The low grit sharpening thread

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
AccountDeletedUserRequest
Member
Posts: 6612
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:15 am

The low grit sharpening thread

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:39 pm

I've been sharpening knives for about 30 years.

Most that time I took my edges to a high polish, generally finishing with highest grit I had available to me. I'd finish my edges with a Spyderco ultrafine benchstone or sharpmaker rods, then strop.

Reading about sharpening on different knife forums convinced me that polished edges would always be sharper than a coarse edge, and therefore cut better.

Over the past two years I've come to find out that this isn't always true.

In fact I'd say the majority of the time a lower grit edge will show superior performance VS a highly polished.

-------------------------------

I started experimenting with low grit edges a few years ago. I had a PE Pacific Salt I was carrying frequently at the time. It was one of my favorite work knives, but the edge holding left a little to be desired.

One thing I observed with PE H1 is that the apex starts to feel really slick after some use when you run a polished apex. I got the idea to use a lower grit finish to give the edge some teeth. The idea was after a little dulling those teeth would help grab the materials I was slicing, rather than sliding around like a dulled polished edge.

Image
H1 with a polished edge quickly lost its bite

Instead of touching up the knife on the ultrafine sharpmaker rods, I used the brown medium rods that I never used. I was surprised to find I could still get the knife shaving sharp despite using what I considered at the time a very low grit finish.

That PE Pacific Salt would still lose shaving sharpness after cutting some cardboard, but with the microserrations at the apex it'd keep slicing well past that point.


Image
Pacific Salt sharpened at 15 dps on medium rods

I had what I wanted - a PE Pacific Salt with enhanced edge retention!

-------------------------------

After experimenting with the Pacific Salt, I started trying this out on the rest of my knives.

The Aqua Salt was the next one I did. I took the edge down to the brown rods just like with the Pacific Salt, then used it to break up tons of cardboard. The edge was able to slice much longer than it did before.

Next up was my Szabo folder. Again I went from the UF rods to the medium rods, and found myself preferring that edge. The toothier edge worked particularly well with the Szabos blade shape.

I didn't limit myself to PE. I did the same thing with serrated knives. The SE Pacific Salt I was sharpening with my UF rod got taken down to medium. The difference felt less drastic on SE, but edge longevity still increased.

-------------------------------

After a while I got curious to take my experiment further. I ordered a set of diamond sharpmaker rods to compliment my DMT diamond benchstones. Now I could sharpen any knife, PE or SE, to very coarse grits.

First, I experimented with a SE Pacific Salt. I ground it the same way I did with the medium rods: 15 degrees, no microbevel. I tested it out and it was easily the most aggressive slicing edge I had ever tried, hands down.

Image
Pacific Salt sharpened on UF rods

Image
Serrated Pacific Salt ground on diamond rods at 15 degrees
Image

Next was a Manix XL PE. I ground off the microbevel on my DMT reprofiling stone, then using feather light strokes I refined the apex well enough to cleanly shave. I didn't think I was capable of shaving sharpness off this stone, this was a surprise. The edge sliced very aggressively for plain edge. I was immediately hooked. It grabbed materials much better VS the polished edge, bringing it closer to the performance of my SE Pacific.

Image
Manix XL sharpened around 10 degrees per side on a DMT Extra Coarse diamond plate
Image

I kept going, dropping the grit finish on nearly every knife in my collection. I experimented with edges straight off the diamonds, diamonds followed by stropping, and even tried some edges where I'd grind at 15 degrees with diamonds then do two strokes per side with the fine rods at 20 degrees to refine the apex withiout completely grinding off the teeth.

Image
Serrated Pacific Salt ground on diamond rods at 15 degrees finished with two strokes per side with fine rods at 20 degrees.

-------------------------------

For me, the benefits of this sharpening journey have been numerous. I've learned more about my abilities, the steels in my collection, and how different grits affect the performance of the knife.

These days I switch between two knives for my EDC. A serrated Pacific Salt and a PE DLC Manix XL. Both have edges straight off my diamond rods, and both are shaving sharp. These toothy edges have changed how I approach sharpening:

- I'm going further between sharpenings. Polished edges dulled to the point they don't scrape shave cut poorly. Very toothy edges that no longer shave cut great! I'm touching up after a few weeks rather than a few days.

- Sharpening times have decreased. Coarser stones work much faster, and no grit progression means I only have to setup a single stone. Fully refreshed apexes in under a minute, easily.

- My edges grab materials better. Have you ever tried to slice poly rope or plastic wrap with a dulled plain edge and felt it slip around? These toothy edges do the opposite, they grab a hold of material and don't let go until its cut. It's not only more efficient, its safer.

- Sharpening is more fun. At the risk of sounding conceited, getting shaving sharpness from a full progression up the the ultrafine stones was trivial for me. Getting shaving sharpness right off the diamond sharpmaker rods takes a more concentrated effort, and feels more rewarding when accomplished. Between the added challenge and reduced sharpening times, I look forward to touch-ups a lot more now.

- They're awesome slicers! I've always considered myself a connoisseur of cut. I spent years as a chef and developed an appreciation for a well sharpened knife. These low grit edges cut extremely well, and cut differently. It's been a pleasure using them on a variety of materials.

-------------------------------

If you're like me and never experimented with low grit edges, I suggest giving it a try! See how refined of an edge you can achieve with your lowest grit stone, then try cutting with it. You might be surprised!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnuY-Ib2jVg

User avatar
Pelagic
Member
Posts: 2440
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:49 pm
Location: East Coast/Nomadic

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Pelagic » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:43 am

Not quite 30 for me, I've been sharpening for just over 25 years. I'm in the opposite boat though, I've always been a coarse grit stone only guy. Nowadays I experiment with strops, rods, and different abrasives, more focused on manipulating the finish to my liking. Coarser finishes are generally the way to go. I sharpened 3 coworker's knives recently (a Gerber, a Buck, and a Benchmade in 154cm) and all I used was a DMT coarse stone and a few passes in a 3 micron strop. They were amazed and they all think I'm the last samurai now (lol). But the point is, I could have gotten their knives sharper with a finer edge, but cutting ability (in our line of work) would have been reduced. And the longer their edges last, the more infrequent they ask me to sharpen their knives. :D

Good read.
Pancake wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:20 pm
Are you a magician? :eek:
Nate wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:32 pm
You're the lone wolf of truth howling into the winds of ignorance
Doeswhateveraspidercan wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:17 pm
You are a nobody got it?

User avatar
Pancake
Member
Posts: 572
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:52 am

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Pancake » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:47 am

My highest grit sharpening stone is Spyderco medium ceramic and I have no desire to buy something with higher grit rating.
Most of time I touch up my bevel on medium and then like 5 pps on 0.5 micron diamond paste.
I really like coarse and fine DMT stones, the edge has that bite.....I would like to try Venev bonded diamond stones in lower grits.....but the shipping to Europe is just overkill.
I really like low grit finishes.
In the pocket: Chaparral FRN, Native Chief, Police 4 K390, Pacific Salt SE
On belt: Bow River, Waterway

User avatar
Pelagic
Member
Posts: 2440
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:49 pm
Location: East Coast/Nomadic

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Pelagic » Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:00 am

Pancake wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:47 am
My highest grit sharpening stone is Spyderco medium ceramic and I have no desire to buy something with higher grit rating.
Most of time I touch up my bevel on medium and then like 5 pps on 0.5 micron diamond paste.
I really like coarse and fine DMT stones, the edge has that bite.....I would like to try Venev bonded diamond stones in lower grits.....but the shipping to Europe is just overkill.
I really like low grit finishes.
Yep, spyderco medium is quite fine in my opinion, while still preserving some slicing agression. I don't ever see myself needing stones to go beyond that. Even with high hardness, high V/W steels (which I don't bring to extremely fine edges anyway), I could move on to any strop straight off a spyderco medium finish. And I do mean ANY strop. If the finish I get from the stone impresses me, I could move straight from 300-400 grit directly to a 0.1 micron strop. Some would see that as strange as it is such a large jump, but the whole point is preserving that immense slicing aggression yielded by the stone's finish. Where a 5 micron strop would quickly kill off the 400 grit teeth I just created, a 0.1 will just align them and make them sharper. Of course, the strop is NOT necessary, however, it allows you to see of there is any burr left, and slightly refine your finish (depending on which abrasive(s) you use) while making it just a tad sharper.
Last edited by Pelagic on Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Pancake wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:20 pm
Are you a magician? :eek:
Nate wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:32 pm
You're the lone wolf of truth howling into the winds of ignorance
Doeswhateveraspidercan wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:17 pm
You are a nobody got it?

User avatar
Surfingringo
Member
Posts: 5384
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:02 pm
Location: Costa Rica

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Surfingringo » Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:31 am

I use coarser edges almost exclusively. Like you Vivi, I went through a stage of wanting to take every edge up to a refined atom splitter but ultimately I wasn’t willing to deal with the decreased cutting performance of refined edges. And if you don’t believe that a refined edge will underperform a coarse edge then clean a few fish and get back to me. I believe a coarse edge will outperform a refined one in MOST cutting tasks but fish and game cleaning are tasks that make the difference really obvious.

These days I never use anything higher than the Spyderco medium rods, and honestly, those are a little on the high side. When using the medium rods I use the corners almost exclusively. If you rub the corners of the brown rods together briskly you will quickly break through the coating and they will provide a notably more aggressive edge than the flats. For EDC use I will typically reprofile on a Lansky 325 benchstone then go straight to the corners of the brown rods for a quick microbevel. That finish will still instantly grab beard hair on contact but retains enough aggression to outperform a more highly polished edge.

Honestly I would really prefer a more aggressive finish that I could get off of the SM. The diamond rods are a little too much for my taste but I would love to have a higher grit diamond rod to use as a finishing stone on the SM. Something in the 800-1200 range. I feel like the flats of the brown rods provide a finish that is comparable to about a 1500 diamond stone.

User avatar
bearfacedkiller
Member
Posts: 9277
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:22 pm
Location: hiding in the woods...

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby bearfacedkiller » Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:42 am

My most common edge is to set a 30 degree bevel with either a DMT coarse or the diamond sharpmaker rods followed by a tiny microbevel with the sharpmaker medium stones at 40 degrees. I just do enough passes to remove the bur and to slightly refine the apex.

The main reason i do it that way is because it is just so quick and easy and I can get a hair whittling edge that way.
-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?

User avatar
Pancake
Member
Posts: 572
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:52 am

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Pancake » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:07 am

Pelagic wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:00 am
Some would see that as strange as it is such a large jump, but the whole point is preserving that immense slicing aggression yielded by the stone's finish. Where a 5 micron strop would quickly kill off the 400 grit teeth I just created, a 0.1 will just align them and make them sharper.
This is exactly what I am doing most of the time. Use coarse finish and then few swipes over very fine strop. Edge has that bite but it is refined enough to shave hairs.

On ceramic and high vanadium steel: I don't think there is that much of a improvement using diamond stone equivalent to brown Medium ceramic. Like maybe yes, but I sometimes feel that this carbide tear out was blown out of proportion.
In the pocket: Chaparral FRN, Native Chief, Police 4 K390, Pacific Salt SE
On belt: Bow River, Waterway

User avatar
curlyhairedboy
Member
Posts: 1689
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:01 am
Location: Southern New England

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby curlyhairedboy » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:45 am

I had the opportunity to sharpen a buddy's knife in 154 CM and boy did it like the brown SM stones. Rarely felt that type of response and the edge was both shaving sharp and very aggressive.

Do you guys recommend the diamond SM rods for reprofiling?
EDC Rotation: PITS, Shaman, CF S90v Shaman, Ikuchi, Amalgam, CruCarta Shaman, Lil Native, Sage 5 LW
Always in Pocket: Hawkbill Dragonfly 2 H1
Special and Sentimental: Southard, Smallfly G10, Squarehead LW, Calendar Para 3 LW, 40th Anniversary Native
Would like to own again: Sheepsfoot Caribbean
Wishlist: CQI Kapara, Watu, Tanto PM2, Shaman Sprints!

prndltech
Member
Posts: 673
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:53 am
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby prndltech » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:00 am

I too, am a fan of course diamond edges on PE knives. I just ordered a 400 grit Atoma plate to try and will, like yourself, hit a couple passes on the corners of the brown SM rods, followed by 10 passes per side on a plain leather belt. I’ve found this to be fast and quite effective!
The planter, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laborer... form the great body of the people of the United States, they are the bone and sinew of the country men who love liberty and desire nothing but equal rights and equal laws. - Andrew Jackson

User avatar
Evil D
Member
Posts: 20951
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:48 pm
Location: Northern KY

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Evil D » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:18 am

I've been experiencing the same, at least with SE. On my PE I've usually stayed with a 400-600 grit edge unless I just felt like getting fancy and polished the bevel, but those edges always got touched up on 400-600 anyway so the apex was usually a lower grit anyway.

I have had good luck with lower grit edges and then finishing them with a high grit micro bevel like the Edge Pro 2k-3k tapes. They aren't aggressive enough to really change the edge finish but they seem to clean up the edge similarly to what stopping a low grit edge might do.

My most current tests have been straight off the diamond rods and then stropped a couple times on the back side of the blade and this seems to give really aggressive edges. My biggest concern here is making sure I'm not just straightening out a burr, which can feel very sharp but will obviously dull or chip off quickly.
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
~David

User avatar
Jazz
Member
Posts: 7477
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Jazz » Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:56 am

I think if anything, the major part of the bevel should be cleaned up an made finer to ease in slicing or sliding through material. Make the micro coarser, if you will. I actually do another microbevel behind the main bevel to clean that up too. Makes it slice better. I strop that part and the main more than I do the actual cutting contact micro. I hope I explained that right.
- best wishes, Jazz.

JD Spydo
Member
Posts: 17659
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 7:53 pm
Location: Blue Springs, Missouri

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:08 am

Your opening comments were most interesting Vivi. I used to think that those super smooth, super polished edges were the very best. Since those days I've come to different findings all together. I find that it totally depends on what you are using your cutting edge for. Also it boils down to either a cutting/slicing edge or a shearing edge.

Take a straight razor for instance. That's a shearing edge. And the properties of what makes a shearing edge most efficient are not the same as what makes most knife edges efficient IMO.

When you look at any cutting edge ( particularly on knives) under a microscope you soon realize that there really isn't any such thing as a plain edge as we perceive them. All knife edges have serrations even as small as they might be. And all the super fine stones, stropping and polishing in the world doesn't change that either. But that's OK because botton line it works.

Now take a straight razor. This is an edge where you want to shear off hair and beard particles. The edge you need for efficient shearing is a different animal. Which is why stropping is so important on Straight Razor edges whereas on knives you really don't need strops to attain a good slicing edge. That's what I've learned up till now. A knife edge is also reliant on the shoulder and overall strength of the steel. A straight razor edge is on the other hand extremely thin and won't hold up to much actual cutting or slicing. Shearing requires a different type of edge all together.

User avatar
A.S.O.K.A
Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:20 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby A.S.O.K.A » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:25 am

Vivi wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:39 pm
I've been sharpening knives for about 30 years.

Most that time I took my edges to a high polish, generally finishing with highest grit I had available to me. I'd finish my edges with a Spyderco ultrafine benchstone or sharpmaker rods, then strop.

Reading about sharpening on different knife forums convinced me that polished edges would always be sharper than a coarse edge, and therefore cut better.

Over the past two years I've come to find out that this isn't always true.

In fact I'd say the majority of the time a lower grit edge will show superior performance VS a highly polished.

-------------------------------

I started experimenting with low grit edges a few years ago. I had a PE Pacific Salt I was carrying frequently at the time. It was one of my favorite work knives, but the edge holding left a little to be desired.

One thing I observed with PE H1 is that the apex starts to feel really slick after some use when you run a polished apex. I got the idea to use a lower grit finish to give the edge some teeth. The idea was after a little dulling those teeth would help grab the materials I was slicing, rather than sliding around like a dulled polished edge.

Image
H1 with a polished edge quickly lost its bite

Instead of touching up the knife on the ultrafine sharpmaker rods, I used the brown medium rods that I never used. I was surprised to find I could still get the knife shaving sharp despite using what I considered at the time a very low grit finish.

That PE Pacific Salt would still lose shaving sharpness after cutting some cardboard, but with the microserrations at the apex it'd keep slicing well past that point.


Image
Pacific Salt sharpened at 15 dps on medium rods

I had what I wanted - a PE Pacific Salt with enhanced edge retention!

-------------------------------

After experimenting with the Pacific Salt, I started trying this out on the rest of my knives.

The Aqua Salt was the next one I did. I took the edge down to the brown rods just like with the Pacific Salt, then used it to break up tons of cardboard. The edge was able to slice much longer than it did before.

Next up was my Szabo folder. Again I went from the UF rods to the medium rods, and found myself preferring that edge. The toothier edge worked particularly well with the Szabos blade shape.

I didn't limit myself to PE. I did the same thing with serrated knives. The SE Pacific Salt I was sharpening with my UF rod got taken down to medium. The difference felt less drastic on SE, but edge longevity still increased.

-------------------------------

After a while I got curious to take my experiment further. I ordered a set of diamond sharpmaker rods to compliment my DMT diamond benchstones. Now I could sharpen any knife, PE or SE, to very coarse grits.

First, I experimented with a SE Pacific Salt. I ground it the same way I did with the medium rods: 15 degrees, no microbevel. I tested it out and it was easily the most aggressive slicing edge I had ever tried, hands down.

Image
Pacific Salt sharpened on UF rods

Image
Serrated Pacific Salt ground on diamond rods at 15 degrees
Image

Next was a Manix XL PE. I ground off the microbevel on my DMT reprofiling stone, then using feather light strokes I refined the apex well enough to cleanly shave. I didn't think I was capable of shaving sharpness off this stone, this was a surprise. The edge sliced very aggressively for plain edge. I was immediately hooked. It grabbed materials much better VS the polished edge, bringing it closer to the performance of my SE Pacific.

Image
Manix XL sharpened around 10 degrees per side on a DMT Extra Coarse diamond plate
Image

I kept going, dropping the grit finish on nearly every knife in my collection. I experimented with edges straight off the diamonds, diamonds followed by stropping, and even tried some edges where I'd grind at 15 degrees with diamonds then do two strokes per side with the fine rods at 20 degrees to refine the apex withiout completely grinding off the teeth.

Image
Serrated Pacific Salt ground on diamond rods at 15 degrees finished with two strokes per side with fine rods at 20 degrees.

-------------------------------

For me, the benefits of this sharpening journey have been numerous. I've learned more about my abilities, the steels in my collection, and how different grits affect the performance of the knife.

These days I switch between two knives for my EDC. A serrated Pacific Salt and a PE DLC Manix XL. Both have edges straight off my diamond rods, and both are shaving sharp. These toothy edges have changed how I approach sharpening:

- I'm going further between sharpenings. Polished edges dulled to the point they don't scrape shave cut poorly. Very toothy edges that no longer shave cut great! I'm touching up after a few weeks rather than a few days.

- Sharpening times have decreased. Coarser stones work much faster, and no grit progression means I only have to setup a single stone. Fully refreshed apexes in under a minute, easily.

- My edges grab materials better. Have you ever tried to slice poly rope or plastic wrap with a dulled plain edge and felt it slip around? These toothy edges do the opposite, they grab a hold of material and don't let go until its cut. It's not only more efficient, its safer.

- Sharpening is more fun. At the risk of sounding conceited, getting shaving sharpness from a full progression up the the ultrafine stones was trivial for me. Getting shaving sharpness right off the diamond sharpmaker rods takes a more concentrated effort, and feels more rewarding when accomplished. Between the added challenge and reduced sharpening times, I look forward to touch-ups a lot more now.

- They're awesome slicers! I've always considered myself a connoisseur of cut. I spent years as a chef and developed an appreciation for a well sharpened knife. These low grit edges cut extremely well, and cut differently. It's been a pleasure using them on a variety of materials.

-------------------------------

If you're like me and never experimented with low grit edges, I suggest giving it a try! See how refined of an edge you can achieve with your lowest grit stone, then try cutting with it. You might be surprised!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnuY-Ib2jVg
A little over 2 weeks ago, I sharpened my s90v para3 using only the spyderco diamond rod and stropping on a 5 micron diamond loaded strop. The result is characteristics similar to a serrated edge without seeing serrations. As you mentioned, it grabs hold of the material till it severs it. Other things that you mentioned that I can verify is 1: sharpening time is significantly shorter 2: refinement of the edge using delicate pressure with a much lower grit is essential. Over the weekend, I did a cut test between s30v and elmax. I should have the video ready and posted either by the end of the day or tomorrow. Both knives have been sharpened using only the sharpmaker diamond rod and stropped with 28 micron diamond loaded leather.
Every Steel Has Its Appeal :cool:

A.S.O.K.A Edge on Youtube

TkoK83Spy
Member
Posts: 3204
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:32 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby TkoK83Spy » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:37 am

I actually just finished my AEB-L Urban to 15dps on the CBN rods. It clean cuts paper and rough shaves. I gave it around 15 passes on the browns and then a few passes on the browns at 20dps for a micro bevel. Apex is toothy sharp and am thinking of rolling with it that way. Your threads lately have inspired me to leave it at this!
Last edited by TkoK83Spy on Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Currently have 20 :spyder: 's in 14 different steels.

-Rick

User avatar
Evil D
Member
Posts: 20951
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:48 pm
Location: Northern KY

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Evil D » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:39 am

JD Spydo wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:08 am
Your opening comments were most interesting Vivi. I used to think that those super smooth, super polished edges were the very best. Since those days I've come to different findings all together. I find that it totally depends on what you are using your cutting edge for. Also it boils down to either a cutting/slicing edge or a shearing edge.

Take a straight razor for instance. That's a shearing edge. And the properties of what makes a shearing edge most efficient are not the same as what makes most knife edges efficient IMO.

When you look at any cutting edge ( particularly on knives) under a microscope you soon realize that there really isn't any such thing as a plain edge as we perceive them. All knife edges have serrations even as small as they might be. And all the super fine stones, stropping and polishing in the world doesn't change that either. But that's OK because botton line it works.

Now take a straight razor. This is an edge where you want to shear off hair and beard particles. The edge you need for efficient shearing is a different animal. Which is why stropping is so important on Straight Razor edges whereas on knives you really don't need strops to attain a good slicing edge. That's what I've learned up till now. A knife edge is also reliant on the shoulder and overall strength of the steel. A straight razor edge is on the other hand extremely thin and won't hold up to much actual cutting or slicing. Shearing requires a different type of edge all together.

I'm no barber but the way I understand shaving is that the high polished edge is less about cutting the hair and more about reducing skin irritation. I can easily pluck hair with my edges off the diamond rods but if I tried to press that edge firmly against my skin and try to shave it smooth like you would a person's face, it would get it there but it would also create tons of razor burn.


Besides all that I think comparing a straight razor to a pocket knife is a bad idea in general because a straight razor is a specialized blade and edge that only need to cut one thing and edge retention is last priority since it can be stropped during use. These types of edges really have nothing in common besides being sharp. Sure you can use a straight razor as a knife but I don't think many people will like the results. People who have used them as weapons aren't really concerned about edge retention or damage.
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
~David

User avatar
Pelagic
Member
Posts: 2440
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:49 pm
Location: East Coast/Nomadic

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Pelagic » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:39 am

The clean, highly refined, fine edge of a straight razor certainly has a lot to do with having a smooth shave, but you're also making the knife sharper as well. I can whittle hairs off my 325 grit DMT and shave like nothing, but no matter how good of a job I do, I will not be able to outdo the edge my spyderco brown rod yields... when it comes to sharpness. Cutting ability is a completely different story. But as you finish on higher grits, with all other factors the same, the average width of your apex is reduced. And average apex width is another concept altogether. A fine edge finish will yield a more uniform finish in regard to apex width, while a very coarse finish may have intermittent spots capable of whittling hairs as well as intermittent spots that cannot. Whittling hairs and cutting hairs is a form of pushcutting and has a lot to do with apex width (as well as hair width), so getting the blade sharper means something as well. But just like most of you who have posted here, I don't sharpen for sharpness. I sharpen primarily for cutting ability, while secondarily trying to get the blade as sharp as possible while maintaining said cutting ability (which is relative to the tasks I have planned for the blade).
Pancake wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:20 pm
Are you a magician? :eek:
Nate wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:32 pm
You're the lone wolf of truth howling into the winds of ignorance
Doeswhateveraspidercan wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:17 pm
You are a nobody got it?

AccountDeletedUserRequest
Member
Posts: 6612
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:15 am

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby AccountDeletedUserRequest » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:11 am

Jazz wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:56 am
I think if anything, the major part of the bevel should be cleaned up an made finer to ease in slicing or sliding through material. Make the micro coarser, if you will. I actually do another microbevel behind the main bevel to clean that up too. Makes it slice better. I strop that part and the main more than I do the actual cutting contact micro. I hope I explained that right.
I don't think the steel behind the apex influences cutting properties enough to polish for that reason. I leave all my bevels with a coarse diamond finish behind the apex.

User avatar
A.S.O.K.A
Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:20 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby A.S.O.K.A » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:02 pm

Evil D wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:39 am
Pelagic wrote: The clean, highly refined, fine edge of a straight razor certainly has a lot to do with having a smooth shave, but you're also making the knife sharper as well. I can whittle hairs off my 325 grit DMT and shave like nothing, but no matter how good of a job I do, I will not be able to outdo the edge my spyderco brown rod yields... when it comes to sharpness. Cutting ability is a completely different story. But as you finish on higher grits, with all other factors the same, the average width of your apex is reduced. And average apex width is another concept altogether. A fine edge finish will yield a more uniform finish in regard to apex width, while a very coarse finish may have intermittent spots capable of whittling hairs as well as intermittent spots that cannot. Whittling hairs and cutting hairs is a form of pushcutting and has a lot to do with apex width (as well as hair width), so getting the blade sharper means something as well. But just like most of you who have posted here, I don't sharpen for sharpness. I sharpen primarily for cutting ability, while secondarily trying to get the blade as sharp as possible while maintaining said cutting ability (which is relative to the tasks I have planned for the blade).
I'm no barber but the way I understand shaving is that the high polished edge is less about cutting the hair and more about reducing skin irritation. I can easily pluck hair with my edges off the diamond rods but if I tried to press that edge firmly against my skin and try to shave it smooth like you would a person's face, it would get it there but it would also create tons of razor burn.


Besides all that I think comparing a straight razor to a pocket knife is a bad idea in general because a straight razor is a specialized blade and edge that only need to cut one thing and edge retention is last priority since it can be stropped during use. These types of edges really have nothing in common besides being sharp. Sure you can use a straight razor as a knife but I don't think many people will like the results. People who have used them as weapons aren't really concerned about edge retention or damage.
JD spydey is correct, Straight razors are a completely different animal. In the straight razor world, 1000grit is considered coarse. Evil D is also correct, a high polish level on a straight razor is mainly to reduce irritation. But it also depends on the situation on how that polish was achieved. Was it finished on a bald piece of leather or on compound loaded leather. One main thing that folders, fixed and straight razors besides being blades are the teeth size at the pinnacle of the apex. Depending on what we want to cut and what type of cut we want to use( shear, draw, push, pull cut) we will grits and honing tools to make it happen. Vivi is bringing up a great point with this thread. High carbide stainless steel can benefit greatly from having all those carbides more exposed for maximum severance, especially in draw cuts and slicing cuts. Your not really geting what you pay for with steels like s90v if the carbides are all polished down. Although, when it comes to high alloy/ low carbide steels, I'll keep those high polished all day ;)
Every Steel Has Its Appeal :cool:

A.S.O.K.A Edge on Youtube

User avatar
soc_monki
Member
Posts: 352
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:54 am

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby soc_monki » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:22 pm

I tried going with a coarse bevel and polished micro... I didn't like it. I do like a polished bevel and coarser micro though. Grabs and cuts, but slides nicely through material. I am experimenting with not polishing my main bevel as much (brown rod finish) and it works well.

So I pretty much stop with the brown rods now, unless I want that polished main bevel. We will see what more testing turns out and how I like different finishes!
Spyderco : Resilience, Tenacious, Persistence, Manix 2 G10, Para 3 G10, Para 3 LW, Paramilitary 2,
BBS Paramilitary 2, Amalgam
Kershaw : Tone, Cryo, Cryo 2, Thermite, Atmos, Natrix 7007cf, Natrix 7008cf, Bareknuckle 7777, Bareknuckle 20cv, Concierge
Zero Tolerance : 0566CF, 0770CF, 0770GRYBW, 0562CF, 0470, 0456CF, 0095BW, 0801TI
Ontario : Rat 1
CRKT : Caligo
Civivi : Plethiros, Baklash
Cold Steel : AD10
Benchmade : 810-1401 Contego, 15080-2 Crooked River, 15080-Custom Crooked River, 560BK-1 Super Freek
Buck : 110, Bucklite 422, 110 LT
Artisan : Tradition

User avatar
Doeswhateveraspidercan
Member
Posts: 2510
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:31 pm

Re: The low grit sharpening thread

Postby Doeswhateveraspidercan » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:27 pm

Surfingringo wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:31 am
I use coarser edges almost exclusively. Like you Vivi, I went through a stage of wanting to take every edge up to a refined atom splitter but ultimately I wasn’t willing to deal with the decreased cutting performance of refined edges. And if you don’t believe that a refined edge will underperform a coarse edge then clean a few fish and get back to me. I believe a coarse edge will outperform a refined one in MOST cutting tasks but fish and game cleaning are tasks that make the difference really obvious.

These days I never use anything higher than the Spyderco medium rods, and honestly, those are a little on the high side. When using the medium rods I use the corners almost exclusively. If you rub the corners of the brown rods together briskly you will quickly break through the coating and they will provide a notably more aggressive edge than the flats. For EDC use I will typically reprofile on a Lansky 325 benchstone then go straight to the corners of the brown rods for a quick microbevel. That finish will still instantly grab beard hair on contact but retains enough aggression to outperform a more highly polished edge.

Honestly I would really prefer a more aggressive finish that I could get off of the SM. The diamond rods are a little too much for my taste but I would love to have a higher grit diamond rod to use as a finishing stone on the SM. Something in the 800-1200 range. I feel like the flats of the brown rods provide a finish that is comparable to about a 1500 diamond stone.
+1 on the ceramics and I agree with you something in between the Diamond rods and the Brown rods would be welcome.
I have spoken. :)


Return to “Spyderco General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: brianeberhart, buckleys, Google [Bot], jacala, JMM, Larry_Mott, MSN [Bot], Mushroom, T2C, Wartstein and 48 guests