If you would like to learn how to carve, you need to learn to sharpen. As soon as you have done some carving, you will notice the symptoms of a certain dull blade. The shavings are not as fine and even the surface left behind isn’t shiny. Remember that a dull knife is a risky knife. If you do not have control of the blade, you may be likely to cut yourself.
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Pay good attention to the edge of your knife
As with many cutting tools, the edge of a knife blade is delicate. With my knife, I can easily see the least little dings and nicks begin to form on the edge from utilization. Always compare the sharp edge of your carving knife to a dull edge. It’s hard to offer a formula for the duration a blade will stay sharp given various cuts in diverse woods, so keep a close lookout for the symptoms I stated.
Use a leather strop to sharpen your knife
A leather strop is usually a rough piece of leather, which is attached to a flat wood. Instead of making use of sharpening stones or using sandpaper on a certain piece of granite, I discover that you will have better control of a carving knife using a leather strop.
Sharpen the blade
If you’re new to this type of sharpening, I suggest marking the edge of the blade using ink. This will always remind you to concentrate on the cutting edge and help you gauge any progress.
Just put a piece of wood in your vise or use your bench dog as the stop and push your strop against it. Now, place the blade on your leather along with the sharp-edge toward you. Make use of finger pressure to hold down the edge against the leather and then push the knife’s blade away along the strop in a smooth motion.
You’ll notice black streaks beginning to form on the leather. Now, these streaks are created from the removal of fine amounts of steel from your blade.