Woodcarving is an art that relies on a sharp carving knife, but even the best woodcarving knives grow dull over time. Working with dull woodcarving knives can lead to damaged pieces and injuries. So they should be sharpened on a regular basis.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Sharpening stone
- Leather strop
Choose your sharpening stone. Many types of sharpening stones are available, and finding the right one is largely a matter of preference. Some stones need to be lubricated with oil or water before you use them. Ceramic sharpening stones can be used dry, and they can be cleaned very easily with soap and water.
Lay your woodcarving knife flat on its side against the surface of the sharpening stone.
Tilt the back of the blade slightly up and away from the surface of the stone. Keep the edge in contact with the sharpening stone.
Pull the knife back across the stone, leading with the blunt edge.
Turn the knife over and repeat moving it in the opposite direction. This will give the knife an important double edge.
Pull both sides of the knife back across the stone again for a total of five to 10 times, until you have a sharp edge to work with. This can take longer with woodcarving tools that have been neglected and less time with tools that just need a quick sharpening.
Hang the leather strop from a nail and stretch it taut, with the rough side facing up.
Pull the knife across the strop. Use the rough surface of the leather strop for 15 or 20 strokes, and then flip it over and repeat using the smooth side of the strop.
Turn the knife over and repeat moving it in the opposite direction across the strop. Use the rough surface of the leather strop for 15 or 20 strokes, and then flip it over and repeat using the smooth side of the strop.
Hold a small slip of paper up by one corner.
Push the blade down against the edge of the paper. If the woodcarving knife is sharp enough, it will tear the paper. If it only bends the paper, the woodcarving knife needs to be sharpened again.
Tips and warnings
- Use two different grits of sharpening stone to get a very fine edge.
- Use a steeper angle to sharpen your cutting edge when you are dealing with tools such as chisels and gouges. Straight chisels need only a single edge and should be dragged across the sharpening stone in only one direction.
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