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Question : Sharpening and knife at rest.

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Chapp, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Chapp


    Mar 28, 2018
    If you let a knife in a closet or in your collection, do you have to sharpened it from time to time or will it keep its edge as long as you don't cut anything with it ?

    I have a Kabar knife close to my door, just in case I need to defend myself against intruders or whatever. If I remember right, it was quite sharp back then. He has been there for some months and... I chose to use it to kill a pigeon that was - probably - hunt by a cat. He was suffering in front of my door, the cat didn't finish his job and I tried to end his pain. I raised my hand, landed a clean it, but it didn't cut through. I was surprised.

    Was the pigeon feathers blocking the blade or has the knife lost its edge with time ?
    bucketstove likes this.
  2. PirateSeulb

    PirateSeulb Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 6, 2017
    Assuming no corrosion is occurring while at rest there should be no wear on the edge leaving it as sharp as it was when you put it away.
    jpm2 likes this.
  3. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Well, scientific method would demand that you cut a pigeon in half before putting it in your sheath and then put another out of its misery after the elapsed amount of time. So the alternate hypothesis cannot be ruled out from you description of events, that the kabar was never sharp enough to cut a pigeon in half in the first place. Of course, then there is the matter of replication and consistency - physiological condition, bone density and plumage characteristics of your test subjects.
  4. johnny reb

    johnny reb

    Sep 12, 2006
    High carbon steal edges will corrode after time.
    Getting older likes this.
  5. W. Anderson

    W. Anderson Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 22, 2016
    *If not cared for.
    Getting older likes this.
  6. SpySmasher

    SpySmasher Lead Guitar Platinum Member

    Sep 1, 2016
    I have two theories, each may be possible:

    1) You have mistaken a wounded pigeon for a wounded rhino. A more common mistake that one would think, no shame in that.

    2) Your Kabar was not actually that sharp when you put it away.
    kreisler, Bladegunner, jux t and 4 others like this.
  7. Dangerously

    Dangerously Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 8, 2013
    It depends on if it was an African or European pigeon.
    Blues, WValtakis, Daniel paul and 5 others like this.
  8. BitingSarcasm


    Feb 25, 2014
    And on whether the pigeon is carrying coconuts.
    Daniel paul likes this.
  9. NapalmCheese


    Aug 24, 2006
    You probably leave it in the sheath. Even if it's oiled, the leather sheath will draw oil away from the blade. The leather sheath with hold moisture next to the edge. The edge will corrode. Even if you don't see rust, it will oxidize and become less sharp.

    Also, features are tough, and you probably didn't whack it as hard as you think. When I finish ducks I've shot that aren't quite dead yet I kill them by cervical dislocation (internal decapitation) as 1) cutting their head off is messy and 2) feathers are tough (they're made of the same stuff as fingernails).
  10. HeavyHanded


    Jun 4, 2010
    I've had good luck with carbon blades stored in waxed leather, or stainless folders in very dry environment. Still, they will all dull somewhat just sitting there but should still be pretty sharp even a couple years later depending.

    Feathers tougher than one might think based on striking angle and type.
    Chris "Anagarika" likes this.
  11. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Unless protected with something like wax or grease or a VCI bag, all edges (including stainless) will degrade slightly with time due to oxidation. The degree to which this occurs depends on a number of factors, but is a known phenomenon. It's not by a huge degree for a working knife, but for something that requires extreme sharpness, like a straight razor, you'd need to at least strop it before use after storage.
  12. bucketstove


    Sep 23, 2014
    So you chopped once with the knife? On the ground?

    I dont think that'll work out, its a technique not a sharpness issue

    Got wood? or a chicken wing? potato?
    What happens when you perform the same action on a piece of wood or pencil or two pencils or popsicle stick?
  13. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    Feathers . . . the new chain mail.
    Next time try the point of the knife. Stab, stab.

    Sheaths may have something to do with edge degradation on a knife that is not used but gets dull over time.

    For instance this knife is White Paper Steel. Basically just plain high carbon.
    In the first photo it is freshly sharpened; you can still see the magic marker from using the Edge Pro.

    In the second photo you can see the patina . . . the blade edge is about a year old without further sharpening and has obviously been subjected to cutting wet food and washing it and then quickly drying it (there is always a little dampness left on the knife from the damp towel I dried it on) I have never oiled this knife . . . ever. I like the patina.

    Now . . . the edge on this knife came off the Edge Pro easily hair whittling and tree topping . . . I mean SHARP ! ! !

    After a year of careful daily cutting fruit, vegetables and opening food packages the edge is still hair whittling in some areas along it's length where the daily cutting is done (not just at the heal).

    If it where going to corrode enough to dull the edge one would think it would have happened by now.

    add a humid environment and a leather sheath that has some corrosive tannins in the leather . . . that could cause problems. I suppose.
  14. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    For reference, feathers actually provide an almost alarming degree of protection from cuts. The quill is hard and plastic-like, and their springy loft makes the whole affair very energy absorptive.
  15. stitchawl


    Jul 26, 2008
    Ask any bow hunter who hunts wild turkey. Their wings are almost as much of a shield as they are flight equipment!
  16. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    The edge likely degraded a small amount over that period of time...
    it probably was not as sharp as you had remembered when you put it away.
  17. Chapp


    Mar 28, 2018
    It was an european one.

    I did as you asked. I used the same technique on a piece of wood and the Ka-bar cut through without any problems. Must be the feathers, like other people suggested, those are some damn though protection.

    I didn't want to stab since I wasn't I could kill him instantly and the poor lad was suffering enough, missing almost half of his body. I striked with the back of the blade on his head after that and it was done.

    Yes, it was in the sheath for a long time, but it's a plastic sheath, not a leather one.
    bucketstove likes this.
  18. bucketstove


    Sep 23, 2014
    Dry wood or green wood?
    What happens if you hit the wood with the back of the knife?
    If you put the wood in a sock or put a tshirt over it?
    If you add more slice into your chop?
  19. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    yes edges can degrade over time ... but it shouldn't ruin an edge ... and also feathers are quite strong and it might be that they slightly repelled the strike just enough to make it a glancing blow ...
  20. kniferbro


    Jan 22, 2011
    If I'm ever sharpening a blade I'm going to be putting up and not using, the final step is to squirt a little oil in a paper towel and pull the edge through. Leaves a nice coat of oil and the next time I bring it out its as sharp as it was when it came off the strop.

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