Rons Primitive Skills

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sharpening tools

The main cause of most all knife accidents is due to having a dull blade. You need to exert extra effort to cut with a dull blade and when it slips it does a lot of damage to human flesh.

These are the tools I use to keep my knives and carving tools sharp. In the top photo is shown a variety of sharpening devices.
The thing at the top is a piece of lathing board with a piece of scrap leather glued to it. Since this photo was taken, I gave it a lite coating of green chrome oxide polishing compound. Chrome oxide is such a hard abrasive that it will put a mirror polish on stainless steel. It puts a super fine edge on my blades and makes them razor sharp. I also use it for touch ups while working with my knives to keep them sharp. I used Liquid Nails to glue this leather and board together. Good stuff.

On the right are three diamond hones of various grits, 180-coarse, 260-medium & 360-fine. I've glued these to pieces of an old mouse pad to make them non slip when I use them on a table top. These work dry but I use water for a lubricant to extend their life. They will handle very hard types of stainless and other exotic steels. I also use these to sharpen my big chisels, plane blades and ax blades. The middle row is all diamond rods and hones of various makes and grits. My favorite brands are EZ LAP and DMT.

On the left is a Lansky ceramic sharpening set, an Arkansas medium stone, and an Arkansas hard stone. These are a variety of quartz rock called novaculite. The Lansky is my favorite sharpening system. It gives my carbon blades and my Victorinox stainless blades a razor edge. The Arkansas stones are old standbys I use for some of my large blades. I use the medium first and then the hard. It brings my blades to a very sharp, durable edge. I finish with a good stropping on the leather. This will remove any burr left from the stones as well as polish the edge making it cut better and longer between sharpening.

I use machine oil or olive oil for a lubricant with these. The reason for using a lubricant is to keep the micro fine particles of metal from the blade floating on the surface of the stone. That way the stone doesn't get clogged up and works much more efficiently.

When you sharpen a knife always push the edge along the stone at the correct angle as if you were trying to shave off a layer of the stone or hone.

Here's a photo of the Lansky ceramic sharpener. The white rods are medium grit and the gray rods are fine grit. They fit in holes drilled at an angle, one set 20 degrees and the other set 25 degrees. You slice down holding the blade straight up and down and pull the knife towards you as you slice. It doesn't take much pressure or time to get an excellent edge on your blade. The rods can be scrubbed off with dish detergent and a 3M scratchy pad to clean off the gray metal streaks.

This photo shows the end of the Lansky sharpener where the rods are stored inside the holder.

This is my field strop kit. It consists of a credit card with red jewelers rouge on it that is stored in the envelope. This will put a good edge on my pen knives and carving knives. The green container holds a greasy type of chrome oxide polish. This stuff works great and stays on the leather very well. The leather strop at the bottom can be used flat on a suitable surface or tied to a small tree. It is loaded with red jewelers rouge and when this is used up I will use the chrome oxide on it. Red rouge works good but the chrome oxide cuts a lot faster. You can by the green polish at most hardware stores where they sell Dremel tools. You only need a tiny bit and it lasts a long time. Make sure you get the soft stuff. The hard stuff works but its a little tricky to load the strop with. I've noticed that when the strop turns black and shiny its time to add a tiny bit more polish. The reason it turns black is because its the steel micro particles. If you use a white hard Arkansas stone you really notice how fast the oil lube turns black.

1 comment: said...

"The main cause of most all knife accidents is due to having a dull blade."

This is absolutely true. As a land surveyor working in remote areas, the office people where aghast at the sharpness of our axes. Ten years of swinging an axe cutting lines of sight, never once cut myself.