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  • #54116
    Fat Lewie
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 4

    Greetings!  Very new Gen 3 Wicked Edge user here that is suffering through some difficult “growing pains” on learning how to sharpen a knife.  I have now sharpened about 3 or 4 very cheap knives as practice and then a few of our thrashed Henckels kitchen knives…but I am still struggling with getting a nice, sharp knife with a shiny edge.  I have searched and read a lot on the Forum “newbie” advice…but have a few basic questions (in no particular order) that I am still confused about:

    1. I am using the diamond stones with mediocre success towards getting an edge (not nearly mirror quality, but not horrible either) before moving to the finer stones.  My current progression is 50/80 as needed, 100/200, 400/600, 800/1000, 1500/2200…but after that I struggle with what stones to use for getting a higher quality finish.  I have the 3000 diamond/glass platen with 6 micron DLP and the 1.4u/0.6u ceramic stones.  I have used each a few times on my cheap knives and have messed around with the order…but the results seem to get worse the more I sharpen and with everything I try.  The WE Forum advice indicates that the ceramic stones take much longer to break in than the diamond stones plus trying lapping the ceramic stones together to facilitate break-in.  For what it is worth…the diamond stones seem to be getting broken in and I have definitely noticed a difference in performance of the diamond stones over the few knives I have done.  Do you think it is an issue with the ceramic stones simply not being broken in yet?  Is lapping the ceramic stones needed or should 6-8 knives be enough to break in the ceramic stones?
    2. I understand getting a burr on the knife as you work through the grit progression.  I feel comfortable recognizing a burr up to about the 1000 grit diamond stone.  After that, I really cannot detect a burr with the finer, higher grit stones.  Should I be able to detect a burr across even the finest grits in the progression?  Or, does the burr become so fine at some point that you cannot really detect it any longer?
    3. I generally use about 50-100 passes along each edge to start each new grit.  If I do not detect a burr, I will then move the stone in a more up/down motion to help establish a strong burr.  From there, I will generally do another 50-100 passes on each side before moving on to the next grit (fewer passes with the rougher stones, more with the finer stones).  Does this amount of passes seem reasonable?  Am I being too impatient?
    4. I am really lost on the progression of the final two stones:  diamond 3000/Glass with DLP 6 and ceramic 1.4u/0.6u.  The WE Grit Progression suggests 3000/1.4u/0.6u/6 DLP…but my results using this progression have been mediocre at best.  I have tried switching around the order but I can’t seem to find the right approach.  Should I stick with the WE Grit Progression as “best practice” and quit changing the order around?  Could it be that using lower quality practice knives is impacting my results?
    5. I have been generally using 18-20 degrees for all my practice knives.  I tried to go to a 16 degree angle on one of my knives using the low angle adjuster…but I ended up scraping the heck out of the vise more than actually sharpening the knife.  Does the angle make a difference in getting a mirror edge (i.e. sharper angle is easier to get a mirror finish)?
    6. I am able to get a decent edge where I can slice through regular printer paper pretty well…but I still do not think it is a great edge and it certainly doesn’t invoke fear in my soul when I try the Murray Carter test.  Any additional advice for getting a true wicked edge…or is it more practice makes perfect?

    Apologies for the lengthy post and the scattered issues/problems…but I would really appreciate any/all advice anyone can provide.

    Thank you!

    #54119
    airscapes
    Participant
    • Topics: 13
    • Replies: 286

    Hi and welcome!  Your stones are not broken in. your stones are not broken in.. your stones are not broken in.  But they will be eventually.. more like 10 kitchen knives before I was happy.. Shinny does not mean sharp.. I made some shiny knives that would not cut paper at all.. Stropping is an art separate from sharpening.  Stay away from the 50/80 stone as much as possible, it will leave very big deep scratches that are hard to remove.   I can’t comment on ceramics, I go up to 1500 diamond and then I think it is 6 micron film and maybe Strop if I am feeling lucky.   For kitchen stuff my wife likes me to stop at 1000 since she cuts a lot of thing that need some tooth and our knives are inexpensive an not all that great.    Your wicked edge will come when your stones are ready.  Far as counting strokes, it is not really helpful, you have no idea how much steel is being removed.. Many of us use an inexpensive usb microscope so we can SEE what we are doing and know when it is time to move to the next grit.  Here is a video that helped me a LOT, it shows the multiple types of strokes you can do with the WE and when/why to use them.  The initial discussion is about a different kind of stone but the use of the WE is what you want to pay attention to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RrvnZRVc-I

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    #54120
    Fat Lewie
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 4

    Thanks, Airscapes…very helpful information especially the video showing different strokes to help get an edge.  I will continue to experiment and try to have a little more patience with getting the stones broken in!

    #54121
    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 26
    • Replies: 290

    I got rid of ceramics a long time ago because of similar issues. They feel different, they are different and really did nothing for me. I also get very annoyed when thinking about break-in because to me they should ALL be broken in at the factory. Using a criteria of “they’ll be broken in once you find your knives to be super sharp” ignores the many other variables which affect sharpness and is just silly considering the $$ we invest. I have the Field & Sport Pro version (pic). I have ~30 only kitchen knives which have all seen my WEPS.

    Anyway, do some sharpening without the ceramics. I use 14 steps. 100,200,400,600,800,1000,1500,2200,3000,DLP 9, DLP 6, DLP 3,Strop 2 then 1 on leather with diamond emulsion. I raise a definitive burr first (as we all do) which will flip side to side using 100 grit (usually takes ~50-100 hard scrub strokes per side – depending on the steel type and damage/reprofile need). I do not stop scrubbing until I can feel it along the full length. To me this is key. I also find no difference in edge leading vs trailing except if you want to micro pic a lot (which I stopped bothering with).

    I then remove the first burr with a single 200 grit, soft pressure, edge leading stroke on the side the burr is bent to. The burr is now gone. I then do 25 alternating strokes per side (I count to ~50), and then move immediately to the next grit. No checking for anything unless I am doing a science project. Also, if you think about it, doing alternate strokes is flipping the burr back and forth and most likely making it “break off” over time. Burrs at the higher grits are very fine and not anything like you feel at 100 grit.

    I also never check for more burrs per grit nor even bother rechecking the angle with the cube between grits. To me it’s all about maintaining full bevel contact and trusting your touch. If you start tweak readjusting the angle every time then you are introducing more variables. Firm, smooth pressure will allow the stone to follow the bevel/apex. Trying to “dial in” the numbers is like trying to replicate a CNC machine and while interesting/fun (I have done it) it is time consuming. If a knife has been on my WEPS before I finish the 14 steps in 10 mins, if new to WEPS then 30 mins. Really messed up knives should go to a variable speed Harbor Freight grinder first. Consistent hand placement on the stone is important to ensure full bevel contact. Listening and feeling the friction will help you gage the progress.

    From a sharpness stand point, we all here still debate/look for the best indicator while still in the clamp (upside down thumb nail scrape, paper pull, Josh 3 finger test, etc). My favorite (after removal from clamp) is taking a scallop out of a bent phone book page or shiny magazine paper. I have found that given a consistent WEPS process that the type of steel is the primary variable. Carbon steel gets crazy sharp, stainless less so. Some of my PM stainless Shuns get close to carbon but don’t cut scallops like carbon. Durability/angle is, of course, another set of variables.

    Not saying my way is best, just sharing what I have learned over the last 3 years (I have taken plenty of 200x pics also – attached, not my current 14 steps). Look up Verhoeven metallurgy for the best electron microscopy I have seen.

    Good Luck and play it safe,
    from Jersey, Tom

    Case
    Kitchen-Knives
    1500-Progression-1

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    #54129
    Fat Lewie
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 4

    Thanks, Redheads…this is extremely helpful…especially the photos of the progress on the progression of the edge for different grits.  I have been using a USB Microscope but, to be perfectly honest, I have been struggling with exactly what to look for so this now gives me a great measuring stick.

    I really appreciate the advice and reassurance…it sounds like I am on the right path and need to keep plodding along to let the stones break in, improving my technique and learning more about the different knives / steel.

    Many, many thanks!

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #54130
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 90

    Thanks, Redheads…this is extremely helpful…especially the photos of the progress on the progression of the edge for different grits. I have been using a USB Microscope but, to be perfectly honest, I have been struggling with exactly what to look for so this now gives me a great measuring stick. I really appreciate the advice and reassurance…it sounds like I am on the right path and need to keep plodding along to let the stones break in, improving my technique and learning more about the different knives / steel. Many, many thanks!

    Are you trying to get a burr with every stone? That is how I understood your first post. You only need to get your burrs with the first stone. Your edge will be good after that. Then you start alternating from side to side to hone and polish your edge as you progress through the rest of your stones and then strops. That if I understood you correctly.

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    #54643
    Modernflame
    Participant
    • Topics: 5
    • Replies: 35

    I’m resurrecting this thread because of the discussion regarding ceramics. The consensus seems to be that  (a) the break in period is longer and (b) they do something quite different than the diamond stones. WE recommends using them after diamond stones and before balsa strops and lapping films.

    What are some philosophies of use that have been developed here? In particular, how are the 1.6 and 0.9 ceramics best used? Certain types of steel? Achieving a certain finish (or not)? Creating an edge for a specific purpose? Touch ups? Or do most people find them unnecessary?

    #54647
    wickededge
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 122
    • Replies: 2934

    I use my Micro-Fine ceramics if I want extreme sharpness. In our testing, some of the lowest (best) values we’ve gotten for sharpness on the BESS machine and our own machine have been after finishing with the white Micro-Fine stone. If I spend enough time with strops and emulsions and then kangaroo strops and diamond/cbn sprays, I can get a better score but it’s a lot more work.

    -Clay

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    #54648
    Modernflame
    Participant
    • Topics: 5
    • Replies: 35

    I use my Micro-Fine ceramics if I want extreme sharpness. In our testing, some of the lowest (best) values we’ve gotten for sharpness on the BESS machine and our own machine have been after finishing with the white Micro-Fine stone. If I spend enough time with strops and emulsions and then kangaroo strops and diamond/cbn sprays, I can get a better score but it’s a lot more work.

    Much appreciated, sir.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #54649
    Modernflame
    Participant
    • Topics: 5
    • Replies: 35

    A great leap forward! I changed the order of my sharpening media, not by grit but by substrate, and it made an immediate difference in the finish of my bevels. Whether it improved sharpness is another question, as I don’t have the Edge On Up (yet). My perception is that this edge on my XM18 skinny skinner (sharpened tonight) is sharper than my other XM18, but I can’t prove it.

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    #54650
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 61
    • Replies: 2164

    That’s what I call “the art of sharpening “.  It’s when you realize that there’s more to sharpening then just stringing together a bunch of decreasing grit mediums; coarse to fine.  The sequence can and does make a difference.  It takes time, trials and experience to learn what you like and what order gives you the results you seek.  Keep being open to trying it different ways.  There’s nothing you can do that’s wrong.  Nothing a touch-up won’t remedy if you don’t like your edge.

    You’re on your way!

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    #54697
    Richard
    Participant
    • Topics: 12
    • Replies: 160

    With the help of all the guys on this forum, it took me a good six months to develop my own style.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
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