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Sharpng-Tools-art - 8/21/02


"Sharpening Tools" by Master Tamlene ap Guidgen


NOTE: See also the files: tools-msg, tools-bib, woodworking-msg, blacksmithing-msg, bladesmithing-msg, metals-msg, Non-Ferrous-bib.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Sharpening Tools

by Master Tamlene ap Guidgen


What you need:


1. A tool made of good steel


To get a very sharp edge on steel, the steel must be fairly hard.  If the steel is also of high quality (i.e. tool steel), the edge will stay sharp for a long time. If you can sharpen several different blades to razor  sharp edges,  but you have one blade which you cannot put a sharp edge  on, do  not blame your technique. There are many knives available  which are made of poor steel, on which you cannot put a good edge. Imitation Swiss Army knives (not Victronix) are a common source of sharpening frustration. Stainless  steel  knives require more work to  sharpen.  Be careful  if you switch from stainless to carbon steel, as you  might remove much more carbon steel than you intend.


2. Two sharpening stones


Two stones are sufficient for almost anyone's needs:


India combination stone   for rough edging of the blade


Washita Arkansas stone    for a final sharpening


If you insist on an even sharper blade,  you may wish to add a stone called a 'Soft Arkansas' stone.  There are two stones harder  (finer) than the 'Soft Arkansas',  but you don't really  need them and they are hard to use.  If you want to get a mirror  polished edge,  it is much easier use  a  buffing  wheel with polishing compound rather than the harder stones. If you do this, remember you must angle the blade so that it does not catch on the wheel.


3. Cutting oil


It  is very important to use cutting oil on a  stone  when sharpening a blade.  During sharpening, small particles of metal  are removed  from  the edge.  If you do not use cutting  oil,  the  metal particles will clog up your stone. Some people use water instead, but I don't think it works as well as cutting  oil. Cutting oil can easily be made by mixing kerosene and new motor oil, half and half. A clogged stone (often the case with used stones) can often be cleaned by a trip or two through the dishwasher or several vigorous scrubbings with soap.


How to sharpen:


1. Use  the fine side of the India combination stone to produce the right shape on the  edge  of  the blade (a Vee shape). If you do not have a good solid Vee, there is no point in attempting to make the edge sharper. Serious nicks can be removed with  the rough side  of  the  stone.  In general,  the fine side  of  the  stone  is sufficient in any but severe cases.


2. Use the Washita stone to put a sharp edge on the blade. It is easiest  to  do this by feeling the drag of the blade  increase  just when  the  edge  is at the correct angle to  the  stone.  Use  smooth strokes,  and pretend that  you are trying to slice a very thin layer off of the surface of the stone.  The soft Arkansas stone is used just like  the Washita, but it has a completely different feel, with much less drag.


3. Check for sharpness by shining a bright light on the  blade while  looking straight at the sharp edge.  If you see  shiny  spots, then those spots are not sharp.


4. Wipe your stones clean! Wrap them or put them in a small box so that they don't chip.



Copyright 2002 by Steve Smith. <sos at alum.mit.edu>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org