Problem sharpening chip carving knife

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Forum topic by wood2woodknot posted 01-07-2016 04:50 AM 965 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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93 posts in 1967 days

01-07-2016 04:50 AM

I have a problem getting a perfectly straight edge on my chip carving knife (Wayne Barton style). On most knives it would not be a problem, but with this style knife the tip does not cut into the corner bottom. I’m guessing as hard as I try not to, I must be turning my wrist at the end of the pull stroke across the stone, creating the curved blade tip.

ANY HELP from experienced sharpeners out there on how to get the blade back to straight – and keep it that way in future sharpenings? I use either a ceramic stone or a hard Arkansas.

-- ajh

5 replies so far

View ksSlim's profile


1275 posts in 2884 days

#1 posted 01-07-2016 12:35 PM

You might try mounting the knife in a vise and using the stone like a file.
This technique has helped many of my new carvers.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View rwe2156's profile


2916 posts in 1475 days

#2 posted 01-07-2016 01:23 PM

You may be pulling or lifting up on the handle as you finish the stroke. If you keep the knife flat when you finish the strokes lift it straight off the stone you will produce a sharp tip.

Are you holding the stone in your other hand? I don’t do that anymore for me, it introduces too much error. Instead, elevate and secure the stone (mount on a piece of wood) to give your wrist room and put at a comfortable height to your body. When I started doing this my sharpening proficiency went up immediately.

I find locking the wrist and rocking the body back is a good way to maintain the angle.

To correct the edge, I would start at 600 grit and pay close attention to how you’re finishing the strokes. Like I said, don’t lift, pull the tip off the side, or flex the blade.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View ClaudeF's profile


652 posts in 1701 days

#3 posted 01-08-2016 01:59 AM

Once you’ve gotten the blade sharp with a square straight edge all the way to the tip, use a strop with some honing compound to keep it sharp. My knives (I do in the round carving) have only seen a stone when I break a tip off or hit something and get a chip in the blade. You can use leather for a strop (thinner is better), you can use a piece of cardboard from a cereal box – just glue it grey side up to a piece of flat shelving or other board. Rub some compound on it and strop away. There are many compounds. I use a green chromium oxide (0.5 micron) one as well as the Flexcut Gold (also 0.5 micron, I think)


View jimbop's profile


5 posts in 863 days

#4 posted 01-08-2016 08:27 PM

When I took Mr. Barton’s class, he taught us to hold the knife flat on the stone and then lift up at about the thickness of a dime. Then the motion used was a swirling motion and not the pulling like when using a strop. You were never actually near the ends of the stone and there was really never any actual action that had to be repeated. You did one side without ever lifting the blade once you started and then flip it over and do it again. You placed the knife, lifted slightly and just made circular motions on each side. Obviously, the blade is moved away from the edge, the same as a stropping motion. It is MUCH easier to do than to describe!
We used the ceramic stones. Once we had the edge from the coarse (darker) stone, we moved to the fine (white) stone. The coarse stone was not used the rest of the week. The fine stone was used continuously throughout the entire week like you would use a strop regularly. We never even saw a strop in his class!
I have used his procedure for 2 or 3 years now and am quite satisfied with the results.
If you decide to try it, I hope it achieves what you want it to.


View wood2woodknot's profile


93 posts in 1967 days

#5 posted 01-09-2016 05:33 AM

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Jim, I followed Wayne’s articles for years in ChipChats magazine. He occasionally had ideas on sharpening. There was also another writer more frequently discussing sharpening. Unfortunately I stopped my subscription and passed on almost 10 yrs of ChipChats issues to someone else interested in carving. I still have copies of three of WB’s instruction books. I remember most of what you said above, but don’t recall ever hearing a couple things. Looking forward to getting my knife squared up and getting back to chip carving again now that I’m retired and have a few projects in the queue. I also need to pass the skills on to a granddaughter who wants to learn.

Thanks to everyone at LJ.

-- ajh

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