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  • Sharpening and flexcut knives

    Hello everyone!

    I make another topic about carving knife sharpening because like many apparently, I have quite issues with this part of the carving work!
    So I use mainly the flexcut knives to carve, I like how they are REALLY sharp when you get them (more than many other knives I have tried in the past) and the shapes too.

    Also I know flexcut only recommend to use the leather strop and compound to maintain that nice sharp edge. But here is my issue, I feel I keep it very sharp for some time by stroping it regularly on the leather, but at some point it becomes less confortable when I carve.
    It is hard to feel with the finger on the edge (still feels razor sharp) but I feel it when carving. It has occurs two times after a few month of using the knives (I carve a lot, pretty much everyday).

    At this time I have tried to use my japanese 4000 stone on the knife and then stroping it a lot on the leather but again, I got it pretty sharp but not as sharp as the knife when you receive it (just feel it when carving)..

    So my question is how they get their knives that sharp, do I need some powerwheels to achieve this ? Or it is achievable by hand on the stone + strop and I just need more practice on that technique?

    I am sorry for opening a new post about sharpening but I have read a lot and would really like to fix this rather than buying new knives...

    Thank you for reading and your help!!​

  • #2
    Oyo, Don't feel sorry for another post. It is OK, and I ask this what are you carving? As most all time I carve with Flexcut I will strop 10 time one side then reverse the other side and only use the leather strop. Now that I said that. If you are carving hard wood then it will be a trying thing for you, as for me I work on Hard wood and will strop more than soft woods.

    And I do not have a stone more that 1,200 and all is well for me. And no you do not need power wheels to sharpen your blades. I have been carving for 12 years and not used a wheel yet.
    And your note do you need more practice ? see Doug Linker ( see the internet for him ) on sharpening a knife. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqw30WU5U04
    Sometime you may do too much trying.
    And have a great carving time.
    Chuck
    Last edited by NoDNA; 01-12-2023, 10:23 PM.
    Chuck
    Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!

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

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    • #3
      Thank you Chuck!
      I am only carving basswood, so it is quite soft! (even though it looks a bit harder than the specie available in US).
      I think I am gonna try on stroping very regularly on the new knife I got and see for how long I can keep it razor sharp. My stroping is probably not very good too, I think I was turning the blade unintentionaly during the strop
      If I can avoid using the stone i'll like it . I'll practice on other knives though to see where I can get!

      I think I saw that Doug Linker video quite some time ago, it was good re watching it, very nice informations!
      Last edited by Oyo; 01-13-2023, 12:17 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Oyo View Post
        Thank you Chuck!
        I am only carving basswood, so it is quite soft! (even though it looks a bit harder than the specie available in US).
        I think I am gonna try on stroping very regularly on the new knife I got and see for how long I can keep it razor sharp. My stroping is probably not very good too, I think I was turning the blade unintentionaly during the strop

        THAT would do a lot to make a problem for you if you are turning the blade. Lay the blade on it's side on the strop, and look closely at the space where the blade rides on the strop.

        If I can avoid using the stone i'll like it . I'll practice on other knives though to see where I can get!

        I think I saw that Doug Linker video quite some time ago, it was good re watching it, very nice informations!
        Also you have some extra work too with a harder wood, BUT I purchased some a while back and it is very different with grain and hardness.
        Good luck in your venture and just keep up the practice.
        Chuck
        Chuck
        Always hoping for a nice slice that won't need sanding!

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

        Comment


        • #5
          A problem with leather strops is that too much downward pressure on the blade will cause a rounding of the cutting edge. As the blade is pulled along the strop, the leather will spring back up right as the edge passes, and this will round the edge. In my opinion, a better strop is using a piece of cereal box cardboard, glued (rubber cement) or taped to a flat surface and rubbed with the stropping compound. The only time in umpteen years I have touched any of my blades to stone is when I have broken the tip off the blade (grind down the BACK of the blade, not the edge, to form a new point). Other than that, cardboard on a flat surface is a great strop... Also, use a marker to put ink on your blade in a few places perpendicular to the cutting edge, to see if you are stropping at the correct angle: ink removal only on the cutting edge means you are trying to strop at too steep an angle; ink removal only on the spine of the blade means you need to steepen the angle you are holding the blade.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Claude View Post
            A problem with leather strops is that too much downward pressure on the blade will cause a rounding of the cutting edge. As the blade is pulled along the strop, the leather will spring back up right as the edge passes, and this will round the edge. In my opinion, a better strop is using a piece of cereal box cardboard, glued (rubber cement) or taped to a flat surface and rubbed with the stropping compound. The only time in umpteen years I have touched any of my blades to stone is when I have broken the tip off the blade (grind down the BACK of the blade, not the edge, to form a new point). Other than that, cardboard on a flat surface is a great strop... Also, use a marker to put ink on your blade in a few places perpendicular to the cutting edge, to see if you are stropping at the correct angle: ink removal only on the cutting edge means you are trying to strop at too steep an angle; ink removal only on the spine of the blade means you need to steepen the angle you are holding the blade.
            Claude, thanks very much for sharing that. Have a leather strop but will now made a cereal box cardboard strop. One of my priorities in picking up woodcarving again is to learn how to keep a really sharpe edge on the carving tools.

            That is the highest priority in fact!
            Last edited by Marco Polo; 01-14-2023, 09:02 AM.

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            • #7
              I had major issues with sharping when learning. So it took a very long time to get happy with the process. In fact, for a whole year, I was on here complaining about my tools. And everyone kept telling me your tools are not sharp. Yea what a poop I know that!! but... It was not the tools but it was me. One, you do not wait until the knife is dull to strop it. You strop often I say every twenty minutes of carving. Two watch a video of someone stropping and you do not lift the edge of the knife while in motion keep that knife angle steady. So my number one Goal was to learn how to sharpen until I was happy with it no matter how long it took me. Yea some people can learn this fast and easily but I was not one of them. And there are tons of others who had major issues sharpening and keeping sharp in the beginning of learning. Hang in there, lessons and learning are the processes, you will get there if you try. I will note I use flex cut on occasion but it is not my favorite knife ..I got others that sharpen a lot better. Do a search on here...for favorite knifes that list is top of the line in my book. Once you learn how to be happy with your flex cut buy one of them. The key is called meditative learning there is no instant successes, and enjoy the challenges a long the way.
              . Explore! Dream! Discover!” aloha Di

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              • #8
                Claude, good reminder on the marker- we used to do that when filing down bicycle forks for crown races. ;-)

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                • #9
                  Thank you for your advices!

                  Claude I really like that cardboard idea, I'm gonna make one and try it! It makes sense that the 'hardness' of the cardboard can also maybe make it easier to keep the same angle during the strop!

                  DiLeon actually, the first time I didn't thought my knife was not sharp enough, it still looked and feeled really sharp and I thought I just got a little less good quality pieces of wood... Until I bought new knives and instantly understood the older ones wasn't sharp anymore

                  It is part of the learning

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