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I've never been satisfied with the lack of precision of a rotary tool or bench grinder--too easy to ruin a blade in an instant.  If you're looking for primo edge bevels to cut the best clay ribbons possible, I'd recommend using something like edm polishing stones.  They're quick cutting, come in all sizes and shapes, some comparable to needle files, and come in a wide variety of grits.  They're available at many industrial supply shops, and they're usually not too expensive.

 

For the less wild shapes, a coarse grit (200 or less) SiC bench stone can be had for not that much money.  you can sometimes find them in wacky shapes as "carver's slips," but usually they're in finer grits.

 

If you've just got a few to do.  Coarse grit sandpaper made for metal (NO GARNET SANDPAPER! you'll have worn it out in the first pass) can be very effective as well.  A multi pack covering coarse to fine should be all you need.  Wrap the paper around pieces of wood or metal.  Flats for flat and convex surfaces, round for concave.  

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I use my bench grinder with a fine grade stone in it.   I have enough experience using one that i can put a consistent bevel on the standard tools.

 

Its my experience that doing it by hand is way to slow and not accurate enough to produce sharp consistent bevels on the hard stainless.

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Its my experience that doing it by hand is way to slow and not accurate enough to produce sharp consistent bevels on the hard stainless.

 

It may be slow (and it's not really that slow if you use edm stones), but going by hand is plenty accurate. :)

 

I did this knife entirely by hand just last week--half done in the photo.

 

post-61979-0-32130800-1408291686_thumb.jpg

 

I'm working on this wakizashi the same way.

 

post-61979-0-30335300-1408291837_thumb.jpg

 

The trick is to clamp the edged implement down, and mark the bevel you want with a bright marker, and then use long, even strokes.  A hard backing is necessary for crisp, accurate lines.

 

I know a bench grinder can work well, but it's a tough skill to learn, and they screw your stuff up so easily.  It's also one of the most dangerous tools in anyone's shop.  I've seen a guy wrap a metal rod around his head because he didn't have a good grip on the piece he was working at the wheel.  The only hazard sandpaper and edm stones pose is finger irritation and boredom.

post-61979-0-32130800-1408291686_thumb.jpg

post-61979-0-30335300-1408291837_thumb.jpg

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I use a stone same one for my chef/kitchen knives for flat tools

I need to find a link for cheap round stones for tools with curves and compound curves

I love SHARP TOOLS I need to learn to sharpen the curved ones

 

Check out edm stones at mcmaster carr, or arkansas stones files.  Actually, scratch that, McMaster Carr isn't the cheapest, but they're out there for like $5 each.  Gesswein's a good brand.

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Its my experience that doing it by hand is way to slow and not accurate enough to produce sharp consistent bevels on the hard stainless.

 

 

It may be slow (and it's not really that slow if you use edm stones), but going by hand is plenty accurate. :)

 

I did this knife entirely by hand just last week--half done in the photo.

 

attachicon.gifkopis.jpg

 

I'm working on this wakizashi the same way.

 

attachicon.gifwakizashi.jpg

 

The trick is to clamp the edged implement down, and mark the bevel you want with a bright marker, and then use long, even strokes.  A hard backing is necessary for crisp, accurate lines.

 

I know a bench grinder can work well, but it's a tough skill to learn, and they screw your stuff up so easily.  It's also one of the most dangerous tools in anyone's shop.  I've seen a guy wrap a metal rod around his head because he didn't have a good grip on the piece he was working at the wheel.  The only hazard sandpaper and edm stones pose is finger irritation and boredom.

Warning, tangential thought in progress...

I know this is a ceramic forum, but I can't resist asking if those blades were forged or ground and filed from blanks. Nice bevel on their cutting edge.

 

It is a shame there is no mixed media forum. There are so many here who have a much broader spectrum of creativity. I would love to follow a "show and tell" mixed media thread.

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Needle files as Mark says are great on metal tools. The best tool I had to put and edge on my potters tools was a Gem stone grinder. This stone runes horizontal, slow speed, with a fine stone for grinding gem stones. It had a brace that I could adapt for holding the tool at the angle I wanted and then just let it run. It also used water or oil as a lubricant for when grinding gems.

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