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What Sharpening System for a Kid?

Oct 2, 1998
Hi Folks,

I gave my best friends 9 year old son (my God Son) a small Buck Prince lock back as his first knife for Christmas. When I visited his house on Memorial Day, Christopher asked me to help sharpen two old knives that his Grandfather has recently given him. We went out to the garage where my friend kept his stones. What I found was a Carborundum stone that I wouldn't use to sharpen a lawnmower blade with.

Well the young guy needs a good sharpening system. Next month is his Birthday, and I'd like to present him with a suitable gift. I thought about a Sharpmaker, but maybe he should learn to sharpen freehand first so he can develop his skills. He seems to use his knife mostly to make pointy sticks. (Hay don't run with that stick!!!)

By the way, the Buck still has a good edge, unlike the other P'sOS He has. Jeez I hate crappy knives.

So what can you fine folks recommend I give young Chris for his 10th B-Day?

"Every Dog Has His Day"

Definately stay away from diamond stones!!! I have a Smith's Precision Sharpening Kit that works fairly well for an idiot like myself
. That's be good for starters. -AR

- Intelligent men, unfortunately, learn from fools, more often than fools learn from intelligent men.

How about the Spyderco Double Stuff stone. You know which one I'm talking about?? It has a white and gray stone epoxied to each other. Makes for a nice little set up. You can sharpen small knives on it easily. Just a thought.

I think Blades is on the right track. A flat stone - so he can get the hang of free-hand sharpening. A ceramic stone that doesn't require oil is probably a good idea as well.

"Walk softly and carry a big folder... and a small folder... and a SAK... and a multi-tool..."
I would stay away from giving him anything to sharpen knives altogether. By sharpening I mean anything that is used to put on a new secondary bevel. That requires a fair amount of patience if the knife steel is anyway hard and will most likely just make him very frustrated.

What I would do is show him how to maintain his knives. I would buy him a simple smooth steel and a ceramic rod. Frequent steeling and the occasional few strokes with the rod will make the edges on his knives last a lng time before the bevel needs to be reset. This can also be done a lot sloppier than actual sharpening and still get decent results.

Once the bevel does need to be reset, you can sit down with him and let him use your equipment (or watch you as you explain what you are doing). Once he becomes familiar with this then you can buy him a set of benchstones (cheap AO ones would be a starter).

You might also consider getting him the small angle clamp from Razors Edge to go along with the benchstones. I have not used them but Joe T. has described them as basically keeping the angle constant while teaching you the right form for freehand sharpening - sounds like just the right thing to me. This would save him a lot of time and effort.

I actually have found that sharpening my knives on my belt grinder is the easiest. Maybe it's time for the lil' tike to give it a whirl

Actually, when I was a kid I found that one of those sharpeners with the preste angles was easiest. Maybe you should also get you god son one of those to with his new set of stones. I found that the Buck Jiffy Sharp(I think thats the name of it. Anyway, I know that buck makes it) works pretty well. I still take one with me while camping becaue it is alot less wait to pack compared to my grinder

The Spydy Double-Stuff is classy and affordable. It would make a very economical choice.
Or if Chris just wants a durn edge fast(hehe
), get him a little grinder.
I thought about the preset angle guides, but Lucky Dog mentioned he wanted him to learn freehand first. I'm sure whatever you give him will be a learning experience.


[This message has been edited by Blades (edited 08 June 1999).]
When I was a boy I sharpened my knife on rocks (and I had to walk five miles to school and back ... uphill both ways ... etc.)

I've taught a bunch of people to sharpen freehand. The hard part is learning not to ruin the hone ... and not ruin the hone while you're learning how to sharpen.... I think a small low-buck diamond hone would be a great gift for a kid or anybody who's learning to sharpen because diamond hones stay flat. He won't ruin his hone while he's learning to use it.

-Cougar Allen :{)