Victorinox Cadet - Why can't I get it as sharp as my other knives?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by retzius, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. retzius


    Sep 17, 2009
    Hello everyone.

    I have a Victorinox Cadet that I always carry in addition to my regular folding knife. I like the Cadet but I can't get it sharp past a certain threshold.

    Using the Sharpmaker I can get the Cadet to cleanly slice paper and shave hair with some effort but it doesn't seem to get as sharp as the other knives that I routinely carry. For example, last night I was touching up the edges on my Delica in VG-10 and my Manix in CTS-BD1 and I went through the same stone progression using the same technique on the Sharpmaker that I did with the Cadet and I noticed a huge difference.

    I could get the Delica and Manix to slice paper with less resistance and less noise and they would shave effortlessly. The Cadet never seems to get there...

    Any ideas why? Is the soft steel that Victorinox uses a limiting factor or is it more technique sensitive?

  2. The combination of the softish steel in the Vic blades, and the ceramic used in trying to sharpen it, makes it a bit more tricky.

    The steel itself, being softer and more ductile than your other knives mentioned, is going to be more prone to burring on the ceramic rods of the SM. Ceramic rods are extremely hard, not very aggressive, and they load up with swarf very quickly. And sharpening on the corners of triangular rods, or on round rods, focuses pressure into a very narrow portion of the edge. That combination just makes burring issues even worse.

    For Victorinox blades, I prefer to use a FLAT hone/stone in diamond, SiC or aluminum oxide (like an oil stone), or even something like a medium Arkansas stone works well. With featherlight pressure, a Fine or EF diamond hone has become my favorite method for sharpening Vic's blades. It becomes dead-easy on such a hone, cleanly cutting the steel with very light pressure and a minimal number of passes.

    As with any knife, thinning the edge geometry might also help in a big way, depending on the condition your edge is in right now.

    jc57 and powernoodle like this.
  3. retzius


    Sep 17, 2009
    Thanks for your reply. I was actually concentrating on the corners of the ceramic rods thinking that it would minimize burr formation and help cut the soft steel cleanly. I have a fine india bench stone and I will try that tonight. I looked at my edge under high magnification and although it is even and I am hitting the apex it looks really beat up and ragged. The hard ceramic rods must really be beating up the edge before it can take a really fine edge.
  4. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    Reprofile the holy badjinga out of it. Knock that stupid steep factory edge bevel way back to like twelve degrees per side and thin it out if needed to like fifteen thou or so behind the edge and watch out after that that you don't take your leg off by mistake with it. This turns the SAKs for regular EDC in to a highly useful and friendly animal.
    I fought that stupid factory grind for decades ( well . . .one anyway) until one day I got pissed and just started sharpening it like one of my nice kitchen paring knives and I won ! ! !
    I was so pleased.
    Now . . . mind after this you can't use it for hammering straight through the side of a pencil but who does that with a little knife anyway.
    I use these daily for fine controlled cutting to make my living ( along with some of the knives you mentioned ) and for that shallow is the way to go.
    There is at least one Cliff Stamp YouTube explaining WHY the edge not only cuts better but STAYS SHARP LONGER.
    I thought "wow this guy is saying exactly what I discovered many years ago on my own by trial and much error and he can explain why it works ".
    I've learned to listen and follow some of his other suggestions as a result.

    Murray Carter pretty much says the same thing. Basically start out silly shallow angle and thin and if the edge doesn't hold up go just a little wider in small increments until it does because starting out too thick and wide angle is . . . well . . . It just sucks so bad.
    PoorUserName and willc like this.
  5. db


    Oct 3, 1998
    Yeah!! thin that edge and you'll find the Vic Cadet gets really sharp. It is one of my most carried knives. I reprofile it to a very shallow convex edge and it holds up much better than you'd think. And sharp? One of my sharpest knives! I don't use a SharpMaker but use the flats not the corners, and you should be fine once the edge is thinner / lower angle than the SharpMaker is .
  6. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer

    Jul 4, 2017
    I have a Vic Woodsman that I've always had trouble getting sharp. No issues with my Tinker or my Walker, but the Woodsman just doesn't want to take a good edge. I've always assumed it was due to poor quality steel, but I think I'll take another run at it as suggested above. (This Woodsman is 40 years old and is very similar to the current Huntsman, except that it has no toothpick or tweezers. I think there have been other models since then that are not the same but are also designated "Woodsman.")

    EDIT: Also of note, this applies to the main blade only. The small blade gets very sharp.

    Looking at the blade it could also be that some dummy messed it up with a bad sharpening job many years ago. Of course, that dummy would be me... :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  7. The Zieg

    The Zieg

    Jan 31, 2002
    Also, remember the softness requires a lighter touch on the stone. Stropping helps my SAKs, too.

    jc57 likes this.
  8. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    Yes back in the day I thought SAK steel in general was just not first rate.
    Since I learned to reprofile them I have definitely changed my mind.
  9. lonestar1979


    Mar 2, 2014
    These knives whittle hair easily after you thin it out little and hold edge pretty well.IGET MINE hair whittling sharp on sharpmaker on flats or corners,no difference just use light touch,weight of blade.take off factory grind to lower angle first with any stone,then sharpen it on sharpmaker.
  10. retzius


    Sep 17, 2009
    Hey guys

    Thanks for all your replies. I was finally able to get a great edge on the Cadet. I pulled out the diamond rods and reprofiled the the edge to 30 degrees and it still wasn't great. I then put on a microbevel at 40 degrees and I finally got a killer edge. I guess I just needed to heavily knock back the shoulder to get a great result. It took way to long to get a good edge on this little knife but I learned a lot in the process.

  11. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer

    Jul 4, 2017
    Same here. I haven't carried my Woodsman in years although I occasionally take it out and ponder why it isn't sharp. After reading this discussion I got out my cheap 375, 750, and 1200 grit diamond stones and reworked the edge a bit. The main problem was a really poor "sharpening" job that I did years ago when I didn't know what I was doing. (I think I know a little bit more now, anyway.) I'm satisfied with a blade if I can slice very lightweight paper (similar to phone book pages) and it will do that now with ease. I think my problem is that I'm usually reluctant to get too aggressive and take off too much steel, but I guess sometimes that's what's needed.
    Storm 8593 and Chris "Anagarika" like this.
  12. brasileiro


    Aug 26, 2011
    Now I’m confused. I read here that cadet have 55-56 HRC then is a soft steel but I can’t understand how can you sharp a soft steel with harder stones like sic or diamond. Shouldn’t this stones be used for harder steels like 60-65 HRC?
  13. Diamond hones can be used on harder steels, on which other abrasives will struggle; but they will sharpen anything else as well. I like them simply because they cut the steel so cleanly & effortlessly, with no need for heavy pressure to make them work. And because they cut so cleanly with a light touch, it also minimizes burring issues that come with using heavier pressure and abrasives that won't cut quite as cleanly.

    It's best to make some allowance for the softer steel though. With diamond, this means I just do the same work with a somewhat finer grit than might be used with other stone types. For example, use a Fine diamond instead of a medium or coarse grit aluminum oxide / natural stone, either of which won't ordinarily cut as deeply as the diamond will. The scratch pattern will stay relatively finer as a result, than if a Coarse/XC diamond were used, which would leave very deep scratches and a pretty ragged edge.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
    Chris "Anagarika" and brasileiro like this.
  14. (disregard; double post)

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