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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Method to the Madness

Sharpening (again)...

Using a coarse stone like the DMT and finishing on the black magic JRE Strop Strap leaves me with a toothy edge that cuts extremely well and it goes on extremely quickly.

The coarser an edge, typically, the faster it breaks down because of the deep scratch pattern the coarse stones leave in the steel.  (Think of it like a ridged potato chip on a microscopic level where the high and low spots tend to come off or get mashed during cutting.  Refining the edge smooths those scratches more and more until your surface looks nearly smooth even on a microscopic level.

The smoother edges cut differently than the toothy coarser edges but any two edges that meet will be sharp enough to cut.  Stropping uses very fine abrasives that will, over time, not only remove a burr but will also refine the edge.

I think the use of the strop over and over during use allows me to benefit from the fast-formed coarse edge and then that edge is smoothed and refined through repeated use on the strop.

Stropping is less abrasive, requires a light touch, and is a therapeutic way to "play" with my knives without prematurely wearing them down to nothing on the stones.  It can be done nightly (in moderation) and will eventually turn that toothy edge into a mirror edge as long as you prevent damage to the edge through heavy use or abuse.

I am finding that using the softer steel in my kitchen knives daily has given me some insight into how to keep a high-end steel like S30V going for a very, very long time--sort of an unfortunate consequence for a guy who so likes to sharpen.  LOL!

Tomorrow I'm going to turn my attention toward something a little different--lubricants for your knife, what works, what doesn't, what you can use around food, and what you should only use in a pinch.

Let me know if there are any that you think I should get my hands on.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Strange Troubles

There are days when I wake up with a solid agenda or a drive to get something accomplished.

Today, it was the drive to sharpen something.  After the success with the Umnumzaan on the DMT stones the other day, I was ready to take something dull and make it pop hair and then put it to use.

The problem I face? There aren't any dull blades in the house.

Even the kitchen knives get touched up so regularly that they're always ready to rock and roll.

Scissors were done last week, peelers the week before that...

I don't have the kind of time it takes to really refine an edge taking it through the whole array of stones and stropping pastes but the quick and dirty method gives a fantastic working edge and takes literally only a few minutes.  That makes it darned hard to beat.

The diamond stones don't even hiccup when fed a regular diet of today's high-zoot blade steels like 3V, S30V, S35VN, Elmax, etc.

Too efficient...too fast...

Dang it!  :)

Maybe I need a new knife...and by that I mean an OLD knife that might have lots of life left in it but has gotten little love and maintenance.

Where are the garage sales when you want something like that?!

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 20, 2012

Thank You

So, even after a long, long hiatus, I still have folks viewing this blog every day.

We're over 3.5 MILLION hits and counting.

I want you to know, dear reader, that you were not ever forgotten in the daily shuffle.  Finding the time to write and/or do anything worth writing about was nigh impossible.

As the summer winds down and fall is right around the corner, I hope to find some more time to sit and write and even to get out for some adventure.

I have finally been exercising on a regular basis and have dropped 35 unwanted pounds so far but adding the exercise surely hasn't allowed me MORE time to work on this.  LOL!

Those of you who have been anxiously prodding me via email and in the comments to get back here, thank you for sticking around so patiently.

It's about time to start looking at the piles of gear and see what has withstood the inattention and what has not...

See you again soon?

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's been a long time...

I have so much to update and so little time to do it.

One thing I will tell you, as time is almost always at a premium these days, is how I really have come to appreciate my DMT stones and my JRE Industries Strop Strap.

I damaged the tip on my Umnumzaan recently doing something stupid and thought I was going to have to simply retire the knife.  Instead, I pulled out the DMT stones this morning and set to fixing the tip, putting on a new edge, and then bringing everything up to crazy sharp.  (Yes, I still remember that I was going to shoot a video of the process and will get to it...some day.)

Once the bevels are established and the first burr is knocked off, I take out my JRE Strop Strap loaded with black compound (Black Magic) and make several very light passes from heel to tip and then tip to heel until the edge is nice and smooth.

It'll pop hairs easily after this but the edge is still robust enough to do real work from breaking down boxes to prepping kindling for a fire.

The best part? The diamond cuts down sharpening time dramatically.  A trashed edge on a coarse stone requires maybe 20-30 total passes on the Coarse stone and about the same on the Fine stone.  That means I can take a ganked knife and make it into a super cutter in a matter of minutes--about all the time I can find with 4 kids running around.  :)

I still love the process with the Japanese Water Stones and the feel of the cutting action but when I really need to get the job done, done well, and done quickly, I won't hesitate to grab my DMT stones and my JRE strop to get the kind of edge that'll work all day long and ask for more.

Thanks for reading,