- Whetstone – size and gradient will depend on the size of the tool being sharpened
- Solvent – Paint thinner, kerosene, etc.
- Stiff brush
- Begin the cleaning cycle by cleaning the blade with the brush and warm, soapy water. This will aid in removing any rust, dirt, and other debris.
- If the blade has any sap or resin on it, dip into a solvent for approximately 30 seconds and then clean over with the brush and warm, soapy water. If any sap/resin remains, repeat until it’s removed.
- After the initial cleaning, dry the blade completely and apply a very light coating of motor oil.
- Ensure the blade edge is at the correct angle per the manufacturer’s specification, if there are none, generally 10 to 15 degrees will work.
- At this point, the whetstone should be soaked in water or motor oil (vegetable oil will also work for a lighter finish). This will act as a lubricant and help carry away grit from the blade.
- Press the blade against the concave side of the stone when sharpening. Using numerous controlled strokes, move the blade towards the tip as if trying to slice a thin strip of the whetstone.
- Every 10 strokes to the outer bevel, apply 1 stroke to the inner angle.
- Once the blade is sharpened to the appropriate angle and sharpness, repeat the process from step 4 with a finer gradient whetstone. Continue until the blade is razor sharp.
- Apply a light coating of oil to the blade.
- Hold the cutting edge up to light; if the light reflects off of the blade’s edge, it’s not sharp enough.
- After successfully passing step 1, attempt to cut an appropriately sized branch or piece of wood. If the blade cuts clean and doesn’t pull or catch it has been successfully sharpened!
- Oiling the blade when after cleaning or for extended periods of non-use will prevent rust from forming and ensure the sharpest possible blade.
- Sharpening may be need less frequently when the blade is properly cleaned and oiled after usage. By keeping a clean tool, it ensures a longer life and sharper blade.