Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
bighoner
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Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby bighoner » Thu May 11, 2017 4:34 am

I read everywhere that people use the sharpmaker to get "scary sharp" knives. I spent a few hours with it total and made the two knives I tried less sharp. I'm new to sharpening knives on my own, at least, sharpening them to a higher level than using a pull through sharpener. The first thing I started with was a wetstone, and that went pretty well but I had issues getting the ends of the knives near the point really sharp. I could get them paper cutting sharp but not razor sharp. So I decided to try out the sharpmaker but it's going badly... should I try another sharpener like lansky or a belt sharpener? My goal is razor sharpness.

Are my expectations too high? To me scary sharp is razor sharp but is that unrealistic for a folding knife with higher grind angles?

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Surfingringo
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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby Surfingringo » Thu May 11, 2017 5:00 am

Hi bighoner and welcome to the forum. The problem you are having is undoubtedly the same that everyone has when learning and struggling to attain "sharp". Your edge bevel is steeper than the angle at which you are trying to sharpen so when you use the she sharpmaker, you are hitting the shoulders of the bevel instead of the apex. Once you have your bevels set more acute than your sharpening angle, you will be hitting the apex with every stroke and the knife will get "razor sharp" VERY quickly. Like in jsut a few strokes.

The whole trick to this sharpening business is getting your edges set at the angle you want and having them meet at a clean apex. This is done with lower grit and more abrasive stones. I do most of my reprofiling with the 325 grit diamonds. As a beginner, one of the easiest ways to get your bevels set (outside of using a guided system) is to use the diamond rods for the sharpmaker. Put them in the 30 degree slots and grind one side up and down until you raise a small burr on the entire length of the edge. Once you feel that burr form, switch sides and repeat until you raise a burr along the other side. After that, alternate sides until you can no longer feel the burr on either side. Now you have a 30 degree edge bevel with a clean apex.

The knife should be quite sharp at that point, even off the diamond stones. From there you have two options. You can progress through the stones at 30 degrees and refine that edge to your taste, or you can microbevel. To microbevel you will change to the 40 degree slots and take a few VERY light passes with whatever grit stones you want (try the sharpmaker medium stones to start). That will cause the stones to touch just the very apex of the edge bevel and the edge well get to "next level" scary sharp VERY quickly. Personally, I choose to microbevel most all of my knives as it's just so easy to maintain the edges once you've got your angles set. Remember though, none of this will work unless you get step 1 done properly with lower grit stones. You have to get your angles low enough and you have to apex that edge before you can expect to get anywhere into the realm of "sharp". Good luck and enjoy.

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Evil D
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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby Evil D » Thu May 11, 2017 5:02 am

Well to put it bluntly, you're blaming the tool when it's user error. I'm not trying to be a prick by saying that, I'm just trying to save you some money because you can buy everything out there and still fail to get what you want if you're not learning how to use the tools properly.

First things first, go watch the Sharpmaker DVD. If you didn't get one with your Sharpmaker, the videos can be found on YouTube​. If you did watch it, go watch it again.

Second, color the bevel of your knife with a black marker and then run each side along the stones to see where the stones are hitting the edge at. The stones will scratch off the marker. If I had to guess I'd say you either aren't hitting the very edge, or you're not holding the blade consistently throughout each stroke.

It's a very very simple and effective sharpening tool but there's​ plenty of room for user error. I don't know if anyone gets it right from the start, and most people eventually come to that ah-ha moment where they start seeing sharp edges. The important thing is to keep an open mind and always think of what you could be doing wrong before you decide that the sharpening device itself is the problem.
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
~David

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby gmhauy » Thu May 11, 2017 5:13 am

Welcome to the forum.
While I am not a wizard of sharpening, I can still provide a few pieces of advice as a user of the Sharpmaker, that I am sure more experienced users will complete.
1/ Watch the DVD provided with the SM and apply the process (medium grit (brown) rods, 20 strokes each side on the angles, then 20 strokes each side on the flats, repeat with the fine (white) rods). While you will find tons of different opinions / processes on various forums and on You Tube, from experienced "sharpeners", this is a solid basic process that should give you a good start. Once you will have gained more experience, you will learn to adapt the process to your own needs / knives, or to try more "exotic" methods.
2/ Even with a Sharpmaker, you may have surprises concerning the grind angles, even sometimes with Spydercos (which are supposed to come with a 40° angle). In addition to (1) above, use the Sharpie method to make sure your strokes effectively work the apex of the blade, not the shoulders of the grind. Controlling the grinding angle with the sharpie method is the single most valuable piece of advice I have ever received. (Basically, you blacken the grind angle with a sharpie and after a few strokes you check that you are removing metal in a uniform way and at the apex; you will find that with some knives you need to depart from the strictly vertical strokes as advised in the SM user manual in order to attack the blade at the right angle for this specific knife).
3/ Start with a knife of lesser value to hone your skills (no pun intended), and repeat until you feel comfortable.

Gerard

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gmhauy
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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby gmhauy » Thu May 11, 2017 5:14 am

OK, Evil D and Surfingringo beat me to the start, sorry :-)

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby Bloke » Thu May 11, 2017 5:25 am

gmhauy wrote:OK, Evil D and Surfingringo beat me to the start, sorry :-)
Ah, hahaha! You blokes are typing machines! By the time I hit preview .....! :) :cool:
A day without laughter is a day wasted. ~ Charlie Chaplin

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Evil D
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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby Evil D » Thu May 11, 2017 5:54 am

Bloke wrote:
gmhauy wrote:OK, Evil D and Surfingringo beat me to the start, sorry :-)
Ah, hahaha! You blokes are typing machines! By the time I hit preview .....! :) :cool:
Not bad for being on a cell phone :cool:
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
~David

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby Sharp Guy » Thu May 11, 2017 6:11 am

I will add to take your time and use slow, deliberate strokes while making sure you're keeping the blade at the same angle on each pass.
Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most!

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby bearfacedkiller » Thu May 11, 2017 6:48 am

No your expectations are not too high. The sharpmaker is capable of producing really sharp edges and you should be able to achieve that with a pocket knife. What knives are you sharpening?

All good advice above.

If the stones are not hitting the very edge then you aren't sharpening. That is where the sharpie can help, it shows you exactly where you are removing metal.

As EvilD said, it is easy to blame the tool when things aren't working but that is almost never the case. The only time it is the tools fault is when the stones are dirty and even then that is still really the operators fault.

You want to be removing metal from the very edge and you want to use light pressure and you want to be consistent with your angle from stroke to stroke.

Do some searching on here. We have coached many people on sharpening and dont hesitate to ask any more specific questions you may have. We are here to help. ;) Welcome to the forum!
-Darby
sal wrote:Knife afi's are pretty far out, steel junky's more so, but "edge junky's" are just nuts. :p
SpyderEdgeForever wrote: Also, do you think a kangaroo would eat a bowl of spagetti with sauce if someone offered it to them?

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby aquaman67 » Thu May 11, 2017 7:15 am

One thing that helped me the most was to mount the Sharpmaker down with screws and use both hands on the knife. I found a piece of heavy countertop of some type and mounted mine on that. Trying to hold the Sharpmaker with one hand and the knife with the other just didn't work too well for me.

After I mounted mine down I was able to get "scary sharp".


Spend some time on YouTube. There are lots of good videos with lots of great results. Don't get frustrated. Just keep at it and you'll find your groove soon.

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Evil D
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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby Evil D » Thu May 11, 2017 7:22 am

Something I just recently realized I was doing, every time I sharpen on the flats of the stone I'm not hitting the edge directly on the flat, I'm always angled one way or another so that I'm hitting more of the corner of the flat, so I'm essentially still on the corners. I've noticed much better edges now that I'm aware of that and I'm working to hit the edge directly on the flat of the stone. I've been using the Sharpmaker for a couple years now and I'm still learning.
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
~David

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby dj moonbat » Thu May 11, 2017 8:12 am

I didn't get good results with the Sharpmaker until I made an effort to make multiple strokes perpendicular to the edge, instead of trying to draw the knife all the way across and then stop before the tip of the blade left the stone. Having the abrasions following the direction of the edge was not ever really getting me to zero.

bighoner
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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby bighoner » Thu May 11, 2017 9:35 am

Wow, thanks for all the great advice, I will definitely try all this out. Lots of good perspectives on this out there. I think having faith that this tool can do the job is part of the issue. I'm sharpening a benchmade, 2 spyderco's, and a semi-custom knife designed by todd begg called the kwaiken.

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby Archimedes » Thu May 11, 2017 9:58 am

15 years ago when I got my first sharp maker my knives were really dull. The stones that came with it were no help in cleaning up the edges. I needed some serious metal removed. I bought the diamond stones and they removed enough metal to get an edge again. I own or have owned probably 7 or 8 different sharpening systems over the years and really only use my Sharpmaker. Once you get the hang of it, it will deliver those hair popping edges we all love.

I have always felt that Spyderco should offer the Sharpmaker with Diamond and the Brown stones. I feel when a lot of people decide to sharpen a knife it is already very dull with a ruined edge. That was the case for me anyway. Plus, I could live with just the Diamonds and the Brown stones.

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby jasonstone20 » Thu May 11, 2017 10:20 am

bighoner wrote:Wow, thanks for all the great advice, I will definitely try all this out. Lots of good perspectives on this out there. I think having faith that this tool can do the job is part of the issue. I'm sharpening a benchmade, 2 spyderco's, and a semi-custom knife designed by todd begg called the kwaiken.
What benchstone do you have? Do you have the diamond or CBN rods for the SharpMaker?
"Gotta love living in 2019 baby, (63rc too soft on a production knife)"
--Shawn Houston

"I am still discussing issues of steels and performance at this stage."
--Cliff Stamp

"Cause geometry cuts, .....steel determines the level and the duration"
--Roman Landes

"But in general, I'm all about high performance, Ergos, safety. That's why I've been accused of 'designing in the dark' "
--Sal Glesser

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby Eli Chaps » Thu May 11, 2017 10:35 am

I will also add that the knife HAS TO BE sharp on the low grit stones before proceeding to the high (finer) grits. Otherwise you're just going to be polishing a dull edge. It is very easy to want to move to the fine stones too soon and most all of us went down that road in our early sharpening endeavors. Stick with the course grit until the knife is sharp.

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sal
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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby sal » Thu May 11, 2017 5:22 pm

Hi BigHoner,

Welcome to our forum.

Sorry for your frustration. Did you watch the video?

sal

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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby palonej » Thu May 11, 2017 8:25 pm

sal wrote:Hi BigHoner,

Welcome to our forum.

Sorry for your frustration. Did you watch the video?

sal
I'll be a big boy and admit, once again, Sal is right, watch the vid!!! I was kinda sharpening, until I watched the vid. Now I have some seriously sexy edges!!
One more thing, have band aids on hand! You WILL have bloody fingers!!
Good luck!!
Joe

bighoner
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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby bighoner » Fri May 12, 2017 7:40 am

jasonstone20 wrote:
bighoner wrote:Wow, thanks for all the great advice, I will definitely try all this out. Lots of good perspectives on this out there. I think having faith that this tool can do the job is part of the issue. I'm sharpening a benchmade, 2 spyderco's, and a semi-custom knife designed by todd begg called the kwaiken.
What benchstone do you have? Do you have the diamond or CBN rods for the SharpMaker?
I just got the diamond rods, so I'll give those a go and see how things turn out as well.

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Evil D
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Re: Spyder Co SharpMaker - What am I not getting?

Postby Evil D » Fri May 12, 2017 7:53 am

bighoner wrote:
I just got the diamond rods, so I'll give those a go and see how things turn out as well.

The most important thing to remember with the diamond rods is to be gentile. Don't let yourself think that pushing down harder will speed up the process because it won't and all you'll end up doing is literally ripping the diamonds off the rod and ruining your rods. Ask me how I know lol. In general with all the various grit rods you'll get there faster with a light hand and letting the stones do the work.
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
~David


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