How-To Sharpen Wood Carving Knife with Sandpaper
Nomad is a Super Moderator on Woodcarving Illustrated Forum and shared a really well neat description of how he uses sandpaper to sharpen wood carving knife. I use a similar method, but got his permission to share his pictures and descriptions.
“I have several power systems that I use sanding belts/discs with but I also do a lot of sharpening by hand and most of the time I use sandpaper.To start, I cut a sanding block that is 1.5″ x 1.5″ x 5 3/4″. The length allows me to cut 1.5″ wide strips from the width of a full sheet of sandpaper. If you want to cut your strips lengthwise, you could make your blocks longer. Width of block is personal preference. You can also buy sanding blocks from the hardware store.To cut the sandpaper strips, I use a piece of plastic as a template and clamp it to the sheet, then snip off the strip with a pair of scissors.I cut slots in ends of the blank (you can use a handsaw, bandsaw, or whatever you have) which allow me to attach the strip to the block. The strips are attached with wedges made from a yardstick and sanded into a wedge, which I use to jam the sandpaper into the slots.
For heavy sharpening, I clamp the block in a vise. For lighter sharpening, you can easily hold it in your hand.
When sharpening I always drag the blade away from the edge and never push the edge forward into the paper. This prevents cutting the paper and allows you to draw out the blade to a very fine edge.
Depending on how dull the blade is, I start with 80, 120 or 150 or higher, then work upwards and finish with 2000 grit. I then strop. So a typical pattern for a very dull knife would be 150, 220, 400, 600, 1000, 1500, and 2000.
To keep track of the sandpaper, I store it in a hanging file case.
Overall this is a very economical way to use sandpaper for sharpening. It is portable and you can use the strips over and over. It’s a good idea to mark the grit on the back of the strips after cutting to help keep track of them.”
I hope that this description of how to sharpen wood carving knife with sandpaper is a benefit.