Can't Get Sharp

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by SpecialAgentDBCooper, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    Hey guys!

    I have recently purchased a few items for sharpening my tools. Currently, nothing of mine really needs sharpening. I purchased myself a fancy knife, which hasn't dulled yet, but I have no freakin' idea how to sharpen this thing, and be to frank, I don't think I'd have the courage to sharpen it when that day does come.

    I purchased a 1000/600 grit whetstone, a Lansky puck, a file set and a leather strop. Figured I'd start with one of the kitchen knives as practice on the whetstone. An hour later, the knife is duller than when I had started. I've watched countless videos on sharpening and I understand practice is required, but I figured it would at least get sharper, not the other way around.

    I am clearly missing something. I've watched nothing that tells me anything more than to "watch your angle", which I believe I do.

    Any recommendations? I've read on this forum where guys started using sandpaper? I'd love to be able to use the whetstone though. It's pretty badass.

    I have a Cold Steel shovel, which I'm also trying to sharpen, also having a hard time with it. I see dudes throwing their shovels and shaving very finely. I can't get it that sharp!

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Wolf427

    Wolf427 BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    It takes time to be able to sharpen correctly on a whetstone. Its extremely important to keep a consistent angle on both sides. Just keep practicing. Most likely you are getting a different angle on one side. Also make sure your angle is not too high or too low.
     
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  3. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Shoot for a 20 degree angle, if will sharpen almost anything an is fairly to achieve. Just imagine a quarter under the spine of the knife. Consistency is the key. joe
     
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  4. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    i think it depends on the type of grind / bevel you are trying to achieve an edge on.
    Scandi grind is different from flat vs chisel grind, etc.
    My kitchen knives are manly all flat ground with a secondary bevel that i use diamond files / stones, or for quick touch ups I like the Speedy Sharp.
    https://www.speedysharp.com/Default.aspx?tabid=-1&usessl=1
    Niagara
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
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  5. Bushcraft-kelso

    Bushcraft-kelso Am are Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    When I started using a stone, I ended up putting it in a vise ( with pads of course I used cardboard ) once it was securely held I could focus more on finding and holding the correct angle. Its a lot easier to focus on the edge than trying to hold the stone while not cutting your fingernail off and keeping the correct angle. I have also found that some knives will give you the angle they need.. like a Mora with a scandi grind.. lay the knife parallel with the stone letting it be flat on the non beveled side of the knife.. 1518903839133769896290.jpg
    The gently rock it over till the bevel lays flat... 15189039779991262621324.jpg at this point u the knife is at the correct angle from the factory.. from this point all u have to do is add say a couple of degrees steeper and give it a pull.. I don't know how well I can explain how to draw the knife across the stone.. over time it starts feeling a certain way when u draw it.. anywho.. I don't know if this will help but it's how I started learning how to do it in the most common sence way I could.. hope this helps!
     
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  6. Bushcraft-kelso

    Bushcraft-kelso Am are Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Joe said it! That's a good way to keep the angle while drawing the knife across the stone.. and depending angle.. Just go to a nickel for more angle etc.. @central joe ur the man!
     
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  7. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    AH! The quarter! That is a neat piece of advice!

    What about the amount of force required? Am I supposed to be pressing down hard?
     
  8. Hillbilly stalker

    Hillbilly stalker Scout

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    Lowes sales their own brand of these called "Blue Hawk". They are located next to the garden tools and are $5. Same tool.
     
  9. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    I have a Fallkeniven A1 and the grind (Scandi), confuses the sh** out of me, which is why I'm starting with the cheap kitchen knives as practice. You have any experience with Scandi grinds?

    That Speedy Sharp looks awesome! I've never seen a design like that. Not to mention, the weight and size of that thing! Must be great to travel with!
     
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  10. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    How much force do you apply when sharpening?
     
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  11. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    Thanks for the response!

    Agreed! @central joe is definitely the man! Always good advice! Guys like y'all keep me coming back to this forum!
     
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  12. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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  13. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    I haven't done a lot of scandi other than my Mora. Ray Mears and other's video covers that method fairly well.
    I know Lee Valley sells a folding version of that tool as well I have learned.
    Niagara
     
  14. Niagara

    Niagara Scout

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    My two kids worked for a large landscape company and this was the type of tool they were issued for their pruning equip. (I thought I was discovering something - "hey kids look what dad got and look how sharp this knife is"... I was quickly deflated when they were like "oh ya we use those all the time"...:( lol
    Niagara
     
  15. Bushcraft-kelso

    Bushcraft-kelso Am are Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I actually press down with a fair amount of force and draw the knife across the stone as evenly as I can.. I start the draw at the base of the grind and go from base to point. I think maybe if u try to sharpen a short straight edged blade. Then moved to a longer blade ? Ya got to kinda go with the contour of the edge like a Mora or a Fallkin.. but back to pressure.. I'd do a little at a time starting out, even strokes with light even pressure.. will take longer but have less of a chance of buggering up the blade.. hope this helps
     
  16. Hillbilly stalker

    Hillbilly stalker Scout

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  17. freebirdfb

    freebirdfb Guide

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    For pressure you are wanting to "shave" the surface. Take your time and don't wiggle the blade while sharpening.
     
  18. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

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    I haven't been able to find one in a while at Lowe's. I check pretty much every time I'm there, but always come up empty-handed.
     
  19. Kreger

    Kreger Supporter Supporter

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    Use a sharpie. When you pull the knife across your stone you should feel a drag. If the sharpie mark is off your edge then you are taking off metal. I think this is a great way to get the correct feel for pressure needed. I am no pro by any means. I think I'm ok at sharpening though. FYI.

    There are also some good instructions on the subject in Bushclass that would most likely be beneficial.
     
  20. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I usually start with moderately light pressure and work down to very light pressure. Everyone's hand is different and so is the perception of pressure. So just reduce pressure as you develop the edge. Of course the amount of starting pressure is proportional to how dull the edge is, slightly dull equals less pressure to start. joe
     
  21. wrath0r

    wrath0r Supporter Supporter

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    For the most part, you will rarely if ever need to sharpen a well-maintained knife. Generally speaking, when your knife is "dull," what that really means is the edge is no longer perfectly straight. You can usually see this if you look at your edge up against the light and can see it. This is a normal part of knife use, and does not mean your knife needs to be sharpened. What it does mean is that your knife needs to be stropped. This can be done with a number of materials, most popularly leather. You'll remove a minimal amount of material when stropping, especially if you use a polishing compound, and even out / realign the edge.

    There are exceptions. A poorly maintained knife may need to be resharpened. If you've got chips in your edge, you'll want to resharpen. That sort of thing.

    Learn to strop your knife first, learn to sharpen second. Your knives will thank you! :)
     
  22. PVF1

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    What is the kitchen knife that you've been practicing on? A lot of stainless, run of the mill kitchen knives are made from relatively large-grained alloys, and heat treated fairly soft. That makes for a knife that is extremely frustrating to sharpen and deburr on whetstones. The steel is just sort of gummy and won't take a keen edge.

    Believe it or not, it's actually easier to practice on more expensive knives. Many people shy away from this because they don't want to "ruin" an expensive knife. But it is very difficult to ruin a knife just by sharpening on bench stones. You'd really have to try before you could do anything to it that couldn't be fixed without too much trouble.

    If you want to continue practicing on kitchen knives, I suggest one of the lower end moly-vanadium (AUS-8) blades like Fujiwara FKM. Get like a 150mm petty and go to town. Lots of places to order online.

    Then check out online instructional videos. Jon Broida at Japanese Knife Imports has a great free series.

    Have fun :dblthumb:
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  23. Djektd

    Djektd Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Honestly don't think they carry them anymore.
     
  24. Sinjin

    Sinjin Firebrand Supporter Bushclass I

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    One thing that helped me when I was learning how to sharpen was instead of moving the knife on the stone like you're slicing something, instead move it the other direction, away from the edge. The same direction you would use on a strop. I guarantee this will help, I had the same issues you are having and this fixed it.
     
  25. Bent Chile

    Bent Chile Tracker

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    I find its best for me to take the blade and try to slice a thin layer off of the stone, with moderate pressure, one or two passes on one side then the other. Keep the stone wet with water or oil to float the particals. Some blades sharpen easy and others can be a challenge (Buck was hard for me) once you get the hang of it you can reverse the action so its more like stropping.
     
  26. miwok

    miwok Tracker

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    I thought the pucks were for yard tools? Not that I am any great shakes with stones, I need to have them on a flat surface when I use them.

    Then I only have to concentrate on keeping the knife angle constant and not the stone and knife angle.
     
  27. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Scout

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    If your kitchen knife is dull your 1000 grit stone may be to fine to establish your bevels in any reasonable amount of time. I usually start a dull knife on a coarser stone, 400 to 600 grit, until I have a solid apex along the entire edge. I then move to finer stones.

    When I started sharpening on bench stones I would use two quarters stacked on top of each under the spine of the knife as a guide for a consistent angles. It takes time but repeated practice leads to proficient muscle memory and better sharpening skills.
     
  28. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    You are absolutely right about a good knife and it's ability to remain sharp. I had a Cold Steel SRK (I lost it. I know. It still breaks my heart), I'd baton the sh** out of that thing and it NEVER went dull on it. My Fallkeniven too, sharp as hell.

    I did actually purchase a strop and a brick of compound. Does it matter what kind of leather? The one I received is the one on a paddle like thing and leather feels thin. Will that matter?
     
  29. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    I've been practicing on a KitchenAid Japanese knife, like the image, but less fancy looking. It's a total cheapie. [​IMG]

    I don't think I'd ever practice on the best knife I have, but I do have a Camillus knife, which isn't expensive either, but not cheap, and I am less attached to it, so perhaps I will start practicing on that knife.

    Great advice on the Jon Broida videos! Watching now.. I hate how easy people make it look.. argh
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
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  30. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    The whetstone I'm using now is a 600/1000 grit stone. So far, I've only been using the 600 grit side.

    Definitely need more practice..
     
  31. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    Yeah.. I got the puck for my ax actually. I just all arrived in one package from Amazon.
     
  32. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    I'm noticing people stroke differently..

    Ha ha!

    Some people away from the edge and some towards the edge and some do both. Does the back and forth stroke come with certain skill level? Does it sharpen better?
     
  33. Elliott Sauerwald

    Elliott Sauerwald BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Definitely takes practice. I think you'll get better after you try it and figure out what works. A few weeks ago I was struggling with it and now I've figured out a system and am doing fairly well. Even got one of my knives shavin' sharp. Try youtube. I found a lot of good useful tips there.
     
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  34. Carabnr

    Carabnr Guide

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  35. Nelson Forge

    Nelson Forge Tracker

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    One thing that has really helped me, and I'm no expert, is the way I think about sharpening. It's not so much about bringing the two angles together to make a real sharp "V". The whole idea of sharpening is to create a small bur along the edge of the blade- that feather edge is the "sharpness". To do that, you need to remove metal along the full width of the bevel on both sides (which is why angle is so important). When you do it right- the "V" comes together naturally and you get that bur. Using finer grits of stones makes that bur smaller and more stable- stays sharper longer. Stropping simply straightens that bur out and you have a fine edge again.
    Keep practicing, it gets better!
     
  36. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    Alright..

    The kitchen knife is definitely getting sharper! Still working on my angles.

    I was able to toss an orange in the air and slice clean through it. (My wife in the other room: "what the f*** are you doing?? What's that noise??)

    Still can't shave hair though. That's my goal. I'm going to keep at it!

    I hate how easy everyone makes it look.. I guess muscle memory isn't supposed to really look like anything.. Haha
     
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  37. Crooked Penguin

    Crooked Penguin Scout

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    The F1 isn't a scandi grind but a convex grind to the best of my knowledge. Convex is easiest to sharpen on sandpaper with a rubber backing like a mouse-mat for instance, something with a little give to it so the sandpaper follows the rounding of the edge.

    The easiest way for me to learn muscle memory was by sharpening actual scandi grind knives. They're difficult to get wrong because the bevel is so wide (easy to lay flat on the stone). After that other grinds became a lot more easier to work on for me.

    Just keep practising, you'll get better at it with time. It might not be a bad idea to get a cheap Mora Companion to practice on though. You can never have enough Moras and that way you don't mess up your nice knife if things do go a bit wrong.
     
  38. apbtlvr

    apbtlvr Supporter Supporter

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    I've sharpened free hand for years and felt more or less satisfied with what I felt was a basic level of EDC sharp. That is shaving hair. But if you really want to learn more about how to do it really well, try looking up Michael Christy on youtube and watch some of his videos. He's very good and the demonstration style if effective.

    Cliff Stamp is also another well regarded authority but there are many others too. Here's a recent podcast I listened to and found very informative. It directly relates to Christy's most recent videos
    https://simplecast.com/s/5b5f3983

    Edge Snobs is a group on FB devoted sharpening on guided systems and freehand. It's worth joining even if you just follow, which is all I do.

    There's a lot to be said about guided systems but that's well beyond the scope of this thread. I like and prefer freehand because I can do it anywhere, especially out in the field or on the river. And given the bushcraft orientation of these forums, I suspect many others may prefer it too. Good luck, take your time and use a light touch. Oh, and the sharpie advice was right on too.
     
  39. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    Man.. I was already thinking about getting a Mora.. not that I need another freakin' knife.. but twist my arm why dontcha?? ;)

    THIS! https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B009NZVZ3E/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A3DWYIK6Y9EEQB&psc=1

    I think a good practice knife is a good idea. At this point, I can't tell if it's me or the kitchen knife that is the issue. That said, I can manage to get a knife pretty sharp, but only by sharpening away from the edge of the blade. Not having much luck any other way. I will keep practicing..
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
  40. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    Hey guys!

    Just wanted to follow up quickly!

    Got my Mora couple months ago and finally grew the balls to sharpen it. For better or for worse, by golly I'm going to do it! It didn't help that a week after I got it, I dropped it tip first onto tile floor, which totally f***ed it up. Really nicely too. Ugh, but even then I didn't want to sharpen it. I thought the factory sharpening was good enough. Boy was I ever wrong. I managed to fix (not very well) the tip. I also tried to file the spine so I can use a ferro rod against it. Total fail. Still working on that. Figured that would be easy. Also, boy was I wrong.

    Couple weeks ago, after having taken the knife into the woods a couple times, I decided it was time. I took a piece of sand paper, contact cemented it to a piece of 2x6 and with water I went to work. Then the wet stone, 600 grit and then 1000 grit, then the strop.

    Damn. You guys. This knife is TOO SHARP! Haha! I couldn't believe how sharp this thing got!

    First of all, excellent advice on getting a Mora. The wide edge made it very easy to work. Not only is it a good beginner knife to practice, it is now one of my most favorite piece of gear. Great knife! I have a $300CAD Fallkeniven that hasn't seen action in ages..

    Thanks for the advice and encouragement guys! I'll keep at it and hopefully will be able to sharpen the Fallkeniven as well. It has a really funky blade.. very intimidating.
     
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  41. jswi2374

    jswi2374 Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    There is a group called "Mora Tribe" you might want to join. Lots of info on sharpening, using, and knowing your Mora better. If you just use yours as a training aid to learn sharpening... well... whatever works for you!
     
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  42. Gman1051

    Gman1051 Scout

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    I bought a Worksharp Guided Sharpening System and the upgrade pack.
    I've never been good at holding the correct angle.
    First knife I sharpened was a custom made from a Green River blank and buffalo horn scales.
    I followed the provided chart and was slicing paper in 15 minutes.
    I highly recommend the Worksharp item.
     
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  43. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    I will definitely join!

    I LOVE my Mora! It was originally a practicing tool. Now, I carry it with me everywhere! It's a great blade! Very non-threatening looking as well, which I need.

    I'm pretty sure my next knife will be a Mora again. Can't beat the quality/price.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
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  44. PVF1

    PVF1 Supporter Supporter

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    Congrats on successfully sharpening your knife free hand, it is a great feeling the first time and opens up many doors! The next step is to repeat . . . billions of times lol. No one ever becomes perfect at it, it is a lifelong pursuit :)

    As for the damage to the tip, is it just chipped? You can fix a broken tip pretty easy actually. Just requires a slight reprofile, grinding from the spine down to the tip. Will create a bit more of a drop point but will give you that pointy tip back. You can do it on your coarsest stone, maybe a 220, but something like a diamond atoma 140 is best. Belt grinder even better but I just use stones.

    There's a good discussion and pics here.
     
  45. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I've sent you an invitation.
     
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  46. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    It didn't chip. It actually.. folded into itself.. somehow. Nothing broke off, but it just caved in. I had a fatter, dulled tip.

    So yeah, I filed it flat and managed to get it pretty decent looking.. I think. It does have that, like you said, tear drop look to it. Check out pictures! You'll also see where I butchered the spine. Still doesn't throw sparks. I've taken off so much that I hesitate trying again.

    I still need to practice sharpening, but I love that samurai sword look after stropping. So sexy.

    [​IMG]
     

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  47. SpecialAgentDBCooper

    SpecialAgentDBCooper Scout

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    Ugh! I think made a bit of a mess here..

    I left my Mora out in the freakin' rain! Can't believe I did that. It was stabbed into the earth, so it only had a couple spots. I was POSITIVE I had all the rust sanded out. I guess not..

    Did I ruin my stones? Am I rubbing rust into everything now, r is that just discoloration?
     

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