How to sharpen hook knife?

How to sharpen hook knife?
Sharpening is part of every woodcarver's work. And that's why you need to know steps in this process. In this blog we will share about how to sharpen hook knife.

How to sharpen hook knife?

Hook knife blades are curved into hooks, during manufacture, and are used to create concave shapes in wood, most commonly for spoon bowls, carved bowls and drinking cups.

They are made in a variety of sizes and shapes, from tight, near circular hooks, to long gentle curves.

Like any knife, they are held and used in one hand, while holding the wood in the non-dominant hand, although they can be used more safely by holding them with both hands, and with the wood held in a vice.

Maintaining tools is a significant aspect of any wood worker’s duties. This is specifically true for wood carving knives and bladed tools. While it is easy enough to sharpen flat edges blades, you might get confused about how to do so on a curved one like a hook knife. However, if you ask any professional woodworker, they will tell you it is easier to sharpen a hook knife than a normal one. In this article, we will guide you on how you can do it as well and sharpen your hook knife scary sharp.

To sharpen your hook knife scary sharp, you need to use sandpaper attached to a dowel. Since there is a curve between the points of contact on a hook knife, it takes minimum effort. The inner curve does not require any sharpening whatsoever. The two points of contact are very thin and using sandpaper attached to a dowel allows you to sharpen both of them at the same time. Start with lower grit sandpaper and take it up to super-fine grits to reach desired sharpness.

Without maintenance of tools, you will always get subpar results when using them for your crafts. This is why it is essential to maintain them every day if possible. Some people use leather for stropping right before using the hook knife for carving. People also clean their bladed tools after use to avoid the blade from getting dull during storage. Doing this prolongs the time before you need to sharpen the hook knife again.

Guide on how to sharpen your hook knife

For this process you will need various grits of sandpaper, starting from 150 up to 800 or higher depending on how sharp you want your hook knife to be. Along with the sandpaper you will need equal amounts of wooden dowels on which to attach the sandpaper. You will need an adhesive as well to stick the sandpaper to the dowels and lastly some leather for stropping.

Sizing the sandpapers

First, cut the sandpaper a bit bigger than the diameter of the wooden dowels to which they need to be attached. The width of the sandpaper needs to be half the length of the dowel.

Attaching the sandpapers to the dowels

Apply some glue to the back of the sandpaper and the dowel itself. Once you have applied a sufficient amount of glue to both, wrap the sandpaper around the dowel on one end. If you don’t have glue, you can also use staplers for the job. Once you have wrapped the sandpaper around the dowel, wait for the adhesive to cure.

Sharpening the hook knife

Now that numerous sandpaper dowels are prepared, it is time to sharpen your hook knife. There are only two points of contact on the blade of this tool. You just need to rotate your sandpaper dowels on the length of these. By placing the sandpaper in the middle of the curve so it crosses both the blades, just rotate it while moving the sandpaper dowel horizontally.

Once you feel a slight burr forming on the back of the edge, you can move on to the next grit sandpaper. Repeat the same process with this grit as well until the burr is finer. Keep repeating this till you reach your desired sharpness on the edges.

You have to start from a coarser grit to a super-fine, i.e. 800-1000 grits of sandpaper. It is a lengthy process that might take several minutes for you to accomplish even though it is very easy. However, the good part is that there aren’t a lot of blades for you to sharpen, the two points of contact are extremely thin. The curved shape of the blade ensures that you only have to sharpen the edges only.

This process works best for sharpening the inner edge of the hook knife. Depending on the shape of the tool, you might need to sharpen the outer bevel of the knife as well. To do that you can use a handheld whetstone or sharpening stone. Use push motions that you would use for sharpening the inner edge of the bevel will sharpen it greatly.

Stropping the hook knife

Once you have reached the desired sharpness on your blade, it is time to remove the burr that forms behind the blade where you sharpen. This burr is basically excess material that is removed from the edge during the sharpening process. Using leather, strop the backside of the hook knife. Use a push motion to do this, as using a dragging motion will tear the leather as the burr gets caught in it. Use firm and smooth push motions a few times till you don’t feel a burr on the underside of the hook knife blade edge.