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Matt Phillips




Location: England
Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Thu 23 Mar, 2006 9:37 pm    Post subject: Question on sharpening         Reply with quote

I'm going to try to sharpen a couple of my swords by myself. Unfortunately, I've not done it before and I'm kinda nervous about the impending results. I've got an MRL and a Del Tin that I've had professionally sharpened some time ago and they still cut quite well. But I have a new sword now that needs an edge put on it and I'm faced with doing the job myself. Since I seem to move every couple of years, I'm not always going to be lucky enough to have a professional around to do the service for me (the situation I'm in now).

A friend of mine has some swords as well and he sharpens them all himself. I should mention, though, that he usually buys very cheap swords and he doesn't care much about damaging them or what they look like. I do care about these things. He sharpens his blades with a little knife sharpener he bought for about three dollars at Wal Mart. Granted, the blades are now sharp, but they are now uneven and have a horrible jagged looking bevel to them. I do not want that at all!

So I'm looking for someone to help me save my swords from a similar ugliness. I've read posts before about using files or stones, etc. But what specific type of file or stone? And how do you make sure you get the right angle? Are there any other methods? And what do the file or stone leave my edge looking like afterwards?

I'm not new to swords by any means. I have sanded and polished many of my blades to get my favorite satin appearance from them. I've even antiqued one of my swords and a dagger. Unfortunately I am now moving out of my comfort zone and I don't want to ruin something I've already spent so much time and energy on. Any help or advice from the wealth of knowledge this site is blessed with would be much appreciated.
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Matt Phillips




Location: England
Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anybody?
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,803

PostPosted: Sat 25 Mar, 2006 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sharpening, in of itself, can be a quite subjective process. Starting with a blunt can be even more so. If you have never sharpened a knife, don't start with a favored sword.

Perhaps the easiest home/hobbiest way to create a bevel is with a file. You would want at least a good 8" mill file and a handle for it. You would use a process called draw filing to cut the bevels. You could then go back and refine this by blending the angle into the main blade grind with stones or sandpaper wrapped around blocks. This is a pretty straight forward process but if you are unfamiliar with hand tools can be a bit daunting. Another quick bevel cutting tool is the knife sharpeners that have carbide cutters set in a constant angle. The problem with these is that they do remove metal quickly and you can end up with a horrid looking edge. They can work if used carefully.

I'm sure there are threads here at myArmoury that discuss sharpening and a forum search for "sharpening" would bring them up. Over at http;//swordforum.com are somewhat over 100 threads with sharpening as a subject word.

If you are going to try a file, the carbide sharpener, or other process and have never done so before, don't start on your sword. Either raid the kitchen for a butter knife, or hit the junk store for a few practice blades. Even a piece of flat steel stock from the hardware store, or an old bed frame, shelf bracket, whatever. Something to practice on.

If you have knives and some supplies, graduate to making those sharp.

Even a google search for the word "sharpening" will bring up some helpful hints.

I'm not sure where in Missouri you are but there are quite a few knife makers in the state. Also check to see if someone local sharpens mower blades. Check you local sporting goods/gun shops as well for local sources and services.

Good luck with it. Once learned, it is a handy skill set.

Cheers

GC
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Matt Phillips




Location: England
Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun 26 Mar, 2006 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Glen, I appreciate the advice.
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Ralph Rudolph




Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 46

PostPosted: Sun 26 Mar, 2006 9:56 am    Post subject: Sword Primer         Reply with quote

Hi Matt,

try this link to the Sword Forum International for sword sharpening.

Waß sich wol zwercht mit springen, dem haupt geferet [Ringeck, 29v]
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Derek Estabrook




Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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Posts: 129

PostPosted: Sun 26 Mar, 2006 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Definately some very good points and you should definately listen to them. I felt I had to add though that don't try to sharpen a sword the same way as a knife. Most knives have a hollow grind to them, which means the edge is very thin and will take sharpening easily. It is also fragile when compared to most sword edges and the hollow grind isn't intended for cutting bone, leather, armor, etc. If you try to sharpen most swords like a knife, you'll take off a good deal of necessary steel and end up with a very sharp edge that won't hold up to cutting or blade to blade contact. Thats probably what your friend did wrong. It takes some more practice, but you can even use simple whetstones and I even used a lawnmower blade sharpener by hand by adjusting the angle of the tool to match the shape of the edge. Definately don't experiment with a favorite blade the first time and it probably isn't a bad idea to try knives first, just making the point of not treating its edge the same.
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Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 26 Mar, 2006 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Derek Estabrook wrote:
Most knives have a hollow grind to them, which means the edge is very thin and will take sharpening easily. It is also fragile when compared to most sword edges and the hollow grind isn't intended for cutting bone, leather, armor, etc.


This isn't necessarily correct. Hollow-grinding was done on swords and does not result in a weak edge if done properly. According to folks who have inspected historical swords, the hollow-grind does not go all the way to the edge. That would weaken it. Instead the hollow grind stops short of the edge, allowing the edge to be slightly thicker, and therefore, reinforced. Please see here for more information.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Derek Estabrook




Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 129

PostPosted: Sun 26 Mar, 2006 1:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The hollow grind on most knives is different than that used on swords as you described. My point was that knives and swords are different when it comes to sharpening. If you use a Wal-Mart or whatever knife sharpener on even a hollow grind sword, you will ruin it unless it the sharpener is adjustable and you adjust it properly. What you say is very correct, but I was describing the grind on commercially bought knives. I appreciate the addition however since those who don't know better could be misled. Good point and well met.
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Matt Phillips




Location: England
Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun 26 Mar, 2006 3:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks to all for the helpful links and advice. I have actually read quite a bit on the subject. I guess my problem is that I just haven't done it yet and I'm just a little apprehensive about trying. I will surely take the advice to practice on something else first. I think one thing that may help is to see a feature article on the subject. I know the article on maintenance gave me some really helpful tips that I hadn't tried before reading it. Maybe it's just because that article went by a "first do this, then do this" approach. But I'll admit that any apprehension has more to do with the value involved and the odds that if you do something wrong, you could end up ruining the item. Therefore, I'll just practice on whatever I can get my hands on. Thanks again.
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