Discussion in 'Sharpening Station' started by dafox, Dec 3, 2018.
Getting ready to sharpen friends and families knives, how do you sharpen knives with finger guards?
What are finger guards? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BGD7GSK/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 these things?
Or do you mean like a giant knife bolster?
tell them to buy new knives
Looks like the proper term is full bolster.
Still probably considered a novice sharpener....I only sharpen a knife with a bolster for good friends or family (and even then they know it is a stretch for me to "want" to do for them). I have flat out said no to many knives since people just assume you can get crap steel sharp so the scored! It is not just the PITA bolster that makes me tense up with the grinding noise against the side of the stone, but normally it is much softer steel than I prefer to sharpen.
Would you like a sippy cup with your tricycle wheels?
Different approaches are possible. Cutting them off diagonally
Thinning them to have it flush with the relief bevel
Reduce its length so it doesn't touch the board
Stay away from sharpening the last inch altogether.
I can only speak from my experience.
If they are newer Sabatiers (My moms) .. the blade will extend past the finger guard a few mirco-milli-meters .. but its enough to touch a stone for a few sharpening.
if they are old Sabatiers (my grandmothers) and have been sharpened on whet stones (by my grandfather) and i see he uses a bench grinder to grind them down.
if they are old Sabatiers (my in-laws) that have been sharpened in a Pull-though sharpener ... griding is out of the question ... you have to Cut them off ... i used a Dremel. (Steel cutting bit)
Benuser's picture does it justice, i cut them off a little more of an a aggressive angle (cutting less of the blade portion and more of the finger guard portion.) make sure you use the pumice stone bit to round off the edges before going to your stone to make it nice and smooth. I would say use some wet sand paper also to make it buttery. I always use sand paper when sharpening peoples knives ... I give it a quick shot to even out the scratches or remove the patina on the blade and give it a new look. You'll be surprised even stainless knives how they discolor. Just dont use sand paper on Shuns and such because you cant get the chromed mirror look back and cant etch the damascus the same even with ferric chloride.
Lastly, just make sure you see the damage that the knife has encountered and put the edge on that will match that. No use putting a super acute edge on if the person likes to hulk smash their knife into crab legs.
The full bolster was originally a marketing ploy thought up around the turn of the last century, and actually a means to reduce costs. Initially I believed this was something related to the die-forging process, added to prevent warping of high heels. But Bernel has a blurb on their website saying actually trip hammer forging created a need for a blob of metal at the junction of blade and tang. This was originally ground away, so you don't find this feature in knives prior to the end of the 19th century. But as intimated some marketing guys (who should have been shot) got the great idea that the worse than useless big blob of metal gave a quality appearance, and obviously the idea has stuck for all these years.
Extending the curve of the belly makes it "easier" (relative term) to miss that last inch mentioned, but do you really want to turn a nice Sab profile into a German one? And I believe that is how the big-belly German profile evolved, to accommodate that pos metal blob in sharpening. Big hand cranked grinding wheel is probably how folks "effectively" dealt with it in olden days, and something along those lines is to be considered. Get rid of the FB or get rid of the knife, your 2 best choices.
All, thanks for your replies!
I'm still looking for some how-to for sharpening friends and families knives with full bolsters, I wish they didnt have them but they do. I'm not going to go the grinder route.
You already have all the advice there is here. Perhaps open a new post on what cheap [and better] knives your relations should replace the current pretentious ones with if you feel you need more information.
If you can`t do it like that, just use a steel to sharpen, and you may sharpen in some months like any other knife.... (with stones)....
As long as (and this will probably lasts for years in home use!) the edge dont reach the fingerguard....
Ah these pop up so often when you sharpen a lot of knives... Belt grinders are the answer!
Benuser covered pretty much all the good options. His last picture is what I go for.
One guy I saw sharpened the bolster with a concave grind....
Agreed, I usually use one of these 3 approaches depending on my mood that day
Although the first one "cutting it off diagonally" is only if its a big rush on a garbage knife. Usually a combination of the 2nd/3rd options are best.
If you dont want to buy an actual grinding machine of some sort (disc/bench(wheel)/belt), then find an old brick, or some outdoor rough but uniform semi flat surface of cement or whatever and use that to grind the bolster down. This method wont be easy to thin the sides to have it flush with the main bevel, but u can still round them off, and at least you can reduce its length so it doesn't cause a "high heel shoe" effect on a cutting board.
You could also look into using a metal file, or supplimenting your proper sharpening stones with a cheapo rough sharpening stone from a hardware store. They usually come in super low grits that are handy for this type of thing.
Couldn't agree more. Not going to disfigure a Herder 1922. But cutting off a few millimetres is how French makers usually deliver.
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