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What you need:
  • Steel wool
  • Medium grit sharpening stone
  • Fine grit sharpening stone
  • Light machine oil
  • Paper
A sharp pruning knife produces the best results. Some authorities think it's essential to use oil or water with a sharpening a stone. Others keep the stone dry. This sharpening method works either way. If the blade has rust or other gunk on it, first use steel wool to clean the surface.
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Re-create the original edge using a medium grit sharpening stone. Hold the knife flat against the stone at a 45-degree angle with the edge toward you. If you wish to use oil or water, add a few drops to the stone now.
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Raise the back of the blade to a 20-degree angle from the surface of the stone. Place your index finger on the back of the blade and pull firmly and evenly toward yourself. Maintain consistent contact between blade and stone at the 20-degree angle. Apply more pressure on dull blades, less for sharper blades. Alternate strokes slowly back and forth several times.
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When the original bevel is restored, repeat the sharpening process using a fine-grit sharpening stone increasing the angle to 25 degrees.
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The last step is polishing the blade. Draw the blade across a piece of roughened leather or butcher's steel (like the kind that comes in most kitchen knife sets) to polish the edge and align any remaining microscopic burrs.
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To test the sharpness of the blade, hold a sheet of white paper vertically and draw the blade across the paper. A sharp blade will easily and cleanly cut the paper.