The right way to sharpen a knife

Keeping your kitchen and survival knife is more than convenient. It is a safety measure. I believe I don’t need to explain myself for the latter, but you might be asking yourself why having a sharp kitchen knife is safe? Why a sharp blade is safer than a dull one.

Because dull blades require extra force while cutting; sharp blades simply cut through the object. Sharp blades might slip; sharp blades cut right through it.

Now when you know that keeping the blades sharp is worth it, let’s get into the nitty gritty of the how to. There are three main things that you need to learn:


Let me start by stating that I am NOT a sharpening knives professionally. I can only tell you from experience what I found works for me. The knowledge was passed from generation to generation and according to me, still stands.

If the blade is extremely dull, start with the coarsest stone. If it requires only touching up, start with a fine stone. Depending on your stone put some vegetable oil or water on the stone – diamond sharpening stones for example require only water, while most of the other stone work best with oil. Align the knife on the stone at the right angle. The right angle is different for every knife; just try to march the existing angle of the knife.

Stroke the knife along the stone as if you are trying to remove the first fine layer. Pull the knife as you go so you sharpen the entire edge. NOTE: always be careful when sharpening knives. Keep your hands off the areas where the knife blade might slip or where it is going while being sharpened.

There are a few methods of recognizing a sharp blade depending on the intended use. Usually kitchen knives don’t need to be as sharp as the teeth of a Sable Tiger. I test kitchen knives either by shaving my arm hair, by running the blade across my fingernail or (when I run out of hair to shave and nails to try) by cutting a newspaper. See in-depth description of each of the tests here.

Keeping the right angle can be really tricky. Kitchen knives usually have changing radius along the edge, but once you get the hold of it, it would be easy.

Now when you know how dull is the knife, and you got the appropriate grit stone, do 5 strokes at each side, then 4 strokes at each side, then 3, 2 and one. Assuming you started with the coarsest stone, now move to medium and repeat the sharpening process starting with 5 strokes. At this stage you can try how sharp the knife is and determine whether it needs additional sharpening. Repeat the process if necessary.

I do really hope I was able to explain the knife sharpening. As I know how confusing it might be to actually READ about knife sharpening, I will leave you with a video of the process in the hopes that it will clear out any questions you might have.

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How to get a foolproof present for your stronger half

If you feel lost and desperate just weeks before Christmas. If you don’t really know what to buy your significant other. If you are like me and really like gifting usable presents. Then, my dear ladies, I want to show you my list of ideas that work every time! Work around his interests and your budget. The gift would be definitely appreciated.

First the no-nos. If you are on a budget never aim for bulky items. It is much better to get one small good quality item than a big lousy present.

  1. A ski jacket

ski jacketDoes he love the slopes. If he is a ski/snowboard kind of guy, he most surely would appreciate a quality ski jacket. Spend your hard earned money on fully waterproof, quality jacket. Again, note his size before you order.

  1. Get him a pair of sport shoes

If he spends a lot of time in the gym or on his feet. There is nothing better than such a thoughtful gift as a good pair of sneakers. By this time you should know what his favorite sports is as there are dedicated shoes for the different sports and he cannot really go the basketball with soccer cleats. Just get him a pair of high quality sports shoes like these. Secretly check what his shoes size is and order accordingly. And if he is a basketball player NEVER comment on his shoes size early on your relationship. The topic might be sensitive

  1. Sports cologne

Although choosing fragrance may be a bit tricky. However, going for a good sports cologne does not have to costs you hundreds of bucks, just go for a crisp, clean smell that you’ll crave.

  1. Belt and a matching wallet

beltOr just one of these if your budgets does not allow for both items. Men appreciate these items and really use them. Go for standard black or brownish color. Nothing sparkling, aim for classic look.

  1. Massage Gift Card

I am yet to meet a man who would refuse spending a full hour in heaven.. hmm massage salon. I know that you’ll really appreciate it too, so get one for yourself as well so you can share the experience with him.

  1. Dress shirt

Don’t scream ‘NO WAY’. This is one of my ‘last resort gifts’. A men can never have too many good dress shirts. Note what kind he prefers, note the size (always note his size) and you are good to go shopping.

  1. Sweater

But not the boring Christmas sweater, I beg you. Get a cotton/or wool/ smart looking sweater. You can choose between a V-neck and O- neck. Never go for a turtle neck or polo style sweaters. Many people hate having that neck style and you risk him never really wearing the sweater.

Well, that should be enough to get you covered. All of those are tried and tested a number of times and work like a charm every time. Don’t forget that holidays are to enjoy the presence of your family and friends and not so much about the presents. Just enjoy your holidays as Dean Martin sings – Let it snow..

If you are still unsure and cannot decide, please remember that the most important thing on holidays is just to spend quality time together. This is the best present of all. Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the holidays.

If you are struggling to find the right running shoes, try wet testing your feet. The simple 2 minute DIY at home test will show you whether you have high arches or flat feet (low arches).

Looking closely at your feet could guide you to the right type of shoe. There are two main things you should know before choosing your running shoes: these are the pronation pattern and the arch type. While the pronation type is a bit trickier to determine and evaluation requires special training and equipment, the arch type can be easily determined at home. It would give you a good start in choosing you running sneakers. There are three basic foot types according to the height of the foot arch: normal arch, low arch (flat feet) and high arch.

Which are the Arch Types?

There are three arch types – low, high and normal arches. Usually having normal arches means you have normal pronation pattern. People with high arches tend to underpronate. People with flat feet tend to overpronate. And whereas it is best that you pronation pattern is determined by specialist in a specialized store, this simple test would at least give you a direction.

photo courtesy of

The Test

You shall need:

  • basin
  • water
  • piece of paper (preferably dark for better prints)
  • your bare feet

Fill the basin with water and place the paper on the floor near the basin. Step into the basin and then step on the paper. Stay there for 1-2 seconds and step off the paper. Look carefully at your prints and compare them to the following scheme:

High arch

If you see only your heel, the ball of the foot and almost no arch at all, that means that you have high arch feet. This foot type is the rarest of all. This can be a sign that you are underpronator. The arch of the foot does not collapse enough to absorb shock when you run. The best shoes for high arches are shoes without added stability. You need neutral-cushioned shoes which would encourage pronation.

Low arch

If you can see almost your entire foot on the paper, that means that you have flat feet and that you tend to overpronate. The best shoes for flat feet are stability shoes – for mind to moderate overpronation or motion-control shoes, for the severe cases. People with low arches usually has significantly longer arch length than other two types. According to recent research for Foot arch characterization, this difference is approximately 1 cm.

Normal arch

If the print shoes about half of your arch, that means that you have the normal foot type. As a normal pronator you will be able to choose among all available shoes. However, the neutral-cushioned ones, without any stability support may be best for you
Remember, this fun test is just to give you basic idea and direction. By no means is this a recommendation for buying. It is possible to still overpronate even if you have high arches. For most accurate results see a specialist and test your shoes to make sure they are comfortable.

How To Make Your Leather Work Boots Last Much Longer

Good boots come with an expensive price tag. Cheap boots won’t last and are usually poor quality.

If you are like me, you probably have a pair or two of good, quality boots and want them to last as long as long as possible. However, I drag mine daily through mud, water, snow, rocks and rough terrains. Is it possible to delay the inevitable and make them last longer?   The simple answer is “Yes, you can!” All you have to do it to take adequate care of your leather boots. Take good care of them and they will be loyal companion in your day-to-day activities at work. Sometimes it is a real struggle to get the best work boots for your specific needs, so make sure you do your best to make them last.

Step 1: Clean them every day

You clean your hands after you get home, right. Clean your boots often, too. Every time you get home with dirt or mud stuck to your boots, let it dry and brush it off. A cheap plastic brush is good enough. Brush gently to remove the dirt. It’s a bit messy, and if you don’t want to ruin your carpet or floorings, just do it outside or use a lot of paper.

Step 2: Dry them well

A stand up dryer is a very good investment. A decent piece costs less than 40 bucks and will last you a lifetime. It will dry your boots overnight and in the early morning they will be ready for the next day at work. The dryer can also be used for other stuff as well – e.g. hats or gloves, but you should get the proper adaptor first. If your household has more than one person working outside in the bad weather, get each one a dryer. It makes an excellent present and will serve them well! Be wary of cheap Chinese dryers, though. Remember the basic rule of the thumb and don’t buy cheap. Most comfortable work boots serve you well and deserve to be treated well.


Never dry your boots near a fireplace or open fire. They will get too much heat at once and cause premature cracking of the upper.

Step 3: Oil the boots regularly

Pull out the laces – we don’t want them to get on our way. Brush away all the dirt with a brush. Put your hand inside the boot so your fingers touch the front part of the boot. Get a good oil (this is praised as one of the best) and use a fair amount of it in the area between the upper and the sole. Rub the oil well in the seam. This helps preserve one of the most prone to failure parts of your boots. Rub the excess oil to the upper of the boot. Add some more oil and get around the whole boot and don’t forget the tongues. Rub oil in all the stitching too, as these have to withstand constant abuse, too.


When you work in the winter, apart from all the harsh conditions, your boots have to withstand salt as it is used on the roads. Make sure you oil your boots at least once a month to keep them in great condition.

Step 4: Let them dry and use them again

Let your boots dry in a cool, dry place overnight. Wipe the excess residue with a towel.

Bonus step: find a decent shoe-repair man. Don’t get rid of your boots the instant they show some minor wear. Get them to repair instead to get the most for your buck.

These simple steps will ensure you get the maximum mileage from your boots. Depending on the work conditions the exact lifespan will vary, but will definitely be longer than usual.

Good luck and be safe!

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