Topic: Ando Knife and Sharpening Stone Questions


My name is Chris, and I was wondering if anybody has had any positive or negative experiences they'd like to share about Ando reed knives.  I'm currently looking for a "finishing reed knife" since I already have a knife that isn't extremely sharp (even after sharpening) but is good for the initial scraping on bassoon reeds.  I've heard some positive things from the oboists at my school about Ando knives, but I was wondering if anyone has ever tried them on a bassoon reed.

Additionally, I'm looking to buy a sharpening stone (so I can stop bumming off my friend's stones), and I was wondering what the difference is between a water stone, and a dry stone; as well as if anybody has a recommendation for a good sharpening stone.



Re: Ando Knife and Sharpening Stone Questions

If you are interested in the proper technique of sharpening knifes, here is the link to the video of Tom Blodgett's lecture on knife sharpening at the 2005 IDRS Conference.

Reed Knife Sharpening

Mr. Blodgett’s reed knife sharpening lecture/demonstration will be presented in 4 parts. Part 1 defines and discusses the pros and cons of the 4 basic reed knife blade shapes. Part 2 explains the geometry behind each shape and how it applies to sharpening. Part 3 is a demonstration of how to sharpen each of the 4 blade shapes, and part 4 is left open for questions. This lecture applies to anyone with a reed knife, and is not specific to either oboe or bassoon!

Yoshi Ishikawa
Professor of Bassoon, University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Music
Editor, IDRS OnLine Publications

Re: Ando Knife and Sharpening Stone Questions

Hi Chris,

Ando is a very good reed knife, and when sharpened properly, should work wonderfully for you. I must've sharpened at least 10-12 Ando knives alone at the Asia Double Reed Association's Festival this past August in Thailand smile

There are some things you need to consider about its maintenance, though. - And this is coming from a propeller-head sharpener's point of view, so don't let it scare you off smile

The steel on an Ando knife is laminated, meaning there is a soft outer steel with a hard inner core. You will need to make sure on the bevel side that you are not just wearing down the softer steel. The back side is supposed to be flat, but is often slightly bowed in one way or another - making flat sharpening very difficult, and there can be a small microbevel which will require some decision making about how you want to maintain that side of the knife. Personally, I raise the back of the knife off the stone ever so slightly. But you should defer to your teacher, or the oboe teacher's methods if you are not sure.

As for stones, you should get something in the #800 - #2,000 grit range to start. This will put a usable edge that is also maintainable with a single stone. I prefer water stones for my sharpening, but you will hear several opinions, including Arkansas and India stones. Each type of stone has different methods for achieving the best edge. We can get into that more later, though.

I only check in periodically to this forum, so if you have more questions, please feel free to email me with them.

Re: Ando Knife and Sharpening Stone Questions

Thanks for all the help!  I ended up going with the Ando Knife, and a few Shapton Stones (due to recommendations from friends, reviews online and an oboe teacher here).