As one that has used about every means physically possible to sharpen a blade, I find that the correct stroke comes easy to me.
However, with practice, even the greatest novice can sharpen a blade to hair-popping potential and keenness.
My procedure for learning how to sharpen correctly and efficiently is as follows:
Firstly, buy yourself a junk knife. Good places to look are pawnshops, flea markets, sometimes hardware stores also sell cheap knockoff knives.
Secondly, rig your sharpener. An easy way to tell what is vertical on an angled-stone sharpener like the 204 is to do this: Take a small weight(fishing sinkers are ideal) and a piece of thread. Tie the thread to the tip of the stone, so the weight hangs free and out of the way. The weight should be sufficient to make the thread hang perfectly vertical.
Next, when you get ready to sharpen your aforementioned junk knife, examine the string. As you place the knife, try and make a line through the knife, from edge to back, parallel with the string.
Draw the knife across the stone, alternating sides. There should be a light brushing sound- like gently rubbing sandpaper on wood. The sound should be fairly quiet, if it brings to mind refinishing a deck, you're pressing too hard.
After a time, test the blade by slicing strips of paper from a sheet of newsprint. If the edge cuts cleanly, without dragging, the edge is finished and sharp. If the edge drags(believe me, you will notice if it does!), simply go back to drawing the blade across the stone.
After you have mastered this, you have not only a sharp knife, but a skill of which you can be proud.
Keepin' it real...real sharp, that is.
Edited by - Sword and Shield on 8/12/2001 8:32:58 PM