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Sharpening an SAK

Discussion in 'Multi-tools & Multi-purpose Knives' started by ljcsov, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. ljcsov


    Mar 2, 2012
    Have any of you had problems getting a razor sharp edge no your SAK?

    I notice that stainless steel in general is really tough to get the type of edge you get with carbon steel. I'm just doing the simple sand paper sharpening now but I am struggling with my SAK cadet to get it hair shaving sharp. It's sharp enough to get the job done but I just cant be satisfied :)
  2. Kbrasmodeler


    Mar 18, 2008
    I find Victorinox steel to be some of the easiest to sharpen to a scary edge. Just follow your steps, work up a burr on both sides, keep moving through the grits, and strop after the finest paper.
  3. Mud Shrimp Moe

    Mud Shrimp Moe

    Nov 6, 2011
    I use a stone or the Spyderco sharpmaker, but I find SAKs very easy to sharpen. I sharpen to paper cutting and arm hair shaving sharpness. Never tried for hair whittling.
  4. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    SAK steel is not too hard. DMT hones work great.
  5. Harayasu


    Jun 18, 2009
    I use the Lansky crock sticks and they work great for me; the steel on SAKs is really easy to sharpen with such sticks. The Lansky package is small enough to take it with me on camping trips, so my SAK in the pocket and the Opinel that I use for cooking are always very sharp.
  6. znapschatz


    Jan 24, 2005
    Using the same tools plus a strop and good advice from this forum, I sharpened mine to hair splitting once. Although the edge didn't last long, the satisfaction of accomplishing this has lingered as one of life's little victories :) .
  7. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    You may have better luck with a sak by not getting too fine an edge on it. I used to obsess over sharpening, but as I got older and just wanted a sharp knife, I found myself going with courser edge. For the past few years, I've been using an old boy scout gray 'carborundum' stone. This is the old 1950's style stone, and I finish off with a stropping on the bak of an old Dickies work belt. It will still shave hair off the back of my hand, and slice newspaper cleanly. Only tales a few minutes, and the courser edge seems to hold up better when breaking down pizza boxes to fit in the trash. I got over the had whittling thing long ago. As long as my knife can open a fish belly for cleaning in a good clean slice, that's good enough for me.

    Also another medium I've found worked especially good on sak steel, is the coffee cup trick. Hone on the bottom unglazed ring of a coffee mug. This puts a great edge on a sak.

    But my real standby, is the cut down Eze-lap model L I carry in my wallet. The 600 grit seems perfect for a real word knife edge. Just toothy enough for rope and twine, but smooth enough for neatly opening mail or clipping coupons.

  8. Ken in Tenn

    Ken in Tenn

    Mar 10, 2011
    I can also vouch for the Lansky Crock Stick kit. It's inexpensive, and stored away only takes up about as much space as a handheld TV remote. I have very little experience with perfect sharpening, but the fine grit sticks alone do a great job bringing back my SAK edges.
  9. Humppa

    Humppa Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 25, 2010

    Imo the steel which is used by Vic or Wenger is the easiest to sharpen on stainless steel. Well, the used steel is some high-carbon-steel. I keep them everytime razorsharp and it gets really easy. With the sharpmaker for sure. But with any wetstone I donĀ“t have any problems. I use an old leather belt for finishing the sharping process.

    Kind regards
  10. Knife Crazied

    Knife Crazied

    Apr 17, 2009
    I'm another lover of the 4 rod lansky turnbox set. IMHO its better then the sharpmaker. YMMV

    Sent from Ash forum mobile
  11. Bo T

    Bo T

    Feb 12, 2011
    I've been trying, off and on, to get the edge shaving sharp on my Huntsman for more than 30+ years. I can get it to cut the hairs on my arm, but not without pulling. I have a similar problem with some Russell Green River blades. It might be I am to heavy handed with these softer steels. I can get my Moras to the point where they shave the hairs off of my arm with very little resistance. Ultimately, my Huntsman doesn't have any trouble cleaning fish or cutting cardboard or sharpening a pencil or any other task I set for it. So the problem is academic.
  12. Django.cj


    Jun 16, 2011
    Yes, I've found SAKs require a gentle touch on the fine grits. Too much pressure will prevent them from getting truly sharp.
  13. four_shore


    Oct 21, 2010

    i have both but im curious as to why you favor the lansky.

    it's basically the same device. pre set angles and ceramic rods.

    the only difference is the angle themselves (lansky obviously offers a 50 degree option).

    imo, the sharpmaker is of better quality and includes better ceramic rods.

    the rods can be positioned in various ways (flat or corner, options for scissors and hooks) and it offers a freehand setting if turned upside down. i know that it boils down to opinion and whatever works best for you but the fact is, the sharpmaker offers much more.

    SAK's are among the easiest of knives to sharpen imo. the mystery stainless steel used is soft yet strong for what it is.

    the lansky system is smaller and easier to travel with but if you want the over all package, the sharpmaker dominates.

    another option is the double stuf spyderco stone (if you can freehand sharpen).

    you could just flip a coffee mug upside down...
  14. GRIM 62

    GRIM 62

    Mar 29, 2009
    I have never experienced problems getting my SAKs razor sharp,and for me they sharpen up in a hurry.I use DMT diamond stones(coarse and fine)and then a few light passes on a Sharpmaker fine rod=sharp.All in all,it takes me maybe 5 minutes.
  15. Knife Crazied

    Knife Crazied

    Apr 17, 2009
    I like the rods on it better mainly. I have both systems and use both for different things but I find the turnbox better for me 8 outta 10 times. :thumbup:
  16. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    The rods in the Lansky 4-rod Turnbox sharpening kit actually give you more surface contact for a blade than do the narrow edged rods of the Sharpmaker. Yes, the Sharpmaker has wide flat areas on their stones but the stroke for keen edges on your blade is much easier on the Lansky rod.
  17. sak_fan


    Feb 4, 2012
    i don't own a sharpening system but i may have one in the future. You mentioned some products's sharpening stones but you didn't say anything about Victorinox's own. Is Victorinox pocket knife sharpener a bad choice for an actual SAK ?
  18. Daddyo16


    Jan 12, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  19. four_shore


    Oct 21, 2010

    that's cool, so it's an ease of use type of thing. like i said i have both and i hardly ever use the lansky.

    i just love that spyderco quality and innovation. they also offer 4 sets of sharpening rods (course diamond for re-profiling, medium, fine and ultra fine).

    having all of those options i really can't see how anyone would not prefer the sharpmaker.

    but, i guess it also has to do with what you're sharpening. if you're mainly sharpening SAK's than the turnbox will suffice. hell, a stone found outside could sharpen a victorinox...
  20. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    Try stropping (drawing the blade spine-first along the stropping material) on cardboard. Chinese cardboard goes a little faster.

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