Topic: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

I have, for many years used a steel, or burnisher, to "groom" the edge of my reed knife between sharpenings. It's really amazing how, by manipulating the burr on the edge of the knife's blade, you can "re-sharpen" the knife (about 4 times, in my case) between sharpenings on a stone or with ceramic sticks.

To be clear, I'm talking about renewing the edge of the knife on a piece of rounded, hard, polished steel WITHOUT REMOVING METAL FROM THE BLADE. As I said, I've found that the performance of the knife's edge can be restored BETWEEN the normal sharpenings on a stone or other metal-removing abrasive surface by using such a tool.

I have aquired an inventory of these tools and will be introducing them as a new product very soon. In order to maximize the value of the tool to the buyer, I will be including with each "Knife Edge Groomer" an instruction manual. Although I can certainly write an instruction manual descibing my own technique for using this tool, I'm sure that many of you use a steel of some sort and I would be very interested in hearing about YOUR technique, or procedure for restoring a knife's edge with one of these devices. I would be using your "disertation" as input for my instruction manual, so your comments may be quoted or incorporated in the manual in a less direct fashion. I would not be quoting you by name, though.

My thinking on this is that the more "sophisticated" my knowledge base of various techniques, the better the instruction book I'll be able to write. So please let me know about your individual technique.

Thanks Much,

David Crispin
Crispin's Creations and Accessories
freelance oboist. Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
www.CrispinsCreations.com

Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

I was really pleased to see that you recommend the use of a burnisher.  I am a retired cabinetmaker and used a burnishing rod to put the necessary bur on the edges of cabinet scrapers  for 35 yrs.  When I returned to my oboe in retirement I got out my reed making equipment and set about sharpening my knives. I used the usual proceedure to get a sharp edge, and then two final swipes at a more acute angle to put a bur on the edge.  And at that point I realized that the bur was the only thing that counted, and my years of putting a bur on cabinet scrapers told me that this was not the way to do it.  The problem with this method is that the bur is created by abrasion, and so is a bit ragged.  In a sense those last two swipes to put the bur on the blade ruin the blade as the very sharp edge that we have created has been dulled.  If I did this with a cabinet scraper it would make it a useless tool.The advantage of the burnisher is that it bends the steel, and the fine edge stays intact.  With a cabinet scarper this means that I can finely scrape extremely dense wood like Magasar Ebony and have an edge lasts for up to three minutes. With my reed knife the burnished edge easily lasts for the completion of one reed.  (now I must admite to an extremely dense knife blade, made from a jointer blade with an R. value of 65.)
To get to your questions.  The sharpening of the knife is an all important preliminary operation as it creates the very fine edge which will be bent over to become the scraping tool. When  the knife begins to loose the bur we can use the burnisher to flatten the edge and then rebend it.  But then we have to sharpen to re-established the sharp edge.---I strongly recommend a burnishing rod, available through any woodworking tool catalog.  And one must practice the bending as it is actually the most important operation.  Holding the rod at different angles to the blade create subtle differences in the shape of the scraping edge, as do pressure changes.  And we must sensatize the thumb to be able to feel these differences.

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Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

David,
I have been using a burnishing steel since I was in grad school about 7 years ago. At that time, one of us in the studio purchased one from Roger Miller in Cincinnati. We all bought one and have all been using them ever since. I get a sharper edge on my knives after using this, between major sharpenings of course, then any other sharpening device. These are amazing little devices! I do however have to admit that I like the deep cut ones better then the smooth ones.

Best
Shawn

Shawn Reynolds
Professor of Oboe/EH - Youngstown State University
Howland Schools - MS (director of bands); HS (Asst. Dir of Bands, Marching, Symphonic)

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Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

This makes sense to me and I've had several teachers suggest this to me. Can anyone here who has had experience with burnishing rods direct me to the size and type best suited for reed knives?

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Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

Make sure there are absolutely no ridges on the rods and that they're completely smooth. You can get any size as long as they fit this criteria.
I purchased the one I use the most from North Texas Double Reeds. I also have another from Roger Miller that is smaller and smoother but heavier. Jende sells a steel that is foldable for which he charges an outrageous premium. You can purchase it directly from the source for a third of the price. (http://beast.voltztech.com/~razoredge/product_info.php?cPath=23&products_id=47&osCsid=9ca7c79ec16d41df6e01d12adabeab8c) My Raz-R-Steel doesn't have any of those ridges Tom mentioned below.

Last edited by omjeremy (2008-11-24 19:25:32)

Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

Although you are certainly within your rights to make your speculations about Jende pricing structures, I think a simple slap in the face to the president of Jende, Tom Boldget, would have been sufficient.

David Crispin
Crispin's Creations and Accessories
freelance oboist. Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
www.CrispinsCreations.com

Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

Hartville Tools sells a beauty for $15 + shipping/handling

http://www.hartvilletool.com/product/11018

Best,

jiohn

Best,

john

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Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

Yes, you can buy from Razor Edge, but they are not the same. The arms of the folding steel available from Jende Industries are modified, making them much smoother.

The rods for the arms of the steel are originally made on a lathe with a carbide bit. This process leaves horizontal scratches in the rod leave it resembling a guiro. The manufacturing processes that make the finished rods seem smoother do not remove those lines. If you hit a deep enough "rib", it will chip the knife. I remove the ribs, and hand finish each rod - a process that takes time.

With Jende Industries, you get what you pay for. I put in the extra effort because I want only the highest quality products for my customers.

Compare the two, and you will notice a big difference.

Tom Blodgett
President
Jende Industries, LLC

Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

Re Jeremy's edit: I too have the angled gizmo from Razor's Edge.  I checked it under my Optivisor (#7 strength) No ridges.

Best,

john

Best,

john

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Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

Actually, in reference to using a burnishing rod/steel that has absolutely no grooves, I would disagree. I have three burnishing rods. One is deep cut, having many grooves, the second has a smooth side and a rough side, and the third has only smooth.

Without hesitation, I ALWAYS use the deep cut rod with grooves. The edge I get from the smooth (no grooves) steel is not useful to me at all. So, I recommend using the grooved steel. I also own one of the Jende steels. While they serve a different purpose, I get a fantastic edge, long lasting, with a groove "burnished" steel as opposed to the smooth.

Just my .02 cents.

Shawn

Shawn Reynolds
Professor of Oboe/EH - Youngstown State University
Howland Schools - MS (director of bands); HS (Asst. Dir of Bands, Marching, Symphonic)

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Re: Use of a steel to renew the edge of a reed knife between sharpenings.

I usually don't sharpen my rambo savage hunt knife, I asked my hubby to do it... wink Your technique is tempting, I just wanna try it. Maybe, it would make me do the sharpening myself. smile

Last edited by fantazia (2010-05-21 21:02:54)

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