How to Make a Knife Sharpener

Written by stanley goff
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How to Make a Knife Sharpener
Get it razor sharp using a homemade knife sharpener. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The trick to sharpening knives is to understand the basics of the process. Near the cutting edge of a knife is a V-shaped angle, called a bevel. The first step in sharpening is to grind the bevel into a sharp point at the edge. Once the bevel is ground, you have to remove the fine scratches and beads that form along the edge. Knives can be sharpened on a coffee cup, if you like, but most people prefer a sharpener. There are many ways to make a homemade sharpener that gives you an excellent edge.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver set
  • Discarded microwave oven
  • Magnetron cap
  • Bench vice
  • Hammer
  • Wire cutters
  • 14-gauge copper wire
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Cordless Dremel grinder
  • Fine emery cloth
  • Duct tape

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  1. 1

    Take apart a discarded microwave oven. Inside, you will find an assembly of several cylindrical magnets, called a magnetron. Clamp the ceramic end cap of the magnetron in a vice, facing sideways. The cap is also cylindrical, with two holes through the flat ends. Tap around the magnet cylinder with a hammer until the magnetron falls away from the ceramic cap.

  2. 2

    Cut a six-inch length of 18-gauge copper wire. Fold the wire in half, using needlenose pliers, and maintain a smooth curve at the centre that leaves the legs of the wire parallel and approximately one-half inch apart. Slide the two legs of the bent wire into the two holes on the magnetron end cap. Clamp the end cap into the vice, and with the pliers twist the legs of the wire together into a pigtail. Ensure that the pigtail is symmetrical and perpendicular to the flat face of the ceramic cap.

  3. 3

    Tape the emery cloth tightly around the edge of your work table. Fit the pigtail on the ceramic-wire assembly into the bit vice of your cordless Dremel grinder, and tighten the bit vice. Turn on the grinder and see if the ceramic cylinder rotates evenly. If it wobbles, turn off the grinder and make fine adjustments by bending the wire slightly. Do this until it rotates evenly. Turn on the grinder and place the round surface of your ceramic "wheel" on the taped emery cloth to smooth out any pits or rough spots.

  4. 4

    Sharpen knives by clamping them and running the grinding wheel along the bevel of the knife until the bevel is smooth and shiny. Finish the knives by stropping them on a leather belt.

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