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knife sharpening input needed
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Darwin Roos
(darwin310) - F

Locale: Great Lakes Area
knife sharpening input needed on 01/28/2010 14:29:55 MST Print View

I have a Victorinox Swiss Army Classic multi-tool. What do you recommend for sharpening the blade and scissors?

Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
Re: knife sharpening input needed on 01/28/2010 15:50:56 MST Print View

I use diamond sharpening stones. If you have not been maintaining your blade and it is really dull, I would recommend you start with a coarse stone (around 325 grit) and then smooth it out with a fine stone (around 750 grit). If the blade is not that dull, you can just use a fine stone.


Michael Febbo
(febbom) - F
guide systems on 01/28/2010 17:34:58 MST Print View

If, like me, you can not freehand sharpen an edge that needs more than a good stropping, you might want to look into the guide systems. Lanksy is a cheap one that can work if you are careful, with Edgepro being a very good but pricey system.
It also depends on how sharp you want the blade... many of the cheap fixed angle guides can make a servicable edge if the blade is very dull.

Strop the edge periodically in between sharpenings for best performance.

Darwin Roos
(darwin310) - F

Locale: Great Lakes Area
stropping/fixed sharpening system on 01/28/2010 18:57:38 MST Print View

What do you mean by "strop"?
Which fixed shapening system do you recommend? I'm hoping to not spend too much.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Gerber Sharpener on 01/28/2010 19:11:26 MST Print View

I have a Lansky 5-hone kit that I've had for decades that will put a HECK of an edge on almost anything. But if you aren't really into the Zen of Knife Sharpening- and it doesn't sound like you are- then just get a simple ceramic knife sharpener. Gerber makes a cheap/small/light/handy unit:

Gerber Sharpener

I have one, and it puts a perfectly adequate utility edge on most anything, especially something as crude as a multi-tool, in almost no time at all. Just draw it down the blade a few times and you're done. It's what I use for my Leatherman Squirt and other utility blades. Not to mention- you probably don't want to spend more on a sharpening kit than you did on the knife, eh? I reserve the Lansky for my Damascene hunting knife and other fine blades.

The scissors will be a bit harder, if only because they are so small. (And, yes, scissors are inherently sharpened DIFFERENTLY than knife blades. And it's tricky. Back in the day any rube could sharpen his own knives, but the missus would have to wait for the local tinker to come by to get her scissors sharpened.) I doubt that any of the modern specialized scissors sharpeners will really work on such small blades, and you might be better off just replacing them- you can order replacement scissors from Victorinox. But maybe something like the Smith's Jiff-V would cover both knife and scissors:


But you still might end up with a pair of scissors only sharpened for the distal half of the blade length or something.

I want to re-emphasize: many people will talk to you about high-tech honing kits or on the other extreme using a whetstone or some other sort of freehand sharpener. But most people don't need that stuff. Unless you are a blade fanatic just get a little hand-held ceramic sharpener, Darwin. I would risk saying that if you don't already know that you want a honing system or a whetsone, then you probably don't. You probably just want a sharp blade to take hiking. Get a ceramic sharpener. Three or four quick swipes down the blade and you're done.

Edited by acrosome on 01/28/2010 19:42:03 MST.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Gerber Sharpener on 01/28/2010 19:15:39 MST Print View

I'm thinking that a Lansky kit is overkill for a Victorinox Swiss Army Classic. Something like the Gerber would be better...

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Spyderco TriAngle Sharpmaker on 01/28/2010 19:19:14 MST Print View

Dean's solution is a great quickie sharpening for knives - won't work for scissors.

Take a look at the Spyderco TriAngle Sharpmaker - here's a link:

It comes with a DVD to explain how to use it. It's a nice step up from the pocket Gerber sharpener that Dean showed you, will sharpen scissors, but still major $$$ below the Lansky and EdgePro systems (both very good).

Honing refers to keeping a sharp edge sharp by stropping on a piece of leather charged with a honing compound. Don't worry about it right now - but once you're getting nice sharp edges from your Sharpmaker, post again and we'll fill you with all the lore of honing and stropping!

One more thing: You should generally touch up the edge (hone, strop, sharpen) before you think you need to. That keeps the edge from degrading too much, and saves a lot of work getting the good edge back!

Oh, one more thing: until you learn how to really sharpen your own knives, you've probably never actually used a sharp knife!

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Sharpening on 01/28/2010 19:21:34 MST Print View

The 1/4 blade height on the Classic is too small for a guide system to clamp to. It's also made out of a soft enough steel that it sharpens very fast - so only a fine, or extra fine stone is needed. I use a 3x1x1/4" arkansas stone made by Smiths and available at Walmart, Lowes, etc (weight 1 oz). Using water instead of oil works fine, just keep the stone wet to prevent the steel particles from clogging up the grit of the stone. I've also had good luck with wet/dry sandpaper laid on a flat surface(400, 800, 1200 grit = medium, fine, xtra-fine), but it wears out and then rips easily so the stone is more foolproof. You "can" sharpen your classic with a smooth-ish stone you pick up on the trail, it's just not convenient...

Freehand is easy. Just lay the blade flat on the stone, and then raise the spine about 1 blade thickness and make a motion like you are trying to slice a thin layer of the stone off the top. Keep doing the same side, until you can feel a burr (rolled over edge) on the side you aren't sharpening. Then do the same thing to the other side to raise a burr, and then do 2 strokes on the original side to remove the burr. You only have to do the same number of strokes on each side if you care whether the edge is in the exact center of the blade thickness (it doesn't effect cutting performance on thin blades). The whole process takes 1-2 minutes. The tip is thinner, so raise the handle a little to keep the side of the blade as close to the stone as it was when you were sharpening the main part of the blade.

Whittlers just leave the blade flat on the stone. This makes sharpening super easy (the angle is automatically the same every stroke) and the blade extra sharp. However, the steeper edge angle isn't as durable, so you have to sharpen more often if you cut things that are likely to chip a super thin edge. For cutting open food packaging, and trimming blister skin, etc the "sharpen with the blade flat method" is fine.

Sharpen the scissors the same as the knife, just raise the back edge twice as high, and only sharpen the outside face. Use 2-3 strokes to wipe off the burr, keeping the inside edge FLAT on the stone. I sharpen my Vic classic & hiker scissors all the time with the 1x3" stone. It's easy - and unlike the Gerber (& similar) systems, it gets right up to the edge. (The Spyderco also gets up to the edge. I have one, it's great, but not convenient for backpacking - or as easy for small knives (letting the tip of the blade slip off the Spyderco & similar rod systems while sharpening rounds the tip of the knife).

ps: A strop is a piece of leather that has some buffing compound on it. The back of a leather belt, or the back of a legal pad also work (just not as quickly).

Edited by JohnG10 on 01/28/2010 19:27:42 MST.

liang kong
(mcluxun) - F

Locale: Tulsa,OK
DMT on 01/28/2010 19:40:08 MST Print View

DMT MINI-SHARP, diamond surface, low profile, good for edc.

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
"knife sharpening input needed" on 01/28/2010 22:17:29 MST Print View

Seriously? Learn how to sharpen free hand. Read some articles, watch some how to videos. Buy a medium to fine grit diamond stone and PRACTICE!

There is no magic art to sharpening a knife. It is really simple and anyone willing to use their brain and have a little patience will have it down in no time.

No offense to anyone but those so called "sharpeners" pictured above do nothing but tear at the edge.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Spyderco Sharpmaker on 01/29/2010 00:25:00 MST Print View

Ditto on the Spyderco Sharpmaker. You can sharpen everything in the house in short order, serrated and plain, and it does scissors very well.

Ultimately, any simple fine sharpening stone will take care of your Swiss Army knife. Look for the book, "How to Sharpen Anything." Scissors require a different angle and a little instruction.

Gordon Smith
(swearingen) - MLife

Locale: Portland, Oregon
Spyderco Sharpmaker on 01/29/2010 03:48:10 MST Print View

+2 Spyderco Sharpmaker.

Nice system, easy to use, will work fine for a small blade as it does not employ a clamp. Diamond rods are available for removing metal quickly from a seriously dull blade.


Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Diamonds are a guy's best friend on 01/29/2010 07:28:02 MST Print View

As a woodworker I've tried everything for chisels and planes and found that nothing puts an edge on faster than diamond stones. I have grits ranging from 100 to 1200. For my Victorinox, unless there's a nick, I usually only need a 600 and 1200. With practice, you can have your blade sharp enough to shave the hairs off the back of your hand in mere seconds.

The scissors I can't help you with. Mine have never needed sharpening.

Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
sharpening the victorinox classic on 01/29/2010 10:00:29 MST Print View

For this and other hard stainless knives I have only had success with diamond. Buy a fine grit, since it is unlikely you've trashed that little edge enough for course grit. Try this:

For softer tools like chisels, or carbon Mora knives, any of my stones are fine. Even basic sandpaper held flat against glass is fine. I've read the "wet/dry" paper might handle stainless, but haven't tried.

So far, my scissor sharpening skill is useless. For that I'd just drop the $13 for a new Vic Classic.

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
Re: sharpening the victorinox classic on 01/29/2010 13:30:55 MST Print View

The SAK's blade has a HRC of 56. The wood saw, scissors have a HRC of 53.

Stainless(12c27) Mora 57 HRC
Carbon Mora(1095) 59-60 HRC
Inner layer(which is 1095 carbon steel) of a laminated mora has a HRC of 61.

Chisels have a HRC of 55(pretty close to that of a SAK)

(Stainless knives are not always harder than carbon knives)


Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Re: Sharpening on 01/29/2010 15:24:29 MST Print View

"Freehand is easy. Just lay the blade flat on the stone, and then raise the spine about 1 blade thickness and make a motion like you are trying to slice a thin layer of the stone off the top. "

Sorry, if this is a dumb question, as I've never sharpened a knife on a stone before, and have only used cheapy pre-guided sharpeners. When you say to try to slice a thin layer of the stone off the top, is that motion referring to one, where you move the knife so that the spine is moving away from the stone first (as in a scraping motion when we spread butter on toast)...or is it the opposite, where the knife edge is actually doing a slicing motion. Sorry if this isnt clear. I guess other wise put, are we putting the knife edge into the stone, or scraping it away from the stone. thanks!

Edited by Konrad1013 on 01/29/2010 15:25:21 MST.

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Sharpening on 01/29/2010 16:32:45 MST Print View

> are we putting the knife edge into the stone, or scraping it away from the stone

Hi Konrad,

You move the knife edge into the stone with light pressure.


John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Freehand sharpening on 01/29/2010 20:53:07 MST Print View

Yep, edge first to sharpen the edge using a stone (Arkansas, diamond, ceramic, etc). Spine first (like spreading butter on toast) is used when stropping on leather, since edge first cuts into the leather.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
LANSKY kit on 01/30/2010 14:52:58 MST Print View

I too recommend the LANSKY sharpening kit. It is the best I've found for getting a consistent edge every time, always with the correct edge angle.

I've had my LANSKY kit for over 15 years and really like it for both home knives and hunting and backpacking knives.