It used to be quite difficult to sharpen knives, however since these times knife sharpening techniques have come a very long way. Traditional bench stones are still available however there are now many more alternative options to this. There are many different types of knife sharpener and cutting device, which one you choose to use will depend on the types of tools you are sharpening.
Bench Grinding Wheels for Sharpening
Grinding wheels have an abrasive surface which is used to grind away any chips in the metal and at the same time sharpen the knife. There are a number of different substances which are used on these bench grinders, including aluminum oxide. This is the most common type of material used for grinding wheels although there are other varieties of oxide which are used. Aluminum oxide is well suited to sharpening steel, wrought iron, annealed iron and bronze.
Zicconia alumina is another material which can be used, this is a mix of aluminum and zirconium oxide. This wheel is very long lasting and is good for sharpening alloys and steel.
Another material is ceramic aluminum oxide, this is one of the newest materials which is used for grinding wheels. It is extremely strong and is used in situations where accuracy is key. This is often used with another material in different proportions depending on what they are grinding.
Grinding wheels are available in a number of different shapes. The most common is a simple straight wheel, these have a cutting edge which faces forward. Another common type is the cylinder wheel, these have a revolving cylinder with the cutting edge on top.
Another thing that you need to think about when choosing wheels is the grit size. A lower number means that it is coarse, a larger number means that it is a fine grain. 10 for example would be very course where as 100 would be very fine. Fine grains are desirable for putting the finishing touches to work, while rougher ones are good for other applications.
A Bench Grinder for Sharpening
Bench Grinders arent exactly that expensive and can be used to sharpen a number of different items including knives. These can be mounted directly onto the surface of your workbench. Bench grinders are available in a variety of different sizes. The motor is normally up to a maximum of 1 horsepower as these are quite small machines. Look for a good one which has a tool rest so that you can keep the wheel steady so you can be very accurate.
Chain Saw Sharpeners
The blades on a Chain saw are like nothing else, and so if you own one you need to invest in a chain saw sharpener. You can purchase automatic sharpeners, these are by far the easiest option. This is where the chain saw is put into place and a grinding wheel is lowered to sharpen the blade. These are pretty expensive however they do guarantee even sharpening.
Few people can afford automatic models and so may turn to manual sharpeners, these are much cheaper and very precise. You lock the chain saw into place with a manual lever while you sharpen it. Most of these come with a number of different heads which makes it suitable for more chainsaws.