JD Spydo wrote: ↑
Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:04 am
That would be a great title for a printed magazine. I used to be an active member on a really popular "straight Razor" forum and the main reason I was there was to learn more about the different stones and strops they used to sharpen with. It was most interesting because those Straight Razors were a completely different animal all together.
But the subject of sharpening can be a pretty vast item of discussion because there are literally hundreds of abrasives and methods to discuss. And it seems like it's a hobby that is growing pretty rapidly. I got really hooked on it when I got my very first Sharpmaker back in the late 90s. I hope this thread gets at least 200 hits on it.
A section on hardware alone could go on for days.
What sharpening tools do you have? How much difference does it make? How much skill do you have? etc.
Dad taught me how to sharpen a knife when I was 10 or 11. By the time I was out of high school shaving arm hair was my standard of a sharp edge. And for the most part that's plenty sharp enough for day to day cutting.
Over the past 10 - 12 years I got more interested in obtaining a much sharper edge. Tree topping, hair whittling, etc. After a few angle controlling sharpening systems including the Edge Pro I have settled on free hand sharpening. That is because the "systems" I learned to used all have their own limitations. Having said that I do want to say I love the Edge Pro. I do want to say that the first time I used the Edge Pro was MUCH different than the last time. No matter how good a tool performs it takes time to learn how to use it well. That's any tool. But free hand sharpening leaves the only limitations on the individual.
The sharpening tools I now have and use are Spyderco's med, fine and UF stones. I find the fine grit the most useful. The UF is not needed much for knives but makes for a great stone for straight razors. The medium grit is just that. Good for when the fine grit isn't quite coarse enough or you just want a bit coarser edge. Great set of stones.
I also have a set of DMT stones. Add a DMT (or other diamond company) coarse stone to the Spyderco stones and I think you have a nice set. One thing I love about these stones is you can use them dry. No mess to clean up.
Last, I have a set of Shapton glass stones. 320, 500, 1k, 2k, 4, 8k, 16k grits. I like 320 - 2k grits for knives and the higher grits for straight razors. Or, if you just want a smoother edge the higher grits are great for knives. HOWEVER, all my life I would get my pocket knife very sharp with a medium grit range stone. Then, thinking I was going to get it sharper with a finer grit stone I ended up making it duller. So I quit using finer grits. Several years ago I decided to improve my sharpening skill. So I started buying sharpening tools. Whatever I bought I either sold, gave away or kept. What I kept is listed above.
In my opinion it takes more skill to get good results from the higher grit range of stones. Since anything higher than 1k or 2k grits aren't necessary for a great edge I'd suggest not buying them right away. If you do buy them and don't get good results you probably just need more practice.
My opinion again. The secret to the super sharp edge is super light strokes as the finishing touch. This is something that takes time to be able to "feel". It's not something you get in a month either. There's a reason really good knife sharpeners are sought and respected. It's a skill just like any other. To get a super light amount of pressure balance the knife on your finger. After finding the balance point keep a finger under the knife just back far enough for the blade to be heavy enough to lay on the stone. Using the weight of the blade instead of you pushing down on the stone keeps the pressure very light.
By the time you get to this point if there is a burr on one side, one super light stroke to remove it is all that should be needed. At this point if you use too much pressure you'll probably have wasted the last 10 or 15 minutes of work.
No matter what stones you use your ability will be the most important thing. And it takes time to develop.
If I didn't have any sharpening stones I'd start with buying a DMT coarse grit, Spyderco med and fine grit stones. If you want to go with water stones a Shapton glass 320, 500, 2k grits are enough. But with water stones you will need to flatten them occasionally and they are a bit messy. To flatten them you'll need a coarse DMT (for example) also.
All of this is just my opinion and my opinion smells just as bad as anyone else's.