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am I sharpening my knives ok?

Discussion in 'Sharpening Stuff -- Stones, Strops, and Systems' started by Emeraldalkaline, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. Emeraldalkaline

    Emeraldalkaline Loaded Pockets

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    Hey guys, so I have a lansky sharpening system, the 3 stone one, and its alright, I honestly just use the stones by hand, but I'm wondering if Im doing something wrong. I get my edges clean and razor sharp, serrations too, but I get scratches on the belly/grind of the blade. Is this an indication of me doing anything wrong or just something that comes with using stones? and for people who get these scratches, is there a way to help them/polish them out?
     
  2. chmsam

    chmsam Loaded Pockets

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    Do a search here. There are lots of sharpening threads on this forum. All your questions have probably already been answered.

    That said, you'll find a ton of suggestions and opinions on which system to use. Probably way too many.

    Here are some basic sharpening tips:

    - Take a marker and ink the edge. Draw the knife along the hone one or two strokes and then look at the mark. If the ink is gone only at the very edge of the blade, lower the angle. If it's gone only at the back of the edge, raise the angle. When the ink is gone across the edge, you've got it right. Simple.

    - If your scratching the blade above the edge you're probably sharpening with too much pressure and/or you're sharpening too fast. Easy to do with a Lansky. Your blade is probably coming in contact with the home because the hone is going beyond the blade. Slow down and ease up. It only takes a light touch. If you want to protect the blade above the edge you can use masking tape or painters tape to cover it.

    - If you're finding your knives go dull quickly you've probably developed a "wire edge" or burr. Virtually any sharpening method makes the very edge of the bevel very thin and tends to curl the tip over. It's a natural part of honing and is an indication that the edge is getting sharp. It can be hard to see, almost microscopic. It's sharp but brittle. If you carefully run your finger or thumb from the spine of the blade down to the edge you'll probably feel it catch. That's the wire edge. You need to get rid of it though. Drawing the hone a stroke or two very lightly at a greater angle or else the opposite way you've sharpened will get rid of the burr. If you don't remove the burr it will soon break off and that's what makes the blade go dull.

    - Scratches on the edge indicate that you've been removing metal. Duh. That's what sharpening is all about. Seeing too many scratches? Probably you need a finer hone. The 3 hone kit hones aren't really fine so that's not unusual. If the blade is sharp enough for your uses, don't worry about it. A strop with some fine grit paste will also polish the edge. Stropping is a finishing step. It polishes, puts a bit finer edge on the blade, and removes some of the burr. Read about strops on any of a number of sharpening websites.

    - Seeing that the edge is not evenly sharpened from the heel of the blade all the way to the tip is common with larger/longer blades done with a Lansky system. What you'll need to do is to sharpen larger blades in two steps or more, starting by clamping the blade in the system nearer to the heel of the blade and then moving the clamp further towards the tip. This is a typical with systems that hold the blade with a clamp and have rods & hones. The larger blades mean that the rods for the system create too great of an arc to hone evenly along the entire edge.

    There are probably YT videos on the Lansky system so check those out and as I said before check for other threads on this forum.

    Hope this helps and good luck with your knives.

    Sent from expensive tin cans tied to lots of string.
     
  3. Emeraldalkaline

    Emeraldalkaline Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the advice, some of it is really helpful! Also is there any way to buff the scratches out of the blade?


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  4. Emeraldalkaline

    Emeraldalkaline Loaded Pockets

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    Pardon the double post but I'm just hoping to get all of my sharpening questions answered in one thread. I said I use the lansky system but really I'm :censored: with the clamp and I just end up using the thin stones free hand. It works well enough and I don't get "wire edges" from it, but is that an okay method? Also will getting a sapphire polishing hone and a strop help (not only my edge quality) but the scratches on the blade? I will try to take it slower in the future to prevent these scratches as well


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  5. dplafoll

    dplafoll Loaded Pockets

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    I dunno about polishing out the scratches, but I can't recommend a strop enough. Many times you don't have to sharpen a knife once it's sharp; you just strop them on a regular basis. You only have to sharpen when you've really degraded the edge to the point where stropping doesn't work.
     
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  6. chmsam

    chmsam Loaded Pockets

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    Buffing out scratches for most folks is an exercise in frustration. It takes a long time, patience, and rarely gets to 100%. Considering that, the knife is already scratched, polishing without knowing how to do so can make it worse, but if you read up on it and have the right tools for the job it can be a learning experience. Wouldn't do it on a knife you treasure. If it's a working knife that's gonna see hard use, does it matter to you? Your call.

    Until you master the muscle memory of holding the knife at the same angle for both sides as you sharpen, use the clamp. Read up and watch videos on how to use the system.

    If you're going to sharpen free hand get larger stones. Practice a lot it takes time to master it and its OK if some folks never get it. The Lansky hones are way too small to learn how to free hand sharpen plus you can't lay them flat - too much of a juggling act to do the job properly.

    Sent from expensive tin cans tied to lots of string.
     
  7. Emeraldalkaline

    Emeraldalkaline Loaded Pockets

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    I'll have to look into how to use the clamp. For me it just won't hold it correctly on the edge. I take the lansky stones and hold it in my right hand and run the knife on it with my left hand. Works well for me. I get sharp edges.

    I won't attempt buffing the scratches as my knives are users so it's not that big a deal and sounds like more trouble than it's worth.

    I'll be getting a strop but for the lansky system (or at least the stones) would you recommend the ultra fine or super sapphire stone for polishing the edge? Or should I just go get a set of regular whetstones since I seem to be decent at free handing? (Decent meaning I can repeatedly get a hair popping, non-burr edge on most knives with the fine lansky hone)


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  8. chmsam

    chmsam Loaded Pockets

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    First of all what problems are you having with the clamp? The clamp needs to hold the blade firmly. If the knife is really thin try using some tape on it or thin cardboard to hold it tighter (also prevents scratches). The clamp has to grip the spine of the blade but you shouldn't need it to go on more than about an eighth of an inch or so. The system is not designed for really large knives.

    And yes, the sapphire, hard arkansas, or the gold diamond hone will put a finer edge on the blade. One or the other should be good enough. A lot of people think of shaving as the all around best test for an edge but I figure it's better to use the test that's closest to what the knife is actually going to be cutting. Unless you're a barber or a surgeon it's probably better to test an edge with a sheet of paper (newspaper works fine) and seeing if the edge will slice quarter of an inch strips while you're holding the paper in the air with one hand. Don't slash at it unless you like getting stitches, just draw the knife across the top edge of the paper a few times.


    Sent from expensive tin cans tied to lots of string.
     
  9. Emeraldalkaline

    Emeraldalkaline Loaded Pockets

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    Just figured out I was putting the guide rod in the wrong end, that explains a :censored:load. So that is already an improvement right there, lol. Just tried it the correct way and it works much better. In short I'm just a dumbass there.

    I think I'll go ahead and grab the sapphire home then as well as a strop and buffing compound.

    And I usually test it to be shaving sharp and the paper test. And I just find your comment funny as I have two permanent scars on my finger from that! Lol


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  10. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Try using good whet stones. I'n my opinion the best result. Although you have to practice to get it right.
     
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  11. JustinJ
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    JustinJ Loaded Pockets

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    if you are getting it sharp enough for your liking, you are doing it right. scratches are probably from the sharpening stone touching more of the blade than is necessary. a lighter touch with the stones may help, or using the clamps/rods/things from the lansky kit.
     
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  12. farnorthdan
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    farnorthdan Loaded Pockets

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    Easiest system (IMO) for beginners is the Spyderco sharp maker, its pretty bullet proof. Way back in the day I tried a Lansky and almost immediately scrapped that system, I could never get their clamp system to center the blade correctly and it was horrible on smaller blades. The system I use these days is the Edge Pro for re-profiling and repairs, and maintain with the sharp maker and strop. Like others have already said, practice a lot.
     
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  13. NelsonIII
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    NelsonIII Loaded Pockets

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    However, a Sharpmaker is not suitable for hard steels that need more than a a touch up. So you will need something else on top of it such as freehand skills and a extra course stone, or an Edge Pro. Unless you like sitting there multiple nights doing 10,000 strokes.
     
  14. farnorthdan
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    farnorthdan Loaded Pockets

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    For high wear resistant steels the sharpmaker will work but you better get yourself a set of diamond or cubic boron nitride rods, Nelson is right on the mark there, without them it takes forever.
     
  15. Emeraldalkaline

    Emeraldalkaline Loaded Pockets

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    Extra coarse for a touch up? what kind of steels are you talking about? and I cannot afford and edge pro what so ever, hah. Ive been looking into the sharp maker or the worksharp sharpener.

    and far north, I will look into to those?
     
  16. NelsonIII
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    NelsonIII Loaded Pockets

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    No, for hard steel that needs more than a touch up, the Sharpmaker will induce rage. They should have called it, Sharpkeeper, because it seems more fitting for touch ups than anything else.
     
  17. dplafoll

    dplafoll Loaded Pockets

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    S35VN, S90V, S110V, ZDP-189 are some examples of very hard steels that are very difficult to sharpen from dull on a Sharpmaker, and honestly any system or method is going to need some sort of low-grit aggressive stone/rod/etc. to do that. The Sharpmaker is really excellent to sharpen softer steels, and maintain most steels. I for one haven't had any issues maintaining edges on CTS-XHP and HAP-40, which are the majority of my knives.
     
  18. mjpgolf1

    mjpgolf1 Loaded Pockets

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    I have the Smiths guided clamp system and it works pretty good however what I do to get that brilliant polish is I run the fine hone over the blade until satisfied, then I start with 800 grit wet sand paper and wrap it around the hone making sure the paper is completely flat. I then work my way from 800 grit to 1200 to 2000 then I have some leather cut into pieces that I do the same and wrap around the hone and use polish to finish the edge. I know it sounds kind of crazy and unorthodox but it really does work and not only do my knives have high polished edges but they are also extremely sharp. Give it a shot. It's cheap and the results will shock you.
     
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  19. Emeraldalkaline

    Emeraldalkaline Loaded Pockets

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    Oh okay, yes. I was thinking you meant you need a coarse file to TOUCH UP these hard steels. Most of my sharpening will be maintaining. I'm kind of really cautious with my edges. I don't think I'd need to sharpen up something from being dull. That being said I might grab the sharp maker, or just get the extra fine and polishing hones for my lansky system.


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  20. dplafoll

    dplafoll Loaded Pockets

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    Oh yeah, no, I meant if you have a dull ZDP-189 blade, for example, and you don't have an aggressive sharpener of some sort, you're screwed. Word to the wise: never, ever EVER let ZDP-189 get dull. You will literally pay for your mistake. Trust me. I was a Knife Knoob, and bought a ZDP-189 Spyderco Dragonfly 2 before I had the tools to maintain it. You're already a step ahead of where I was.

    Personally I'd go ahead and just invest in the system you already have(I need to buy the diamond and ultra-fine rods for my Sharpmaker, for example) rather than start over. The SM is a good alternative if you're still not happy with the Lansky and you don't want to start spending more on something fancier like a Wicked Edge or Edge Pro or some such.

    And I cannot stress enough how much you need a strop. Seriously, go get a paddle-style strop and some compound. You can get a cheap one for about $20 bucks on the larger e-commerce sites. I bought my compound at my local Ace Hardware; see Dico Buffing Compound. The black one is the most coarse and the red is the finest. The white and green are in the middle; IIRC the green is the more fine of the two. I got the green and red, and it works for me, but I would probably recommend black/white or white/green. My setup was about $30-35 and worth every penny. Heck I can strop in bed while the wife's watching TV.
    If I had the money, I'd go to StropMan and buy 2 HD Compact strops and all 4 compounds and just go nuts. Soon...