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Jim H




Location: Florida
Joined: 16 Mar 2015

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 9:08 am    Post subject: Newbie needs sharpening info         Reply with quote

I am a newbie to all of this. I just got an Albion SL Vinland from Viking Shield. It was sharpened by Albion. It came reasonably sharp. But not as sharp as I would like. It will slice paper, sort of reliably, depending on the section of blade used. But non of the blade will remove a hair from my arm. Is there any kind of "idiot proof" system out there that will reliably put a hair shaving sharp edge on a sword blade? I know that a hand stoning, or some other type of hand work is most likely the best way, but I do not have those skills and probably never will. Has anyone used this "Edge Pro" or "Work Sharp" systems? Do they do the kind of edge that I am looking for? Thanks in advance for any help.
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Leo Todeschini
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, UK
Joined: 12 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jim and welcome.

I would absolutely steer away from any sharpening system or machine and do it by hand using diamond stones, the chances of it keeping your desire bevel angle are small and will almost inevitably take off more material than you would want.

It is a very hard thing to easily describe, but I am sure you tube will have lots of videos and then practice on your kitchen knives before yo let yourself anywhere near your lovely new sword.

That said if the blade cuts paper, that is plenty sharp enough for a sword. Even a steel rule with a 1/16" flat edge would be damn dangerous if swung fast enough and so a blade that is sharper than most peoples kitchen knives will be ample for a sword fight.

Tod

www.todsworkshop.com
www.todcutler.com
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Hector A.





Joined: 22 Dec 2013

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 4:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Newbie needs sharpening info         Reply with quote

Jim H wrote:
I am a newbie to all of this. I just got an Albion SL Vinland from Viking Shield. It was sharpened by Albion. It came reasonably sharp. But not as sharp as I would like. It will slice paper, sort of reliably, depending on the section of blade used. But non of the blade will remove a hair from my arm. Is there any kind of "idiot proof" system out there that will reliably put a hair shaving sharp edge on a sword blade? I know that a hand stoning, or some other type of hand work is most likely the best way, but I do not have those skills and probably never will. Has anyone used this "Edge Pro" or "Work Sharp" systems? Do they do the kind of edge that I am looking for? Thanks in advance for any help.


Hmmmmmm i promised i would not talk about this subject again, so all i will say is: seek multiple opinions, like 100's of them, not just the 5-10 or so you will get in this thread, and consider the other side of whatever is the popular opinion.
Also when you do make a decision and go a head and sharpen your weapon, if its sharp and your happy, don't worry about it anymore, keep doing it in the exact same way.

Best of luck...
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Jim H




Location: Florida
Joined: 16 Mar 2015

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 7:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the detailed answers. I was hoping for an easy way, but I certainly don't want to butcher up my new sword. Guess I better invest in some stones and learn how to run them. I have lots of cheap knives around here to practice on. Thanks again.
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Greg Ballantyne




Location: Maryland USA
Joined: 14 Feb 2011
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Posts: 228

PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr, 2015 7:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jim - I am by no means an expert, but I have been rubbing on a sword blade with a stone some over the last couple of years. One difference in using a stone on a large blade (sword) compared to a small blade (knife) is which is moving, the tool or the work. When sharpening a knife, the knife blade is moved against the stone. When sharpening a sword, the stone is moved against the blade. Or at least that is what I have been doing. This involves movements that practicing on the knives doesn't. If you're not experienced at hand sharpening, the knife practice still has value.
So far as the edge you're looking for - it might be good to keep in mind the intent of the design of the sword and its edge. Much more intended for taking the arm off the body than to take a hair off the arm.
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Jim H




Location: Florida
Joined: 16 Mar 2015

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun 12 Apr, 2015 7:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks again everyone. As I have said, I am brand spanking new to sword world. Woke up one day and had to have one. Did as much research as I could find. This site helped a lot. Got what I think is a pretty decent sword at a price that I could live with. I really love the thing. Of course ignorance is bliss. Having no other to compare it to, or virtually no experience with one, I just might not know any better. But, what to heck, I'm happy and wouldn't trade it for the world.

I saw all of these guys on Youtube with hair splitting, razor sharp swords and I just assumed that is how sharp a sword needs to be. Mine is not quite there. It will take the occasional hair, but not ready to shave my head with yet. It sounds like it might be sharp enough. I might just leave well enough alone.
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a hypothesis out there that the extra-sharp blades you see nowadays are an influence from katana. Used to be katana were the main swords you could get that would come sharp, because there's that whole Highlander influence where you can see the guy whiff a sword at concrete pillars and slice right through (minor exaggeration). Western swords were fairly notorious for *not* coming sharp for a long time, mostly because the only decent replicas you could get were either India-made Museum Replicas pieces or Del Tins from India, neither of which are sold sharp due to regulations in the country of origin. That's changed considerably in the past decade or so, thankfully, but there's still a prevailing notion that swords need to be VERY SHARP when it's really a more nuanced picture than that.
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Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
Joined: 20 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm interested in this as well, I've had some sharps for years, but I'm still not good at sharpening them. When I need to do cutting I usually get someone else to sharpen my main sword (an Albion Constable).

I've heard wildly different theories. The best 'cutter' I know in the HEMA scene (or my own little corner of it) recommends using a belt sander (or something similar, I don't remember precisely). I've seen them use that at (cutting) tournaments and it seems to work well.

I usually have tried to do it by hand with a diamond hone but I seem to scrape away forever for little if any effect.

I'd love to learn some tricks, tips, or maybe links to top recommendations for how-to videos.

Jean

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Mon 13 Apr, 2015 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A belt sander can do a decent edge very quickly. It can also *eat* an edge very quickly. They merit careful attention. One with a slack belt will very naturally create a nicely curved edge bevel, though, rather than the straight bevel you get with stones (in theory). In practice stones can create a curved bevel but if you looked at it on the microscopic level you'd see that it's actually faceted. Not that it makes a huge difference! The only thing that matters is that the ultimate lines of your bevels come to a perfect point on each side.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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Posts: 2,652

PostPosted: Mon 27 Apr, 2015 8:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's Mike Edelson's sharpening video, of course:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dndjr3YXsLA

I think the obvious conclusion for it is that sharpening a sword with power tools might take less time, but it's not really going to need any less skill or patience. Either way, don't try sharpening a sword right away. Do it on a smaller, cheaper blade first -- a knife, a pair of scissors, whatever -- since you're guaranteed to botch it to a greater or lesser extent on your first try, and it's better for that to happen when the damage wouldn't cost you a pretty penny.

(While we're at it, I think Mike is also the origin of the idea that swords should be sharpened to 2000 grit, and he always makes it clear that he's speaking about modern replica/reproduction swords when he advocates such fine sharpening -- but people misunderstand him anyway by taking his statement to mean that all historical swords had extremely fine edges.)
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