I have a couple of CRKT knives that, after 3 years of serious use and abuse, aren't quite as sharp as they used to be, and have a few knicks in the blades.
I've never really sharpened a knife beyond running kitchen knives through those cheap ceramic sharpener things. Anybody have any helpful tips on which tools to use, and how to do it right?
The best edge will be with a wet stone, but it is also the most difficult to perfect.
I have been sharpening blades using a wet stone for 15 years. I use buck honing oil. I start with a soft arkansas and then use a hard stone the put the finishing edge on it.
If you have knicks in the blade it will take a fair amount of time.
You can achieve a shaving edge with just soft arkansas.
The most important thing is to be consistant with your angles for each side. Try to do the same number to passes on each side of the blalde.
Well that is a start.
Ok, I'll give it a shot, thanks.
To set the bevels I use a Lansky sharpening tool. Yea, I know some consider it "cheating", but it works very well. If the bevels are consistent AND they meet at the edge, then it is very easy to get a very sharp, finished edge.
To learn what is happening at the edge, get a jeweler's loupe (10x) and use it to examine the edge of the blade. When you see the sifference between a sharp edge and a dull one, then it gets much easier to sharpen correctly.
If you are removing a visible amount of metal off the edge while sharpening, then you are grinding too much metal off the blade. It's a very small part of the blade that does the cutting. The rest of the blade is there to support that millimeter-wide cutting edge.
Kind of a "newbish" sounding suggestion, but it does work.
Just use a standard wetstone on a cheaper knife of yours.
Try many different patterns and angles on the blade until
you can find one the right patterns that will keep the blade
sharp enough while retaining it's edge.
Yes, it will cause extreme wear on the blade (unless you find a good pattern quickly),
hence the reason I suggested you do this with a cheaper knife.
It's what I did, and it worked great for me.
Last bit of advice following the stone...is to strop. Just get a good flat leather belt or piece of thick leather. You can use chromium oxide paste, but if your knife is already pretty sharpened, stropping will put a razors edge on it. It's also an easy way to maintain the edge.
A good link for leather strops and paste: