Knife Sharpening Made Easy

Knife Sharpening Information and Equipment

Here is Chris Issariotis's method of creating and maintaining a convex edge easily and without scratching up the sides of your knives.

Equipment Needed:

Mouse pad with cloth pulled off (usually the cheap ones have cloth)
Wet paper towel to hold mouse pad from sliding
600 grit wet dry sandpaper cut to fit mouse pad
Finest Buffing compound (looks like a big crayon) Note: I use 8000 grit compound from Lee Valley Tools
Oil of some type (I use olive oil cause it the easiest to grab in my kitchen)
Masking tape


VERY IMPORTANT: Choose a knife that is already sharp with a well defined bevel. One that you wouldn't cry over if you scratched it is a bonus. A paring knife (preferably unbolstered) is ideal to start with because it's easier to control.

1. Tape the knife 1/4 inch or 5 or 6 mm back from the edge, making sure that both sides are as even as possible. For bigger knives a little farther back maybe 8 to 10 mm

2. Put the wet paper towel on the kitchen counter and place the mouse pad over it should not slide around ( it might move at first but the pressure of sharpening should keep it down)

3. Wet you fingers and spread some water on the back of the sandpaper and stick the sandpaper to the mouse pad. the water should hold it.

4. Put a dime size drop of oil on the sandpaper and rub with your fingers until it is evenly coated. Rub the buffing compound all over so a nice layer is formed.

5. You need the oil and compound consistency to be slick enough that the knife doesn't yank the mouse pad around and sticky enough to feel some resistance. Add oil or compound as needed.

6. Hold the knife at an angle that is very shallow, but not so shallow that the area past the tape is touching the surface.

7. Like stropping, you want to drag the blade across the sandpaper. Periodically wipe the blade it gets very slippery. Add oil and compound as needed.

8. For initial edge shaping my sequence is 50 strokes per side. Stop. Look a the blade and see if it's looking more convex if not you may have to do another 50, maybe more . Then 10 strokes per side, 5, 4, 3, 2, until you get to 1 stroke per side and alternate sides for 10. For upkeep 20 strokes per side and then 5, 4, 3, 2, until you get to 1 stroke per side and alternate sides for 10.

9. Peel the tape off and wash your knife. You should now have a convex edge. You should also have what looks like a hamon on a katana.

10. Finish on a strop if you have one, or steel ever so lightly.


"Chris Issariotis" <>

Steve's Comments:

Personally I would not use the sandpaper and the buffing compound at the same time. The two scratch patterns are not compatible. I would use the 600 grit alone until I got the shape I wanted, and finish with the buffing compound on a piece of leather or cloth with the mouse pad backing. You might try using 1500 or 2000 grit, available at auto stores, in between.

SBĀ  8/27/2004

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