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How far do you drop back in grits when renewing an edge ?

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  • #53115
    Expidia
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    With my kitchen knives I tend to drop back to 800 and go up through the 1500 grit.  First time I reprofile a kitchen knife though I do go through my normal grit progression right up through stropping as I like all my knives to have a showy mirrored edge.  So which grit do some of you here in the forum drop back to renew the edge later on when it needs sharpening?  I do extend the time between sharpenings as soon as the edge does not pass the sticky thumbnail test (which I picked up from a member here).  As soon as an edge slides off my thumbnail I give it a few swipes on my ceramic kitchen steel and the edge sticks again.  Thats good for a few times but eventually I have to WE it again as the super sharp edge has worn away again.

    As to my folders, my Benchmade Emissary that I use on vacations was not passing the sticky thumbnail test so I mounted it in the WE and started at 800 up through the ceramics.  Came out WORSE then when I initially tested it on my thumbnail.  So I got ticked off that I spent all that time through the grit progression only to have the finished product duller than when I started.

    I dropped back to the 400 grit, raised a burr and progressed up through the DLP’s this time.  It came out very sharp.

    If I only drop back to 800 it seems to me that would take a long time to raise a burr each time that I’m just refreshing the edge.

    What say you?

    And thanks for any of your tips to my above questions as to what your method is.

    Paul

    #53117
    Organic
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    • Topics: 17
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    I’ll use anything from 400 all the way up to the 1.4 micron ceramic as a starting point for resharpening a knife. It all depends on how the edge looks and if there are any micro chips I want to get rid of. Like you, I have found that the 800 grit is often a good grit if the edge is in average shape. If it is needing work then the 400 or 600 will get it done. If the edge is in very good shape and I’m just being an edge snob then the 1.4  / o.6 micron ceramics will restore that hair whittling edge.

    I keep a spiral bound notebook with all of my advanced alignment guide positions and degree settings for each knife that I sharpen, so matching the previous bevels is easy. Once I’ve got the knife clamped I always verify that the stones are hitting the apex with a sharpie and a magnifying device. If there’s even a hint of sharpie left at the edge then I know I need to move those micro adjusters just a bit.

    #53118
    Expidia
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    • Topics: 46
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    Thats a good idea Organic.  Using the sharpie which I do . . .  but moving the micro adjusters a bit the reach the faint trace of sharpie on the edge of the apex is a great idea.  I always worry I’m removing too much metal when I’m refreshing an edge that I’ve already profiled.  Its frustrating when I can’t seem to apex the edge again to hit that last trace of sharpie so then I wind up repositioning the blade in the clamp which sometimes gives me an unwanted secondary bevel. Moving the micro adjustment a tad might get me apexing quicker with 800 and up without having to drop back down to coarser grits again.

    Thx I’ll try that on my next edge refresh.

    #53119
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 46
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    Found this Youtube vid by Clay the owner of the Wicked Edge system that he did 3 years ago.  Funny, the first comment was asking him to do another vid showing how he touches up a knife that was already sharpened on the system . . .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNWYEJ-ksdo

    This was the first comment after the vid from someone
    “Love it, can you make a video on maintaining an already sharp knife to keep it sharp”.  Clay’s response was that he would do another vid.
    I’ll look around for that follow up vid if Clay did one.   This touched upon my original question above on what method users use to touch up an edge!
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Expidia.
    #53130
    Richard
    Participant
    • Topics: 12
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    I think you have to first of all evaluate the condition of the blade.  Are there chips?  How severe?  Then decide the grit to use.  You start at 200 and after inspection, maybe go to 100 so less time is invested.  No chips?  Maybe start at 800 and go from there.

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    #53132
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 59
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    I think you have to first of all evaluate the condition of the blade. Are there chips? How severe? Then decide the grit to use.

    I share Richards opinion.  Which grit I choose depends on the condition of the blade I’m touching up.  This is an experience based decision.  There is no set rule which grit to start with.  The only generalization I would agree with is, for a touch-up I almost always can begin with a finer grit then I would use, to start with, for a first time knife sharpening that’s never been sharpened on the W.E. or is being profiled.

    I try to lean towards starting with finer grits, then I will move down coarser after I get started, if I determine that grit is not meeting the chore.  I try to step down grit by coarser grit till I reach the grit that does what I need.  That is the best damage repair, the least amount of steel removal, with the least amount of effort and relatively quickly.  Again, this decision is made easier with repeated experiences.

    This is also where a magnified lighted visual tool, like a usb microscope is very helpful.  That too takes the experience to know what your looking at.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #53149
    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 25
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    Good thread – Maintenance vs. Reprofile

    To me, upon resharpening if there is “any” appreciable chipping then I go back to square one to establish a new profile. This assumes I want to remove the chip either all the way or most. I also may go to my treadmill grinder also (Airscape).

    Otherwise, when I resharpen I fully trust my Angle Align Guide. Depending on the steel (and my confidence), I will use the grit which will raise a full burr (usually the 400/600 paddle) but regardless I want a full burr which can be felt with full vertical finger rubs in seconds. To me there is no need to use the markers or scope on resharpening, unless its curiosity. If I mount a blade I want a burr (guaranteed apex). IMO ~25 strokes per side should yield a full burr otherwise your alignment is off or you need a coarser grit. If you don’t get a burr you are not there. Burr will be removed with a very very light edge leading stroke on the burr hanging side. I am very interested on other opinions. This is just what I have experienced.

    Also, relative to the ceramic rod, I use it EVERY day with leather strop like strokes to tweak the apex. It still amazes me how obtuse the stroke needs to be (but not too much) to improve the thumb nail scrape test. I have learned that the sound during the long stroke is key. By focusing, you can pretty much hear when you have the exact primary apex in contact. Use a very light stroke or else you will whittle down the knife over time. My metal steel went to the trash 2 years ago. Messermeister makes one for $25.

    As an aside, attached is my ~3 year old log. I’ve done about 30 different kitchen-only knives and rarely use the sharpie/scope unless it’s a knife I have never seen before. Although scope is great for small chip verification. The log gets me close to where I need to establish a full burr (absolutely needed).

    Further more, I am a big fan of GOT, Vikings and Uhtred and wonder what WEPS would have done for them. I also do not believe that any freehand sharpener can do what we do over the full length of the edge (after a full burr). WDYT ?

    Readheads (tom – thumbnail scrape, jersey double stroke, PIA – LOL)

    Pics to follow

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Readheads.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Readheads.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by Readheads.
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    #53151
    Readheads
    Participant
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    20200117_204509

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    #53155
    Readheads
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    #53168
    Expidia
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    Thanks for your comments Reedheads. And your chart pics too.  I’ve kept a log from day one of my first knife.  Thats the beauty of the WE system is its repeat ability.  I luv that about it.  I’m just trying to save sharpening time when freshening up my edges.  I’m trying to avoid dropping back to the 800’s just to freshen an edge.  The two “Ceramic” steels I purchased are god sends for freshening an edge up between sharpening.  It only takes a couple of swipes on each side of the knife.  I use the black one on my folders as the steel on those are harder than my kitchen knives.

    I’m interested to see if Organics slight micro adjustment suggestion can reach some of the spots on the apex that still have black marker traces, so I don’t have to bring excess metal to get a burr across the entire edge.  I’ve been having to repositioning the knife which to me goes against what my original re-profile chart position and angle was.  I especially seem to have issues with the tip area.  Re-reading Marc’s sticky on finding the sweet spot helped me with that.

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    #53173
    NotSharpEnuff
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    Readheads, Expidia,

    I am impressed with your methodical note keeping.  I started the log when I got my first WE100 2016 but got lazy and started to use my phone to take pictures.  Since I only do 5 or 6 knives on a repetitive basis this works for me.

    Ed K.

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    #53175
    Organic
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    Thanks for your comments Reedheads. And your chart pics too. I’ve kept a log from day one of my first knife. Thats the beauty of the WE system is its repeat ability. I luv that about it. I’m just trying to save sharpening time when freshening up my edges. I’m trying to avoid dropping back to the 800’s just to freshen an edge. The two “Ceramic” steels I purchased are god sends for freshening an edge up between sharpening. It only takes a couple of swipes on each side of the knife. I use the black one on my folders as the steel on those are harder than my kitchen knives. I’m interested to see if Organics slight micro adjustment suggestion can reach some of the spots on the apex that still have black marker traces, so I don’t have to bring excess metal to get a burr across the entire edge. I’ve been having to repositioning the knife which to me goes against what my original re-profile chart position and angle was. I especially seem to have issues with the tip area. Re-reading Marc’s sticky on finding the sweet spot helped me with that.

    Expidia,

    I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and I think the use of your ceramic rods to maintain the edge between sharpening on the WE might be the source of your issue here. When you’re restoring the edge with the ceramic rods you are very likely adding a micro bevel. It is nearly impossible to maintain a perfectly matched stroke angle when sharpening free hand. The ceramic rods work very well until the micro bevel becomes too blunt (either from edge damage caused in use or from poor angle control when using the ceramic rod). The ceramic rods don’t remove steel very rapidly, so these fail to restore a damaged edge on a reasonable time scale.

    When you re-mount the knife on the WE and then try to remove all of the sharpie from the bevels with your previously used angle settings you are being unsuccessful because you have changed the angle at the apex by sharpening with the ceramic rods. As you know, you won’t get a sharp knife if you don’t hit the apex with the stones. You are then forced to drop down to a lower grit in order to remove enough material to re-apex the knife if you want to use the same angle as you did before.

    Here’s a possible solution: Instead of re-sharpening with the previously used angle settings why not increase the angle by a few degrees and then sharpen to intentionally get a micro-bevel? That should work and give you a very sharp edge with only a few strokes per side. You’ll have to use a good magnifying device to monitor whether or not you’ve apexed the micro bevel because you don’t want to do enough to get a significant burr.

    A good way to confirm (or blast a hole) in my theory is to take a good look at edge on one of these dulled knives with some powerful magnification. I’d be interested either way.

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    #53177
    Expidia
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    • Topics: 46
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    Thanks Organic for that tip.  I’ll try looking through my digital microscope and see if a few swipes of the ceramic is developing a secondary bevel (which I’m sure it does).  I just use it as another tool that stands the dulled edge back up a few more times before I have to re-mount the knife again to put on a fresh edge.  The ceramic is known to eventually remove the super sharp edge at some point from repeated use.  I read Marc’s previous links where the author really got deep into testing sharpening edges and from what I gathered he said ceramics do not stand the edge back up.  From my experience, I disagree with him.  I find “at least for me” it definitely does.  My edges as they get dull actually flop over and that’s what is making them dull (can’t pass a sticky thumbnail test anymore).   Funny, the previously sharp edge always seems to flop to the left side (with knife edge facing ceiling).  I can just run my finger on the left side like I’m feeling for a burr and I can feel the rolled edge.  A few swipes on the white ceramic (less harsh than the black rod) pops the roll right back up into a super sharp, thumbnail sticking edge again and I can push off my sharpening sessions with my kitchen knives out another month or two.  But eventually the super sharp edge is ceramic’d away.

    Increasing my angle once I mount it in the WE vice for an  edge refresh does sound like it will work as that will sharpen away any micro-bevel or secondary bevel that a few months of refreshing the edge on the ceramics probably puts on. There is a good vid on YouTube that Jende the vendor or manufacturer  did. It explains how to use their ceramics and why the super sharp edge eventually is gone completely from using their rods and why we have to re-mount in order to put on a new edge.  To me, using these ceramics is really the same thing the old Barbers used to do with their leather hanging strops to freshen the edge before they shave you. I’m not going to stop using them since its easy for me to re-mount again.  I try and save up a few knives and re-sharpen to do them all in one session.  The reason for my original question was I tend to drop back to 800 and progress from there.  From my readings, many kitchen knife sharpeners only go as far as 800 in the first place just putting on a working edge.  And then others will take it through the progression right up to stropping.  I’m just looking to save the refreshing time as my kitchen knives will dull again.  Maybe with just a working edge on them they will last longer between sessions.

    Note: I did forget to mention in my previous posts above that I do use “another column” in my knife sharpening notebook that records each knife’s original  edge mounting placement using the WE “alignment guide” which makes for easy repeatabillity in addition to recording the original angle I used.

    I’ll look for that video on how to refresh an edge using ceramics.  If steeling and ceramic’ing does not work then that guy’s video on steeling should have eliminated the entire ceramic or steel industry!

    I don’t mind spending a lot of time on an expensive folder seeking out the perfectly clear and (very elusive) “mirrored edge” for the hell of it.  But most of my sessions I typically breeze through them especially with the kitchen knives or my EDC folders.  I rarely use a ceramic on my folders.  Mostly just my kitchen knives.

    I’ll scope the ceramic’d edge next time, before I re-sharpen.  Using the ceramic rod worried me initially that I could be putting on extra bevels because each time holding edge freehand on the rod, but from the vid I watched the user did his strokes by the “sound” the correct sharpening stroke makes on the rod when doing an edge correctly which also makes for repeatability too.

    Here is one of the ceramic vids (there are a lot of them on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Teh0Cw84QGQ

     

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    #53178
    Organic
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    I don’t doubt that using a honing rod (ceramic or steel) works to restore sharpness to an edge. I have used them myself and know that they get the job done. Ceramic hones are way better than a metal hones in my experience. Hones are more convenient than setting up the WE for a touch up. You’d have to keep your WE in the kitchen with a set of fine stones ready to go in order to make it a comparable choice in terms of speed or convenience.

    There’s nothing wrong with using the ceramic rods for edge maintenance between sharpening but doing so will require you to put in more effort when you do eventually resharpen the knives on the WE (if my theory is correct). I think this explains why you have to go to a lower grit than you’d like in order to bring the edge back. Either way of maintaining an edge is a compromise: speed and convenience at the cost of maintaining perfect edge geometry (hone) vs precision, repeatability, and perfect edge geometry but with more time and the extra hurdle of having to setup your WE rig. Both options are equally valid and it comes down to personal preference. My preference is to simply swap out for a sharp knife if the one I’m using isn’t up to snuff any more. I have several chef knives to choose from so I’m never without a sharp one. I then refresh the edges on the WE at a later time.

    My suggestion of using the WE to intentionally put a micro bevel on the knives after they no longer return to sharpness upon hone treatment was a third option. It should be faster than doing a whole re-profile of the edge and it will give you a sharp apex to work with and maintain on the ceramic rods for a while longer. Eventually sharpening with a micro bevel will erode the main bevel and you’ll have to do a re-profile at the original angle if you want that geometry back, but that should take quite a while.

    #53179
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 59
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    The ceramic is known to eventually remove the super sharp edge at some point from repeated use. I read Marc’s previous links where the author really got deep into testing sharpening edges and from what I gathered he said ceramics do not stand the edge back up. From my experience, I disagree with him. I find “at least for me” it definitely does.

    Here are the links to the Blog Papers from “Science of Sharp” that I sited in that thread “expidia” is referring to, that made the argument against the value of steeling, (i.e., with a steel or a ceramic rod):

    1. What does steeling do- part 1
    2. What does steeling do- part 2

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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