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Discussion Starter #1
Please keep answers simple! I have bought a single bevel reed knife and a sharpening stone. How do I sharpen the knife? Do I just sharpen the beveled edge by pulling it towards me on the stone? Or what? Every web page I can find loses me in technicalities. I just want to get a half-way usable edge on the blade once it is really blunt. Many thanks.
 

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Take your blade and look at the bevel; it's probably around 15°. Then take a fine carborundum, Arkansas, diamond, or other sharpening stone and, holding the knife at this bevel, push it firmly across the sharpening surface as if you were trying to peel its "skin" off. A few swipes should do it. Lastly, lay the flat side right on the stone and draw it back lightly to get rid of any "burr" or "wire edge". If you look at the blade with a magnifier you should see one flat cutting edge, lightly abraded. Any "polished" area at the tip indicates rounding which needs to be removed. Hope this helps.
 

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You don't want a sharp edge on a reed knife. You're using it as a scraper, not a cutter. You actually want the edge turned over to act as a scraper. Ifyou were using the knife to cut, the above advice would be spot on.
 

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Oops! Thanks Dog Pants ... dumb of me to answer because I've never even used a reed knife! I can explain how to sharpen a cabinet scraper but I think I'll just lay out and let someone answer who knows specifically what he's talking about.
 

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I know this doesn't answer your question (already answered - well, too), but I use a regular old pocket knife with a VERY sharp edge I routinely maintain on the blade. True, I scrape, don't shave or cut with it when doing my reeds, but the sharp edge helps me do the scraping more efficiently. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I want the knife sharp, for the reason Dave says. I'm still not clear about the motion of the knife when sharpening. Is the cutting edge pointing away from me while I swipe the bevel across the stone, and do I move it away or towards me? Sorry to be so dumb, but I may not be the only one!
 

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OK, I'll try to answer again since you're looking for a sharp edge. It doesn't really matter if you draw the edge towards you or push it away from you but, sharpening edged tools for decades, I've come to find it easier to maintain a bevel by pushing the blade or using a "figure eight" motion. The important thing when trying get a sharp edge is not to rock the blade. You need to lock the position of the blade at the correct angle. Only the flattened bevel should touch the stone and you want to wear this away as evenly as possible. Sharpening edged tools by hand is easy in theory but it takes practice; the steadiness of your hand position is of utmost importance. Here's another tip: you can lubricate your stone with water and a little mild soap instead of the usual honing oils; this way you don't get oil on your fingertips, hands, mouthpiece, and reed.

I did a search and found THIS page which goes into great detail.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's what I needed to know! Many thanks. The page you refer to was one I found that got too technical: what you've told me sets me up nicely.
 

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shotgun said:
OK, I'll try to answer again since you're looking for a sharp edge. It doesn't really matter if you draw the edge towards you or push it away from you but, sharpening edged tools for decades, I've come to find it easier to maintain a bevel by pushing the blade or using a "figure eight" motion. The important thing when trying get a sharp edge is not to rock the blade. You need to lock the position of the blade at the correct angle. Only the flattened bevel should touch the stone and you want to wear this away as evenly as possible. Sharpening edged tools by hand is easy in theory but it takes practice; the steadiness of your hand position is of utmost importance. Here's another tip: you can lubricate your stone with water and a little mild soap instead of the usual honing oils; this way you don't get oil on your fingertips, hands, mouthpiece, and reed.

I did a search and found THIS page which goes into great detail.
Ditto this. Get a diamon sharpening stone. They take away metal very quickly and will even work on stainless steel which can be a "stone eating waste of time" on other sharpening stones. Don't skint, get a decent sized one, so you can do the wife's kitchen knives as well. Using a bit of washing up detergent or hand soap, on the stone, not only acts as a lubricant and cutting aid, but it helps you flush all the crapm out of the stone when you rinse it.
If you really want to get the knife shaving sharp, (and there are good reasons not to, but you seem to have your heart set on it) get a working edge with the diamond stone and then work your way down with wet & dry sandpaper on a sheet of glass. Use water as a cutting agent. When you're done, remove the wire edge with a steel. Don't use a ribbed steel, they're useless and you never see a butcher or leather worker using a ribbed one. Finally, put a dab of fine valve grinding paste on a leather strop and polish the blade. As stated above, it takes years to get good at this, and it's so totally unecessary for a reed knife, but give it a go and good luck. If you want to know how to make a proper steel for taking the wire edge off and keeping the blade straight, just ask.
DP
 

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:D I used to say the same thing. My teacher used to reply....."It's either sharp, or it's not. There's no such thing as pretty sharp." :)
 
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