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Thread: Sharpening Help

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Hitthespot's Avatar
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    Default Sharpening Help

    I have a number of very nice knives. Although some cost hundreds of dollars I consider all of my knives useable. Obviously a knife that is used is going to need touched up from time to time.

    Now I have an art that I'm sure most of you don't. I can take a fine knife with an edge that is 80% percent there and turn it into a butter knife in 3 minutes. I'm not uncoordinated, or stupid, but as soon as I get a knife next to a stone I know the only thing it's going to be able to cut next is melted butter. I have all the good stones, I've tried lansky (ruined a couple of knives on that system ) I also have the ceramic rods that go into the wood at angles. I know keeping the edge at the same angle on both sides is important and I've read a pleathura of material on sharpening knives. Nothing seems to work for me. Now my Randals are starting to get a little dull and need touched up. I am scared to death to get them next to a stone and I want my knive razor sharp.

    Any advise from you experts would be appreciated. What am I doing WRONG.

    Bill
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

  2. #2
    KNIFEMAKER george tichbourne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    There is a tutorial on my web site for sharpening, on the technical page.

    Sharpening is not difficult unless you have rounded the microbevel, then you have to re establish the microbevel before it will take a proper edge.

    Good Luck
    George
    www.tichbourneknives.com

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Hitthespot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    George, I read your Technical page. ( by the way your knives are beautiful ) The knife sharpening portion read like most sharpening papers that I have read except for one statement. You said that there are a number of items available to hold the knife at the correct angle while sharpening for those who don't sharpen knives very often. I believe this is exactly what is happening to me. I know it's not the knives because others have brought my knives to a razor edge.

    Where do I find these items that hold the knife at the correct angle while sharpening.

    Thank You

    Bill
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    I own about a dozen knives and would always go to have them sharpened at a store or gun show when I realized that I should be doing them myself. The Spyderco sharpmaker has been great for me. It comes with a DVD and booklet to show you how, including proper angles and number of strokes to use. I was very intimidated at first but now sharpen with confidence. Still some knives seem like they come out just okay,others come out WAY more sharp than when new.

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    Flashaholic* Anglepoise's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Hitthespot,

    There is an excellent sharpening system out there call EdgePro.
    A Google search will give you lots of info.
    I have used this system for many years and have yet to find anything better.

    Nothing wrong with free hand sharpening, but a guided system will not only sharpen very well,but will return your edges to the appearance when new.
    David............................................. "A few of my Home Built lights"

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    Flashaholic* matrixshaman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    +1 on the EdgePro - the BEST!
    There is no important work, there are only a series of moments to demonstrate your mastery and impeccability. Almine

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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    What I find useful is to cut a block of something to the angle you want (I did 15 with a piece of plastic card), place it on end of stone/sandpaper, then lean your knife against it at start of each stroke. This gives you a feeling of what the proper angle is and after a while you can do it without the guide.

    George, I see you advise using edge trailing stroke instead of edge leading most other people suggest. What do you do about the resulting burr?
    Last edited by jzmtl; 02-23-2008 at 11:13 AM.

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    Flashaholic* cutlerylover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Ditto on the edgepro, works great!!!!! the sharpmake is also a great second choice if you dont want to spend the extra $ on the edgepro...
    - JEFF


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    Flashaholic* Hitthespot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Is the Apex good enough or do you really need to purchase the Pro?

    Bill
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

  10. #10

    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    SEVERTECH,makes a cool one...........
    HAPPINESS IS IN THE DARK

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Honestly, I don't think you need to shell out for edge pro unless you have really shaky hands. You can do the samething with sharpmaker and it's a lot cheaper.

    I have a sharpmaker, it works great. While on PE it's no better than sandpaper, on SE it's so much easier. Also the stone doesn't wear down so you don't have to get new sandpaper every other sharpening.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* FlashSpyJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    I have the Spyderco Triangle sharpening kit and it works really well! I like it very much! I also have a Fallkniven DC4 stone which is my favorite!
    If you get the hang on how to sharpen your knife, this stone works like a charm! I get razor sharp edge on all knifes with this stone!

    I got some advice how to sharpen a knife before i got that edge, and some practice... If your interested in knives and sharps edges you will get there by some practice! I have scratched some blades and got rather frustrated before I learned how to do it right. The important thing is to hold the same angle as the blade is sharpened. But if you go with the Spyderco traingle kit with the dvd im sure you will get the edge you want!

    One thing you must remember is to be patience, you wont get a perfect edge if your not patience with it.

    I sharpened my friends kitchen knife today, thought it wasnt sharp enough and wasnt careful enough and the knife got lose i my hand and almost removed a layer of skin from my pinky!
    So remember to be very careful too!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitthespot View Post
    Is the Apex good enough or do you really need to purchase the Pro?

    Bill
    Most sharpening systems that I've tried are much harder to get good results with than free hand sharpening on a stone. The problem is that free hand sharpening is great for touching up a sharp edge, but can be tricky and very time consuming when the edge is lost and must be completely redefined. This is where jigs and the like shine, and the Edgepro is the best I've ever heard of. The key to sharpening is to realize that it is a process with multiple steps. None of these are difficult, but they are important. The trick is a "light firm touch" with proper technique, and Maintenance is key! Don't let them get dull to begin with, much easier that way.....

    I have the Edgepro Apex and would recommend that model, it's more than sufficient for professional results. Make sure you order extra 120 grit stones, you will go through those fast. The Apex is rather easy to use , but requires a little touch to get the best results, and it will give great results time and time again. There are some good package deals available out there, PM me if your interested.

    Hold off on the Randalls for now........or try stropping first!!!

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Hitthespot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Quote Originally Posted by mspeterson View Post

    PM me if your interested.

    Hold off on the Randalls for now........or try stropping first!!!
    PM sent.

    Thanks

    Bill
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    I had the same problem you did until I bought a Razor Edge system many years ago. It really made things sing for me. And once I got the hang of it on the Razor Edge, I found I could do everything else also, including freehand. I highly recommend it as the best learning tool there is, even though I rarely use it anymore. The mechanics are exactly as in freehand.

    I've never been enamored of the Edge Pro. Not only do I find the setup a drag, including taping up the blades on good knives so the finish doesn't get too badly marred, but I can get knives kinda sharp but not super sharp on the Edge Pro (whereas I can get knives incredibly sharp using other methods). So, perhaps I"m doing something wrong, though I even went so far as to buy the video and still can't figure out what. So these days, I sometimes use my Edge Pro to thin an edge, but never finish the edge on it.

    Joe
    Last edited by Joe Talmadge; 02-23-2008 at 07:16 PM.

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    Flashaholic* cutlerylover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitthespot View Post
    Is the Apex good enough or do you really need to purchase the Pro?

    Bill
    Apex works just as nice, just wont last the 30 years the pro might, it will last about 5-10, lol, no one really needs the pro unless they do this proffetionally for others...In my opinion anyway...
    - JEFF


  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Hitthespot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Talmadge View Post
    I had the same problem you did until I bought a Razor Edge system many years ago. It really made things sing for me. And once I got the hang of it on the Razor Edge, I found I could do everything else also, including freehand. I highly recommend it as the best learning tool there is, even though I rarely use it anymore. The mechanics are exactly as in freehand.

    I've never been enamored of the Edge Pro. Not only do I find the setup a drag, including taping up the edges on good knives so the finish doesn't get too badly marred, but I can get knives kinda sharp but not super sharp on the Edge Pro (whereas I can get knives incredibly sharp using other methods). So, perhaps I"m doing something wrong, though I even went so far as to buy the video and still can't figure out what. So these days, I sometimes use my Edge Pro to thin an edge, but never finish the edge on it.

    Joe
    You have peaked my interest on the Razor Edge. If this will help teach me how to then maybe this is a better product. The cost is better that's for sure. How about some more details about this product.

    Thanks

    Bill
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

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    KNIFEMAKER george tichbourne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    By assistance I mean something like the Lansky system. It holds the sharpening stone at a fixed angle to the edge so there is not too much chance of getting the angle wrong.

    There are also roller jigs for sharpening plane blades precisely.

    The burr that is raised I usually take off with some polishing compound on a leather strop or on a pine board by stropping in the same motion as I sharpen the blade.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* TORCH_BOY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Quote Originally Posted by matrixshaman View Post
    +1 on the EdgePro - the BEST!
    I have to get one of those

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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Most common sharpening mistakes is they are hitting the bevels and not the edge. So get a sharpie and mark the edge. Try sharpening and look at the edge with a strong light. If the edge stays marked with sharpie, its not being sharpened. Best piece of equipment for me is a minimum 15x loupe ( magnifying eyepiece ) to see clearly whats happening to the edge.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Hitthespot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Tan View Post
    Most common sharpening mistakes is they are hitting the bevels and not the edge. So get a sharpie and mark the edge. Try sharpening and look at the edge with a strong light. If the edge stays marked with sharpie, its not being sharpened. Best piece of equipment for me is a minimum 15x loupe ( magnifying eyepiece ) to see clearly whats happening to the edge.
    Thanks Kevin, I will give it a try the next time I sharpen. I will try it on one of my cheapies first!

    Bill
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Kevin, I find that the sharpie trick isn't accurate enough to tell whether you're hitting the edge or not. The best, most accurate way is to raise a burr that's big enough that you can feel, along the entire length of the edge. That's the only sure way to know you've exposed fresh steel on the edge, eyeballing it -- even through a loupe -- isn't enough. I do use a sharpie to gauge my progress and keep from getting frustrated when I'm doing re-profiling, I think it's a great tool .... but once the sharpie is worn away, in my opinion you should not stop until you feel a burr.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitthespot View Post
    You have peaked my interest on the Razor Edge. If this will help teach me how to then maybe this is a better product. The cost is better that's for sure. How about some more details about this product.

    Thanks

    Bill
    Bill, just to be clear, I'm not saying the Razor Edge clamps are a "better product" than the Edge Pro, the Edge Pro is extremely high quality and many people get great results on it. But, if you want to learn how to freehand sharpen eventually, nothing beats the Razor's Edge approach, IMO. You put the clamp on the blade, doing some very simple geometry to make sure the clamp is in the right spot. At that point, you put the clamped blade on the stone and sharpen using the exact same movements and methods as if you were sharpening freehand. Sharpen 50 knives this way, and your muscle memory will be pretty good -- I found I magically went from only being able to dull a knife freehand, to being able to do a competent job, after I'd used the Razor Edge for a while. It took a bit more freehand practice to get even better.

    The downside to the Razor Edge clamp is that you have a very narrow range of angles. Basically, the clamp is built to whatever angle Juranitch picked, and you can very slightly modify that angle by adjusting the location that you put the clamp. This is not a disadvantage to a beginner whose primary goal is to learn to sharpen. But down the road, you'll want more freedom to pick your own angles -- to really bring out the best properties of well-chosen, well-heat-treated steels, you need to pick the right angle. Not an issue for you at this point, though.

    All of the sharpeners mentioned here all endeavor to do the same thing -- to hold the blade/stone angle steady, through various methods (though only the Razor Edge uses the exact same mechanics as freehand). You still need to pick the right angles and grits, and you still need to grind in some relief ("backbevel") before you start sharpening.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    I have an Edge Pro , hardly ever sees use , mostly I use a Spyderco Sharpmaker ( the new model that does backbevels ) . Forget the Lansky , works but is a PITA , an messy . I also have a platoon of waterstones , ceramic flatstones , an DMT flatstones . These mostly ge used for real hardship cases people bring to me . The trick is to get to yourstuff before it gets too dull , touch up on the Sharpmaker , and backbevel . The Sharpmaker has a very goo DVD tutorial . In the kitchen I use medium Crok Stick ceramic rods .

    Chris

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    Flashaholic* Hitthespot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Thanks Joe, I understand perfectly what your saying. I would like to be able to sharpen freehand. My Randalls all come with a stone in the sheath for touch up work in the field. A lot of good they do you if you can't sharped without some machine you don't have with you.
    In a survival situation I wouldn't want to be saying, "I wish I had my sharpening machine with me."

    Again thank you. I think I will get the Razor Edge first ( because of cost ) and I may down the road get the EdgePro.

    Which kit do you recommend? 6" or 8" stones?

    Bill
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    I actually never used the Razor Edge stones, only the clamps. I typically sharpened on the big Spyderco ceramic stones. My advice would be to go as big as you can afford -- if the 8" stones don't cost too much for you, go for that. Also look around at other big synthetic and diamond stones. There's nothing magic about the Razor Edge stones, the magic is in the clamps, so just get whatever stones work for you.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Talmadge View Post
    ...The best, most accurate way is to raise a burr that's big enough that you can feel, along the entire length of the edge. That's the only sure way to know you've exposed fresh steel on the edge...
    +1 to Joe. I sharpen freehand and that's how you know you've reached the "edge". I highly recommend this book which makes it all so clear (check you're library...). On a few selected kitchen knives, I try for a near "zero edge" which has minimum or almost no bevel, and a shallow flat grind all the way from the spine in. Do that once (took hours of hand grinding for a 10 inch chefs knife), and the knife edge will be easy to maintain for years if the steel is good and you don't abuse the blade. Down side is the sides of the blade are no longer shiny which used to annoy my wife until she got the experience of working with properly sharpened kitchen knives.

    I think the jigs are nice if you want to keep your knife pretty, but if you are willing for it to look used, a hand honed near zero edge blade is very hard to beat.
    Last edited by nerdgineer; 02-24-2008 at 11:46 PM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Joe and several others who have posted here know their stuff (go ahead and google their names and find out why I am saying that). I'd only add a couple of things from my experience.

    First, the use of a marker on the edge will get you into the ballpark as to the angle and make it easier for you to get to the burr or wire edge stage that tells you that you've got the right angle.

    Second, as for having a take along set up for sharpening which can be used for survival, a Lansky kit with their screw clamp works well, the Sharpmaker could also fit the bill (I don't have one myself but it seems to be easily portable), but the best and most portable option is being able to work freehand with a good stone or two, or even a combination stone. That would be the most compact choice.
    "Show them a light, and they'll follow it anywhere..."

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    I've never used clamps, but wouldn't you have trouble with knives that has no flat spot, i.e. flat grind or double bevel? The angle you set on clamps isn't necessarily what you get at the edge.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Sharpening Help

    Just in case this is of any use - if you own a Benchmade, you can send it to the factory and they sharpen it free. All they ask is a $5 shipping/handling fee to send your knife back.

    I sent my Nimravus to them for sharpening (after I trashed the blade shoving it into a steel-spring mattress) and it came back looking like new.

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