rwc

round knife

19 posts in this topic

I know it's been asked before but what does it take to get used to using the round knife and what' the best way to keep em sharp?

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Practice, Keeping your off hand behind the blade, and a stropping wheel (Canvas,felt) on a bench grinder w/ some rouge. Thant's about as simple as I can put it. )f course fifteen different people have 30 different opinions.

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I would tell you to get Al Stohlman's book Leathercraft Tools. He has the definitive answer to sharpening and using a head knife and round knife. Did you buy and osborne? If you bought an osborne, it will need to be sharpened before you use it. A dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp one.

1st make sure the knife is the right size for your hand. place the end of the handle in the heel of your hand and hold it there with your thumb. stretch your index and middle fingers out and they should be able to touch the blade past the ferrule. If not, you'll have to cut off some of the handle.

2nd. make sure the knife is sharp.

3rd. to maintain the sharpness, I strop my knife everytime I pick it up. I strop it on 800 grit, 1200 grit, (sometimes 2000 grit), then a leather rouge board. I don't like to use a grinder with strop wheel because I don't feel I can control it well enough. (maybe with some more practice).

Use of the knife should be effortless. you should be able to skive by just guiding the knife, not pushing it. If you have to put any effort into pushing the knife, it's not sharp.

Marlon

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I would tell you to get Al Stohlman's book Leathercraft Tools. He has the definitive answer to sharpening and using a head knife and round knife. Did you buy and osborne? If you bought an osborne, it will need to be sharpened before you use it. A dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp one.

1st make sure the knife is the right size for your hand. place the end of the handle in the heel of your hand and hold it there with your thumb. stretch your index and middle fingers out and they should be able to touch the blade past the ferrule. If not, you'll have to cut off some of the handle.

2nd. make sure the knife is sharp.

3rd. to maintain the sharpness, I strop my knife everytime I pick it up. I strop it on 800 grit, 1200 grit, (sometimes 2000 grit), then a leather rouge board. I don't like to use a grinder with strop wheel because I don't feel I can control it well enough. (maybe with some more practice).

Use of the knife should be effortless. you should be able to skive by just guiding the knife, not pushing it. If you have to put any effort into pushing the knife, it's not sharp.

Marlon

I have a Stolhman knife and do have the book. I think my biggest problem is it's not sharp enough. Should it be razor sharp?

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In a word, yes.

I sharpened mine on a course diamond water stone. then on an extra fine diamond stone. then stropped it on 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper, 1200 grit wet/dry, 2000 grit, and then a leather strop with jeweler's rouge.

What are you cutting on? I would suggest a poly cutting board. The knife will sort of glide across it and make cuts easier. If you're skiving, use a glass cutting board. this will offer no resistance to the knife and make skiving a breeze.

I have an Al Stohlman Brand knife and it comes with an edge on it, but it's not sharpened very well. That's probably your biggest issue. Do you have any sharpening documentation? If not, I can probably explain it. I had once before the crash, but I may need to redo it.

Marlon

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In a word, yes.

I sharpened mine on a course diamond water stone. then on an extra fine diamond stone. then stropped it on 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper, 1200 grit wet/dry, 2000 grit, and then a leather strop with jeweler's rouge.

What are you cutting on? I would suggest a poly cutting board. The knife will sort of glide across it and make cuts easier. If you're skiving, use a glass cutting board. this will offer no resistance to the knife and make skiving a breeze.

I have an Al Stohlman Brand knife and it comes with an edge on it, but it's not sharpened very well. That's probably your biggest issue. Do you have any sharpening documentation? If not, I can probably explain it. I had once before the crash, but I may need to redo it.

Marlon

Where can I get the sharpeners you spoke of. I know it's not sharp enough. I'm cutting thick leather on top of a rubber mat. Bad? I would love to use it but end up going to a razor knife everytime.

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Where can I get the sharpeners you spoke of. I know it's not sharp enough. I'm cutting thick leather on top of a rubber mat. Bad? I would love to use it but end up going to a razor knife everytime.

I know you were asking Marlon, but the Rubber Mat is very bad on your edge and it doesnt allow for smooth cutting.

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Tracy, I couldn't have said it better.

What happens is the rubber matt actually grabs the blade, and makes it hard to push through, because most times, we try to cut in one pass. My suggestion is to get a poly cutting board. I bought mine from tandy, but you can get them anywhere. I bought the 12 x 12 inch version. Then I rubber cemented my rubber mat to the back of the board, this way I can cut with my head knife on the poly side, and use the rubber mat side to punch holes, etc...

Marlon

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Tracy, I couldn't have said it better.

What happens is the rubber matt actually grabs the blade, and makes it hard to push through, because most times, we try to cut in one pass. My suggestion is to get a poly cutting board. I bought mine from tandy, but you can get them anywhere. I bought the 12 x 12 inch version. Then I rubber cemented my rubber mat to the back of the board, this way I can cut with my head knife on the poly side, and use the rubber mat side to punch holes, etc...

Marlon

I've used a piece of 8 feet x 20 inches rubber conveyor belt for the last 10 years and it's been a good medium to cut on as I turned it over when one side was too bad but it has seen it's day and I just bought a new board, HDPE, 10 feet by app. 5 feet x by a quarter of an inch. It wasn't cheap, $234.00, but it is cheap compared to conveyor belt, which was $128.00 for the size I was already using. I haven't got around to putting it on the table yet but will this week.

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rwc,

I forgot to post what sharpeners i use. I use DMT Diamond hones 1 course (this is what I use if my blade gets damaged or it's a new blade), then I use an extra fine diamond hone, made by the same manufacturer. the grit sandpaper you can get at any auto parts stores, the diamond sharpeners i get from Woodcraft. I'm sure you can find them elsewhere, but this is where I get them.

Here is a link to the ones I use. Click Here. I use the 6 inch versions.

Marlon

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Any new knife out the box will take a lot of sharpning to get it the way you like it. Here is what I do, like said, everyone will have thier way.

I have a 4X36 bench belt sander. I will start with 120 sandpaper and grind the blade to the angle that I like. Be careful to go slow and not get the blade hot as that will take out the timper. I then move to my wet stones. If the blade is carbon steel. It it is Stainless . I think your Al Stohlman is. I would use diamond stones to smooth out the edge. Some people will use 600 - 1000 grit wet dry sandpaper glued down to cardboard to finsh out also. It works good but slow process.

I also have a leather belt for my belt sander that I made. I use it with rouge to put a really good polish with it. This works fast and gets you back to cutting. You should be able to shave with it.

I also have a cloth wheel for a bench grinder with red rouge that works good also.

Hope this helps.

Randy

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RWC- Rawhide is spot on- The round knife has to be razor sharp yes but if it is dragging on your cutting mat you are doing double the work. One of the best things I ever bought was a poly-cutting surface. I have tried everything like Pine, Rubber, masonite... Poly is the best! Just today I went to a local hardware store and bought a 24" X 18" poly cutting board for $15- SWEET! :spoton:

Also, one way to see if your knife is sharp is to hold it edge-up under a bright light and see if you can see a reflection on the edge of the blade, if you can it's not sharp!

Oh Yeah, To KEEP it sharp make one of these.

RoundKnife1.JPG

post-5432-1202352983_thumb.jpg

Edited by SCOUTER

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Scouter is bang on, "If you can see the edge, it's not sharp at all."

I use a hard felt wheel from Lee Valley tools on a bench grinder, it polishes the knife to a mirror finish. This is good, but like Marlon said is good too. Using the strop, because a felt wheel will round the edge of your knife. This is not really good, before long the edge of your knife will look like a rounded edge from the wheel. You will want the edge FLAT for skiving. Hope this helps.

PS, for best control while cutting. The knife should slide through 16 oz leather skirting like butter. If you can hear it cut, it's still not sharp. A sharp knife is quiet....

Bob

Edited by Bob

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Scouter is bang on, "If you can see the edge, it's not sharp at all."

I use a hard felt wheel from Lee Valley tools on a bench grinder, it polishes the knife to a mirror finish. This is good, but like Marlon said is good too. Using the strop, because a felt wheel will round the edge of your knife. This is not really good, before long the edge of your knife will look like a rounded edge from the wheel. You will want the edge FLAT for skiving. Hope this helps.

PS, for best control while cutting. The knife should slide through 16 oz leather skirting like butter. If you can hear it cut, it's still not sharp. A sharp knife is quiet....

Bob

I am on a quest for a poly cutting board and sharpening supplys. Would a poly table, like a long breakroom type table, do to cut on?You don't know till you ask and I've been through enough razor blades to more than pay for what I really need. Not to mention it ain't easy cutting thick leather even with a razor on rubber...duh. Sometimes I gotta remember I once was in diapers too, grew outa them so maybe there's hope. Thanks guys!

Edited by rwc

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Look in the yellow pages in any major city for plastic products. You should be able to find a wholesaler for HDP plastic like is used for cutting boards. You can buy any size sheet you want in any thickness up to 2". I have a 1/4 inch thick sheet 24" wide the full length of my cutting table. 8' It used to be fairly cheep but like everything it has went up in price.

In Kansas City the company is called Fantastic Plastics.

Randy

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The plastic cover on my table is named by the industry that uses it most. Area board or Puck board. It comes in 4x8 foot sheets, the piece I happen to have is 1/4 inch. It's quite hard, but the knife buts into it, but not so much to drag the knife down. So I've learned to put enough pressure on the knife without cutting into the table. The best part of this is, it's CHEAP TO BUY. I think I paid about 65 dollars for a whole sheet years ago. Like 15 years ago and I'm still on the same table. Then you can turn it over. It's white in color.

bob

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When we built my workshop, my dear husband also build me a work table 8 feet long by 3 feet wide. We covered the entire table with a custom-cut poly board. I can cut anywhere on that table and it holds almost every hide completely. What a guy!

Kathy

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Hello; a great place to get a big cutting board fairly cheap is at restaurant supply places that buy whole kitchens. They usually will end up haveing a pile of old cutting boards sitting in a corner that they will unload fairly chap

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Sam's Club sells poly boards.

Jeff C.

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