I suck at sharpening

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Foulwind, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    I've come to terms wit it! I suck at putting something that might could be considered an edge on my small SAK blade I used the small blade yesterday to strip the furry bark off a piece of redwood limb, turning it into another walking stick for the wife, and while doing so, had to whittle some burls off, shave some spots a little and noticed the blade wasn't cutting well. Stopped on the stick for the night.
    Grabbed my little Arkansas stone and started, what I hoped, would be urning the small butter knife edge back to an knife edge.
    Epic fail. I tried various angles from steep to shallow, tried " Slicing" the blade along the stone, tried using heavy circles, but could not see or feel any change n the blade
    I understand the "Mechanics" of maintaining edge angles but Ef' me if I could change the now butter knife edge! I'm one of those peeps that just don't have that sharpening gene in my blood.
     
  2. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Supporter

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    Have you tried stropping with different compound variants? They care less about the angle you use and more about the existing angle of the knife edge.

    Most of my knives are scandi or convex so they respond well to stropping.
     
  3. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce Perpetually Off Topic, Sorry. Supporter

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    Arkansas stones are slow cutting fairly fine stones. Nothing wrong with that but it might not be the easiest stone to practice on.

    Try something more course, nothing fancy or expensive just a plain old hardware store stone will be fine.
    You'll see results quicker and make less passes on the stone. Less pass is less chances to screw up the angle until you get a feel for it.
    Make super light passes at the end to minimize the burr.
    learn to get a knife sharp on a medium or course stone to start don't even worry about getting finer until you are comfortable on one stone.

    You'll get 50 different opinions on this, mine is just one to consider. The other 49 will be good too. There's no wrong answer, it's just figuring out what works for you.
     
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  4. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    I've used my belt a few times prior to trying the stone. So no compounds. I I hadn't come to that realization earlier I'd thunk the damn small SAK is incapable of being sharpened (Once factory edge is used up)
     
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  5. chndlr04

    chndlr04 Guide

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    I know how you feel. Even have a lansky guided sharpener, didnt work for me. Until i got the worksharp field sharpener and something clicked. Brought my esee3 back to shaving sharp
     
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  6. Fenrirkw

    Fenrirkw Tracker

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    Well a defeatist attitude isn’t going to help mate.
    Practice and keeping changing angles isn’t going to help, just make the task more infuriating in a task where consistency is key
     
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  7. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Victorinox keeps their steel fairly soft and it's a rather simple steel as far as stainless goes so it's easy to sharpen. I'm not saying that to discourage you, rather that it's a good starting point for learning a valuable skill. I've carried a Victorinox Pioneer for over 5 years straight so I promise you they can be sharpened, and sharpened well at that.

    [​IMG]Splitting Hairs by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    Here's what I recommend based on what you are saying.

    • Stop changing your angles unless you know they are wrong. Sharpening is literally all about maintaining an angle.
    • Mark your edge with a sharpy. If you aren't removing material from the right spot you will be able to see it. Then adjust your angle accordingly. Don't worry if you don't remove all the sharpy the first go, chances are the bevel is no longer a flat V grind based on what you said.
    • Go to a coarser grit. Don't have a coarser stone, no worries get some sandpaper 120 or something like that. Lay it on your stone or a piece of glass. Bam, instant stone.
    • Stick to one side until you feel a burr form on the opposite side of the bevel. After that switch sides.
    • Move to the finer grits now
    If you do all this and still don't end up with an edge then start over. Practice makes perfect after all. None of us was born knowing how to sharpen, but it's not rocket science. A bit of patience and the right tools and you can get it done.
     
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  8. Hungry

    Hungry Tracker

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    I've found that constancy is the key. maintain a consistent angle against the blade

    I used to use wedges cut from blocks at *20 angles for a guide

    Don't quit.

    Once you figure it out, you'll be psyched
     
  9. kamagong

    kamagong Scout

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    A pedestrian on 57th Street sees a musician getting out of a cab and asks, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

    Without pause, the artist replies wearily, “Practice, practice, practice.”

    It's the same with sharpening.
     
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  10. 66drifter

    66drifter Guide

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    i keep an AccuSharp in the pick up in the shop and in the kitchen

    it sets/corrects the angle and puts a fairly(i keep razors for shaving) good edge on my cutting tools in justa few strokes and i'm off to do something more personaly interesting

    the edge will skin a squirrel, scale a fish, carve a steak, slice a tomato, spread pb n j...

    and @ $10/ea they won't cause me to miss a meal, even @ the Golden Arch Club

    https://www.amazon.com/AccuSharp-AC...p&qid=1553043369&s=gateway&sr=8-4&tag=mh0b-20
     
  11. garry3

    garry3 Scout

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    J.Pierce has it right. Even the soft Arakansas is a finishing stone and they are very unforgiving. They cut slow and if you raise the back to high, there goes your edge. Take his advice and go for a softer, coarser stone such as a fine India, which is a lot coarser than any Arkansas and don't go to the Ark until it is sharp off the other stone. You may find that you are not as bad as you think.
     
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  12. MEC003

    MEC003 Tracker

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    I feel ya mate! I'm not great at sharpening either. I actually pay to have my s110v blade sharpened. I like the more basic steels because of ease of sharpening. My most used moras end up with a scandivex edge because I'm too sloppy to keep a true scandi. I've had success using ceramic to maintain 1095 and aus8.
     
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  13. beacon

    beacon Simul justus et peccator Bushclass I

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    My first thought is perhaps you're not forming a bur along the entire length of the edge before switching sides. Work one side until that bur is formed, then switch sides. If you are already doing this, then disregard.
     
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  14. PLackey

    PLackey Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Im with @J. Pierce . Get a full size set of stones. A smith tri hone will do. Start with the medium, use soap or oil, never dry, and take your time.
     
  15. Jacob

    Jacob Supporter Supporter

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    I’ll second both @J. Pierce And @MJGEGB. One thing I would add is that softer steel requires an extra light touch in the finer grits especially (like your Arkansas stone) because the edges tend to roll over. If you drop to a coarser grit then the final alternating passes will also require VERY little pressure for the same reason.

    Keep at it man, you’ll get it! Consistent angle, light pressure when finishing with every progressive grit.
     
  16. If1Hitu

    If1Hitu Tracker

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    I remember when I was a young man and thought I knew how to put an edge on a knife. Then I met Mr.Chester and I became a real knife edge sharper.
     
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  17. Redneck Bear

    Redneck Bear Scout

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    I got best results from a 4" CC4 and with going forward ("slicing").
    I keep the angle by supporting the back of the blade on my thumb or index finger, a few milimeters (say 2-3mm with my <93mm SAKs) off the "stone".
    I use this technique with all my FFG and non-zero scandi blades, I only remember which part of the knife I use for which blade "height".
    None of my knives is particulary sharp but they all groom my arm hair just fine). :)
     
  18. Ithica

    Ithica Tracker

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    You might want to try a Lansky Controlled-Angle Sharpening System kit. I have a Deluxe 5-Stone System kit and find it provides a nice edge quickly and is easy to use to restore a chipped or abused edge. The kit price is reasonable.
     
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