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  • scary sharp paper

    I have just started using the scary system from1000-3000. What kind of longevity should ? It's very hard to tell.

  • #2
    According to the late Leonard Lee, about 1500 grit is as high as you need go then hone on a hard strop with chrome green. The Scanning Electron Microscope pictures are quite revealing.
    The deal is to scrub out the bigger scratches with the finer and finer grades of papers. I color the bevels with black felt marker and follow the process with a 10X magnifier and a very bright LED light. 15+ years (?) later and I still follow this routine.

    I use 3M silicon carbide, wet&dry, automotive sandpapers. Lee Valley or a hot-rod shop in the city.

    For the crooked knives that I build from old farrier's knives, I begin by revising the bevel with a 7/16" chainsaw file. They come in boxes of a dozen, one file will do 2 knives. Open the hooks and so on. Then it becomes a mandrel for use with the papers. I jump to 600 then 800 then 1000 then 1200 then 1500 and stop to hone on the strop with chrome green.
    For daily tune-ups, I rarely need to use less than 1000. Often, a little light honing puts that "carving sharp" edge back on. The early steps are things you need only to do once. Maybe an edge that is truely banged up, I start on a carborundum stone! Square off the entire edge and re-establish an entirely new bevel.

    I can't tell you when to switch paper grades. It's something that you learn for your steel in your knives. I can lay out 6 crooked knives in order of steel hardness.

    Maybe when I turned 70 I gave myself a little gift and began to buy finished crooked knife blades. They are by no means cheap from any blade smith here in the PacNW but add a handle that fits me and get to carving. They all need a little honing every 30 minutes all day but so be it.
    Brian T

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    • #3
      My Diamond unit only goes to 1500, but that is only used when, just making a new knife or somethings bad. And I use it on my old gouges. But when stroping , leather and red or yellow is all.
      Chuck
      Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!

      https://woodensmallthings.blogspot.com/2021/01/

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      • #4
        There are a lot of sharpening process for those seeking a perfect edge. But you don’t need a perfect edge to carve wood. To carve wood the tools need to spend time on the wood not in obsessive sharpening processes. And as Chuck says once sharp stropping is all you need. I use a Burke leather wheel as it takes less time than hand stropping.

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        • #5
          I have both 1500 and 2000 grit. As a ham and egg carver I can't really tell the difference in performance. However, I always strop my knives on leather with compound after using the sandpaper. With that said I have a collection of different grits starting with 400 which I've had to use after dropping a knife on the deck or breaking off a point. If I was rich or had the location and space to store a power sharpening system there's a good chance that I'd get one. I do have a variable speed Dremel bench motor with floppy buffing wheel that I use on occasion but prefer to stay with hand sharpening because too much time on a buffing wheel tends to moon shape a blade.

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          • #6
            I have another technique for carving sharp edges.
            For a whole bunch of reasons and safety isn't one of them, I carve wearing cheap grey tanned leather work gloves. As you can imagine, they get pretty grimy over some months of wear. Carving steadily, I can feel the edge "going away". Just gets harder and harder to get thin precise cuts.

            You guessed it! I wipe the knives and gouges over the dirty gloves, soft as they are, for a great result. Just dirty enough to replace the chrome green honing compound. The carving edge sure comes back quickly.
            Brian T

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