Sharpening exacto blades?

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by KCStephens, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. KCStephens

    KCStephens Member

    Is it worth it? or am I just better off replacing with a new one.
    I can't seem to ever get them as sharp as they were when new.

    Help!:confused: All of those blades add up fa$$$$t.
  2. Paragon

    Paragon Active Member

    I've never been able to get them back to ideal sharpness either. I'm not so sure you can.
  3. OylPslyk

    OylPslyk Aspiring Usurper

    my only problem is I always seem to break off the tip in the cutting mat...wall1wall1wall1
  4. MOS95B

    MOS95B Member

    I have a super-fine whet stone (from a blade sharpening kit) that I use.

    [​IMG] Lansky Sharpeners
    The best there is as an example, but you can get similar parts/systems a bit cheaper at any place that sells knives/camping gear

    A dry-stone won't give you a razor type edge, but rather what they call "micro serrated" at best. They may not come out good as new, but they're pretty dang sharp. Just takes lots and lots of practice.

    Low angle on the blade. Generous amounts of oil on the stone. And smooth, consistent strokes. Like you're slowly trying to slice off a paper thin piece of stone
  5. Deepdive

    Deepdive New Member

    I´m recently writing an article for a modellers journal about sharpening
    most sort of blades including scalpells. I can give you a little hint for an
    extraordinary sharpener: ISTOR is a good choice. But keep in mind, that
    sharpening those blades is allways a little tricky.

    But you got nothing to loose...


  6. Jim Nunn

    Jim Nunn Member

    To lower the cost of #11 blades head on down to your local Hobby shop and purchase the blades in 100 lots. I generally pay around $11 or $12 per hundred and I find the blades to be much better quality then the Exacto brand blades. They come in a plain white box and the blades are marked USA. The best part is that the tip is stronger then the Exacto blades and does not break off as easily.

    As for sharpening yes I some times sharpen blades but only for special shaped blades I have made to fit in small spaces. I use a 4 sided Arkansas stone that has a jet black stone for very fine finishing. To get an extremely fine edge you need to polish the blades edge with a fine metal polish such as Jewelers Rouge.

    Jim Nunn
  7. shrike

    shrike Guest

    I fall into the "Replace the Blade" camp. I buy blades in boxes of 100 at about $15-17 a box(Excell are cheaper and better than X-acto BTW). If you compare them to the price of the right paints for a given P*****c model, or to a couple of Lattes or even a pack of smokes it's a small investment over time.
  8. KCStephens

    KCStephens Member

    Thanks to all for the advice. I kind of thought that's what you'd say!
    I'll just buy in bulk. Besides it's alot more fun cutting paper than cutting a sharpening stone.
  9. josve

    josve Active Member

    Hello guys!

    I just have to put my thoughts in here :)
    The exacto blades doesn't stay sharå for very long...and replacing blades every day or ever more often isn't what I want. So I looked up my local sport equipment store (yes thats where I get all my outdoor gear and fishing equipment) and looked for some sharpening tools. and I found this.

    By using this sharpener when the blade is getting duller makes ONE blade last for at least a month.So now I seldom ghange blades,exept when the tip breaks in the cuttin mat....and usually thats my foult.
    Using this diamond sharpener is very easy,I guess you all have seen chefs sharpening their kitchen knives against a leather belt,or some sharpening rod.I do it just the same way,not always thinking of the angle of the blade against the sharpener.
    The sharpener costs only a couple of bucks,and it really earn itselves in a short time.

    NULLMOON Member

    stop wasting time on x-actos and use surgical type scalpels( Swann Norton)there much cheaper in blades come in a vareity of lethal looking shapes and sizes and rarely break unless you use them for anything ecsesseive
  11. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

    Null Moon has the right idea for sure! A compromise is to purchase Olfa brand blades. These are made from tool steel and are ground to a precision edge. The difference between X-Acto, surgical, and Olfa is that:
    1. X-Acto blades are a low-grade tool steel, if that at all. But, they do not break easily under normal modeling usage.
    2. Surgical blades are high carbon steel, thus able to hold their edge (there is no "surgical steel" classification per se; the term merely identifies a blade of a given Brinell or Rockwell hardness that is used for surgical purposes). However, since they are designed to cut flesh, the tang can break easily if subjected to too much pressure. So, you have to be careful using them.
    3. Olfa blades offer the advantage of both. The cost per blade is higher, but one Olfa will outlast an X-Acto-type blade 3-to-1. I tested them for a seminar I once gave.
  12. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    Canadian Tire Store sells OLFA box cutter blades.

    I'm in heaven because the cheap ones I was using lasted 1/10 the time Olfa blades were.
  13. paperbeam

    paperbeam Member

    Thanks Steve!:thumb:

    Canadian Tire's only four blocks away from me...:canada1:


    Ping-Pong Ball Cannon and N/Z scale Old West paper models (free samples) at: paperbeam - virtual paper models
  14. Stevenony

    Stevenony New Member

    I know I'm not very timely with this but I used to work in an advertising house and we went through the blades like no tomorrow. One of the art supply companies we bought from had a nifty little sharpener made just for x-acto blades. It was a stone and a carriage thingy that you put the whole knife into and it held the blade at the right angle while you made concentric circles over the stone. I will have to go into storage and try to find it.
  15. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    I'm somewhere in between. I buy Excell blades in bulk and I keep a small sharpening stone at my workbench.

    I have two blades and two handles going most of the time. One is new and sharp, the other is getting dull but still usable for straight cuts and rough-outs.

    When a blade starts to get dull, I sometimes give it a few swipes on the sharpening stone and get another half dozen cuts out of it. Is it worth the cost of the stone? Probably not--I had it on hand anyway.

    I also have a box of 100 #11 surgical blades, that I use for the finest work. These puppies are sharp! They dull very quickly and break very easily but when you need really, really fine precise cuts, they're really, really nice. They cost more than Excells but a box will last me several years.

    Just be really, really careful with them. Lose control and you'll slice your finger off at your elbow before you know it!!

    No worries (still have all my fingers!),
  16. Traveller

    Traveller New Member

    I really like this place for tips like this. I wouldnt have thought to try and sharpen those blades. I will have to get a whetstone.

    Thank you for the tip!
  17. BARX2

    BARX2 Member

    I bought the Lansky super fine and ultra fine sharpening stones. You can get a very sharp edge on your blades, but it's really not possible to produce the fine point that comes on a new blade - not for me anyway.
  18. RodentMaster

    RodentMaster Member

    What about commercials they used to run in the U.S. about a diamond pad? It was being marketed for kitchen knives and the like, but the basic idea was that just 2-3 swipes on the diamon pad was equal to 30+ on a whetstone.

    Anybody tried that kind of product with a hobby knife?
  19. Deepdive

    Deepdive New Member

    Hi guys,

    the easiest and in my opinion best way to sharpen nearly any
    blade is the


    by Istor. Its just a bit of practice. You just have to slightly (!)
    stroke the knife with the sharpeners working edge changing the
    side time to time - thats all. 4-5 strokes/side will do it in any case.

    Give it a try. Its one of my most valuable secrets....

    Don´t come along saying it doesn´t work, my edges are as sharp
    as they were, when I bought them. Times of sharpening are limited
    although - 15 times of resharpening are the most I got so far. This
    drops the costs of blades by 15, right? Seems the tension fades

    Hands off the "diamond stones". Used them for my carpenter's plane
    in the past, seemed to me they´re a little to "grainy" for my demands
    i.e really sharp blades.

    Hi BARX2 it´s mostly the guy not the tool. Juist give it some practice.
    Nothing beats practice and experience.



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