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Sharpening Question From a Beginning

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  • Sharpening Question From a Beginning

    I wasn't sure whether this should go in the Sharpening forum or the Beginner forum:

    I've only dabbled in carving to date, but I bought a Drake detail knife awhile ago and I'm curious how to sharpen it. I can't even see a primary bevel on the blade, I'm not sure what angle to shoot for when sharpening.

    I've seen some videos where people have suggested putting the blade flat when stropping for maintenance, which would only work if the entire blade is the bevel.. it seems odd to me but is that the case? I'm used to plane irons and chisels where I can clearly see the primary bevel (and generally I use a secondary bevel when honing).

    I'm starting to get the sense that sharpening these carving tools is a different world than I'm used to.. .can anyone give me some pointers?

  • #2
    Welcome. Most of those kind of knives perform best with a total included bevel angle of 12*, not more that 15*
    Laying the knife flat on the strop (5 strokes, flip-flop and test it) is OK. 6* each side is less than the thickness of a dime
    at the spine edge of the knife blade. I "lift it a little" and test to see how well the fresh edge carves.

    A few advocate a secondary bevel, I suppose for XXX hard woods. Gouge makes do not supply any tools with secondary bevels.
    But the force that the little detail blade has to endure is a whole lot less than that of a plane iron or a spoke shave.
    Brian T


    • #3
      Hey Brian, Alt 248 to get ° symbol

      . . .JoeB


      • #4
        Welcome to the forums, Jeremy! Here's an illustration for you. The first one shows the secondary bevel used on kitchen knives and (most) pocket knives. The second shows how a sharp carving knife bevel should look.


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        • #5
          Claude's illustration is pretty accurate. Most carving knives will have a single bevel running all the way to the back of the blade. It is designed to slice through wood and your Drake should cut much better than your sharpest pocket knife. And it should only need stropping/honing for quite some time. It has been years since I have needed to sharpen many of my tools, but they are stopped/honed regularly. The Flexcut knives are an exception to the single bevel all the way to the back edge of the blade, but a lot of carvers modify that to be a single bevel, often thinning the blade also. I don't care for the Flexcut knives for that reason, but Drakes, Helvies, and OCCT are all good knives.
          'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"


          • #6
            Thanks everyone!

            A single bevel makes sense, and should make the Drake very easy to sharpen when the time comes. I rely heavily on honing guides in my furniture work.

            I have an Oar Carver II that appears to have a secondary (and convex) bevel, for that I guess I just need to be careful and match what's there.


            • #7
              drake makes a excellent knife and they are great people before you ruin the blade flailing away at it send it back to drake let them sharpen it and when you get it bsck examine what they did and learn accordingly in the meantime go to the hardwae store and get a cheap pocket knife and figure out what you need to do to get that carving sharp that way you will only be out 10 bucks if you mess it up, and no im not being cute i still do it to challenge myself to be diligent when i sharpen so ai dont remove a ton of good steel and wear it out prematurely remember the more you mess with it you taking steel off that you cant put bsack on


              • #8
                Well, I think all of this is great advice from folks I respect and know how to sharpen. With that said, I am in a much different camp. When I first started in carving, I thought it was MANDATORY that you know how to set an edge on a carving knife in order to be a good carver. That is simply not so.

                I think a wood carver should know how to maintain the blade by honing, (stropping), which is extremely important to make your experience easier. If I need to have a blade reworked, I send my knives, gouges, etc. to Dallas Deege and have him touch them up.

                I can spend more time making chips than doing an exercise that is very frustrating to me.

                if I would choose to undertake resetting the bevel on knives and sharpen my own tools, I would invest in a Tomz Knife Massager and go to work! As I see it, that machine looks like it takes the mystery out of sharpening, and doesn't move fast enough to mess with the temper of the steel...

                Just my .02!
                Last edited by tbox61; 06-17-2019, 02:54 PM.


                • #9
                  Your correct about TomZ, But stropping is the most important tool a carver has
                  . . .JoeB