These knives are exceptionally easy to sharpen freehand. The wide bevel is simply laid flat to the stone when sharpening. You want to remove metal from the entire width of the bevel to preserve the correct angle. You are removing more metal this way, but it doesn't really take a lot longer because you can bear down harder without fear of losing the correct angle. Because the angle is preserved through successive sharpenings, you, your son, and grandson, will never have to regrind the blade to restore the profile!
It's best to be sure your stones are really flat. After using them a while, they tend to wear in the center, and become saddle shaped. Stones can be flattened by working two similar stones together, by working them on a sheet of emery cloth laid on plate glass, or with a special ceramic flattening plate and paste used in Japan. Or you can just use diamond plates instread of stones. Diamond plates cut faster and stay flat. They are used with water rather than messy oil, and can even be used dry in a pinch. I've had a thin diamond plate, about the size of a credit card, in my wallet for years. I've backed it with a scrap of worn 9-micron abrasive film for a strop. It's all I really need to maintain my knives indefinitely.
To sharpen, press the bevel flat to the stone and work the entire edge. In the beginning, I don't think it matters what type of motion you use, as long as you keep the bevel flat. Work it until you can feel a slight burr when you run your finger tip off the edge on the other side. You want this all along the edge. When you have established a burr along the entire length of the edge, turn the knife over and repeat on the other side. When you can feel the burr all along the first side, you've established the edge. Now you want to remove the burr. Stroke the blade lightly over the stone as if you were taking slices off the surface. At this point you want to move in one direction only, edge first, as if you were cutting the stone. Keep the bevel flat. Switch from side to side, moving the burr back and forth, until it's honed away. Moving the blade diagonally gives the effect of a slightly finer stone. Finish on a strop. If your blade is very dull, or badly nicked, you might want to start with a medium, or even coarse, stone to remove the nicks. Then move to the fine stone. Depending on your use, you may want to repeat with successively finer grades of stones or diamond plates. For the best possible results you can go down to a mirror finish, but this is overkill for most purposes.
This applies to knives used for woodcarving or other work requiring the finest possible edge. For general use many folks like to strengthen the edge with a micro bevel. Just lift the blade very slightly on your finest stone, and take a few light strokes to establish a small secondary bevel. A better way to do this is to use a super fine abrasive paper (7 or 15 micron, or about 1200 grit) on a semi-soft surface like a magazine or newspaper. This is really just an aggressive strop, and blends the micro bevel smoothly into the primary bevel. You can also use a razor strop,
The book "Swedish Carving Techniques" by Wille Sundqvist has a good section on this style of blade and sharpening. It's a good book and worth having. Sadly, it's gone out of print, but you can probably find a copy at your library, or one of the used book services.
I avoid using power grinders on these knives. It's really easy to overheat the thin edge, and ruin the temper. It's really hard to keep the bevel truly flat. With the fast cutting diamond plates, it's easier to do it by hand. There's also a satisfaction in sharpening by hand you don't get with power equipment. I find it a pleasant way to relax.
Occasionally I find knives that have been sharpened incorrectly, and the Scandinavian grind has been lost. Itís possible to reestablish it with a little work and minimal equipment. Itís possible to do it with stones, but quite difficult. Diamond plates make it much easier. Moving the knife across the stone in the normal fashion causes drag, which makes it difficult to maintain a consistent angle without a flat bevel to follow. Moving the knife parallel in relation to the edge eliminates the tendency of the drag to rock the edge. If you do this with a stone it quickly wears a groove in the stone, which needs to be removed. Diamond plates stay flat and donít form a groove. This makes the whole process much easier. I like to start with a larger diamond plate fixed to a bench. I apply pressure and move the knife forward and back in a stabbing motion. This establishes the straight cutting edge. Then I go to a smaller diamond plate and move the plate along the curve to the tip of the blade, continuing the bevel from the straight portion of the blade. I start with the coarsest, most aggressive plates available. When the new bevel is established I smooth it with finer plates.
These sharpening methods apply only to the Scandinavian grind knives. The other grinds require different methods to maintain the correct angle. There are many other web pages devoted to them, and I'm not going to repeat it all here. A quick Google search just netted over 27,000 web pages with content on "knife sharpening". One of the best I looked at was Knife Maintenance and Sharpening, by Chad Ward. It's a primer focused on kitchen knives, but applies to field knives as well. Some of the other grinds perform very well indeed, and may be better for specific purposes. The Scandi grind is optimised for woodworking.
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