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Is the Heat Treat of your new Knife’s Steel at the Apex still good?

Recent Forums Main Forum Techniques and Sharpening Strategies Is the Heat Treat of your new Knife’s Steel at the Apex still good?

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  • #56797
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 294

    Hello guys! This article on Knife Steel Nerds might explain the main reason for many problems with new knife edges. The heat treat at the blade apex can be ruined by grinding the edges by a manufacturer. Unless you know exactly how a manufacturer profiled/sharpened your new knife, you should reprofile/sharpen your new knife to get the edges down to some good steel that hasn’t had the heat treat at the blade apex ruined. Some people may be damaging the heat treat of their knife edges themselves by using dry grinding. We here don’t have that problem since we use Wicked Edge sharpeners.

    This is why I always question the steel first if I am having problems with using and sharpening a blade. I figured out the potential problem myself and did a bad job of trying to explain it. But I was happy when I found this article where Dr. Larrin Thomas explains it very well.

    This question is also why I bought some Tsubosan Rockwell steel hardness testing files. So that I can at least be certain that the steel in my knives are in the ballpark of what the manufacturer claims that it is.  All comments and suggestions are very welcome.

    I’ve included a photo of my newest knife that I love very much! It is a Carothers Performance Knives, DEK1, in D3V steel with Swedge and Penetrator Tip, Cocobolo scales, and Blued Titanium fasteners. I also bought one for both of my sons, but couldn’t afford to get the wood scales for them at the time. But I bought different Micarta scales for them to choose from. My oldest son loves his Black and Red Linen Micarta scales, and my youngest son that has been in the Navy for about 13 or so years now, prefers the OD Green Canvas Micarta scales.

    Files-Rc-1a
    Mine-17a

    • This topic was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by 000Robert.
    • This topic was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by 000Robert.
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    #56800
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2486

    I’ve participated and contributed to this forum for several years now to help many Wicked Edge users learn how to sharpen their knives with their W.E. Systems.  I’m not sure who the “most people with problems with their new knife edges” are, which 000Robert is referring to.

    I propose for these people that have to remove and reprofile their new knives to expose new undamaged knife edge steel and test their knives to verify the hardness to be sure the knifemakers haven’t ruined the steel hardness while grinding the edges, that these knife users should find new and reputable sources from which to purchase their knives.

    I have sharpened more than a few knives for the first time, that are manufacturered by many, many different knifemakers and have not experienced this issue he suggests effects ” most people”.

    I have had to learn to adapt my sharpening techniques and sharpening mediums to work best with the many different steels and steel hardness my knives are made with, to allow me to achieve the results I expect to produce and use.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56801
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 294

    I’ve participated and contributed to this forum for several years now to help many Wicked Edge users learn how to sharpen their knives with their W.E. Systems. I’m not sure who the “most people with problems with their new knife edges” are that 000Robert is referring to. I propose for these people that have to remove and reprofile their new knives to expose new undamaged knife edge steel and test their knives to verify the hardness to be sure the knifemakers haven’t ruined the steel hardness while grinding the edges, that these knife users should find new and reputable sources from which to purchase their knives. I have sharpened more than a few knives for the first time that are manufacturered by many different knifemakers and have not experienced this issue he suggests effects ” most people”. I have had to learn to adapt my sharpening techniques and sharpening mediums to work best with the many different steels and steel hardness my knives are made with, to allow me to achieve the results I expect to produce and use.

    I meant most people that have problems with the edges on their new knives. It isn’t meant towards you or anyone in particular. I agree that people having this problem should buy their knives from someone else also.

    #56802
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2486

    I did not misconstrue your post thinking you were meaning, directing towards, or talking about me.  I know you did not mean me.

    What I take exception with is your use of “most people”.  I think the issue you describe of damaged edge steel as the result of bad heat treatment or overheated edge grinds is far less common then you’re choice of words suggests it to be.

    I maintain sharpening difficulties or problem are more attributable to a lack of sharpening knowledge, sharpening inexperience, improper technique and/or using an inappropriate sharpening medium for that steel.

    I will give you this, bad edge steel and/or hardening is a problem sometimes seen.  It certainly is not a frequent occurrence or a common place issue.  I would look to this as the root of the problem only after exhausting the search for the proper sharpening technique and an inability to find a sharpening medium compatible with the steel.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56803
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 2031

    Years ago, I did some knife sharpening as a service for a friend gunsmith shop.  There are (were) a few individuals who simply can’t seem to sharpen a particular knife and they resort to letting someone else try.  I remember one fellow handing me his hunting knife, which he said had been made from a file by a friend during WWII.  He cautioned that the knife might be a “beast” to sharpen.  What I found was that the knife was no different or more difficult than any other knife.  In fact, when I made passes on my India stone, I could easily feel a short section along the edge which would really “bite” into the stone.  Clearly, the maker had overheated a portion of the edge during the grinding process, leaving that section dead soft.   I think this is more common in knives which are hardened manually with a torch than in those heated in an oven and held there at temperature in a controlled environment.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #56804
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 294

    I did not misconstrue your post thinking you were meaning, directing towards, or talking about me. I know you don’t mean me. What I take exception with is your use of “most people”. I think the issue you describe of damaged edge steel as the result of bad heat treatment or overheated edge grinds is far less common then you’re choice of words suggests it to be. I maintain sharpening difficulties or problem are more attributable to a lack of sharpening knowledge, sharpening inexperience, improper technique and/or using an inappropriate sharpening medium for that steel. I will give you this, bad edge steel and/or hardening is a problem sometimes seen. It certainly is not a frequent occurrence or a common place issue. I would look to this as the root of the problem only after exhausting the search for the proper sharpening technique and an inability to find a sharpening medium compatible with the steel.

    You are right. I have a bad habit of assuming that most people coming to this forum know the basics of sharpening a knife. I’ll change the wording even though I do believe that a ruined heat treat by the manufacturers at the blade apex is a larger problem than most people think.

    #56806
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 294

    Years ago, I did some knife sharpening as a service for a friend gunsmith shop. There are (were) a few individuals who simply can’t seem to sharpen a particular knife and they resort to letting someone else try. I remember one fellow handing me his hunting knife, which he said had been made from a file by a friend during WWII. He cautioned that the knife might be a “beast” to sharpen. What I found was that the knife was no different or more difficult than any other knife. In fact, when I made passes on my India stone, I could easily feel a short section along the edge which would really “bite” into the stone. Clearly, the maker had overheated a portion of the edge during the grinding process, leaving that section dead soft. I think this is more common in knives which are hardened manually with a torch than in those heated in an oven and held there at temperature in a controlled environment.

    The main focus of this article is manufacturers sharpening new knives by dry grinding and ruining the heat treat at the blades apex. The hardening and heat treat can be excellent on a blade, but dry grinding the blade apex can ruin the heat treat at the apex. There is very little steel at the apex of the cutting edge. The very tip of the edge apex can be in the submicron range.

    #56807
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2486

      The main focus of this article is manufacturers sharpening new knives by dry grinding and ruining the heat treat at the blades apex. The hardening and heat treat can be excellent on a blade, but dry grinding the blade apex can ruin the heat treat at the apex. There is very little steel at the apex of the cutting edge. The very tip of the edge apex can be in the submicron range.

    000Robert, that’s the crux of it right there.

    If we had a mission statement here for the Wicked Edge Forum I think it would be:

    We are here to help educate W.E. users so they can use or operate their W.E. Sharpeners well, to make their sharpening experiences productive, successful, and enjoyable.

    We help by sharing our user experiences with our W.E. sharpeners, our methods, our techniques, and our setups.  We sometimes suggest user installed accessories and/or modifications or adapters.  This may include using alternative sharpening mediums, if these may help the W.E. users to sharpen their knives more easily and successfully.

    Knife edge steel discussion is relative here, too.  That I do recognize.  Although, in-depth discussion may be better served in the “Blade Forum”.

    I’m not discounting the issue of bad knife edge steel due to disruption of heat treatments.  I know and agree this issue exists.  I’m just trying to emphasize that the difficulties most every W.E. user shares with this forum can be elieviated and overcome with improved W.E. sharpener knowledge, improved sharpening techniques and using compatible sharpening mediums.

    I don’t want to suggest that bad edge steel may be a very common problem that new W.E. users are experiencing.  This forum is Wicked Edge centric.  Only after we try to educate the new W.E. users in how to use their setups properly and well, will we then look beyond that scope for alternate issues at hand that may be causing the user’s sharpening difficulties.  I’m afraid if we were to suggest right from the get-go for W.E. users to look first to the edge steel as being compromised that we will be inviting W.E. users to put the blame on or use this as an excuse that their sharpening difficulties or failures are the fault of bad edge steel, instead of them learning how to use their W.E. systems well.

    Besides if the edge damage at the very tip of the apex is on a submicron level (which is what 000Robert stated), I’d expect the steel removed during a regular W.E. knife sharpening process, or even just a touchup, should remove that submicron amount of edge damage.  I’d imagine this submicron damage, if indeed there was any, would simpy be removed, and probably or possibly go totally unnoticed.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    3 users thanked author for this post.
    #56808
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 294

    The main focus of this article is manufacturers sharpening new knives by dry grinding and ruining the heat treat at the blades apex. The hardening and heat treat can be excellent on a blade, but dry grinding the blade apex can ruin the heat treat at the apex. There is very little steel at the apex of the cutting edge. The very tip of the edge apex can be in the submicron range.

    000Robert: That’s the crux of it right there. If we had a mission statement here for the Wicked Edge Forum I think it would be: we are here to help educate W.E. users so they can learn how to use or operate their sharpeners well. To make their sharpening experience productive, successful, and enjoyable. We help by sharing our user experiences about W.E. sharpener use, methods, techniques, and setups. We sometimes suggest user installed accessories and/or modifications or adapters, including alternative sharpening mediums, if these things may help the W.E. users to sharpen their knives easier and successfully. Your steel discussion may be relative here, too. Although it may be better served in the “Blade Forum”. I’m not totally discounting the issue of bad knife edge steel due to disrupted heat treatment. I know and agree this issue exists. I’m just trying to emphasize that the difficulties most every W.E. user shares here in this forum can be elieviated and overcome with improved W.E. sharpener knowledge, improved sharpening technique and compatible sharpening mediums used. I don’t want to suggest that bad edge steel may be a common problem that new W.E. users are experiencing. We are Wicked Edge centric. Only after we try to educate the new W.E. users in how use their setups properly and well will we look beyond that scope for alternate issues at hand. I’m afraid if we suggest from the get-go or look to the edge steel as being compromised that we will invite W.E. users to put their sharpening difficulties as the fault or blame them on bad edge steel. Instead of learning how to use their W.E. systems well.

    This problem has been well discussed on BFC. It is a potential problem with a very simple fix – just reprofile/sharpen the edges down to some steel that has a good heat treat. That’s all it takes. It is also a potential problem that newbies may not think of.

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