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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sharpening tools and methods-an update

Since I posted my last article about sharpening knives, I've come across some more information. There are a lot of new steels out there for knife makers. Some of them are pretty hard such as S30V and ball bearing steel to name a few. These new wonder steels need a different breed of sharpeners other than the good old carborundum stone.

For these new types of steel I usually use diamond followed up by a very fine ceramic rod. Then a few swipes on the strop and its good enough. Diamond sharpeners are shown in photo 4. These are made by EZ Lap and DMT as well as other companies. The fold-up Camillus at the bottom of photo 4 is a combination of diamond hone, carbide wheel sharpener, and ceramic sharpener all in one package. Camillus is now a defunct company. The ceramic sharpener in photo 5 is a Lansky and has both fine and extra fine sticks. It is one of my favorite sharpeners. Its set up to do 20 degree and 25 degree angles on blades.

In the first two photos are shown natural quarried stones from Arkansas. These are called Arkansas stones and are a form of extremely hard high temperature quartzite mix called novaculite. These are very good sharpeners for high carbon and most stainless steel. The odd looking one that resembles a wedge is called a slip and is used for sharpening carving chisels and gouges. It is hard Arkansas. This one is a Norton HS4 and is very expensive. The small one is a translucent Arkansas and when you get into the bigger stones of this variety, you will pay a lot of money. The large gray stone in the wood holder is a hard Arkansas. These run anywhere from $5 to $25 each. This came in a leather sheath and is marked Frosts.

In photo number 3 are some man made stones. These are either silicon carbide or carborundum and aluminum oxide or India stone. The top one is a Norton carborundum twin grit, medium and fine. The middle one has no brand and is an India stone, twin grit, medium and fine. The bottom one is a Norton India stone, twin grit, medium and fine. These are always used with honing oil or water. Oil works best in my opinion. The oil keeps the tiny particles of knife blade floating so that they don't clog the stone up. 5 weight motorcycle fork oil is great for honing as is 3 in 1 oil and a few others. I know a few old timers who use kerosene. These all run around $20 and if you want quality that lasts, buy a good name brand. There are cheap stones just like these and they will wear out to a useless piece of junk in a month. You get what you pay for. I bought these 3 man made stones and the Norton slip stone on eBay for all of $10. There are a lot of bargains out there and its worth searching.

Photo number 6 shows a sharpening steel, pocket size. This is just like the big kitchen ones. I use this on my pen knives and a few of my smaller fixed blades for a quick edge touch up in the field. Its as big as a fountain pen and takes up practically no room. It was made by Forschner in Sheffield, England. Good steel. I bought it from Smoky Mountain Knife Works.

The last photo shows some of my strops. The top one is coated with jewelers or red rouge. It is great on all carbon steel blades. The middle one has a coating of green chrome oxide. This is an aggressive cutter and works good on stainless and harder steels. It will make carbon blades razor sharp. The bottom is my pack strop. It has a light application of green chrome oxide.

Thats about it for my sharpening tools. I put a link to the older article I did on the subject for reference.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

photo 6

photo 7

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