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Chips in Edge After Sharpening?

Recent Forums Main Forum Chips in Edge After Sharpening?

This topic contains 21 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Mark76 12/08/2017 at 11:00 pm.

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  • #42461

    Eric F
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 9

    So in an effort to learn how to use the Wicked Edge I asked my neighbors/friends if they had any knives I could sharpen.  I got a bunch.  I am having a problem with one of them.  It is a junky santoku.  The metal is odd, and seems to be magnetic.  I set the angles (18 per side) and sharpened it up.  Really sharp edge, but it had chips in it….  I then sharpened it again…. same thing… and then I did it again… guess what… still has chips… I can’t seem to figure out why though.  The stones are flat, I’m using no force and not slapping, I’m ensuring a clean scratch pattern before moving on… its just strange.  For reference I set the initial bevel for the first run with the 100 and then used the 200 up to the ultra fine ceramic…. for the second and third run I used the 200 since I already had a good bevel.

    Is it me?.. or is it this steel?

    #42462

    Eric F
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 9

    Also interesting is I checked the blade after each stone on my last attempt.  I don’t really recall seeing the chips until I used the ceramics….

     

    The whole WE is new, so everything is still being broken in.

    #42463

    Mark76
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 179
    • Replies: 2760

    Are you sure the chips weren’t there before you started sharpening, Eric? A loupe or a microscope can be a good friennd.

    As you noteed the stones are not broken in yet and that is a likely reason. In order to minimize that effect, try not to put too much pressure on the stones and used edge-leading strokes as much as possible.

    Molecule Polishing: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #42464

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1912

    I would expect a Santoku style knife, even of a less hard steel, to be able to support 18º per side. But you may need to step up to 20º per side when all said and done.

    New, not broken in stones are quite rough on an edge, ceramics included.  Did you observe the knife was magnetic because it stuck to a magnet or because the metal filings stuck to the blade?  All of my knives including the “Stainless Steel” knives are kept on magnetic wood knife blocks on the wall.  The magnets hold them quite securely.

    Sometimes an edge is so damaged that it needs to be debrided with a file taken at it 90º to the mounted knife across the edge to remove and flattened all the damaged steel.  I use a medium bastard metal file for this so as not to abuse my WE Diamond stones.  I find it best to file in the same direction as the knife is clamped, heel to tip to heel.  Be careful not to slip off and cut or injure yourself.

    Then when profiling the knife I use the coarsest WE Diamond stone capable of removing steel easily with out a lot of effort.  If you can get by with 200 grit, have at it.

    What kind of results have you gotten with other, maybe better, knives with your WE?  What stones and progression are you employing? Prior to and after the ceramics?  The more details you provide the more all of us can learn from your experience and share our similar experiences.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #42465

    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 878

    I have also seen knives with the issue you are describing. I have a hunting knife that was given to me as a groomsmen gift that I have tried to sharpen at least 5 times over the years. The metal filings appear to have a magnetic property where they collect on the blade and I have never been able to put a respectable edge on it. I have tried free hand sharpening on Arkansas stones, a Lansky, and more recently the Wicked Edge. I have the same problem on that knife with all of those tools. I can get it sharp-ish, but not even close to how sharp I have been able to get other knives. I think the poor quality steel is to blame. It is made of some kind of mystery stainless steel and I think the heat treatment is not correct.

    For your neighbor’s santoku I think your best plan of attack is to sharpen it up to about 600 grit at 20 degrees like Marc suggested, strop it up, and move on. I suspect that it is never going to be great. However, your neighbor will probably comment on how it is now amazingly sharp and is even better than when it was new.

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    #42467

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 34
    • Replies: 1862

    Mark, Marc and Organic list a series of points that I would agree with 100%.  I’ve seen steels that do this and invariably, they’re cheap and probably have been damaged in the heat-treat process.  Heck, I’ve got a Kershaw Shuffle that I believe was never hardened by the maker.

    Fractures along the edge are usually indications that there are stresses in the steel.  Bringing the edge to a sharp apex seems to weaken the structure that holds the metal crystals together.

    I will add one point that I think may also be contributing to your problem and that is using 100 and 200 grit stones – especially new, un-broken-in stones – at the apex.  I had some really bad experiences with it early on and have tried to never get close to the apex with coarse grits.  Think of an abrasive being pushed along the surface of the steel.  As it progresses, it pushes some of the steel ahead of it.  When it gets to the edge, the strength of the steel drops off dramatically and there’s a chance a chunk of the steel at the edge will break away.

    The following photo is an example of a 200-grit stone breaking away a piece of an edge.  In this case, I think the stone had not been fully broken-in and that a cluster of diamonds may have been the culprit.  But the principle is the same.  There simply isn’t as much structural strength in the steel near the apex.

    chip2 cropped

    From your description, I don’t think this is your specific problem.  I’m sharing this with you to help you understand what happens at the apex.  This particular knife (your santoku) may have a perfect storm of issues.  Cheap steel, badly heat treated and sharpened at too low of an angle?  And (this is a reach) maybe the coarser grits are weakening the edge in spots?

    Before coming to the conclusion that your ceramic stones are faulty, consider that they work fine on other blades.  I’d accept that the knife has limitations.  Select a higher bevel angle – maybe 22 dps? – and sharpen up to 1000 or 1500 grits.

    Before signing off for the night, I’d like to say that I am a big proponent of MarcH’s suggested method of filing the edge flat until the deepest chips are eliminated at the apex.  I use my 800-grit diamond stone for this (it normally takes only a few strokes).  Some call it de-stressing the edge, but I think Marc’s use of “debriding” is more appropriate.  If de-stressing is in fact correct, maybe that’s one of your answers.

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    #42468

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 34
    • Replies: 1862

    Now I’m going to contradict myself for the statement that “invariably, they’re cheap” or badly heat treated.

    I had an episode of chipping on my Spyderco Delica 4 in ZDP-189.  I quickly deduced that the chips were being produced by my relatively new 800-grit diamond stone. Here’s a photo:

    delica chip annotated

    The culprit was a cluster of diamond particles which were unluckily oriented in the long direction on the stone face.  Every time it touched the very hard (Rc-64) edge, it broke off another chunk of steel.  The stone had been used for 20 or 30 knives and should have been well-broken-in, but the orientation of the cluster resisted any normal sharpening forces which might have knocked it off.   Perhaps you can see it in this photo:

    800 #3 compressed

    For me, the answer was to chuck up a section of 1/4″ plate glass in my vise and in a half-dozen strokes or so, the cluster was gone.

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    #42472

    Eric F
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 9

    @mark76 – I am pretty sure it wasn’t there at the beginning…. I think…. :-/….    Next on my list is one of those USB microscopes.

    @MarkH – I said magnetic because the filings stick to things…. the edge included… looks like magnetic filings from high school physics/chemistry.  I should actually just step it up to 20 degrees… this user isn’t the most delicate anyways.   More details about my progression bellow.  This is my second knife, but the first one was a higher quality santoku (mine) and came out great.  Not mirrored, but I didn’t strop it at all.  I’ll have to try that file trick.  Sometimes people give me some knives that they… well… haven’t sharpened since they got them 30 years ago….

    @tcmeyer – Awesome info.  Thanks.

     

    When you guys “destress” or whatever.  You mean run the stone flat (perpendicular to the blade)… basically what I would do if I wanted to destroy the edge?… just to get the holes out of the edge?  I’m assuming I’d be looking for a shiny smooth line from tip to heel if I looked straight down onto the blade.

     

    My progression…

    100 or 200 to profile and form a burr on both sides, then alternating passes about 10.

    200 (unless I started at 200) alternating passes – 20ish)

    400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, Super Fine 1200, Super Fine 1600, Ultra Fine 1.4u, Ultra Fine 0.6u . … all about 20 per side alternating.

    I wasn’t sure about the 1500 before the 1200 super fine….

    Thats where I have been stopping for now as I’m not aiming for mirror.

     

    After that I have 6u Diamond Film, and then strops with 4 and 2 Micron Paste.  I was thinking about doing the 4 and then 2 micron strops after the ultrafine… should I do the diamond film first?

    I presume my order is correct, any issues with my process?  Any other stones/films/pastes I should add now?  I was going to try to break it all in before I added more…

    Thoughts?

     

     

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    #42475

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1912

    Yes the distress is perpendicular to the blade.  Sometimes I don’t remove every divot.  It would be wasting too much usable steel .  I sharpen the knife as best as I can leaving only the deepest defects.  The knife still is very sharp and works very well.  Each time I sharpen this knife I’ll continue to work out the bad defects and also the newer defects.  There’s a balance you have to be OK with.  If every time you sharpen a knife you distress it or debride it till it’s a flat shiny surface looking straight down on it, the knife wouldn’t last very long till it was too wide at the shoulder to slice nicely.

    Your progression listed above is fine if your seeking a highly mirror polished edge.  When sharpening an everyday use kitchen knife I strive for a good sharp working edge.  Not a “for show” polished edge.  I usually follow the progression through 1500 grit diamonds then strop 4µ, then 2µ.  When I was first starting, a new WEPS user, I too attempted to use every stone and medium I had.  I tried to line them up and find the perfect progression.  That’s all part of the learning process and it helped me to learn what it’s all about.

    The grit progression doesn’t follow a linear line of decreasing particle size, (increased grit number) when switching mediums.  I often step back up a grit or two when making this change.  The grit chart helps with this understanding, but nothing like personal experience, will.  I still continue to try different things and experiment with different progressions, from time to time, to see if I can find that “better” edge.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #42476

    Eric F
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 9

    That sounds reasonable.  Thanks.

     

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #42477

    Eric F
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 9

    Thanks for the help all.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #42481

    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 878

    I think your progression is good. I don’t own the ceramics, but most people who do have them seem to substitute the 1500 for the 1200 / 1600 set and then proceed directly on to the lapping films skipping the ceramic stones all together. I would suggest trying different combinations and seeing what works best for your desired results. The ceramic abrasives work in a completely different way than the diamond stones or the strops and it is unclear just exactly what their equivalent grit ratings should be. There are some old threads on the topic where Clay has shed some light on the subject. Check out Mark76’s blog on the Wicked Edge if  you want more information on the ceramic stones.

    If you’re not going for a mirrored edge, then moving to 4 / 2 micron strop after your current progression should yield a very nice edge. I highly recommend stropping. If you test an edge by slicing paper before stropping and then again after stropping you will see why.

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    #42483

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1912
    I got this email notification of a new post I subscribe to, but the post never got posted?  I’ve forwarded this issue to ChrisB
    Here’s a copy of the email:
    Eric F wrote:
    @marcH I know I asked this in a PM, but maybe you could just answer here as it could be useful to others and its related.  I was playing around with all of this on a REALLY damaged knife and decided to try out the 50/80 stones.  I know in the past I had heard that you shouldn’t use edge leading strokes since it can break out diamonds from the substrate.  I know that you and the instructional videos show all sorts of strokes.  Does edge leading risk damaging the stones?  I noticed that after I used the 50 grit side for a bit that the overall tactile feel it had was different now that it had some use (i used edge leading).  It used to feel horrible to the touch, now it feels more like the un touched 80s.  Is that normal?  Are the stones ok?
    Eric in my experience, there’s almost nothing you can do to damage the diamond stones.  The stroke direction, that is, edge leading will not hurt the diamonds.  As you start to use any of the new diamond stones they have some loosely adhered diamonds and some random jagged diamonds that sit higher then the rest.  These will get knocked off soon after you start to use the stone making the rest of the surface more uniform and equal in it’s abrasive characteristic.  All the diamonds stone grits will loose that first, initial coarseness, as they break in.  It changes almost drastically right at the start then, less dramatically as they wear in.  Don’t let this initial big change in the feel scare you, that you’re being too rough on the diamond stones, and causing damage to them. There will always remain a distinct difference in feel from the coarsest stone, 50 grit, as you progress through the grits to the finest grit, the 1500.  There will be no confusion between the grits, even after they’re all well broken in.  At least this is my observation and experience you can always discern a more coarse grit stone from a less coarse grit stone by feel, and the appearance of the scratch pattern.
    With a USB Microscope the scratch patterns are easily discernable between grits.  You may not be able to identify which grit diamond stone was used, by the look of the scratch pattern, but you can identify which scratch pattern was made by a coarser grit stone and which was made by a finer grit stone.
    Eric did you publicly post, that is submit this, to be posted on the Forum? Or was just still a draft? The answer to this question may help identify an issue with the Forum Software.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    #42485

    Eric F
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 9
    I got this email notification of a new post I subscribe to, but the post never got posted? I’ve forwarded this issue to ChrisB
    Here’s a copy of the email:
    Eric F wrote:
    @marcH I know I asked this in a PM, but maybe you could just answer here as it could be useful to others and its related. I was playing around with all of this on a REALLY damaged knife and decided to try out the 50/80 stones. I know in the past I had heard that you shouldn’t use edge leading strokes since it can break out diamonds from the substrate. I know that you and the instructional videos show all sorts of strokes. Does edge leading risk damaging the stones? I noticed that after I used the 50 grit side for a bit that the overall tactile feel it had was different now that it had some use (i used edge leading). It used to feel horrible to the touch, now it feels more like the un touched 80s. Is that normal? Are the stones ok?
    Eric in my experience, there’s almost nothing you can do to damage the diamond stones. The stroke direction, that is, edge leading will not hurt the diamonds. As you start to use any of the new diamond stones they have some loosely adhered diamonds and some random jagged diamonds that sit higher then the rest. These will get knocked off soon after you start to use the stone making the rest of the surface more uniform and equal in it’s abrasive characteristic. All the diamonds stone grits will loose that first, initial coarseness, as they break in. It changes almost drastically right at the start then, less dramatically as they wear in. Don’t let this initial big change in the feel scare you, that you’re being too rough on the diamond stones, and causing damage to them. There will always remain a distinct difference in feel from the coarsest stone, 50 grit, as you progress through the grits to the finest grit, the 1500. There will be no confusion between the grits, even after they’re all well broken in. At least this is my observation and experience you can always discern a more coarse grit stone from a less coarse grit stone by feel, and the appearance of the scratch pattern.
    With a USB Microscope the scratch patterns are easily discernable between grits. You may not be able to identify which grit diamond stone was used, by the look of the scratch pattern, but you can identify which scratch pattern was made by a coarser grit stone and which was made by a finer grit stone.
    Eric did you publicly post, that is submit this, to be posted on the Forum? Or was just still a draft? The answer to this question may help identify an issue with the Forum Software.

    It was a draft…   Then the kids went crazy and it wound up getting submitted, so I just blanked it out since I couldn’t deal with it at the moment.  Nothing wrong with the forum… just toddlers running mad.  And its fine to post it.  Between this forum and the PMs I am actually getting the hang of this thing.

     

    Thanks!

    #42490

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 34
    • Replies: 1862

    Eric:  Back on the perpendicular filing of a damaged edge…

    For me, the primary purpose is to speed things up and clarify my purpose.  Consider that all of the steel above the root of the deepest chip has to be removed.  You can do this in a few easy strokes done perpendicularly or you can toil away at it in your normal way, checking now and then on your progress.  It really does make a big difference in time spent.

    You don’t usually have to remove the apex for the entire length of the edge – heel to tip, just in those areas where the damage is.  If the damage is so great that this results in a deformation of the edge, as in creating a concave belly where there shouldn’t be one, you’ll want to straighten the edge profile as well.  For instance, a concave belly in a chef’s knife will make it difficult to cut flat on the cutting board; the knife simply won’t cut cleanly through veggies where this “rise” is held above the board.  This provides another instance where it’s time advantageous to file the edge back to a straight (or more correct) profile.  Here, the time advantage could be twenty to one.

    I often get kitchen knives which were hand-sharpened on stones, belts or steels for years, leaving deep bellies just ahead of the heel.  Before starting the stoning process, I re-establish the arc ahead of the heel by filing or sanding the edge back into alignment.  These jobs are more repair jobs than re-sharpening jobs.  It takes very little time if you get rid of that steel that rises above the maker’s intended line.  Don’t hone it off, cut it off; meaning file or sanding belt.  Honing takes too much time for such huge amounts of steel removal.

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