30 minutes of whetstone sharpening tips

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/16/30-minutes-of-whetstone-sharpe.html

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I’ve considered getting one but i don’t know. Something about the process makes me anxious even though i know its something i can do, i guess its the mentality of “This is something better left to professionals” line of thought. I suppose i might end up getting one or some kind of sharpener once i get better kitchen knives. I really hate the set i currently have but i’m too cheap to replace them.

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A red sharpie would have been more dramatic.

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I got over my knife edge obsession when I used a scythe to cut an acre or so of tall grass and weeds. You sharpen the blade about every 10 steps so you get good a making a great improvement to your efforts in a minimal amount of time and leave the fine details to someone with more free time on their hands. Same applies to knives and garden tools, even modest sharpening improvements are probably an order of magnitude increase in safety and productivity.

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One of my stress relievers is to carve bowls and spoons and such from chunks of wood too big to fit in the chipper. I use hand tools for almost all the removal work, with adzes, gouges and such. This requires frequent sharpening with whetstones and my experience is that you get better at it fairly quickly once you start doing it, mostly because there is a huge amount of immediate feedback just from how it feels to use the blade. So, to quote Nike, “Just Do It!”

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Some free advice from me: get the sharpener first, and practice on your crappy knives. They are probably softer steel, so the results of your attempts will be more obvious. When you get your better knives, you will have the skill not to scratch up the blades and round over the edges.

You may even find you like your current knives better than you do now. A sharp cheap knife cuts much better than a dull expensive one.

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I’m going to have to learn how to do this, cuz I’m just about to graduate from a shavette (straight razor with disposable blades) to a traditional straight razor. The technique is slightly different, of course.

Luckily, Portland Razor Co. holds razor-honing classes, so I’ll definitely be taking one of those.

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The knives i currently have stain and rust easier, which is why i hate them. I don’t necessarily need expensive knives, i would be ok with a good beater kitchen knife as long as its more robust than the ones i currently have. Been meaning to hit up one of the restaurant supply places near me but haven’t done so yet.

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Where has @Medievalist been lately? He’s usually up for a knife sharpening thread.

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I totally suck at knife sharpening. I’ve tried and tried for years and still cannot get the hang of it - even with one of those idiot-proof ceramic rod things that guarantees the proper angle. I’ve basically thrown in the towel and chalked it up to just one of those things that I’ll never be good at.

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A post about knife sharpening… you did this just to sit back and watch with glee didn’t you @beschizza?

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Busy tilting at wheelbarrows:

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I have a cheapo IKEA chef’s knife that I run through one of those roller sharpeners just before using that keeps at least sharp enough for a lot of things in the kitchen. I also have good knives that I do get out and use for times when I know I will be chopping up lots of things or cutting up a chicken.

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I dunno, pretty sure he would have came at that guy with an ax and shield and a war cry :wink:

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Sounds like you may have carbon steel blades. These actually take a keener edge than stainless but I agree that looking after them is harder, even if it is just a quick wipe with an oiled cloth. Give it a go. You have nothing to lose but a cheap knife!

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I sometimes do this thing where all my posts are individually benign but then someone notices that all the odd posts for the last week are about certain public figures and all the even ones are about optimizing the lethality potential of household objects.

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Someone, somewhere, has print outs of all the articles pasted on a wall with red string connecting various pins.

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First of all, I’m generally interested in why you would do such a thing!

Second, I think you make a great point about the diminishing returns in sharpening knives, tools and such. I’m a long time fan of the Wirecutter, the website that serves to tell consumers what product is “good enough” for most people. There should be a “diminishing returns” website to tell you how much effort and money to invest in various hobbies or activities to get the most bang for your buck and exertion without chasing tiny incremental gains.

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I’ll see myself out.