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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Sharpening an Albion RegentDIY Project Reply to topic
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Paul Watson




Location: Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Joined: 08 Feb 2006

Posts: 391

PostPosted: Sun 08 Oct, 2006 6:06 pm    Post subject: Sharpening an Albion Regent         Reply with quote

Mike at Albion advised me on using a diamond hone to sharpen my Regent but I would also like to know

1) At what angle the hone should be in relation to the edge of the blade.
2) How much of the blade should be in contact with the hone.
3) About how many strokes should it take to sharpen to achieve historical accurracy.

The sword arrived in perfect condition but over the past year with cutting, people fingering the blade and myself polishing it to try and acheive a mirror finish on the blade it has dulled a little to the touch.

Any well informed advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Oct, 2006 7:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My advice would depend a lot on how much experience you have sharpening knives !

If you have little or no experience sharpening a sword is a lot more difficult and the odds of marring the surface the sword are high: As an example if you try to sharpen a long section of blade with a short diamond hone would may get to the end of the hone before the end of your sharpening stroke and the tip of the hone can easily end up making a big scratch on the surface of the side of the blade.

You don't just put the hone on the primary bevel and try to sharpen the whole side of the blade.

With a new sword that is already sharp, refreshing the edge should be done very lightly as a very slight and narrow secondary bevel. With swords of Medieval European types the secondary bevel is " generally " very subtle and with a new blade made by Albion will be rounded and blended into the main bevel. As one resharpens the sword the secondary bevel can become much more visible if one overdoes it or if we are taking of years of use. One can try to blend in the secondary bevel as originally done by some burnishing.

One thing to avoid is resharpening the swords too often and one should try to take away the minimum of material each time.

I suggest reading up a lot about sharpening techniques and trying to sharpen knives first.

One last issue is that one can do a good job of sharpening that will look really bad aesthetically: Sharpening well AND doing it without marring the finish of the sword and blending it well with pre-existing bevels and secondary bevel is much more difficult.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Matt G




Location: Bay Area, California
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Oct, 2006 8:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've never personally used Diamond hones to sharpen a blade but, from what I understand, they can remove quite a lot of material very quickly, much faster than stones.

Again I've never used them (for that very reason) but, I'd echo Jean comments and suggest getting more info and if possible, test out the hones on a blade that you can afford to sacrifice.

"Speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon-balls and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Sun 08 Oct, 2006 10:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Listen to the people who say practice. Go out and buy a cheap but big kitchen knife and practice on that awhile.
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Angus Trim




Location: Seattle area
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: Sharpening an Albion Regent         Reply with quote

Paul Watson wrote:
Mike at Albion advised me on using a diamond hone to sharpen my Regent but I would also like to know

1) At what angle the hone should be in relation to the edge of the blade.
2) How much of the blade should be in contact with the hone.
3) About how many strokes should it take to sharpen to achieve historical accurracy.

The sword arrived in perfect condition but over the past year with cutting, people fingering the blade and myself polishing it to try and acheive a mirror finish on the blade it has dulled a little to the touch.

Any well informed advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.


Hi Paul

I take a rough diamond hone with me when "out in the field", or at an event where I may want to touch up something.However that works real well with AT blades, as the cutting edge finish and the diamond hone finish are real close.

That's not the case with an Albion piece. I have "field" touched up an Albion for a fellow at a local cutting event, using a fine grit hone, and that worked fairly well {Eze-Lap Diamond Hone and Stone}, but the finish did appear different afterwards. A diamond hone does work real well, but I'd use a fine hone with your Regent.

Its also quite possible to sharpen, then refinish the edge bevel giving it the same finish as the main bevel, but that takes time and experience......

swords are fun
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can tell you have the right angle when the stone leaves only a very narrow line along the edge. This means between 0,5-1 milimeter.
If you go too narrow you´ll pass the stone at too blunt an angle. This will erode away the geometry rather quickly.
Start with a coarse (or medium) stone to re-establish the sharpness and finish with a fine stone. That will result in a surface that blends right in with the surface finish.
If the touch up is only light, you might only need a fine diamond stone. Keep total angle about 35 degrees or max 40 degrees. That is 15-20 degrees angle on each side, and you will get an edge that is both biting sharp and resilient.
A lighter sword could have a final angle that is finer, but your Regent should work well with a sharpening angle of about 35-40 degrees.
If you prefer cutting light targets only, you might want to go finer, but be mindful that such an edge on a massive sword like the regent will then demand some awareness concerning how and what you cut.

If you have to work the edge more severely it is a good idea to blend the resulting bevel into the geometry of the cross section. We are talking about the last 3-4 milimeters. Do this with the coarse/medium stone and finish with the fine stone.
When working the shape back to original geometry, think that your passes are cutting the cornes between previous surfaces. By removing the corner between the minute belvels you end up with a smooth transition that is clam shell or apple seed shaped.
This you only need to do if you´ve made a mistake, like letting the blade twist as it snagged on a hard spot or if you tried to cut something that typically can not be cut with a sharp edge.
If you touch up the edges once in a while and only do light passes, you will not have to restore the edge in any major way in quite a while.

Personally I use EDM stones and oil. I finish with a 600 or 800 grit stone and after that I use a leather strop to get the absolute bite.
Such a sharpness is really not neccessary, but can be fun. Especially if you enjoy doing light sharpening once in a while after cuting sessions.
I enjoy sharpening the edge of my sword. It´s a way to know my tool is keen and ready.
A sword will of course work with a slightly duller edge.
It is your personal choice, and your most commonly used target that sets the standard for your edges.

Finally a note on historically acurate edges:
Every blade/sword type will have a geometry that is adapted for typical intended use (if it is a well made sword).
A lighter blade will typically have a finer edge geometry, while a heavy duty sword will have a more sturdy geometry.
Even the edge on a sword with sturdy geometry can be made very sharp (= hair popping sharp). But it will not cut as acutely as the lighter blade with finer geometry.
Both blade types will still cut after they have lost their bite. They might not cut in a way that would impress an audience at a cutting demo, but they would still maim and kill an opponent after the acute sharpness is gone. This is a result of the velocity and geometry of the blade as it hits the target/opponent.
It is my impression that swords were always kept as sharp as possible, but that during use they tended to become more like "sharp enough".
Remember that historical blades were made of rather uneven carbon steel of medium carbon content, with a hardness that in most cases were less than impressive to modern standards (and they still worked just fine!). This means that historical blades needed maintenance more frequently than an Albion sword would. They were also more sensetive to how they were ut to use.
This leads us to another crucial aspect: the hand and mind of the user. A skilled user will use is tools in a way that cause less wear. He/she will know what to cut and how to cut. This results is fewer nicks and less dulling.
A novice user will be harsh on his tools. A master will know how to work *with*, rather than *against* the tools of the trade.

A historical edge is the edge that is sharp enough to do the job. The major factor in this is the main edge geometry. Different geometries allow different kinds of sharpness.
Just as the swordsman in ancient times would touch up the edge on his weapon before an engagement, so can the contemporary afficionadoe, preparing for various kinds of cutting practice.
If you are aware that a very acute edge will cut effortlessly, but also demand more awareness in where and how you place your cuts, you are fine: you can then use your sword safely and with efficiency.
This is all very authentic: you give your tools or weapons the edge (=final biting sharpness) they need for you to properly do the task at hand. There is a variance here that is a result of the skill and experience of the user.
A light sword with fine geometry will never bash cars or steel drums in any meaningful way. A heavy warsword will not be the best chioce to slice newspaper. However, both can be very sharp and cut efficiently, if you use them wisely and in the proper way.

It is a good skill to learn: how to restore the edge of your sword. By doing this you will get an appreciation of the finer aspects of sharpness and how that impacts the performance and character fo your sword.
Take it slow and enjoy the process, and you will get excellent results. As a side effect you will bond more tightly with your sword.

Good luck and much enjoyment!
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 1:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent post Peter, it should be a spotlight.
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Paul Watson




Location: Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Joined: 08 Feb 2006

Posts: 391

PostPosted: Mon 09 Oct, 2006 5:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I will certainly try to aquire some other items to practise on prior to tackling the challenge of sharpening such a large (and treasured) sword.

Peter, I note your comments about historical accuracy. The angle and dimension of contact between stone and blade you provide are very helpful, and I realise that the work I have to do will be minimal, but should be executed carefully. The dulling is certainly only very minor and is to be expected from the use and contact that people have had with the sword (for some reason the first thing they do is run their thumb over the edge, before swinging the sword around and getting a totally amazed look on their face).

I have only ever used the sword on light targets as I need more experience prior to moving on to more challenging mediums, and even with the dulling, as you state I have noticed absolutely no loss in cutting ability. I do not want to sharpen this sword so it is scary sharp as this is only likely to lead to nicks and other such damage as I move on to heavier targets, and besides as you point out, it would not be historically correct for this type of sword.

It really does say something about the quality of this forum that I can get such quick and well informed responses, not only from those who share this interest on a casual basis (of varying degrees) but also from well known and respected industry professionals such as Angus Trim & Peter Johnsson

Thanks
Paul

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Lancelot Chan
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Location: Hong Kong
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Oct, 2006 12:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Peter for the impressive notes! It has helped me to improve my sharpening techniques and confirmed what I've been doing right and wrong. I just wished that such instructions were available years ago. :P Thanks a lot.
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Paul Watson




Location: Upper Hutt, New Zealand
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Nov, 2006 9:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter, could you please tell me who sells the sharpening stones you use. The market is such here in New Zealand that I will probably have to import these.
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Nov, 2006 12:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Watson wrote:
Peter, could you please tell me who sells the sharpening stones you use. The market is such here in New Zealand that I will probably have to import these.


Sorry, Ive bought my set when visiting Albion in the states.
I tried to find a vendor in Sweden, but did not have much success.
Perhaps it is the same with new Zealand?

One or two diamond honing stones should do you just about the same service, however. If you get one coarse and one fine, you should be able to cover any of your needs.

Hope you meet success with this.

Best
Peter
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