Japanese Hori Hori Gardening Knives  

The Japanese Hori Hori Gardening Knives are used in the garden for many activities, including digging, cutting, weeding, & planting. ("Hori hori" means "to dig" in Japanese.)

Guidelines shown below are for Included Angles (α). The two edges could be sharpened differently, but that is not typically done.

I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in the garden.

John Erskine

General Guidelines
α Micro bevel Notes Recommended
Tormek Jigs
20° +5°

The Tormek SG-250 grindstone works well for sharpening this tool. Also, grinding the outside edge using the Tormek's vertical position (with the grindstone rotating towards the edge) is recommended.

Because the blade is curved, the KS-123 does not work for this application.

The inside edge will need to be deburred using a machinist's hand file or a sharpening stone.

The use of a micro/secondary bevel makes the re-sharpening easier and faster, particularly if done in the field.


Notes & Comments

Information regarding Grindstones

Using a bench or angle grinder is not recommended as this will surely overheat the tool, removing the temper from the edge. Additionally, the shaping of the edge is difficult to control.

Sharpening the edge

If using a Tormek with the KJ-45 jig, the bottom stop is recommended (as indicated in the picture to the left). This makes setting the angle far easier.

The picture on the right shows a Japanese weeding sickle being sharpened on a Tormek (the blue piece behind the grinding wheel is a drip tray).

If you choose to use a machinist’s hand file,

  1. Start with a 8-10" medium (or second cut) file.
  2. Finish with a 6" smooth cut file, then use this file to remove the burr.

Micro bevel Notes:

The micro bevel makes the resharpening of this tool easier. If you sharpen the tool using a machinist's hand file, this is recommended. It is less critical if you use a Tormek grinder for the sharpening.

Ongoing Maintenance

Be sure to remove all caked-on dirt. A wire brush or putty knife can be useful for this. A well-kept tool will last your lifetime, and will still be usable by your children (and maybe your grandkids).

Camellia Oil Spray Bottle

Sap can be removed using a solvent. Acetone works well, but be sure to wear protective clothing as this is not kind to your body, and be sure the area is well ventilated.

After using any solvent, be sure to apply a thin coat of camellia oil to the tool. I like the spray bottle of camellia oil sold by Tools for Working Wood.

Some advocate using boiled linseed oil (BLO), but BLO often has heavy metals or other bad chemicals added for drying agents, and these are not good for you to handle, nor would they be good for the plants on which you might use this tool.

If the tool was exposed to any diseased plants or soil which is infected with pests, give it a quick wash in diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 8 parts water), and then rinse with plain water. Be sure to dry afterwards, and apply a thin coat of camellia oil.

Tools in Storage

Gardening tools often get stored for a while after sharpening, so it is recommended to oil the sharpened surface with camellia oil. (Indeed, all unpainted surfaces would benefit from this.)

Petroleum jelly is another option.

More Information

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Tormek is a copyrighted logo of Tormek AB. Its presentation on this site is used to help the user quickly understand when specific Tormek tools, jigs, or setting are being used. For specific information regarding Tormek AB, or its products, please refer to the www.Tormek.com.

About this site
Remember : The goal of sharpening is to produce sharp tools, and these tools can injure you if mishandled. Safety measures should be followed to protect yourself and those in your shop. Be sure to read and follow all instructions from the manufacturer, and and utilize proper safety equipment. Never consume alcohol or anything that could impair your judgement before sharpening tools, or using sharp tools. Comments can be sent via eMail to me at SharpeningHandbook@Gmail.com.