Carvers must find a system of sharpening that works for them. The best carvers all have one thing in common—their tools are sharp!
Some use Japanese water stones and others aloxite cloth on a dowel. If you learned how to sharpen with these methods stick with it—if not, I suggest you try the products I sell. I had a pretty experienced carver say to me recently “I never realized how dull my tools were until I tried your stones.” I am please with this selection of sharpening aids. I really stand behind the Spyderco and Ultra-Tec; if you can find better sharpening products let me know and I'll get them.
Spyderco Ceramic Stones
These are manufactured sapphire, next under diamond in hardness. You can cut hard Arkansas with these ceramic files. Spyderco stones can't be compared to other ceramics. High quality, they cut fast and leave a polished edge. The factory recommends cleaning a dirty stone with a Scotchbirte pad and water. This stone tapers from 1/4″ to less than 1/8″ in 1/2″ width. With its flat area and two different radii, this is a very useful stone. The fine grit cuts like India but leaves a polish like hard white Arkansas.
Spyderco Slipstone: 5″ x 1/2″ teardrop cross-section. Fine grit 400FSP $19.00
Spyderco Bench Stone: A great bench stone in a tough plastic box. I have tried them all from Arkansas to waterstones to diamond. This is the best. The medium is comparable to soft Arkansas but cuts way faster and is anything but soft. The fine stone is comparable to a hard white Arkansas stone but cuts several times faster. The ultra-fine stone feels like a baby's butt, yet cuts like crazy (don't ask me why it is so much more expensive). Size = 2″ x 8″
- Medium: 302M $58.00
- Fine: 302F $58.00
- Ultra-fine: 302VF $78.00
Other Sharpening Supplies
The Ultra-Tec is a 600 grit (in the business of diamonds sharpeners that's a “fine” grit) diamond in a slick aluminum tube which screws on to form a handle or screws on the other way to protect the sharpener. It's a nice tool box tool and cuts fast for those bad nicks! Not particularly cheap but very cool! $28.00
We have reduced the size of the leather for the strop. It was unnecessarily large and thus wasteful on materials.
Strop: A strop is a must for edge maintenance. I use no abrasives when stropping as I feel the leather is abrasive enough. Using stropping compounds does bring up an edge faster, but it also rounds it off, making stoning and ultimately edge maintenance more difficult. The leather overhangs for stropping our tools. $13.00
Strop Leather: Make your own strop, it's easy! Glue with rubber cement to a 3/8″ thick board a little narrower than the leather for stropping the inside of crooked knives, etc. Dimensions: 1 1/8″ wide x 7″ long. $2.00
Honing Oil. 4 oz squeeze bottle of a highly refined light oil for use when sharpening. Convenient in the tool box. $4.95