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is your knife sharp?

I have a growing collection of camping knives and axes that need to be sharpened and I have no idea if they are sharp. I also have no skills when it comes to homing one blade or another and I certainly have no idea what angle my blade is and what angle my pullthru sharpener is or how to know any of that on a standalone stone.

I watched someone sharpen a scandi grind and that seems to make some sense. The best part of the blade itself acts as a guide for the stone. Also the stones seemed to be small enough that you can get up and personal with the knife and stone. Scandi grind seems more forgiving.

But then this yahoo on YouTube was getting all trash can about pullthru sharpeners. Noe he might have had a valid point but as I practiced with my Smith's pocket sharpener and then performed the paper test (not the phonebook) as he did... I had mixed results.

  • if my paper holding hand could vary the back pressure against the blade 
  • The front to back angle could be 90DEG or the tip down or tip up
  • the blade could also be angled left, right or also at 90DEG
  • as the blade went thru the paper; simply pushing the knife through the paper would make the cut look like a tear and any sort of forward or backward sawing motion could cut the paper clean
  • cutting the hair from your arm or such also depends on the angle of the hair to the blade etc.
So it really comes down to this:
  1. read the instructions
  2. know your knife
  3. know your tools
  4. know what sharp means to you
  5. use bio oils to lube your knife
  6. sharpen and clean after every use
I think that's it

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