Monthly Archives: January 2009

Put together your own Sharpening Kit / Strop

Every now and then someone asks for a recommendation on a good sharpener.  Usually, I’ll recommend the DMT Deluxe Aligner or maybe the Spyderco Sharpmaker and of course there are many, many more fantastic sharpening tools that are pretty much ‘idiot proof’.  I’m always encouraged to have someone looking for something more basic like a good ‘stone’.  I know how difficult it is to master a sharpening stone.  Over the years, I’ve gotten away from using different the kits and have found the DMT Diamond stones serve my purposes well (now that I know what I’m doing!). 

Over the years, I’ve put on quite a few miles trekking through the fields and woods hunting, fishing and camping.  Most of these ventures have necessitated a sharp knife at some point or another.  When I was younger, I depended on the edge on my blade lasting the entire venture with no further attention.  Sometimes it did….and other times it didn’t.   There’s a memory of field dressing a deer that ended up with my trusty Buck 110 being used more as a saw then a knife.

That brought me to the point of trying some of the different sharpeners available in the 70’s such as the variations of the Crock Sticks.  They did a decent job but the sticks were pretty unforgiving if you happened to drop one on a hard surface. 

It was in the mid ’80s that I finally sat down with a Genuine Arkansas Stone and vowed I’d learn to use the damned thing.  I’d never mastered the ability to hold a consistent angle on each blade stroke and invariably would knock the edge off just as soon as I put it on.  Once I mastered the ‘angle‘ thing, I discovered that if you’ll take the time to perform the finishing touches on a leather strop you’ll find out what it’s like to have a sharp knife that will hold it’s edge.

But between then and now, I’ve discovered the Arkansas Stones are NOT indestructible if dropped and the new Diamond Stones are not only fast to use but incredibly tough and light.  I’ve gotten away from the various kits as I want to conserve space when I’m out and about keeping things as compact and lightweight as possible.  However, the smaller the stones get, the more difficult they are to handle in a safe manner.  So how do you keep them compact enough to tote afield but mounted to a surface that makes them usuable???  When DMT came out with their Diamond Whetstone Kit the light went on and my problems were solved. 

These compact little stones measure just 2.625″ x .875″.  WAY to small for me feel comfortable holding in my hand while touching up a blade but nice and compact.  What I envisioned was a slick little kit that would have not only several different grit stones, but a leather strop as well.  One day while walking through Menards I picked up a paint stirring stick and the idea was born.   I grabbed a stirring stick, a bottle of Gorilla Glue, an old belt, a set of small stones and headed for the shop.

Here’s my original, one of a kind sharpening Strop/Stick.



If you’ll notice, I mounted the stones according to their grit.  Coarse to the  back, Fine in the middle and Extra Fine on the very end.



The leather strop surface on the back is just a piece of an old leather belt.  Loaded with a bit of polishing compound it does an incredibly good finishing job.  

Now, this original is great and has served me well but I decided I wanted a little more compact unit then that original which is about 15″ long.  So here’s a short pictorial to show you my latest version.  I decided I really didn’t need both the Fine and Extra Fine stones so eliminating the Extra Fine helped me cut the length down to just 9″. 


 

This time round, I simply took a 2×4 to the table saw and ripped slab off the edge and trimmed it down to roughly 1″ wide by 1/4″ thick and 9″ long.



Next came a strip of leather attached with a little Gorilla Glue,



the Coarse and Fine Stones attached on the back…..



sandwich the whole thing between two strips of wood, clamp, have a cup of coffee and read a couple chapters in your favorite outdoor journal.  In just an hour or so you’re ready to trim the excess glue,  sand the edges off the handle for a nice smooth grip and maybe drill a small hole in the handle for a lanyard loop.  Load the leather strop with some polishing compound and you’re in business.


 



Now that I’m done with it, I think I’ll cut the handle area off, leaving just enough room for a lanyard hole and get the length down to around 6″!!!   Perfection!

greg

Coming Soon!!

If you haven’t seen the pix yet, Great Eastern put up some photos of the Antique Amber, Tractor Green, Black Cherry Herringbone and Carved Pumpkin that are on the way.   Anxious to see what they really look like.

Couple of interesting items that are coming in the near future will include a #25 Barlow Single Blade with a Sheepsfoot blade.  These will be in Banana, Bocote and an as yet unnamed Acrylic.  I really like the sheepsfoot single blade concept. 

Another knife in the works are a couple of Northfield End Capped 73’s with “Flat Bolsters“.  Again, I’m interested to see what they look like.  The 73’s have always been my personal favorite of all the Great Easterns (for an EDC) and I’m trying to imagine how that knife might feel in your pocket.  It’ll be interesting to see if it’s any slimmer then the previous 73EC’s.  An another interesting item about these knives are that they’ll be available in Red Stag.  I don’t recall seeing any Red Stag for quite some time.  There’s also a 53 GEC Cuban that’ll be available in Red Stag. 

And, I’ve been assured we’ll see some mammoth handles…..soon I hope. 

greg

Coming Soon!!

If you haven’t seen the pix yet, Great Eastern put up some photos of the Antique Amber, Tractor Green, Black Cherry Herringbone and Carved Pumpkin that are on the way.   Anxious to see what they really look like.

Couple of interesting items that are coming in the near future will include a #25 Barlow Single Blade with a Sheepsfoot blade.  These will be in Banana, Bocote and an as yet unnamed Acrylic.  I really like the sheepsfoot single blade concept. 

Another knife in the works are a couple of Northfield End Capped 73’s with “Flat Bolsters“.  Again, I’m interested to see what they look like.  The 73’s have always been my personal favorite of all the Great Easterns (for an EDC) and I’m trying to imagine how that knife might feel in your pocket.  It’ll be interesting to see if it’s any slimmer then the previous 73EC’s.  An another interesting item about these knives are that they’ll be available in Red Stag.  I don’t recall seeing any Red Stag for quite some time.  There’s also a 53 GEC Cuban that’ll be available in Red Stag. 

And, I’ve been assured we’ll see some mammoth handles…..soon I hope. 

greg

Putting some unlisted knives up on Ebay!

It’s time to clean out the safe and move some ‘odds & ends”.  I’ll be putting these in my Ebay Store  TSA EBay Store (hopefully yet this afternoon 1/26/09) and wanted to give everyone a preview of what’s included.  A couple of these are pretty desirable collectibles.

#23M Great Eastern Left Hand American Elk (only 5 produced in the LH configuration) Bolster is etched “5 of 5”





#25 Barlow Open House Knife in Inferno Red (only 16 were made in Inferno Red) Serial #48









#23 2 blade Northfield, Burnt Stag, 2007 Serial #114, gorgeous stag.




#23 Great Eastern Buffalo Horn, 2007, Serial #003




#53 Northfield Snakewood, 2007, Serial #002



#73 Northfield End Capped Blue Oyster Serial #007


#23M Great Eastern Good & Plenty, 2007, serial #002