Knife Sharpening Tips

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  • DolomiteDave

    Plinker
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    Nov 11, 2022
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    Carmel
    I have difficulty getting my knifes as sharp as others seem to be able to get too. Any tips and tricks on how to get this done, or is the right sharpening kit 80% of getting it right?
     

    hammerd13

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    Oct 20, 2015
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    Hamilton County
    Specific tools aside, you need a device that will sharpen each side of the knife separately. Meaning, you will sharpen one side to an extent, then sharpen the other side. This sharpening device should also have the ability to change sharpening angles, as different knives require different angles. Particular sharpening systems are better than others or are easier to use, but it's really the knowledge/technique that will yield the best results.

    All of this is necessary so that you can bring the edge of the knife to a burr that rolls over to the opposite side you're sharpening. Once a burr is achieved, you go to the other side and repeat. Once you get a burr going the other way, it's time to change to a finer stone. The burr is important. Until you get a burr, you've not really sharpened a particular edge to the apex of the cutting edge. Sharpening to the apex of the edge (eventually eliminating burrs) gets you a sharp blade.

    1669036613157.png


    I'll usually go through 2-4 different, progressively finer, stones. This all depends on how bad the edge was to begin with and how polished I want the edge.

    After I'm finished up with stones and satisfied with the edge, I'll complete the job with a leather strop and polish compounds to remove any hint of a microscopic burr.

    There are so many details (edge type, angle, edge purpose, durability considerations, etc.) to sharpening, but that will get you in the ballpark.

    p.s. I use an Edge Pro system or sharpen by hand on stones/sandpaper. Wicked Edge is another good system to consider.
     
    Last edited:

    BJHay

    Marksman
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    Mar 17, 2019
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    hammered13 lays out the theory pretty well.
    For me it takes a long time to put a super fine edge on a knife (I know others are much faster). Even though there is a certain Zen to edging a fine blade I can't always justify the time.

    I have a Lansky system that I use for hand sharpening my best knives. It works for me and didn't cost much. It also works on serrated edges. My wife gave me a Tormek T4 a few years ago. It was expensive and some technique is still required but it will lay down an edge at 95% the quality of what I can do by hand in about 1/10th the time. I used a Ken Onion Worksharp for a couple years. It's OK but didn't give me the fine edge I think you're looking for. I've heard a lot of good things about Wicked Edge but never tried one.
     

    KittySlayer

    Grandmaster
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    4   0   0
    Jan 29, 2013
    6,005
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    Northeast IN
    This reminds me to sharpen knives before Thanksgiving.

    I have to take my own knives to the inlaws for cooking/cutting. My wife's entire family believes that a sharp knife is a dangerous knife, thus every knife they own is dull and is put in the dishwasher for cleaning.
     

    KokomoDave

    Master
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    Oct 20, 2008
    3,843
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    Kokomo
    This reminds me to sharpen knives before Thanksgiving.

    I have to take my own knives to the inlaws for cooking/cutting. My wife's entire family believes that a sharp knife is a dangerous knife, thus every knife they own is dull and is put in the dishwasher for cleaning.
    That is blasphemy! A dull knife is a dangerous knife. You have to put more muscle into the cut and that can have catastrophic consequences. If you 'cut' yourself with it, it leaves a nasty wound that is harder to suture. I've sharpened knives for members of the community when I was on duty as part of my giving back from when we were poor growing up. It doesn't take much effort for people to realize you have more to give v.s. citations, arrests and evictions that truly will make a little difference. My old school chief was cool with it and I happily gave of my time and mediocre talent.
     

    DolomiteDave

    Plinker
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    Nov 11, 2022
    52
    8
    Carmel
    Specific tools aside, you need a device that will sharpen each side of the knife separately. Meaning, you will sharpen one side to an extent, then sharpen the other side. This sharpening device should also have the ability to change sharpening angles, as different knives require different angles. Particular sharpening systems are better than others or are easier to use, but it's really the knowledge/technique that will yield the best results.

    All of this is necessary so that you can bring the edge of the knife to a burr that rolls over to the opposite side you're sharpening. Once a burr is achieved, you go to the other side and repeat. Once you get a burr going the other way, it's time to change to a finer stone. The burr is important. Until you get a burr, you've not really sharpened a particular edge to the apex of the cutting edge. Sharpening to the apex of the edge (eventually eliminating burrs) gets you a sharp blade.

    View attachment 237981


    I'll usually go through 2-4 different, progressively finer, stones. This all depends on how bad the edge was to begin with and how polished I want the edge.

    After I'm finished up with stones and satisfied with the edge, I'll complete the job with a leather strop and polish compounds to remove any hint of a microscopic burr.

    There are so many details (edge type, angle, edge purpose, durability considerations, etc.) to sharpening, but that will get you in the ballpark.

    p.s. I use an Edge Pro system or sharpen by hand on stones/sandpaper. Wicked Edge is another good system to consider.
    Wow, this is way more that I thought. I just have a simple carry sharpener that has a coarse and fine side and just did my best. This is really Helpful. Those sharpeners look great. What would you bring to sharpen a knife in the field? Lets say hunting or backpacking trip?
     

    hammerd13

    Sharpshooter
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    6   0   0
    Oct 20, 2015
    317
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    Hamilton County
    Wow, this is way more that I thought. I just have a simple carry sharpener that has a coarse and fine side and just did my best. This is really Helpful. Those sharpeners look great. What would you bring to sharpen a knife in the field? Lets say hunting or backpacking trip?
    If you just need to touch up an edge in the field, all it will usually take is a couple passes on a ceramic rod or small stone. Just enough to remove a burr from heavy use.

    Using one of these small sharpeners will put a micro bevel on your edge and typically get you back to razor sharp. Having a micro bevel on a heavy-use knife (even on a scandi grind, I'd argue) can be very beneficial and improve the durability of your edge.

    I use one of these below, depending on how much I want to carry and how long I anticipate being out and about. You can even use the bottom unfinished edge of a ceramic coffee mug, in a pinch. Just be careful about the tip of your knife...you don't want to run the tip off the sharpening stone with full force, as you'll blunt it quickly...

    Lansky Mini Dog Bone:

    EZE-LAP Diamond Rod:

    Idahone:

    Spyderco DoubleStuff:

    Spyderco Sharpmaker:
     
    Last edited:

    DolomiteDave

    Plinker
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    0   0   0
    Nov 11, 2022
    52
    8
    Carmel
    If you just need to touch up an edge in the field, all it will usually take is a couple passes on a ceramic rod or small stone. Just enough to remove a burr from heavy use.

    Using one of these small sharpeners will put a micro bevel on your edge and typically get you back to razor sharp. Having a micro bevel on a heavy-use knife (even on a scandi grind, I'd argue) can be very beneficial and improve the durability of your edge.

    I use one of these below, depending on how much I want to carry and how long I anticipate being out and about. You can even use the bottom unfinished edge of a ceramic coffee mug, in a pinch. Just be careful about the tip of your knife...you don't want to run the tip off the sharpening stone with full force, as you'll blunt it quickly...

    Lansky Mini Dog Bone:

    EZE-LAP Diamond Rod:

    Idahone:

    Spyderco DoubleStuff:

    Spyderco Sharpmaker:
    Lots for me to look into, really appreciate it. Need to get some stuff figured out, I have way too many knives to not know how to do this
     

    duanewade

    Plinker
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    0   0   0
    Sep 12, 2019
    98
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    Columbia City
    My B-I-L has a Wicked Edge system and he loves it and he sharpens knives for his friends as a side hobby/business. He also makes knives and little pry bars.

    Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
     

    DolomiteDave

    Plinker
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    0   0   0
    Nov 11, 2022
    52
    8
    Carmel
    My B-I-L has a Wicked Edge system and he loves it and he sharpens knives for his friends as a side hobby/business. He also makes knives and little pry bars.

    Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
    They look awesome but then I saw the price. A little steep for me, but definitely on the wish list.
     

    erasure

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    Jun 25, 2020
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    They look awesome but then I saw the price. A little steep for me, but definitely on the wish list.

    For a real budget option check out the Lansky turn box. There's two versions, one with ceramic and one with diamond rods, cost around 20-40 bucks.
     

    Doug

    Grandmaster
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    66   0   0
    Sep 5, 2008
    6,125
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    Indianapolis
    I use a Lansky.
    A blade must do two things. It must cut the material and separate the material. Separation is facilitated by a thin edge, but edge retention is enhanced by a thicker edge supporting the sharp cutting edge.
    So... I sharpen the edge first with a shallow angle. Get a full length burr on one side, then switch to the other side and do the same. Then lightly stone the burr until it is just gone.
    The second part is to shift to a very fine stone and the steepest angle available. Hone until you can see a mirror-like band the full length of the blade. You may or may not be able to see or feel a burr. Then do the same on the other side.
    When that is done, alternate stoning the two sides lightly for 20-40 strokes.
    If you have one, finish up with a knife steel. I use the pocket steel by Razors Edge. https://shop.razoredgesystems.com/collections/steels/products/raz-r-steel
    I often use the steel to dress the edge during or after use to maintain the edge.
    I also recommend Razor's Edge's book. https://shop.razoredgesystems.com/collections/books/products/razor-edge-book-of-sharpening. It has good information on sharpening most anything.
     
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