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Can someone please help me ?

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  • Can someone please help me ?

    Hello everyone,
    I really did my best and try to find similar topic on the forums but nothing came through. Last year I decided to start wood carving, and I did, love one first sight. Videos on youtube were so satisfying and relaxing, real therapy after stressful day. My first tools were cheap knife and leather strop with green compound that came along which I bought on ebay for 15$. I soon realized that this knife i one use only, so I decided to buy flexcut knife. People, my dear people when I heard sound this knife produces while cutting wood, I was so happy. This is it ...carving was to easy and relaxing. Then my problem occurred, my knife stop producing that sound, my blade would just "boune" of the wood, then I realised that I need to maintain blade with leather strop and green compond. I watched so many tutorials on youtube, about how to strop your tools but nothing. My blocks of wood are sitting in the work shop, I cant carve cause knife is dull. I tried to used wet sand paper and strop but no concrete result. Could it be this cheap chinese green compound that I bought, could it be bad leather strop? What I am doing wrong, can someone please help me figure out how to keep my knifes sharp again so I can continue with my carving projects.
    I am thinking to by flexcut leather strop and yellow compound what do you think will this me better then this cheap kit I have now?

  • #2
    It is difficult to advise you about what you could be doing wrong without seeing your process. Some of us have quit using a leather strop because it may actually roll the knife edge if it is thick & soft. We use cereal box cardboard on a firm, flat surface. The green compound is probably not the problem. Do not roll the knife blade up at the end of a honing stroke. Most cheap knives, as sold, are not really intended for carving. They do not have a 10 - 12 degree bevel. Sometimes the steel will not hold up properly at that bevel. However, it sounds like your knife performed properly for you at first. You need to return it to its original condition.


    • #3
      Sharpening is the most difficult of all the carving skills to learn. Don't be discouraged. As Pallin suggested, sit the blade on the strop at the angle the bevel is ground to and pull it toward you without changing the angle as you pull it. Look along the blade, if light is reflecting off the cutting edge(if you see a silver line) it is blunt. As a rule you should strop a blade every 10 or 15 minutes of carving.


      • #4
        Most small knives intended for wood carving are sharpened with an included bevel angle of 12-15 degrees, no more than that. Why? that's the angle to push the wood open and a bigger angle MIGHT be sharp but feels blunt and will not cut easily.

        I suggest that you begin with 600 grit silicon carbide wet&dry automotive finishing sand paper.
        Then 800, then 1,000, then 1,200, then 1,500 grit.
        Last step is the chrome green on hard card.

        Most of that is to repair the edge. Once done, you won't need to do as much again.
        I can do a few passes on 1,500 then chrome green, every hour or less.

        So, you can expect the bevel angles to be 6 degrees each side.
        Paint the bevel with black felt marker so that you can see what you are doing.
        Stand up. Pull strokes only. Hold your forearms tight to your sides so you cannot lift
        your elbows to round off the bevel at the end of each stroke.
        Instead, move from your knees, not your upper body.
        Brian T


        • #5
          What knife did you buy from Flexcut? Each knife (gouges, V gouges, straight blades) has its own way of being sharpened.
          . . .JoeB


          • #6
            Thank you all for you time and patience, cant tell you how grateful am I with your advice.

            Originally posted by pallin View Post
            However, it sounds like your knife performed properly for you at first. You need to return it to its original condition.
            I think you are right Pallin about returning my knife to original condition. Tomorrow I will take some pictures and try to show you the blade. If that will help you with more practical advice.

            Andrew I am aware sharping knife needs skill and I will not give up cause I really want to carry on with carving, as I said it love pure satisfying love . And Adrew you wrote "Look along the blade, if light is reflecting off the cutting edge(if you see a silver line) it is blunt" I saw this line and I tthought this is it I made my blade sharp. Apparently I was wrong.

            Brian THANK YOU, here is my plan for tomorrow :
            I will try with wet sand paper and then green chrome on cereal cardboard. This is what grit I currently have 240, 500, 600, 1200, 2000 will this be ok ? How many strokes what do you say ? Pressure ?

            And last but not least joepaulbutler I own Flexcut KN14 Roughing Knife and Flexcut KN13 Detail Knife. Also my leather strop is not soft and green compound was part of cheap carving kit worht 10-15$. But you know what I notices with my leather strop and this green compound, is that knife does not leave and black marks on the green at all.

            I will post pictures tomorrow, hope it helps guys, thank you one more time good man !


            • #7
              Item 143657
              Model PW12Flexcut - Slipstrop Sharpening Kit

              I have I've got seven different stopping compounds, but this is what is on my bench & used daily. Mine also has a 2-1/2" x 3-1/4" flat pad for knives and a couple of groves for gouges on the other side. FYI, my method of stropping is to start with five stokes on one side flip the blade over and give it five strokes, flip it over and give it four stokes, continue the flip and decrease stoking until it is just one stroke per side. Just my 2ยข worth.

              You do not have permission to view this gallery.
              This gallery has 1 photos.
              . . .JoeB


              • #8
                Start at 600. That's coarse enough to take off some metal. I go maybe 5 strokes each side.
                I still paint the bevel before every grit so I can watch. No guessing!

                I test the edge in my carving wood to measure the progress.
                I never carve arm hair as I never want to shave it off.

                Do not allow your elbows to move.

                I wonder why your chrome green shows no black streaks of metal?
                Brian T


                • #9
                  There are many carvers who have learned to keep their tools sharp. It does not require a specific abrasive or stroke count. It only depends on your ability to judge the progress of your technique toward sharpness. Some of the responder comments have hinted at how they measure their progress.


                  • #10
                    I didn't see a specific mention, so...just in case. When stropping, the blade is to be moved AWAY from the cutting edge. When using a stone, most people push the cutting edge first on the stone; that doesn't work when stropping. You should be dragging the blade away from the cutting edge. If you are already doing this, then you're doing to correctly. I'm with Pallin on the cardboard. I use cereal box cardboard - Cherrios box works best Just glue a piece to flat surface, grey side up - I used a scrap piece of MDF shelving and glued it on with rubber cement. When the cardboard gets messed up, I can peel it off and glue down another piece. Scrub the compound on it like using a crayon. Also, as Brian mentioned, it should begin to turn black as you use it - the black is microscopic particles of steel removed from the blade during stropping.

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                    • #11
                      I think your best sharpening/stropping system is the one tailored to you, just as your knives and carving styles. I've seen sharpening with techniques that makes you shake your head...but it worked fine for that person.

                      I like using an Arkansas stone and various sandpaper grits for sharpening, and for my honing, I have simplified it to a piece of hard leather and a file card...all done with the Flexcut Gold. It works great for me, so I stick with it.

                      Just read it all mentioned here, digest it, and take an approach that you are comfortable with. Good luck.
                      Living among knives and fire.



                      • #12
                        I'll explain how to use a tennis ball for a strop some other time.
                        Brian T


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brian T View Post
                          I'll explain how to use a tennis ball for a strop some other time.
                          We have so many options and techniques that I just marvel at the old Vikings and Native Peoples approach to sharpening. Crude by our standards, but very effective. All without electricity.
                          Living among knives and fire.



                          • #15
                            It looks to me like you are holding the blade way too high and have created a secondary bevel at the cutting edge. For Flexcut knives, which have quite a thick blade, I hold the main bevel flat to the abrasive and take the main bevel right to the cutting edge.
                            Last edited by Steev; 09-30-2020, 07:15 AM. Reason: Spelling errors