onto the topic of sharpening stones

glaciers_end(8WA)November 22, 2011

With the approach of grafting season here's a thread detailing care of our grafting knives. A couple of sources recommend using a 3-piece sharpening system comprising a medium/fine dual stone, then a razor stone, then finishing your blade using a leather strop.

My question is what grit count is best for the three grades of stone? Medium/fine/and razor.

Thanks team!

~Dave

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Hi Dave,

You can use 2000 grit wet sand paper that they use on cars. Fold it over a flat honing stone and tape it on the bottom. Add a few drops of honing oil and you're on your way. As to what knife, I happen to like very much the Tina 605t Grafting Knife sold at A.M. Leonard. The Walnut handle is nice, it's comfortable and very sturdy, it's one that will last many years.

I use a scalpel with #10 blades now but there are times when a knife is needed such as is the case with larger scions and larger cuts into an understock. I've found I can do 99.99% of what I need to do with a scalpel and disposable blades which will always be sharper than any edge you can put on a knife.

Tina 605t
http://www.amleo.com/tina-folding-grafting-knife/p/605T/

A MUST! Slimmer Trimmer - you will be miserable without this tool. Not only is it handy for grafting, when you have to get a close cut to remove the understock on a completed graft - you will not be able to use Felco's etc- w/ the kind of accuracy this tool provides. You'll damage stuff using any other pruning tool. This-is-the-best!

http://www.amleo.com/product.aspx?p=562

Scalpel handle #3
http://www.germedusa.com/p-805-knife-handle-3.aspx

#10 blades
http://www.germedusa.com/p-3916-sterile-surgical-blades-box-of-100-carbon-steel-size-10.aspx

Dax

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 7:46AM
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baxz5oh(5)

Dax: I broke the tip off my grafting knife last year. I am going to give your surgical knife a try. How long do the disposable blades last? 50 grafts, 100 grafts, less, more?

One side note on the germusa site. You have to be careful when entering the item # or you might end up with their castration kit. Ouch! LOL. Thanks for the tip.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:31AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I grafted 330 conifers and did some 30 cuttings and some bagged grafts - probably 400 in all and I probably used 12 blades. Spruce you'll change the blade more often, pretty well the same with hard pines. You could probably do 100 grafts of soft pines on a single blade. You'll know when the blade is tearing to change them.

Dax

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 10:48AM
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sluice

My first year grafting I used a hunting/camping knife with no sharpening. Amazingly, I actually got a few takes with that!

Now I use a 200/1000/6000 stone set which seems to work well. Dax has some great suggestions too. I suppose there is more than one way to skin the cat, although that might not the best analogy to use here.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 6:12AM
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glaciers_end(8WA)

thanks, sluice. That's what I was looking for.

Dax, I've already got some really good knives. They're just not razor sharp yet. The slimmer trimmer sounds very intriguing.

~Dave

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 10:33AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i appreciate the beauty of a tool ... and the requisite care .. and it belonging to your collection of tools.. so dont get me wrong ...

but when i took the grafting class at Gee Tree ... they favored a box of 100 razor blades ... and as soon as they noted some dullness.. or too much resin/sap ... they simply took a new blade ... and they do thousands of grafts per year ...

just consider it an alternative .. if you wish ..

but relish your tool ... [get your mind out of the gutter] ... lol

ken

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 8:48AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Absolutely agree w/Ken on that point. Dennis at Bethlehem Nursery uses razor blades solely, and it one of the finest grafters in the world.

Remember, your job is to skim off the bark and not delve past it toward the pith. The more green area you can join on the seedling and the scion, the higher your rates will go up.

Dax

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 11:28AM
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Ament(5a SD)

Very interesting information,

Glad to learn it, even if it isn't something I ever intend to use! LOL Just more knowledge that will add up, pop up one day as something to share with another. I've a lot of that kind of information! Haha!

And Dax? DH says he won't take me hiking/rucking until I can walk four miles non stop on my own. So... That means this winter, I'll be doing my first trip up into the hills with my daughter. Without DH's help! LoL Poo on him anyways! I don't need his help to do it! =) I don't know where at up in the hills she and I will go just yet, haven't spotted any brooms on our drives. So I don't know exactly what you might want. You'll have to pop me an email and give me ideas, maybe even send me pictures of ideas of what you seek. So I know what I'm supposed to look for! LOL

~Tina

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 12:46AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Hi Tina. Character is what you're looking for. When you find that something, clip the scions and be sure to photograph it so (I can see it and trust your judgement, lol) and you'll need 1-gal ziplock bags which you'll label. For witches brooms- it they are growing more than 3" I'd skip them. The slower-growing the better. The more miniature is also better. Trees or witches brooms that are colorful should always be cut. And when you find a witches broom if it isn't super tiny, leave some of it on the tree so you can return if for any reasons those of we that graft have no success the first time around. A GPS to mark where the broom or tree is always a must when you're in areas you don't know, and besides the chances of finding that broom or tree again in an area full of conifers is much more difficult w/o GPS.

So list:
Ziplocks
Backpack
GPS
Sharpie Markers
Pruners/pole pruners
binoculars
camera - take A LOT of photos! Photos of the broom in the tree, photos of the tree, photos of a branch with bud photos, photos of cones, cones being very important! Of course if the landscape is of just a few conifers that are native, then (maybe) not necessary, but it's always a good idea to have that information, than not to.

Have fun!

Thanks!!!

Dax

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 8:29AM
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Ament(5a SD)

Ok Dax,

We have everything on that list but pole pruners. LOL Oy! I guess I will have to have DH teach me how to use his GPS because I've never ever used it. And you all can laugh about that if you like. ;) I've never needed it. Good sense of direction. If I have gone there, I can get back there. LOL So, I've never needed a GPS. *snickers* Maybe now though, I will need one, if I start trying to do this stuff. ;)

So, Character? Images please Dax? So I can see what you mean? Crash course type lesson I suppose you could say. Yes, I am chuckling over this. Something new to do, something to distract me. =) I require it. You know? I hope you don't mind? Anyone else want to pipe up, please do so. LoL

~Tina

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 12:31PM
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sluice

Tina,
Here is a good link for ideas. Look around for plants that just catch your eye. If you have a good sense of direction, you might be able to get away with it without a GPS. I usually rely on memory, but sometimes it does take a little longer to find that tree again. Yes, bring your camera and post pics here!
Nate

Here is a link that might be useful: post your brooms

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Ament(5a SD)

Thanks Nate,

It'll be interesting to say the least. I truly don't even know if I will find ANY brooms at all. So far, just driving along, I haven't seen anything resembling brooms period. So yeah, just not certain we'll find anything like that.

But I am determined to try. =) I do know we have some very beautiful conifers out here, not always wild ones though. So I'm not certain if Dax wants those or if it's just wild type trees wanted. Or what? Just wild tree scions? That's the deal, I need to know just exactly what am I seeking, Only wild appealing to the eye scions? That's information kind of important, you know? lol I'm going into this totally new.

Off to go check out your link, Thank you Nate. =)

~Tina

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 12:31PM
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Ament(5a SD)

Whew!

Loads of very interesting photos to sift through! Alright, somewhat better idea of what I seek. =) And from what I'm gathering, it can even be on trees people have planted. LoL I never knew! Interesting! Learning more every time I come here. Thank you for that.

Now my husband will wonder what in the world I'd need a pruner on a long stick for. LoL Ah well... Might have to wait till he is deployed for that purchase because he just isn't into any of this. I was very -very- lucky to get him to buy a tiller for the garden this year. ;)

However, in a round about way... He should be grateful to you guys! You've given me a reason to get out and about, with Fibromyalgia it's important to do that. But I have a habit of over doing it. lol

~Tina

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 2:08PM
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sluice

Yep, anything that appeals to you.

Picea pungens

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 11:18PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Nate, that very slim Picea pungens is gorgeous. What a beautiful plant for those that have small gardens.

It almost looks like there is an owl sitting in the boughs. Look at the 3rd whirl of boughs. Am I seeing things?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 5:26PM
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