sharpening novice needs guidance

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thickskinner54
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sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by thickskinner54 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:56 pm

Well, as much as I would like to think I can do anything, when it has come to sharpening, I don't know jack :)
I have tried on a few occasions and the results were, well, there were none. I may have made it duller. ::dang::
Anyhow, what I have right now is a Case Moon stone, or man made Novaculite. The clear case that holds it claims its "bite" is more uniform because its man made. Nevertheless, I spent about 15 minutes sharpening, as described, keeping the angle as uniform as possible. Nothing seemed to change.
Any clues to what I'm doing wrong? Any and All advice appreciated. I really want to get decent at this.
NOTE: I am the first to use the stone, new in the box when I got it.

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Steve Warden
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by Steve Warden » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:17 pm

The thing I keep hearing 'round here when it comes to freehand sharpening on stones, "Practice, practice, practice." I don't think 15 minutes is enough practice, but that's me.

I'm lousy at freehand and didn't feel like ruining knives while I practiced. I scratched up my Hen and Rooster pretty good doing that.

I use a Lansky Turnbox 2D2C. Super easy and gets me an edge I'm very pleased with.
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thickskinner54
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by thickskinner54 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:54 pm

Thanks Steve. I should have made myself more clear, I tried this time here for 15 minutes but I have tried probably a 1/2 dozen different times over the past 2 years since I got the stone but didn't seem to get any kind of result after about 15 minutes or so, so I guess I got a little miffed that I wasn't getting it, and put it away. Should I start with a different system? Or just put in more time and effort? Is the Moonstone good enough by itself to put a nice, keen edge on a good standard pocket knife? The knife I was going to try next is an old Utica 2 blade featherweight Girlscout knife that I want to give to my daughter.
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thickskinner54
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by thickskinner54 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:00 pm

I'm going to go check eBay for one of those Lansky turnbox 2D2C's Steve. Thanks for the tip. I do want to learn freehand though.

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Mumbleypeg
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by Mumbleypeg » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:45 pm

There are numerous threads here with sharpening advice. Here’s just one of them with some good tips. viewtopic.php?f=113&t=19411 Some of the better ones include using a black marker to color the edge, so you can see what is happening - are you removing metal in the right areas. And getting some cheap “junker” carbon steel knives to practice on until you learn the technique. Stainless steel is generally more difficult to sharpen, so it’s also more difficult to learn using it.

Free-hand sharpening is a lot like riding a bicycle. It takes some persistence to learn, but once you do it is easy and you’ll always know how to do it.

Ken
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kootenay joe
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by kootenay joe » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:57 am

If the blades are little thick just above the edge and if the sharpening stone is a fairly fine grit, it can take hours of sharpening to get to the edge; i.e. you have to remove the thick 'shoulder' before the edge gets in contact with the stone. Using a black marker on the edge will show you if this is happening.
If the edges were well sharpened to begin with, then a few strokes on a medium or fine stone can bring back the sharp edge.
But if the edge is truly dull, almost blunt, then you need a coarse stone because a lot more steel needs to be removed.
Maybe you need a coarse stone ?
kj

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thickskinner54
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by thickskinner54 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:49 am

Thanks guys, great stuff. I'm going to use the marker trick on the featherweight. its got some sharpness to it now so I don't think it will need a whole lot of work. I have a few old imperials and hammers that I hear were made with good steel and will take an edge so i will practice on those. And I'm off to get started.
Thanks again guys ::tu::
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Dinadan
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by Dinadan » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:01 am

I think that KJ is probably on the right tack. I have never tried man made novaculite, but the natural novaculite stone that I own is extremely fine grit. The kind of stone that you would use to put the finishing touches on a blade that is already almost razor sharp. I suggest buying a stone with a bit of a coarse grit such as the combination stones at a hardware or Home Depot store. Try one of those before you give up on sharpening stones. Personally, I use a soft Arkansas for most sharpening, but if a knife has a really dull edge then even the soft Arkansas is too fine for the initial work.
Mel

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fergusontd
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by fergusontd » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:02 pm

Thickskinner54, this is what I use on my Case Trapperlock. I'm not to keen on scary sharp knives so this does a great job for me. ftd
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by Modern Slip Joints » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:57 pm

Whether thickskinner54 sticks with flat rectangular stones or switches to a Lansky I'm pretty sure kootenay Joe and dinadan correctly diagnosed his problem. I had forgotten my Case Moon Stone. While I bought it in the 1970s and newer ones might be coarser, its grit is similar to a hard Arkansas stone. Lately I've been bringing lightly used EDC knives back to arm shaving sharp with a hard Arkansas stone.

It sounds like thickskinner54 needs to buy coarser stones that will create an edge that is ready to finish with his Moon Stone. Unfortunately he did not write how large a knife he is sharpening. Most of the blade loss I've seen on medium size pocket knives was from unnecessary use of too coarse stones. Coarseness that is appropriate for a very dull 7" blade military Ka-Bar will damage a small pocket knife. Also, after removing enough metal to turn up a bur sharpening on both sides quit and go to your next next finer grit.

Most pocket knives used to be packaged with leaflets that said that and instructed rub the knife on the stone like you were trying to shave a very thin slice off the top of the stone. Work on a solid bench that you can immobilize the stone on so that you can put some muscle into it without the stone slipping. Framing the stone with strips of wood that can be tacked down under good light helps.

Mr. Chips
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by Mr. Chips » Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:19 am

Here is a bit on how to sharpen a knife. Read this over a few times before you actually try to do it, and then be careful to follow instructions in detail. Hopefully this will all help!


When you sharpen,  lay the knife on the stone at about a 10 degree angle.
Use a fair amount of pressure as you rub the blade on the stone and try to
maintain that angle as closely as you can.  Keep working on that side of the
blade until you raise a burr on the other side of the edge.  This burr, or
wire edge, must be evident for the entire length of the edge.  Do not turn
the knife over until you have raised this burr.  Do not quit too soon.  If
you don't get this burr or wire edge, you will have no hope at all of
getting the knife really sharp.  Once you have raised the wire edge, then
turn the knife over and do the same on the other side, until again you have
raised the wire edge the other way.

Now turn the knife to the first side again, and with fairly light pressure
give it 5 - 10 strokes, turn it over, give it 5 - 10, and repeat the
procedure until you do not detect wire edge on either side.  It is essential
that you maintain the 10 degree angle throughout this entire procedure.

Now you need a strop, which is just any old piece of leather or denim (actually I like the denim better) glued to a flat stick and dressed with a good stropping compound.  Again maintaining the 10 degree angle, and with QUITE A BIT OF PRESSURE, pull the blade (that is with the edge trailing) along the strop. Be very careful to maintain the 10
degree angle throughout the entire stroke DO NOT ROLL THE KNIFE UP AT THE
END OF THE STROKE, and do not run off the end of the strop.  Do not flip the
knife over at the end of each stroke and come back the other way on the
other side of the knife.  If you do, you will be anticipating the flip and
almost certainly roll the knife up and as a result rub your edge off!  Just
give it about 50 good strokes on one side and then do 50 on the other side,
and you should be able to shave with the knife, and more importantly, make
good feathers and whittle all kinds of neat stuff.  When you lose the edge a
bit through normal whittlin',  just give it a few strokes on the strop and
the edge will come right back.  I usually strop my knife on about 30 - 50
occasions before going back to the stone.  When you find that the edge only
lasts for a few minutes before you need to strop again, then it is time to
freshen up the edge on the stone. Remember to use fairly heavy pressure on
the strop.  Don't use red jeweller's rouge.  Use white or green,zam or
yellowstone or better yet - time for a commercial - Rick's White Lightnin'. It is not necessary to put the White Lightnin’ or whatever other strop dressing that you are using, on the strop each time you use it. One application is sufficient to do 50 – 100 blades.

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Mumbleypeg
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by Mumbleypeg » Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:49 am

Mr. Chips, I’d say that’s pretty good advice - for sharpening a razor. Personally I would not recommend a 10 degree angle for a pocket knife. Somewhere in the range of 15 to 25 degrees is typical for a pocket knife, depending on preference, with about 20 degrees being the nominal. In fact, I have an old Case “counter hone” that has knife sharpening instructions printed on it - it recommends 20 degrees, as does the Queen counter hone.

I respect your right to sharpen yours at 10 degrees - it’s your knife. ::handshake:: Probably serves your needs well. I just don’t think it’s sound advice to give a novice trying to learn proper technique for a pocket knife. BTW here’s a link to a recent discussion about sharpening angles viewtopic.php?f=113&t=61579.

Ken
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kootenay joe
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by kootenay joe » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:59 am

Other advice i have seen is to NOT apply excessive pressure as you move the blade edge over the stone. The expression is: "let the stone do the work".
Really there is no one single way to sharpen. Firm pressure or light pressure, both work, but keep in mind you want to remove as little steel as possible that will result in a sharp edge. When using coarse stones it is easy to remove more steel than is necessary.
As Ken has said, 10 degrees per side on a pocket knife blade would take a lot of sharpening to achieve and the resultant edge would be a bit flimsy for cutting sticks, plastic, etc. The edge would likely roll over and then seem dull until you stropped it straight. 20-25 degrees per side has long been considered optimal for pocket knife.
kj

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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by mrwatch » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:40 am

As a wood carver who learned a lot about carving knives. I have never heard of nailing down a wood frame to hold the stone or applying that kind of pressure. I do agree with final or frequent honing of a dedicated carving knife. They do not have bevels like a pocket knife. More a true V. For these type pull the knife towards you and lift with out rolling the edge. Do not leave a wire edge as that dulls the blade right away. Wire edges is what you need for a wood lathe tool. At carving club and shows we use a piece of old men's leather belt either glued or double stick carpet taped to a piece of wood. I used green ZAM. They do sell a special powder for belts but I do not have name.

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OLDE CUTLER
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Re: sharpening novice needs guidance

Post by OLDE CUTLER » Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:20 pm

I definitely would not use 10 degrees, it would require removing a huge amount of metal from the blade and result in a very long fragile edge that would be easily damaged. Here is a diagram that shows the angles for comparison, 20-25 being the most commonly used for most knives. Exacto and razor blades used 17 degrees.
IMG_2880.JPG
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