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Forum topic by Howie posted 02-06-2013 11:24 PM 1466 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Howie

2656 posts in 1743 days


02-06-2013 11:24 PM

What degree of bevel do you chip carvers use to sharpen your knife?

-- Life is good.


13 replies so far

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

2035 posts in 1054 days


#1 posted 02-09-2013 04:43 PM

Most instructions will tell you to sharpen the edge about 10 degrees on each side, yielding an effective 20 degree cutting edge. While this is pretty steep, the great steel used in chip knives can handle it. In fact, I have pushed the envelope a bit, going to about a 12 degree total cutting angle (6 degrees each side) for a knife used in soft woods like pine, basswood, and even poplar. Honed to a mirror polish without rounding using a submicron diamond film or green chromium honing paste the knife cleanly slices the soft wood with minimal compression and pressure. I’m anxious to find a metal lubricant that lubricates on a non-contaminating “molecular” level to further ease the pressure of separating fibers. In harder woods I would stick with closer to 20 degrees else any side pressure will possible damage the blade.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

5617 posts in 1397 days


#2 posted 02-09-2013 04:52 PM

http://lumberjocks.com/MyChipCarving/blog/34449

An interesting blog me thinks.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

16366 posts in 1686 days


#3 posted 02-09-2013 05:51 PM

It’s close to whatever angle Wayne Barton recommends because when I started it was his book that first taught me. However, once you get the hang of it you don’t even think about it. I’ll tell you what though, it’s unbelievable how fast you can sharpen a good chip carving knife. It doesn’t take long to learn how and once you do if you take care of your knife you will almost never have to use anything but your fine ceramic stone. I’m not sure if I’ve ever used the rougher stone. My knife was sharpened when I got it. I’ts a Wayne Barton knife but I’m not sure who makes it for him. I’ve never dropped my chip carving knife nor let it touch another tool. When you’re sitting down carving you’ll know when to sharpen it and it don’t take but a moment and you don’t even have to get up. That’s the beauty of chip carving. You’ve got one knife and one small ceramic stone. You can carry that anywhere. I rarely use the stab knife.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

16366 posts in 1686 days


#4 posted 02-09-2013 07:11 PM

Do you know what, Howie? I went back out to my shop and thought about this. I’m not sure what angle I sharpen my chip carving knife. Here’s the best advice I can give you. Get a few of the books about it because you will get a lot of nice patterns anyways. I procrastinated for years about learning how to chip carve. Marty put a thread on here about learning how and I read it but I didn’t know if I wanted to participate or not but “I’ll see how it goes”, I said. rivergirl spoke up and said something like, “oh come on, Charles, quit maken’ excuses and just do it,” Well, I took it as a challenge and just did it. That’s the best way to learn how to sharpen your knife and chip carve. You read the little bit in the book and it has a picture how to hold the knife on the stone but I didn’t exactly get out a protractor and measure the angle. I’m not sure anybody else does either. You look at the pictures about the technique for cutting the chips, etc. You then lay you some patterns out on a piece of basswood and start carving. Practice helps when you first start. I only had the weekends and I would carve almost all day on Sat. and Sundays. Your knife will get dull so you sharpen it. Your chips won’t look exactly uniform or won’t come out like they’re suppose to but you will get better fairly quickly and you’ll soon learn how to sharpen your knife real fast because you’ll be too frustrated if you don’t. When you figure out getting the wire edge on the knife you’ll see the wire edge on the stone. It’ll come to you pretty quickly how to sharpen your knife. I quickly lost interest in traditional chip carving and kind of liked free form chip carving better. A chip carving class with a chip carver will get you going quicker. Maybe a Woodcraft store class. However, and to be honest, the best way to learn how to sharpen your knife and make chips is to just start doing it and make up your mind to do it. Your subconscience mind, your hand eye coordination, and your determination and practice will take care of it. It did with me anyways. Best of luck to you and I know that if you like it you will succeed quicker than you think. After the my knife was sharp I stopped mine a few times using a leather strop. However, some chip carvers say not to use a strop on a chip carving knife. I do because it seems to work for me.

I believe that this was Marty's class that I spoke of. BTW for a small monthly fee you can join his website and watch an expert chip carver and wonderful teacher on some great chip carving videos.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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Howie

2656 posts in 1743 days


#5 posted 02-10-2013 07:01 PM

As usual I came to the right place for valuable advise.
I going to continue to play around with this and find a class (woodcraft/) to go to.
One of the things I was wondering about was using a “Lansky” sharpening stone and holder as one can use a 17 degree fixed angle and a very fine stone. Any comments on this? I know this is a bit more than some recommend but Dan says up to 20 on hardwoods.
Charles I’m going to check out those vids you mentioned.

-- Life is good.

View mpounders's profile

mpounders

758 posts in 1715 days


#6 posted 02-13-2013 02:50 PM

Just do it by hand and practice until you get the hang of it! A lot of carvers have extensive and expensive collections of jigs and sharpening methods that they abandon, once they find a sharpening method that works for them. Me included. I use a Burke sharpener a lot for stropping, but I have recently went back and used a stone on a couple of knives, to get the edge like I wanted it. Everything old is new again.

-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com

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Howie

2656 posts in 1743 days


#7 posted 02-13-2013 07:32 PM

Thanks Mike. My Dad taught me to sharpen a knife by hand years ago(before all these fancy sharpeners) so I should be able to fall back in the groove.
Now if I could just learn to carve…...

-- Life is good.

View Thomas Hanson's profile

Thomas Hanson

38 posts in 772 days


#8 posted 02-20-2015 09:05 PM

This is very perplexing. I cannot find a reference anywhere on the web, and I expected more here at LJ, as to the degree of bevel on a Wayne Barton chip carving knife. It’s always “It’s whatever it came with and I’m happy with that.” This is not like the nitpicking woodworkers and metalworkers I’m used to. I also cannot find a photo of a WB knife that will expand large enough to see the bevel on the blade. I just made a chip knife (left handed) and guessed at 15 degrees.
I suppose a 10 degree blade, which is radically sheer in my opinion, would be ok if you were only cutting basswood or shaving somebody.
Any help out there?

-- Okie from Council Hill

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

2035 posts in 1054 days


#9 posted 02-20-2015 11:32 PM

Thomas, WB shows that he puts a 10° bevel on each side, making the cutting angle 20° (pg 17 Chip Carving Techniques and Patterns). I have a WB and I can’t think of any equipment I have that will measure that angle any where near accurately. Guessing isn’t gonna help. This I can tell you…when sharpening or honing I hold it slightly shallower than when cutting, ever so slightly. So the actual cutting angle is up for grabs on my knife. I’ve tried to keep the original as close as I can.

I can imagine that one might want two knives sharpened differently for different densities of wood. Like you said, soft woods would not give a 20° edge a hard time but perhaps a slightly steeper angle would be more appropriate for denser woods like walnut, beech, cherry etc.

See the first post here…!
Hope that helps.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

View Thomas Hanson's profile

Thomas Hanson

38 posts in 772 days


#10 posted 02-21-2015 12:08 AM

Dan, that helps a lot and makes sense why no one seems to know. The combined angle is exactly what I would expect too for this kind of work although Chris Pie hones carving chisels to 15 degrees total!
I intend to make other knives to exhaustively test the concepts involved. Thanks for your input, I was going crazy there for awhile.
Thomas Hanson

-- Okie from Council Hill

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

25 posts in 300 days


#11 posted 02-25-2015 06:18 PM

5 degrees? Basically I lay it down flat, raise it about 1/16” I guess.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

341 posts in 1764 days


#12 posted 03-03-2015 12:51 AM

I don’t know squat about chip carving. However, certain facts will apply in any situation, so this may help some.

A trick I learned using my Edge Pro to sharpen kitchen knives and which would apply, if you had a knife with a known good edge:

1) Use a felt marker to blacken the edge.
2) Using a fine stone, set your guide to the approximate angle.
3) Run the blade against the stone, then look at it under a magnifying glass.
4) Adjust the angle according to which part of the marker was rubbed off (if the marker at the edge is gone, drop the angle down, but if the back is rubbed off, bring it up.

I sharpen my kitchen knives at about fifteen degrees (each side). They are thin blades and all but drop through potatoes. However, if I were doing the kind of work with them my pocket knife gets subjected to, they’d probably get dull, or chip fast.

If the felt marker tip won’t help, try an angle suggested here. If you find yourself working to hard, drop down. I suspect some of the more seasoned folks suggesting angles in the area of seven or so are pretty close.

Once you have your blade where you want it, you shouldn’t need a course stone for a LONG time.

If you have to go to a more coarse stone, you’ve allowed your blade to get too dull, or you’ve sharpened it a whole lot of times, to the point of changing the blade profile (as you get farther up a blade, it gets thicker, so you would thin it down to get back to where you started).

You can be right at the door of the perfect edge [for you], but if you change the angle of sharpening by even a degree, you can set yourself back quite a ways.

I have Flexcut knives for both manual and impact carving. For that, they supply wood shaped for the various blades and on to which you apply a polishing rouge. Regular strokes to hone the edge allow you to avoid major sharpening efforts.

In all honesty, I cannot fathom why someone would be adverse to using a strop or other leather item to clean up an edge. In the end, you’re looking for the edge, not the means of getting there. As such, ceramic or whatever would seem fair game, as long as it’s about the coarseness you need for the stage your blade is at (some ceramics are as mean to a good blade as a steel is, which removes a lot of valuable knife material).

On another side note, I have a Spyderco Techno (CTS-XHP steel (whatever that means)) and a Manbug pocket knife (VG10 steel). Their steel is better quality and a higher Rockwell hardness than my Buck and other, less expensive knives. Accordingly, they seem to hold their edges better. Said another way, look for quality steel, which can equate to the difference between owning a Chicago drill and a Panasonic, for example.

Higher quality steel can tolerate (hold) a finer edge better. If yours are good quality, it seems a VERY fine, seven degree sharpening angle would give you a lot of control over your cuts and make cutting more of a pleasure. Of course, it does go back to what others say, you have to sharpen regularly.

View Thomas Hanson's profile

Thomas Hanson

38 posts in 772 days


#13 posted 03-03-2015 09:36 PM

Thanks Kelly, I totally agree with all of that, being a knife lover for 64 years. I still don’t have a VG10 blade like you do but maybe someday. I do use Japanese damascus kitchen knives which are very challenging to sharpen to a 30/70 state for left handers like me so I’m familiar with the finer points of sharpening about anything but chip carving knives. Part of the problem comes from Wayne Barton knives, Wayne being probably the most respected chip carver in the entire world. Wayne says to hone to a perfect triangular shape. That means no bevel. NO bevel. I very much suspect this is above the strength limitations of every steel on the planet for a 0.040” blade 7/16” wide. I know the knives he sells doesn’t come that way because I’ve been watching a video of a lady who uses his knives and she is saying the same thing but at the same time you can see the bevel on the knife. But she says she just didn’t hone it long enough to get it to a true flat blade. I have since modified my knife to an even thinner configuration by raising the primary bevel way up the blade and having a rounded bevel at the edge. I am getting chips now without excessive tear out so I guess I’m happy enough with my discoveries. Thanks everyone.

-- Okie from Council Hill

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