Thursday, January 7, 2016

A New Year's Thing?

  January is often a time for resolutions and promises.  Many shop folks resolve to clean and organize their shops for the new year. I resolve to clean and organize my shop several times a year and occasionally desperation or frustration drives me to do it.  Our annual furnace service happened this morning and on Saturday an electrician is coming to do some wiring in the shop too.  I therefore had to clean up things a bit for these fellows to have working space. 

  The other thing that I do in January is gather up small repair jobs and knock them off.  A job that has been hanging around my Mother's kitchen is her mid-sized kitchen knife.

  You can see the broken section on the blade, I suspect my Mom tried to hack a frozen bone. Bone - 1, knife - 0.  I brought it home today and set about saving the knife.  I used a wet grinder to  reshape the blade and roughly grind its bevels.

   The wet stone grinder leaves things very rough, but it is quick and there is no chance of over heating the steel.  After the shape and basic bevel is formed one enters into the world of "sharpening". There are many methods to choose from when doing your final sharpening, and I am not wholly committed to any one of them. Chisels and plane blades I usually sharpen on my Work Sharp, but certainly Tormek is another excellent choice.  When the blades are too wide for my Work Sharp I have the jigs and sand paper to use the Scary Sharp method too.  I echo the calls of many experts when I say, find what works for you and stay with it until you get good at it. There are no real short cuts.
   I sharpen my knife blades free hand.  I learned from my Father before I had much hair on my arms to prove my work.  I have found that hand sharpening can be a bit hit and miss, there are days when I just can't get it right so I have to give up and try again another day.

  Today was an 'on'day. After a bit of time with a 1000 grit water stone, a 4000 grit ceramic stone and a leather strop the knife was able to cut paper thin slices of cherry tomato and shave my arm too. When I brought this knife home I left Mom a replacement  so she wouldn't be tool less.  She said if I could repair the old knife she would like to take it to the community kitchen where she volunteers but would be afraid the knife would get lost in the general chaos of their busy kitchen.  After I got the knife sharpened I used my engraver to grind her name into the blade. Now it should be easy for the knife to get home with its owner.

  I suggest that every tool person have an engraver, and not to leave home with out clearly marked tools.  Even if your work site is honest, marked tools make clearing up at the end of the day quicker for everyone.  

  Another repair is to the coffee machine stand I built a few years ago.   The stand needed to be repainted and I will be making new boxes for storage underneath.

  It will be nice to get this looking good in the kitchen again.  Wood is amazing but does need a bit of attention now and then. 

  The last bit of maintenance I did today was sharpen my pencil sharpening knife.

 This knife was made for me by my Father, 25 years ago, probably more. It will sharpen to a razor's edge with little effort.  A special tool like this is owed the effort.

cheers, ianw

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