Using the Chakma

Fiddleback

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Can someone please tell me how to use the chakma properly. I ususally use a steel to realign the edge on my kitchen knives. Do you use the chakma the same way? The steel is round, how do you use something shaped like a chakma? Do you use its edge, or the flat part? HollowDweller said in another thread he had rolled the edge on several khuks. How would you straighten out a "rolled" edge? Thanks in advance for the help.
 
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Thanks for posting this.
The same questions have been rattling around in my brain.

DaddyDett
 

Steely_Gunz

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This is an on-going question. Most of the time when it is asked some of the old hands would just say, "You wipe it down it's edge." or "Just use it to realign the edge". Mystics, they are!;)
I think most people use them however they can. I think that it is fairly common practice to use the flat wide part for general touch up and the narrower edge for dings. I think it was said that the narrower edge would put more force behind your push thus working out the ding a little better.
I hold the khuk in my lap with the edge away from me, the use the flat of the chakma and push it along the edge from cho to tip. Now, that is not the safest way as sometimes the chakma skates off the tip and your finger or thumb will hit the blade:eek: However, i get the best results that way. Then i turn the blade over and repeat on the other side.
Also, keep in mind that most chakmas, unless they have changed, come pretty soft. Not butter soft, but a lot of the time they are not hard enough to work out the bad dings. Personally, I use a grooved butcher's steel, then a "worn out" butcher's steel (less toothy), then a file that I have reground into a smooth chakma as a last step. I end up with a good sharp edge that is sort of toothy, but fairly polished. If i want a razor blade, then i just take it to a leather strop and pretty soon the arm hairs start poppin':)
Some of the experts will be along to explain it a lot better than I could;)

Jake
 
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Steely_Gunz said:
This is an on-going question. Most of the time when it is asked some of the old hands would just say, "You wipe it down it's edge." or "Just use it to realign the edge". Mystics, they are!;)
I think most people use them however they can. I think that it is fairly common practice to use the flat wide part for general touch up and the narrower edge for dings. I think it was said that the narrower edge would put more force behind your push thus working out the ding a little better.
I hold the khuk in my lap with the edge away from me, the use the flat of the chakma and push it along the edge from cho to tip. Now, that is not the safest way as sometimes the chakma skates off the tip and your finger or thumb will hit the blade:eek: However, i get the best results that way. Then i turn the blade over and repeat on the other side.
Also, keep in mind that most chakmas, unless they have changed, come pretty soft. Not butter soft, but a lot of the time they are not hard enough to work out the bad dings. Personally, I use a grooved butcher's steel, then a "worn out" butcher's steel (less toothy), then a file that I have reground into a smooth chakma as a last step. I end up with a good sharp edge that is sort of toothy, but fairly polished. If i want a razor blade, then i just take it to a leather strop and pretty soon the arm hairs start poppin':)
Some of the experts will be along to explain it a lot better than I could;)

Jake

I have not found the soft chakmas to be a major problem...
In fact, Mike of Bark River fame, recommends a BRASS rod for 'steeling', BECAUSE it is soft...
That way you will NOT remove any metal...
You just want to push the very fine bit of metal at the very edge to keep a sharp edge... This, of course, does not apply if you have BADLY damaged the blade...
 

Steely_Gunz

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jamesraykenney said:
I have not found the soft chakmas to be a major problem...
In fact, Mike of Bark River fame, recommends a BRASS rod for 'steeling', BECAUSE it is soft...
That way you will NOT remove any metal...
You just want to push the very fine bit of metal at the very edge to keep a sharp edge... This, of course, does not apply if you have BADLY damaged the blade...

Thanks, I should have stated that a little more clearly:) You are exactly right. A soft chakma will not move a badly damaged edge enough to be effective. I think i read somewhere that someone uses the hard chakmas or steels to start, then follows up with a soft one. I have a hard time using a soft chakma because they are so short. I end up dragging it along the blade's edge toward the tip probably causing more harm than good. However, i would think that a 6 ot 7" long brass rod would work well. Even if it skates on the sweet spot a little, it would still work pretty well for the rest of the blade. Thanks for the tip. I'm going to have to try that:)

Jake
 
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The part of an edge that is so damaged it's not moved by a chakma is the part needing a stone.

The principle of the chakma is to realign the edge of the knife in the field so you can keep working. I think Cliff Stamp reported as much in one of his early reviews of an HI product- that he could work longer before actually having to stop and reprofile/and or sharpen the blade. This also saves metal- and therefore money, something in short supply in the people who designed and use the khuk every day in Nepal.

One interesting thing that came out of Chakma descriptions was that some people save the edges on the chakma for different tasks, while others simply use the thing whichever way works at the time.

I've tried both using the edge and the flat. I guess I use both.


good idea, this Chakma. And like so many of the greatest tools- Simple.



munk
 

Fiddleback

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Thanks for the replies. I wonder if anyone has asked a kami how he would use a chakma?
 
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aproy1101 said:
Can someone please tell me how to use the chakma properly. I ususally use a steel to realign the edge on my kitchen knives. Do you use the chakma the same way? The steel is round, how do you use something shaped like a chakma? Do you use its edge, or the flat part? HollowDweller said in another thread he had rolled the edge on several khuks. How would you straighten out a "rolled" edge? Thanks in advance for the help.

Andy, give this article from Hand America a look http://www.handamerican.com/artsteel.html

Sarge
 
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I use a chakma everyday. I have it on my desk pointing like a arrow to a good smooth hard steel by Hand America. Thanks to the arrow like profile of the chakma I can always find the good steel. :D
 

Fiddleback

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Thanks Sarge. Sounds like you use the darn thing just like any other steel.
 
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aproy1101 said:
Thanks Sarge. Sounds like you use the darn thing just like any other steel.

yes and know. Under high magnification hard smooth steels actually cause the surface of the knife blade edge to flow almost like they were melted. Useing a steel and getting the results we want....a straight smooth razor sharp edge depends of the surface ot the steel being the right hardness in relation to the blade and the right surface texture.

Chakmas are crude tool field tools at best designed to knock a edge back into rough alignment to continue working.

I would never use one at home when I have access to proper tools.
 

Fiddleback

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I see your point Jim. Thanks for the clarification. I think I'll ask my wife for one of those steels for my bday.
 
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Andy, you can easily make a very servicable burnisher out of an old file. Carefully grind off all the teeth and polish the thing just as smooth and shiny as you can. I know you can grind steel, 'cause you've already made some pretty nice knives. Making a chakma ought to be like falling off a log. Don't even have to heat treat the thing, just leave it full hard. "Store bought" is for folks that can't make their own. Spend the B'day money on something you can't make yourself, like another order of goodies from Tandy leather. ;)

Sarge
 
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The first time that I asked this question, I was told more or less that if it was sharper after I was done, I was doing it correctly.

I like them. Sometimes I use the corners, sometimes the edges, and sometimes the flats. Sometimes I bring the khukuri to the chakmak, sometimes the other way around. Once I used one as a hammer to flatten out a particularly frightening ding.

If it's stupid and it works, it ain't stupid, right? ;)
 

Fiddleback

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That avatar Dave is cracking me up. You're right Sarge. I may just ask for more from old Tandy. Although I don't have the space. I'm thinking of getting one of their memberships. The leather price drops a lot then. We'll see how quickly I use up this batch. I really want to get into the shop and do some more grinding and all that noise. Actually I've got two new blades ready for handle. Just gotta get it done. I wanna do a more challenging handle this time and the planning and sketching is taking me a while. Plus...work is busy now so I can't do my hobby on my boss' dime.:mad:
 
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aproy1101 said:
I wanna do a more challenging handle this time and the planning and sketching is taking me a while.

Andy, give the full tang, slab scale, handle a try. The one pictured is my new favorite belt knife for good reason. Looks like a big old kitchen knife (6" blade, 4 1/4" handle), but that handle is very comfortable in use, and while the knife slices up tomatos, onions, and bell peppers with ease, it's also stout enough that I used it and a baton to split up a batch of kindling the other evening (just under 3/16" thick spine, "flattened" convex grind). Like I mentioned before, I copied it from one the blacksmith at the Old Spanish Quarter living history museum had made for his personal knife. Simple, and very old, design, but supremely functional. Can you tell I like it?

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Sarge
 

Fiddleback

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Well I'll have to give that a try. The current blades have rat tail type of tangs though, and its their handles I'm having a time deciding on. I'll get it done, It'll help that I'm done with the FF...for now.
 
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