SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:54 pm

the Southerner wrote:
JaseRicco wrote:I am going to add ONE additional step to my Spyderco SharpMaker to give me an even sharper edge, and am curious if I will yield better results with the UF Rods or a Leather Strop?

If it is the latter, since I have never stroped, tips are welcome.

:) :) :spyder: :spyder:
About the Ultra Fine:

make sure you lap the ultra fine before you even use, meaning you buy a medium ceramic rod from whoever, doesn't have to be Spyderco, but it has to be medium ceramic. Put mineral oil on the ultra fine as if you were going to sharpen with it, and instead grind the medium ceramic parallel to the ultra fine's surface, use a lot of pressure and also don't use the flat side of the medium, use the triangular edge. What you're doing is cutting all potentially damaged abrasive off the stone so it cuts the steel better, and you need the ultra fine to cut as much as possible because of how insanely fine it is. I use a regular ol Lansky ceramic rod you can get for $8 off amazon.

There's no need to do this in my experience. Both my UF rods and my UF bench stone work fine without any prep work. I took them out of the package, used them, and immediately got great results. Same with every Spyderco sharpening product I've owned.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:02 pm

ZrowsN1s wrote:It's always interesting to hear everyones experiences with strops and the stones. There is certainly a range of experiences. Reminds me there are no wrong answers. What ever gets your knife sharp easiest for you, is what you should go with.

I must have a talent for stropping, once a knife has been properly sharpened once, even if it has dulled to the point it won't shave arm hair, I rarely fail to get it back to shaving sharp in no time at all using nothing but a pasted strop. I only use stones to reprofile or when the edge has actual damage, chips, ect. (the exception to this rule for me is SE, I use the stones to sharpen those almost every time since I got the sharpmaker, because stroping SE is a pain).

:D I challenge all strop naysayers to work on their strop technique! You might find you don't need to use the stones nearly as often as you do... or maybe it's just me :o :spyder: I've certainly been wrong before.
I've tried a variety of strops, compounds and techniques over a 12 year period. I've always felt like a dulled edge brought back with a strop doesn't feel as crisp as one brought back with a fine or ultrafine stone. Looking under magnification confirmed this for me.

I'll use a strop as a finishing step for certain knives. I particularly like it for SE, which is ironic considering you don't. My technique for them is I cut a notch in my compound block, and I rub the notched portion on the edge of my strop. Then I use that edge like the corner of a sharpmaker rod, except with edge trailing strokes. But I never use my strop to bring back a dulled edge, only stones. And when I do strop, it's only once or twice per side. Any more than that and I feel like it makes the edge less crisp, even if it seems to whittle hair better.

On a purely theoretical level I don't see how using a surface that bends and warps so easily to pressure would achieve a more precisely formed edge than a firmer surface. The same way I don't see how a sharpmaker rod could achieve a better edge than spyderco benchstone with a wider surface.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby JaseRicco » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:22 pm

Stropping is definitely something I will learn to do in the future. I ultimately decided on the UF Rods at this time because it is the natural progression for me given I have no sharpening skill to speak of at this point, and I am already using the SharpMaker...just makes sense.

As I perfect my sharpening technique on the SM, I may try to dabble in freehand sharpening, but will definately start stropping.
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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby ZrowsN1s » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:46 pm

Vivi wrote: I've tried a variety of strops, compounds and techniques over a 12 year period. I've always felt like a dulled edge brought back with a strop doesn't feel as crisp as one brought back with a fine or ultrafine stone. Looking under magnification confirmed this for me.

I'll use a strop as a finishing step for certain knives. I particularly like it for SE, which is ironic considering you don't. My technique for them is I cut a notch in my compound block, and I rub the notched portion on the edge of my strop. Then I use that edge like the corner of a sharpmaker rod, except with edge trailing strokes. But I never use my strop to bring back a dulled edge, only stones. And when I do strop, it's only once or twice per side. Any more than that and I feel like it makes the edge less crisp, even if it seems to whittle hair better.

On a purely theoretical level I don't see how using a surface that bends and warps so easily to pressure would achieve a more precisely formed edge than a firmer surface. The same way I don't see how a sharpmaker rod could achieve a better edge than spyderco benchstone with a wider surface.

Image
I think 12 years is long enough to have formed an opinion. I have a feeling we like different edge characteristics. Crisp vs. smooth shaving perhaps.
As for the second part... it would take way too long to get into the weeds of that. I would recomend you read this if you are interested.
https://scienceofsharp.wordpress.com/20 ... opping-do/

Here's a link to the rest of the website, it is really interesting and educational.
https://scienceofsharp.wordpress.com/
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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby Surfingringo » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:34 pm

Hey JaseRicco, sounds like you are falling down the Spyderco rabbit hole and having fun learning about edges while you are at it. That's a good thing as the whole sharpening journey really adds another dimension to the knife hobby. You've been very polite here from the moment you joined and seem to be open minded about learning and hearing advice so I hope you don't mind if I take a few minutes to drop a few sharpening tips on you. I hope none of this is too remedial but if it is then maybe someone else will get something out of it.

The first thing I will mention is the idea of edge bevels and microbevels. The edge bevel is the sharpened part of the blade that does the cutting. The edge bevel is visible to the eye and usually extends up about 1/8" from the cutting edge (More or less depending on the sharpening angle and the thickness of the blade down there). Spyderco usually tries to send their knives out from the factory with about a 30 degree inclusive edge bevel (15 degrees per side).

Now lets talk about a microbevel. A microbevel is a secondary bevel created by sharpening the edge bevel at a slightly wider angle. See illustration below. (Fancy drawing skills huh?? :p )
Image

When you use a wider sharpening angle the sharpening stone only makes contact with the very small section of the edge bevel right at the cutting edge. There are MANY benefits to this. First of all, because you are only removing steel from a tiny section, sharpening is MUCH faster than if you were having to remove steel from the entire edge bevel. It also means that you don't have to be quite as perfect with your angle to get amazing results. This is because you are making contact with the apex even if your precision is off by a degree or two. There are many other benefits too like being able to add strength and stability to the apex even on a very low angle edge. The main benefit in my book though is it makes resharpening almost effortless. A sharpening job that might take you 5-10 minutes if sharpening the entire edge can be done in less than a minute with a microbevel.

Now, one of the reasons that people initially get great results with the sharpmaker even though they are new to the tool is they are using a microbevel without even knowing it. Since most of Spyderco's knives come from the factory with a 30 degree edge, the 40 degree rods will naturally start creating a microbevel. What you will notice over time though is that with each sharpening, the microbevel will start to creep into the edge bevel and the microbevel won't be so "micro" anymore. Eventually, the 40 degree edge will completely take over the 30 degree edge and you will find that it is taking MUCH longer to sharpen and you are having more trouble bringing your edge to the same level of sharpness that you were achieving so easily at first. This is when you need to reprofile and this is where the CBN or diamond rods become necessary (or bench stones or guided system).

Once your microbevel has gotten too big, you need to resharpen the entire edge back to a 30 degree bevel and bring it back to an apex, completely eliminating the microbevel. From there you have what is basically a "factory edge" again and you can begin the whole process anew. This part of edge maintenance will take a bit of time. I can usually reprofile a knife to 30 degrees in 10-15 minutes on the SM with diamond rods, but this will greatly depend on how big you let the microbevel get between reprofiles.

This is why I told you that the Diamond rods would end up playing a bigger role in how sharp you get your blades than the UF rods. Sure, you can sharpen a big wide bevel with a high grit stone and get it sharp but it is hard to match the crispness of a brand new microbevel on a fresh apex, especially when it took you all of 30 seconds to get it hair popping sharp.

This certainly isn't the only way to sharpen but it is a good way and an efficient way and will get you excellent results.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby atv223 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:41 pm

Surfingringo wrote:Neither. Diamond or cbn rods are going to prove much more important for maintaining extremely sharp edges. It is a simple matter to make any steel sharp enough to whittle free hanging hairs with just the regular fine rods. How much sharper than that do you want your edges? If you aren’t able to get those types of results yet then you are better off practicing your technique than trying to chase sharpness through higher refinement. Just my 2 cents.

All that said, I bought the UF rods years ago and had fun with them for awhile and still use them on rare occasions. There’s nothing wrong with owning them, it’s just that the diamond rods are a vastly more important addition to the Sharpmaker.
I need to work on my technique big time! I can get hair shaving sharp, but I've yet to whittle hair. Any suggestions?

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby Surfingringo » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:48 pm

atv223 wrote:
Surfingringo wrote:Neither. Diamond or cbn rods are going to prove much more important for maintaining extremely sharp edges. It is a simple matter to make any steel sharp enough to whittle free hanging hairs with just the regular fine rods. How much sharper than that do you want your edges? If you aren’t able to get those types of results yet then you are better off practicing your technique than trying to chase sharpness through higher refinement. Just my 2 cents.

All that said, I bought the UF rods years ago and had fun with them for awhile and still use them on rare occasions. There’s nothing wrong with owning them, it’s just that the diamond rods are a vastly more important addition to the Sharpmaker.
I need to work on my technique big time! I can get hair shaving sharp, but I've yet to whittle hair. Any suggestions?
Start with a freshly sharpened 30 degree edge with a very clean and sharp apex. From there, start adding a 40 degree microbevel with very light pressure. Go very slow and pay close attention to keeping your angles as precise as possible. Within 10-20 very light passes you will be near hair whittling. Keep going progressively lighter and lighter until you are barely even using the weight of the knife as pressure against the stone. You'll get there.

ETA - obviously, you can accomplish this with other angles... a 20 degree edge with a 30 degree microbevel for example. I just said 30 and 40 degrees because that's what the sharpmaker allows and I know it will work. :)

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby ZrowsN1s » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:16 pm

A helpful drawing Lance :) When Vivi asked how a strop makes a more precise edge, what I should have said is it works almost the same as a micro bevel. It is convex instead of flat, and there are a few other noteable differences, but the idea is basically the same and it's a good way to explain it to people.
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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby archangel08 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:23 pm

I'd recommend working with the ultra fine on your more long term re-sharpening visits as a finalizing step (every 1-3 months depending on use) and then stropping for maintenance of your edge (once a day or once weekly - again, depending on use).
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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby atv223 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:52 pm

Surfingringo wrote:
atv223 wrote:
Surfingringo wrote:Neither. Diamond or cbn rods are going to prove much more important for maintaining extremely sharp edges. It is a simple matter to make any steel sharp enough to whittle free hanging hairs with just the regular fine rods. How much sharper than that do you want your edges? If you aren’t able to get those types of results yet then you are better off practicing your technique than trying to chase sharpness through higher refinement. Just my 2 cents.

All that said, I bought the UF rods years ago and had fun with them for awhile and still use them on rare occasions. There’s nothing wrong with owning them, it’s just that the diamond rods are a vastly more important addition to the Sharpmaker.
I need to work on my technique big time! I can get hair shaving sharp, but I've yet to whittle hair. Any suggestions?
Start with a freshly sharpened 30 degree edge with a very clean and sharp apex. From there, start adding a 40 degree microbevel with very light pressure. Go very slow and pay close attention to keeping your angles as precise as possible. Within 10-20 very light passes you will be near hair whittling. Keep going progressively lighter and lighter until you are barely even using the weight of the knife as pressure against the stone. You'll get there.

ETA - obviously, you can accomplish this with other angles... a 20 degree edge with a 30 degree microbevel for example. I just said 30 and 40 degrees because that's what the sharpmaker allows and I know it will work. :)
Thanks! What I'd recently read and your post confirms, is progressively lighter and lighter strokes. That's something I hadn't been doing. Time to practice!

My sharpening gear consists of a SM with diamond and UF rods along with a Knives Plus Strop. I keep it all in a small plastic container, makes for a full featured portable kit.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby Bloke » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:11 pm

I'm not sure if it's right or wrong but if I use a micro bevel I don't strop. :)
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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby npad69 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:08 pm

I also bought the UF rods to supplement my stock sharpmaker, but so far I find finishing the microbevel with the fine rods more bitey than the UF so I only use the UFs on the backbevels to give my edges a mirror shine. I tried strops before but I didn't find myself much into it. I still prefer the finishing on the rods.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:11 pm

ZrowsN1s wrote:
Vivi wrote: I've tried a variety of strops, compounds and techniques over a 12 year period. I've always felt like a dulled edge brought back with a strop doesn't feel as crisp as one brought back with a fine or ultrafine stone. Looking under magnification confirmed this for me.

I'll use a strop as a finishing step for certain knives. I particularly like it for SE, which is ironic considering you don't. My technique for them is I cut a notch in my compound block, and I rub the notched portion on the edge of my strop. Then I use that edge like the corner of a sharpmaker rod, except with edge trailing strokes. But I never use my strop to bring back a dulled edge, only stones. And when I do strop, it's only once or twice per side. Any more than that and I feel like it makes the edge less crisp, even if it seems to whittle hair better.

On a purely theoretical level I don't see how using a surface that bends and warps so easily to pressure would achieve a more precisely formed edge than a firmer surface. The same way I don't see how a sharpmaker rod could achieve a better edge than spyderco benchstone with a wider surface.

Image
I think 12 years is long enough to have formed an opinion. I have a feeling we like different edge characteristics. Crisp vs. smooth shaving perhaps.
As for the second part... it would take way too long to get into the weeds of that. I would recomend you read this if you are interested.
https://scienceofsharp.wordpress.com/20 ... opping-do/

Here's a link to the rest of the website, it is really interesting and educational.
https://scienceofsharp.wordpress.com/
Yep, that blog is neat. I saw a lot of interesting things on my edges when I bought a microscope to view them.

To me it's kind of like how different sharpening mediums produce different feeling edges. If I sharpen a knife with my DMT fine, then sharpen it with my sharpmaker medium rods, I can get it shaving sharp off either medium, but the edge feels different when I test it with my thumb. The DMT seems to produce a crisper, more aggressive feeling edge, despite being a moderately high grit.

I feel like I'm kind of rambling so I'll just end it here :D

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:19 pm

I'll second everything surfingringo/lance said.

I use microbevels on every knife. If I break down some cardboard with my EDC and the edge goes from hair whittling sharp to roughly scraping arm hair, I touch it up.

To touch it up I simply give the microbevel 8-10 passes per side on whichever sharpmaker stones I'm using for that particular knife. Even with fine or ultrafine rods, this is enough to bring the edge back.

Both using a microbevel and touching up my knife before its uselessly dull significantly reduce my sharpening time. My touch-up process takes less than a minute. It's about as quick as putting on a pair of shoes.

The idea of spending five minutes sharpening a knife is insane to me. So is cleaning sharpmaker stones after every use. With how little metal I remove it never takes me that long, and I can go weeks to months before the stones need cleaned.

I get the impression some people view sharpening more as a chore to put off until it can't be delayed anymore, but I find the process enjoyable. It's become a part of my routine, like brushing my teeth or grabbing my keys. Check my edge, give it a touch-up if needed, then out the door.

You can also push edges a lot thinner if you use microbevels. Say a steel chips out if you sharpen it at 12 degrees per side but its stable at 15 degrees per side. So sharpen it at 8 degrees per side and give it a 15 degree microbevel. Most edge damage isn't catastrophic and only occurs in the first mm or three, so this type of edge can be surprisingly stable.

I'd definitely invest in diamond rods or a DMT benchstone before UF rods. Being able to establish a thinner back bevel quickly is essential to my enjoyment of a knife. Using a thick factory edge feels like test driving a sports car with the e-brake fully engaged and the cheapest gas you can find...you're only experiencing a fraction of the possible performance.

For some reason people will buy a $250 pocket knife out of super high end steel....then keep a 20-25 degree per side edge on it. That's like taking the tires off your commuter minivan and putting them on your corvette before going out for a sunday ride.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby the Southerner » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:01 pm

Ankerson wrote:
the Southerner wrote:
sal wrote:Hi Southerner,

The ultra fine stone is tumbled for days in ceramic tumbling stones. I don't think a medium stone will affect the surface much. I think you should use our products more before you dis them.

sal
sorry, wasn't dissing your product, just noting that you should lap the stone before use, depending on how much it was used. Ceramics load/clog very quickly, and the finer you go the quicker that process happens. Also as you probably know the abrasive also wears out, so you need to cut it off again depending on usage.

The fine and UF Sharpmaker stones will NEVER wear out, the med can get worn over a long period of time, but it takes a lot of use.

I have had my SM for a VERY long time, decades and I still have the original stones.
Maybe we're thinking of different things? I use the ceramic rods for all my knives and machetes, and when they get to the point where I can no longer wash/scrub out the clogged steel and or the stone is no longer cutting, whether due to smoothed out abrasive from use or otherwise, I just lap the rods. Maybe there is another way, but I find lapping a failsafe option and it only takes a few minutes.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby the Southerner » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:05 pm

Vivi wrote:
the Southerner wrote:
JaseRicco wrote:I am going to add ONE additional step to my Spyderco SharpMaker to give me an even sharper edge, and am curious if I will yield better results with the UF Rods or a Leather Strop?

If it is the latter, since I have never stroped, tips are welcome.

:) :) :spyder: :spyder:
About the Ultra Fine:

make sure you lap the ultra fine before you even use, meaning you buy a medium ceramic rod from whoever, doesn't have to be Spyderco, but it has to be medium ceramic. Put mineral oil on the ultra fine as if you were going to sharpen with it, and instead grind the medium ceramic parallel to the ultra fine's surface, use a lot of pressure and also don't use the flat side of the medium, use the triangular edge. What you're doing is cutting all potentially damaged abrasive off the stone so it cuts the steel better, and you need the ultra fine to cut as much as possible because of how insanely fine it is. I use a regular ol Lansky ceramic rod you can get for $8 off amazon.

There's no need to do this in my experience. Both my UF rods and my UF bench stone work fine without any prep work. I took them out of the package, used them, and immediately got great results. Same with every Spyderco sharpening product I've owned.
It really depends on how much you use them, and what you're doing to flush the clogged steel out of the stone. I use regular soap and water to flush the ceramics until they no longer cut, so presumably there's stuff out there that works better. At that point, I cut the surface off. Works great for me.

also, I'm talking about stones being used in general, not out of the box. Honestly, I can't remember what my fine ceramic performed like out the box because it's been so long ago. Even so, I've had such good results with lapping in general, not just ceramics, that I would cut the stone out of the box anyway. It takes maybe 3 minutes.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:08 pm

the Southerner wrote:
Vivi wrote:
the Southerner wrote:
JaseRicco wrote:I am going to add ONE additional step to my Spyderco SharpMaker to give me an even sharper edge, and am curious if I will yield better results with the UF Rods or a Leather Strop?

If it is the latter, since I have never stroped, tips are welcome.

:) :) :spyder: :spyder:
About the Ultra Fine:

make sure you lap the ultra fine before you even use, meaning you buy a medium ceramic rod from whoever, doesn't have to be Spyderco, but it has to be medium ceramic. Put mineral oil on the ultra fine as if you were going to sharpen with it, and instead grind the medium ceramic parallel to the ultra fine's surface, use a lot of pressure and also don't use the flat side of the medium, use the triangular edge. What you're doing is cutting all potentially damaged abrasive off the stone so it cuts the steel better, and you need the ultra fine to cut as much as possible because of how insanely fine it is. I use a regular ol Lansky ceramic rod you can get for $8 off amazon.

There's no need to do this in my experience. Both my UF rods and my UF bench stone work fine without any prep work. I took them out of the package, used them, and immediately got great results. Same with every Spyderco sharpening product I've owned.
It really depends on how much you use them, and what you're doing to flush the clogged steel out of the stone. I use regular soap and water to flush the ceramics until they no longer cut, so presumably there's stuff out there that works better. At that point, I cut the surface off. Works great for me.

also, I'm talking about stones being used in general, not out of the box. Honestly, I can't remember what my fine ceramic performed like out the box because it's been so long ago. Even so, I've had such good results with lapping in general, not just ceramics, that I would cut the stone out of the box anyway. It takes maybe 3 minutes.
Are you sure your sharpmaker is genuine?

I've been using the same set of white fine rods for over a decade. I've used them on pocket knives, 10" chef knives, machetes, choppers, scissors, axes, splitting mauls, hatchets, chisels, serrated knives, the cutting edge on an italian pasta machine and a few other odds and ends.

When they get clogged with steel I scrub them with barkeepers friends and a toothbrush, and they cut great after a cleaning.

I have never lapped them or any other Spyderco sharpening product, and I've been using many of them just as long as these fines. I don't think its necessary to ever do it.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby Ankerson » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:43 pm

the Southerner wrote:
Ankerson wrote:
the Southerner wrote:
sal wrote:Hi Southerner,

The ultra fine stone is tumbled for days in ceramic tumbling stones. I don't think a medium stone will affect the surface much. I think you should use our products more before you dis them.

sal
sorry, wasn't dissing your product, just noting that you should lap the stone before use, depending on how much it was used. Ceramics load/clog very quickly, and the finer you go the quicker that process happens. Also as you probably know the abrasive also wears out, so you need to cut it off again depending on usage.

The fine and UF Sharpmaker stones will NEVER wear out, the med can get worn over a long period of time, but it takes a lot of use.

I have had my SM for a VERY long time, decades and I still have the original stones.
Maybe we're thinking of different things? I use the ceramic rods for all my knives and machetes, and when they get to the point where I can no longer wash/scrub out the clogged steel and or the stone is no longer cutting, whether due to smoothed out abrasive from use or otherwise, I just lap the rods. Maybe there is another way, but I find lapping a failsafe option and it only takes a few minutes.
The abrasives don't get smoothed out in the ceramic rods, what is going to smooth them out? That's not how they are made in the 1st place, ceramic rods are solid all the way through. What abrasives are going to get smoothed out, the whole stone is the abrasive.

They are harder than ANY steel and will cut a normal sharpening stone.

You clean them with Barkeepers Friend or some other power like Comet once they get clogged up.

I still have my SM that I have had forever, it's so old it came with the VHS tape, and I still have and use the Orginal Stones that came with it.

I also have the 701 Profiles that I use.

I used crock sticks before that over 30 years ago.

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby hambone56rx » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:59 pm

Does everyone here freehand sharpen it sounds like? Would you rather use that than a fixed angle system (KME, Edge Pro, etc)?

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Re: SharpMaker Ultra Fine Rods or Leather Strop??

Postby Ankerson » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:01 pm

hambone56rx wrote:Does everyone here freehand sharpen it sounds like? Would you rather use that than a fixed angle system (KME, Edge Pro, etc)?

I use a variety of things, Edge Pro, SM, 701 Profiles, Silicon Carbide stones, strops.


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