Newbie sharpening query. Advice welcome.....

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Barrington, Apr 30, 2020.

  1. Barrington


    Apr 25, 2020
    Greetings all from England. I am new to the Forum and am finding it incredibly interesting and helpful so I hope you don’t mind me picking your collective grey matter.
    Having been elected head bow/arrow/spear maker by my young son the last couple of years I pulled a couple of folders I hadn’t used for years out of retirement and this has now sparked a renewed interest for me.
    I’ve since purchased a couple of new E Jonsson Mora’s and I have a 1950’s Erik Frost on the way which doesn’t look to be in great shape so will give me something to think about when it arrives.
    I’d like to keep the newer Mora’s nice and sharp, and also get the older blades back to their former glory. Also, I have several kitchen knives that need serious attention.
    I’m thinking I like the idea of using bench stones for sharpening, not sure why, maybe I think it’s a little more traditional, but I’m not totally against using one of the sharpening systems that are available (Lansky?) I see DMT stones seem to be a favourite on the forum - they are available here but fairly expensive. I’ve also been looking at Japanese Whetstone’s which seem reasonably priced but I haven’t noticed these mentioned much here. I would ideally like to buy a double sided stone initially as a do it all for the knives I’ve mentioned, and then potentially add a stone or 2 later as and when required.
    So my question is will a double sided stone suffice initially (and if so what grade/grit combo should I be looking at) or would I have too much ground to cover with one stone. Or should I forget the stones and get a Lansky ?
    Looking forward to your thoughts.
  2. Barrington


    Apr 25, 2020
    Mr Wizard, thanks, I’m making my way through a lot of relevant posts at the mo. There’s a lot of it to read and digest.
  3. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    I settled on DMT diamond hones several decades ago and have yet to wear one out. They aren't inexpensive, but amortized over 30+ years works out pretty well. They work on any kind of steel. The red/600 grit green/1200 grit 6" bench hones work great and I used those for more than two decades until I got the 10" double-sided one in the same grits. I also recently acquired a DMT Diasharp Extra Coarse/220 grit for reprofiling edges.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
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  4. Craig James

    Craig James

    Oct 30, 2018
    Barrington, welcome. I’m also from the UK. Those threads linked above will give you a good grounding in the various options and associated pros/cons.

    Have a ready through and then feel free to come back with some more specific questions. There really is no perfect solution and a lot will come down to personal preference, cost and the time of steel you are planning on sharpening.

    You should also brush up on the theory behind sharpening as you won’t get a sharp edge without it, be it on a system or freehand. The secrets of sharpening (stickied in this sub forum) is a great intro.

    Happy reading and good luck!
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  5. Haffner


    Feb 13, 2007
    Hello from Denmark

    Hapstone K1 or R1 are my recomdaytions.
    They use longer stones so they will sharpen more wiith every movement.
    Investering in a rotating, guided sharpener will make your sharpening much easier.
    Look around, watch videos before you make any comitment.
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  6. fishface5

    fishface5 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 3, 2001
    Here's what I would say for a newbie but others may wildly disagree. If you aren't using fancy steels, Before spending a lot First get some sic sandpaper in 200 and 400 grit for basic edge refreshing and then a Norton double-sided stone in 2 higher grits for refinement. You can work on your technique cheap that way and then decide if you want to invest more to get more refined, or if a decent working edge meets your needs.
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  7. Tjstampa

    Tjstampa Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 25, 2019
    Welcome to the forum. I would start with a cheap hardware store stone and a couple knives you do not care about. Read the stickies then try to sharpen. Then read the stickies again and you will understand a lot more. Also I can’t emphasize enough the importance of being able to see what you are doing. Take a marker and mark the edge. After a few passes stop and see where you are removing material. This will help you to make adjustments to what you are doing. When I was younger I refused to do this and my technique and knives suffered for it. Also take your time and have fun.
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  8. Troutzill

    Troutzill Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    Over the last 30 years or so, I’ve tried many many different options and spent a lot of money on sharpening stones, systems, tools, etc...

    I agree that using a sharpie on the edge is a huge help to see what is going on.

    Also, the thing that held me back for years is that you need to be able to make a bur and feel and see that you’ve made a bur. Once you can consistently make a bur across the entire blade, everything will click. I’ve found it best to use less expensive steels that sharpen easily, like 1095, Aus-8, 154, etc... If you start with one of the more exotic steels not only do you risk ruining an expensive knife, it takes more time to create that bur.
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  9. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    If you can get Norton stones, Inda or Crystolen, that will do a very good job with most steels. They don't cost much and are very effective if you don't have modern, high vanadium "super steels". I'd like to pair that with a finishing stone, but that really depends on the type of edge you like.
    I use Japanese water stones quite a bit, but I can't say it gives the same bang for the buck. I prefer them for the feel.
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  10. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Pretty tough to beat a Norton JB8 for starting out.
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  11. Barrington


    Apr 25, 2020
    Thank you people. Lots of info to look into - I’m reading through various posts and stickies and as @Craig James suggests (Thanks Craig) I might come back with more specific questions.
    Cheers all.
  12. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    I would suggest starting our with wet/dry sandpaper, used wet, on a piece of float glass. You can get it from coarse grit up to at least 2500.

    After developing your skill set, with the inexpensive paper, you can decide if you want to go with bench stones or a guided system.
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