Marking Knives - how sharp - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-29-2015, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Marking Knives - how sharp

I'm trying my hand at "finer" woodworking. How sharp sharp do you keep a marking knife?

I bought a set of Ramelson knives & they aren't very sharp.
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-29-2015, 06:01 PM
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I like mine sharp enough to cut one side of the line and crush the other side. The cut can save for a very true edge. I also want the knife to stay against the straight edge so it's flat on one side and beveled on the other side. But it's not razor sharp.


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post #3 of 6 Old 06-29-2015, 07:32 PM
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Marking knives are great for marking fine lines for joining work, and should have a beveled edge to mark tight against your straight edge. As for "sharpness", IMO the blade should leave a definite mark on the wood without using a lot of pressure. Be safe.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-30-2015, 11:38 AM
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Sharp enough to leave a clean line.

I've sharpened mine maybe once in the last few years, and I use it on every project(note I am a hobbyist not a pro earning his living doing this). I don't remember which stone I used for sharpening, but it was a medium(maybe 1200) grit and that was it. You don't need to be as sharp as a smoothing plane iron.

unless you drop it on a concrete floor and completely destroy the edge, you shouldn't be spending more than a minute or 2 to get a marking knife sharp enough to leave a clean line.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-02-2015, 11:02 PM
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General rule of thumb for angles in cutting tools - the sharp angles cut easy but dull angles last longer. In sharpening my chisels, I choose 28* because "sharp" would be 21* and dull would be 35*. Sharp 21* would constantly break my cutting edge while a 35* angle would dent the wood, not cut it!

As for marking tools - I like Al's advise and follow my chisel guide line. A 28* angle on one side and flat on the other will easily mark your projects and be strong to last a long time!

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-03-2015, 10:05 AM
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Almost all edges can be examined visually to know whether they are sharp or dull. Use a light source overhead, then look directly on the sharpened edge. A dull or nicked edge will reflect light. Takes some practice learning to look but it's all you need to know. Retaining an edge can be about the geometry of the sharpening bevel. Although it doesn't make common sense, the sharpening bevel angle makes a world of difference. Much lower than 30 degrees and the edge will fold like tin foil, depending on the tool steel.
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