View Full Version : Knife Sharpening

09-15-2010, 07:08 PM
What do you knife experts use to keep your knives sharp. I've got a diamond rod and it work okay but I can't get a good sharp point with it. Can anyone help me out?


David in OR
09-15-2010, 07:38 PM
I'm not an expert, which is why I use the Lansky system for anything other than a Scandi grind.

Nowadays in the field I'm carrying Scandi grind blades and a small lightweight diamond plate (medium on one side and fine on the other). Even a putz like me can always have a sharp blade that way.

09-15-2010, 09:05 PM
Lansky at home, diamond paddles in the field.

09-15-2010, 09:09 PM
The Lansky and it's variants are pretty foolproof. I got the itch a number of years back to learn to sharpen freehand. It's not for everyone.

I use a DMT fine/extra fine diamond stone. A little dishsoap and water for lube. Finish on a thick piece of leather with a little green jeweler's rouge.

09-15-2010, 09:30 PM
What kind of knife? There are brands out there that many like, but I have trouble getting them sharp. For me, the two easiest to sharpen are the Helleknife and the Swiss Army knives (Victorinox).

I can even get my McCroskey knife sharp using the Gerber steel, and that blade is very hard.

For me, it's the diamond paddles or the Gerber steel. The steel is excellent if you don't let the blade get too dull. Mine was given to my late father in 1968, and is still going strong.

09-15-2010, 09:55 PM
Being able to hand sharpen is a good skill to own, I did it that way for years, still can, bur lansky is bulletproof and quick. I can touch a dozen kitchen knives and 3-4 utility blades in less than an hour.

09-16-2010, 12:09 AM
I picked up the basic(cheap) Gatco system on sale at Cabela's a few weeks ago. I was going to buy an electric sharpener but my inner cheapness got me again. It works pretty good except on real small knives. I followed an online reviewer's advice and added the ceramic hone which polishes the edge and gets it real sharp. Gatco is made in the USA and looks very similar to the Lansky others have mentioned. I can sharpen the left side of a knife well by hand but I'm so right hand dominate that I can't seem to sharper the right side worth a darn.

09-16-2010, 04:25 AM
Another Gatco user here.

I'm hit or miss sharpening by hand and like to think that it has something to do with poor tools. I'd like to get some good stones and try to teach myself again sometime.

Most likely though, my next purchase will be a small belt sander for axes and hatchets (maybe the occasional knife), and an Edgepro. The Edgepro's are supposed to be the ticket for getting good results consistantly with knives.

09-16-2010, 05:56 AM
Spyderco Sharpmaker takes no skill or even concentration to get shaving

09-17-2010, 03:31 AM
The Spyderco Sharpmaker is a good system for those starting out -- or for anyone else for that matter. You should be able to put on a good working edge with that set-up assuming that your knife has half decent steel. (There's junk made in China & Pakistan, for example, - - which you can't put a good edge on.)
There are many various sharpening systems out there - - from the Sharpmaker to freehand sharpening on Japanese waterstones or using a backed pad to sharpen a convex edge knife . The equipment and techniques depend upon the particular knife that youre sharpening.

David in OR
10-06-2010, 09:33 AM
Most likely though, my next purchase will be a small belt sander for axes and hatchets (maybe the occasional knife), and an Edgepro..

A little thread resurrection, here, even though it sounds like hammbone is getting his knife plenty sharp.

I got a belt sander for my birthday this summer, and I was using it for axes and the machete. Tried some old knives on it and wasn't impressed with my abilities at first, at all. Once I worked out a system, though, I started getting good results on kitchen knives. Finally, a couple days ago, I "went in" with my Bradley Alias. (It was late in the day, and I'd had a glass of medicine.) Got a nice lightly convexed edge that was at least as sharp as I've ever gotten with the Lansky.

I'll keep the Lansky around, of course, and I've always got my Helle and Moras and diamond plates, but until the Apocalypse or the big subduction quake that'll put half of us Northwesterners out of our misery or our power gets shut off because the inspector remembers that our wiring isn't up to code, I'll walk out to the shop and use the belt sander on anything with a secondary bevel. It's so quick and easy and effective.

10-07-2010, 07:36 AM
In my humble experience, rods tend to round a point off. I use Arkansas stones with good success.

10-07-2010, 12:14 PM
In my humble experience, rods tend to round a point off. I use Arkansas stones with good success.

This was my experience as well. It take a lot of time and strokes with the Gatco system to get the tip sharp again after using the rod for so long.

10-08-2010, 09:43 AM
Having sharpened a few knives in the last couple years I'd say that stropping your edge, a lot, is probably the most under rated aspect of knife sharpening. Stropping not only finishes the edge but also, if done properly and frequently will create a longer lasting edge than stone work alone. It creates a slight convex shape right down in the working part of the edge making for a stronger shape to help retain the edge.

Using a medium to fine polishing compound charged on leather, a mouse pad etc. will make the job quick and create a hair popping edge you can be proud of.

10-12-2010, 12:01 PM
I used to use the Lansky but found that it was a pain to use the clamp system. Especially for knives that were flat ground all the way to the spine, or for large knives where the clamp needed to be moved several times while sharpening.

I prefer the Spyderco Sharpmaker. What I like is the ability to profile the back bevel to 40 degrees and then touch up the primary edge easily by removing a small amount of metal at 30 degrees.


10-12-2010, 12:40 PM
David, no worries about the apocalypse. Get all your knives sharp in advance on that sander and then all you need to do is strop to keep them that way. I need to get a new belt for mine and start messing around myself. I'll be starting on some ax heads I have lying around so I don't ruin a knife. :D By the way, does anyone need an assortment of 30" belts? don't have a 30" sander so they are free to anyone who can use them.

I have a Spyderco and like it for touching up, but IME if a knife is really dull, I have trouble getting a new edge on it. Maybe it's operator error, a common occurrence in the Harvey household, but it seems tough to do anything wrong with that set up. For convex blades (most of my bigger knives have that profile), I have a leather strop loaded with an abrasive compound. In the field I use a four sided emery board from Target for touch ups. Works pretty well as long as the knife hasn't been truly dulled, which I try not to do before sharpening. Super light as well. Oh, and it has that cheap thing going on.

David in OR
10-12-2010, 12:46 PM
By the way, does anyone need an assortment of 30" belts? don't have a 30" sander so they are free to anyone who can use them.

Yo! That would be me! 1" x 30" right? PM me with shipping and/or bourbon costs.

True enough about the stropping. I need to find a suitable piece of leather for that purpose.

10-12-2010, 01:04 PM
Go to Goodwill or Salvation Army or the thrift store of your choice and look for a real leather belt. Cheap and effective. I bought the compound (two grits) from Bark River. It's more than a lifetime supply for me.

10-12-2010, 08:36 PM
Glad to hear the BS works well Dave.

I still have yet to pick one up, hopefully soon.