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POLL: Can you OR do you switch hands during freehanding?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by kreisler, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. Yes, i can AND i sometimes do.

    35 vote(s)
  2. I can/could, but usually i don't switch hands.

    12 vote(s)
  3. No, i can't and i don't need/want to. I'm good :P

    16 vote(s)
  4. No, i can't but i'd love to be able to!

    15 vote(s)
  1. T.L.E. Sharp

    T.L.E. Sharp That's right, it's genuine Velveeta... Platinum Member

    Jun 30, 2016
    Oddly enough, I have a harder time switchin hands on the guided system than I do on my water stones. I often switch hands while doing the kitchen knives on the bench stones, but really only ever use my dominant hand on the TSProf
    kreisler likes this.
  2. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    I use the same strokes for sharpening as I use for cutting so it's all dominant hand.
    kreisler likes this.
  3. l1ranger

    l1ranger Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 27, 2017
    switch hands! what do you think I am, some kinda wizard?
    kreisler likes this.
  4. Baron Mind

    Baron Mind

    Mar 30, 2018
    I always switch, stone in hand, apex facing me. Benchstones I think its leas important because you're relying mainly on feel anyway.
    GABaus and kreisler like this.
  5. Bugs57

    Bugs57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 3, 2016
    Did you make this V Outfit system yourself?
    GABaus and kreisler like this.
  6. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Yes, he did. DM
    kreisler likes this.
  7. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    Yes, the turnbuckles let me adjust angles to 1/10 degree using an angle cube. Stone changing is fast because they are held in place by gravity. I use it over a “pond” to catch the drips generated when spritzing the stones. One holder is 15 degrees off vertical; the other 20. I use the 40 included for work knives (chopping) and 30 for the rest.
    To switch bevels, you can either walk around the rig or rotate it 180 degrees.
    kreisler likes this.
  8. GABaus


    May 7, 2017
    I personally switch hands on the stones especially with larger knives, but usually don't switch hands while stropping.
    kreisler likes this.
  9. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    First of all let me say : NEVER freehand only use a sharpening jig.:mad:

    :cool: :rolleyes: When I am freehanding I have no prob going left or right. :D:D
    Some old photos I dug up.
    PS: I'm right handed.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
    kreisler likes this.
  10. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    This may sound like BS but one thing you can do to be more tuned into your non dominate side . . . well two things come to think of it. . .
    One is to take Ti Chi classes. No really. I find myself, with no thought or conscious effort, scooping my non dominate hand over to and under something that is rolling off a table and catching it. It surprises me.

    The other thing is to . . . I know this sounds like a tedious PITA . . . write with your non dominate hand. Eventually you will be able to do it and not have it look like first grader writing. Cursive and everything. I don't do it much anymore but twenty years ago I did all the time just to learn how. Sometimes now I will be holding something in my dominate hand and it is just faster to use my non dominate hand to make a note.

    Still, to be truthful, I certainly wouldn't consider myself ambidextrous.

    Oh and a third thing . . . take up some blacksmithing and hammer with your non dominate hand. ;)
    I've done that a fair amount. When the iron is hot and your dominate arm is shot what are you going to do ?
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
    GABaus and kreisler like this.
  11. Backyard


    Jul 19, 2019
    You need an option for "can and often do"

    When I'm doing a quick touch up I won't normally switch hands. Just go with whatever hand I started with. But when doing an extended sharpening or reprofiling and edge i will often switch back and forth to limit fatigue. I am mostly ambidextrous being able to do most tasks in each hand well. It only takes me a few strokes on the stone to develop the muscle memory. I also don't have any guided system so all of my sharpening is done free handed.

    I still can't write well with my left hand though. And my right is definitely stronger due to being a righty most my younger life
    kreisler likes this.
  12. gazz98

    gazz98 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    I use both hands. I'm not ambidextrous per se but I can write with both hands and for some reason, I golf left handed. Everything else (throw, catch, swing a bat, tennis, etc) is right handed.

    I like free hand sharpening with stones and using both hands. It is satisfying and I like keeping the art form going.
    kreisler likes this.

    NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 14, 2017
    Can sharpen using either hand but get better edges when using right hand only. Wish I could use both hands equally well.
    kreisler likes this.
  14. Edgy 1

    Edgy 1

    Jun 2, 2019
    I broke my dominant right hand at the end of June so I am learning to use my left hand after a month of not even attempting to try it. Not being able to sharpen was miserable.

    I started of with less expensive blades on water and natural stones.

    I got the point where I felt confident enough to try more expensive knifes on diamond plates with the left hand.

    Now that my right hand is abke to grasp the knife properly, just waiting for the wrist to come around, but I will use both hands from now on.
    Mr.Wizard and kreisler like this.
  15. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    another aspect of all this is:

    freehanding the same knife over and over again over years, to me, feels like being at the hairdresser's. at every visit he uses a slightly different approach/technique --for no reason other than not having a fixed mindset--, even though i want the same outcome, the same haircut as always.

    Same situation with my knife: even though my only objective is to get it scary sharp, with least efforts possible (shortest most effective path), also with least steel consumption, and hopefully not wasting any time (i.e. making errors on the path), i don't end up following the exact same path as in my last sharpening session of the identical knife. of course, it all starts with the very condition of the blade (the apex line, blunted spots). but then my strokes take off, i use unprecedented stroke/stone variations, and i wonder why the heck this freehanding session turns out so different from my last one (a week earlier, for example). and that's when i get reminded of my visits at the hairdresser's. funny thing.

    makes me realize that freehanding and haircutting have the thing in common: it's authored highly personally/individually, can depend on day's mood, is performed in a flexible manner, includes spontaneous decision-making and minute technique variations, all in the belief and hope that one's still on the right track.

    ( the haircutter's analogy was valid when i was wearing longish hair for years ugh; nowadays i clip my hair on my own with a 2xAA-powered WAHL ;), actually branded MOSER )
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
    Obsessed with Edges likes this.
  16. I feel like I have a lot in common with you on all of this.^ :cool:

    Each of my sharpening sessions usually starts on a whim. Seems to have something to do with 'feeling just right' for the activity at that moment. My mindset is geared up for it and there's a certain 'itch' in my hands, telling me they're ready for the job. When the time is right, I just pick up a stone and get to it. Doesn't matter quite as much anymore if I follow the same routine or use the same stone each time. It's more about just intuitively 'knowing' I'll get it done to my satisfaction with whatever stone I happen to pick up (within limitations appropriate to the steel).

    So many times, when I'm evaluating how my knife is cutting in a particular task, I often don't even remember what specifically I did or what stone I used, the last time I touched it up. All that matters is, I got it sharpened to a level that has it cutting the way I like it. There's a certain pride in that, in knowing it's more about the feel and the hands and the mindset, and less about the gear involved. To me, that's what pure freehand sharpening is all about.

    Interestingly and coincidentally, I also got into the habit of cutting my own hair about 25 years ago, also with a Wahl electric clipper, BTW.:D Prior to that, I'd just settled for dropping into a Supercuts about every 4-5 weeks or so, and hoping I'd walk out with a haircut I was satisfied with. But oftentimes, I had no idea which particular person was going to do the job or what kind of mood they were in, or how rushed/tired they might be on that particular day. One girl actually managed to cut herself with the shears she was using on me, which made me cringe. :eek: I finally realized I was paying some random stranger about $20 each time and often not being very satisfied with what I got for the money. So, as with my freehand sharpening, I trained my own hands for that task and never looked back.
    kreisler likes this.
  17. GABaus


    May 7, 2017
    thanks for th tips, I also switch hands while doing common things such as brushing my teeth to try to establish this level of versatility.
    kreisler and Backyard like this.
  18. Backyard


    Jul 19, 2019
    Same here. Eating, brushing teeth, scrubbing dishes, etc. Every day common tasks. I use those to train my left hand. Sometimes when I switch back to my right it feels awkward like starting out with my left sometimes does

    I can now throw almost as well with my left as I do with my right. I think it is definitely worth it. Especially for those times where where you need to hammer a nail on your left side and hold the board. Used to end up with my left crossed over to my right to hold it and swinging the hammer over my left. Its goofy and doesn't work well. Now I just hammer with my left if needed.

    Well worth the small effort to learn both hands
    GABaus and kreisler like this.
  19. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    In his video Bob Kramer does not switch hands. It'd be interesting to know if he could. We must admit though that switching blade sides is faster one-handedly:

  20. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    In this video Bob does not position his fingers on the non-knife holding hand near the edge. Which to me is counter productive as one hand
    is putting pressure to keep the knife and edge bevel on the stone and the other hand is putting pressure at mid-blade which lifts the edge
    bevel off the stone. Some way he makes it work. DM
    kreisler likes this.

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