How to sharpen your paring knife

2017-11-06
When I first started bookbinding 8 years ago, I went to the fundamentals class at the American Academy of Bookbinding with next to no tools. Luckily the class was in Ann Arbor at Hollander's, so I was able to purchase a lot of my tools on the spot.
When it came down to my paring knife, my friend Yumiko said if you plan on bookbinding for the rest of your life you should start off with a good paring knife that will last your entire career. She recommended that I buy a Jeff Peachey knife, which I ended up buying two, one French one English. In the photo above the knife on the left is the French and the one on the right is the English knife, the French knife has a rounded blade and the English knife has an angled straight blade.
I use my French knife a lot more than my English knife because the rounded blade allows you to pare not only the edges of the leather but you can go in the middle of your leather with a French knife to take of as much or as little as you please. For the past 8 years, I've coveted for Jeff's sharpening system but I never quite could get myself to spend USD295 for it. So I've just stropped my knives religiously and also the last two years whenever I went for a class with Don Glaister, he was kind enough to help me grind my knives.
My colleague took a class with Jeff over the summer and came back with a sharpening set. We then went and ordered the materials required to set up our sharpening sets on various websites. It took a while for everything to arrive and we also had some issues with ordering the wrong size of Delrin. The micro abrasive film comes in a large sheet, so you have to cut them to slightly shorter than the width of your Delrin. With the right size of micro abrasive film you just need to remove the backing plastic and stick it onto the Delrin.
My colleague also taught us how to use the sharpening set. There's a lot of different tips like how to angle the blade and which direction to move the blade when sharpening. Also always keep the surface of the film wet, just like how you would use a sharpening stone. Now that I have my own sharpening set set up, my knives will always be sharp and I won't need to ask Don to help me grind them when I go for class!
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