Sharp Talk: Honest Musings and Mad Ramblings

David Martin

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Yes, I'd go to the coarse SiC first. And they don't have to be told every detail about what your doing at first. Just enough about where your going. DM
 
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"Old dogs and all that..."

A couple weeks ago @DeadboxHero posted up a sharpening tutorial video.

***If you're language sensitive, Shawn's videos are not for you.***


Now, Shawn is a guy who I'll watch most all of his stuff even if he's talking about something I'll never use or whatever. I enjoy his videos and his style and I'm always looking for stuff to learn. I know he's going to be using some type of water stone and often sharpening a Japanese knife in a steel I don't have. But like I said, I enjoy it. So with beer in hand I popped the vid on the TV.

I'm a "back-and-forth" sharpener in that I don't make a pull stroke, lift, make a pull stroke, repeat. I keep the blade on the stone and pull and push, typically with less pressure on the push (away) stroke. I'm also pretty typically a right-hand only sharpener. That's something I've always wanted to overcome but as this thread indicates, I needed to get some fundamentals locked down first and so I've stuck with what I'm comfortable with to reduce variables. Like pretty much all humans who use water stones, Shawn does that classic Asian-style "scrub" technique. That back and forth style wherein the blade traverses across the stone but never curves like it does the way I do it. Or, what in the video Shawn calls "grandpa style". :p

As this thread also indicates, I'm not afraid to express my thoughts that make no sense and this is another one of those times. See, in my simple brain, that style of sharpening just went with water stones and Japanese knives. For ceramics, diamonds, etc. I just always thought of my style being the proper method. I always knew you could do it the other way but just never thought it was, I don't know, the best way maybe.

But Shawn's video had me re-thinking things and so, even though I know Shawn is not a fan of the stones I use, I went ahead and asked him if he'd use that technique on something like an India fine. Shawn acknowledged he doesn't like my choice of stone :D but said yes indeed he would. He also said he'd use Windex vs. oil. I use that on diamonds but have always stuck with oil on my other stones.

Well, today I gave that "scrub" technique a go. I have a 6" Wusthof "Chef's" knife that I use more like a utility knife and primarily to break down chickens. I have turkey-duty this year and will be breaking the bird down into parts and the knife needed to be tuned up before that task. I also tried swapping hands and although somewhat awkward, because I wasn't having to curl my arm and such, it actually wasn't too bad. This is a pretty forgiving steel I know but it was all around a good first experience. I didn't do the Windex part but may well try it as I know a lot guys prefer that or some type of mix.

Quick stropping and it is pretty cleanly slicing paper towels in both directions. Couple hangups but not bad for a first try.
N2FQxhZ.jpg


I always remind myself that speed comes with practice and to start slow and this was no exception. I'm looking forward to trying this out more and seeing if I want to and will adjust my style.

So, that's what I did today. What do you do that is new lately? New stone? Sharpen a new knife? Or...?
 
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What do you do that is new lately? New stone? Sharpen a new knife? Or...?

The one thing I've really introduced more and more of late is increasing grip pressure with the holding hand (always right hand for me). In the past I used a "firm" grip and figured everything else was technique, but tightening up my grasp has made a noticeable improvement. Have also moved to a working height about even with the bottom of my chest or a touch higher. Used to feel awkward but now is perfect.
 

David Martin

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Yes, I like staging my work at mid-chest range, a higher table and sitting on a lower stool. I find, listening for a change in sound as the blade is pushed across the stone ( when available in a quiet setting). This gives me information toward where I'm at on the bevel. DM
 
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I often find myself in the living room in my chair working on a TV tray. It puts the stone right about chest level. I sit up and close to the tray and it works quite well actually. We have heavy wooden TV trays so it doesn't rock or slide around.
 
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I rarely have opportunity to use big stone & two hands scrubbing.

Most of my sharpening nowadays (including reprofiling) is by stone in one hand and blade on another method, switching hand. I use mostly plated diamond and finishing on Spyderco UF rod.

Recently picking up again my old Endura ZDP and gave it another go at removing a small chip. Probably I have improved somewhat that what used to be frustrating now is easy. :confused:

My most recent change is following belly with raising the handle ( HeavyHanded HeavyHanded technique) rather than rotating the edge to be 90° always to the blade plane (@unit or Ken Schwarz) technique. I found I can get it more consistent.:cool:
 
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I rarely have opportunity to use big stone & two hands scrubbing.

Most of my sharpening nowadays (including reprofiling) is by stone in one hand and blade on another method, switching hand. I use mostly plated diamond and finishing on Spyderco UF rod.

Recently picking up again my old Endura ZDP and gave it another go at removing a small chip. Probably I have improved somewhat that what used to be frustrating now is easy. :confused:

My most recent change is following belly with raising the handle ( HeavyHanded HeavyHanded technique) rather than rotating the edge to be 90° always to the blade plane (@unit or Ken Schwarz) technique. I found I can get it more consistent.:cool:

So Chris, are you saying you sharpen like Michael Christy (YouTube)? I don't think I could ever get comfortable with that but it is impressive and I can see the advantages.
 
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So Chris, are you saying you sharpen like Michael Christy (YouTube)? I don't think I could ever get comfortable with that but it is impressive and I can see the advantages.

Not really. I usually do edge away so I don’t use his method of looking into gaps between apex & stone.
Besides he’s a master and I’m not :eek:
 
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"Entertaining guests..."

Hello Sharpeners.

So, sharpening other people's knives. As my sharpening grows in proficiency, I find sharpening other people's knives very interesting. I've been doing it since I was kid and by and large, even up to today really, most people that I would it for had knives so dull that just a stern look at the edge would make them happy. But when you have a reputation in your circle as being "the knife guy" and/or when sharpening for people who are a bit more discerning, the endeavor becomes a bit more, I don't know, anxious maybe. Intimidating?

At least it does for me. I buy my knives with my sharpening style, tools, and preferences specifically in mind. I also know how to use my various knives and how to maintain them. I know I can make my knives sharp. General Pop is something else.

Even if I'm sharpening a Leatherman for someone who I know will hammer the edge in a couple days, I still try to make it a good edge (while considering the use). But sharpening for someone who likes their knives sharp, that ratchets it up a notch.

A good friend and colleague mentioned to me some time ago that she had a "Damascus" chef's knife that she'd bought her partner as a gift and that was their main kitchen blade. While they aren't knife people, they are foodies and she's told me many times about how her late father loved to sharpen knives and how sharp all the knives their house always were. She asked me if I would sharpen it and I readily agreed. I don't think nervous is the right word but I did find I was putting some pressure on myself to get the edge right. She said the knife didn't cost so given that I figured the Damascus would probably be fairly soft so I wasn't too worried.

Well, today she brought me the knife and well, it isn't Damascus. It's 67 layered clad VG-10 at 61HRC. I don't have water stones so I was little concerned. I've sharpened VG-10 but always the softer pocket knife stuff. I did not want to tear up the edge but at 61, I figured I could do alright with my gear.

Earlier in this thread, I was struggling with the Norton Fine India, I'm over that. I just needed to learn the freaking stone and now it's one of my favorites!

First thing? See if YouTube could tell me anything about the edge. Yep, the manufacturer had a video that informed the edge was indeed 15dps. That made me feel much better as if I had to, I could pull out the KME and get a good edge. The next video down was @DeadboxHero and of course I clicked on it. I knew Shawn would be using water stones but I always find myself snagging some small tidbit from his vids. And I did this time too. Shawn drug the edge over his stone before he started. I know it's a common practice for a lot of folks but not something I generally do. But when I saw Shawn do it, and then I saw all the tiny little chips in this knife's edge, I decided this would be a time I did that. So yeah, now I'm starting with no edge at all. Neat. :oops:

At any rate, some time on the India Fine and then some light honing on a soft Arkansas and I had it slicing free hanging paper towels. I know that sentence will make some folks cringe but it worked. I think she'll be pleased but I'm more eager to find out how the edge lasts.

I really like the challenge and experiencing something new. If it were a "true" Japanese knife I wouldn't have accepted but this worked out alright.

kazaaG4.jpg



s2f3LSl.jpg
 
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I can't see why anyone reasonable would cringe at that. As you just showed they work very well. It's not like you're restoring an heirloom Katana or something. Anyway nice job. :)
 

miso2

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Not sure if this is relevant in this thread, but anyway.....

I suck at freehand.
I also suck at chasing grits patiently.
So, I sought to find a quick way to get a nice edge (for my use) on most of my knives with steels from 1095 to S90V and ZDP-189.

What I do now is to sharpen at #150 diamond (Venev) on Edge Pro and then to refine the edge on #8,000 diamond (DMT EEF) freehand.
I have found that somehow deburring is easier on that diamond stone used freehand than using something similar on Edge Pro.

I can get an edge, which can whittle hair and cut free hanging tissue paper or toilet paper, very fast.
Also, I can get it back after some use just by a couple of very light swipes on the DMT EEF stone for several times before resharpening.
 
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Hello Sharpeners.

So the Buck forum boys helped learn that my old M9 that I was issued in Desert Storm was made by Buck. All these years and I had no idea. Super cool!

I hadn't seen it in some time and coming across it was sorta like reuniting with an old friend. I carried the heck out of that thing. It rarely saw use as an actual knife but it was a good tool. The dents on the spine are lingering evidence of a young me cutting wire of some kind. :)

Anyway, I decide to call on some newer friends and see if we couldn't get this old boy freshened up. So out came the Manticore and a Fine India and went at it.

Now, these things were never really meant to be super sharp. They are beasts and excel at being a sturdy tool but there's a compromise and that's in the edge and geometry. For myriad reasons, this thing is very challenging to sharpen. To start, the massive guard/mount makes it difficult to hold well and not grind it into the stone. Then the blade is really thick as is the edge itself. And the edge angles are pretty steep.

Top that off with the fact that both sides are ground differently. The actual edge is pretty even but the difference in the grinds messes with your eye, especially at the tip.

I again have to praise @FortyTwoBlades for this stone. It hogs off metal so incredibly well! And you can go from lighter pressure to really leaning into it and it just keeps doing its job.

So, it ain't splitting hairs but it'll cut paper and that's more than 20 year old me ever got it to do! :)

LMYYP7w.jpg


Z7a8MV4.jpg


This picture doesn't show it very well, but the right side is essentially flat almost to the tip.
QAsPVJj.jpg


Anyway, hope you are all well and dealing with the times as best as you can. :)
 
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Item on the right is the average result of sharpening chisels on my belt system. Going back and forth from belt to stone reveals a few degrees of variation across the bevel width top to bottom, and a slight downslope on the outside edges - due to overall angle shift, the cutting edge is still dead perpendicular. This was done on Norton bluefire 220 grit belt, leather strop with homebrew SC and diamond compound.



Item on the left is the standard deviation I get from freehand - in this case it was set up on Norton JUM3 and stropped with reclaimed grit to make the visible microbevel - this is my "around the house" level of utility sharpening. It is pretty much dead flat and endgrainpine is somewhat wettish looking, although certainly not as smooth as when I do a full progression.

6gdvaGnl.jpg



These pics are how I approach holding the tool to get the best control, esp with narrow chisels, gets a lot easier as blade width increases. This method works best if the stone is pretty high to the body, chest height or so. Any lower and you'd need some serious wrist mobility.

QlcjoZCl.jpg

lqec9Sul.jpg

axJ0czUl.jpg



I have been unable to match the flatness on belt that I get freehand. Is really only an issue on chisels, as the plane irons need to have some camber and that makes the lack of inherent flatness a non-issue. I have no intention of setting up my old disk sharpening system just to do the occasional chisel set, mostly for hobby craftsmen and utility work, so this solution is going to have to do. I have yet to get a request from a serious woodworker to sharpen their chisels (or plane irons) by hand - although I have done so for a buddy who does hobby jewelry boxes.

If the existing bevel is reasonably flat and square, it is not a whole lot longer or more difficult to do them by hand, but most are neither flat nor square, not even from the factory...


Anyway, the "honest musings" part of this is the attempt to get flat bevels from belt grinder - I had completely given up on the 1" belt, the added expanse of the 2" belt puts me in the ballpark.
 
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It's really interesting to me that you hold it sideways. In my mind I could see me pushing it straight away from me. It makes sense though when you see it and think about it.
 
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It's really interesting to me that you hold it sideways. In my mind I could see me pushing it straight away from me. It makes sense though when you see it and think about it.

I manage to keep it at about a 30° swipe angle. This way, for me, am able to much better control the the angle across the edge as well as shoulder to cutting edge. On thin chisels this becomes even more difficult, but the method I've adopted allows me pretty good control.
 
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