Knife sharpening the easy way!

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I have recently started to try my hand at knife making (which is way fun – more on that later) but have always found it tricky to get a really good edge on a curved blade – I know the theory well enough, but somehow I can never quite translate theory into practice.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was perusing amazon.com and stumbled across this Professional Fixed-angle Knife Sharpener System .

The Amazon blurb was a little light on detail and didn’t fill me with confidence, but some further hunting around the internet soon lead me to some good reviews of this product, and given that is wasn’t horribly expensive (US$33.26) I thought I’d give it a try. I also found out that it was basically a much cheaper knock off of the US made Edge Pro system.

To be honest I didn’t have very high expectations, but this product exceeded them by 1000%.

It’s a little tricky to use, but when you get used to it, you can create a razor sharp edge on pretty much any knife blade in a matter of minutes. The basic premise is that you hold the blade on an angled table and pass one of 4 different grit (120, 320, 600 & 1500) hones over it with a sliding arm. This arrangement allows you to select any cutting angle you need and more importantly allows you to be totally consistent.

It takes very little pressure and almost no time at all – about a minute with each of the 4 grit stones was enough for me to put a very good edge on a pretty blunt little pocket knife. The instructions were also very good – clear and easy to read with lots of diagrams.

I can’t recommend this product enough – it really is an excellent tool.

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You can find a video demo of the product here.

Why Beauty Matters

I recently came across a BBC documentary called “Why Beauty Matters” in which philosopher Roger Scruton explores the notion that modern western societies have actively rejected beauty in favour of sordid utility.

I find myself largely in agreement with his position, particularly with reference to modern architecture, which seems invariably to produce endless concrete or steel and glass towers that are utterly devoid of character or soul.  Modern art (which I largely consider a con job of “the emperors new clothes” proportions) also comes in for considerable criticism, as well it should.

In my opinion, art is something deliberately produced in order to fulfil a basic need in humans for that which is beautiful.  Contemporary art seems almost to turn this on its head, aiming to shock or confuse rather than to delight.  Peronally I think that if a work needs an expert to explain it, its not art.

So my thought for today…  Perhaps if there was a little more beauty in the world there might be a little less hatred.

The entire doco is embedded below.