ZrowsN1s wrote: ↑
Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:33 pm
This thread inspired me to try and use the sharpmaker more. I reprofiled 2 edges to 30 inclusive. The lil native which had a factory edge, and the super blue delica.
One of my biggest problems with the sharpmaker is how long it takes to reprofile. After taking some pointer from Surfingringo and Deadboxhero, I found I could speed the process up a bit. I used heel to tip, tip to heel, back and forth strokes. Using the diamond stones, brown, fine, ultrafine, it took about an hour to reprofile an edge and get it to a high polish. I was pleased with the results. Time aside, the edges were every bit as nice as i get with my KME system.
On getting things shaving sharp with the brown stones.... I did. But it was a rough shave. I found that moving to the fine and ultra fine and then a little stropping produced a smooth shaving edge. Maybe some of the more experienced sharpeners can chime in here, but can you get a smooth shaving edge with just the brown stones? Did I just need to spend more time? Or refine my technique a little?
Another question I might ask is, I went from a rough shaving edge to a smooth shaving edge by moving to the fine, ultrafine, and stropping. If I had gotten a better edge off the browns initially, might I have achieved an even higher level of refinement when I moved to the finer stones? Or is my smooth shaving edge as good as it gets?
Yeah, that's my biggest complaint with the sharpmaker too. I adore it for maintaining edges. It is incredibly well designed to be versatile and function for an incredible variety of blade shapes and edge configurations. But a $30-50 DMT bench stone pays for itself after one or two knives, assuming you make more than minimum wage. Time is money after all.
One of these days I'll try my hand at a belt sander and do full regrinds instead of just taking the bevels down to thinner angles.
Now for the second half of your post.
I sharpen most of my EDC knives on a medium Spyderco bench stone, which is basically just a wider version of the brown SM rods.
No fine or ultrafine stones. No stropping.
The edge I get will cleanly shave. Whittle individual hairs. Pop off individual pieces of stubble without contacting the skin. Push cut circles in receipts. If I rough up my arm hair so it sticks up and run the blade half an inch above the skin, it splits every hair in half that it makes contact with.
That's one reason I've stopped stropping, and rarely use my finer stones. I don't need a higher level of sharpness than that. The time investment isn't worth it to me. A more polished edge will be a little better at push cutting for a few cuts until it dulls down to "only hair whittling sharp" but how much time am I spending to get it there? And it will slice worse, and have worse edge holding, compared to an edge finished off the mediums (at least for my particular uses).
Some general tips:
- Always ensure you're hitting the apex.
- Finish with light pressure. If you can't do your finishing strokes one handed without making the sharpmaker base slide around, you're pressing too hard.
- Clean your stones. If there is visible steel build up on the stones, they will produce an inferior edge. Not a big deal if you're just going for working sharp on a beater, but if you want the best edge you can achieve, freshly cleaned stones are ideal.
- 1:1 strokes, always. One on the left, one on the right, repeat.
- Consistent strokes / angle. On the SM, this means you need to make sure you're always holding the knife as straight as you can, and that you're hitting the stones so as to grind along the middle of it, rather than having the knife angled a bit so it's only hitting the corner part.
- Follow the curve of the blade consistently. I still struggle with this part a bit when I'm reprofiling a blade with a lot of belly. I've always felt Spydercos blades with their flowing curved cutting edges (Police, Endura, Calypso, Military) were easier to sharpen than the majority of knife blades that are straight edged for 2-2.5", then a dramatic curve before the tip (Think Benchmade's standard blade shape)
- Consider finishing free-hand. I get the best results from my bench stone, better than using the SM as intended. But if you don't have one, you can use the SM like one, like this
. Worth trying if you're comfortable with free hand techniques.
My sharpest edges, like my Ronin 2 I take up to the UF, are sharper than razor blades. I've measured them side by side, comparing how much force it took to cut fishing line with a push cut.