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Jonathan Hodge




Location: East Tennessee
Joined: 18 Sep 2015

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Tue 20 Oct, 2015 1:26 pm    Post subject: Spear Sharpening         Reply with quote

I'm looking to see if anyone has any experience with sharpening Windlass spear heads. I've recently ordered the long-bladed hewing spear and would love to put an edge on it. I'm not looking to shave with it, but it'd be nice to have a serviceable edge for simple cuts and thrusts. As it stands, I'd say that I could sharpen it with a hockey-puck-shaped sharpening stone I use for lawn mower blades and some antique axes...but I'm also thinking it might take forever using only that method.

I'm in the midst of my first semi-historical spear build, and I must say that I've learned a lot - there's no teacher like experience! It's been great to do it all by hand, and I've even used many tools from my grandfather and great-grandfather's collection. There's something special about using 100 year old tools to craft something even older. Anyway, I digress. Any suggestions about sharpening are much appreciated.
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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Tue 20 Oct, 2015 3:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jon,

I'd say you could easily make-do with a diamond-steel (or other coarse stone, like some ceramics) for the initial profiling and a soft stone for the honing. A file would not be a bad choice for starting the edge, either, but any slop in using that can put a nasty scratch into the spearhead. When I bought my qama (also a Windlass product), it came unsharpened - using the diamond-steel and a soft stone put a serviceable edge on the weapon just fine. And yes, the process will take a few nights of grinding to get the job done.

The worst thing about Windlass blades are the uneven surfaces. I picked up an Arkansas toothpick blade to use as a dagger project, and the section taper is irregular, to say the least. Not unsalvageable, but a lot of work to make it right. It doesn't help that I don't have a belt sander, either.
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Erik Heller





Joined: 10 Jun 2013

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Wed 21 Oct, 2015 10:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have one of those spearheads and used a file to get the initial edge. If you don't have a power tool to do the initial shaping it is going to take a while, so I recommend something coarse like a file to get the bulk of the material down.

There is a significant chance for scratches with a file, which you can mitigate a bit by being careful. I didn't really care if I got a few, so there are still several on mine. Sanding and polishing made them a lot less noticeable.
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Jonathan Hodge




Location: East Tennessee
Joined: 18 Sep 2015

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Wed 21 Oct, 2015 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Erik. When you sharpened yours, did you take any care to try and mark the cutting edge or create a secondary bevel line, or did you just get to it and give a few spots here and there on either side to try and keep things even? Also, did you try to use the file perpendicular or parallel to the edge when doing initial sharpening? This is my first attempt at crafting a project with only hand tools, and I realized that I've only ever maintained edges with a honing steel or sharpening stone. I've never had to lay one in!
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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Wed 21 Oct, 2015 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of the good things about working with hand tools is that you inherently can't go too fast. This gives you the time to work a spot for a minute or two (or a few minutes, even) and then check the work piece for symmetry. I alternated between each side of the edge when I was doing my sharpening, and the end results were quite acceptable.

A few more notes on the simple tools that I've used - my stones are pretty small, an inch wide and between 2-3 inches long. For a more precise bevel, you may want to clamp the spearhead down and possibly make a fixture to hold onto your stone. I just freehanded my entire edge, holding the bevel by hand until I was satisfied. It really isn't rocket science by any stretch - if you can sharpen a knife, you can probably put an edge on one, too.
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Jonathan Hodge




Location: East Tennessee
Joined: 18 Sep 2015

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Wed 21 Oct, 2015 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Michael. This is why my intuition was saying, but it's good to hear it from someone else.
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