischief
07-14-2010, 10:05 PM
Heck I figured out how to figure out women,don't.
I can get a razor sharp edge,it's just that I have to really, really, really, work at it.
I have more stones then Opra has,more stroping rouge then Polosi has.
The more I read this post the more I hate you " just do such & such and use such & such guys" Not really, I envy you

Trekon86
07-14-2010, 10:14 PM
LMAO.
I think I sent my Sharpmaker off to another fella somewhere.
It was given to me, and I gifted it away in kind:)
PMZ

nickosnow
07-14-2010, 10:25 PM
Personally I use 1000-4000-8000 grit water stones. Occasionally i will use a 400 grit stone like just recently when I dropped my BHK bushcrafter and the blade chipped. Then I straighten the burr on a homemade leather strop. I could shave my beard with some of my bushcraft knives. If you end up using a grinder or a sander make sure to keep your blades wet so you don't ruin the temper. I only use a grinder to reshape a bevel.

It helps that I've been shaving with a straight razor for 2 years now, honing and stropping my razor.. practice really does make perfect. And when it comes to sharpening it usually takes a lot of practice. But back to the original point, there really is no right way to do it. Everyone will have their own preferred way to sharpen. Try different techniques until you find one that suits you.

nickosnow
07-14-2010, 10:32 PM
Check out this link its good for terminology and gives you an idea of how the knife sharpening technique works.

http://sharpeningtechniques.blogspot.com/2008/04/sharpening-basics-definitions.html



Here is a link to the stones I own. A bit over the top and expensive.. but they are superb quality.
http://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/Water-Stone-Kit-P94C18.aspx

Here is another link to some more affordable sharpening supplies.
http://www.888knivesrus.com/c=zPsAlR8lVzhXnC9lZ3KwYn6ca/category/sharpeners/

amcardon
07-14-2010, 11:50 PM
Just bought those same nortons (the set) for straight razor honing - gonna give it a shot!

wrbthe3rd
07-15-2010, 12:18 AM
maybe thats my problem i use 600 as the finest for finish,

justin_baker
07-15-2010, 01:02 AM
Just buy wetstones. They are fairly standard and work well with anything.
You are putting way to much focus on sharpening tools. You can sharpen your blade on a cinder block or a car window or many other things. The most important thing is that you are accurate with keeping the angle consistent.

Gimblee
07-15-2010, 01:15 AM
Water stones and strop due the job for me.

HammerNAnvil
07-24-2010, 07:12 PM
Consistency of angle, proper angle, stopping at the correct point, these are basics you have to get through first to regularly get a manual edge.
The Basics are this though.
Sharpening removes metal which is rounded or filled with matter to reveal the microscopic toothy like structure of the knifes edge.
The short of it, no matter your sharpening method is this;
You have to consistently get the same angle on your blade edge on both sides (generally, unless you need a chisel edge) for a knife.
To some degree this is a matter of discipline which simply means rote, repeated exercise of sitting at the table with elbow room and working on your technique until you get good at it.

It is one thing to do this on a table or bench and another to do it, in hand, as done in the field. Learn to control your technique first inside then more than half your battle is done because most times you're only doing touch up in the field.

There are nuances in this but if you sharpen by hand you have to get a feel for controlling the blade angle from stroke to stroke.
This means holding the blade exactly (as much as possible) the same way each time you go across the sharpening medium.
I lock my wrist and forearm to do this. Most of the motion is in my shoulder with a little in my elbow and forearm.
I have to assure the knife is positioned the same way in my hand as well.
Just like any exercise that requires mind with body it requires time and patience.
Sometimes when I get frustrated about things, my wife opens the knife drawer and the sharpening drawer and tells me to do my Zen.
I think it has to do with getting lost in the surface and the blade.
If you can get a cheap stainless kitchen knife sharp, that is a starting point.

A Scandi grind knife is easy to sharpen as long as you remember that the wide bevel is part of the edge. If you take one in hand and stroke it on the stone, it will reveal an inconsistant hold rather quickly because of rocking your wrist. Essentially a Scandi is a double chisel grind which is why it's good for woodcraft.

The Convex has it's own method which is to some degree unique but terribly strong if done right. Its good all around and at the other end from Scandi.

Most knives fall between the 2 and are sharpened on a narrow edge bevel

If you have to really sharpen much of one blade it is done by progressively removing less and less metal as you go. This means starting off with a coarse cut to get your basic edge then refining it each time by going to finer and finer grits until you get the edge you need.

Now your ready to meet Dirty Harry.
Remember "A man's got to know his limitations"
There are limits to what a manufactured carbide stone can do, but that's ok. There are limits to how well you knife can hold an edge as well.
Learning what that limit is can be had by understanding the blades makeup. I referred above to a cheap stainless kitchen knife. Most of them are made from 420 Stainless which are made more for the dishwasher than anything. You can however put an edge on one with a silicone carbide stone. It won't hold an edge long compared to 440 but its good training wheels.
Another generality; the softer the metal, the steeper the angle.
The angle on a lawnmower blade is often 50 to 60 degrees (single angle). It has to hack off grass basically. A woodmaul and an axe has a high angle on softer metal and "cleaves" wood apart just as a Meat cleaver does through both meat and bone. They need a high angle so the edge is supported as much as possible.
On the other extreme a razor and scalpel need a very low angle (like 10 to 12 degrees, combined edges) and are made from very hard metal. They of course need to be extremely sharp but could easily be dulled if used cutting wood or something they aren't designed for. Most knives are in the middle of these two extremes. There is really a lot to be known about the whole subject but the basics are all the same.

There are some techniques and types of sharpening media that are easier to use than others. Lansky, Spyderco and other manufacturers make things to speed up the process but they are simply making you go to a consistent angle each time.
You can do this on the Silicone Carbide stone you have.
On these stones I have gotten better results not using any floatant/lubricant at all. Oil is paticularly bad for trapping the metal you are trying to get rid of. These literally come back to bite you (your edge that is)On my tool grinder I use a waterstream to flow across the stone but that is to keep the metal cool. You aren't going to generate that much heat manually.
You can use water on aluminum carbide/silicone carbide stones but it doesn't help much unless it floods the particles away. The same is true of Diamond surfaces in most cases. Wash the stone after using it under running water.

One of my nieces is in culinary school and I recommended this link to her.
http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?//topic/26036-knife-maintenance-and-sharpening/
It was directed towards those in the food trade but the basics are here.

Guardian
07-25-2010, 10:14 AM
A lot of good information here. I'm a novice and working on that practice portion, so I have one of those sharperners for dummies that was mentioned earlier. A Lansky system sharperner and it worked great on a old knife I've had for many, many years, a few minutes and it had a pretty good edge on it. I'm getting there.

Chief036
07-25-2010, 08:18 PM
Just buy wetstones. They are fairly standard and work well with anything.
You are putting way to much focus on sharpening tools. You can sharpen your blade on a cinder block or a car window or many other things. The most important thing is that you are accurate with keeping the angle consistent.

Kinda have to agree with Justin here. For over 30 years I got by with just a double sided corborundum stone. With them I kept my old 3 blade stockman pocket knife plenty sharp, and used it to clean countless whitetails, several P/U beds full of fish, and more squirrels then you could eat in a year.

I moved on to diamond only after my hobby made me have to sharpen many knives in a week, and I got tired of having to flatten the old 'wetrocks' after they dished out in the middle.

This whole sharpening thang has moved off into the twilight zone, where the guru's buy diamond spray so they can take a free hanging hair, and whittle it like a fuzz stick. Great if that's your thing, but you don't need that to zip the hide off a deer, clean a fish, or defur a skurl.

gigante
07-25-2010, 09:35 PM
As the tip of my finger, and the missing hair on my forearm can attest, sand paper on a mousepad, and a stropping on leather works well for me. I feel like it's a lot harder to mess up than with stones. I have turned my blades into convex because of that.

I think this video goes over it, but my internet is very slow right now and I can't check it:
http://www.youtube.com/user/bindlestitch1#p/search/0/2j0wNu4BpYg

goldman
07-25-2010, 09:51 PM
I didn't have a clue what this was, so I googled it, and holy crap - Those things are amazing.



Tell the truth, I could hazard a guess at 600, because that's what I've been using on it, but I really have no idea. They're knives. They cut things. They get dull, I sharpen them. Thus ends my knowledge of knives.

And I really like the idea of getting a little diamond thing with the ceramic thing afterwards. My skill with sharpening is...alright. I can make dull things sharp, but not good enough to make anything scary sharp.

well in my opinion the first step to getting a full properly sharp edge on your knife is knowing and understanding its grind, by doing so you are able to precisely remove metal from and polish the edge of your blade to an even angle rather than just blindly stroking it around on a stone. my suggestion is to take a look at some of the knife grind diagrams online and maybe take a look at a thread or two on hear regarding knife grinds and there characteristics and if you have been able to determine the grind on your knife, perhaps watch a video on youtube oh how to sharpen a knife with that grind. if you find your knife has a scandi(navian) grind i think the set of ray mears sharpening videos or the knife sharpening video by our own ihatchetjack.
hope this might help a bit.
if you find your knife has a scandi(navian) grind i think the set of ray mears sharpening videos or the knife sharpening video by our own ihatchetjack.

northstar
07-25-2010, 11:38 PM
I use a Lansky sharpening system with 4 diamond hones.This jig has 4 angles that it will sharpen. They are30,25,20,and 17 degrees.This is the only system that I found that keeps a consisent angle, and the diamond stones never wear out.
lansky.com

I've used this to sharpen everyting from my pocket knife to my ontario machete.

Tony

fhm615
07-26-2010, 12:26 AM
Buy a lansky or a gatco off ebay and your off to the races.......

HammerNAnvil
08-08-2010, 09:25 PM
I don't disagree with what any of you are saying. Most things here distlled down come to the same point, consistently same angle, correct angle for the blade and work.

I have a Lansky among several other devices and have no problems using it or anyone else using it or anything else that works.
That being said I don't have it everywhere I need to sharpen but have other methods, all requiring the same basics.
I learned the way Chief speaks of above using artificial stones. I'm glad it's so because it forced me to learn consistency.

I don't regularly drive a truck with no air-conditioner, no power steering, 3 speed manual on the steering column but I started out that way and still can when I have to.
I think it's a good thing to learn just like as many basics of fire starting as possible.
Chief also said something I would summarize (tell me if I got this wrong)
He talked about the tasks he did just using stones. There is a point at which the edge is "good enough" for the task at hand.
Most tasks are that way and there are practical limits to time compared to what you get out of it.

Devnull
08-09-2010, 12:43 AM
I also shave with a straight razor and I can tell you I NEVER sharpen anything but my razors on my norton 4000/8000. You have to periodically lap your stone and I have found that sharpening knifes on there dishes it out quicker. Therefore I use it only for the razors.

You can get real simple on sharpening your knifes and use one of those hand held things with ceramic stones, but I recommend getting a good set of Arkansas stones. I use a hard and as long as I don't have a nick or something similar it works fine. You can use smaller grit stones if and when you need them. (Diamond stones work very well for removing a lot of material.)

All the basics are here already, but I recommend getting a beater blade to learn on. It'll take some time and even experienced sharpeners mess one up every once and a while, but if you learn on a real stone you will always be able to get a good edge even out in the field.

HammerNAnvil
08-21-2010, 10:21 AM
All the basics are here already, but I recommend getting a beater blade to learn on. It'll take some time and even experienced sharpeners mess one up every once and a while, but if you learn on a real stone you will always be able to get a good edge even out in the field.

AMEN, Devnull

When I was a kid my mom wouldn't let me near her handmade knives until I could sharpen the cheap ones.
She told me if I could sharpen them correctly then she'd let me move on to her better ones.

I have bought over a dozen Rada knives over the past few years from a lady at a local flea market.
The first time I asked her if the Rada knives were in the box marked "50 Cents" by mistake.
"Oh No, they're dull, I just buy new ones when they get dull." :confused:
I sharpened one with my pocket sharpener and had her try it.
Not interested, She handed it back to me and said "you do that real good."
It was barely dull to begin with. She said she'd rather just get new ones.

I've found quite a few at flea markets that challenged my skills but keeps me sharp.