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Sharpening CURVED Cutting Edges

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  • Sharpening CURVED Cutting Edges

    After a brief search of this topic, there seems to be little discussion of curved cutting edges as on gouges and some knives. Most talk about putting bevel flat on the stone, sandpaper, or strop, but not about dealing with the curve.
    Caution - this thread is NOT about straight edged knives or sharpening machines!
    That said, let's consider the use of a stone. If you make repeated passes of the tool in one position you will create a flat spot. So the gouge or curved edge knife must be rotated or rolled while maintaining the bevel angle through each pass. On a gouge, the roll should go from one edge to the other. On a knife I rotate the blade to bring all parts of the curve in contact with the stone.
    In the photos below I am working on a tapered Arkansas stone with honing oil: The 1st gouge is a #2-25 (Swiss system). In the second photo is a #7-10. The third photo is a curved, double edged knife.

  • #2
    Re: Sharpening CURVED Cutting Edges

    Moving on the using a strop: The cutting edge is again rolled or rotated while making the stroke over the strop. The stroke motion is normally away from the cutting edge, but it is possible to strop the edge with strokes parallel to the edge while rolling the gouge from edge to edge. Examine the bevel surface to see if the polishing covers the entire cutting edge.
    On the double edged knife (photo #3) the blade is rocked or rotated slightly while making the stroke on the strop. The inside curve is stropped by stroking off the edge of the leather. I stroke either toward or away from myself, but always away from the cutting edge.


    • #3
      Re: Sharpening CURVED Cutting Edges

      Your 4th photo in second post is the way I've been doing my gouges. I pull the gouge along the strop, attempting to keep the bevel flat against the strop, and rotate it about the long axis of the gouge as I pull, first rotating in one direction, then in the other.

      I also have one of the Flexcut circular leather strops that I put in my drill press. It seems to be easier to use as I can just rotate the gouge without having to also pull it at the same time. Seems to work ok, but if there's a better way, I'd be happy to hear it. I probably need a jig of some sort as the hand-holding seems to me to be the worst part...

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      • #4
        Re: Sharpening CURVED Cutting Edges

        Yes, Claude, there are curved strops for doing the inside of various gouges or V-tools, and there are jigs for rotating gouges on grinding wheels or belt sanders, but we seem to be left to hand-holding our tools on sharpening stones or strops. That is one of the skills we need to develop. (Oops, I replied as my wife, Mimi, not me, Phil)


        • #5
          Re: Sharpening CURVED Cutting Edges

          Claude, I do the same thing with a circular strop in a mini cordless drill or on Tomz massager. It is alot easier to just turn the gouge then pulling and turning.