Preferred Edge Knives
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Carving by Richard Baker Sr.
Carving by
Richard Baker Sr.

Sharpening / Maintaining Your Wood Carving Knife
Sharpening or maintaining your knife is an easy but hazardous activity. Always be alert and never attempt to sharpen a knife if you are not in full command of your mental and physical faculties.
If you maintain your knife blade after it has been sharpened you may not have to sharpen it again. To maintain the blade give it a couple of strokes as suggested below, with the 1000 grit or 2000 grit wet/dry sand paper or stone, and then strop the cutting edge with white lightning stropping compound. Both can be purchased from Preferred Edge Carving Knives.

See the illustration on the right for how much compound paste to use at any given time... just a little bit at the end of the knife. An important thing to remember when stropping. When the compound gets black and shiny scrape it off and recharge the compound.
Straight Single Edge Blade
Start with a 600 or 800 grit wet/dry sand paper. Lay the knife flat on the edge of the paper. Lift the back of the knife slightly about 5 to 7 degrees so as the edge that is to be sharpened is resting on the sandpaper. Slide the knife away from the cutting edge. See the illustrations below. Do this two times on one side then turn the blade over and repeat the process on the other side of the blade.
You will have removed metal from up to about 1/16” from the cutting edge, which is normal. The key is to keep it almost flat on the paper and rotate from side to side. The pressure you put on the paper should be light but firm. After you have a good edge with the 600 or 800 grit paper, repeat this process with 1000 grit paper and the then with 2000 grit paper . You may want to go to an even higher grit for a finer edge. You may also want to strop the blade on leather to clean off the burrs after sharpening.
Stropping a single edge straight knife. Stroke back and forth on each side until you get the desired results.

Caution: Do not raise the back of the blade too high or you will remove the cutting edge with just a couple of strokes and put shoulders on the blade.
Double Edge Curved Blade
Start with 600 to 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Rip the paper sheet into ¼’s. Wrap one of the ¼’s around a dowel that will fit on the inside of the curve or hook on the blade. Lay the paper & dowel flat on the blade. Lift the paper & dowel up 5 to 7 degrees toward the cutting edge then stroke away from the edge.
Do the same number of strokes on each side until you have achieved the desired edge. Remember to do the same number of strokes on each side for even wear. Repeat the same process with 1000 and 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper or sharpening stone. You may want to go to a higher grit for a finer edge. You may also want to strop the blade on leather to clean off any burrs at the end of your sharpening. I have a white lightning stropping compound available. It is about a 10,000 grit and brings the the tool up to a super fine edge.

Lay the sharpening paper, wrapped around a dowel, on the angle of the bevel and lift it up to about 5 degrees. Push outwards or toward the edge.

Stropping the back of a curved blade.

Stropping the inside of a curved blade.
Call Preferred Edge Carving Knives and Supplies at 1-888-811-5551 and talk to Bruce Bernard to find out more about knife sharpening and repairs.