Stone in hand sharpening

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Maul Blast Beats, Jul 4, 2020.

  1. Maul Blast Beats

    Maul Blast Beats

    Jul 4, 2020
    Hey y’all,
    After seeing Michael Christy sharpening with the stones in his hand I was compelled by the muses to try it. I love it now and I am getting better lil by lil. It’s nice because you don’t have to have a table. You can sit or stand anywhere.
    Any thoughts on this style of sharpening??? Not much about it online.
  2. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    I've been doing it that way for years...but not as my only method. I'm sure I don't come close to his results, but my results are generally satisfactory for my purposes.

    If I wanted more precision, I'd opt for a jig...Edge Pro, Sharpmaker, or other alternative.
    GABaus and Eli Chaps like this.
  3. Maul Blast Beats

    Maul Blast Beats

    Jul 4, 2020
    Thanks Blues!
    Blues likes this.
  4. I usually finish up that way, with the final touches. Also for the occasional light touching up as needed.

    For heavier grinding, I now prefer to keep the stone on the bench for the sake of applying greater grinding pressure using both hands on the knife, with a back & forth scrubbing motion. Makes for much faster grinding with greater control. But after that, for finishing up, I almost always pick up the stone and put it in the palm of one hand while handling the blade from the other, using very light edge-leading passes only. I swap hands for doing the alternate side of the blade, so the cutting edge is always facing toward me. I've always felt it's easier to maintain a very, very light touch this way, because the applied pressure can be felt by, and adjusted from, both hands simultaneously. Also easier to feel small variations in grinding friction, indicating small variations in angle that need correction. All of which is that much better for the finishing passes.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
    GABaus and mycough like this.
  5. kvaughn

    kvaughn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    What he said^. For fine finish work. I also like to have two hands on the blade for faster cutting and control if I'm setting and angle.--KV
  6. ToddS


    Jan 15, 2015
    I mostly hone straight razors with the stone in hand. Partly because it allows greater control of pressure, but also because I prefer to stand beside the sink with the water running to dilute or rinse away slurry. Do be careful of the fingers on your hone-holding hand.
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  7. Maul Blast Beats

    Maul Blast Beats

    Jul 4, 2020
    Thanks KV and OwE. This makes sense to me. When I have taken chips out of my friends blades (which is most every time I work on they’re knives) it takes freaking forever!
  8. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    Just to clarify, I didn't mean in my post above to give the impression that I don't use my bench stones in a holder (as intended).

    It really just comes down to how much work is either needed or intended. I generally opt for whichever method offers the best bang for the buck in terms of time and effort expended.
  9. soc_monki

    soc_monki Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 5, 2019
    I started out doing it this way. Then for some reason decided that wasn't "correct" and tried it on a table. Good for setting a bevel, but I get better results with stones in my hand. Back and forth for quicker metal removal, edge leading only when getting towards the end.

    Works for me, and my edges are sharp enough for me. Getting better every day!
  10. SubMicron

    SubMicron Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2020
    There's more than one way to sharpen a knife and the "best" way freehand is whichever way you can maintain consistency with your angles.
  11. rpttrsn

    rpttrsn Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 1, 2006
    When younger (much) I always did it this way for my fishing knives To fillet the catch and small pocket slip joints. A lot has changed since then.
  12. Craig James

    Craig James

    Oct 30, 2018
    Christy probably has more control in his fingernail than I do in my whole body; however I can’t get away from the fact that when you hold the stone in your hand you are essentially working with two movable surfaces, with less rigidity on the blade through only using one hand. With both techniques used optimally in my opinion you will always get better angle control with the stones on the bench and the knife in two hands
  13. For angle consistency, using either method (in-hand or on the bench), I place my index finger of the hand holding the knife on the spine of the blade, positioning the fingertip such that it keeps the bevel flush by acting as an angle guide of sorts. The inside edge of the tip of the index finger just grazes lightly on the stone as I work. I generally always do this when setting bevels especially, working with the stone on the bench. I've started relying more on the same technique in the finishing passes, although I've had success in finishing edges without it, previously. The net difference in doing so, or not, is behind the edge, with the fingertip 'guide' yielding flatter-looking bevels, vs a more convex finish behind the edge in not using the fingertip as a guide.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  14. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer

    Jul 4, 2017
    I have a set of DMT small diamond stones (four inch; black, blue, red, green, and tan) and that's how I use them. I hold the stone with my thumb on one end and a finger on the other end, and keep it about eight to ten inches from my face. I find that I can control both the stone and knife very well, and I can see exactly what I'm doing, especially with regard to the angle. Maybe I'm deluding myself, but this seems to work well for me. I work slowly and deliberately and I have no difficulty raising a full length burr on both sides with every one of the stones. By the way, I finish off with a few passes on an Opinel mini-steel, which does a great job of removing any last traces of a burr.
  15. HeavyHanded


    Jun 4, 2010
    I can sharpen that way, but by far prefer to use a bench with two hands on the item. Machetes, hatchets, pocket knives, I can do them all with the same mechanics if use a bench. Offhand, they all need a different approach, different support strategies.

    End of day, whatever works is what works.
  16. me2


    Oct 11, 2003
    I sharpen kitchen knives that way. I keep a stone by the sink for sharpening them whenever they need it. I have 2 Japanese kitchen knives I'm more fussy about, but even they get the hand held stone treatment regularly. I also have a 5" blade utility knife I sharpened exclusively this way, to include rebeveling to lower angles twice. Once rebeveled, the kitchen knives take less than 5 minutes each.
  17. Maul Blast Beats

    Maul Blast Beats

    Jul 4, 2020
    Hey y’all,
    Thanks so much for chatting about this topic. I don’t know anyone who I can talk to about this stuff. This is a fantastic resource!

    willc and Ace Rimmer like this.
  18. Sergeua


    May 1, 2016
    I sharpen with stone in hand. Latest being, just putting the whole stone on my palm.
    It's nice because all my knives are reprofiled this way and when I need to sharpen them again, everything is already there and just clicks and I can do it outside anywhere. If I don't go back and forth and just do edge leading, I get a pretty flat bevel and nice scratch pattern. If I go back and forth it will be more convex.
    I was too ocd with sharpening in the beginning. I was thinking the stone on the bench has to be level and all, so if it's in my hand, it's not being on a perfectly level surface doesn't bother me. Sometimes I'll even start moving the stone and hold the blade. Like as if your using edge pro on your knife, but the stone is under.:) right hand is the clamp. The blade I move too a bit actually.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
  19. garry3


    Sep 11, 2012
    Not my video and just a quick touch up...

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  20. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer

    Jul 4, 2017
    Similar for me, moving both at the same time (in opposite directions, of course).
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