The Proper Use of Whetstones Makes for Sharper Cutting Tools

The Proper Use of Whetstones Makes for Sharper Cutting Tools Most cutting tools like knives, scissors, and others are made of steel and other hard materials. The cutting is enabled because the cutting edges have been sharpened and tempered to a point, where their tapered edges are able to cut the softer materials that they are required to. After constant use, these edges will lose their sharpness and require to be sharpened again with whetstones, or other sharpening devices that have constantly been undergoing development.

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The use of a whetstone allows knives and the cutting edges of scissors to be kept in the best of shape and condition so that these tools can remain active and perform the tasks for which they are used. A whetstone is basically a fine-grained stone that has been in use for sharpening tools for centuries, ever since humans discovered the use of metals and learned how to work them to make cutting implements. These sharpening stones come in a wide range of sizes and shapes and can be composed of different materials. These stones will generally be flat, though some may have complex edges that are useful for sharpening special tools used in woodturning. They come in various grades which are differentiated by the size of the grit that makes up the abrasive material. This size is denoted by a number that gives an indication of the density of the particles that can cause the required abrasion. High numbers mean the particles are smaller and will give a finer finish to the metal that is being honed or sharpened on the whetstone.  
In earlier times, natural stones were used for this sharpening, but their use though not completely stopped, has been reduced because of the high quality of readily and easily available artificial whetstones. Modern whetstones that are synthetic have a consistent size of the abrading materials and this allows for a superior performance in sharpening. Natural whetstones have now become more common as collector’s items that are often prized for their appearance and beauty. Artificial whetstones are made of silicon carbide or aluminum oxide that are bonded together, and these bonded abrasive surfaces provide a cutting action that is faster than what you can achieve with a natural stone whetstone. Some of these whetstones come with two cutting surfaces, one with a coarse grit on one side, and a fine grit on the other. This allows the cutting edges to be first brought roughly to the required degree of sharpness with the coarser side, and the final finishing is done with the finer side.

Most whetstones use water to give the required lubrication that helps in the sharpening process where the cutting edge is rubbed over the whetstones. Some stones also use oil as a lubricant. Whetstones can also have diamonds as the abrasive material, while ceramic stones are fast cutting stones that leave a consistent pattern, and are widely used for finishing the sharpening process. Whetstones can be mounted on workbenches or other locations but must be firmly anchored so that they do not move while the abrading is in progress. You can also place whetstones on flat surfaces where you have access to water, and at a height where it is convenient to create the required pressure that will allow the cutting edges to be finished to the required degree of sharpness.

Whetstones are superior sharpening tools because they create the sharpening edges gradually and do not take away too much of the metal from the cutting tool. The use of a  whetstone does not require too much of expertise but does need you to know the correct way of using it. It is a skill that can be easily mastered with practice and can be cost-effective and save you time because of the simple process that its use involves. It is an action that has an average difficulty and may not require more than a few minutes.

Place the whetstone on a firm surface like a countertop or worktable, and see that it will remain immovable during the sharpening process. You can do this by placing a wet paper towel or cloth below the whetstone. If you have a two-sided whetstone, you need to start the sharpening process with having the rougher side upwards. Hold the knife, scissors, or other tool cutting edge with one hand so that it comes to the stone at an angle of approximately twenty degrees. Use the other hand to control the movement of the tool being sharpened as it comes to the surface of the whetstone. Exert moderate pressure while you slide the entire length of the blade, while you ensure that the blade has a consistent angle with the stone. This abrading action that ensures the necessary friction can be repeated a number of times, ten times if you want, and then the cutting edge flipped over to perform the same number of operations on the other side. Test the blade to see if it is now sharp enough, otherwise repeat the procedure, until you are satisfied with the sharpness. You can now repeat the process after flipping over the stone for it to display it fine grit side. You can use water to allow for easier sliding of the edges being sharpened. Using a  whetstone in a dry condition is the best way of using it, as water or oil can allow the metal particles to be trapped in the liquid, and this can lead to your blade getting damaged.

It is important that when you are sharpening the edges you always use the same direction in all movements as this will allow the surface to be even and smooth. Rinse the cutting edge of the tool and the whetstone ad wipe them both down with a dry and clean towel. All cutting tools have tempered edges that have a particular depth. Sharpening is only advisable as long as you are in this tempered zone. Once you go into the normal area of the cutting edge, sharpening further will not give you the desired results as edges will wear out much faster. At this stage, you may need to buy a new knife, or scissors or other tools.

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6 Place You Can Buy Colorful Eco Bags From

6 Place You Can Buy Colourful Eco Bags FromDo you always end up spending extra on carrier bags every time you go shopping? Every plastic carrier bag you pay for is costly for both you and the environment. The environmental impact of plastic is akin to a horror story. By saving money on carrier bags, you can save the environment as well. You can buy printed eco bags instead of plastic ones. The printed fabric bags last longer than plastic bags and can be reused. You can buy printed eco bags of various designs to match your everyday looks. Before you can flaunt your green habits by using an eco-friendly bag, you need to buy them. 

Online Stores

The first place you can look for when looking to buy printed eco bags is online. You can find generic printed fabric bags on websites like Amazon. Different sized bags with different prints can be ordered from these online shopping sites. If you want something that looks less generic, then you can look for hand painted options. Many Instagram artists might be selling their artwork printed onto fabric bags. On Etsy, you can find hand painted as well as printed reusable fabric bags.

Custom Printed Items Shops

If you have any specific print in mind, then you can get that printed on fabric bags. There are printing shops both online and off that specialize in printing designs on items. At such shops, you can get everything from hats to mugs printed. After you find a shop, you can give them the image you want to be printed. Usually, the shops will have fabric bags, but their options might be a little limited.

Grocery Shops

Many grocery shop owners are opting to run a greengrocery shop. Hence, many grocery shops only stock reusable fabric bags instead of plastic ones. If you are not picky about the design of the bag, then you can save money by buying a cheap fabric bag from your grocery shop. You may not find fabric bags at every grocery shop. Big grocery chains tend to stock fabric bags.

Book Shops

Just like grocery shops, bookshops also tend to sell fabric bags. Bookshop fabric bags tend to be better designed than the ones that you might find at a grocery shop. You can choose to buy printed eco bags from bookshops even if you do not buy a book.

Flea Market

Flea markets have many handicraft shops. You can find printed or hand painted tote bags at flea markets. There may even be pop up shops where artists paint caricatures onto fabric bags. Browsing through your local flea market can help you find a customized or unique fabric bag that suits your wants.

DIY

If you are unable to buy printed eco bags that tickles your fancy, then you can make one at home. You can take an old T-shirt and make a cloth bag. After you make the bag, you can unleash your artistic side and paint it however you want. By recycling an old T-shirt to make a bag, you will be reducing your carbon footprint even more.

Try to find the perfect eco-friendly fabric bag or go ahead and make your own.

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Spring Cleaning… In The Fall? Tips For Nailing That Deep Clean

If you usually leave those deep cleans until springtime, you might find your home is looking a little bit less than pristine right now. A deep clean is a great way to tackle some of those more difficult jobs and get your home ready for the season ahead. Why wait until spring to tackle those big cleans? Get ready for fall with these fantastic tips for deep cleaning your home.

Spring Cleaning... In The Fall? Tips For Nailing That Deep Clean

 Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons

Clear your diary

To really get into your deep clean, you’re going to need to set aside a good chunk of time to help you do things properly. Pick a weekend where you’ll have no distractions and nobody else around to mess things up. Towards the end of the month is a great idea as funds will be low and you’ll be looking for things that are cheap and easy to do to fill your time. 

Make a list

It’s a good idea to start a deep cleaning list to help you get the most out of your deep clean. You could make a list of everything you need to do in each room to help you plan out your tasks. You could even print a ready-made spring cleaning list to help you get started. Try to work out how long each task will take as a way to help guide you through what needs to be done and when.

Buy specialist cleaning supplies

To help you get the best results from your spring clean, you should buy products that are designed to do the job. From specialist leather cleaners to stainless steel polish, you’ll get better results if you use the right products. Alternatively, you could make your own cleaning products using natural cleaning remedies to help you save money and use non-chemical ingredients around your home.

Tackle the jobs that you don’t normally think of

There are a lot of cleaning jobs that we forget to do including kitchen vents, the dishwasher and more. Use your cleaning time to carry on with those more difficult jobs that you wouldn’t normally have time for.

As you’re doing these bigger jobs, check for maintenance issues too. A closer inspection of your lighting, heating, etc. will help you determine if you need boiler or AC repair, making your spring clean a great time to do spot checks around your home. Make a list of all the jobs that need doing and book in your repairman.

Clean your cleaning appliances

Your spring clean is a good opportunity to give your cleaning appliances a good clean. Your washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, and steam mop are designed to help you keep your home clean, but can also fall victim to dirt and grime. After cleaning the rest of your home, give your items a bit of TLC to help boost their cleaning power and prolong their lifespan too.

Have a clear out

A deep cleaning session can highlight many issues you have in your home. From too much clutter to not enough storage, it’s easy to make a mental note as you go along of things that need sorting. Now that summer is over, you can have a look through your clothes and perhaps even clear out your closet for good. There are plenty of things you can do with your old, unwanted clothes including donating them, selling them for extra cash and recycling the fabric.

Put away the clutter

Even the cleanest of homes can look unkempt if they’re full of clutter. Clutter is the thing that stops your home from looking pristine compared to neat, so work on putting everything in its place. Footstools and coffee tables that double up as storage are a great idea for helping you hide small items, while dressers and cabinets can make a wonderful decorative feature that hide a multitude of sins in your home. Use your deep clean as an excuse to find a home for everything, leaving your home much easier to keep clean.

Make your bedroom more hygienic

While you might wash your sheets regularly, you might not be as on top of your bedroom cleanliness as you might think. As part of your spring clean, you can wash (or replace) your comforter and pillows, while also doing tasks like vacuuming your mattress and underneath your bed. Too much dust can irritate your lungs and make your allergies worse, so giving everything a deep clean could be a good way to improve things in your bedroom and help you get some rest at night.

Do some rearranging

Changing the layout of your living room or bedroom can be a good way to freshen up your home and give it a new look for fall, without having to invest in new furniture or home accessories. You’ll be moving furniture around anyway to clean behind all the nooks and crannies, so it’s a good excuse to change things around. Moving your furniture can have many positive effects, from creating the illusion of space to making your bedroom a better place for sleep. Why not learn about feng shui to help you create a more harmonious home?

Make light work of cleaning windows

Window cleaning is one of life’s least exciting tasks, but it’s something that has to be done. There are some good window cleaning tips you can use to make cleaning windows easier, as well as keep them streak-free for longer. Try to open your windows up as much as possible to help prevent condensation that can cause windows to get dirty, as well as lead to mold and mildew.

Refresh the scent in your home

What better way to start off fall than with a dreamy new scent for your home? It’s surprising how dusty and musty furniture, carpets and textiles can get, but with a bit of a refresh you can get everything smelling wonderful again. Carpet refreshers are great for a burst of fragrance, while linen sprays can freshen your sheets for a longer lasting clean smell. Invest in some new candles and diffusers to give your home the scent burst it needs.

Don’t forget the outside of your home

While refreshing the inside of your home is a great way to get it looking fabulous once more, it’s also important that you remember to do the outside. If the trees are starting to fall, rake up the leaves and clear up any debris from your backyard. Your doors and windows can benefit from a good clean while you could consider giving them a fresh coat of paint to give the outside of your home a bit of a refresh.

Write a chores list going forward

After completing a deep clean of your home, you’ll want to make sure that you keep it that way going forward. A chores list can be a wonderfully easy way to stay on top of the household cleaning, allowing you to tackle different tasks each day to avoid you having to do one long clean on the weekend. Your list can include things like the grocery run, taking out the trash and other things you need to do each week that will make it much easier to keep your home organized.

Whether you like cleaning or not, there’s nothing more satisfying than a deep clean. It’s an exciting time of year on the way between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, so getting the season off to a great start will help you enjoy the holidays even more. How will you tackle your spring clean this fall?

This post contains affiliate links, which means I might receive a small commission,
if you make a purchase using this link.

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How to Clean an Oven The Easy Way 

There are many situations when you can end up with a grime filled unusable oven, whether it be from forgetfulness or part of a home renovation. If it is someone else’s property you have recently purchased, or even your own, you may find that food material has built up quite heavily and will require some hard work to remove. Pull on your cleaning gloves, it’s time to get that oven squeaky clean. How to Clean an Oven The Easy Way

Clean as You Cook

The hardest grime and mess to get off your oven walls is that which has had time to set hard. Over many changes in temperature any fluids and food material that has caked the walls of your oven will begin to set and harden, very hard. My recommendation is to give your oven just a brief 5 minute clean after every meal. It’s not very difficult and will save you hours of hard work in the future.

Cook in A Clean Way

Unfortunately, it’s another hindsight tip. The easiest way to prevent your oven from getting dirty is to just cook in a clean way. For example, when cooking things like chicken cover it in tinfoil to keep the juices in, and if cooking bacon there are various ways to prevent oil from flying out of the pan or tray.

Prepare Your Oven Properly

No oven cleaning tip is going to work if your oven is not prepared properly. Make sure all oven racks and trays are removed so you have the bare minimum to clean in the oven itself. Many ovens even come with removable walls and heating elements making your job far easier. These can be left to soak in hot water and a cleaning agent separately from the main oven.

Stay Away from The Chemicals

Man made chemicals are the quick and easy way to get your oven clean. But over time they will destroy your oven and cost you more money than your time is worth. White spirit is an example of a chemical many people will have for home decoration and reach for during oven cleaning projects. Take a bit more time to use conventional methods and your oven will last you far longer. Naturally occurring ingredients like baking soda and vinegar are your friends here. Prepare baking soda into a paste by mixing it with water. 75% baking soda and 25% water will make a good paste that should stick to your oven walls. For tougher stains that fail to budge use a solution of vinegar and water. If you have to use man made cleaning agents check that they won’t damage Oven surfaces.

Check Your Manufacturer’s Recommendation

There are various different substances that manufacturers use to coat the surfaces within your oven. Each of these materials may react differently to cleaning. It’s best to check the manufacturers guide (if one is available) to make sure you aren’t about to use a potentially damaging cleaning agent, or miss out on a useful tip for that specific oven.

Know Your Oven

Ovens these days are cunning pieces of technology. Manufacturers know the difficulties of cleaning an oven after months of cooking various culinary delights. Modern ovens (and even some older ones) come with various ways to make this less of a hassle, such as auto-clean modes.

Be Patient

Cleaning an oven properly is not a short process. If you are having a dinner party this evening and you need a clean oven first you are better off getting takeout. Most cleaning processes you will find require solutions to be left on overnight and I recommend this also.

Use the right tools for the job

Some stains and food material are going to need some convincing to remove. This is where physically scraping the walls of your oven can come in. A home improvement tool that you will likely already have is a wallpaper remover. These can be used (carefully) to scrape material off the walls. If you are worried about scratches wrap a metal scraper in a tea towel or use a plastic one instead.

Safety

Always wear thick rubber gloves when cleaning your oven. Many chemicals are toxic and can be irritating to skin. Also leave windows open and keep kitchen well ventilated during and after cleaning. This will help remove the smell as well.

Verdict

So there you have it, oven cleaning doesn’t have to be a difficult process it can just take some time and effort. Remember preventing the build-up of grime will always save you time and money in the long run. Hopefully you now know how to clean an oven and can use these tips in the future.

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