Suggestions for sharpening Lionsteel M390 M4

Discussion in 'LionSteel knives' started by JeffGW, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. JeffGW

    JeffGW

    14
    Feb 2, 2019
    How do you Lionsteel owners go about doing this. I love my M-4 in M390 but it is dull - it can barely slice through paper. I am a novice sharpener.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    I'd check this thread out for some tips, seen here

    sharpening

    and I am sure that folks will want to know what kind of system you currently have now?

    G2
     
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  3. JeffGW

    JeffGW

    14
    Feb 2, 2019
    Hi, Gary:
    Many thanks for suggesting the Seven Secrets - It is excellent!
    Well I am a novice but I would like to learn how to sharpen properly. All I have right now is a small portable Worksharp, a Fallkniven DC4 stone and a good strop with Green and Black stuff. I have read that M390 requires diamond stones and have read suggestions about getting DMT stones or using wet-to-dry sand paper over a strop. The different Japanese stones intrigue me but they can be expensive. I have a gut feeling that maybe my best first steps would be to use the sandpaper method but I loved watching the Japanese method of using stones and holding the knife at the right angle. So to me - a total beginner - there are a lot of possible ways of doing it and I guess I will just have to start with one method and learn from there.
     
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  4. Joe58

    Joe58 Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 11, 2002
    I’ve not had issues sharpening my Lionsteel folders in M390 using my Sharpmaker. Once you get it back sharp, be sure to not let it get too dull. Lot harder to get your edge back again.
     
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  5. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Perseverance is key, in about any endeavor. I have sharpened about every type of steel out there so far, with only a few exceptions. And M390 I have had many different knives made with that and did not find I had to get diamond stones to sharpen them.

    I have some Shapton stones, some Edgepro stones and a few water stones. The Shapton and Edgepro I use free handed, as I hold the stone in my left hand and the knife in my right hand to sharpen my knives. I can feel the angle of both the stone and knife and work to maintain that relationship to get an even bevel put onto my blades. Takes time and effort to learn but after doing so, you can sharpen almost anything with almost anything, kind of frees you up sort of.

    Good luck in your pursuit and practice practice practice!
    G2
     
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  6. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Gary pointed you in the right direction. There are several threads in this forum on sharpening ... https://www.bladeforums.com/forums/maintenance-tinkering-embellishment.794/

    You are correct in that many of the newer high carbide steels will require diamond or CBN abrasives to sharpen but the same basics apply to all steels. If you learn the basics and use the right abrasives for the steels you have you'll be able to sharpen anything. Welcome to the forums ... dive into the information that's here and lots of the members are helpful if you have question as you go.
     
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  7. emjay4248

    emjay4248 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 8, 2016
    Hi. I have a few suggestions for you. First, don’t practice and learn on expensive knifes. I ruined many great blades being stubborn and trying to sharpen beyond my knowledge.

    2nd decide how involved you want get at this skill. To properly sharpen a knife such as your
    M4 can it can take 1 hr. To several hours to get to where you want it. ( keep in mind that most factory edges need to be reprofiled the first time

    3rd once you make your time investment decision you need to decide on a financial investment decision and then decide on a system. I use the KME and between the system and the stones it can be several hundred dollars.

    If you decide that you want to do it watch
    a lot of videos on your particular system and ask a lot of questions.
    If you decide you don’t have that much free time then focus learning how to touch up on a Sharpmaker or other hand system and a really good strop block such as the Knives plus Strop block, it comes preloaded with compound.
    If you decide the latter send it out to someone like Gary and make sure you get in the habit of touching up and quick stropping your knife that you carried that day if you used it and don’t let them go so long as to let them get dull.
    If you need any help reach out to people who are knowledgeable such as Gary. You can also reach out to me and I’ll try to be of help but I’m a well versed novice and I only do my own. Good luck
     
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  8. JeffGW

    JeffGW

    14
    Feb 2, 2019
    Hi, many thanks for your advice: I had no idea that it could take up to an hour to do it right! However I WANT to learn how to do it right and am willing to spend the time I need to in order to practice and learn. I have a good strop block and compound as well as the Fallkniven sharpening stone. I think it best - based on what I have read from you and Gary - to practice on cheap knives (I have a super-cheap Buck folder and will get a Mora) before I do anything with my expensive ones. The KME system looks interesting but it is a big investment. I would prefer to learn how to hand-sharpen but will default to KME if I cannot learn hand-sharpening properly. What would really help would be to have an expert watch me and teach me but that is not likely to happen in the near future because of COVID restrictions.
     
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  9. emjay4248

    emjay4248 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 8, 2016
    I tried hand sharpening but I could not get the hang of it. The issue with sharpening is that even if you decide to do hand sharpening good stones become expensive. If you own many knives a good system pays for itself. I have about 60 knives left in my collection after selling off about half so for me it was a no brainer and at some point I’m going to acquire a Tormek but for now my KME
    Is doing the job. Keep in mind that most knives need to be reprofiled for the first sharpening. It is a rare case to get a knife that is the same angle on both sides. If you’re a person with patience then it is very satisfying if not it can be very frustrating. Any system that you get aside from hand sharpening the diamond stones are the way to go.
     
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  10. emjay4248

    emjay4248 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 8, 2016
    By the way, up to an hour is for a decent
    Looking shaving sharp edge. If you start chasing the mirror polished edge it can take hours depending on the steel. If you are thinking about the KME start watching these YouTube guys
    Dean O, KnifeKrazy and Knifeguy (he works for them).
     
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  11. JeffGW

    JeffGW

    14
    Feb 2, 2019
    Hi, emjay4248:
    I love it when another person validates the very same opinion I have been keeping to myself - that the stones etc. for hand sharpening are expensive too and that a KME is the best way to go. But I would like to try to learn hand sharpening first - even if using cheap stones and a cheap knife - I guess I am stubborn and will save the KME as my back-up option if I cannot learn to do it by hand. Of course if ever there will be a sale of KME systems I could easily change my mind but I doth that that is likely to happen.
     
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  12. emjay4248

    emjay4248 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 8, 2016
    The problem with cheap stones is that they give crappy results so you actually won’t know if you did a good job or not. I would reach out to people on the forum and get some suggestions for starting out. I am not well versed in hand sharpening stones. I would suggest getting decent inexpensive stones as opposed to cheap stones.
     
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  13. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    I've had a KME for several years. It is a very good system. But you do not need it and you do not need to spend a ton of money on free hand sharpening.

    You want diamond for M390. So...

    1. Ultra Sharp DC38 8"x3" 300/1200 combination diamond stone = $70USD
    2. Universal Stone Holder = $20
    3. .5um Diamond Spray = $20
    4. Red Sharpie = $3
    5. Paint Stick (for strop) = Free at big hardware stores

    I actually prefer 300 and 600 grit but Ultra Sharp doesn't offer them in a combo. The 2-stone kit is $77 if you want to go that route.

    For re-profiling I would recommend a Baryonyx Manticore. No it is not diamond but it is so course you'll be fine. Shipping and all will be about $30. That is for serious material removal. You can really lean into that stone and change bevels quickly. I would not recommend this until you know what you're doing. Don't be concerned with re-profiling until you can sharpen consistently.

    It should not take any where near an hour to simply sharpen a knife. You can spend a ton of time on the KME because one, the stones are small so it takes more strokes to achieve the same burr as a large bench stone and two, because people get caught up in re-profiling and grit progression. But don't stress time. When starting out it is irrelevant. It takes you as long as it takes you. These days I can sharpen most any of my knives in around fifteen mins tops.

    Paint your bevel with the Sharpie and run it on the stone. If it mostly comes off the shoulder and not the edge, you're too low, If mostly off the edge, too high. One or two strokes, check, adjust, re-mark, verify and go. Try it on a pairing knife to start.

    Raise a burr the length of the edge. Now do the other side. Then some very light edge trailing strokes to de-burr. Then very light edge trailing strokes on your spray-coated stick to refine.

    Start by only using the 300 grit. It must be sharp off your lowest stone or you're wasting your time moving up. There will always be a little re-profiling as that is just the differences between you and the factory but nothing major like changing angles and such.

    Watch some videos. Dean O has very good manual and KME videos. Outdoors55, Rough Rooster Knife Sharpening and tons of others out there too.

    Go to this forum's Maintenance, Tinkering, and Embellishment sub-forum and read the stickies at the top. Abuse the search function. And ask any questions you have. Great folks hang out there with tons of knowledge.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2020
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  14. JeffGW

    JeffGW

    14
    Feb 2, 2019
    I guess you get what you pay for, be it sharpening stones of a sharpening system like KME
     
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  15. JeffGW

    JeffGW

    14
    Feb 2, 2019
    Many thanks, Eli - this sounds like a great way for me to start.
     
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  16. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    If you do get some diamond stones, just remember to not press real hard. Just relax and get a feel for things.
     
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  17. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Here's a comparison photo of the M1 in orange and the M4, the M4 belongs to @emjay4248 who kindly let me take a gander at it as I was considering selling my M1 and picking up an M4. The size difference is considerable, but, both knives handle very well and at some point I will probably pick up an M4 but for now the M1 will suffice. His M4 has an exceptional edge on it, one that he applied himself, very keen blade!

    [​IMG]Untitled by GaryWGraley, on Flickr

    G2
     
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  18. Joe58

    Joe58 Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 11, 2002
    Nice photo Gary - the side by side really shows the size difference. I’m thinking I need an M1 myself. I think the M4 would be too much for my needs.
     
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  19. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Thanks sir it’s pretty nice overall but I did need to reset the bevels to suit my taste but I do have to give kudos to Lion Steel as it did arrive fairly sharp albeit a little thick behind the edge
    G2
     
  20. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    There will be an M1 in my future.
     
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