SHARPENING - Sharpening Q&A
If you have any questions you would like to ask us the please drop us an email at the following address [email protected].
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions we get asked - Answers are in Orange text: -
Breaking In Your New Diamond Whetsone
Q: Hi, could you please put my mind at rest; I purchased a 7” by 2.5” diamond double sided stone and lapping fluid from you just over a week ago. I sharpened a 2.5” plane iron, the results were super, it didn’t take long, so I set about my other three plane irons. The final two irons seemed to take a lot longer, but I might add these irons were in bad state to start with. What I have noticed is that the middle section of the 300 grit side of the stone, say about 4” is a lot less abrasive than the two ends. You can feel this with your fingers and definitely the irons. I know that the diamond stones settle in and become finer with use, I guess I wasn’t expecting this to happen so quickly and by so much. Please tell me if this is what I should expect.
A: At first the diamonds in your Diamond Whetstone will cut quite aggressively since the diamonds are all new, very pointed and therefore excessively sharp. Given a couple of weeks of use, however, when the Diamond Whetstone has been broken in a little, the excessively sharp points of the diamonds naturally settle down to their correct grit size and therefore their correct cutting speed.
So, what you have described in your question is quite typical of all good quality diamond whetstones and is perfectly normal given how most professional and non-professionals tend to use them. In fact, if you look at any sharpening stone, whether it is made from diamonds or silicon carbide etc., etc., you will usually always see that the whetstone will have become concave at its middle, unless it has been flattened on a regular basis, since it is the middle of the stone that usually gets the most wear. Effectively, this is what is happening to your whetstone, albeit at the microscopic micron level. It is a little unnerving at first, but what you have noticed is perfectly normal and AOK, your Diamond Whetstone will consistently maintain this new level of cutting speed for the next number of years, perhaps even decades, depending on the amount of use it gets of course!
When sharpening on your Diamond Whetstone it is good practice to use the whole of the stone instead of using just one section of it (i.e. the middle). Might I therefore suggest that you concentrate your attention on using the two ends of the stone for a while to allow them to catch up with the middle? Evenly using the whole surface of your Diamond Whetstone will allow it to wear more evenly which will give it a much longer lifespan.
Knife Sharpening a Serrated Blade
Here is an email I got from Patrick who askes several questions about the 'Bushcraft & Survival Diamond Sharpening Kit - 180/1000 grit (25-8000)' that his wife bought him for Christmas by his wife.
Q: My wife bought me one of your sharpening kits for Christmas after I saw it in the Bushcraft magazine. I'm very keen to improve my sharpening skills and have watched all your videos and understand the concept. I think that I just need a bit more practice at getting and keeping the angle right! One thing that I don't think has been mentioned in your videos is what to do if the blade is not smooth?
A: I presume when you say that the blade is not smooth, you mean that the blade is serrated? If so then each serration will need to be sharpened individually applying the technique to each one in turn. Also, it would be normal for serrated blades to be ‘Chisel’ shaped, in that each serration is effectively flat on one side and bevelled on the other like a chisel. If this is the case, then sharpen the bevelled side of each serration by following the shape of them to get a burr. When all of the serrations have been done remove all of the burrs at the same time, on the flat side of the blade, by laying the 1,000 grit side of the whetstone flat on the other side of the blade and then gently scrubbing. If the serrations are bevelled on each side of the blade then treat each serration as an individual blade.
Sharpening the individual serrations of a serrated blade will require a round whetstone such as: -
Q: I have a small kitchen knife that I have been practising on which has been the hardest knife to sharpen yet, firstly it's very hard to get a burr on it, and secondly the edge is slightly pitted?
A: The quality and hardness of steels that blades are made from vary considerably. Manufactures often believe that to make a blade from extremely hard steel is somehow a good selling point; however, what they never reveal is that when the blade becomes dull, and it always does, the steel is just too hard for most peeps to re-sharpen. If your blade fits into this category, the only point to remember is that the diamonds on your Diamond Whetstone are considerably harder than the steel can ever be, this being the case your only option is to persist, unless you use a powered sharpening tool that is pitting is probably due to steel damage, if I am understanding you right, and that will have to be lived with unless you want to grind them out with the whetstone, which may thin the blade down too much and wherefore weaken it.
Q: Is there a specific way of getting rid of these [pits] or is it just a case of persisting with the coarse grit?
A: Without spending a fortune on a powered water whetstone such as Tormek, you might have to a live with the pitting, see previous answer.
Q: Hopefully, I will meet you at one of the events you attend, I might ask you to get my knives to razor sharp as thus far that part has eluded me!
A: It seems that you have all of the tools to do the job properly, so I would suggest that persevere and use an old knife where the steel is a lot softer. Why? Well the harder the steel the longer it takes to sharpen it, the longer it takes to sharpen it the more the human factor creeps in, the more the human factor creeps in the more mistakes are made especially with regards to sharpening angle control. For your own confidence and peace of mind I would suggest you use a knife made by Mora, even if you buy a new one (about £10), and practice on that; they are cheap as chips, the steel is high quality, it has been hardened and tempered to the correct level and it is therefore a quick, easy and a pleasure to sharpen them.
Many thanks and happy new year to you!
Wet Moulding the Gransfors Bruks - Leather Over Strike Protector
Here is an email I got from Gordon who askes about wet moulding the 'Gransfors Bruks - Leather Over Strike Protector - Collar Guard' that his wife bought him.
Q:My wife has bought me a Gransfors Bruks - Leather Over Strike Protector - Collar Guard (45-9020) as a present and I am very pleased with it. Your website states it can be wet moulded. Any advice on how to do this?
A: You can easily wet mould the leather by simply immersing it in hand hot water for 5 to 10 minutes and then moulding/lacing it into shape at the neck and shoulder of the axe.
There is no need to rush this process as the leather will remain pliable whilst the it remains wet. Remember to carefully mould the leather and not stretch it, this may make it too big for the handle.
Leave it to naturally air dry; don’t put on a radiator to dry as this might damage the axe by making the head become loose.
Since leather naturally shrinks a little as it dries, it should grip the axe handle quite tightly, unless it has been overly stretched whilst being moulded. If this is the case it may become loose and slides down the handle if forced. To resolve this issue, apply a little glue to the area that the leather will sit and slide the leather back into place over the glue. I would use a contact adhesive and slide the leather into place whilst the glue was still wet.