Sharpening choils - Why?

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Vivi
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Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Vivi » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:35 am

I was glancing at the Kapara thread and saw a member had added a sharpening choil to a knife that did not come with one from the factory.

As someone that wishes the opposite was as easy to do, I have to ask....why?

As I understand it a sharpening notch is to make sharpening the very first portion of cutting edge easier.

But where this reasoning fails to make sense to me, is by adding a sharpening notch you create two drawbacks:

1. There is now less cutting edge.

2. Materials being cut will snag if they slip into this sharpening notch.

The first point nullifies the entire point of sharpening notches in my opinion.

If you add a sharpening notch to a knife, the amount of cutting edge removed is greater than the amount of cutting edge that is difficult to sharpen with typical bench stones.

If you find it difficult to sharpen that first 1-2mm of cutting edge, why would you remove twice that? You're better of letting that first part develop a J shape, or using a specialized tool to grind that area.

I don't get it.

I know most people consider this aspect of knives trivial, but this is one of the reasons I prefer Spydercos to other brands that insist on putting them on everything. It is something I specifically request makers not do when I buy customs.

I can honestly say that I have never benefited from having one on my knives.

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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby basedlarrydavid » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:55 am

Without them, especially on jig systems, the stone cannot contact the full length of the blade while remaining flat. Thus, over time, the blade is worn unevenly due to uneven sharpening. I never realized how incredibly useful and helpful they are until I started sharpening myself.

A lot depends on the geometry of the blade. Not every knife that has a sharpening choil needs one. But when you run across a knife that could really benefit from having one and doesn’t (cough, Benchmade 940, cough) it can be a real pain.

I usually sharpen all the way to the plunge/ricasso on PM2s for the same (less pronounced) reasons. A few strokes on an Atoma 140 and I’m good to go.
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby BornIn1500 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:34 am

Vivi wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:35 am
You're better of letting that first part develop a J shape

Ah, but then it wouldn't look all nice and clean. Using your first example, the Kapara, I think we can agree that people are buying it just as much for the art aspect as for the tool aspect and they're paying a hefty price to get it. So they want everything to look crisp and clean like a well-ironed shirt. Case in point... you really don't hear people complaining about a lack of a sharpening choil on the Tenacious.

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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Wartstein » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:09 am

<r><QUOTE author="Vivi" post_id="1295248" time="1546497347" user_id="7934"><s>
Vivi wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:35 am
</s>
I was glancing at the Kapara thread and saw a member had added a sharpening choil to a knife that did not come with one from the factory.<br/>
<br/>
As someone that wishes the opposite was as easy to do, I have to ask....why?<br/>
<br/>

<e>
</e></QUOTE>

Vivi, that's EXACTLY the thread I wanted to start myself. Actually I asked Alistair in the comments below his video on youtube (where he shows how to add a choil) the exakt same question (you can look it up there, my nickname being also Wartstein).
Alistairs reply does not sound like even HE thinks a choil could ENHANCE the total length of sharpend edge.
I honestly don't get it. Like you, I'd always prefer a tiny bit of unsharpened (or not perfectly sharpened) edge over having a notch in the blade instead. Furthermore: I am not good at sharpening by any means, but even so,I could sharpen the very first bit of the blade by using the corners of a sharpmaker rod. Heck, I could even put or maintain an edge there with the very same file others use to create that notch!! Maybe the first millimeter or so would be rough, or the angle a bit off, but that's still better in any case than a notch in my edge imho..
And for "looks": I personally think a notch is really not aesthetically pleasing, but looks rather odd..
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Jazz » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:45 am

They’re just fantastic for snagging stuff. Really not a fan. I know how to sharpen pretty well.
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Pelagic » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:53 am

Vivi, you absolutely read my mind. I cannot stand sharpening choils, and I've seen videos of sharpeners adding them to customers' knives (relatively big ones), thinking how mad I would be if someone did that to my knife without asking. I have had materials get caught in the choil and not cut, and generally I'm not a fan of reducing the amount of cutting edge on my knives. I exclusively freehand sharpen and have no issue sharpening the entire blade either. Tilt the blade so only the base is touching the stone if you have to, then fix any irregularities in your bevel on the next stone. I don't get it either.
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby anagarika » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:25 am

Vivi,

I am in disagreement here. The notch doesn’t reduce the sharp edge, it’s cut into unsharpened part, and if done correctly, it’s sharp, no snagging.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VMvE-b4259A

I’m not saying it is a must, as a careful working maintaining the stone paralel to bevel and rub it up to the ricasso is doable.
https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/vto ... 971/page-6
Post#120, I asked him how he did that and he said just be patient and run the stone flat against the ricasso.

I guess it’s an easier (for me) way to do it. If I try it using Bravo91 flat method, depending on the stone width, the other edge of the stone will dig to the bevel like described in YouTube by Ken/Unit (ewerstruly). I had to raise the stone/blade a bit to keep it parallel to the bevel, and the other end only touch the bevel when the ricasso part is flush. Very difficult doing it free hand.
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Wartstein » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:31 am

I have to say: I am both kind of astonished and relieved now.. in my logic (see my post above) sharpening choils never made sense. But since I am not an expert on the one hand, but many experts on the other hand seem to like sharpening notches: I always assumed that there had to be something above my limited understanding.
But it seems to be like I always thought: A sharpening choil at the best allows you to sharpen that part of blade that you could sharpen ANYWAY without that notch... so WHY on earth do people who USE their knifes could want a notch in the blade?!
Still: Maybe there IS something I don't see after all and some more experts chime in and explain?
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Pelagic » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:35 am

Anagarika, that sharpening notch is much more practical than the typical round choils I've seen on blades. In the Bravo91 example, did he just angle the ricasso downward some? However tedious, that seems like a good way to eliminate the problem. I think the first video did exaggerate the issue of difficulty in sharpening though.
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby dsvirsky » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:02 am

Preaching to the choir here, Vivi. I watched Alistair's video and thought, "why?" but didn't post anything in that thread because I figured, he's the designer and it's his artistic vision. I own knives both with and without sharpening choils, have never found them useful, and definitely prefer without.

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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby anagarika » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:11 am

Pelagic wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:35 am
Anagarika, that sharpening notch is much more practical than the typical round choils I've seen on blades. In the Bravo91 example, did he just angle the ricasso downward some? However tedious, that seems like a good way to eliminate the problem. I think the first video did exaggerate the issue of difficulty in sharpening though.
Bravo’s method is preferable but I lack of patience and stable hand. So I follow Unit’s method. It may be exaggerated, but I have tried bravo’s method and have hollowed grind mark exactly at the stone width (using diafold) further down the edge from where I tried to make the curved non sharpened part (imagine J) to be fully sharpened and the transition to ricasso like L shape if you see it edge up. :o

To those who hate snagging, isn’t it the same with dropped edge like in many forged / hammered blade, like this?
http://backpackingmastery.com/wp-conten ... 10x578.jpg
I think the solution is to make the heel sharp ;)
Last edited by anagarika on Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Woodpuppy » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:16 am

I have only recently learned about “sharpening coils” here on this forum. At first I liked the idea. But the discussion about snagging gives me a flashback to my previous longtime EDC, the Benchmade 525. This knife’s edge transitions to the axis lock’s rest position surface, leaving a portion of that depression forward if the handle while the blade is deployed. It catches everything, and over time I learned to avoid that by effectively treating it like a shorter blade. If the notch were protected by the handle, it would be a non-issue. Sharpening the entire blade was easy, except for catching the thumb studs on the tops of the sharpmaker stones.

I guess I vote no choil. But I would like the blades sharpened up to the plunge line. Maybe I’ll do that later...
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Zatx » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:47 am

You and I are a lot alike, Vivi. I saw Alistair's video and thought, "What the heck is he doing?!" (I also questioned his decision to make aftermarket back spacers and sell them for the knife he's under contract with Spyderco on).

I like sharpening choils on knives that have them as part of their design, like on the Smock (assuming it ever hits the streets), but whenever one is added after the fact it just looks... wrong.

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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Evil D » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:59 am

This is why I propose they instead start adding one single large serration at the heel of the blade. This will achieve the same results as a sharpening notch for those who want it, but also prevent things from snagging since it's still an edge. No edge length is lost (technically you gain a small amount) and you have a nice notch for cutting cord.
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby RLR » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:08 am

ACBADF50-D3E9-4C66-B3CC-EEEA5DB25194.jpeg
8792C2A5-1BF3-4897-8CAE-B090387160EE.jpeg
I’ve been known to add a tiny sharpening or Spanish notch to some knives. Here is a good side by side. Aesthetically to me no difference. Snagging a non issue. Sharpening much easier. Keep in mind I am not a polished edge snob. I just want them sharp. Two Rookies.

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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby Woodpuppy » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:30 am

Evil D wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:59 am
This is why I propose they instead start adding one single large serration at the heel of the blade. This will achieve the same results as a sharpening notch for those who want it, but also prevent things from snagging since it's still an edge. No edge length is lost (technically you gain a small amount) and you have a nice notch for cutting cord.
That’s a slick idea, and one easy enough to add yourself with a chainsaw file and ceramic or diamond rod.
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby anycal » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:57 am

anagarika wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:25 am
Vivi,

I am in disagreement here. The notch doesn’t reduce the sharp edge, it’s cut into unsharpened part, and if done correctly, it’s sharp, no snagging.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VMvE-b4259A

I’m not saying it is a must, as a careful working maintaining the stone paralel to bevel and rub it up to the ricasso is doable.
https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/vto ... 971/page-6
Post#120, I asked him how he did that and he said just be patient and run the stone flat against the ricasso.

I guess it’s an easier (for me) way to do it. If I try it using Bravo91 flat method, depending on the stone width, the other edge of the stone will dig to the bevel like described in YouTube by Ken/Unit (ewerstruly). I had to raise the stone/blade a bit to keep it parallel to the bevel, and the other end only touch the bevel when the ricasso part is flush. Very difficult doing it free hand.
This. To me this is the main reason why someone may want a sharpening choil. I haven't done one, but I have attempted to sharpen to the ricasso. Not really ready to do it to all my knives, but as time and sharpenings go on, it may be inevitable.

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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby toxophilus » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:41 am

I didn't see too many complaints about the usage of the Calypso Jr. which has a sharpening choil built into it, I've used that one quite a bit to cut many types of medium since I picked it up and the notch has not hung up on anything; it does make it easier to sharpen, though I'm not looking at putting a sharpening choil on any of my other Spydercos.

I tend to do what Bravo does and have modified my sharpening jig stones to take out the 'J' by the ricasso/choil. Watching Alistair's video, he states that he wanted to modify the Kapara in the video to mirror his original design; below is an image of a fb group that I'm on and the owner seems pretty happy with the mod...

Sounds like a personal decision to me :D

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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby The Deacon » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:03 am

It's one of those "you can't please everyone" meets "everyone's a critic" moments. If a knife has a sharpening choil, some will complain it snags things. If a knife doesn't have one, some will complain if the transition from edge to tang is not a perfect 90º angle leaving a minute amount of unsharpened edge ahead of the tang.
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Re: Sharpening choils - Why?

Postby spyderg » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:29 am

-I think for some it’s an esthetic thing, especially on a blade with a nice straight edge. That little “j” looks pretty sloppy sometimes and while it’s possible to carefully sharpen it away, it can be a slow and tricky process to get it right. Also no notch can lead to a recurve.
-I’ve got a lot of traditional knives which all have a notch, (mine anyway) unless they’re old enough to have been sharpened so many times that they’re gone. For knives that have a more traditional blade shape, it kinda looks funny not to have a notch.
-What bothers me personally is not knives with or without a notch, but rather ones that have one that’s not adequate! If they have a notch that doesn’t clear the plunge grind completely what’s the point!? I’ve got a couple, (not Spydies) that I’ve had to extend the notch significantly in order to get past where the edge gets dramatically thicker.
-I tend to like the look of a sharpening notch that doubles as a choil as on the Amalgam and Smock. The choil isn’t as useable as say on a PM2 but I don’t use a forward choil often, and when I do it’s on some detailed work that I’m already being super careful on so it’s not a big issue for me.
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