The proper way to sharpen blades?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by greg273, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. greg273

    greg273 Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone illuminate me on this subject, i cant seem to get a decent edge on a knife or axe no matter how hard i try! Seems like i just end up making it worse! I can sharpen my chainsaw chain alright, but thats about it. Does anyone know the 'proper' technique to sharpen?

    Thanks!
    Greg
     
  2. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    those little sharpeners with stones mounted in a fixed "v" position are really hard to screw up -
     

  3. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I like to use a file for sharpening axes. File toward the edge, lifting the file for the return trip. Files only cut in one direction. File both side of the edge equally, so turn the ax often.

    To sharpen a knife I use the largest whet stone I can afford. I use the coarser side to establish a fairly sharp edge, then finish on the finest side.

    To use a whet stone I lubricate it with oil, some use water instead. This keeps the finely removed particles from plugging the pores of the stone.

    I hold the knife to the stone nearly flat or corresponding to the previously sharpened angle. Start with the tang end of the blade near the edge of the stone and as you move the knife along the stone move it so that the point of the knife is also stoned. With smaller knives this wouldn't be necessary as the entire blade would fit onto the stone.
    As with the file the stroking is from off of the knife edge toward it. Edge first if you prefer to say it that way.

    I stroke the knife toward me on one edge, then turn it over and stroke away from me.
    Once you get the hang of it it can be done quickly.

    Once you can feel that the knife nearly sharp, add a couple more strokes on each side at a slightly greater angle for the final edge. I do this very lightly and hardly bear down at all.

    If you really want the VERY FINEST edge, fasten a sheet of 600 grit and 1200 grit wet or dry sandpaper to a sheet of glass. Lay it flat and stroke the knife on this finer material for the ultimate edge.

    So that you don't have to completely sharpen a knife from coarsest to finest, hone the edge frequently. If the knife is of good quality it will stay sharp a long time.

    WHATEVER you do, please don't grind away at your knife with one of those can opener sharpeners. They RUIN knives.
     
  4. FrankTheTank

    FrankTheTank Well-Known Member

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  5. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    A flat file will give you control and allow you to sharpen and axe, hatchet,lawnmower blade etc. Clamp the tool you are sharpening and it will be much easier to hold your angle. Use a file with a good handle and I install a square of leather in frt. of the handle as a gaurd in case you slip. If you have enough control you can sharpen these on a powered grindstone but it will take off more metal and make it easier to make a mistake.
    I have sharpened knives on a grinding wheel like the link explains and then finished them on stones. Everyone should have a good set of stones for knfe sharpening and that is all you will need if knives aren't neglected. Smokey Mountain Knifeworks uses an emery wheel on a grinder to clean up and sharpen knives if you bring it to them. If you want somewhat of a fool proof way to sharpen knives look into a Lansky knife sharpening kit. It is a set of stones and a holder system so your angle is kept correct. If a knife is sharpened with a Lansky sharpener it will look like a factory edge and you can easily shave your arm hair with it.
     
  6. ChristenaTN

    ChristenaTN Active Member

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    The best and easiet way is to get an electric grinder like the one that bolts to a workshop counter and then carefully and at the proper angle sharpen the blades. My hubs has always sharpened lawnmower blades this way. You can use a file or some such other thing but this is the best and the blade will be very sharp:)
     
  7. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Just thought id add.Sharpening an Axe is usually ok. But don't sharpen a busting maul to a sharp edge or it will stick in the wood.Leaving it a touch blunted will cause it bounce instead of sticking. ;) I also usually don't sharpen my axe very sharp for same reason.

    I sharpen my knives like Windy. Watch you angle you dont want to change it.I heard it described once that you draw the knife across the stone like your trying to cut a thin slither off the stone.Best description ive heard.
     
  8. Herb.

    Herb. Well-Known Member

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    This skill has been a problem for me since I got my first knive, my problem as it turns out was the angles, how do you know when it's 17 degrees or 25 degrees. Last week I was loafing around our fav store Super Wal Mart in the sporting goods section and I saw an EZE LAP diamond stone for less then six bucks so thought I would try it. When I read the directions it said to lay the blade flat and raise the spine the approximate width of the spine, aha that I can understand, tried it, it works great, could shave the hair from my arm the first try. I've never been able to do that before. A word of caution if you decide to get the EZE LAP, that thing will take off some metal right now, so go slow and not too much pressure.
     
  9. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    The method in Frank's link is how I sharpen things like knives and axes, it also explains sharpen to use pretty well too! Great link Frank!
     
  10. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    When sharpening knives, you have to start out with a good one. Something that will take & hold an edge. Otherwise you are just wasting your time.You get what you pay for in knives.I carry a Gerber Gator & it keeps an edge under hard use better than any other knife that I've owned.