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Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening 1874

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,891 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« on: March 19, 2018, 10:22:53 PM »
One of the first things I have to do to virtually every cheap MT I get is sharpen the blade. I swear that sometimes people sell tools just because a blade has gone dull from normal use. No nicks, or damage to the blade. It just needs to be sharpened.

I realized that in all my test threads on inexpensive MTs, I talk about sharpening the blades, but it seems a bit ridiculous to talk about how i brought a $5 tool's blade back using $30 worth of sharpening supplies. So I wanted to go as low budget as I could, and see what would work.

I legitimately want to get down to a particular river bed I know, and try picking up some river polished stones to use for sharpening, but haven't had the chance yet. Because, honestly, knife sharpening is just the very precise use of a stone or some hard and abrasive object to scrape against steel.

Putting the idea of rocks aside, what else could be had?

How about a basic handheld knife sharpener? The one in this picture cost just over a dollar from ebay, with a few week's wait as it shipped from China. I assume it's carbide. I don't know. I tested it on my 10' kitchen knife. Before sharpening, the knife would not cut paper at all. After sharpening, it would cut regular paper, and very hesitantly cut thin receipt paper.



I then used the unglazed portion of the bottom of a coffee cup, and got the knife sharp enough to fairly cleanly cut the receipt paper. I then sharpened the knife on the glazed portion, and got a very clean cut on the receipt paper.

There are a number of videos where people try to sharpen a knife blade on unfinished ceramic and it doesn't work. That, I THINK, is because unglazed ceramic should really only be used for touching up, or fine sharpening, not beginning the job. Finer even than the unglazed portion is the fused glass finish of industrial glazing. This WILL sharpen, but EXTREMELY slowly, and should be used only for finishing.

You can usually find coffee mugs for well under a dollar at yardsales, flea markets, and resale shops. So, for about $2, you can get a blade from not sharp (but not dead blunt) to receipt paper cutting sharp.

I am 100% convinced that a well tumbled granite river stone would be as good as a lansky sharpening stone (or about 300 grit sharpening stone) for more course work, but just because I'm convinced of it doesn't mean it actually WILL work.

I tried, and didn't have any real luck with trying cardboard for stropping. I've had a little luck stropping on the rough side of a leather belt, but I DID have some great results when I added Flitz polish to a piece of cardboard and stropped on that.

Setting aside the cardboard, river stone, and even ceramic mug, the basic sharpener for just over a dollar would give at least a basically sharpened edge. Please note here that this is really just sharpening, not grinding out nicks. That would require starting with a much courser stone, I think.

I'd be happy to hear of other very inexpensive methods.

And yes, I've heard of using the edge of car windows as well. That just seems really impractical.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 10:24:26 PM by Lynn LeFey »


No Life Club Posts: 1,804 I have a small selection of disparate tools
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 10:31:33 PM »
 :like: :popcorn:

It is never too late to be what you might have been - George Eliot
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,337
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 10:32:19 PM »
A dirt cheap honing steel I have does an amazing job in getting blunt knives sharp again.
A touch up against a mug or cheap free hand diamond sharpener gets it wicked sharp.

Buy now or regret later
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,624
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 09:09:26 AM »

Can you find a piece of Slate? Do you have slate in America Lynn?  :think:  :think:
It's sad that I don't know the answer to this  :(
I need coffee....
 

Everything’s adjustable
No Life Club Posts: 1,014
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 11:13:03 AM »
Finding a suitable stone in nature makes sense - I guess many might do a decent job. It should even be possible to find a great one as historically grinding stones came from natural deposits.

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
No Life Club Posts: 1,993 Yersinia Pestis & Campylobacter Jejuni!
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 11:57:37 AM »
It does not even have to be a stone you find in nature. In many constructions, stones are used. I recall my dad used a stone window sill on our house to touch up his knife before he left.
A few years ago, I was visiting a castle ruin in a mountain village. I noticed an ancient dilapidated water collector. that showed signs of years of use as a sharpening stone on one of it's flat sides. I told my wife what the marks where, pulled out my pocket knife, and sharpened it where it was done hundreds of years ago.  :cheers:

Once you go black you never go back
@blackdiamonds_42
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,891 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2018, 04:25:38 PM »

Can you find a piece of Slate? Do you have slate in America Lynn?  :think:  :think:
It's sad that I don't know the answer to this  :(
I need coffee....

Yes, we have slate in the U.S.

Here's the wiki article on the slate industry in North America...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slate_industry#Slate_industry_in_North_America

I don't think it's sad that you don't know this. It seems like a pretty esoteric bit of information to know.

In regard to the other comments, now you guys make me want to go get a selection of stones from our local landscaping place and test them.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,348 Firm believer of Sturgeon's Law
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2018, 06:05:24 PM »
sandpaper,
my answer is sandpaper, in different grits,  :tu:
sheets of different grain size, they're cheap, and even better they have other uses   :salute:

My toys:

MTs: Surge (2x), Skeletool CX, Rebar, Blast, Fuse, Micra, Squirt (3x), Wave, Crunch, Mini, Spirit (2x), Pro Scout, MP700 (2x), Diesel, Powerlock, PowerPlier (2x), PocketPowerPlier, Blacktip , ST6 (2x), 5WR, A100

SAKs: Bantam, Executive, Ambassador, Minichamp, Classic Alox, Champion, Farmer, Explorer, Swisschamp, Golf Tool, Wenger Champ, EVO 52, Pocket Tool Chest
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,891 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2018, 06:57:00 PM »
sandpaper,
my answer is sandpaper, in different grits,  :tu:
sheets of different grain size, they're cheap, and even better they have other uses   :salute:

Interesting. I recently watched a video of a chef sharpening knives with expensive whet stones versus super-fine sandpaper.


I only keep 600 and 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper on hand for removing rust from MTs. I've never tested them for sharpening blades.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,624
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2018, 08:03:38 PM »

They will work Lynn  :tu:


That's 150 grit for doing coarse work, re-profiling
 


That was something like1500 grit wrapped around a diamond stone


Everything’s adjustable
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,891 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2018, 11:36:14 PM »
Nice.  :tu:

Folks, I very much appreciate the feedback. Please keep it coming.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,624
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2018, 04:19:39 AM »

Theres a few more pictures of that knife here,
reply 200
https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,29267.200.html

Everything’s adjustable
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 16,842
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2018, 01:54:12 PM »

Esse Quam Videri
Global Moderator Point Of No Return Posts: 34,681
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2018, 02:05:45 PM »
My local dollar store sells a two sided whetstone for you guessed it  a $1
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,748
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2018, 02:18:19 PM »
My local dollar store sells a two sided whetstone for you guessed it  a $1

You can even get some for less than $1 incl shipping on ebay.  :D

-Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður.
 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,891 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2018, 08:00:31 PM »
My local dollar store sells a two sided whetstone for you guessed it  a $1

You can even get some for less than $1 incl shipping on ebay.  :D

i seem to recall this coming up in another thread. I should probably go check my local dollar store.
Global Moderator Zombie Apprentice Posts: 16,842
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2018, 09:37:57 PM »
I've seen those at my local dollar store as well.  I've seen someone use a glass bottle as well.  I'll try to find the info and post here when/if I do. 

Esse Quam Videri
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,774 Man of Multiple MultiTool Manufacturers
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2018, 05:01:51 AM »
I use sandpaper on my beater knives, but I haven't had a lot of luck with it on blades I want to look clean. It tends to score more than a fine hone would, even at the same grit (in this case, the lansky stone is 1000 grit and the paper I used is 800 grit, because that is the finest I use at work).
First pic is a Kershaw I sharpened with 800 grit sandpaper. The second pic is the $40 Lansky kit(used on valuable blades), and the last two pics are ones done on the Lansky kit. While $40 seems like a lot, cheap sharpening methods tend to ruin blade geometry and can damage the blade finish irreparably. I always think a guided sharpening system is key to sharpening something you want to look nice, retain value (ex. Multitool blades), and function well for years.
Now, if you know the knife won't be resold, or generally don't care what they blade looks like, sandpaper (as mentioned by ThePeacant) is cheap, FAST (very fast), and effective. On my work knives, I just nail the papers I'll be using onto a 2"x4" and try to keep a 20 degree angle as best I can by eye.
I have been leaning towards using the guided system more and more recently as I have found the polished edge with perfect geometry to hold up better in the long run.

Edit: I'd like to add that I am only bringing this up, because I really don't want anyone to start sharpening knives on rocks and car windows if they can avoid doing so(I know y'all know better, but I can't help but think someone is going outside right now and using 120 grit sandpaper to sharpen their knife and honing it on their neighbor's car window edge). It is very time consuming to reprofile and get a good geometry back on a blade after scraping it on uneven/rough surfaces. I learned the hard way (didn't know about sharpening for years and ruined many blades with cheap stones and cheap draw-sharpers).
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 05:41:34 AM by gerleatherberman »

Pontificating particularly pious positions pertaining to polymorphic paraphernalia. G-Man.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,748
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2018, 10:43:05 AM »
These guys use a brick and belt as a strop.
I have no personal experience with it.




Ps. They are a bit silly :D

-Knívleysur maður er lívleysur maður.
 "A Knifeless man is a lifeless man" old Faroese proverb.
Hero Member Posts: 802
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2018, 03:46:04 PM »
For serrations an old bootlace slicked with a little sand-mud works well
The sand gets into the threads and you end up with a flexable abrasive that conforms to the tooth
Just tie one end off a pull tight, always stroke away from the edge to not cut the cord.

I have used this and card board to touch up blades for years....
I first heard about cardboard stropping in a mid90s Blade interview with the head of Blackjack. It isnt good for a dull blade but for a finish or quick touchup it can work.
One company I used to work for had box knives that took odd blades that were never in stock. People were always wanting to bum blades so I would trade for the dull ones and strop them back sharp.

I used to be a lot of things, and someday will again.
But for now I'm just a lost jack of trades with neither mastery nor home. ~NoaIsumi
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,891 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2018, 04:49:49 PM »
I have used this and card board to touch up blades for years....
I first heard about cardboard stropping in a mid90s Blade interview with the head of Blackjack. It isnt good for a dull blade but for a finish or quick touchup it can work.
One company I used to work for had box knives that took odd blades that were never in stock. People were always wanting to bum blades so I would trade for the dull ones and strop them back sharp.

Did you use corrugated cardboard of solid? And did you put any kind of abrasive on the cardboard?

I have had no luck with corrugated, and only with solid cardboard when I added Flitz polish.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,891 Any tool is better than nothing. Some not by much
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2018, 04:51:46 PM »
These guys use a brick and belt as a strop.
I have no personal experience with it.
...
Ps. They are a bit silly :D

"$1000 knife, $500 knife, $500 knife..." Loved that bit. :rofl:
Hero Member Posts: 802
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2018, 10:03:15 PM »
I use corrugated, across the ridges not with. As I said it's just a touch up or polishing not an actual sharpening.

I used to be a lot of things, and someday will again.
But for now I'm just a lost jack of trades with neither mastery nor home. ~NoaIsumi
No Life Club Posts: 3,090 American Clandestine Materials Executive (ACME)
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2018, 11:02:05 PM »
I just wanted to make a comment about how this thread appears in the main forum list. It is truncated to "Least expensive meth..."

Uhm....

Yeah. Been afraid to even LOOK in this forum.

"Even if it is only the handful of people I meet on the street, or in my home, I can still protect them with this one sword" Kenshin Himura

Patriotism is a lively sense of collective responsibility, Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on it's own dunghill.

Necessity is the mother of invention. If you're not ready, it's "a mother". If you are, it's "mom".
Global Moderator Point Of No Return Posts: 35,990
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2018, 11:05:47 PM »
 :)
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 14,348 Firm believer of Sturgeon's Law
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2018, 02:04:00 PM »
I just wanted to make a comment about how this thread appears in the main forum list. It is truncated to "Least expensive meth..."

Uhm....

Yeah. Been afraid to even LOOK in this forum.

I don't know about cheap but that would certainly make one Cheerful   :D

My toys:

MTs: Surge (2x), Skeletool CX, Rebar, Blast, Fuse, Micra, Squirt (3x), Wave, Crunch, Mini, Spirit (2x), Pro Scout, MP700 (2x), Diesel, Powerlock, PowerPlier (2x), PocketPowerPlier, Blacktip , ST6 (2x), 5WR, A100

SAKs: Bantam, Executive, Ambassador, Minichamp, Classic Alox, Champion, Farmer, Explorer, Swisschamp, Golf Tool, Wenger Champ, EVO 52, Pocket Tool Chest
Hero Member Posts: 508
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2018, 05:37:25 PM »
I think I am just really bad at sharpening, but the only time I've ever had any success is using this.  I've tried cheaper stuff (rods, stones, those v-shaped hand sharpeners), can never get a good edge.  I don't think I am good at keeping a constant angle and just make the edges worse.  I probably also press to hard, I don't know.

Hero Member Posts: 653
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2018, 10:34:05 AM »
Holy crap, thank you! That lansky system is exactly what I'm looking for. I've got the universal kit (for the serrated cutter) and an extra fine block on order right now!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B8L6M2

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B8L6MC

With this setup I'm essentially trading the extra coarse block for the serrated block, and saving $3 over the Deluxe kit.


Charles.
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,624
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2018, 06:27:04 PM »

I like the Lansky system  :tu:

Everything’s adjustable
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,624
Re: Least expensive method of basic knife sharpening
« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2018, 06:51:49 PM »

Oh and for Lynn when you get a min  ;)

https://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,76719.0.html

 :cheers:

Everything’s adjustable

 

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