Sharp knives

Von Gruff

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This is the short vodeo I did today on how I use a honing steel. I have ground and polished both my fathers and great grandfathers steel so they are smooth where they both had very fined ridges as I received them Admittedly they were quite worn but a smooth steel is far less likely to damage a knife blade than a smooth one if the incorrect angle of approach it used.
 
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This is the short vodeo I did today on how I use a honing steel. I have ground and polished both my fathers and great grandfathers steel so they are smooth where they both had very fined ridges as I received them Admittedly they were quite worn but a smooth steel is far less likely to damage a knife blade than a smooth one if the incorrect angle of approach it used.
@Von Gruff
My old oval f.dick is as smooth as a baby's bum and maintains an edge really well. It's seen that much use you can pick up small nails with it because the tip is magnetized.
Bob
 

Von Gruff

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I had meant to add that there is a very good reason to hold the steel with the thumb over the top rather than round the handle in what might be a instinctive grip with those steels that have a fixed handle. A slip in concentration with the knife means a cut accross the thumb and usually is not so bad that it will heal in short order - but holding the steel with the thumb 'round the handle' leaves the web between the thumb and the fingers vulnerable to a very severe cut and one that may well do lasting damage to the hand.
 
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I had meant to add that there is a very good reason to hold the steel with the thumb over the top rather than round the handle in what might be a instinctive grip with those steels that have a fixed handle. A slip in concentration with the knife means a cut accross the thumb and usually is not so bad that it will heal in short order - but holding the steel with the thumb 'round the handle' leaves the web between the thumb and the fingers vulnerable to a very severe cut and one that may well do lasting damage to the hand.
@Von Gruff
Gary a couple of photos of my f.dick oval steel

20200625_103613.jpg
20200625_103536.jpg
 
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Von Gruff

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Mine is a shefield one Bob (Fathers one that is. Great grandfathers just has cast steel on it.
 

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The Worksharp field sharpener is the best tool IMO to carry in the field for touch ups - it has 2 different coarseness diamond plates, plus a ceramic rod and a strop. They're all quite small surfaces but work fine for touch ups.

the worksharp field sharpener has 20 degree angles built into all sides of it, even on the strop. does a great job to sharpen a knife quickly.
 

CBH Australia

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Bob, that handle has me think it’s a Sapphire cut steel. To my knowledge that is just a Description used by Dick , not Saphire encrusted just in name only. I have a couple and one being a Sapphire cut with same handle, they start out pretty smooth.
I have a mate was selling butchering gear years go so I learned a little about different varieties.
F.Dick seem to be popular with Butchers in varying styles and grades.
 
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Bob, that handle has me think it’s a Sapphire cut steel. To my knowledge that is just a Description used by Dick , not Saphire encrusted just in name only. I have a couple and one being a Sapphire cut with same handle, they start out pretty smooth.
I have a mate was selling butchering gear years go so I learned a little about different varieties.
F.Dick seem to be popular with Butchers in varying styles and grades.
Mate I had th at steel over 40 years
Bob.
 

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Mine is a shefield one Bob (Fathers one that is. Great grandfathers just has cast steel on it.
I’ve seen plenty of Sheffield stuff, also popular in Australia, certainly at a time.
I expect popularity goes in phases and that’s driven by demand but also availability. Availability might be driven by the importer and their preference.
I have no idea what was popular with Kiwis or how much manufacturing was done there.
Probably a slim chance knives etc imported for your lot were from Sheffield England being it was home to many cutlers and knife makers when Bob was a wee lad.
 

bruce moulds

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during the empire and later commonwealth days, sheffield stuff would have been common in the colonies.
apparently most of the bowie knives in america were made in sheffield, as were the bison skinners knives during the 1800s.
bruce.
 

Von Gruff

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This was from the early 50's and while his steel was a shefield his two main butcher knives were F Dick. He bought the best that was available at the time. Unfortunately I didn't get the knives but do prize the steel.
 

Ray B

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Keeping the steel edged is important. Most of the beefboners that I knew used emery cloth of very fine grit and between pieces of meat coming down the conveyor, they would work the steel with the cloth. Doing so kept the steel in great shape to line the blade.
 

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ChrisG

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I think there are as many ways to get a knife sharp as there are ways of making them. I don't think there is one particular "right" way to do it. You are right in that the steel simply realigns and burnishes the edges. The issue with constantly using one is that you will ultimately burning the edge enough that it breaks and will need to be re-sharpened. a steel gives the false impression of sharpness. The tried and true method for me, that I learned long ago when sharpening chisels for wood working was:

1. Start with a course diamond stone that is dead flat (skip this is you are just retouching the blade)
2. Move to a medium stone (if you have one), or skip right to a fine stone. Keeping the same angle isn't paramount (if you can then do) but a rounded bevel is actually beneficial as it makes the edge stronger without significantly affecting how sharp the blade can be. The caveat here is that the angle of the bevel should be between 15 and 25 degrees. Any more and you won't get a good edge, though it will be strong, and any less and you will have a razor that chips out sections of the blade because the edge is unsupported.
3. This is the most important part. Remove the burr with a smooth leather strop impregnated with fine buffing compound. drag the bevel against the strop at the same angle than you sharpened it at and do that until the bevel looks like a mirror.

same procedure goes for a knife, it is just that you have two bevels instead of one.

People get caught up in the minutiae of sharpening with technicalities and it really is quite simple. Produce a bevel, hone it fine, then strop to remove the burr. You will have a strong edge that (assuming good steel) holds an edge for quite a while. Most of my knives you could shave with after sharpening like this for just 5 minutes starting at the course stone.

I hardly ever use a steel anymore, except in the kitchen when cutting tomatoes with a well used knife. Even then, it is just a stopgap to when I can go breakout the diamond stones again.
 

YancyW

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I have a Wicked Edge system, I have it mounted to a very base, its lives on the far end of my reloading bench most all the time. I mostly just use diamond stones and leather strop attachments, I can get paper towel cutting sharp on most any blade in just a couple minutes.

I know many people can get the same thing with just using stones, but I never could, and this is far faster.
 

Ray B

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A sharp edge will tend to cut in line with the angle of the edge. That is, if the blade is sharpened to a 20 degree angle then the direction the blade will tend to cut will be in a straight line, with 10 degrees on each side of the axis. think of it as an arrow, the point is the edge and the point tapers away from the shaft at 10 degrees on each side. The shaft is the blade seen vertically. The problem that I have with those sharpening methods that resemble chisels, flat on bottom, all angle on top or side if a knife blade, is that the edge doesn't know that it is out of line with the blade and will want to cut in the direction of the middle of the angle. Now if it is a chisel and you are removing wood, this is great because with the flat down, the edge will tend to cut into the wood and if inverted the edge will just shave along the top of the wood, not digging in. But when used on a knife blade and trying to cut meat, the blade will try to cut in the direction of the angle and result in trying to cut in a circle rather than a straight line. I can see some use of the one sided bevel for skinning an animal- keeping the flat away from the hide so the knife would be inclined to cut away from the hide, therefore having a lesser tendency to nick the hide- but since there are two sides to the animal the user may need two knives with reversed bevels, or change directions to keep the flat away from the hide.
 

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