Before we get into how to sharpen oboe reed knives, let’s look at some of the type of sharpening stones you will need.
•The grey carborundum stone
•A fine or medium grit diamond stone
•An India stone made by Norton
•An option for the Norton stone is an Arkansas or ceramic stone.
There are two basic steps to sharpening a double hollow ground knife.
•The first step involves taking metal off the blade and setting up a “burr” on the blade.
•The second part of the process is to refine and shape the burr into the correct position.
So let’s look at step number one. If you are starting with a new knife, you will want to place it on the roughest stone that you have with the blade facing away from you.
Next, lift the back of the knife about 5 degrees and “rub” the knife back and forth to take some of the metal off.
When you place the knife on the stone, make sure that the entire blade is touching the stone at all times. This will make sure that the knife blade is sharpened evenly.
Don’t do too much at this stage. Maybe 10 complete strokes.
Turn the knife over and repeat the step with a slightly higher angle.
What you want to see is a visible “burr” on the side of the blade that faces your body when you scrape. When you see the burr, you can polish it up on the fine India stone.
The next step is to turn the knife over and basically repeat the last steps only on a much finer stone. This will begin to refine the burr and the edge of the blade. End this step with the stroke toward your body.
Now it is time to set up the scraping edge.
•Place the knife edge toward your body and lift the knife about the same angle as you did before. You are basically going to refine the burr that you obtained in the last step.
•Next, turn the knife over and use a bit more angle and “rub” the knife back and forth to turn the burr over onto the scraping side. Do about 7 to 10 strokes.
•Repeat the last step ending with a stroke toward the left side of the stone.
•Now turn the knife over on it’s back and very lightly repeat the same procedure making sure to end the stroke toward the right hand side of the stone. This will refine the burr even more and the knife should be ready for scraping. You may need to experiment with the angles a bit to get it right.