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How good is the 204!

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2001 12:00 am
by Alan2112
Last Week a friend of mine at work said he took some knives to SMKW, to have them sharpened. The fellow sharpened them all except the Spydercos; he said to send them to the factory for sharpening. I told my buddy to bring them in, and I would sharpen them on our 204. He has the old 203, but obviously never learned to use it. He brung me an old 50/50 8A Delica, and a old 8A Rescue. He told me these were dull, but to my surprise, they were just gone. The edges were completely gone, just a slight bevel! Well inspite of it, I gave it my best shot(after cleaning them up). After a little over 30 minutes on the Rescue, I had it shaving newspaper. The Delica was the worse of the two, after some light touch up on a medium bench stone, and an hour and a half on the 204, I brung it back from the dead! This is a testament to both the 204, and 8A steel. I've heard you can't bring back a an edge on the 204, well I did. Took a lot of work, but I did it. I asked him how bad the others were, he said they are worse. I told him to send them back to Spyderco, that's to much work for free. While giving him advise, I explained you should never let a knife get that dull. I think he learned his lesson, and I learned just what the 204 is capable of! RKBA!

Edited by - Alan2112 on 8/4/2001 12:01:17 AM

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2001 12:22 am
by ftkinney
after buying the 204 i sharpened everything including the cheepest near "butter knife" steak knives in one evening. i would highly recomed it.


Edited by - ftkinney on 8/4/2001 12:23:24 AM

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2001 4:57 pm
by Spyderboy
IT IS THE BEST FOR THE MONEY, MY GRANDFATHER HAS ONE AND HE LETS ME USE IT, I can keep my knives sharp and it's easy to use.

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2001 8:44 pm
by sam the man..
Hullo Spyderboy! Welcome aboard the Forums! <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle> Yeah, one word says it all : 204 ROCKS! <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle><img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle><img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle>


have spydies will travel

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2001 9:38 pm
by 80L
As a person whose never used the 204, or sharpened a serrated blade...what's the difficulty level of it? I mean, is a novice like myself going to do more damage than good? Just wondering...


Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2001 9:48 pm
by Alan2112
80L, that's the real beauty of the 204, it comes with complete instructions, in both video & booklet. It takes the guess work out, and makes it simple for all. Even though I can use a bench stone profeciently, I'd rather use the 204. It gets most knives just as sharp, and makes it fast and easy!

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2001 4:03 pm
by sal
hey, thanx for the kind words. I thought I would just mention that we are expecting to have our diamond triangles in the beginning of 2002. They will save a lot of time in profiling edges.


Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2001 7:11 pm
by khagler
80L, I just bought a 204 and, after reading the booklet and watching the video, attempted to sharpen two knives. Like you, I am a novice.

After 30 minutes and a really sore hand, I have two knives that are exactly as sharp as they were when I started. That's actually sort of good news, because it means I didn't damage them!

My impression is that the people talking about how easy the 204 is to use already have previous experience sharpening knives. For someone with absolutely no experience, it is not fast and easy.

I can suggest two things that would help a complete idiot novice like myself:

1. Tell exactly how much pressure to apply. The book says "press hard enough to remove metal," but I have no idea how hard that is.

2. Figure out some way to ensure the blade is held vertically. I'm finding it impossible to keep it exactly vertical, and this may well be why I'm having trouble.

It is possible to see the steel as it comes off on the white stones, and it appears that very little is coming off for me. This suggests to me that I'm still doing something wrong.

I will continue trying now that my hand is a bit less sore...

Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2001 7:30 pm
by khagler
A follow-up to my previous post:

I spoke too soon about not damaging my knives--I managed to break a tiny bit off the tip of my Navigator. I still didn't manage to have any effect on the sharpness of the blade, though.

I think I'll see if I can find a store in my area that can sharpen knives for me...

Edited by - khagler on 8/11/2001 7:30:47 PM

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2001 4:44 am
by Clay Kesting

I'm sorry your initial experience with the Sharpmaker hasn't been as positive as you might have hoped. Here are a couple of suggestions which might help:

1. It's hard to descibe just how much pressure to apply. It should be firm rather than hard, but is really not critical in the whole process. The fact that your hands are sore suggests that you might be pressing too hard.

2. If you place the Sharpmaker on a table so that you are standing directly behind it and can look down on it, it is fairly easy to keep the knife vertical. Holding something vertical seems to be natural reaction, I use it all the time when I'm teaching my students to saw cabinet-making joints. Just go slowly to start with and it'll come.

3. Don't let the tip of the blade slip off the stones. I always stop sharpening just before the tip when I'm using the corners and sharpen the point by sliding it down the flats.

4. A knife may take a while to sharpen the first time if you need to reprofile the bevel. Use a black marker on the bevel and a magnifying glass or jeweller's loupe to check your progress. Don't expect the white stones to remove a lot of metal. They are designed to polish out the scratches left by the brown stones and will only touch up an edge which is still reasonably sharp.

Good luck and let me know if I can help further.


Don't worry that the world might end tomorrow, in Australia it's tomorrow already.

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2001 5:17 am
by dePaul
Clay nailed it pretty good <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle> I´d like to add some more tips.

First of all; practice, practice and then practice again (preferably on some junk knives). Despite what people say, it takes a considerably long time to get the motion perfectly accurate.

After some time, you will notice that you are doing the strokes without even thinking of the execution. This is when you can start sharpening your more valuable knives.

As Clay stated, do not allow the knife to slip off the stone, this will make the tip blunt. Do stop the motion when some ½" is remaining. Then sharpen the tip section separately on a flat laying stone (the backside of the 204).

Some knives need reprofiling the secundary edge bevel (the blade is too thick). WOW, you need to remove a whole lot of metall in order to make the edge thinner and sharper. This process can take a very long time on the 204.

There are several ways to avoid soring your arms and hands. The easiest one is to simply attach a diamond hone to your Sharpmaker rod with a duct tape. Then you simply do the same motion as usual, alternating both sides of the edge. This procedure will give you a rough (however very sharp) edge. Then you can go through the motions on the grey and ultimately on the white stones in order to complete the session.

Happy sharpening <img src="wink.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle>

Edited by - dePaul on 8/12/2001 12:59:24 PM

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2001 7:20 am
by yog
Oo, diamond triangles, put me down for a couple Sal <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle>

Khagler : It does sound as though you are pressing too hard. Personally I would rather do more lighter strokes than fewer heavey strokes. If your hand shakes mid stroke and you lose the angle it is not too much problem with light strokes, but with a heavey stroke you could be wiping out the work of the last few.
One thing I found was getting the right speed made a big difference. I found at first I was going too slow, which is ok for a benchstone, but I found by going just a touch faster it was easier to keep the blade at a constant vertical angle. Speed and pressure come with experience. After a dozen or so uses I found the action felt more natural and the blades were getting sharper.

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2001 7:22 pm
by Sword and Shield
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.

Good Luck!

Keepin' it real...real sharp, that is.

Edited by - Sword and Shield on 8/12/2001 8:32:58 PM

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2001 8:06 pm
by Tom Percy
I have one of the "Sharpmaker"s from way back, and I still have a hard time justifing a 204. I can still but a wicked edge on with the oldy, but I have only 1 problem, and that is buying replacement stones. The newer stones are smaller, and do not fit as tight in the holes. However, with a bit of patience, the end result is the same.

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2001 8:38 pm
by sam the man..
Diamond Triangles? *~Yeahoooo!~* <img src="smile.gif" width=15 height=15 align=middle>


have spydies will travel