Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

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wrdwrght
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Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby wrdwrght » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:28 am

Project Farms’ just-released video (https://youtu.be/uEDyYJJ6f9M) compares the sharpness produced by various sharpeners (Sharpmaker included). Is the standardized test for comparison a fair one? Is it actually meaningful?

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby Sharp Guy » Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:12 am

wrdwrght wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:28 am
Project Farms’ just-released video (https://youtu.be/uEDyYJJ6f9M) compares the sharpness produced by various sharpeners (Sharpmaker included). Is the standardized test for comparison a fair one? Is it actually meaningful?
I haven't had time to watch yet but, providing he's not testing a sharpener that destroys the edge (v-type pull through etc) wouldn't the sharpness produced be at least partially dependent on technique used for each type of sharpener? I know with my Sharpmaker and Hapstone V7 there was a bit of learning curve before I started getting the results I desired.
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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby wrdwrght » Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:24 am

Sharp Guy wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:12 am
wouldn't the sharpness produced be at least partially dependent on technique used for each type of sharpener?
I don’t have an answer. The video unsettles my understanding of sharpening and what sharp means in practice.
Last edited by wrdwrght on Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby ChrisinHove » Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:11 am

Interesting video, to say the least. The SM does take a bit of practice, but what with the 2nd result?

Let’s ask him to repeat the test at least 15 times....

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby Pinetreebbs » Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:21 am

Project Farm is a pretty level headed fellow. His testing is well thought out, but no test is perfect. What you get is a set of individual tests and the results he got. Just like the whetstone vs Sharpmaker users, not everyone gets the same result. There is also the profile factor as well as the blade steel. You need to make your own conclusions.
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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby jdw » Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:39 am

Pinetreebbs wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:21 am
Project Farm is a pretty level headed fellow. His testing is well thought out, but no test is perfect. What you get is a set of individual tests and the results he got. Just like the whetstone vs Sharpmaker users, not everyone gets the same result. There is also the profile factor as well as the blade steel. You need to make your own conclusions.

This brings up an interesting question for me. I have a Sharpmaker but I have never fallen in love with it and I am at best able to marginally meet my needs with it. I grew up sharpening on "Arkansas stones" and various whetstones and it's more natural for me to sharpen this way. What would you folks recommend that would be my best bet to simulate the muscle memory of a whetstone but still take care of my high hardness blades? I tried a diamond bench stone before it ate a couple of my knives to h#;;.
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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby blues » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:01 pm

jdw wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:39 am
I grew up sharpening on "Arkansas stones" and various whetstones and it's more natural for me to sharpen this way. What would you folks recommend that would be my best bet to simulate the muscle memory of a whetstone but still take care of my high hardness blades? I tried a diamond bench stone before it ate a couple of my knives to h#;;.
Shapton Glass would be great up to about 4% vanadium carbide. Higher hardness / vanadium carbide blades...you may find you like bonded diamond hones. These have the diamond particles embedded throughout the substrate so that they are not sticking straight up like plated diamond hones. Much less wear and tear in comparison and more like the feel of the old whetstones. (And a bit slower in comparison to plated diamond as well.)
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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby The Meat man » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:09 pm

Eh, in real life there are just too many variables at play for his ranking to have much practical value. Different steels, HT's, angles, etc.

My biggest question is, what's his proficiency level with each sharpener? It's kind of like saying a powerlifter is stronger than a bodybuilder - not always true. A high level bodybuilder will probably outlift a beginner powerlifter. Likewise, an experienced benchstone sharpener like Michael Christy or BBB will probably outdo most others on the Wicked Edge or Lansky.

Every sharpening system except those pull-through ones require skill to use to their full potential and it can take a lot of practice to get there.
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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby Evil D » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:12 pm

He basically demonstrated what kind of results an inexperienced person might get by following the directions given, and that's really about it. The fact that they were all sharpened at different angles makes it an inaccurate test. He got the best edge from the bench stone because he got the thinnest edge from it.
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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby Ankerson » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:15 pm

I think he would need to repeat the test after he used each of the systems for awhile and got used to them all.

And run the sharpness testing like 5 times then do an ave.

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby Larrin » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:31 pm

I’ve never used a sharpening system that worked without practice. In fact for a lot of them I think the learning curve was just as steep as freehand sharpening. And even switching to different stones on the same system can require some relearning.
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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby Ankerson » Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:53 pm

Larrin wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:31 pm
I’ve never used a sharpening system that worked without practice. In fact for a lot of them I think the learning curve was just as steep as freehand sharpening. And even switching to different stones on the same system can require some relearning.

And since he dulled the knife coming off the Edge Pro that he finished with the sharpening tapes then stropped it after with green compound.

The blade doesn't need to be stropped coming off the sharpening tapes, especally the 6000 grit....

Most people wouldn't catch that other than EP users that have used the tapes.

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby kennethsime » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:59 am

I think my biggest issue with this guy is that his sharpness test. It looks like he's measuring a very specific part of the edge, rather than the breadth of the edge. In other words, he's not slicing.
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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby dodgie02 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:38 pm

Yeah I'm unsure of what to think of this comparison. I have mainly used the edge pro the last few years and gotten pretty proficient with it. I prefer it over a wicked edge because of the extra freedom in blade positioning. The learning curve goes a bit higher then the wicked edge which I find the most fool proof method but with enough experience I find I can manipulate the edge pro to a great variety making all sorts of tasks like sharpening to the base of the ricasso on spyderco blades a breeze where I would find it more difficult with clamped systems for example.
I'm not sure what to make of these results neither. Perhaps it's his level of experience with the edge pro but when I finish my blades on the high grit diamond matrix stones or shapton stones (depending on what material I'm working with)and a quick strop I end up with a wicked sharp and durable edge far surpassing 'original sharpness' (what is this benchmark anyway? If you aren't getting these results you're doing something wrong I would think?).

Now I wish I could speak for freehand, but due to an injury from being hit by a car I've lost the finesse in my right hand to get results after going up to the finer grits which.. Is okay due to the edge pro being a middle ground in clamped and freehand but still a shame nonetheless. I love seeing Michael Christys work and the man is a legend. I wish I could put in the years to get on his level but it'd be pointless.

Also, I love the custom options the edge pro comes with. First of all a variety of stones to work with, things like the small knife attachment and for bigger blades the knife slide guide combined with a magnet effectively holds the knife in in a place of your preference or required place to work on exactly that part of the blade you need to.

So I'm not sure about any of this. I guess as a basic comparison between how barebone systems compare in their workings it's okay but I feel this is not nearly telling the entire story between how to get the most out of a certain system and therefor the results are pretty out there imo. I'd suggest looking up experienced users of each method of sharpening and hear their views on the matter.
I think (though never experienced) the apostlep used the edge pro with great results but for a better explanation and use of this system I'd recommend the channel of spadeknifeworks. Hugely under appreciated channel because this guy knows what he's doing for sure.
Here a video on his reasoning behind the edge pro and I concur with his findings: https://youtu.be/fHyhHwQ1TnI
Skip to 4.30 for the real vid, the start is a comparison between the apex and the pro model. If you're interested in the edge pro or debating on whether a kme or wicked edge is more your thing this provides a good argument for the edge pro I reckon.

Oh and this video highlighting what I mean by freedom of positioning and making things like sharpening to the base of the plunge pretty 'easy' https://youtu.be/E1Y6EAHAtEs

For people learning the edge pro I recommend watching through his full videos of 'refining the edge', sharpening the native 5 and the slyz Bowie as it comes with great tips walking you through the process of getting to where you want your edge to go and manipulating the system.

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby SubMicron » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:21 pm

The pull through sharpeners should go in the garbage.

The rest all require a bit of skill from the end user, of which freehand sharpening on stones/plates requires the most and has the highest potential to be the superior option for both sharpness and edge retention.

Upper end guided sharpeners of various brands, out of the box, are capable of making an edge that's better than what the average person achieves freehand.

I tried the Lansky system for a month and it now goes unused. It taught me a lot. The same is true for the WorkSharp KO, even with the Blade Grinding Attachment. A belt produced convex edge is not superior and since most of my sharpening happens on some of the hardest and highest Vanadium carbide steels, they just strip the grit right off the belts.

I started shopping for a high end guided system and quickly my price points pushed closer and closer to $1000, especially considering all the accessories and multiple stone/plate progressions. At these levels, you're able to use many of the same upper end abrasives that can be had for freehand sharpening. The Wicked Edge was on my short list of final contenders.

Ultimately I realized that for the end-to-end cost of a proper guided system, I could just buy everything thing I needed, and then some, for free hand sharpening... so that's what I did.

I'm still drawn towards the TSPROF however considering I can take my knives beyond hair whittling by hand, I'm not sure what I'd gain by getting one, other than an easier and more precise way to change the edge angle.

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby JacksonKnives » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:26 pm

Project Farm / Todd Osgood is a rising star in the YouTube "product test" community. It looks like he's doing very well for himself, and I applaud his consistency and effort and I think he deserves to be rewarded. (I'm actually a writer for a publication that does similar work, and I know just how much work testing products is.)

However...

In most tests like this (see also the Cook's Illustrated, Wirecutter, Consumer Reports tests, or the knife sharpener tests a colleague of mine did for yourbestdigs.com) it's easy to get lost in the numbers.

Todd used a microscope to show us the edge, and that's cool, but he either doesn't have the time or expertise to talk about what it means. The close-up of the repaired edge he got with the Lansky was scary-looking, but it did well in the BESS test, and it's (relatively) cheap, so it looks like a great system on the "results" charts.
Likewise, the Sharpmaker (which I've only recently started using, and have mixed feeling about) did surprisingly well at repair sharpening, but seems to have left a scary burr that didn't get removed with the strop. That, or he tested the post-cutting-board edge on a totally different part of the edge that didn't get repaired. In either case, the result numbers are now basically meaningless.

And the Lansky *is* a good system, but the pros and cons of using a clamp system vs. a pull-through system vs. a bench stone are totally hidden in the results, despite the tester knowing full well what the differences are after having used them all.

I'm glad that so many reviewers are doing tests and telling us the numbers, but it can't be *just* about the numbers. I can line up five toasters and do a systematic test of all the settings to see what level of toasting they give you, but who cares? Unless a toaster is totally mis-calibrated, the end user will figure out the calibration quickly and tweak to suit their preferences.

Likewise, you can do basic properties tests on ten different motor oils and find out that, surprise surprise, they're all within the SAE grade spec. If there's enough variability in the flow rate or lubricity to show up in your tests, how do you demonstrate that that difference in your test is representative of a difference that will be meaningful to the end user? Do we have to run a controlled experiment on a fleet of post office vehicles? Could even that experiment possibly be controlled enough to be meaningful?

edit:
If you can find meaningful results and show them in a test, that's helpful for viewers/readers. All reviewers should strive to show these sorts of results in a fair comparison.
As soon as you reduce your recommendation of a product to a small set of results from simple tests, though, you've done your readers a disservice.
Save for a very few cases, Project Farm is not a review channel. It's entertainment. If I wanted to save money on motor oil, it was already obvious that WalMart and Amazon could get me a "good enough" product at the lowest possible price. It's entertaining to watch the properties of the oils compared, just as it's entertaining to look at the knife-blunting rig Todd made and anticipating the result numbers, but it doesn't teach me anything about the relative experience or value of using those products.
Last edited by JacksonKnives on Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby JacksonKnives » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:40 pm

SubMicron wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:21 pm
The pull through sharpeners should go in the garbage.
I'm not going to contradict you about your facts, but it's important that we keep perspective. Some people are served well by pull-through sharpeners, just like some people are served well by cheap electric bicycles. I'm happy I'm not one of those people, but I don't begrudge them what is clearly working.

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby SubMicron » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:48 pm

JacksonKnives wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:40 pm
SubMicron wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:21 pm
The pull through sharpeners should go in the garbage.
I'm not going to contradict you about your facts, but it's important that we keep perspective. Some people are served well by pull-through sharpeners, just like some people are served well by cheap electric bicycles. I'm happy I'm not one of those people, but I don't begrudge them what is clearly working.

"Is a Camry or a F150 or a classic Lotus Elise the best car for me?"
You can't even begin to compare those without pre-supposing the desired outcome. And once you do make assumptions about the outcome, you've answered the question in a lineup like this.
I've seen pull through sharpeners basically destroy knives by causing massive chips.

Furthermore, they typically leave a burr or some kind of steel fragments. I don't think that a typical pull-through user would know to use a strop, much less check the burr, or be able to get rid of one.

What happens to those little bits of steel? Some go in your food and get swallowed. What happens when those razor sharp little bits get lodged in your digestive tract?

My perspective is that pull-through sharpeners destroy good knives and are possibly a health hazard.

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby tbdoc4kids » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:17 pm

We actually ingest small bits of indigestible stuff all the time, we just don't do it as often as dogs. That stuff just goes right through unless it is too large to pass, and you would be amazed at the stuff that does go right on through. I suggest avoiding fishhooks, but if you want to eat some coins, you can recover them 2-3 days later (but of course they will be the worse for digestive juices). Small bits of steel, glass, and sand will be harmless.

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Re: Sharpeners Compared-Your Thoughts

Postby JacksonKnives » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:08 pm

SubMicron wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:48 pm
JacksonKnives wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:40 pm
SubMicron wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:21 pm
The pull through sharpeners should go in the garbage.
I'm not going to contradict you about your facts, but it's important that we keep perspective. Some people are served well by pull-through sharpeners, just like some people are served well by cheap electric bicycles. I'm happy I'm not one of those people, but I don't begrudge them what is clearly working.
I've seen pull through sharpeners basically destroy knives by causing massive chips.
You can also do that with the steel [edit: "hone"] that's included in many expensive sets of knives.

For softer steel, with thicker edges, it's not hard to avoid anything disastrous. Testing on thin VG-10 edges, sure, I've seen ribbons of steel that looked very scary.

Fortunately, I don't have to ride an electric bicycle on the freeway and I don't have to sharpen nice kitchen knives with a pull-through. ;)

I have made plenty of mistakes with bench stones and clamp systems over the years, some with quite severe consequences.

The best course, IMO, is not to rid the world of equipment we don't want to use, or even to get people who use it to stop.

The best way forward is to encourage each other to learn about how tools work, learn to use them safely, learn how to do new things with them, and hopefully once in a while to find interesting new tools that can transform our tasks into joy.
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