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Old 15th April 2021, 01:36 PM   #1
ausjulius
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Default sharpening and honing steels

it crossed my mind the other day while i was cleaning some kukris.. the kukri has a honing steel.. although not in the same design as a western one.. but it really stands out as the only example of an indiginous honing steel outside of europe... that i know of. infact the hones seem entirely nepali.. and kukri from india or bhutan, sikkhim ect lack them...

it got me thinking.. 1 how old is the honing steel on the kukri


2.. when did honing steels appear in europe...



and 3.. what other cultures have honing steels?

it is really quite an ilodd thing when you think of it burnishing or sharpening you blade with a peice of steel.. but it seems odd for it to exsist in only two places indiginously
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Old 15th April 2021, 05:32 PM   #2
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That's a very interesting and thought-provoking question.

While steel hones are not regularly encountered, rocks are readily available. Steel of the same hardness as the blade would not have a particular advantage in the sharpening process, but it would allow for burnishing a blade and dealing with nicks on the edge. In order to keep the blade's usefulness intact while reducing the amount of metal that would be removed via the sharpening process, a hone seems to be a useful tool to have at hand.

It seems to be a conceptually sophisticated tool. I suppose stroking one blade with another blade would have a somewhat similar effect, though it seems to me that it would do little toward improving a sharpened edge. I'm unable to address the question from the standpoint of the original poster, not having sufficient information on various cultures' usage of tools, so I'm left with only the single thought above. Apologies for using so much bandwidth for so little content.
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Old 15th April 2021, 05:41 PM   #3
David R
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Steels appear in a pocket of the sword scabbard round about the 15th century in Europe
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Old 16th April 2021, 12:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
Steels appear in a pocket of the sword scabbard round about the 15th century in Europe
very interesting, do you have any images of these?.
ive seen stones in pockets on some messer.. and also on old weapons in the caucasus. i have seen excavated examples of honing steels from the 1400s or 1300s from germany used by butchers.

im also curious about the nepali steel blade hones. when did the actuially appear i wounder.. and might there be a similar indian or persian tool we just havent seen or thats vanished over time
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Old 16th April 2021, 12:57 PM   #5
ausjulius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob A
That's a very interesting and thought-provoking question.

While steel hones are not regularly encountered, rocks are readily available. Steel of the same hardness as the blade would not have a particular advantage in the sharpening process, but it would allow for burnishing a blade and dealing with nicks on the edge. In order to keep the blade's usefulness intact while reducing the amount of metal that would be removed via the sharpening process, a hone seems to be a useful tool to have at hand.

It seems to be a conceptually sophisticated tool. I suppose stroking one blade with another blade would have a somewhat similar effect, though it seems to me that it would do little toward improving a sharpened edge. I'm unable to address the question from the standpoint of the original poster, not having sufficient information on various cultures' usage of tools, so I'm left with only the single thought above. Apologies for using so much bandwidth for so little content.
bob your comment is as useful as any other. the steels are always far harder than the blade... they shave off tiny amounts of steel or in the case of smooth hones they burnish the steel and reset the micro edge.
mover steels have cutting groves scribed in them. but i wounder when these appeared too.
it is a sophisticated tool that has to be well made of good steel to work.

im curious is there any known native middle eastern types of honing steel?
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Old 16th April 2021, 05:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ausjulius
and 3.. what other cultures have honing steels?
Some old Yakut knives had a hardened steel insert in their scabbard.
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Last edited by Ren Ren; 16th April 2021 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 17th April 2021, 05:54 AM   #7
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oooh yes thanks!!! i had in fact forgotten about yakut steels!..
and i was indeed looking at a nice example of a yakutian knife with such a steel only a few months ago!! how memory can fail you sometimes

it is very unique i think, i wounder is there any other examples of a steel hone built into the sheath in another culture?.
i cant think if i recall seeing hand held hones separate form the sheath from yakutia.. i will inquire with some yakut knife makers about other forms of native steel hone.. i can imagine there may be there types.
i wounder if other siberian and arctic peoples used a hone of some sorts?
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