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Dale Green Woodcarving
General Wood Carving

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  #1  
Old 08-31-2009, 12:50 PM
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Default sharpening the whittling knife

Hello,

I am going into Lee Valley Tools this morning to pick up some knives. I would like to know if anyone can help me on the best way to keep them sharp.

I have a Spyderco Sharpmaker which works wonders on all my other cutlery and I can get them hair popping sharp.
What I would like to know is when the knives get dull should I use the sharpmaker or should I strop the blades on leather?

I am a bit confused at what exactly stropping does? My confusion is this, if I can bring the edge back using the stropping method on leather this means my tools will last longer because I'm not taking any steel off as I would be using the stone method? But, wouldn't the edge fold back pretty much the first time back carving?
If you can bring an edge back using such a soft medium such as leather how hard would that edge really be? Does any of this make sense?
Thank you guys/gals for all your help. I'm new and really appreciate the advice.

Sean
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:27 PM
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Default Re: sharpening the whittling knife

Hi Sean, When using your leather strop, you generally put some kind of an abrasive compound on the leather, which is what wears away some of your blade. When you see it start turning black, that is from the metal. It also has a tendency to put a bevel on the cutting edge, which after awhile, you will have to grind back down to your original bevel, then start your stroping again, It just helps you maintain a sharper edge while your carve. Check some of the sharpening videos on you tube.

Good luck, Tom
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: sharpening the whittling knife

Hi, Sean. What Tom said. When you strop, you take less material away, saving the blade. If you constantly go to the stone instead of stropping, you will wear away the blade much faster.

I use Rich Notto's White Gold stropping compound on my strops. Others will tell you Flexcut Yellow Gold or some other compound is the way to go.

Ed
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: sharpening the whittling knife

You should not worry about using the stone you will only use it rarely to Bring back an edge. you strop 95% of the time anyway to maintain the edge.
Sharpening is an art in itself many an excellent book has been written about the topic.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: sharpening the whittling knife

I also just strop on leather and White Gold, works fine 95 % of the time. If that does not work I use a fine ceramic stone then strop.

Dave
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: sharpening the whittling knife

Sean, My whittlin knife blade is ground flat. No bevel. When I strop I place my index finger on top of the blade and strop, thereby keeping the blade flat against the strop. I use a stroping compound, on leather then finish it off with the plain leather. The only time I have had to use a stone is when I damaged the blade tip. However, I do have my knife blades sharpened by John Dunkle at least once a year, When I see him at either Dayton, GOW or at the Evart Roundup. This works for me.

Tom H
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: sharpening the whittling knife

Another option for sharpening :

Little Shavers Wood Carving Supply

Dave
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: sharpening the whittling knife

For sure, do not use the sharpmaker on your carving knives. The bevel is just too obtuse. If you are getting Beebe knives, you will probably want to flatten the bevels on them as well for maximum performance for carving basswood. If you have not done this before, it might be better to send them out to be done. Paul's bevels are not severe but his knives will carve better if you flatten them a bit. Once you get the grinds nice and smooth, you can maintain your knives for a long long time just by stropping. Even if the edges bevel sightly it's no big deal but when they become pretty obtuse, or you chip the edges, you'll need to flatten them again. When you strop, if you keep the blade flat on the strop, it will be a long time before the edge becomes rounded.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: sharpening the whittling knife

Also, don't use the Lee Valley green compound, use Notto's White Gold or Flexcut Gold. These are more aggressive compounds and will really keep your knives sharp.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: sharpening the whittling knife

hey thanks all! I ended up talking with a fellow at Lee Valley and I bought the Flexcut knives for my first whittlers.
I didn't know but I ended up getting the green compound to use when stropping.
Thanks for all the advice it is a lot clearer to me now on what to do.

Sean
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