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Can’t get cheap knife super sharp

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    Leo James Mitchell
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 687

    “You are the machine, the WE is an extension of you.”
    Very Zen Zig and very true. I have said since the outset, that using the WEPS can be a very Zen experience and from your response and others I have seen around this forum, I know many feel the same way.
    What he was saying was complete balderdash. I am certain he didn’t raise a burr on each side and he probably used lots of pressure throughout the process, but most of all I think he had buyer’s remorse. Why he didn’t accept Clay’s generous offer is beyond me. I think he just wanted to rant and attract attention, which he did, but not the kind he really wanted. It cost him dearly, so I hope he enjoyed his rant.


    • Topics: 11
    • Replies: 177

    Thanks Leo,
    And to take it a step further, you really use all your senses when sharpening…. well maybe not taste.

    But even on a machine, if I’m working edge down, my eyes are gauging the angle from the top and since I can’t see the bur, its my fingers that give it a quick feel after a pass or two.
    Even the sound of the stones breaking in tell you something, or when they hit a rough patch, as well as hearing it, then you go to the eyes and touch.

    One thing thats pretty cool about the WEPS.
    Once you got it down, you understand any other type of sharpening system or machine.
    Everything you learn on it applies to every sharpening system I’ve tried in one way or another.

    Cliff Stamp
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 76

    As a point of clarification, carbides do not increase ease of sharpening or ultimate obtainable sharpness, in fact they do the opposite and decrease it, hence steels which are intended for very high sharpness (razor blades) have a very low carbide volume, << 5%.

    There are main reasons why inexpensive knives are often initially difficult to sharpen (though easy to grind) they are all related to the fact that the edge is likely damaged :

    -too much heat in grinding
    -steel not protected during the soaking
    -less than ideal thermal cycling (will affect the edge most)

    In general, for really cheap knives, I have often found it can take up to a mm of metal to be removed before the performance stabilizes. The main reason that people often think so poorly of such steels/knives is that they never see the actual steel in use, just the damaged part.

    Most of the inexpensive knives are 5Cr13MoV stainless (a few are 3Cr13), these are actual razor blade steels the same as AEB-L. However the inexpensive ones are usually underhardened so you will lose performance compared to a very nice AEB-L blade, but the edge holding will be 40-50% of that.

    As a note for example, I can take an inexpensive kitchen knife :

    – 6 to 8 dps primary edge
    – 14 to 15 dps micro-bevel (600 DMT)

    and cut 250 m of 1/8" ridged cardboard across the ridges and still slices newsprint at the end of the cutting (parallel, with the grain).

    Leo James Mitchell
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 687

    Many thanks for the clarification Cliff.Valuable information for anybody who sharpens knives et al.

    All the best

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