Monday, 14 February 2011

Sharp Knives

I think knives are possibly the tool that a lot people have trouble sharpening.  I remember when I used to offer a sharpening service one guy turned up with loads of blunt kitchen knives - apparently when he'd needed a sharp knife he just bought a new one! 
Now, I don't know who does the cooking in your house, but Vanessa has to 'remind/ask' me several times to get a decent edge on the kitchen knives for her before I remember to do it.  I sharpen my workshop tools probably every day or at least every time I use them.  Why can't I get into the habit of doing that for her?  A little touch up every week is what they need - perhaps I'll start doing it 1st thing on Monday mornings!

I've never got on with a steel and those gadgets they sell that you pull the blade through are hopeless. 
You can easily and cheaply make a knife sharpener like this:-
Buy a sheet of 800 and a sheet of 1000 grit wet-or-dry paper (about 50p,80c,€0.6 each).
Cut a 1½" (4cm) wide strip off each sheet (about 11"-28cm long) and glue them to either side of a piece of softwood about ½"(12mm) wide.  Spray mount adhesive is good for this.
Form a nice ergonomic handle.
Note the grit numbers on each side.

I'm not going to tell you how to sharpen but use the rougher (800) grit first then the finer (1000) and use it dry.
If your knives are really knackered try making one with rougher grits.
You could use up the spare paper to make up some more as presents for friends who have trouble with knife sharpening.

Cheers Maurice.


Gorges Smythe said...

I had a little sharpening service many years ago, but gave it up because people would bring me abused and ruined tools long past salvation and expect me to make them like new for $2-4. For instance, the average weekend carpenter doesn't even think about sharpening a saw until it needs completely retoothed.

Anonymous said...

That's a good tip, Robin. I use a steel which I've had for twenty eight years, and it still produces a tomato friendly edge. The pull-through things are awful. I think your hone stick could have the edge...pardon the inevitable pun.

Richard C said...

Hi Robin - what's your theory on using the abrasive sticks dry. I have always thought you need a liquid to prevent the abrasive clogging up?

Robin Fawcett said...

"what's your theory on using the abrasive sticks dry?"

Richard - I know there are plenty of theories regarding sharpening but I don't have one here. I just think it makes the job more messy. You could flush the hone stick with water after use if you wanted - I do this with my diamond slips. After all they're cheap and easy enough to make another when it wears out but Maurice who passed me the tip had been using his for several years.

Anonymous said...

now make a strop stick, as well.

make another stick, glue a stiff piece of leather (i use inch and a half belt blanks), rouge it up and razor edges are near.