Sunday, July 17

Knife Sharpening, part 2 – Affûtage, 2e partie.

Physical Update
My shoulder, elbow and wrist are doing much better than last week: the flossing and reduction in speed of activity definitely helped. But I want to give one more week before recording the sonata…. IT’S HARRY POTTER’S LAST MOVIE THIS WEEKEND!
I still think the 1st was the best!
État physique en bref.
Mon épaule, coude et poignet vont beaucoup mieux: les exercises physiothérapeutiques et la réduction d’activité ont définitivement aidé. Mais je veux donner une autre semaine avant d’enregistrer la sonate…. C’EST LE DERNIER DE HARRY POTTER CETTE FIN-DE-SEMAINE!
Je pense toujours que le 1er était le meilleur!
The secret to good reeds:
It has become a common saying that: “The 2 secrets for good reeds are: 1. sharp knives, 2. sharp knives.” …. well, I would like to amend that to 4 secrets of good reed-making: 1. good cane, 2. sharp knives, 3. good cane, 4. sharp knives!
MANY oboists have witnessed that you can do almost anything to a good piece of cane and it will play well, no matter how badly you handle it (and there’s nothing to be done with a bad piece of cane). However, the devastation caused by an improperly sharpened knife is undeniable and once you’ve used a well sharpened knife, nothing else will do.
Le secret des bonnes anches:
C’est devenu monnaie courante de dire que le secrèt des bonnes anches est d’abord un couteau bien coupant et ensuite un couteau bien coupant! Je voudrais bien modifier en disant: 1. bon roseau, 2. bon tranchant, 3. bon roseau, 4. bon tranchant!

BEAUCOUP de hautboïstes attesteront qu’on peut faire presque n’importe-quoi avec un bon roseau et il jouera bien (à l’inverse, rien à faire avec un mauvais roseau). Par contre, le dommage causé par un couteau mal affilé est indéniable et lorsqu’on en a utilisé un bien affûté, rien d’autre ne fera l’affaire.
Click on the YouTube icon for full-sized video. Cliquez sur l’icône YouTube pour le vidéo à pleine-grandeur.
Bevelling a blade.
Sharpening a hollow-bevel knife.
Re-edge and fine-honing.
Get my free book here. Trouvez mon livret gratis ici.
The secret to sharp knives:
expensive stones!

Last time I only introduced stones and some knife designs, so here are the real demonstrations of sharpening. This technique is simple, basic, but used almost universally to achieve excellent results.  Depending on how badly the edge got rounded, it’s just a matter of progressing from a coarser stone to a finer one.
High quality (usually expensive) stones are a must. You get these stones from specialized woodworker shops, not your local hardware store. Cheap imitations just don’t do it and whatever miracle gizmo that comes out on the market has yet to prove reliability.
Le secret des bons couteaux:
les pierres dispendieuses!

La dernière fois, j’ai fait l’introduction des concepts de couteaux, alors voici les vraies démonstrations. La technique est simple, mais utilisée presqu’universellement pou obtenir les meilleurs résultats. Selon le degré de rondeur du bord coupant, il ne s’agit que de passer d’une pièrre plus rude à une pierre de plus en plus douce. 
Les pierres de haute haute qualité (habituellement dispendieuses) sont absolument nécessaires. Vous les trouverez dans les magasins spécialisés dans l’ébénisterie, pas votre caincaillerie du coin. Les imitations peuchères ne font simplement rien de bon et les bidules miracles qui arrivent sur le marché ont encore à prouver leur valeur.


Mrs. Webfoot said...

Robin, thank you for these videos. How did you discover and develop your knife sharpening technique?

The arm shaving made me wince! It does illustrate your point, though.

Our daughter went to a midnight showing of the Harry Potter movie. She loves the books. I think that she has been to every opening night for the films - always at midnight. I have enjoyed the movies, but will probably wait for the DVD to come out.

I appreciate your generosity in sharing experiences and observations. You are inspiring me to keep playing, but maybe not to go back to reed making just yet. Still, I have to tweak any reeds I buy, so I still have to use my knife.
Take care,

RobinDesHautbois said...

Well thank you for your very kind words!

The techniques were taught to me by 1. my late brother (God rest his soul): a tool maker for an avionics jet engine parts manufacturer, 2. a former Montreal oboe repairer (sad he left!) apparently trained at Loree (I think, French Europe, anyway). As I learned engineering, the techniques make mathematical sense and getting to know Lee Valley refined what I know of stones etc.

Mine are not the only techniques in reed world, but the results allow you to "dust" the tip soooo lightly and get a really clean scrape of it. I should make videos of alternate testing techniques; e.g., using paper is good but often done incorrectly. In all cases, good stones are everything! My ceramic is a Spyderco (U.S.A.) that I found in a deep-sea diving shop!

As for reeds, if you have a supplier on whom you can depend for reeds that are good enough you only need to adjust them a bit, MORE POWER TO YOU!

Mrs. Webfoot said...

Hey, thanks, Robin. Take care.