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 23, 2011


On the subject of Sharpening:

I've got a kitchen knife (an 8" slicer to be specific) that I have been trying to get sharp for 15 years. It's so problematic at least in part because of it's flexibility. It has been so tough to sharpen that I mostly left it alone in the block and my wife used it to open boxes.

Then, one day, with the help of my Radio Shack microscope, a strop, and some extra patience, I got that sucker screaming sharp. It would pop hairs with the lightest pass over my arm and went through food like a lightsaber. It kept that edge for a while until someone used it to cut on a plate, the granite countertop, or in a Pyrex dish. (It happens. After all, it was the box opener for the best part of 15 years.)

Now I can't get it sharp again.


I steeled it, stropped it, and even took it back to the stone but nothing seems to have done the trick. It's the same problem I had all those years too.

It's pretty sharp but there's a wire edge that won't come off. It's still sharper than most kitchen knives out there but it's not sharp (i.e. two bevels that meet at a point.)

I would think this all an exercise in futility if I hadn't managed to get it where it should have been once already.

Now I'm obsessed...unable to put the thing down...I keep working the edge over and over.

It still slices but it could slice better if I could just knock off this wire.

I'm thinking about cleaning my strop to "freshen" the compound so that it'll cut better and faster.



I think I'll go back and strop it some more now...

Thanks for reading,



At 11:28 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I have found that I have better luck with the flexible knives by using my off hand to hold the blade against the stone. Pinky near the tip of the blade, and then a finger every inch and a half or so. A gentile pressure just to keep the blade from flexing trying to keep the blade in contact with the surface.

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Michael Sparks said...

Sounds like a great candidate for the belt sander. I had several kitchen knives that had gotten beyond dull and frankly didn't want to take the time to sharpen them by hand (so that was my excuse to buy one from Harbor Freight). Well even the dullest knife in the kitches was sharp in 3 minutes.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger vlad said...

Even the challenged have been known to sharpen a knife with Accusharp.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...

Thanks for all of your comments.

I am using the DMT stone because that may be the tool I have available during an extended trip or even a long power outage and it's far better to practice with your tools before you need them than to deal with the stress of a situation alongside that of learning how to use a particular piece of gear.

Thanks again,



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