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help with sharpening techniques

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  • #53570
    Howard Schwartz
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 5

    i am a newbie, and i have several questions.

    after switching stones, do you check the angle each time?

    after switching stones, do you create and check for a burr each time?

    i have read that several backward strokes at the end of each grit improve the sharpness. is this recommended?

    thanks.

    #53571
    airscapes
    Participant
    • Topics: 13
    • Replies: 231

    Hi Howard, folks will be along for greater details but I can tell you what I do as there is no wrong way, if your outcome is what you wanted.

    Yes, I check the angle with each stone change.  Just raise the stone stop so the stone is centered on the blade and verify you angle is still as it was previous.  Don’t lean on the table or move the base as it will change the reading.

    After switching grits I go back to light scrubbing strokes and raise a bur on each side.  I continue doing this for several passes then switch to alternating edge leading strokes (stone comes down on the bevel as  you move it forward).   I do not try and start at the heal and do one stroke that goes the length of the knife as you see in videos, I do multiple overlapping strokes for a consistent scratch pattern

    I do not alternate directions.  Some folks do some don’t..  like sanding a piece of wood, making scratched cross the previous scratches will make it even harder to remove  when going to the next finer grit in my opinion.

    This video shows good technique and helped me establish a process that works well for me.  Like I said everyone has their own take on this..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RrvnZRVc-I

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    #53572
    NorCalQ
    Participant
    • Topics: 44
    • Replies: 122

    Welcome, Howard.  I’m not expert, however I do get hair-splitting, mirror edges, so I’ll chime in until those with more experience do so.  You’ll find many techniques that will get you to your goal.  As for me, I use downward strokes, in a heel to tip direction until I strop and use films, at which time I use upward strokes.  I find I get more consistent results when I concentrate on 1/2 or 1/3 of the blade at a time…80 strokes/section.  I do not check the angle after every grit.  I do check for a burr up to about 800 grit.  I do check that all the set screws remain tight throughout the process, as mine do loosen quite often.

    Probably more info than you asked for.  Starting out, I tried all kinds of stuff and practiced on thrift-store blades.  It won’t take long for you to get the results you were hoping for.  Also, watching some of this ModifiedZ sharpening videos on YT, really taught me to use patience and gentle pressure..

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by NorCalQ.
    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #53574
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 59
    • Replies: 2041

    Howard, I advocate checking and adjusting the stone set angles with each and every grit or medium change.

    With Ed’s micro-angle adjusters it makes this a quick and easy step.

    I don’t intentionally attempt to draw a burr with each grit I use.  I can say that a burr generally does form as a result of my sharpening technique.  My final sharpening strokes in my regimen is an alternating side “edge leading stroke” that is a left hand-right hand-left hand-right, down and onto the knife edge stroke.  This does remove any burr that I may form and brings out the best sharpness from that grit.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #53575
    Dwight Glass
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 57

    It is safer to move the sharpening stones “up” and “away”. I did my “Wicked Edge” sharpening this way for years.

    But lately I have been try the “edge leading” method and I have found it very easy to get cut.

    #53576
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 59
    • Replies: 2041

    Dwight, you are correct it is easier to cut yourself with edge leading strokes.  It requires a very high level of attention and conscientiousness to avoid cutting yourself, or, to make use of added external safety measures to help you avoid blade contact and cutting your self.

    There are several safety methods you can employ.  You can wear cut resistant gloves like those W.E. sells and many other models available from Amazon and other sources.  Also you can employ safety shields like W.E. sells  or a similar product like these Finger Guards available from “airscapes”.

    [Finger-Guards-new

    These work the same way as the W.E. safety shields.  They attach around or sit over and ride on the sharpening or polishing stone mediums as the paddles slide up and down the guide rods providing a plastic physical barrier between the sharp knife edge and your finger tips.

    I recently used “airscapes” new Finger Guards.  I found them easy to use.  They slide down around the stone and stay in place until lifted off.  They are opaque but they are a thicker stiffer material then the W.E. brand safety shields.  The finger guards work well with “airscapes stone stops”, too.   The Finger Guards are IMO easier to put on and to remove from the stones when your done, then the W.E. Safety Shields.  The price for both products are the same $10 per pair.

    I found that these plastic barrier devices help provide an added advantage.  That of lateral stability to the sharpening stones.  The wide shields resting against the rear of the stone platter helps spread the finger pressure wider while holding onto the paddles, and contributes to the ability to apply consistent, full, flat contact, between the sharpening stone or polishing medium and where it contacts the knife bevel.

    I prefer the plastic barrier method to the cut proof gloves because I like to finger touch the knife edge often, to test for edge sharpness.  When I tried using the cut proof gloves, I found them bulky and inconvenient because I was always needing to remove the gloves to feel the knife edge for sharpness.

    It doesn’t matter which method you use.  What’s important is you apply “SAFETY FIRST” measures to protect yourself from getting cut when sharpening your knives.  Whatever method you choose, if you want to employ edge leading strokes safely you’ll probably want to employ one of these methods or learn how to be very very careful.

    Dwight, for me the Finger Guards or Safety Shields are a must, since I end each sharpening stroke protocol with each grit I use, with alternating side edge leading strokes.  I have been fortunate that I have not cut myself again since I started using the plastic barrier method while sharpening with all my W.E. devices, several years ago.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #53578
    Dwight Glass
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 57

    Thank You MarcH. it looks like you are right, I found A week spot in my “Technique”.

    #53579
    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 928

    It is safer to move the sharpening stones “up” and “away”. I did my “Wicked Edge” sharpening this way for years. But lately I have been try the “edge leading” method and I have found it very easy to get cut.

    I have found that holding the stones from the very bottom of the paddles helps mitigate the chances of cutting myself. With my hands on the bottom of the paddles there are very few instances where my hands are higher than the edge of the knife. The sides of the blade won’t cut you.

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    #53580
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 59
    • Replies: 2041

    it looks like you are right, I found A week spot in my “Technique”.

    I wouldn’t call it a weak spot…it’s hard to concentrate on stone placement, good sharpening technique, and dangling finger tips all at the same time.  A physical barrier between your hands/fingers and the sharpened knife edge reduces the chances of cutting your self, greatly, without having to limit your sharpening technique, stone motion or finger hold positions.

    Organic’s method is sound and safe.  I prefer to hold my sharpening stones in the stone’s center to maintain consistency in stone positions and applied pressure.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #53581
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 59
    • Replies: 2041

    Dwight after cutting my fingertip off my left ring finger years ago, I created my first set of Finger Guards/Safety Mods. (BTW: it was just the very tip of the finger pad, no permanent loss or disfigurement).

    Here’s the first W.E. forum post where I introduced my concept/idea for finger safety shields:

    https://knife.wickededgeusa.com/forums/topic/safety-mod-for-fingertips/#post-35600

    I’ve been sharpening with them ever since and have reduced getting cut to only when I inadvertently bumped the knife edge.  Usually that’s when reaching over  or around the clamped knife without paying enough attention to what I was doing.  I’m happy to say I’ve learned to do that more carefully.  As many of us have learned to do, I don’t position anything I’ll be reaching for behind the knife sharpener to avoid reaching over it.

    I also have made it a habit to throw a folded towel over a clamped knife as soon as I step back away from sharpening.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #53589
    Dwight Glass
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 57

    I have drilled two holes in two credit card-sized pieces of plastic. I then drew three straight lines, two of the lines parallel to each other going to the holes in the plastic. then I cut on all three drawn lines with a knife.

    I now have two small “Safety Shields” that fit snugly on the lower end of “Sharpening Stone Handles”.

    Thank You all for helping me see that I needed to act safer.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
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