Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Sharpening an Ulu knife

  1. #1
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sterling
    Posts
    1,436

    Default Sharpening an Ulu knife

    I have a bunch of these around and use one in the kitchen, but I am not sure if I am sharpening it correctly.
    I am sure there is a correct way to put an edge on these, but I am not sure.
    I hold the Ulu and then run the stone along the edge at about the angle It looks like it was first sharpened at. flip it over and do the same on the other side.
    Maybe ...but not sure if you put the stone on the bench and move the ulu blade.
    Thanks in advance for the help


    Max
    Last edited by Alaskacanoe; 12-28-2008 at 06:04. Reason: add stuff
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  2. #2
    Member sayak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Central peninsula, between the K-rivers
    Posts
    4,934

    Default That one looks like it's made out of an ax head

    Never have I seen one that thick. I have made dozens in my day, mostly for sale or for relatives, and all were made out of hand saw or thin circular saw blades. These are flexible and allow a person to cut along the backbone of a salmon with ease. I once ran into an Eskimo couple on Lake Aleknagik whose only skinning and butchering tools for the moose they had just gotten were an ulu (uluaq) and a cruiser axe. They were getting along swimingly, and refused my skinning knife and saw.

    If I was you I would use a disk sander to sharpen a blade that thick.

    To sharpen ours (and about every other knife in our house) I use one of these:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    The smaller that government becomes, the bigger my support for it will be. The opposite is also true.

  3. #3
    Supporting Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    remote bush, satellite internet
    Posts
    4,075

    Default

    Max, I like to move the blade and not the stone but you can do it either way. Helps to use a larger/longer stone. Then again, like Steve said, that is one thick ulu blade! I sharpen axe heads with a file and run the file over each side just like you described you are sharpening that ulu. Then if I want it razor sharp I touch it up by running stone over it. The curve of the ulu makes it a lot harder to sharpen, as you know...tend to move the angle when sweeping around the curve no matter which way you do it.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    370

    Default unique ulu

    Yes, that is a very unique looking ulu. I like it. You could chop a tree down with that one if you had an arm like an axe handle. I would use a mill file to hit the dull spots and follow up with a round axe stone. It works best if you could somehow fixture that thing in a vice or clamp without damaging that beautiful handle and then work the blade over. If not, it sounds like your method also works fine.

  5. #5
    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    wisconsin
    Posts
    758

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Max, I like to move the blade and not the stone but you can do it either way. Helps to use a larger/longer stone. Then again, like Steve said, that is one thick ulu blade! I sharpen axe heads with a file and run the file over each side just like you described you are sharpening that ulu. Then if I want it razor sharp I touch it up by running stone over it. The curve of the ulu makes it a lot harder to sharpen, as you know...tend to move the angle when sweeping around the curve no matter which way you do it.
    i like your file technique and do the same, but for the stone finish i use a 6" "soft" arkansas stone. using a little cooking oil, i just finish the blade using a cutting motion the length of the stone, then switch blade sides.

    it is easy to maintain your angle, and not necessary to work the blade hard. long easy strokes working from heel to tip (or heel to heel) work best.

    ** clean your stone after use to keep the pores open, it will last longer and do a better job for you.

    happy trails.
    jh

  6. #6
    Member sayak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Central peninsula, between the K-rivers
    Posts
    4,934

    Default I forgot to say

    Some folks up in the north only sharpen their ulus on one side. Not sure why. The ancient ulus were made of slate, but Van Stone, when he did archaelogical digs described in the book Eskimos of the Nushagak found evidence that the Yupik people there were quick to adapt tin can lids to ulus until they adopted the technology to make them out of saw blades.
    The smaller that government becomes, the bigger my support for it will be. The opposite is also true.

  7. #7
    Member danattherock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    5,588

    Default

    Great post!

    Really glad someone asked this. I have a few ulus myslef, but no idea how to sharpen them. Got two of my nicest ones from Eagle River Knives. They sell a sharpener and the link is below. But as other suggested, looks like you have an axe blade. Not sure if this sharpener would work for you. But for general ulu sharpening, it looks pretty nifty.

    http://www.eagleriverknife.com/ulu.html#sharpener
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  8. #8
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sterling
    Posts
    1,436

    Default Thanks all

    I knew some fo you guys have been around the Fish drying rack a bit and have a lot more experience than I..
    I think I need a longer stone, as Mark Suggested, and I like those sharpening tools. I actually have that yellow one that Steve showed in my possibles drawer in the kitchen..
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    SW,Ak
    Posts
    182

    Default

    We just use a file to sharpen the uluaq's unless they are stainless.
    Most are made from skill saw blades and are easy to sharpen.
    Just lay on table and sharpen one side then flip over do other side.
    Stainless we cheat and use electric sharpener.

  10. #10

    Default

    I only sharpen mine on the beveled side. I was given to understand that was one of the secrets of an ulu for skinning.
    I have a KOA magnum ulu and a old one of sawblade and antler with an offset handle. Both have one beveled side, one flat. A Lansky with a fine stone is all I've ever used to sharpen either. I can get most of the way around the blade on a stroke while matching the bevel, and it doesn't leave a flat spot along the edge. Then just a strop on the flat side to roll over any micro edge and make it shaving sharp.

    One day, I might need a file to redo the bevel, but that will be a long time from now with either knife. I really just use them for skinning butchering moose, and salmon for the smoker. Maybe a little work on a bear hide.
    .
    .
    .
    .


    Killin' it!




  11. #11
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sterling
    Posts
    1,436

    Default My favorite Ulu

    This is my little buddy I take with me everywhere except the Airport.





    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  12. #12
    Supporting Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    remote bush, satellite internet
    Posts
    4,075

    Default Pocket Ulu?

    Max, where can I buy one of the pocket ulus? Very handy I can tell!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •