Sharpening Tools

A Guide to using tool sharpeners by Fred-in-the-shed

Updated 9th June 2021

These are some of the sharpening tools I have tested and currently use.

I have sought advice from several manufacturers of sharpening tools for the best methods.

Tool sharpening "experts" will argue with me whatever I say, as everyone has their own opinions.

So the advice I give is based on the success I have had sharpening my tools over the last 20 years

This page will cover sharpening secateurs, knives, shears and lawnmowers.

Sharpening a metal edge can be done in many ways especially as metal edges vary in shape and size.

The essence of sharpening is to create a hard fine edge by removing increasingly smaller particles of metal.

The overall aim is to make the edge is as thin and even as practically possible, but still strong.

 

 

Sharpening Secateurs

Tungsten carbide for initial sharpening

Use flat blade diamond sharpener for final honing

Flat faced diamond sharpener

Keeping your secateurs sharp is very easy and will make a lot of difference to your plants and possibly your joints and tendons.

All you need is one or possibly 2 simple tools and a little knowledge.

The first thing to decide is whether your secateur blade is single bevelled edge or double.

My favourite Accusharp sharpener is great for knives but its fixed angle is no good for most secateurs unless they are double bevel edged Anvil secateurs.  Bypass secateurs are more common and use one blade to cut and this blade is only bevelled on one side. Knife blades are usually sharp on both sides so a V shaped sharpener is ideal.

Clean the blade properly before sharpening and then decide if it is blunt and needs a full 2 stage sharpen or just a single stage honing.

Another word for single stage honing is a maintenance sharpen, rather than the more intensive 2 stage re-sharpen.

Diamond sharpeners come in a range of grades, shapes and sizes and I tend to use them for the 2nd stage sharpen.

 

If you are buying Diamond sharpeners don't be tempted to buy cheap. DMT are the best and made in the USA with carefully selected industrial diamonds .

DMT Diamond sharpeners come in 3 grades, Blue for course, Green for Medium and Red is Fine.

Use the link below to buy a set or individually.

 

For really blunt secateurs the first tool I use is a tungsten carbide sharpener like the S&J ones below.

 

 DMT Diamond Mini-Hone Kit of Knife Sharpeners

 Spear & Jackson  Blade Sharpener

 Spear & Jackson 6-in-1 Blade Sharpener,

 

 

 

 
 

 

Sharpening Kitchen Knives

 

In my kitchen I use a 15 year old Sabatier kitchen knife which cuts better than anything else I have tried and will probably last longer than I will.

The secret to fast, easy, cutting and making your kitchen knife last as long as possible is careful sharpening.

On the TV you see the chefs wavy around furiously with a big steel rod and hear lots of grating and gnashing sounds. Whilst this makes good TV it is not really necessary and can be dangerous if you slip.

A modern alternative is this specially designed "wipe twice" tungsten carbide knife sharpener that has a V shaped blade to give you the correct angle.

Accusharp is the original, top quality, American made Tungsten carbide knife sharpener and not one of the many cheap and nasty Chinese copies that may ruin your knives. Another great knofe sharpener that uses the same tungsten blades is the Anysharp Global which sticks itself down on your worktop by suction. It claims to be the worlds best knife sharpener - I would say it's pretty good.

The small tungsten blade in the USA made Accusharp is reversible and replaceable. So I think its better than the Anysharp.

Sabatier knives are made in France and refer to a family of knife makers from one area and not a specific company.

Buy a good quality Sabatier knife and you will grow to love it.

My Fishmonger loved the sharpener

I like this simple sharpener that you slide along the blade. It has V shaped tungsten carbide teeth that create the perfect sharpening angle. The finger guard makes it extra safe and quick to use. (10 seconds)

Tungsten carbide is a bit brutal and will remove visible fragments of steel so it is best used on blunt knives or sparingly.

For a quite maintenance sharpen on decent knives then a finer diamond or even ceramic blade as found on my Lansky sharpener is better.

Fred's 100% recommended Accusharp Knife Sharpener

 

Sharpening Serrated Knives

The Amazing Victorinox Tomato Knife will cut everything and anything

 

Sharpening a serrated knife can be done but you will need a special tool and a lot of patience.

Luckily serrated knives don't need sharpening as often as conventional blades.

I have successfully sharpened my serrated tomato knives using the diamond coated tapered tool on my Lansky sharpener.

Lansky are an American company who specialise in top quality sharpeners and the tool I have can sharpen any knife.

Lansky Sharpeners Ps-Med01 Outdoor Blade Medic Sharpener

 

 

 

 
 

 Dremel Multi Tool for intricate grinding and sharpening

Dremel has been the market leader in powered multi-tools for many years. The mains powered hobby tool has been improved several times and now has an incredible range of accessories.

To stay ahead of the game they have released this new 10.8 volt cordless tool with the superior Lithium ion battery.

It comes with charger and accessories in a sturdy case and impressed me with it's power. I also tried a couple of the cheaper copies of this tool and always go back to my Drem due to the quality of the battery ,  its reliability and level of control.

This is one little tool every home or workshop should own. I use my Dremel for drilling very small holes, polishing metal, removing rust from small components, grinding out wood in recesses for locks, sharpening tools, and a host of other jobs

The Cordless Dremel is handy for quick little jobs outside of the workshop. If you don't really need a cordless one get the cheaper mains powered version as it has more power and will always be ready without needing a charge. Or if you have a workshop and work outside too get both as the tools accessories are the same for each.

Dremel is made by Bosch of Germany

 Dremel Lite 7760 Cordless Rotary Tool Li-Ion 3.6 V, Multi Tool Kit with 15 Accessories,

Now  with Lithium ION battery

 

 Dremel 4.0mm Chainsaw Sharpening Grinding Stone Multipack

 

 
 

 

 

How to Change or Sharpen a blade on a Rotary Mower

 

Tools required to sharpen a blade on my Bosch Rotak 37Li

1. medium size screwdriver with round shaft

2. 17mm spanner, sharpening file (as shown above)

(use a ring spanner if you can as it is less likely to slip)

The same procedure and tools will work for most Bosch mowers

1. Unplug or remove battery,

2.  Tip mower on side as shown

3. Turn blade to 11 O'clock, insert screwdriver in hole to block blade movement

4. place spanner at approx 11o'clock to match blade

5. push spanner down, or tap with mallet or bit of wood if stuck

Don't forget to check your blade for balance before you re-fit after sharpening.

 Multi-Sharp  Rotary Mower/Garden Tool Sharpener

 Brushcutter and mower Rotary Blade Balancer

    

  

Place blade in a vice or clamp,

File at an angle across blade

When blade is shiny again file the back side flat to make a sharp edge

Refitting the blade is simply the reverse of removal.

You may wish to wear gloves, and have a tidier bench than me

Spray a bit of lubricant or dribble 3 in 1 oil on the bolt before putting it back

ANY SPINNING BLADE SHOULD BE CHECKED FOR BALANCE BEFORE REFITTING TO MACHINERY

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting my shed!

For free expert advice - on buying tools, (on and off-line) mail me at
fred@fredshed.com
(please include the tool name in the subject heading)

 

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