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Cool knife sharpener (cheap); With instruction!
Topic Started: Jan 31 2010, 12:28 PM (1,104 Views)
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The Mousepad Trick

Do you have an old mouse pad? Is there an auto supply store nearby? You can make a superb sharpening system for about $5.

Go to your nearest auto supply store and get some 600 grit sandpaper. Mylar-backed wet/dry sandpaper works best. This is the stuff used to sand automotive paint between coats. Get the self-stick kind. If they have higher grits, get a couple of sheets of those, too, 1200 grit is generally the next step up. Go nuts. Itís cheap.

Stick the sandpaper to the mouse pad and trim the edges. This is your new sharpening system. If you have both 600 and 1200 grit, apply one to each side of the mousepad. Make sure you have a work surface you donít mind scratching up. If you have a double-sided mousepad sharpener, you donít want to work on your kitchen counter or dining room table. Your spouse will kill you.

This system requires a stropping motion when sharpening, using an edge-trailing stroke. That means that unlike other sharpening methods you donít lead with the edge, you lead with the spine. Image an old barbershop with the barber stropping his razor, stroking away from the edge. Thatís the idea.

To establish your angle, lay the knife flat on the pad, edge toward you. Lift the spine slightly while pulling lightly toward you. Continue lifting until the edge bites into the sandpaper. Thatís your stropping angle.

Press down lightly and stroke the knife away from you, spine first, moving from heel to tip. When you reach the end STOP and lift the knife straight up off the sandpaper. Donít roll it off or lift the spine further or youíll mess up the edge youíre creating. Turn the knife over and stroke back the other way with the edge away from you, pulling the spine toward you at the same angle as the previous stroke. The really cool thing is that the mouse pad is soft enough that it conforms to the angle of the knife edge. As long as youíre pretty close youíll be fine. This will give you an amazing edge in a fairly short amount of time. If you want to polish it up, use the higher grit sandpaper on the other side of the mouse pad.

Because the mousepad is soft, it deforms lightly around the edge of the knife and gives you a slightly convex bevel. As weíve discussed, a convex edge has many advantages but can be difficult to achieve without a belt sander. This is one way to create or maintain a convex edge without serious power tools.

This is the same technique as stropping (below) but with a different abrasive.


Stropping is a handy way to finish off a burr or put a final mirror polish on your edge. While you can strop on anything from the back of a legal pad to an old belt, places like Lee Valley Tools and HandAmerican sell hard backed strops. The strop is usually charged with an abrasive, like green chromium oxide paste, so it actually does remove very fine particles of metal.

Like the mousepad trick above, stropping is an edge trailing stroke. Lay your knife flat on the strop with the spine facing away from you. Slowly pull the knife toward you while lifting the spine. When the edge just begins to bite into the leather you have found your angle. Keep that angle as you stroke the spine away from you, pulling the edge along behind. When you get to the end of the stroke STOP. Lift the blade straight up off the strop. Do not lift the edge higher or roll the knife over while it is still on the strop. You can wreck your edge that way.

Now lay the knife flat again, spine toward you, and gently push the edge toward the end of the strop while lifting the spine. When the edge begins to bite youíve found your angle for the return stroke. This second step isnít really necessary if youíve kept your angles consistent during sharpening, but it never hurts to make sure you are holding the right angle. The return stroke is the same motion as the first stroke, simply in reverse. The edge is facing away from you and you pull the spine toward you.

Stropping will create an extremely sharp, highly polished edge optimized for push cutting. To some extent, stropping can make up for less than perfect sharpening technique, especially since itís a little more forgiving.
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:goodpost: sounds like a good idea,something that be done in the off seasom. :goodpost:
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Sounds OK.....
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I use a similar idea to the mouse pad but I use a plate of glass instead. The regular wet sand paper you can get it anywhere and stick it to the glass with 2 way tape
And a little trick I picked up on getting the angle is to color the edge of the blade to be sharpened with a marker, make 1 or 2 passes with the blade than look to see where you are removing the marker off the edge, recolor edge, adjust angle and repeat
I have sharpened 12 knife blades from my planner to ľ chisels
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:howdy: very good post i tried it and knive is sharp :CanFlag:
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