Sharpening is a Simple Act

Thank you Paul Sellers for stating an obvious but nearly lost truth.  There are far too many needless and complicated gizmos, devices, and “new technologies” for a 2,500 year old task.  Clever marketers have figured out that we can blame our laziness and impatience on our tools and not ourselves.

Maybe I am speaking out of turn as my tools are always for from perfect. 

Catalogs are full of overpriced specialty devices designed to do the seemingly impossible; polish a sharp edge onto a piece of steel.  I realize now that I was very fortunate.  I learned to use a file and whetstone as a very young child.  I even learned about setting saw teeth and how to use the hard straight razor stone.  Before there were special stones to resurface a stone, we simpletons used a hard, sandy, and flat concrete surface before graduating on to sandpaper stuck to a sheet of glass.

Some of the best sharpeners I know still do virtually everything with Arkansas whetstones and some very-fine emery paper.  One thing to remember though; you have to actually do it.  If you don’t regularly keep things sharp, it only becomes more of a chore and takes more time.  I think the old idea of spending a few minutes before you begin work of sharpening and stropping is a wise idea.

If you use tools, consider a real pair of Arkansas whetstones.  Here’s a couple of sources to try:


stonelogo3In the mean time, head over to Paul Sellers’ excellent as usual blog for his take on sharpening as well.  Notice his very simple set-up.

Paul Sellers' Sharpening System.
Paul Sellers’ Sharpening System.



2 thoughts on “Sharpening is a Simple Act

  1. I look at my “micron levels” and go from there…be it diamond, or one of my Japanese water stones…from 120 μ to 0.1 μ…the next choice?…micro beveling and how much…You are most correct…it is actually pretty fast and easy once the ‘traditional elements” are understood and mastered….



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