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Sharpening stones -- most cost effective way to go?

Discussion in 'Knives' started by xevious, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    I know there's a Sharpening topic to cover blade management, but it's old & looks like many people miss it due to its visually detached location. I'm looking to learn & have some questions.

    I have minimal experience in this area. I do know about honing versus sharpening. In fact, I've seen enough horror jobs resulting from misuse of "sharpening" products that has scared me off from doing anything other than gentle edge alignment using a quality gentle honing steel (I've verified minimal material removal by the wipe-downs afterward, showing hardly any residue). My knives cut better after applying the honing steel, so I'm doing something right. Magnification exam shows no damage, no irregularities. BUT... I want to achieve better blade performance by doing some non-aggressive sharpening. Although, I don't want to spend $60+ on a full set of stones, because my collection is really too small & my usage not demanding enough to warrant it.

    So a few questions:
    • I know stropping is a must after using sharpening stones... but can stropping with a proper compound be more than sufficient to maintain a blade without using sharpening stones? Should I just get a good stropping leather & leave stones for later on when more aggressive knife duty demands it?
    • I've seen over a dozen different grades of sharpening stones... It's daunting. There are kits available with many grades included, but they can get quite expensive. Maintaining a small knife collection, I'd like to keep it under $30 USD. Is there a good set out there for this purpose? Something like a set of 1000, 3000, 6000 grit? Also, what's a tried & true economical compound to use?
    • There are so many videos on sharpening, it's daunting. Any recommendations on which ones to watch that are worthwhile?
    Thanks!
     
  2. gdwtvb

    gdwtvb Loaded Pockets

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    I'd disagree that stopping is a must. Shaving sharp is more than enough for almost all uses and can easily be achieved without stropping. If you want to whittle hair, stropping might be needed, but that's really just showing off rather than a necessity.

    Look into the Spyderco sharpmaker. It's a bit more than you want to spend, but as it's been my only sharpener for better than 20 years. It's a bargain when you consider how many times it has been used. It's not a great option for trying to reprofile a knife, but for a no-fuss sharpening system, it is hard to beat.

    Grizz
     
  3. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    If you want to keep it to a mininum price wise, get a Fallkniven dc4. It's a good stone.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G950F met Tapatalk
     
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  4. J_C
    • In Omnia Paratus

    J_C Loaded Pockets

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    Good basic stone is a Norton IB8, coarse/fine India stone. With the right technique you can get a good edge without a lot of effort. Just use plain old mineral oil with it. It's under $25.

    A lower cost alternative to the Spyderco Sharpmaker is the Lansky 4-rod Turnbox. They are about $20. Ceramic rods that go into holes in the base so they stick up at predefined angles, and you just move the knife blade along them down and back, keeping the blade vertical.

    I use a strop myself, but they are not mandatory. I made mine out of a piece of belt leather, and some green buffing compound from the hardware store. It is more of a finishing step after sharpening, and would not be a replacement for sharpening.
     
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  5. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks! The convenience of the Lansky system seems like a good way to go, to keep it simple & make for easy stowing.
     
  6. Adahn

    Adahn Loaded Pockets

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    A honing steel is not intended to remove any materal, it's intended to straighten up a cutting edge that's slightly bent from cutting.
    Never use a honing steel in movement where you'd "cut" into the steel but pull it over the steel, otherwise you might break off the bent parts which would lead to micro serrations or even nicks.
    Stropping also helps to straighten up bent areas of the cutting edge but it also removes material if there's any sharpening compound on or in the leather. If you use chromium tanned leather (greenish/white) then that wouldbe abbrassive a bit already, putting on some chromium oxide (green compound) helps that even more.
    Stropping is especially helpful after sharpening with natural stones or diamond stones to remove the burr that forms when you removed enough material on one side.

    My favourite way to sharpen my knives is to clamp them on my work table, mark the edge with a (red) sharpie, then use diamond file with a flat side and a rounded one (for recurves) at around 600 grit. The I file the cutting edge in a movement which removes the sharpie, this way you can keep the angle of the original grind or regrind it to a sharper angle if you like. I do this until you get the burr on the opposing side, clamp in the knife the way around, file untill the burr appears again.
    Then I use my Victorinox diamond sharpener (1000grit) the same way. When the burr appears on the second side it's time for stropping.
    I do the same on the blade of the meat grinder or other tools, it's working on every sharp edge.

    I use knives on job regulary and I just hate to use snap-off blades all the time. A guided system would be nice, a turn around clamp even nice, but this way is working well. On a normal day I only do some stropping or I hone it with a diamond steel, around once in a month I do the resharpening.

    Tl,dr: Try different sharpening methods and do what suits YOU best. There's many ways to get a tool sharp, no right no wrong as long as it cuts well.
     
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  7. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Learn free hand sharpening. It is very rewarding

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G950F met Tapatalk
     
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  8. Buckeye Jake

    Buckeye Jake Loaded Pockets

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    I second the sharpmaker. I have about 20 stones. The sharpmaker makes it easy to these new steels.
     
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  9. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    I don't really care for these steels. Just give me good old carbon steel.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G950F met Tapatalk
     
  10. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for confirming what I thought was my understanding regarding honing steels. There are some available with a diamond encrusted surface meant to strip away material, but I selected the kind that isn't abrasive. Great idea about the red Sharpie! It makes perfect sense, so you can visually see if the angle is right, and excess can be easily cleaned off with alcohol.

    Given how you use knives so regularly, it sounds like you've got a lot of experience witnessing the wear to a knife and what methods work best to keep a sharp edge with only minimal material removal as needed. At this point I've watched a few videos demonstrating how to strop. I think I'll go that route first--a good stropping leather, with a very low grit compound.
     
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  11. xevious

    xevious Loaded Pockets

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    I can see what you mean. Developing the skill would be an asset, as you can adequately sharpen any knife almost anywhere when there's a decent stone available.
    Thanks. I'm going to try developing my free hand skills first using a "mediocre" knife. If I find I'm not that satisfied I may go that route with a sharpening system like the Sharpmaker or Lansky. Looks like they're great for people who don't have the time or ability to do fully manual sharpening.
     
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  12. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Great. If you need any tips, feel free to ask. Lots of us will be happy to help.
    Cheers from Holland

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G950F met Tapatalk
     
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  13. Adahn

    Adahn Loaded Pockets

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    You bet I do ;)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    When I was a job student the first week was to sharpen a dull shoemaker's knife to nearly hair whittling sharpness.
    Do you think I was gratedul towards my educator? Well I was, around 4 years later ;)

    More of the things I do: http://adahnsplace.blogspot.com/
     
  14. JIM

    JIM Loaded Pockets

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    Never managed to sharpen anything, but got a Skerper 1000/3000 stone and found this video to be very helpfull:



    Actually felt I practiced enough now to attempt sharpening my Benchmade Griptillian yesterday! Absolutely terrifying but well worth it.
     
    #14 JIM, Aug 8, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
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  15. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Skerper is the house brand of KATO, correct? Remember that their basic stones are on the soft side. So you will have to flatten them often. Het is beter om ff door te sparen en Skerper pro te kopen. Of nog beter, Naniwa. Groeten uit Spijkenisse

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  16. Aruetii

    Aruetii Loaded Pockets

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    I personally use a Benchmade/Sharpmaker guided field sharpener.The rubber on it has kind of degraded somewhat after lots of intensive use over a year,but it doesn't really matter. Coarse diamond,fine diamond,fine ceramic hone and a little strip of leather strop does everything sufficiently well for like 50USD, though I think the Sharpmaker version without the "Butterfly Tax" is a bit cheaper than that. Works more or less like a double-sided traditional (diamond) stone if you ignore the angle guides.
     
  17. CSG

    CSG Loaded Pockets

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    Sharpmarker first and always until you get really serious and want to be a sushi chef. Stropping is completely optional unless you're sharpening a straight razor. I mostly use my Sharpmaker or Spyderco Med and Fine Bench stones (same material as the Sharpmaker rods). I don't want to cut tissue, I want a good working edge that can be brought back quickly.
     
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  18. A.B.

    A.B. Loaded Pockets

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    Stropping is done to de-burr the edge. But, you don't have to use a loaded strop, granted.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G973F met Tapatalk
     
  19. CSG

    CSG Loaded Pockets

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    You can easily deburr an edge on the right stones as well.