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Repeating a thread at General

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by hank_rearden, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. mrknife

    mrknife Gold Member Gold Member

    May 9, 2010
    now that is sharp!
  2. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    That is sharp.

    Kind of like a gun... only accurate guns are interesting. Hence, only sharp knives are interesting.

    Sharpening traditionals is generally pretty easy as you don't have the blade length of many moderns. The only ones I have a little trouble hand sharpening are convexed edges and most traditional knives are flat ground.
  3. Humppa


    Jul 25, 2010
    When is a knife sharp and when not? It depends on everyone´s personal point of view...

    I can just talk about myself. I use to keep 'em sharp ;) when I sharpen knives, a 20° on each side is my point. It will be sharpened as long as it will shave my armhair. I use it afterwards. When I can´t cut a sheet of paper it needs some stroping. Stroping - no stones! IMO a problem is that many people use their stones too often. When I don´t get any success with the leather, a stone will come to work. Maybe I´m just too lazy to put out the stones and work rather accurate.

    Stroping is the key.

    But in case of emergency a simple ceramic mug and a leather belt can sharpen the knives so nicely. It is all just training.

    I like to use sharp tools instead of dull chunks of steel. Be it on the EDC knives or the chisel I use sometimes and even the chainsaw. Working is much easier with a maintained tool than it is with a dull.

    I cut myself several times because I was using dull tools (knives in special) and putting too much force on them during use and it ran through the material and into myself. No fun...

    Keep 'em sharped and oiled well :)
  4. Sword and Shield

    Sword and Shield

    Apr 3, 2004
    My father works construction, and his knife gets sharpened maybe once or twice a year. There isn't much you need a knife to cut when there's a toolbox, and for his uses, a thicker, coarser edge is all he wants.

    I like thin and medium polished- about 600 grit. I find it gives me a nice balance of sharpness and edge durability.
  5. Sam Dean

    Sam Dean Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 3, 2012
    This ^^ right here! If it's not shaving sharp, then it gets put in the "sharpen" pile, and another (already shaving sharp) knife takes its place. Also, I have never found a factory edge to be adequate enough to carry - I sharpen everything before it goes into my pocket.

    For frequency, it depends on what it's used for. An office knife, opening letters & the occasional package, may go a month or 2 before requiring a re-strop or complete re-sharp.

    A weekend work knife, on the other hand, may require daily sharpening. I've been building a house over the last year, and my main work knife is a blackwood GEC 82. Great knife, but after at least 100 sharpenings, it's starting to show a little metal loss!
  6. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    I sharpen my traditionals as needed. When I hold a blade at about a 20° angle on my fingernail and it slides across it instead of digging in, it's time to sharpen that blade. Because I cut a lot of hard things, for blade steel with a hardness in the 50's, I tend to sharpen at 20° per side on a Sharpmaker. I only use the coarse rods.
  7. mrknife

    mrknife Gold Member Gold Member

    May 9, 2010
    a sharp knife is a safe knife. except when it isnt. thanks ebay seller, its so sharp i gently grazed my thumb and got cut
  8. Tdhurl1103


    Dec 6, 2012
    I will get a brand new knife and use the factory edge until it won't cut the things I need it to cut. Then I sharpen it to a working edge. I won't get all hair splitting with it, well, because I don't really know how to do it....easily. Its a hard task for me, and I have screwed up some edges while trying to learn. Admittedly, I will keep the edge on it as long as I can because I am still learning. I rarely sharpen my knives unless I have used them to cut hard materials (wood, plastics, etc etc) and I can run a finger tip along the blade and not get a mark in the skin or a cut.

    If I find I'm just using the knife to cut tape or string, then I use that edge until it won't cut those materials anymore. I'm not real good at hand sharpening, so I defer to my WSKOE for a good edge. It does well enough for me. I should probably get a Sharpmaker though. I really want one.
  9. hank_rearden


    Jun 7, 2002
    for those who asked, i have a #23 2-bladed pioneer and a #54 big jack, both in 1095. i also have a peanut and a medium jack, both in cv. i rotate them and each one doesn't really get beaten up. i don't carve or whittle. so i don't really need a very sharp edge. i've had them since 2010. i like the advice on keeping the knives hygenic for food prep.
  10. stezann


    Apr 13, 2011
    The only traditionals (kitchen knives and slippies) i carry are those made by me, with properly heat treated carbon steels (52100-1.2519-o2-w2). The 18-24° edge angle (included) holds hair shaving for ages, but sharpening on the japanese stones such small blades is so quick and easy it's just a pleasure when it's due.
    For the lazier ones and the big carbides SS fans i suggest getting a medium diamond plate; just a couple of passes to get the edge in proper shape, followed by the preferred finishing stone and little stropping.
    Please reduce your sharpening angle all you can, to your steel's capability...never on a dry stone/plate
  11. Camillus

    Camillus Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2015
    I disagree to an extent, becuase I think you need to be careful sharpening everything up to a high sharpness, as it can be very dangerous.

    With knives that i use to fillet fish, there is no such thing as too sharp. Knives i use in the kitchen are only hair shaving sharp, and all my other knives are thumbnail scraping sharp.

    I consciously avoid having a sharp knive just for sharpness sake. I have a family and there are simply way too many situations where a sharp knife laying around may cause injury. All my really sharp knives are kept in safe places, and I am never tempted to sharpen up a knife that may end up laying around in the lounge room or in the yard, its just not safe.

    For the same reason, my edc knife is never more than thumbnail scraping sharp. Its simply dangerous to have it any sharper, given the different uses to which it gets put, and it doesnt need to be sharper for daily chores like opening packets ( yes sacrilege to say this on these forums!)

    Anyone who says a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife is referring to a different scale of shaprness than I am referring to here.. My version of a 'sharp' knife is definitely more dangerous.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  12. mnblade


    Feb 7, 2000
    Precisely. I don't understand the alternative. Throwing away a dull knife and replacing it? Carrying a dull knife? :confused:

    -- Mark
  13. arizonaranchman


    Jan 1, 2012
    ^^^ This

    Will it open a letter? Will it open a package or cut down a box now and then? Slice an apple? Cut string or rope? As long as it's sharp enough to perform it's tasks I don't worry about it being atom-splitting sharp. I really don't get the extreme obsession with edges. It's a pocket knife, not a surgical tool. I probably touch mine up on a stone once every month or so. Strop it once or twice a week and you may rarely ever have to take it to a stone. If it gets dull due to unusual usage then a few swipes on my fine Arkansas stone and then a few swipes on my strop is plenty. The 1095 steel I've never found wanting in performance either.

    I use my pocket knife numerous times a day for pretty much anything that needs to get cut, including food. I wash it with hot soapy water as needed. I've never gotten sick.

    It all depends on what you do with it and how sharp you need it to be I suppose. I dare say that 99% of us can get by just fine with what I call a "usable edge" (it cuts what needs to be cut without undue effort).
  14. Lee48


    Apr 29, 2005
    Not letting the knife get dull to begin with is the key to a sharp knife. First thing I do with a new knife is start sharpening it and, in most cases, it improves the factory edge. I also give a knife a few passes on the white side of a Spyderco Double Stuff ceramic pocket stone after even light use.
  15. stezann


    Apr 13, 2011
    Camillus, i understand your concerns, i agree with you that some environment requires edges that won't slice open your thumb just touching them.
    That's in my mind when i sharpen my 93 yo granmother's knives!!! And i will be very careful with children around my kitchen. But for my own knives my preferences are for killer edges together with a heathy amount of respect ;)
    My point is that a knife is not a toy, neither an un-deburred bar of metal, the latter still being able to tear open boxes and to scrape wood chips.

    I am also not a fanatic for the separation between "working" and "kitchen" knives...processing a chicken doesn't make the knife sterile anyway, but washing any knife with hot soapy water i consider a fairly safe procedure, and i never got ill cutting food with my edc.

    I find it interesting sharing our opinions about the sharpness and keeness we want for our beloved tools :)
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  16. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 25, 2001
    I've encountered two uniquely different knives this year, and had much different experiences with them. I EDC'd a Camillus-made Remington R-4 scout knife for 6 months. The main blade was a relatively soft 440A or 420HC. Not sure which. I did the initial sharpening with my Sharpmaker set to a 30-degree inclusive angle, and tossed the knife into my pocket. Daily use often either dulled the edge or rolled the edge. Either way, the Sharpmaker would take care of the problem relatively quickly with a fine hone. But I was sharpening the knife daily. On a hard work day, maybe two sharpenings.

    When the GEC Beer Scouts finally came out, I switched over to EDC'ing a Soda Scout. I did the same initial sharpening as I'd performed on my R-4, and pocketed the knife. The Beer Scout blades are made of much harder 1095 steel. To this day, I still haven't had to resharpen the blade. I give it a few quick swipes on a loaded strop every couple of days, and I'm good to go. The harder steel never seems to roll, and holds a far better edge.

    I'm pretty much ruined on other knives at this point. GEC's 1095 is sooooooooo good, I'm really not interested in using other brands. I'd consider almost anything else to be a step backwards. The only folder I've ever had with this hardness of steel was a Strider in S30V. None of my Sebenzas or Spydercos or Benchmades or Bucks or other tactical folders had blades this good. I've never had a traditional folder with such good steel either. Some older folders are somewhat close, as are some American-made Schrades, but they're still not as good. GEC's 1095 is just a no-brainer kind of traditional blade. Almost maintenance free, and sure to last much longer, since constant sharpening is not required.

    Okay. I'm done gushing now.
  17. kamagong


    Jan 13, 2001
    I think that's the key. I keep different levels of sharpness on my knives depending on the type. My puukkos are sharpest, khukuris least. Pocketknives are somewhere in between. That said, it's been my experience that the sharper a knife is the better.

    Case in point. A couple of years ago I was helping my webelo nephew build his boat for his troop's raingutter regatta. The hulls are made of balsa wood and must be trimmed to size. As I was asked to help out of the blue, the only knife I had with my was the #73 I had in my pocket. No problem, I keep my knives sharp.

    Wrong. I thought that knife was sharp because it performed whatever task I required of it. Opened letters? Check. Cut string or rope? No problem. Slice up some fruit? All the time. Open up a plastic blister package? Don't insult me. My knife never failed me, until that day. When cutting the balsa across the grain, the #73 crushed the fibers instead of cutting them cleanly. I was asked by my nephew to help him for one reason, I'm the knife guy. Yet my knife couldn't cut a piece of balsa, the softest species of wood known. We ended up just using the included piece of sandpaper. :cower:

    I took the #73 to my Norton that night, laying it nearly flat against the stone. I would never again be let down by an underperforming blade. My knives were going to be sharp, not sort of sharp. I'm glad I did it. While that #73 always did the job, it now did them better.

    The edge the #73 now sports is weaker than the one it previously had. It's a pocket knife, I don't really use it for things that might break it. Theoretically I've reduced it's useful life because a damaged edge requires repair, leading to accelerated blade loss. That's ok. I've never worn out a knife yet, and if I ever do I have plenty of replacements. I like having a knife that effortlessly glides through the material being cut.
  18. jmarston


    Dec 6, 2010
    I have the habit of putting stronger edges on knives that will be used by "non knife people". I like something more shallow when I sharpen my kitchen knives, around 30 degrees inclusive. Most of my kitchen knives, however, are sharpened to around 40 degrees. The edge is much more durable while still maintaining cut performance. If it gets thrown in the sink with some cutlery or *gasp* used on a ceramic tire countertop by a guest in the house, the damage is often much more minimal and more easily repaired.

    The GEC 72 jack that is in my pocket day in, dAy out gets a a nice strong orking 40 degree bevel on the main blade while the pen blade gets a finely polished 30 degree bevel. I am in a machine shop which is a fairly abrasive environment. I find my main blade lasts longest sharpened on a Norton fine India stone with a few swipes on a strop. Any more than that and the polished edge is lost too quickly.

    The mora on my tool belt receives a working edge. A relatively coarse grind on the scandi bevel with a finer micro bevel given to give he edge a little more strength and easy of resharpening. I do not see he benefit of putting a razor edge on a knife that cuts carpet, scores drywall, pries staples and scraped adhesive.

    There are certain knives I poses that only I touch though. Those are hidden around for when the need beckons. I like to put a hair whittling edge on those ones just because deep down I am a knife nut and hair whittling, polished edges really turn my crank.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  19. hank_rearden


    Jun 7, 2002
    i somewhat agree with one poster who said some knives shouldn't be too sharp. an edc slip joint is one such. first is safety. a bear trap-strong slip joint with a hair popper is truly scary to open and close. another is application. we've canvassed what kind of job needs a hair-popper and what doesn't. given the kind of job you're likely to subject a slip joint to, a high level of sharpness is un-necessary. i'm as much a fan of hair-splitting as anyone.

    aaaand that's why i carry both a modern and a slippie in my bag.
  20. supratentorial


    Dec 19, 2006
    Thank you for answering my question. I don't have a #23 or #54 but I've had similar GEC patterns (#73 and #53) and many of their other patterns. I've found it necessary to sharpen all of my GEC knives before they could be used.

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