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Sharpening vs. stropping

topic posted Tue, May 2, 2006 - 7:32 PM by  Genghis "Doh!"
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Ran across this web page in a carving site's FAQ which states that you shouldn't resharpen unless you chip or break the blade: www.woodcarvers.com/sharpening.htm

I'm guessing it's specific to woodcarving instruments an dtheir narrower blade angle, wondered if anyone had run across this type of advice in other contexts...
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    Re: Sharpening vs. stropping

    Tue, May 2, 2006 - 9:14 PM
    This really all depends on how well you take care of your knife. If you have a good set of kitchen knives you should use the steel every time you use a knife meaning that you should only have to "sharpen" the knives about once a year. However, if you are talking about, say, pocket knives or ect. you might be like me and use it until it becomes quite dull. This would require sharpening, for stropping would take forever to create a sharp edge. Really stropping or using a steel is a form of sharpening, and you can think of it as using a really fine grit stone.
  • Re: Sharpening vs. stropping

    Tue, May 2, 2006 - 10:15 PM
    Yup It depends on the type of edge you need to sharpen but often people over sharpen thus shortening the life of their edges. With my chisels I regularly use a wood/leather strop that has some green polishing compound rubbed on it to bring the edge back to shaving sharp. My chisels have a mirror finish front and back even my cheapo Stanleys so it is easy to keep them sharp. If i chip the edge I regrind them on a slow turning 200 grit 8" wheel then a medium DMT diamond plate then proceed to 1200, 4000, and 8000 grit japanese water stones. By the time I get to 8000 grit the wire ege burr usually falls off but a little strop with the green compound on leather brings em up to mirror polish. I do the same with my plane blades. Regular kitchen knives don't get the supper fine edge. it seems a little rougher scratch pattern is actually better when it comes to sliceing food so I only go up to 4000 grit (sometimes less). Mostly I use ceramic stones for my kitchen knives. They need to be cleaned often with Ajax because they get clogged with metal but unlike water stones they are much harder than steel and stay flat. I have medium and fine flat Spyderco ceramic stones and one of those V set ups that hold the ceramic triangular shaped rods at the perfect angle for sharpening. All you have to do is hold the blade verticle and run the edge down the stones. Works great my kitchen knives just fall through tomatos. To realign the edge on kitchen knives get a good steel and learn how to use it. Sharpening should only be done when the steel no longer brings the dege back. I don't bother with expensive forged kitchen knives either, I prefer commercial restaurant style stamped blades with plastic handles, Wenger makes good ones and the cost 20 to 30 bucks. I do have nifty 12" forged japanese Sushi knife that cost well over a $100 but I rarely use it . Going out for sushi is more fun. For pocket knives I start with the DMT Diamond plate if they are really dull then go to ceramic stones and finally a 4000 grit japanese water stone. My everyday carry knives are a Leatherman wave and a Kershaw Ken Onion, nothing too fancy. I also like and use Gerber Easy-Out knives with the half serrated blade. I've been tempted tp buy pocket knive costing 100 to 200 + bucks but I like to use my tools and would feel awful if I lost or chipped an expensive knife. Besides it seems what you get with the premium blades is exotic steels and pretty handles/scales. Yes they hold and edge longer but I actually enjoy sharpening so why pay more. Besides super hard steels are a pain in the ass to sharpen. The sharpest kichen knife I ever had was a french Sabatier carbon steel forged chef's knife. They stain and rust immediately but hold an ege pretty good if you use the steel to realign the edge amd man they sharpen up way easy and can cut a tomato paper thin. Maybe I'll splurge.

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