Posted on 9 Comments

Sharpening a Mora 164 hook knife and how to carve with it.

To carry on the previous post about getting into woodworking, I am going to show you the way I sharpen my hook knives. Time spent learning about sharpening is time well spent.
As I say in the video, knives are blunt when I acquire them. I always sharpen all my knives before selling them on, as a sharper knife is easier and a bit safer to use.
There are all sorts of hook knives on the market and some are better than others. The most important thing for any knife is that it is sharp. Really, do not bother using a hook knife if it is blunt, it is dangerous and disheartening.  I certainly do not get any pleasure from forcing a blunt edge through wood.

This video will show you a few ways I use the 164. The spoon being carved is dry sycamore. I would not normally carve a spoon in the dry state, it is too hard, but this is what I had to hand at the time of recording. Always try and do the bulk of the carving with green wood. Often, once the spoon is dry, I will take the knife over it for one final time to correct any minor deviations from the form I want. These cuts are usually just fine ones and they leave a beautiful textured finish.
I do not want to be using a hook knife to remove dry wood, as it is too much like hard work on the fingers and hands. If you are working on green wood and need to leave it some time before you can continue carving, make sure it retains its moisture. I often leave wood in a plastic bag, and have done so for weeks at a time. Beware that if it is warm, mould will grow on the wood and rotting will take hold eventually. In the summer small objects can be kept in the fridge or even frozen. Large objects need to be carved as quickly as possible. If a spoon does dry out it can be soaked in water or boiled to be re-hydrated. If you boil it, keep it in the pan until the water is cold.

Posted on 1 Comment

Cross cut saw

Today I did my best ever job on sharpening a one-man cross-cut saw. This saw was bought for £5 from a recycling centre. Most of these places now sell stuff that would once have been trashed.

It did take me over three hours to do. The main problem was that the raker teeth were longer, or higher, than the cutting teeth. The cutting teeth are the ones that come to a single point and are set or bent left and right alternately. They cut the fibres and the set means that they are cutting a kerf wider than the saw blade. These teeth are in sets of four on this saw. The raker teeth remove the swarf by chiselling out the fibres cut on the left and right by the cutting teeth. Raker teeth have no set on them.
If the raker teeth are set higher than the cross cut teeth then the saw does not work. You could cut with it but you will take for ever cutting even a 6 inch diameter log. How it got into this state I do not know. Other than the raker teeth being to high, the saw was sharpened correctly.

Above is the swarf, the waste from the saw, and I am pleased with it. If the swarf has little whiskers on it, that means the raker teeth are still too high and are tearing out the wood that the cross cut teeth should be cutting.

The log of wood is a bit of burr lacewood or London plane. The saw had no problem cutting through it and the finish was surprisingly good.

Before I hung the saw up I gave it a good wipe down and applied oil to stop rusting and most importantly I made a blade guard for it. In this day and age we are so use to hardpoint saws that once blunt or damaged we throw them away. Sharpening your own saw immediately gives you another perspective and gives the saw a greater value and respect.