How to Sharpen Plastic
Plastic is a synthetic or semi-synthetic material commonly used in the manufacture of goods. Plastics can be produced from “monomers” such as propylene and styrene, which are small molecules that link to form long chains, called polymers. The term polymer is derived from the two Greek words: ‘polus’ meaning many or several, and ‘meros’ meaning parts.
Thus, it connotes a substance of many units bonded together – often large numbers – to form an extended chain. The basic unit is called a monomer; the polymer is formed by combining monomers with heat and pressure in a process known as polymerization. IN this article, I will discuss how to sharpen plastic. So let us get started.
Why is Sharpennign Plastic Necessary?
There are several reasons why you would have to sharpen the plastic. The first one is that if it gets chipped off, it becomes useless. Another reason is that its original shape might get distorted after repeated usage. So, for both of these reasons, this guide on how to sharpen plastic will come in handy.
The most important thing to remember while sharpening these tools is not getting carried away by pressure or speed during sharpening. If done so, either your tool would end up with a sharp edge but smooth surface, or vice versa – a very rough edge but extremely sharp. So, sharpening needs to be balanced, smooth, and consistent. Also, remember that it’s better to sharpen on a rough surface rather than a hard surface. We recommend using whetstone or ceramic for this purpose.
Step-wise Guide on How to Sharpen Plastic:
Make sure your blade is clean and dry before you start sharpening it. It’ll ensure good friction between the blade edge and stone while you’re sharpening. The water from your hands can also mess up with sharpening if there is any water leftover on your knife or tool after washing it off. If you are working with the straight-edged tool, place its body at 90 degrees to the cutting board to avoid getting cut accidentally while sharpening.
Determine the ideal angle for sharpening your blade. Most tools usually have around 12 degrees on each side or 10-20 degrees on each side if you want a very sharp edge. You can also use a 15-degree angle if you would like to retain the original shape of your tool.
Hold your knife at its base (bottom). Use as much pressure as you can without sacrificing speed. Start applying a small amount of pressure and increase speed continuously till you get a smooth, balanced edge. Otherwise, if you apply more pressure first, then try speeding up later when the tip gets dull, there is a chance that your whole blade might end up with a rough surface instead of getting a smooth finish.
After making an initial pass on one side, flip your knife over and make a pass on another side to get a mirror finish. This is the most important step, so don’t skip it!
After you’re done with the first two steps, keep your blade in a vertical position and slide down from tip till bottom along the edge for making the first few strokes on both sides of the tool. It’s called honing. Repeat it twice (for better results). Make sure to use a small amount of pressure, around 20-30% as much as you used while sharpening.
If there are any burrs left after honing, remove them using a smooth stroke against a stone or hard surface. Repeat the same few steps till friction feels even across the blade & whetstone. You’re now done with sharpening.
Polish your blade by performing few strokes against the whetstone in the most opposite direction. Don’t forget to keep honing and polishing your tool from time to time for many years of smooth and efficient usage!
Precautions While Sharpening Plastic:
a) Use light pressure when sharpening plastic
b) Always use fresh water to wet the abrasive surface
c) Never apply heavy pressure on the tool while grinding down a rough edge.
d) Never leave the blade exposed for long periods of time in between sharpening or polishing sessions, as doing so will damage it. Make sure you cover your blade with a cap or sheath every time you’re not using it.
e) If filing down a large amount of material at once, stop periodically and check your progress to prevent overheating (melting) your tools, as this may cause them to warp or crack into pieces! A good rule of thumb is to perform only one pass per minute when removing a lot of material at once, making sure to keep a firm grip on the blade’s handle and applying as little pressure as possible so that it doesn’t slip out of your hand. Also, try using sandpaper or an emery board to flatten down rough spots, perhaps after you’ve finished grinding with a Dremel to create a smoother edge.
f) When sharpening blades covered in plastic coatings, take care not to cause damage by over-grinding/polishing away too much material from the surface. If there are any humps or uneven surfaces on your blades after they’ve been ground down, use a large flat leather or rubber block to even them out instead of continuing grinding/polishing.
I hope this article has been beneficial for learning how to sharpen plastic. Ensure all the precautions. Thank you and have a nice day!
You may read also – How to Sharpen a Dull Needle