I’ve been carrying a Queen Barlow with the Sheepsfoot blade the last few days and finally decided to put a real edge on it. Like most everyone, it’s a rare occasion that a factory new knife comes through with what I feel is an acceptable working edge. For some reason, it seems the folks that focus strictly on fixed blades do a much better job of honing their blades before they go out the door. Traditional makers, other then some of the CNC built tacticals or customs, not so much.
The Queen Barlow had an ‘acceptable’ edge, but not what I like to use so out came the Edge Pro. I have been using one of the Edge Pro Fine Diamond Stones for reshaping the blade angles when necessary so no more then 5 or 6 passes on each side laid down a little flatter grind for me. The steel in the blade is 1095 and the hardness seems to fall in the range of most of the 1095 folders but the water stones weren’t doing the job. I knew the stones were getting pretty loaded with steel particles even though I regularly scrub them with a product called Barkeepers Friend (good stuff). It’s been a while since I trued the stones and thought that might help.
Edge Pro has a product for truing any type of (non diamond) sharpening stones that consists of nothing more then a piece of tempered glass and Silicon Carbide.
Sprinkle about a teaspoon or so of the Silicon Carbide on the glass, add enough water to make a slurry and grind the stone in a circular motion in the mixture on the glass. It only takes a minute or so and your stone is trued and a lot of the surface crud is removed as well. This made all the difference in the world and I could immediately feel even the 600 grit stone was more aggressive at finishing the blade.
Cleaning any stone makes a world of difference in how effective it cuts. Oil stone, water stone, whatever, keep it clean. Also truing your sharpening stones can make an old stone work like new.
Going back to the factory edge on today’s knives, the Edge Pro quickly shows all the flaws on the grind. You’re holding the same angle the length of the blade and if there’s any uneveness or bellying in the blade…. you’re gonna see it.
This entire process of setting up the Edge Pro, truing the stones and sharpening the Barlow took probably 20 minutes from start to finish. Pretty small investment in time to end up with a razor sharp tool.
IF you’re an Edge Pro user, one word of caution. When you lay the knife on the table to sharpen the edge, small particles of steel will accumulate under the blade and end up scratching the blade. It’s hard to see in the phot, but there are some very fine scratches that are visible.
Regularly wipe of the table that the blade lies on and keep it clean every time you turn the knife to sharpen the other side. Even more effective, use some blue painters tape to protect the blade.
1095 is a good steel for an every day working knife and with a proper edge, it’ll get the job done just fine. I’ll admit to getting spoiled using the Fallkniven laminated powder steels, but for under $40… this is a gem. The 1095 might need a little more attention to maintain that razor edge, but if I lose it, it’s a whole lot easier on the budget!!!