Monday, July 31, 2017

I'm Not A Knife Guy, I Swear!

I keep insisting that I'm not a knife guy. Yet I have many knives and like to see the newest versions. My favorite brands are Spyderco, Kershaw, Cold Steel and Gerber. I've always carried a pocket knife. I received my first knife as a 8 year old. It was a Case and I loved I. I also had an Official Cub Scout pocket knife. But that's part of my Scouting history. I actually learned to handle a knife from my Father but I also learned more as a Cub and Boy Scout.

Modern knife steel is very high quality material, but all metal will corrode through time. Occasionally oil the joints and springs of a pocket knife with a drop or two of oil. This will assure easier opening and closing and will prevent rust and lessen wear. Wipe the blades down and then with an oil-moistened cloth to prevent rust-especially if you live in a damp climate or close to the ocean. If your blade should get wet, dry it thoroughly. If your knife comes into contact with salt water or any substance you are not certain about, you should rinse it immediately with tap water, dry it and apply a light coat of oil.

Do not store knives in their sheaths. The leather collects moisture and creates pits on the blade.

Check the locking notch of lockbacks regularly to ensure that it will work properly. Keep all sand and grit out of the knife. Keep the mechanisms clean. Remember to never rely on a folding knife to be permanently locked in position.

Do not use the cutting blade as a can opener, chisel, pry bar, screwdriver or for any heavy work for which your knife was not designed. Also, don't use the back of your knife as a hammer. It may break the springs, handles or pin.

Handles made of wood can be occasionally rubbed with furniture polish or oil. Brass can be polished with household brass polish.

Remember to keep your knife sharpened --a dull blade can be more dangerous than a properly maintained one.

General Knife Sharpening Instructions

Sharpening a knife is sometimes perceived as the most difficult knife care task; and it probably is. Modern stainless steel is very hard and, when sharpened properly, will hold a good edge for a very long time. When sharpening a knife you must have a high quality sharpener that features a rough stock removal surface (preferably diamond abrasive) and a finishing surface of hard stone or ceramic abrasive. The diamond and ceramic materials will cut away the steel on the blade's cutting surface easily as these materials are harder than steel. A hard stone will also perform this task, but the stone is only slightly harder than the steel and so this requires more effort on your part.

Sharpening with a stone

When grinding your knife on a stone, it may be useful to use a three-way oil stone, Fine-Medium-Coarse. Use the stone only when your edge does not re-align with a steel. That means your edge has dulled from constant use or steeling. Make sure you use the exact angle at 30 to 40 strokes before your new edge is formed. Use more strokes if needed. The angle used determined by how sharp you want the knife. The smaller the angle the sharper the edge. However be aware that the sharper the edge the sooner it will fade, and need to be re-sharpened. If it is too difficult for you to maintain the correct angle, throughout your re-grinding procedure, take your knife to a reputable knife grinding service in your area.

When a knife is used, the edge eventually becomes dull. The edge will turn either to the left or right side depending on how you hold your knife when cutting. Quality knives with high carbon/molybdenum/vanadium alloy have elasticity and can easily be re-aligned by a sharpening steel. Do not use a diamond-coated steel or a pull-through manual or electric sharpening device for maintaining the edge. These devices will destroy your turned edge. They can be used to sharpen, but not for maintenance.

Place the knife blade against the tip of the sharpening steel at an angle of approximately 20 degrees. Pull the knife down and across the steel, describing a slight arc. Repeat this action on the back of the steel to sharpen the other side of the blade. Repeat steps 2 and 3 five to ten times, alternating the left and right side of the blade. It is very important to maintain the angle of 20 degrees and to run the full length of the cutting edge along the steel from the hilt to the tip of the knife. Speed of movement plays no part in this process.

Sharpening Serrated Blades

First, obtain the correct sharpening tools to perform the task. Many of the sharpening kits on the market offer serration hones as options. Second, have the proper technique to use.

Most factory ground serrations will have the same angle as the plain edge portion (assuming the blade is partially serrated), which means in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 degrees.

Once everything is set up, you can begin the process. Using firm pressure, work the hone in a back-and-forth motion, perpendicular to the cutting edge. Every so often, stop and feel for a raised burr on the backside of the blade. Only move on to the next tooth when you see or feel a raised burr. Once you have completed sharpening the ground side of the blade, flip the knife over.

Types of Sharpeners

There are many good sharpeners on the market today. The main factor in sharpening is the device you use to remove the material from the blade must maintain a uniform angle for you and not allow your efforts from stroke to stroke to change the angle of pressure you are putting on the cutting surface of the blade. If this angle relationship is changing from stroke to stroke, you will end up with a rounded edge that will feel sharp for a short period of time and dull rapidly.

Caring for your knife is as important as caring for any of your tools. My Leatherman tool has never failed me. I carry it always and love it's versatility. Find the knife that works best for your needs and then take the time to care for and sharpen it. It really pays off in the long run and will help you out of many everyday problems.




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