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Offline A7X

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Sharpen your auger blades at home!!
« on: Jan 27, 2015, 10:35 PM »
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This is an article on How To sharpen your auger shaver blades at home the right way with nothing but hand tools… If I get my hand on another chipper blade I will write that up as well… Feel free to ask any questions about other types or shapes of shaver blades but the concept will remain the same...
 
First off, Please keep this article clean… As in please don’t post how YOU would do this and “muddy up” my methods… I am spending a lot of time here writing and uploading pictures showing and sharing my techniques as a professional… Feel free to click “New Topic” and write your techniques up… I have full access to a machine shop but I am showing you how to do this just as good without any expensive equipment…
 
I am going to be using terminology that everyone can understand, please don’t be the smart guy and correct me, I am doing it on purpose for ease of understanding… I will add as I feel necessary if I accidently leave important info out...
 
Lastly, This is a technique that is learned through practice, don’t expect to get it right the first time, although if you follow closely you just might!… If you take your time to get it right you will feel rewarded for your efforts and you will be very happy with the outcome… I suggest using an old set of blades for practice… Also read directions thoroughly before attempting…

***And as with any blade or tool, PLEASE use caution, You don't want to end up in the hospital getting stitches

Also Much care is needed in maintaining the edge when this process is complete... Always apply the blade guard when you are not cutting ice... And Always thoroughly dry and oil blades when stored over night or for long periods of time... This will help maintain your edge and is well worth the extra effort to cut holes efficiently every outing...
 
Let’s get started…
 
First I would like to squash a couple of the myths about sharpening auger blades…
Myth#1: When sharpening auger blades, you have to get the angle just like the factory or it will not cut well…
Truth: This is far from the truth, I can hear the hooting and hollering now because this is all I hear… But the truth is you can change the angles all you want (within reason of a good cutting edge) and have an auger that cuts amazing for a long, long time… If there was one particular type of edge (angle) that cuts great, all auger blades would look identical… I know where this myth stems from… Read on…
 
Myth#2: When sharpening auger blades if you don’t keep the correct angles the auger will walk…
Truth: The reason the auger will walk is because one blade is biting more than the other… This can be due to a bent blade mount, one blade is badly dinged or dull, or one was ground more than the other in the sharpening process leaving it floating just above the other  while the other cuts in and thus, the auger spins off to one side…
 
Now that we’ve squashed that stuff, Let’s get your auger cutting ice as if it were warm butter…
 
Here we have a terribly unkempt set of 6” strikemaster blades… We have chips, dings, rust, they’re about as sharp as a turd… Yeah they get through 8” of ice in just over  a minute of fighting and applying moderate down pressure only for it to skip and bite and let go again, that’s unacceptable… I was out with these on Thursday… The auger belongs to a friend, it’s 10 years old NEVER sharpened!

Here is a closer picture notice the large bevel (secondary edge) and then notice the tiny little bevel on the edge? This is the important part, it’s the primary edge but here we are going to remove it completely…

 
So let’s talk about how these things cut…
They cut by spinning on the ice and biting in… While biting into the ice, it’s shaved or broken away and pushed up over the blade then it rides up the auger and out of the hole… When the auger blades get dull this doesn’t happen… Why? Because the blades edge has been worn, bent, dinged, rusted, etc…
 
Here we have the bottom side of the blade (the part that faces the ice whilst cutting)…

We DO NOT touch this part of the blade by any means in the sharpening process… I don’t care if there’s rust, a burr or you think there might be a genie inside and you will get three wishes by rubbing it on your honing stone, we don’t touch this! Period! Why? Think of it as a wood chisel, we’re shaving wood with our chisel and you start to angle the handle down toward the lumber, what happens? The chisel rides up and out of the lumber and won't cut in at that angle… This is changing the “angle of attack” on the material… Removing any material on this bottom side of the blade would do the same thing… So unless you plan on shimming your blades to correct the “angle of attack” DO NOT remove any material from this side of the blade! Period! Some myths can stem from here as well, sharpening the bottom of the blades at the wrong angle will not allow them to cut. ..
 
Enough jibber jabber, let’s get to work here…
 
What you’ll need
3 stones, a coarse, a medium,  a fine honing stone and a rag (use your discretion when you need to wipe the blades with a rag)… And a set of Blades of course…

I have a few sets, oil, some I use dry and I also have water stones... But I never oil a course stone, I just don't like it... Had some spill once, stone went in the trash... But the medium and fine you can oil or use water depending on the type of stones you have, I won't be using anything in this article (dry stones), and the outcome will still be amazing...
 
***If you feel your blades only need a quick touch up, proceed to Step 4***

STEP 1
We’re going to start by grinding all the crap, burrs, dings and chips out of the secondary bevel… This wide bevel is only for clearance to hone a cutting edge… It’s only purpose is to make it easy for the cutting edge to be honed on and for material to be cut to pass over… That being said, it can be 20, 25, 30, 21, 27 degrees… So pay no attention to the myths you’ve heard but we’ll go with the factory’s cut so we have to remove as little material as possible and use it to keep our angle consant… WHAT WE DO TO ONE BLADE WE MUST DO TO THE OTHER, see myth #2
 
Lay the blade flat on your coarse stone so that the side that faces you when you cut is FACE DOWN and the cutting edge is facing you… Then roll it upward until you feel it hit the flat of the bevel…
Like this…


 
We are going to drag the blade along the coarse stone with the blade toward you… This motion should look like you are trying to shave a sticker off of the stone… The motion should flow like this… USE TWO HANDS, I didn’t have three at the time soooo…
 
1.

2.

3.

 
Again with two hands all while keeping perfectly flat on the bevel (this bevel is so wide it's pretty easy to stay flat at that angle)… Don’t let the edge bite into the stone… DON’T roll the blade up toward you, you will make more work for yourself… Press lightly and once you develop the muscle memory you can start to move heavier and faster but take your time… We draw the stone this way because if you pull AWAY from the edge you will remove or drag microscopic pieces of metal from the edge causing micro serrations and that will hinder the final step... We want all that material there...
 
We are going to run this motion and get any rust off… Be sure through the entire process that you are getting to both corners of the blade, on all steps, getting to the corners without rolling them over, it almost feels like you are picking the blade up to get to them... A good way to check is to flip the blade over and make sure you are removing material there, again, without rolling over the left or right edge... Just enough to get there, don't over do it and roll the edge...
 
Then I run this motion…
1.
Drag the blade straight down the stone on the same bevel again keeping it perfectly flat on the bevel, these grinds are done while holding the blade perpendicular to the stones length… (90 degrees)

2.
Then do the middle

3.
Then the other end, working back and forth as such

 
You will see that you can rock the blade while staying flat on that bevel as you’re running this motion… Do so when you feel comfortable all while keeping the blade perpendicular to the stone… Do this until you have removed all chips dings and primary edge… You will feel a small burr form on the BOTTOM of the blade (side that faces the ice while cutting) This is good, you need to grind until a burr forms along the entire edge, otherwise you are wasting your time, the burr indicates that you have removed enough material to move on...
 
You will end up with something like this, yes this is the same blade! We can do by hand what a machine can do… No more chips, dings, rust or primary edge…


 This is where most people stop and think they have a great edge and most likely where the myths stem from... They get it to this point and it doesn't work so they blame it on the angles being wrong, well it is not a great edge, it is weak and will probably get through about 2” of ice before going dull... This edge shaves hair off my arm easily (I tested it before moving on) Most people think this means sharp well yeah, its sharp but it's not going to last long at all... The very edge is too thin and will roll up upon applying any amount of pressure...

I said what we do to one we have to do to the other... Here's a good way to check and now is the time to do it...
I bolted the two blades together, This shows us that they are basically the same, (I forgot to take a pic when I checked after I grinded, this is from when I checked the condition beforehand incase any extra grinding on one was needed) but even here from the factory one drops off a bit, not terribly but we'll fix it...


Step 2
Much like the first step we are going to grind the blade on the stone the same way as the second motion but we are going to use a medium stone... Same angle until it's polished

Step 3
And same exact thing on the honing stone, Again till it's polished...

Well even more people will stop here... They will see a nice mirror polish, shave hair very easily but they will get the same outcome as I spoke of before, junk after one hole...

Step 4
Now we are going to hone a primary edge on the blade... This is the VERY important angle we are going to grind on... It can be 28 degrees (wont last as long) or 45 degrees (will last much longer but may not bite as well) both can be VERY sharp... This is because there will be more material “backing up” the edge with a thicker more obtuse 45 degree angle than that of a skinny acute 28 degree angle... For ice anything from about 38-40 degrees should be sufficient and last a very long time... But, this angle could be 35 degrees and still last quite some time, 32, 42, 37 degrees, all these angles will cut great, just to back up the truth behind the myth... Ideally though, we are looking for 38-40 degrees for an auger to retain a great edge and not sacrifice longevity... Whatever angle is chosen, MUST remain constant through the honing process or the blade will not cut to its full potential...

We are going to take the blade and place it on the stone again on the secondary bevel, but this time we are going to roll it up to about 38-40 degrees
From this

To somewhere around here


From here we are going to hone the primary edge using the first motion (the sweeping draw shave motion from one side to the other, “shaving the sticker off”, you will feel some resistance here on the first pass or two, we are pushing ever so slightly to hone this edge on... Some use oil on the stone here, sometimes I do sometimes I don't, light hair clipper oil will work great, or any really light oil... It is supposed to aid in floating away metal particles so the blade doesn't get microscopically dinged or scratched by them... There's a lot of controversy over this, it's about 50/50... Sometimes when it just doesn't seem to get REAL sharp I'll toss some oil down on a stone I have already oiled...

It is VERY important here to MAINTAIN the angle, if you roll up you will be working against what you are trying to achieve... Make yourself some type of jig if needed, I don't use one but I have been doing this for a really long time...
When You're done you should have something like this


See that? A nice smoooooth primary edge on an almost mirror like secondary edge... The primary edge only needs to be about as wide as a thick piece of thread at maximum, this will make it easier to remove it on the next sharpening making for much less material to be removed... From here there will still be a slight burr on the bottom, DO NOT TOUCH IT!!! you will have worked way too hard to get this far and go grinding that off... you will feel compelled to use the honing stone thinking eh wont be that bad... Might as well go drill a hole in your driveway... Leave it alone, most people would be like a dog with a scab... Just leave it, it is a thin ribbon of metal that will fall off after the first few holes... If I feel compelled I will add how to strop off the burr, but like I said it will fall off and not affect the auger one bit... We're cutting ice that shaves, chips and breaks, not plastic or wood... If you feel compelled to remove it, Strop the edge with a leather belt, like the old timers with their straight razors bending the burr back and forth and it will fall off...

The outcome? Went from 1 minute + while pushing down on the auger through 8” of ice biting and letting go, to 16 seconds through just over a 14” of ice... This is with absolutely ZERO down pressure other than the weight of the auger, and ZERO centering issues (no walking)... I drilled three holes and just let my “top” arm barely rest... An extreme difference and JUST AS GOOD AS NEW BLADES that will last a damn long time...

When reinstalling blades, I ALWAYS like to put a good marine grade grease on all mating surfaces... water will hide in here and corrode the blades and bolts. ..

This took me about an hour (While taking pictures obviously) to complete, I have more pictures but didn't feel the need to post everything, it was very tough grabbing the right light and I hope you can see everything ok... This has taken me FOREVER to type and I had upload issues... I will add more necessary information over the next few days, for now here are the basics...

So there we go, a couple myths squashed, Nice freakin sharp blades and...
Oh wait, one other myth...
Myth: You can't sharpen auger blades at home they will just never cut like new ones
Truth: YOU CAN!!! and they will cut just like new!!!  ;D  :tipup:

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #1 on: Jan 27, 2015, 10:36 PM »
Chipper blade on power augers...
Same concept applies.... secondary edge primary edge... any angle within reason of a good cutting edge... but maintain angles throughout the process...

***Read thoroughly before attempting, all steps are NOT needed to cut ice efficiently***

I won't go into great detail here because the concept of grinding a good edge is above (read the above post thoroughly for tips)... Using the post above and this one you should be able to do this....


Here I like to polish the "top" of these blades... keeping the blade perfectly flat we can slide it lengthwise on the stone till a smooth polish is achieved. .. usually just the light stone will do but if a coarse stone or paper is needed, work up to a 1200-2000 grit... After you polish to a fine grit, don't go back down in grit... Some would say this is a terrible idea but I do this cuz I know what I'm doing... Stay away from this step if you don't know what you're doing  ;) it is not needed I'm just a little obsessive...


***This is the only step needed on these blades... the angle is important here working to progressively lighter grits...***. ..
Here is an example of using something as a guide to maintain angle... 2 neodymium magnets (one each corner) offer the perfect angle to grind (see how flat the edge sits) you can use whatever here as long as the edge sits flat (paint the entire edge with a sharpie to see if you're grinding the whole surface evenly, if you're not removing the sharpie along the entire plane adjustment is needed). .. otherwise you'll be grinding a while to build your burr if your grinding only part of the edges plane or possibly changing the angle for the worse... I didn't use em but as an example they work. ..  We're looking for about 15 degrees from the blade mount on this particular blade. .. this step move just like above "shaving the sticker off" till you build your burr along the top length of each tooth the burr is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT this means you've taken enough material... never drag back...


^^This photo is for further explanation... I added the profile of a wood chisel and angled the blade up like it would be if it were cutting ice... You see here why angle is important... If you change the angle on the blade it would be like changing the angle of the wood chisel in the material to be cut (moving the chisels handle closer or further from the wood)... Making the angle more acute only makes for a thinner, weaker edge. .. By right we could sharpen the auger blade like a wood chisel by grinding the top and not worry so much about angle like the shaver blades above, but as you can see here by the dotted line we'd be thinning the blades profile with each sharpening and weaken it substantially because the blade doesn't run on that plane like the shaver blades or wood chisel so we need to sharpen from the bottom keeping the correct angle... This is where the sharpie comes into play to make sure you are taking material evenly with the factory grind... don't let it scare you off, a couple degrees isn't gonna kill the performance but stay within reason... practice makes perfect and take your time, mark the blade often if you feel the need to...


Honing the primary edge... pick the blade up to about 38-40 degrees. .. maintain this and hone the primary edge on the TOP! of the blade (NOT the side we just ground)... Again here some would say terrible idea. .. And again I do this because I know what I'm doing. .. Stay away from this if you don't, it's not needed but I do this to almost microscopically fatten up the cutting edge so it's stronger and the edge will last much longer... The pros say don't touch this side of the blade, I say hey, I know what I'm doing...


We want a smooth secondary and primary edge... the primary edge should be about the thickness of a piece of thread... this will make for less work grinding on the next sharpening. ..


After I'm done I like to use a rust preventive black paint on the "top" of the blade from polishing... this will keep rust at bay through the season...

This auger went from not cutting AT ALL unless you literally laid on it to cutting through 4" of ice in 4 seconds flat under its own weight. .. pretty good I'd say. ..

When reinstalling blades, I ALWAYS like to put a good marine grade grease on all mating surfaces... water will hide in here and corrode the blades and bolts. ..

And your done.... using the steps from above and this post you should be able to sharpen these two types of blades with ease...

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #2 on: Jan 27, 2015, 10:36 PM »
This post is for further explanation on sharpening blades... I made these on my phone so hopefully the details are able to be seen. Zoom in if necessary. .. I can see the details on my phone, if you can't pm me and maybe I can remake them but I'd rather not haha. ..


This photo is a sharp chipper blade... Notice it comes to a fine point... This is ideal, the blade will bite in and shave ice easily. ..


This photo is of a dulled chipper blade. .. Notice how the very edge is worn down to the same plane as the ice... This will still feel very sharp maybe even shave hair but the bottom angle is wrong... the angle of attack which I spoke of in the other posts has changed... this picture can depict a dull or worn blade, or a bad sharpening job. .. This blade will slide on the ice like a ski and not bite in due to the angle being worn and it will just ride and rub on the top of the ice... It will only cut when you apply down pressure with force. ..


This picture is of the dulled chipper blade... The yellow line shows the material to be removed (DO NOT SHARPEN A SHAVER BLADE LIKE THIS READ FIRST POST)... We need to remove enough material to make a new edge that's free of this minute dull or flattened angle on the bottom (notice the yellow line is free of the dulled edge, we NEED to remove all of the flattened or dulled edge)... Once all of this material is removed we will have a seriously sharp new edge...


This picture depicts a dull shaver blade (hand augers and some power augers) as above the yellow line shows the material to be removed to expose a super sharp edge. .. We DO NOT touch the bottom of these blades...

Remember, building a burr along the ENTIRE edge let's you know you've removed enough material (burr will form on the top of a chipper blade when sharpening and the bottom of a shaver blade, you MUST build a burr or you are wasting your time leaving that dulled flat angle BELOW the new edge that will still ski on the ice and not bite in). .. Then you can hone your primary edge...

Like I said I made these pictures on my phone, hopefully they get the point across...

A shaver blade as seen on hand augers and some power augers you will take the material off the top until this dull edge or flattened angle is removed. .. A burr on the bottom will indicate you've removed enough material. .. Then you can hone your primary edge... ***In some instances you can just hone a new primary edge without performing a full regrind... granted you take good care of your blades and your auger is kind've cutting you can remove the microscopic dulled or flattened bottom this way. .. this touch up should only be done once or twice before a full regrind. .. otherwise your primary edge will get too thick and make for a lot of work to remove it and the thicker it gets the taller the edge gets and this will hinder performance biting in... the primary bevel should only be about the thickness of a piece of thread... any more and you'll be grinding a while to remove it on a full regrind...

This post is to show why we do not touch the bottom of shaver blades and keep a good angle on the bottom of a chipper blade. .. If you change the bottom angle, your blades will ski around on the ice and not bite in unless you make the angle more acute (weaker) or the same (ideal)... That's why the sharpening angles don't really matter as much (within reason of a good cutting edge) on shaver blades. ..

On chipper blades we sharpen via the bottom. .. That's why we need to pay attention to angle a bit more. .. If you make the angle more obtuse it will ski around in circles and not bite in. .. A couple degrees won't hinder performance but stay within a reasonable range from the factory...

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #3 on: Jan 27, 2015, 10:38 PM »
Is anyone using these methods?... If you're new to sharpening and you've followed these instructions, how'd ya do!?

Offline Ice Scratcher

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #4 on: Jan 27, 2015, 11:17 PM »
I have successfuly sharpened my own blades and completely, fully agree with everything you've written...

Good job!

Thanks for sharing!

<°)))>{

Offline MrE1979

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #5 on: Jan 28, 2015, 08:00 AM »
Would the same method work for my power auger?
It is MY responsibility to make sure my children can enjoy fishing years from now. Make sure your kids can fish.  If you see something ILLEGAL Contact the Massachusetts Environmental Police Radio Room at 1-800-632-8075 at any hour of the day. They might show up if there is enough staff working.

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #6 on: Jan 28, 2015, 08:22 AM »
Would the same method work for my power auger?

What type of blade is on the auger? If it's a shaver blade with the cutting edge milled on top of the blade then yes, a chipper blade would be the same concept but a MUCH different approach... I will write a chipper blade up when I get my hands on one again...

I haven't seen a shaver blade with the cutting edge milled on the bottom but this may have been done at one point, I can't say for sure there isn't that type out there... If so, the same concept and method but the blade would be flipped over...

Feel free to private message me a picture or link of the blade if necessary...

Offline knotreelly

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #7 on: Jan 28, 2015, 08:28 AM »
excellent tutorial, pics and explaination. ty john :tipup:

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #8 on: Jan 28, 2015, 08:34 AM »
I have successfuly sharpened my own blades and completely, fully agree with everything you've written...

Good job!

Thanks for sharing!

<°)))>{

excellent tutorial, pics and explaination. ty john :tipup:

You're welcome guys, Thanks for reading!

Offline davef

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #9 on: Jan 28, 2015, 09:44 AM »
I'm to much of a mechanical klutz to try it but that is some awesome instructions and I'm sure it will help a lot of people.  Thank you for your time and effort.

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #10 on: Jan 28, 2015, 10:00 AM »
I'm to much of a mechanical klutz to try it but that is some awesome instructions and I'm sure it will help a lot of people.  Thank you for your time and effort.

Haha, yeah I gotcha...

It is not for everyone, a steady hand is needed and it will probably take some practice and a lot of patience before getting it right...

You're welcome!

Offline bee

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #11 on: Jan 28, 2015, 10:36 AM »
Nice work. Just too bad you had to use those China made blades. I got mine sharp again by just doing the last honeing. Its almost more fun to drill than fish. I use a Mora on a Tanaka Power Head. No work at all. You do not even need to run up the rpm. Just blirp it along.
Thats Why They Call It Fishing.

Offline TonyTheIceMan

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #12 on: Jan 28, 2015, 10:43 AM »
I would like to sharpen the blades on my StrikeMaster Lazer auger.  The problem is that the blades are curved so that the beveled edge is concave rather than convex along its length and can not be laid flat on a flat sharpening stone.  Any suggestions?
Thanks, Tony

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #13 on: Jan 28, 2015, 10:49 AM »
Nice work. Just too bad you had to use those China made blades. I got mine sharp again by just doing the last honeing. Its almost more fun to drill than fish. I use a Mora on a Tanaka Power Head. No work at all. You do not even need to run up the rpm. Just blirp it along.

Yeah, I would've much rather worked with some good steel but this is what I had to work with...

Yup, if you feel your blades just need a quick touch up, one can skip to step 4...

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #14 on: Jan 28, 2015, 11:33 AM »
I would like to sharpen the blades on my StrikeMaster Lazer auger.  The problem is that the blades are curved so that the beveled edge is concave rather than convex along its length and can not be laid flat on a flat sharpening stone.  Any suggestions?
Thanks, Tony


I'm catching what you mean two different ways so I'll just go ahead and explain both...

If it's a hollow grind, (concave grind) you can sharpen it at the same angle touching the "toe" and "heel" of the secondary bevel while the middle of the bevel doesn't fully touch...

Just realize that the "toe" or cutting edge will wear more quickly so the "heel" should be favored just a bit to retain a good angle for a primary edge to be honed upon, if you see the width of your grind getting wider on either toe or heel or throughout the length of the blade, favor the other side and make sure the grinds are the same width throughout, this will ensure you've removed material evenly... Do this only until your burr is formed... It's not necessary to remove the entire hollow grind, we're only preparing the edge for a new primary edge...

You can still get a great, like new edge this way...

Eventually the hollow grind after many sharpenings will wear to a regular flat grind and even still, will be able to be just as sharp as new... Hollow grinds are typically weaker anyways...

If it's a radius on the blade itself, and it won't sit flat on the stone (I think this is what you're saying and might even be in conjunction with what's mentioned above)... Get a stone that's not as wide (I have a set of the 3 mentioned above that are only about 3/8" wide and have some progressively wider but use the widest possible for ease of use)... Or cut one on a wet saw, chamfer the edges ever so slightly at 45 degrees and epoxy it to a tapered block of Maple as a pedestal with enough clearance to work the blade over and down off the edge as you work the radius... The maple will also give the stone strength and this method should work just fine...

The same concept applies, you just have to pay attention to what you're doing and make the proper adjustments as you grind... Realize you will be grinding in a sweeping motion holding the blade perpendicular to the stone but moving from one side to the other while grinding toward you to keep the grind consistent, and if there's any slight curve from edge to edge of the stone (if the blade still doesn't sit perfectly flat, the stone with less width will be very close though) the rest of the radius will quickly be transferred to the "not as wide" stones... Then you will use those stones for your auger only...

You can also purchase round or cylindrical sharpening stones, coarse, medium and an Arkansas stone... Mount them appropriately and get to work...

Another method would be to put a radius on your stones by use of a jig and diamond tools...

If you want to get thrifty, spray adhesive and automotive wet sand paper on a surface with a "quite smaller than" radius allowing you to "work" the blade, not an exact radius, that won't work well and as you tip up to hone the primary edge the radius will get tighter on the substrate, that won't work out well either... Using finer and finer grits, 400, 600, 1000 respectively... Paper works just as good as stones but it doesn't "self renew" like a stone as it wears...

When in doubt, use an old set of blades and practice... Or leave it to the pros and have it done on a machine if you don't feel comfortable... I'm telling you though, it can be done by hand, with practice, and be as good as new...

I can guarantee you can put an amazing, razor sharp, like new edge on those blades using this method with very few adjustments...

Sounds like some work when explained in depth but realistically it's just a matter of getting a stone that's not as wide on a pedestal to allow the blade to be rolled over it...  But it'd be worth it once you get set up... I'd go with my less wide stones on this type of blade...

Feel free to ask more questions...

Offline chasinfins

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #15 on: Jan 28, 2015, 07:08 PM »
Nice article A7X.  Maybe you want to start a business!
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Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #16 on: Jan 28, 2015, 08:14 PM »
Nice article A7X.  Maybe you want to start a business!

Hey look who it is!
Thank you!

I run a free sharpening service for my friends as of right now, but maybe down the road I'll think of starting a small business... I love doing this stuff and it's very rewarding honing a ridiculously sharp long lasting edge... The frightened look on a friends face when they get their knife back and feel the edge is kind've funny... Of course I warn them again and again but do they listen? Nope... Some of em won't let me sharpen their knives anymore... Too many stitches I guess... That being said I'm not entirely sure if they're the smart one's or dumb ones...

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #17 on: Jan 29, 2015, 11:49 AM »
thanks for sharing...so how would you do a standard jiffy blade (one blade only)...typical jiffy 30 blade. As of now i sharpen my own on a motor wheel with 200 grit on the wheel at a very constand angle with a made up jig..Very fast and seems reasonably sharp when done but not as sharp as factory...why is this?   And yes...i do strope on leather after. And yes...i do sharpen the point as per jiffy website instructions. The auger cuts good after but not as fast as a new blade...this has always left me stumped.

Offline Ice Scratcher

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #18 on: Jan 29, 2015, 11:55 AM »
thanks for sharing...so how would you do a standard jiffy blade (one blade only)...typical jiffy 30 blade. As of now i sharpen my own on a motor wheel with 200 grit on the wheel..very fast and seems reasonably sharp when done but not as sharp as factory...why is this?   And yes...i do strope on leather after.

 ???

200 grit is way, way, way,  too rough... Also stropping on leather does nothing, especially after only 200 grit....

Did you mean 2000 grit, because that would be more appropriate..

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Offline dekatronic

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #19 on: Jan 29, 2015, 03:21 PM »
Truly a great article! Very well written and photo-documented, thank you kindly for your effort and for sharing your knowledge.

Question about stones, are there ones in particular that you recommend?  I could be opening up a whole other discussion, but just wanted to know if there are particular grades and perhaps dimensions. 


Offline TonyTheIceMan

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #20 on: Jan 29, 2015, 03:46 PM »
I'm catching what you mean two different ways so I'll just go ahead and explain both...

If it's a hollow grind, (concave grind) you can sharpen it at the same angle touching the "toe" and "heel" of the secondary bevel while the middle of the bevel doesn't fully touch...

Just realize that the "toe" or cutting edge will wear more quickly so the "heel" should be favored just a bit to retain a good angle for a primary edge to be honed upon, if you see the width of your grind getting wider on either toe or heel or throughout the length of the blade, favor the other side and make sure the grinds are the same width throughout, this will ensure you've removed material evenly... Do this only until your burr is formed... It's not necessary to remove the entire hollow grind, we're only preparing the edge for a new primary edge...

You can still get a great, like new edge this way...

Eventually the hollow grind after many sharpenings will wear to a regular flat grind and even still, will be able to be just as sharp as new... Hollow grinds are typically weaker anyways...

If it's a radius on the blade itself, and it won't sit flat on the stone (I think this is what you're saying and might even be in conjunction with what's mentioned above)... Get a stone that's not as wide (I have a set of the 3 mentioned above that are only about 3/8" wide and have some progressively wider but use the widest possible for ease of use)... Or cut one on a wet saw, chamfer the edges ever so slightly at 45 degrees and epoxy it to a tapered block of Maple as a pedestal with enough clearance to work the blade over and down off the edge as you work the radius... The maple will also give the stone strength and this method should work just fine...

The same concept applies, you just have to pay attention to what you're doing and make the proper adjustments as you grind... Realize you will be grinding in a sweeping motion holding the blade perpendicular to the stone but moving from one side to the other while grinding toward you to keep the grind consistent, and if there's any slight curve from edge to edge of the stone (if the blade still doesn't sit perfectly flat, the stone with less width will be very close though) the rest of the radius will quickly be transferred to the "not as wide" stones... Then you will use those stones for your auger only...

You can also purchase round or cylindrical sharpening stones, coarse, medium and an Arkansas stone... Mount them appropriately and get to work...

Another method would be to put a radius on your stones by use of a jig and diamond tools...

If you want to get thrifty, spray adhesive and automotive wet sand paper on a surface with a "quite smaller than" radius allowing you to "work" the blade, not an exact radius, that won't work well and as you tip up to hone the primary edge the radius will get tighter on the substrate, that won't work out well either... Using finer and finer grits, 400, 600, 1000 respectively... Paper works just as good as stones but it doesn't "self renew" like a stone as it wears...

When in doubt, use an old set of blades and practice... Or leave it to the pros and have it done on a machine if you don't feel comfortable... I'm telling you though, it can be done by hand, with practice, and be as good as new...

I can guarantee you can put an amazing, razor sharp, like new edge on those blades using this method with very few adjustments...

Sounds like some work when explained in depth but realistically it's just a matter of getting a stone that's not as wide on a pedestal to allow the blade to be rolled over it...  But it'd be worth it once you get set up... I'd go with my less wide stones on this type of blade...

Feel free to ask more questions...

Thanks for your response.  Yes it's the radius of the blade that is the issue not that the edge is hollow ground (it is not).  I'm not sure what I want to do at this time.  If I decide to sharpen the blades myself, I'll let you know how I made out.
Again thanks,
Tony

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #21 on: Jan 29, 2015, 06:11 PM »
Thanks for your response.  Yes it's the radius of the blade that is the issue not that the edge is hollow ground (it is not).  I'm not sure what I want to do at this time.  If I decide to sharpen the blades myself, I'll let you know how I made out.
Again thanks,
Tony


While I was at the local shop today (incoming plug)  :tipup: The Ice Hole, Brookline NH :tipup:... Just for you,  I looked at the lazer blades... A slimmer stone will do the trick Easily!

It is quite a large radius so there won't be a problem, I will leave my other suggestions up as they will all work well with the proper technique following the guidelines I presented in the article...

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #22 on: Jan 29, 2015, 06:38 PM »
thanks for sharing...so how would you do a standard jiffy blade (one blade only)...typical jiffy 30 blade. As of now i sharpen my own on a motor wheel with 200 grit on the wheel at a very constand angle with a made up jig..Very fast and seems reasonably sharp when done but not as sharp as factory...why is this?   And yes...i do strope on leather after. And yes...i do sharpen the point as per jiffy website instructions. The auger cuts good after but not as fast as a new blade...this has always left me stumped.

200 grit is terrible for any blade... 400 is as low as I'd go to do a ROUGH grind and then run progressively smoother (eg. 400, 600, 1000 respective to my article), and there lies your problem with the blades not being like new leaving out the fact that you can't possibly be honing a good primary edge if at all... And if you are, an edge that's ground with 200 grit is missing so much material  (microscopically, visually to the trained eye) that you are creating a micro serrated edge, there is not enough material for a good primary edge to be honed upon (basically you are making a "toothy" edge that's polished at the end of each tooth and not at all in between, cutting the performance in half and worse after a few uses) unless you are honing it for a few hours to get rid of the serrations... These serrations are weak, they will fold up and the blade will cut like crap, think of the tines on a fork, then take a spoon, leaving the handle out of the equation which one can you bend more easily?

If you have a jig set up and it grinds the blades nicely and you can get them both the same shape and size without heating them up too much (they will lose their hardness and temper if overheated and wear prematurely), I suggest you get some different higher grit wheels to run your blades, also the primary edge needs to utilized here as this is where the longevity, strength and the ability to be much more sharp comes from...

Offline A7X

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #23 on: Jan 29, 2015, 07:05 PM »
Truly a great article! Very well written and photo-documented, thank you kindly for your effort and for sharing your knowledge.

Question about stones, are there ones in particular that you recommend?  I could be opening up a whole other discussion, but just wanted to know if there are particular grades and perhaps dimensions.

You're opening up a can of worms here, go in the other room and open it yourself, I don't even wanna look inside!  ;D I haven't turned a computer on in 4 years but I did to write this article, I'm not turning it back on to write a lengthy post on stones right now haha. .. I use my phone for everything...

A great entry level set is something like the "smith's tri-hone" it has the stones you need to get started and is great for all around use, woodworking, pocket knives, kitchen use, or auger blades... It runs close to $30 and is worth it to the beginner... You can do an amazing job with a set like this...

Realize if you are sharpening the lazer blades I was speaking about (with the gentleman typing in blue) a 1"W x 6"L set would be the way to go...


Offline Phoenix

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #24 on: Jan 30, 2015, 06:35 AM »
Just another thank you for taking the time to create and post this terrific article!

Offline rdhammah

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #25 on: Jan 30, 2015, 07:00 AM »
nicely done

Offline kb

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #26 on: Jan 30, 2015, 07:45 AM »
Thank you.
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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #27 on: Jan 30, 2015, 09:56 AM »
I can say from experience that when it comes to modifying/sharpening tools the best advice you can get will come from an experienced die maker. Sometimes it's the hardest to learn to follow their direction because unless you've seen or lived through what the results are for not paying this attention to detail that your efforts can be a total waste of time.
It seems sometimes what they do is fast because they have talents for getting things right the first time.
If auger blade sharpening isn't done right the first time, you'll be a while fixing it. Patience is your most reliable tool.

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Offline deadsmelthead

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #28 on: Feb 03, 2015, 09:08 PM »
Great read, TY for sharing i have been googling this for 2 years now and i was almost excited when you said you would be writing this.. Ive it wouldnt be to much to ask, could ya put together a step by step with the Lazer blades, i think i have to completely wrong stones for doing it..
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Offline Ice Scratcher

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Re: HOW TO Sharpen your auger blades at home
« Reply #29 on: Feb 04, 2015, 10:30 AM »
Also to do it the best, and easiest way, it helps to have at least a medium and fine stone..

I just use a medium diamond stone and it works great...

Sure not getting the 100% sharp like A7X, but 97% still cuts really good compared to 60%

The methods described are golden..

If you can get your fillet knife sharp enough to properly clean a fish (shave hair on your arm), and you follow the instructions  A7X posted, that same stone should do ya pretty dang good...

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