L & L Creations Master Craftsman

by Lyle D. Yates
(Akron, Ohio)

I have been sharpening knives and swords all my life. I am, by nature, VERY critical about any blade I own. It MUST shave the hair off my arm or it's back to sharppening until it does. I don't perform a paper test unless I am asked because even a dull blade will cut paper if the paper is held right and the blade angled right. A dull knife is not a knife, it's a paper weight. I start out with a fish hook diamond file with a flat edge on one side. These are ideal for me as I can feel with my fingers the file "cut" into the edge through the vibration. I file against the edge, never away from it. Once I have a sharp edge going, every pass thereafter gets lighter and lighter so I don't roll the edge or surpass the edges ability to take an edge with that file. I then take a wide piece of leather belt and secure it to a rubber sanding block similar to the way sandpaper would be secrured to it. I then strop the edges, being careful of course to keep my fingers tucked in. If it is a knife, I will draw the blades edge away from the block. If it is a sword, I will draw the block away from the blades edge. I often go as far to check edges with my loop. Like I said, I am very critical.

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