logo-instructor-badge

Welcome:

Certified Chip Carving Instructor Program


Lesson 10: Knife Sharpening

Objective:After completing this lesson you will be able to sharpen a knife properly and explain and demonstrate how sharpening is done using the Sharpening Kit. 

Assignment

Complete each item below and email required items to me for assessment at info@mychipcarving.com. 

  1. Practice using the Sharpening Kit as you sharpen one of your chip carving knives.
  2. Write out a step-by-step script as you teach knife sharpening to your students. Include an introduction, sharpening process, Q&A and conclusion. Email your script to info@mychipcarving.com

Materials needed:

  1. Sharpening Kit
  2. Knife to Sharpen
  3. Permanent Marker

Read pp., Chip Carving Essentials, pp.15-23

Watch this Platinum video: How to Sharpen Your Knife Using the Knife Sharpening Kit

Lesson Information:

Becoming a proficient and successful chip carver is impossible with a dull knife. Learning how to properly sharpen a knife is an important part of becoming a helpful and valued teacher. In this lesson you’ll learn a solid sharpening technique that is easy for your students to learn.

When I teach knife sharpening I tell my students how I used ceramic stones for years and got a “decent” edge. In my desire for a better edge than I was getting with ceramic, I started reading and researching and came up a simple and inexpensive system that truly gives a “scary sharp” edge. This Sharpening Kit uses four grits of self-adhesive silicon carbide abrasives and a strop. It’s one thing for me to say it really works, but when customers agree then I know it’s doing exactly what I was aiming for.

TJ said this, “An excellent sharping technique! I’ve been using ceramic stones and this does a far better job.”

KO says, “This is by far the best sharpening method I’ve used. I have another abrasive sharpening kit but they aren’t as fine as the ones included in this system. For chip carving you really need this sharpening method to achieve the “scary sharp” for clean cuts.”

AG comments, “Dear Marty, what a difference it made to sharpen my knives with your system and materials. Until now I did not know what a scary-sharp knife was. :o) There is a big difference between ceramic stone sharpening and your system. Even the sound of the knife cutting the fibers is different. Thank you very much!”

I include these comments so you can teach sharpening with this Kit confidently. You need to use it yourself so you know for yourself what a really sharp edge is like. Along with that you will be able to show your students how easy it is to use the kit.

The Sharpening Kit contains four grits of self-adhesive silicon carbide abrasive strips: 15 micron (u) 1200 grit, 9u  1800 grit, 5u  4500 grit 3u  8000 grit. Students will be more familiar with grit than micron labels. Comparatively, a white ceramic stone is about 2000 grit so you immediately see how much finer the 8000 grit is when compared to the white ceramic stone. The strop (pronounced /sträp/, not /strōp/) with compound is the final step used to hone the edge. When deciding on a compound to use on the strop, I tried all of the various compounds (yellow, black, red, green other whites) and found the White Gold Compound does the best job. The strop is a thin piece of leather on a flat piece of oak. Thin leather is important so the edge of the knife does not get rounded if thick leather is used.

When demonstrating knife sharpening, be sure to point out that the water used as a lubricant on the strips should turn black. If it does not turn black, apply more pressure. Black water consists of fine metal particles and water and is a sign that metal on the blade is being removed. The same is true on the strop. If the strop is not black, apply more pressure.

As you demonstrate this process, you will quickly notice some students with a look of, “Wow, this is going to take a long time.” Reassure them that this countdown 10-1 method does not take as long as you might think. In just a matter of MINUTES they will have a truly Scary Sharp knife!

Students will have a hard time knowing if they have the proper angle of their knife when sharpening. I tell my students to “think flat” on the abrasives and strop. As they “think flat” they will normally get a very shallow angle which is best when sharpening. To further help them get the proper angle, take a black permanent marker and color the edge of the knife on both sides. As the knife is sharpened and stropped the black will be removed where the edge is contacting the abrasive/strop so students can see what part of the blade is contacting the abrasive/leather.

Students who have been using ceramic stones are used to moving the blade back and forth on the stone. If they do the same on the abrasive strips they will cut through the strip when the edge is pushed into the abrasive.

It is important to have one or two strops and a stick of White Gold compound available for your students to use during class. I like to put them on a chair in the center of the circle so they are clearly in view. Periodically send the strops around so your students remember to strop.

When teaching the Sharpening Kit method, you will get asked many of the following questions:

Q: How long will the abrasive strips last?
A: It all depends on how many knives are sharpened. When the water stops turning black or the abrasive strip is worn through, peel off the old strip and replace it with a new one.

Q: Should I go through this entire process every time I need to sharpen my knife?
A: The last step, stropping, should be done every 15 or 20 minutes to ensure a crisp edge. If the knife edge gets rounded over or for some reason the strop is not doing the trick, then return to the Sharpening Kit board. It’s a quick process so starting at the first abrasive will return your knife to Scary Sharp.

Q: Can I get replacement strips?
A: Replacement strips are available (have some on hand so you can make a sale and provide supplies your students want and need). You won’t find them locally as self-adhesive strips in these grits are very hard to find.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: The price of the Sharpening Kit is less than the price of ONE small ceramic stone. $32.95

Q: Can I apply the strips on glass, a square piece of wood, or other flat surface I have at home?
A: Sure, but for only a few dollars the square melamine is sized perfectly for the strips and the rubber feet on the bottom keep it from slipping.

Q: When the strop turns black, what should I do?
A: The strop can be cleaned very easily. Hold the strop over a trash can and use the spine of the knife to scrape it clean. It will still look black but the build up of compound will be removed after scraping. Apply more compound and the strop is ready to go. The strop will last a long time.

Q: I have Japanese Water Stones that are 12,000 and 16,000 grit. Can I use them?
A: You can use them as long as you keep the stones perfectly flat. Japanese Water Stones are soft and need regular maintenance to keep the surface flat.

Q: How about diamond sharpeners?
A: Diamond coated plates consist of diamond particles that are not as consistent in size as silicon carbide particles. You will get a better edge using silicon carbide strips than diamond. And the Sharpening Kit is less expensive than diamond.

Practice using the Sharpening Kit so you are familiar with the contents, process and are comfortable using it. This will help your confidence when you teach your students knife sharpening!

Assignment

Complete each item below and email required items to me for assessment at info@mychipcarving.com. 

  1. Practice using the Sharpening Kit as you sharpen one of your chip carving knives.
  2. Write out a step-by-step script as you teach knife sharpening to your students. Include an introduction, sharpening process, Q&A and conclusion. Email your script to info@mychipcarving.com

 

Move ahead to lesson 11


Lessons
123456789101112131415