Tips for Knowing Knives
How to Know if Your Knife Is Sharp Enough
Here are some easy ways to tell if you knife blade is sharp enough to carve wood.
Remember, the best knife blade for wood carving is a short straight edge, no longer than 1.5" long The straight edge allows for easy sharpening of the whole blade. The sharp tip is necessary to carve detail with V-cuts and Stop cuts.
Years ago, I purchased a sharpening stone set from a company called Smith's that included some great guidelines for sharpening knives. With apologies, here's a copy of that long-ago instruction sheet.
How to Thin the Blade of your Carving Knife
PROBLEM: as you sharpen your carving knife more and more, do you wonder why the knife does not seem to hold the edge for very long, even when you use the same technique to sharpen it?
EXPLANATION: If you only sharpen the edge of the blade, then it will start to look like figure A (see image, right). You do not have to cut your blade in half to realize that it should look like figure B. The thinner the blade, the easier it cuts through wood.
SOLUTION: Thin the sides of the blade by laying it flat on a coarse stone or belt sander, then wear away the excess steel on both sides of the blade (figure C) as shown. Press hard because you are wearing away more steel than when sharpening the edge.