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charvercarver

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Hello all, first time poster.

I recently bought a flexcut carving knife and I'm having some troubles sharpening it. I can get it to arm hair cutting sharp with a long bevel, but the tip is then too fragile. That is it chips within a couple of hours even in the white stuff from homebase. Some of this is technique I suspect, I have never carved before (and I've seen my fiance use it like a scraper!) though I am aware that you shouldn't use the blade to pry or lever.

So I have tried to put a shorter secondary bevel on, it works to some extent but it is definitely duller than than the primary bevel. I have no experience sharpening a double beveled blade so I am wondering if it is usually the case that secondary bevels are harder to sharpen when you have two or if I am doing something wrong.

Thanks.
 

xy mosian

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charvercarver":392jp2oy said:
.... but the tip is then too fragile....
Hi charvercarver, welcome to the forum.

I am no expert knife carver, or any carver really, I do carve with a knife and have had some success. When you say the tip is too fragile do you mean the edge?

I found some advice about sharpening a knife blade on a Chip Carving Forum. It went like this (roughly) :- " Use a ceramic stone, lay a flat side of the blade on the stone and raise the back edge a little, rub the blade backwards and forwards, across the edge, quickly until a burr is raised. This burr can be detected by 'flicking' a nail across the edge, not along it! Turn the blade over and repeat, until the burr is released. "

This burr is also known as a 'wire edge'. Now I have a small ceramic stone and this method certainly works, it also works with a super fine diamond hone and would probably work with many other types of stone. However it will quickly wear a softer stone so don't use your favourite plane or chisel sharpening stone, it won't be flat long. It is possible that your edge is crumbling because it is too fine, other threads here have mentioned problems with some steels and very fine edges on plane irons.
HTH
xy
 

charvercarver

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Thanks for the welcome xy.

Thanks for the advice. The sharpening method you describe is pretty much the one I use, except I work the blade over the stone along the edge (like side sharpening for a plane iron) as I find it easier to maintain the angle that way.

I think you may be right about the crumbly edge being too fine, that's why i tried sharpening at a higher angle, but I can't seem to raise a burr with the shorter bevel.
 

xy mosian

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charvercarver,
Do you know I've never tried sharpening a plane iron by running the honing bevel along its length, parallel with the edge. I must give it a try. I normally hone across the edge, which raises a burr, and remove the burr by polishing the back running parallel with the edge. You live and learn as someone said.

Watch the soft pink bits, if you catch them it takes ages to get the stain out of the wood. :)

xy
 

charvercarver

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It's an easy way to freehand, especially chisels. What I do is rest the (non-sharp) end of the chisel/iron/whatever in my cupped right hand, where it pivots freely. Then using the fingers of my left hand i bear down on the blade just behind the edge and work the blade in an arc pivoting around the end that's being supported (not held) in my right hand. That aside it is the usual process: raise a burr on each grit then chase the burr on the finishing stone.

I know all about the dangers of sliced pink bits... I'm one cut away from having chip carved a good sized chuck out of my left index finger. The blade was sharp enough that I only noticed after the second cut #-o
 

xy mosian

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Thanks for the sharpening tip, I'll try it next time I'm in the 'shop.
Sorry about the unneeded warning. I got the wrong impression about your carving experience :oops:

As for nicks I've had a few, it really is a sod when a nick keeps me away from a nearly finished carving. I have a pair of slash proof gloves, but somehow I am reluctant to use them as I think I may become less careful. Does that sound daft?

xy
 

Lons

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charvercarver":2itjbr1o said:
Hello all, first time poster.

I recently bought a flexcut carving knife and I'm having some troubles sharpening it. I can get it to arm hair cutting sharp with a long bevel, but the tip is then too fragile. That is it chips within a couple of hours even in the white stuff from homebase. Some of this is technique I suspect, I have never carved before (and I've seen my fiance use it like a scraper!) though I am aware that you shouldn't use the blade to pry or lever.

So I have tried to put a shorter secondary bevel on, it works to some extent but it is definitely duller than than the primary bevel. I have no experience sharpening a double beveled blade so I am wondering if it is usually the case that secondary bevels are harder to sharpen when you have two or if I am doing something wrong.

Thanks.
Hi

I've waited to post because TBH I thought it was a wind up - my appologies :oops:

I hope you mean softwood from homebase and not melamine faced chipboard :lol: :lol: :lol:

I'm a carver (although I haven't done any for a while) and have a wide range of mostly Pfeil and Ashley Isle chisels. I haven't used flexicut yet and don't normally use knives.
I suggest you pick up or borrow from the library a couple of good carving books as most of them have sections on sharpening.

I sharpen my tools according to the wood I'm carving and the type of project. i.e. If a carving in the round say in lime then a longer bevel than say a relief work in oak. The reasons are obvious!

Double bevel has no place in my carving tools :shock:

You'll also find that carvers, just like turners will touch up the edge of the tools constantly whilst working - I use a leather strop and autosol until the edge needs a stone.
2 hours is a long time for an edge to last anyway IMHO.

Bob
 

charvercarver

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xy

Remember to pivot, if you go straight up and down I find it tends to camber. My carving 'experience' consists of a few doddles in a scrap piece, I think i have as much experience carving my fingers :lol: Officially I bought the knife for my fiance who is whittling some ash.

I know what you mean about using gloves, if you end up slicing your fingers it means you lost control of the cut, so not having gloves should be a good motivation to concentrate :lol:

Bob

Well if you thought I was trying to carve melamine then I can see why you thought it was a wind up... melamine is only for turning! :lol:

I sharpen my tools according to the wood I'm carving and the type of project. i.e. If a carving in the round say in lime then a longer bevel than say a relief work in oak. The reasons are obvious!
They may be obvious to you, I've never done this before :) Is it because the longer bevel allows you to get deeper into the cut? Is it also to do with the relative hardness of oak and lime?

When I say double bevel, I don't mean a primary and secondary bevel on one side of the blade (which I am aware is a no-no for carving gouges, v-tools etc) I mean having a bevel on either side of the blade in a V shape as opposed to a plane or chisel with a bevel on one side.

I was thinking of using a strop anyway, you've pushed me over the edge :)

2 hours is a long time for an edge to last anyway IMHO.
That is interesting, do you mean lasting in terms of sharpness or would you expect to see some nicks (in a knife edge)?
 

Lons

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charvercarver":xdxdwfaz said:
Bob

Well if you thought I was trying to carve melamine then I can see why you thought it was a wind up... melamine is only for turning! :lol:

I sharpen my tools according to the wood I'm carving and the type of project. i.e. If a carving in the round say in lime then a longer bevel than say a relief work in oak. The reasons are obvious!
They may be obvious to you, I've never done this before :) Is it because the longer bevel allows you to get deeper into the cut? Is it also to do with the relative hardness of oak and lime?

When I say double bevel, I don't mean a primary and secondary bevel on one side of the blade (which I am aware is a no-no for carving gouges, v-tools etc) I mean having a bevel on either side of the blade in a V shape as opposed to a plane or chisel with a bevel on one side.

I was thinking of using a strop anyway, you've pushed me over the edge :)

2 hours is a long time for an edge to last anyway IMHO.
That is interesting, do you mean lasting in terms of sharpness or would you expect to see some nicks (in a knife edge)?

Hi

You can't carve anything if your tools are nicked (so lock them up :lol: :lol: :lol: )

I misunderstood about the bevels #-o

I change the length of the bevel for a number of reasons :

lime is soft and a longer bevel allows sweeping cuts without sacrificing edge strength. use the same bevel in oak or walnut etc end you will blunt and chip the edge. If stabbing cuts (letters for example then even more so).

There are loads of books available with good advice.
For a strop just get an old leather belt or beg a shoe sole from a shoe
repairer and will work very well. (Do a forum search for excellent advice).
Just use it very regularly to keep the edge razor sharp.

Here are some of my early attempts at carving. A bit amatuerish when I look back but only pics I have at the minute. Photos are rubbish as well. :oops:

The old golfer was my very first attempt at carving and was copied from a mag. used a block rubbish mahogany of some sort which was all that I had.

Polar bear is basswood with sycamore base.
Otter I saw a pic somewhere and is lime.
Fungi is a chunk of elm off the firewood pile and the rest are lime.

Lime is lovely to carve and all fruitwoods are good, holly is hard and takes a fine cut and boxwood is even better. Hawthorn is also very good.

Try all sorts but best not softwoods or anything stringy (like my golfer stuff).

Have fun

Bob







 

charvercarver

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Thanks for the advice about the strop.

I'll be very lucky if my first attempt looks as good as that golfer!

I can see the progress, especially compared to the polar bear and otter. The otter especially, I love the way he's poised.
 

xy mosian

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Nice work Lons.:) Do you still carve? Could we see pictures?
About the strop, I couldn't find thick stiff leather and ended up using thinner stuff from one of swmbo's old handbags glued to a scrap of architrave. It may not be perfect, but it seems to work.

xy
 

Lons

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xy mosian":3ld4tzng said:
Nice work Lons.:) Do you still carve? Could we see pictures?
About the strop, I couldn't find thick stiff leather and ended up using thinner stuff from one of swmbo's old handbags glued to a scrap of architrave. It may not be perfect, but it seems to work.

xy
Those were done about 10 - 12 years ago and I've carved a number of items since then but nothing for about 5 years due to my business commitments.
They're all packed away in the loft (don't ask) which is why those were the only pics I had on the computer.

My work then was a bit crude and very "square" really, a typical feature when learning. I cringe a bit when looking at them now :oops: but you have to start somewhere and can only improve with practice.

Iv'e done a bit of marquetry as well which I found very therapeutic and would love to try carving a block of soapstone (sacrilege :!: ) but can't find a local supplier.

I was havins some keys cut at a local shoemaker and he gave me a large leather shoe sole blank foc. You could buy one for a quid or so and really good quality and about 4mm thick.

I also some time ago picked up some offcuts from an uphosterer and one of my mates got a large leather cushion off an old sofa at a local tip, so lots of stuff out there.

Bob
 

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