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,



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