Let's talk axe and knife sharpening

Dalko43

Explorer
I've had a few knives and an axe for a little over a year now. They've all seen very moderate use, but I'm getting to the point where their edges need some sharpening and general maintenance.

Axe: I have a small forest axe from Gransfors Bruk. I love the quality and the utility of the thing, even if it is a little expensive. I acquired a Gransfors Bruk Ceramic Grinding stone (with a 180 grit and 600 grit side) and a double-sided axe file (also with rough and coarse grit side). I also have a leather strop from an old razor kit. The basic gist, as I understand it, is to: first, reshape the axe bevel with the file as required; secondly, grind the axe bevel and cutting edge (either with a pocket grinding stone or bench grinder); and thirdly, to remove any micro-burs with the leather strop. Not wanting to mess anything up with the expensive Gransfors Axe, I went through this whole process with a beat-up old axe and I think I got the general idea of what I need to do. The old axe, which hadn't seen use or maintenance in several decades, already looks a lot better.

Are there any steps that I am missing?
Is there some sort of test or standard I can use to judge the effectiveness of this process (something like cutting paper or shaving a piece of wood)?

Knife: It's an AUS8A stainless steel drop point knife. The cutting edge is still in decent condition from a visual standpoint, but the cutting ability isn't as good as it used to be. I tried using the ceramic grinding stone and leather strop to do some minor work on the edge, which did slightly improve the cutting ability, but it's still not as good as I want it to be.

Do I need to get some dedicated Japanese whetstones for a knife? It seems like the axe's edge only needs to be so sharp in order to work (it's relying on a lot of kinetic energy after all), whereas the knife does need to be very sharp in order to do the precision cutting and carving that I ask of it.

Is there a different process for sharpening the knife? Any special considerations based on the material of the knife (AUS8A stainless steel)?

I'm hoping to get some advice from the knife and axe connoisseurs on this forum (I know there are a few on here).
 

scanny

Observer
I'm not a sharpening expert, but since no one replied yet I'll share my experience. After trying few things I came to like Apex Edge Pro concept, it's a little bit expensive but easy to use and works well for knives. Since it's expensive and I wasn't sure how well it worked I got myself a Chinese knock-off for a fraction of price similar to this one:
https://www.amazon.com/AGPtek-Professional-Kitchen-Sharpener-Fix-angle/dp/B00ABVS5VY/ref=sr_1_8?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1507475040&sr=1-8&keywords=sharpening+system
Knock-offs build quality is not exceptionally good, but I was able to sharpen knives good enough to cut slices from store receipts (very thin paper). It took some time to get used to this sharpener and so far it works well for me, so I might get real Apex when I broke my knock-off : )
As per Gransfors Bruk - I have the same axe, but so far I didn't have to sharpen it - all I did so far is a few careful strokes of 600 grit stone to keep it in shape. To me it's good enough if it can slice printer paper.
 

Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
Acusharp is what I use. They cost 10-12 bucks at places like Walmart and Cabellas. All you do is drag it across the blade a few times and it's sharp. I was afraid to use it on my good EESE fixed blade because some high end blades are sharpened at weird angles but it was a perect fit. For the hatchets, machetes, shovels and axes I use a very fine almost emery cloth grit flapper wheel on the angle grinder. That works great and it shure is nice having a house, camper and shop full of razor sharp tools. It's also nice to not have to worry about dulling tools so you actually use them. Get this: https://accusharp.com/products/classic/
 

EMrider

Explorer
Acusharp is what I use. They cost 10-12 bucks at places like Walmart and Cabellas. All you do is drag it across the blade a few times and it's sharp. I was afraid to use it on my good EESE fixed blade because some high end blades are sharpened at weird angles but it was a perect fit. For the hatchets, machetes, shovels and axes I use a very fine almost emery cloth grit flapper wheel on the angle grinder. That works great and it shure is nice having a house, camper and shop full of razor sharp tools. It's also nice to not have to worry about dulling tools so you actually use them. Get this: https://accusharp.com/products/classic/

I use the Accusharp too. Very easy to use and effective.

R
 
I've always just took a file to the axe to get any chips or high spots.Then I use a med/fine stone to get final edge. then strope it over some old jean type material. if it will shave your thumb nail,it'll cut wood.
 

scanny

Observer
Accusharp has bad reputation on bladeforums. knowledgeable people say that it ruins blades. Not that I know much about it, but I think it's a good idea to do a research before using it on expensive blades. From what I read I don't think I want to byu accusharp sharpener.
 

adamhoward

New member
Deluxe Controlled is a nice Angle Knife Sharpening System. You can try it.
You can also Check out The Bladeforum for more queries. There are lots of experienced guys who are willing to help the people.
 

chocko

New member
I just use the bottom of a ceramic coffee cup to dress and a diamond steel if they are really blunt. If you are really keen you can use the edge of your cars side windows to get them shaving sharp . Have done it for years with all of my hunting knives . Let google be your friend and you will see it for yourself . Save your money .
 

waveslider

Outdoorsman
Although this might be thread drift, I suspect I use knives more than many folks.....I skin upwards of 600/700 critters a year spanning a fair spectrum of species. Frankly, I don't bother sharpening much of anything, I buy replaceable blade knives that take various sized scalpel blades and spend my time doing other things.

Even my big game hunting knives I've moved on to replaceable blade knives such as the outdoor edge or havalon models.

Sure, I have my "favorite" pocket knives that I keep razor sharp with a Lansky guide. But it doesn't make sense to spend hardly any time sharpening when I can buy blades for like $15 per 100.

I fully realize that this may seem sacrilegious for some folks that are attached to their knives, but if you haven't tried them, you might give it a shot.

Axes are a different kettle altogether....
 
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