Switch to full style
Post a reply

Using the weight of a blade technique

Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:54 am

I've heard the phrase "use only the weight of the blade" to describe using very light strokes. I never heard any instruction on exactly how to do this. One day it came to me how to accomplish this seemingly easy task. What I'm about to say works on smaller knife (pocket knives, paring, etc.). To keep only the weight of the blade on a stone or strop you want to control that by having only the weight of the handle on your fingers as they wrap around the handle. Forget about edge angle for a sec. If the handle is resting on one or two fingers on one side of the balance point of a knife and the blade, being on the other side of the balance point rests on the stone/strop that is a given amount of pressure on the stone. By moving the handle hand closer to or farther from the balance point you can adjust the amoung of pressure the edge is putting on the stone. The farther you move your handle hand towards the end of the handle the greater the pressure there will be on the stone. The balance point issue seems to be the reason this doesn't work well on larger knives. Then again I sharpen a lot more pocket knife size knives than larger kitchen knives so maybe I'm just not used to them. Now about controling the edge angle I just tried using the balance point of a knife to control the pressure on a strop with an 8" chef's knife. Since there was so much blade (weight) below the handle I had a hard time just letting the handle rest on my fingers because the weight of the edge portion of the blade (instead of the spine) made me need to grip the handle tighter to control the angle. So, it seems different knives (size, shape, etc.) will act differently when the handle just rests on your fingers.

I only mention this balance point issue because using a SUPER light touch is a huge key for getting the really sharp, crisp edges. And using the phrase "weight of the blade" may not be the best phrase. The amount of pressure on the stone or strop is really what matters. Not how much a blade weighs. The pressure can be adjusted by moving the handle hand, holding the handle in a different spot, again, no matter how much the blade weighs. Any correction or additional info I'd appreciate because some times in the past when I think I have a good idea or system it proves to somewhat inaccurate if not completely wrong when someone with more experience comes up with something better or a different outlook on a given topic. If I'm wrong by looking at it this way feel free to act like my wife and LET ME HAVE IT!. :)

Jack

Re: Using the weight of a blade technique

Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:17 am

I have always taken it figuratively as the lightest of pressures, as in you aren't applying any real pressure to the knife like you would when sharpening. I've never thought about it meaning literally the actual weight of the blade. I can see how that could be confusing though, and frustrating if one were to actually try just resting the blade on the stone and dragging it over the length of it.

Re: Using the weight of a blade technique

Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:38 am

DefMunky wrote:I have always taken it figuratively as the lightest of pressures, as in you aren't applying any real pressure to the knife like you would when sharpening. I've never thought about it meaning literally the actual weight of the blade. I can see how that could be confusing though, and frustrating if one were to actually try just resting the blade on the stone and dragging it over the length of it.



You understood it accurately as most people do I'm sure. I think it's the "how to do it" in detail or specifically that was new to me. I would do just like you said. "Rest the blade on the stone". But I was holding the handle like a baseball bat, gripping with my entire hand and trying to control the pressure by lifting up on the blade enough to lessen the pressure but not removing it from the stone all together. By loosening my grip until the handle rested (literally) on my fingers everything seemed to click and I was getting much better results. Sometimes I'm so dense I need specific instructions on how to do something like "use light pressure" instead of just telling me "use light pressure" or "just use the weight of the blade". :)

Jack

Re: Using the weight of a blade technique

Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:40 am

"Sometimes I'm so dense I need specific instructions"

Going on my headstone :)

Re: Using the weight of a blade technique

Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:41 am

I never took the phrase "weight of the blade" literally or worried about the "balance point" when I heard it. When the phrase came up I held the knife just light enough to keep from dropping it and let the knife and stone do the work.

Re: Using the weight of a blade technique

Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:46 am

cedarhouse wrote:"Sometimes I'm so dense I need specific instructions"

Going on my headstone :)


When you require a headstone my specific instrutions are "GO UP!" :)

Jack

Re: Using the weight of a blade technique

Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:06 am

I learned the hard way that the weight of the blade doesn't work. It's a good way to loose control and chip a perfectly brand new Nubatama 5k stone :)...oops.

A light pressure of 1-3lbs of pressure is probably all that is needed.

Re: Using the weight of a blade technique

Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:18 am

This is a method pretty well known (and I'm pretty sure originally conceived..) for sharpening straight razors. Sharpness reaches a whole new meaning when it comes to shaving your face comfortably.

Many guys use varying thicknesses of Coticule (or other..) slurry and pressures when honing a razor towards being shave ready.

Obviously, less and less slurry and lighter and lighter pressure during honing, gradually results in a finer and finer edge.

Same thing can be applied with a kitchen knife, however, I can get a 'beyond sharp enough' razor edge without adopting the amount of work
it takes to get a razor ready for comfortable shaving.

The latter part of honing a straight, literally means using the weight of the razor on the stone. Zero pressure.
Post a reply