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Lost my touch?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by SmartCastle7, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. SmartCastle7

    SmartCastle7

    25
    Sep 22, 2018
    I'm 39 years old and I have been sharpening knives on a whetrock for as long as I can remember... so about thirty years off and on. I drifted away from stones in favor of the easy pull-through sharpeners for a few years, and now no matter what I do it just seems like I can't get the edge I used to be able to produce. I should also add I can get razor sharp, but not super fine hair with no resistance razor sharp. Am I tweaking my angle by a half a degree? Finer stone? Leather? Thinking about it too much? Any suggestions or tips are welcome.
     
  2. SmartCastle7

    SmartCastle7

    25
    Sep 22, 2018
    I'm 39 years old and I have been sharpening knives on a whetrock for as long as I can remember... so about thirty years off and on. I drifted away from stones in favor of the easy pull-through sharpeners for a few years, and now no matter what I do it just seems like I can't get the edge I used to be able to produce. I should also add I can get razor sharp, but not super fine hair with no resistance razor sharp. Am I tweaking my angle by a half a degree? Finer stone? Leather? Thinking about it too much? Any suggestions or tips are welcome.
     
  3. gonebad395

    gonebad395 Ironworker!

    May 19, 2015
    Are you using the same stone you’ve always used? Taking a few years away you just might have to practice practice practice to get back to the way you sharpened before. Tbh what you remember might be what you want to think you were able to do forget about back in the day and concentrate on your sharping now. Don’t harp over it it will come back with practice. Good luck with it man.
     
    SmartCastle7 likes this.
  4. SmartCastle7

    SmartCastle7

    25
    Sep 22, 2018
     
  5. SmartCastle7

    SmartCastle7

    25
    Sep 22, 2018
    Different stone/stones. I'm definitely overthinking it. I really just need to get a dull knife and try, no substitute for trial and error.
     
    gonebad395 likes this.
  6. SmartCastle7

    SmartCastle7

    25
    Sep 22, 2018
    Different knives, different steel, there are a lot of variables that I haven't accounted for.
     
    gonebad395 likes this.
  7. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    Freehand is an exercise of patience, feel, experience, and consistency for sure!

    Over the years I’ve learned to slow down and lighten up on stroke pressure. Letting the stones do their work and making sure the apex is getting cut takes time and attention, especially when the knives have recurves or unconventional grinds.

    I always go back to using a sharpie on the edge. It’s a simple but highly effective step.

    Good luck on your sharpening journey!
     
    SmartCastle7 and gonebad395 like this.
  8. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    You know me . . . or maybe you don't . . . it's called an Edge Pro Apex.
    Anything else is just playing . . . or shooting at a target in the dark.

    IMG_5497.jpg
    IMG_4693.jpg
    IMG_5257.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
  9. SmartCastle7

    SmartCastle7

    25
    Sep 22, 2018
    Sweet. I've had a lansky system, but I just never got a feel for it.
     
  10. danbot

    danbot Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Maybe you've lost the muscle memory and concentration needed.
    Practice more and it should come back.
    That's your punishment for betraying the stones with a pull through!:mad:
     
    Lapedog, r8shell, muslmutt and 2 others like this.
  11. DocJD

    DocJD

    Jan 29, 2016
    SmartCastle7 likes this.
  12. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    With the Edge Pro one doesn't need to develop a feel. Just watch the DVD or the YouTubes by Ben Dale, make a list of steps . . . step by step. Do it and WHAMMO !
    A jaw droppingly fantastico edge.
    Once you can remember the steps put the list away for when you forget how.
    It's as simple as : put your socks on before your shoes. Only there are more socks and more shoes but you get the idea.

    An example is set the stop collar using the first stone. Put the second stone on the stop
    collar and set the hight of the rod carrier from that. Do that for each additional stone. Sounds complicated (it is just the turn of a little wing nut).

    Forget to do this for each stone and the edge may suck.
    Remember to do it for each stone and you will not believe the hell raising edge you have just created for yourself.
    That's about it.
     
    SmartCastle7 likes this.
  13. Comeuppance

    Comeuppance Fixed Blade EDC Emisssary Gold Member

    Jan 12, 2013
    I find my sharpening ability is heavily tied to the available lighting and my mood. Harsh overhead lighting seems to be the worst, and that shadowless morning/evening lighting is the best.

    My advice? Get a beer, go sit in a chair, put a show on, and go by feel. That’s how I strop now and it works very well for me.

    For other sharpening methods (stones, etc) - calm music, good indirect soft lighting, maybe some candles, make eye contact, compliment th-

    Wait, just stop after the lighting and you should be good.
     
    SmartCastle7 and DocJD like this.
  14. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    I misread that and thought you said : tied to the available LIGHTNING and my mood. It kind of goes with your avitar. :D
     
    SmartCastle7 likes this.
  15. McFeeli

    McFeeli

    Feb 13, 2017
    For me at least, I have my good days and I have my bad days. One day I can freehand and end up with some of the best edges I've ever put on a knife. While the next I'm chasing those damn uneven spots that light up like some sort of antagonizing force. That's the way it's always been with me, as time went on I became more consistent, but that doesn't mean I still don't have those bad days. I say just keep at it and little by little your edges should return to par. Muscle memory will kick in.
     
    SmartCastle7 likes this.
  16. During the periods when I seem to lose focus on sharpening and my results are suffering for it, I'll instead just allow myself to put down the blade and stone and read here on the site. I look at discussions about sharpening technique and about stones (especially those similar to what I'm using), and participate in the discussions when I feel like it. Watch videos of expert sharpeners doing what they do best. In doing so, it seems like 99% of the time, something will 'click' in my mind to get me on track again, prompted by the reading and discussion and watching. Suddenly, I get that 'itch' in the hands again, and I just pick up the stone and get to it, as if I never stalled in the first place.

    Sharpening becomes intuitive over time, and I've begun to recognize that when I get that certain, restless 'itch' in my hands to pick up the stone & blade, I know the results will be good. The good stuff happens when we don't let our conscious brain get in the way. As previously mentioned, I also have begun to recognize when I'm not in the right frame of mind for it, when my mood is off for some reason. At those times, I don't try to force it and I'll just give myself another day or three to get my head back in gear. It always turns around, sooner or later.

    Something else that also helps me at times is, I remember reading a tip from one of our highly experienced members here some years ago. He suggested, in pursuit of getting the 'feel' for the bevels, one should try practicing with the eyes closed. It forces you to focus absolutely on what your fingertips are telling you, and pushes aside all the other visual and mental distractions. It gets the muscle memory tuned in again. That is what will get the process 'working' again, if for some reason, nothing 'feels right' in the hands during sharpening.
     
  17. Dangerously

    Dangerously

    Jan 8, 2013
    My freehand sharpening stroke is like my golf swing. I get it right often enough to make me think I should be consistent.

    But some days it just doesn’t happen, and I’ve given fifty bucks to the cart girl by the 11th hole.
     
  18. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Now I've never golfed a day in my life, put put golf when I was twelve doesn't count right, so all kinds of things are going through my head. Many of them were making me laugh while I was attempting to wake up.

    What I know of golf comes from a master though . . . have you ever seen and heard Robin Williams description of the invention of the game of Golf ? He had just got back from Scotland and he was doing a stand up. That bit is probably the funniest thing I have ever heard him say (top ten at least). Extremely "F" bomb plentiful or I might attempt to post the vid here. In any case do what you have to do, go where you have to go, battle who ever you have to battle, pay what you have to pay to see THAT skit.

    Hey I said what I know of golf I got from a master; not that he was a master at golf.

    So back to the person on the course with you. Did you mean she golfs better than you ? That you pay her to make the hard shots for you ? Even I know that's cheating. You should be ashamed of yourself. There is much that I do not understand here.

    I don't know given the situation I would probably send out a drone to leave a little bomb on the little hole you are trying to hit with this little ball and go off and do something interesting and fun with the nice and talented person you mentioned. She sounds simpatico at least.

    Besides you've already done this golf thing 11 times. Eleven is the ultimate right ? Anybody knows that.

    PS: come to think about it the only reason I was putput golfing is because I was with my girl friend (at the time) and her older brother was supposed to be chaperoning us and he wanted to beat on this little ball with a stick for a while. My focus was in an entirely different direction which seem to worry him greatly for some reason though I can assure my readers that my manner was most friendly though perhaps not as creative as some would imagine.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  19. Dangerously

    Dangerously

    Jan 8, 2013
    Sorry for the obscure reference. I’ll explain.

    Often golf courses hire someone to drive a cart around the course full of refreshments, and sell them to the golfers on the course. You’re out there for several hours, in the sun. It can be thirsty work. These people are often pretty college aged girls, because that sort of server will reap excellent tips.

    If one is having a good day, one sticks to the game. Slowly sip a bottle of water through the 18 holes and keep an eye on the ball, not to wreck one’s good score. Smile at the cart girl as she goes by, but focus on the game.

    If ones swing is off and the score is already ruined by the seventh hole, then the cart girl’s offer of a cold beer on a hot day is difficult to resist. And once she sees a golfer likes beer, she’s back around quite often to make sure they do not go dry. Hence my comment that, on a bad day, by the 11th hole I’ve given her fifty bucks.
     
    DocJD likes this.
  20. DocJD

    DocJD

    Jan 29, 2016
    Did you ever get a hole in one ? ;)
     

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