American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Working Up the 510

You may remember that I picked up a whole box of 510s from Ragnar at Ragweed Forge a while back for some sharpening testing. Well, working up those knives has been more difficult than originally expected because I just can't seem to find the time to do them in a batch so I end up doing them one at a time and then cleaning everything up and putting it away.

The problem with the 510 is that it's so darned useful. A properly sharpened 510 is pretty hard to beat in terms of performance and value but there's a price to be paid in order to squeeze everything out of the knife.

Here are some of the steps I go through to maximize the performance of my $10-15 Moras.

1. Flatten the Scandi Grind with a DMT Coarse stone.
I have yet to get an inexpensive Frosts Mora with truly flat bevels. The DMT stones are advertised as being something like .0001" from flat or less and so this becomes the stone I go to first. Short back and forth strokes seem to work best for me using a very light touch. The long strokes I'd use with other knives just go too slowly to be of much use. Once the scratch pattern is nice and even the full length of the bevel then I'll switch to long strokes.

Once the scratches are nice and even, I put a piece of fresh 220-grit paper on the DMT stone and repeat the process. This really speeds up the process and gives me nice flat bevels with a decent finish very quickly.

Repeat this step with 600, 1000, and then 2000 grit paper.

Hit it on the strop using edge-trailing strokes maybe 10-15 strokes on each side, then 5 strokes, 3 strokes, 2, and alternating strokes until it's screaming sharp.

2. Square the Spine
I clamp the now-sharp 510 between two pieces of wood to protect the flats and go to work with a Bastard File to flatten and square the spine. The squared spine can be used like a cabinet scraper to get fine tinder and it is much more useful when striking a firesteel.

Follow up with the Smooth File and then wrap some 220-grit paper around the file and get all the scratches out.

That's it.

I've spent maybe an hour to 90 minutes working on this 510 and now it should really sing. The 510 is immensely useful as shipped but this little bit of maintenance really improves cutting ability.

Not a bad investment for the performance achieved.

Thanks for reading,



At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Hedgepeth said...

Bring some up to the August get-together and Several of us (Abe will be there) can gang up on the problem. It would also be a good demo for folks to see.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...

Abe's coming?! That's GREAT!

I'm not sure that Jake is still on board but Laura's definitely in for some camping and building on what she's learning this week at summer camp.



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