For more information on the woodworker’s knife, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.
Here’s how I now sharpen the blade of the folding knife I use in my daily work. I am something of a fanatic about sharpness and this method works with all thin-bladed knives that have straight edges like these. You can change the angle to any you want but I like the 11-degree used by Stanley. So, here we go:
I used a block of wood 7/8″ thick and 4″ square. Mine is maple, but almost any scrap of wood will do.
Before we get started.
Whereas knife sharpening is a basic and essential element to woodworking, personal safety is your responsibility. Knives can slip, get dropped; please take care with what you are doing. If you follow this article, your knife will surgically sharp.
Use your finger to guide a pencil line along the edge.
With the angle marked onto a piece of wood as shown, saw down the guide lines to a depth that takes the whole cutting edge of the blade. Do exactly the opposite to the other end of the block, so that the blade bevel is presented to the edge of the wood at the correct angle for filing.
Use a fine, thin saw for this. That way the blade will be tight in the kerf and hold as you clamp it. Because the blades are hard, regular files don’t work, but diamond files work well.
Insert the knife into the saw kerf so that the blade is protruding slightly above the surface, I mean just barely, file the bevel using the guide to level the file over the bevel of the blade. Once you have the whole bevel done, switch the blade to the other saw cut of the guide and do the same.
I use a diamond file from EZE-Lap, but most fingernail shaping files are diamond too and these will do the job also, but they are not as fine a tool. The EZE-Lap has a fine diamond face and also a super-fine ceramic face for final refinement. This is the tool and whereas you might not want to buy one just for knives, I use this for saws, bits, and blades of every type around the shop.
Here is where I further improved the whole dynamic of the jig by adding plastic laminate after I had cut the
kerfs in. That way I was able to use the kerf to guide my cuts. This meant a better wear surface and a harder registration face. The results were quite stunning, especially after honing on the ceramic side of the shaping plate. I never got a better edge on a knife like this before; it far surpasses the manufactured edge which is also really good.
An Upcoming Pair of Saw Horses Make a Great Working Team
Another of my projects I made this week were some saw horses we needed for the shop here, but I also needed them for a blog because several people have asked for it over the year. The traditional methods, though they appear complex because of the angles, are quite simple, even with fully angled legs. Building a robust sawhorse, fully jointed and with splayed legs for solidity takes about four hours, but you have to build two because they work best in pairs. I have added this to last week’s list of to-do projects and will cover the complexities and simplicities as I work through the list.
Tool Cupboard Build Apology
By the way, the issue with the tool cupboard build was that I agreed to do this as a favour, but when I built them I did not plan on doing it as an instruction so no photo’s were taken to make sense of everything. I still plan to try to do it but being in the middle of a month-long class and my existing commitments makes it difficult.
Current Info on the Month-Long
What can I say! Yesterday we were gluing up some of the coffee tables. In the next couple of days they will all be finished I am sure. Tomorrow we start the Craftsman-style rocker in oak and I just finished milling the wood to get us started. So much going on. Hard to keep track of, but we have had a wonderful workshop with lots of promising new and seasoned woodworkers.