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Knife Sharpening

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Alot of people talk on sharpening knives, I do too. So how do you sharpen a knife? Well this is how I do it. A well sharpened knife can give you and edge in the wilderness.

"Note: All the following were gleaned from the bible of knife sharpening called "The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening" by John Juranitch published by Warner Books. This book is great to have in your library and I love mine.
  • The specific angle is not as important as keeping a constant angle.
  • When using the rough grit stone use a shallower angle than when using the fine stone. That is, grind the (usually) sorry factory edge to a shallow angle with the rough grit stone and I want to stress here that there is no special way to do this because you are just removing useless stock from the blade. Just grind one side of the blade until it is ground down enough. What is enough? Well enough is defined like this: Once you have ground the blade down enough (maintaining the same angle all the while) to have touched the cutting edge, start to test the edge on the opposite side of the blade by running your finger nail at a 90 degree angle to the opposite edge moving from the back of the blade towards the edge. Why? Well you are trying to find the curled edge (or burr) created by the grinding down of the first edge. Once you have this curled lip along the edge from tip to tang then turn the knife over and begin grinding the other side until you have the same curled lip for that side. Once you are done you should have a roughly ground edge with a fairly shallow angle.
  • Now take your fine grit stone (at least 400 grit or finer) and raise the angle of the blade you just ground down by just a little more and using moderate pressure make a single cutting stroke maintaining as much as possible the same angle down the stone making sure to sharpen the whole length of the edge on the stroke. Now after one single stroke turn the knife over and repeat the same process. Do all this slowly and deliberately. Repeat this about 6 times and then begin to lighten the pressure on the blade as it strokes the stone. At about the 10th or 12th repetition about only the weight of the blade should be pressing on the stone.
  • IMPORTANT! Do not use water or oil of any kind on any stone to sharpen your knife. In fact if you have been using some liquid on your stone, wipe it off as best you can or get a new stone which has not been tainted with such a substance. I know this goes against years and years of trusted advise from friends, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandfathers and etc.... Trust me on this one. Read the book to find out why this is true.
  • After step 3 test the sharpness (carefully) by cutting a sheet of paper or (even more carefully) trying to shave a few hairs off your arm. If you followed step 2 faithfully you should have an almost razor sharp edge. If not then re-read step 2 and do it again from the course stone. Step 2 is most important. Step 3 actually does the sharpening.
  • The more highly polished an edge the better it cuts. "Teeth" does not a razor edge make.
General Knife Sharpening Instructions: Sharpening a knife is sometimes perceived as the most difficult knife care task; and it probably is. Modern stainless steel is very hard and, when sharpened properly, will hold a good edge for a very long time. When sharpening a knife you must have a high quality sharpener that features a rough stock removal surface (preferably diamond abrasive) and a finishing surface of hard stone or ceramic abrasive. The diamond and ceramic materials will cut away the steel on the blade's cutting surface easily as these materials are much harder than steel. A hard stone will also perform this task, but the stone is only slightly harder than the steel and so this requires more effort on your part.
Sharpening With A Diamond Whetstone
Instructions For Use
Apply a sprinkle of water to the diamond surface. With cutting edge away from you, hold blade at a 20 angle to the whetstone surface. The blade should be pushed across the surface, edge first. Sharpening the blade into the edge forms the best edge. Stroke one side of the blade from edge tip to edge heel in long strokes. Sharpen other side of blade from heel to tip. Alternating directions in this manner will sharpen both sides evenly. Most dull blades will resharpen with several strokes depending on knife dullness, knife material and pressure used.

Pocket sharpeners should be held at one edge and the blade stroked safely away from the fingers holding the sharpener. Maintain the 20 angle to the surface, sharpen into the blade edge and alternate sides as with larger Diamond Whetstone sharpener.
Test sharpness by cutting paper, food, wood, etc. Wash and wipe after use for appearance and sanitation. The small particles removed in the sharpening process may rust if left on the sharpener.

This is but one I way I sharpen I my knives, I do have others but if I have some time this is what I do, it works good for me and I hope it helps you out as well.

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Updated 08-11-2008 at 08:54 AM by Beo