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Knife Sharpening, Necessary Life Skill?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by bikerector, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I love these old stories about how we used to be and some of the stupid stuff we did. I learned to sharpen a knife from my Dad and then took it from there on my own.
  2. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    Had a saw blade, didn't have a whet stone (even if I knew what to do with it). Probably didn't even have a knife with me, TBH (just checked, that's what I stated in that post as well, knife wasn't handy. Nothing about it's sharpness). Pretty simple thought process at the time. Probably too lazy to get a knife too as there wasn't one in the garage near where I cleaned the fish. Knowing me at 10 or so, probably stopped at the first thing I found that could be used to cut. Kind of makes me wonder what was on the blade that got into the food. I hated fish back then so I probably fed it to the old man...
  3. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    Sharp cutting tools just work better and more efficiently ; take less effort and energy ; and are much safer to operate . True for knives , saws , mower blades and everything else that cuts to work .

    Being able to sharpen your tools is a great advantage , especially when you are out working far from any sharpening service . :cool::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    jpm2 likes this.
  4. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    Great answer, you read my mind as I was thinking the same thing.

    Pertaining to knife sharpening, I’ve always had the school of thought that owning knives coincides with sharpening them.

    But I’m not naive to the fact that there are many, many people who use a knife everyday but have no idea how to bring back an edge.

    So I would say that it’s not necessarily a “life skill” in the modern developed world. But boy it would be cool if more people thought that it was!
  5. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    Another interesting and stupid thing I did later in life, related to fishing. Buried the old farm pickup in the lake getting the boat in or out, don't remember which. I couldn't figure out why the 4-wheel drive wouldn't work when you put the shifter into 4-low. Left it there until Gramps came home, he asked if I locked the hubs in. "What's that now?" Even better, owned the old Bessy as my first car/truck and probably drove it for a 2 years without high-beams until a girlfriend showed me the button on the floorboard.

    Look back, I was dumb as a post with so many things. Can't wait to see the shinanegans my little boy will get into in a decade or so. Maybe he won't even need to drive his own car by then.
  6. 91bravo

    91bravo Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    Those old manual locking hubs were the best! I wish they made 4wds with the manual hubs, instead of the push-button, vacuum controlled hubs of today.
  7. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    People are too lazy to get out and turn the hubs. Just like sharpening knives.... takes effort. I liked those manual locking hubs too. Last ones I had were in a 91 Toyota pickup. That was my last 4x4 too.

    Hack saw blade is one of the early serrated factory made knives. ;) We used them too to butcher cows and deer too from time to time.
    leghog likes this.
  8. Knicked Digits

    Knicked Digits

    Dec 24, 2016
    It always seemed like a natural progression. You start to carry a knife, you need to sharpen that knife. I’d rathered learn to do it myself so I didn’t have to wait for someone else to do it for me. This doesn’t mean that I shame the guy who owns a knife, be they the average fella with a blade or a knife knut. It just wasn’t for them or it never crossed their mind to learn it for themselves.

    Some guys are car guys and know oodle and oodles about them. I don’t and I one. When I need help with it I’d rather talk to someone whose knowledgeable but not condescending, a good ball busting is permissible though.

    Of the guys I work with that own knives, only one of them sharpens his own knife (which happens to be Crooked River, fun fact) everyone else comes to me because I’m the guy who’ll sharpen his knives at work (being a machinist, I have a combo stone and some mystery black ultra fine stone so I’m pretty set). I don’t mind doing the work sharpening these guys knives, I get to mess with an unfamiliar knife, the steels are generally softer so it’s not much hassle, and it brings a certain satisfaction to bring a good edge to the blade of someone in need. They’ll get a bit of ball busting but it’s all in good will. If asked how or what I do, I’ll explain and show them so they may learn themselves. I’d rather teach an encourage more guys into these skills then drive them away.
    OogieBoogie likes this.
  9. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Cars/motorcycles can be another good analogy. Maybe vs. the explosion of tech/supersteel, or maybe vs. the idea when your bike dies by the side of the road you need to know what do do to carry on.

    I've been (un)lucky enough with motorcycles to get myself into trouble/stranded and to have to self rescue. Starting out with an old BMW boxer twin and learning what to do when stuff goes wrong compared to starting to use a simple steel and how to care for it are pretty solid. The thing being now is that a lot of folks do the deep dive straight to super steel or a moto that if it dies by the road you need a laptop to access. That's not bad in itself but it can make it tougher for that new guy to make the next leap.
  10. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    I remember when a guy was asked what is best in life;
    "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!"

    Of course things have changed in our times, maybe not too much...

    But yes, sharpening I think is a needed skill and as many of the guys made mention, there are some 'foolproof' systems to help get you there to maintain. And initially if you need to get a knife setup with proper bevels, it would pay to get someone professional to help you get those set and then you can maintain from that point on until it needs to be reset again.
    DocJD and Danke42 like this.
  11. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Ah the riddle of steel; "As soon as a blade is foolproof they invent a better fool".
    Pomsbz and Gary W. Graley like this.
  12. eugenechia1989


    May 15, 2017
    I think if you carry a tool, you ought to know how to maintain it, and sharpening is one aspect of maintenance that must be done eventually, even the latest and greatest supersteels will dull someday and if, like me, you live on some tiny island in the tropical belt, sending a knife back to its manufacturer to sharpen is just not an option.

    It's like driving a car. It's shocking, but where I live, when we learn driving under a school, we are not taught how to change a wheel, top up tyre pressure, to check the oil and fluids, or even to open the bonnet. Heck, we don't even learn to pump our own fuel because most of the time, pump attendants are at hand to do it for you. Some of us do learn this stuff on our own initiative because we like to maintain our machines, but it's not common knowledge. For me, I like to keep my machine in tip-top shape, not easy since I drive a company van and my management isn't as on-the-ball about vehicle maintenance as I am. I've driven without functioning headlights, and tyres so bald and worn that the plies could be seen in some spots.

    Besides my job, I did some off-road driving while in the army, and driving a series 3 Land Rover off-road was really quite an eye-opening experience. You can lose control very easily, switching to low-range and engaging the lockers actually takes some physical strength, and smooth control of the steering, brakes and accelerator are mandatory. Most drivers in my country have never hydroplaned on a wet road before due to high-tech cars and their ABS, traction control, etc. Eventually, some of them learn the hard way that computers and tech are no match for learning proper control. Many of them can't even drive a manual anymore since manual cars are almost completely obsolete here.

    Rant over, back to the knives. I'm a young dude but I'm old-school when it comes to skills, I like freehand knife sharpening as you can even do it with a smooth pebble if that's all you have available to you. It's really all to do with being prepared.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
    bikerector and Smaug like this.
  13. Smaug

    Smaug Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    Not essential, but makes life easier and more affordable.

    Lots of people get used to a dull knife and just keep going with it. Others buy only serrated.

    Just like changing a flat tire. Or changing one's own watch batteries.
  14. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    Sounds like you may be starting at too fine a grit.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  15. A.L.


    Jun 27, 2007
    But but... it could get your knife scratched! :(
  16. jumpstat


    Mar 9, 2007
    Take care of your knives and it will take care of you.
  17. OogieBoogie


    Mar 29, 2014
    My stone is 600 grit on one side and 1000 grit on the other. My blade has no damage so I thought the 600 grit was not necessary. I get a working edge with the 1000 grit, but I want to learn to get the sharpest edge possible.
  18. Ruzster


    May 7, 2001
    If you're a knifeknut and have OCD - yes, it definitely is.
  19. kamagong


    Jan 13, 2001
    I'm going to flat out say that knife sharpening IS a necessary life skill. Unless you eat out every single meal, you'd best know how to keep your kitchen tools sharp.
  20. Kreyzhorse

    Kreyzhorse Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 15, 2013
    If you carry a knife, simply put, yes.

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