Whetstone sharpening block
Since I got myself a Japanese leather skiving tool I wanted to learn how to sharpen it the Japanese style. Do you want to know more about tools, check my 2 previous posts about leather tools: here & here.
The first things you need are:
- A whetstone 2 grain-types (or more) – I’ve got 1000 and 6000
- A bucket of water
- A surface you can clean easily
- And of course, a knife to sharpen
Before we start, there are some things to mention. It isn’t easy. You won’t get the perfect sharpened knife the first time. But practice, practice and practice should pay off! They say it takes about 5 years to master the sharpening completely so … let’s start!
I have been searching online for tutorials and actually, I have found a very clear one. Even so clear I think I can’t beat it. So I suggest you all for a tutorial from the master check out this YouTube link:
If you can’t watch the video, below I have repeated the steps with some images to illustrate the process.
1. Soak your whetstones in water for +10 min.
In my case, the two different stones are attached to each other so I only need one bucket of water. As soon as you lay the stones in, you will see bubbles come up to the surface. Once they stopped bubbling you know your stones are soaked completely.
2. The flat side
First, you sharpen the flat side with the coarser grain (1000). Lay the knife flat on the stone and slide it up and down the stone. You will see some black, watery drab. This is just fine, don’t clean it at this moment. It will even help your sharpening. Once you have an equal surface you can continue to the fine grid. Repeat the sliding until you see a more clear ‘mirror-like’ surface.
3. Single edge blade
The other side, the single edge side blade can be done in the same manner but with a slide angle. Make sure you keep the same angle all the time. Otherwise, you will get a curved blade.
4. Strop on leather
Once you have finished the previous steps, the final step is optional but recommended. The last step is to strop the knife on the back of a piece of leather with polishing paste to make the knife razor sharp! Afterwards, you can see for yourself how super sharp your knife is! I could skive the leather super thin as you can see in the image below with just a haul over the leather! I hope you can follow this tutorial along but the only advice to become better in the art of knife sharpening is to practice!