Tool Maintenance: Adding Groove to Sharpening Wheel
By Roy Bloom CJF
The following information will be useful in setting up a wheel for sharpening your hoof knives, including the hook. These photos are of a wheel being set up to sharpen left hand knives. Since this type of wheel is directional, you will need to groove the opposite side of the wheel for right hand knives. Knives should always be sharpened or buffed with the blade facing down to avoid injury and to get the best results. Always make sure the wheel is rotating in the proper direction. An arrow is usually placed on these types of wheels to indicate rotational direction.
You need to establish the position of the groove first. Take your knife and hold it to the wheel (wheel should not be running at this point). Mark the location of where the groove will be. This can vary depending on the size of your knife hook. Once you have the mark you can rotate the wheel by hand with the marker held against the wheel to mark where the groove will be.
Sharpen the tang end of an old rasp to use for cutting the groove. Since these wheels are fairly aggressive, the tang will probably have to be re-sharpened 4 or 5 times in order to cut the desired depth of the groove.
Establish a plate or something solid to brace your rasp. Turn the unit on and carefully apply enough pressure to begin cutting the groove. Be sure you are steady and have a firm grip on your tool. Once the groove is cut to the desired depth (usually around 1/4” will do unless you have a very large hook) the wheel is ready for use.
When using the wheel for sharpening your knife, be sure you have the blade edge pointed down. This type of wheel does not require the use of any kind of rouge. You don’t need to apply a lot of pressure to get good performance. But you should be certain that you are holding the knife firmly at the angle that is on the cutting edge to get the best results. If you hold it too flat against the wheel you will not get the kind of edge that will give you the best performance.
Once you have established the type of edge you need you can do a very light touch to the back side of the blade just to remove any “burr” that may be present. Do not try to put an edge on from the back side as this works against the type of cut you need in trimming the sole. You can also get an even higher finish and better edge if you use a medium or hard felt wheel with rouge after the work you do on the buffing/sharpening wheel. You can put the same kind of groove in the felt wheels as we have demonstrated above for the buffing/sharpening wheel.
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