Sharpening knives is essential. In order for them to continue to slice effectively, it is essential that they stay sharp. This applies not only to cutlery for pocket knives and kitchen knives, but also to other sharp objects like scissors, axes, wood chisels and anything that has a sharp edge. Since these are usually expensive items, it will not be superfluous to acquire the necessary knowledge before embarking on sharpening.
Sharpening on a Coticule natural water stone requires a different approach than conventional sharpening stones. Learn here how to get the most out of your Belgium sharpening stone!
How To Choose The Right Sharpening Stone?
What are the things that we can sharpen?
Sharpening can be done on any object with a blade. You can almost always do it yourself, however the degree of complexity varies depending on the tool. All knives are obviously capable of being sharpened.
However, there are some tools that you don’t immediately think of, which can also be sharp. Like the scissors that are replaced when they are no longer able to cut the paper. While it is quite possible to sharpen the scissors and give them a sharp edge like new! And what about tools like wood chisels, axes, and even serrated saws? Or a mower that no longer cuts very well? You can also easily restore their cutting edge with a sharpening file. And ice skating enthusiasts sharpen their skates themselves.
Use of water
It is also important to know that most sharpening stones should be used with water. Except with diamond sharpening stones because, as we have already mentioned, they do not wear out. But for other types of sharpening stones, such as Japanese stones, you either have to wet them continuously while sharpening or immerse them in water for a while before sharpening, so that they become saturated with ‘water. In all cases, they must be sufficiently moistened that a layer of water constantly covers them during sharpening. Thus, sharpening residues formed by metal particles and abrasive grains that have come loose are eliminated and do not accumulate on the stone. This is important because the metal particles could scratch the blade.
Determine the grain size
It’s crucial to figure out which sharpening stone would work best for you before you start sharpening. That is to say: of what grain size. The size and fineness of the sharpening stone are determined by the grain size. A low grain size (between about 100 and 400) indicates a coarse sharpening stone, a high grain size (1000 and larger) indicates a fine sharpening stone.
The more or less blunt character of your knife determines the grain with which you start. The lower the grain size, means the coarser the grains, the duller your knife is. You usually need at least two sharpening stones (or a combined stone with two sharpening faces of different grain sizes). If your knife is still sharp enough, sharpening with a grit 1000 then 3000 is sufficient to give it a razor sharp edge. But if your knife is so dull that it no longer cuts the paper, you can start with 240 grit, then continue with 600, 1000, and 3000. Sharpening stones with a grain size of 30,000 are available to hone the grain. sharpening to the extreme. We believe that after a grain of 8000,
If you’re having trouble figuring out which grit to start with, watch the video below where we give you some helpful tips for testing your knife edge.
The Technique of Sharpening on whetstones
After determining which sharpening stones you need, you can start the actual sharpening. We have said it before: sharpening on whetstones is the most difficult method, but it is also the one that gives by far the best results, provided you do it right. With some practice, it’s within everyone’s reach! If you’ve never sharpened on whetstones before, we recommend that you don’t start on your beautiful chef’s knife or your favorite pocket knife. Take an old knife or a cheap knife to practice.
Rather than giving you lengthy instructions on how to use a sharpening stone, we prefer to use visual aids illustrating each step. Here we just briefly explain the main points of interest. For detailed instructions, we recommend watching the video below the text.
Determine the sharpening angle
It’s critical to figure out the proper sharpening angle. This is the angle formed by the whetstone’s edge and the object’s edge. The smaller the angle means sharper the edge, but it is also more fragile. For Japanese knives a sharpening angle of around 15 degrees is common, for other knives it is usually 20 degrees.
In order to estimate the sharpening angle, it is best to first place your knife perpendicular to the whetstone. Do not do this with force, as this will damage the blade. You now have a 90 degree angle. Take half of it twice and your angle is about 22.5 degrees, which is fine for sharpening most western knives. If you find it difficult to keep the angle constant while sharpening, which is very likely at first, you can use sharpening guides. You attach these accessories to the back of the blade, in order to keep the distance between the knife and the sharpening stone constant.
What is the best way to sharpen a knife in the field?
Bushcraft practitioners and survivalists who frequently use their knives in extreme conditions see their knives become dull relatively quickly. In such situations, it is convenient to be able to sharpen your knife in the field, since using a dull knife is very dangerous and impractical. A sharp outdoor knife is preferable.
Pocket knives and axes can be sharpened and maintained in the field in a number of ways. There are small pocket sharpening stones which are expandable or foldable and therefore easy to carry in the pocket. There are also various compact manual sharpeners to take with you, they often have several sharpening phases. There are also small tactical sharpening rods that allow knives to be sharpened with a smooth or serrated blade. You give them the finishing touch with a leather strop.