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Thread: Knife sharpening help please

  1. #1

    Knife sharpening help please

    I've just bought one of the Gatco kits and am having a knife sharpening session. I have a couple of frosts knives kicking around, both very dull, so I've been having a bit of a go at them. They are much better now, but not up to shaving hair off my arm, which is the benchmark I have always used since I was showed by a butcher a few years ago. They both have the carbon steel blade, which should sharpen up great. I've even stropped them.

    So, any suggestions as to the angle I should be using, or what I'm doing wrong? Am I expecting too much, and is the hair shaving test a realistic one for cutting meat,and butchery tasks (rabbits etc), or is there another reliable way to test if my knives are really sharp?

    All help and suggestions gratefully received.



  2. #2
    A knife edge which will cut hair or shave hair needs an angle of about 14 degrees. The problem is that this is far to delicate an edge for stalking purposes. I usually go for an edge which is between 20 and 25 degrees. It wont shave hair but it is sharp and robust enough for stalking purposes.

  3. #3

  4. #4
    I use a Lansky system on my Frost's knives and I can certainly get them sharp enough to shave the hairs off my arm.

    I note the comment above though about that being too delicate an edge. I have noticed that the blades don't stay that sharp for very long.

  5. #5
    I use a fine angle edge folder to cut the outer skin as it gets less abuse, then I switch to a 25 degree frosts to go through ribs etc and a saw blade on the folder does the hip joint.

  6. #6
    Regular Poster Jinga's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    N Oxfordshire and Edinburgh
    I have one of these kits and go for 25 evry time. I sharpen every other trip and all is well. I have been asked to sharpen kitchen knives with it and it only sharpens good quality knives. Cheap ones are not worth the effort!

  7. #7
    Thank you, I have used youtube but there's so much conflicting advice there it's hard to know whats what.
    I'll persevere with it, and try the 22 degree setting. What about stropping, does anyone bother much, or is is irrelevant for this type of work?

  8. #8
    You must strop , This not only gets rid of the burrs but also polishes the edge to a razor sharpness.
    Can you not find a carpenter/joiner to show you how to use traditional oil/waterstones .
    I sharpen tools day in day out ,and have never found the need for gadgets .

  9. #9
    Also, is it safe to assume that you ignore the large bevel on the blade, and are actually sharpening a smaller secondary bevel at a steeper angle?

  10. #10
    Sorry Brough, cross posted there. I have been shown, more than once, however I am just no good at it ! Maybe something to do with being ambidextrous (I'm rubbish with both hands!!) I can get somewhere with the oilstone, but get the feeling that I am changing the angle slightly at times and therefore ruining the edge again. I have recently started stropping the blades and it does seem to make a difference.

    Maybe I'll just stick with one old knife and practice until I either get the technique, or create a toothpick!

    Incidentally, I've always been envious of those who can sharpen knives beautifully freehand, or use any hand tools well for that matter. I was just born a clumsy oaf!

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