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Please help a newbie, edge is crap…

Recent Forums Main Forum Getting Started Please help a newbie, edge is crap…

This topic contains 18 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Leo James Mitchell 09/19/2018 at 5:28 pm.

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  • #47560

    Eric
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    So I bought a pro pack so that I could do my own knives and not send them back every time they need to be sharpened, but now I’m realizing there is a lot more to sharpening than I originally thought.

    So here is what I have done, I found the angle with a sharpie (26.85) and then used a 800 grit stone to get a burr on both sides, then I progressed through the following; 800, 1000, 1500, 6 micron diamond, 3 micron diamond, 1.5 micron diamond.

    I used a 30x magnifier to look at the edge through 1500, and in between each grit I used a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol to clean the blade of any shavings. I realized when I was using the 1.5 micron that it wasn’t actually going all the way to the edge of the blade, and was really just hitting the shoulder (I hadn’t adjusted the angle since starting, and everything was tight when I checked it), I adjusted it out one detent, and then finished with the 1.5 micron diamond film.

    The end result looks really good, it has an almost perfect mirror finish to the eye, but it cuts like crap. tears paper, doesn’t even come close to being able to shave…

    What did I do wrong? do I need to adjust the angle for every stone? through the 1500 it looked like it was perfect, not sure where I went wrong.

    The knife is a Medford Infraction, the blade is made of S35VN, I am using a pro-pack with a digital angle finder.

    #47561

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 57
    • Replies: 1752

    Eric, welcome to the Wicked Edge Forum and Community.  When we research sharpeners and come across the “Wicked Edge Precision Sharpeners”, (WEPS), and read about the mirrored reflective superlatively sharp edges the users achieve, it’s not explained that it takes time, effort, and experience using the WEPS to achieve those results.  There is a bit of a learning curve for new users and a break-in period till the stones get worn-in enough to give their optimal results.

    Keep doing what you’re doing.  I do believe you’d be better off to learn and gain sharpening experience with more inexpensive knives.

    I do check and reset using a digital angle cube, (as necessary), my guide rod angle settings, with each and every grit change.  The precision the WEPS allows makes it a necessity in my mind.

    The WE Systems does require some time as a learning curve for the user to gain some feel for the system and learn a technique needed to sharpen knife edges.  Along with this learning period the sharpening stones will be breaking in to give their optimal results.  New stones don’t sharpen as well as sharpening stones that have been used for, usually at least, 10 knives.  By the time most users have sharpen 10 knives and the stones have broken in they have a good basic understanding and know how and have developed a pretty fair, basic, sharpening technique.  I like to say “using the Wicked Edge isn’t hard, but it’s certainly not simple, either”.  You do have to figure it out and gain some experience to get results worth bragging about!

    PS: Which Pro Pack Model did you buy?

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #47562

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1779

    I’ve never sharpened a knife with such a obtuse angle.  In fact, the highest angle I’ve used has been 22 degrees per side, and then only because the head of the company (Martinii filet knives) said so when they asked him on a TV interview.  I’ve used 17 dps for the same filet knives up until then and the owners report outstanding perfprmance.   99% of the knives I sharpen are done so between 17 and 20 dps.  I do my Aritsugu at 8 dps, so that’s the 1% exception.

    Testing sharpness by slicing paper is highly dependent on the quality of the paper, the bevel angle and the thickness of the blade at the shoulders of the bevel.  I would think that 26.85 dps would probably cut like crap.  My telephone pages refuse to slice cross-wise, regardless of the knife or its edge.

    Today I sharpened a Damascus chef’s knife at 17 dps and I convexed the bevels.  I left the edge at 1500 grit for a little tooth and polished the bevels down to 3 micron film.   When I tried cutting telephone directory paper with it, the slicing was outstanding.  The “hot knife through butter” analogy comes to mind.

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    #47563

    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 820

    Welcome to the WE forum!

    Based on what you described it seems to me like you did nearly everything correctly and have already diagnosed your issue; you should check the angles with each grit change for optimal results. The angles tend not to vary all that much (+/- 0.5 degrees) when you’re using the WE diamond stones. This is probably why the edge looked good at the 1500# stage. The glass platen is going to require an angle adjustment since it might be a little thinner / thicker than the diamond stones. I like to use a sharpie to check my bevel angles frequently during the sharpening process. If you aren’t getting to the apex then there will still be sharpie left and you can see it with a magnifier.

    I would also second Marc’s suggestion to practice on less expensive knives until you are getting the results you’re after.

    26.85 degrees per side is rather obtuse, but those Medford knives are THICK so a more acute angle might look odd since it will widen the bevels. A knife this obtusely sharpened won’t ever be the most amazing performer, but you should have no issue cutting printer paper or shaving hair once it has been properly sharpened.

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    #47568

    Eric
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    Thanks for the help, appreciate it.

    So a question, regardless what angle I am starting with (staying with this one just to keep it easy though), if I start at 26.85 dps, starting with 800 say, then go to 1000 and check the edge angle and reset 26.85, won’t the angle be slightly different than what I finished with from the 800? I’m thinking even if I only take off a tiny bit to make sure I am getting a burr on both sides, isn’t the angle going to slightly increase, and then when I go back to 26.85 I won’t be getting to the edge?

    #47572

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 57
    • Replies: 1752

    Eric I’m taking it that you think if you use a stone to remove steel then the next stone set at the same angle will now lean against a narrower steel knife because the knife edge was worked by the first stone that removed a small amount of steel, so now the angle will have changed.  The stone is making the bevel parallel to the relative angle the stone is set to.  That stone angle setting is relative to the 0.0º angle which is the imaginary vertical line running up from the perpendicular base (where you zeroed the digital angle cube) and up through the very center of the clamped knife’s edge.  The stone leaning at this set relative angle is flat and parallel to the existing bevel, in your case, or the bevel you’re attempting to profile the knife to, if you’re changing the bevel angle.  Even though you remove steel the relative angle setting will continue to remove steel from the bevel parallel to the stone.  The beveled sides of the knife may be getting closer together as the edge is refined but they are still at the same angle and still parallel to the sharpening stones.  Each stone refines and better smooths and polishes the bevel at the same relative angle.  I like to check the angle setting with each grit to keep the bevels flat and parallel to the stones angle setting.  Yes the angle may be measured and determined to be slightly different from stone to the next stone but you’re checking and resetting the angle to keep the stone and your resulting bevel flat and parallel.  You’ll be surprised how little it changes from stone to stone when good sharpening technique is employed.

    I would like to say that just because you are maintaining the same bevel angle as you determined it was set by the factory I believe your reasoning that you won’t be removing hardly any steel steel so you can begin your sharpening at a very high grit level stone.  800 grit being your choice.  The coarseness of the stone I use is determined by how much steel I may need to remove and also by how hard the knife steel is and the amount of work, effort, and time, it’ll take to accomplish the job.  In your case you explained you’re maintaining the same angle but the steel’s hardness plays a roll in the stone you choose to start with.  You may find that you’ll do better to start coarser, say the 400 grit.  This is still not terrible coarse but will certainly level and smooth the profile of the factory set bevel, 26.85º, much easier, quicker and with far less effort and wear to your finer 800 grit stone.  It is part of the learning curve to learn how to choose a starting grit commensurate to the knife you’re sharpening.  You don’t want to start too coarse and unnecessarily scratch the steel.  Also, you don’t want to start too fine that you over work and wear out a too fine grit stone so that when you need it it’s too worn to perform.

    One last thing is you also may find that as you reach the ends of the knife, towards the tip and towards the heel the 26.85º factory bevel may vary.  You may at that point need to decide to lower your angles to let’s say 26.0º or 26.5º just so your removing just enough steel across the entire bevel length to give it an even and fresh smooth surface and resulting polished appearance, and a precise angled bevel that only a fixed angle sharpener like the Wicked Edge can do.

     

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #47578

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1779

    When I was on my first set of stones, I noticed that they varied slightly in thickness.  With each step up in stones, there was a slight reduction in thickness, which resulted in a slightly higher angle.  I realized that this difference made sure that with each step of the progression, you were always assured to hit the apex.  When I asked Clay if this was intentional, he replied that it was a “happy accident.”

    I’m not sure if this applies for the new generation of stones, but I think that it was/is caused by the fact that finer diamond particles laid flatter on the platens during the plating process, so it probably does apply.

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    #47620

    Leo James Mitchell
    Participant
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 687

    I have been using the WEPS for nearly, well almost since Clay started the company and I love the results I get. Here are a few tips that will work. First I always start raising the burr with my 80 grit paddle. This is the only time that I apply any heavy pressure to the edge. I do one side of the edge first with an up and down movement using fair pressure and check it with a ball of cotton all the way along from the heel to the tip of the blade. You will see the cotton threads catching on the burr. Then I do the same with the other edge of the blade. Once I am assured I have a good burr and only then, I start working up the various grits. Here is where I will make a strong emphasis…after the burr caress the edge as you work…do not apply pressure. Light as a Spring breeze and make sure you are going along the complete edge. Easy does  it. I believe you are using 800 grit and that will not give you the best results for sure. There is a lower grit then 80 but that one is only necessary when you have a knife that has been abused and filled with nicks and catches. 80 first and then on up and you will always get an excellent result.

    By the way, it makes no difference which model you have…the same principles apply. Ask Clay and I am sure he will agree with this method.

    Good luck from an old timer with this fine sharpener.

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    #47621

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1779

    Leo was a old timer when I joined the forum some seven years ago.  Great to hear from you again, Leo!!

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #47624

    Eric
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    Leo, first thank you very much for your reply, appreciate that.

    If you don’t mind me asking, do you also check the angle between every stone and adjust if it is different? I just am not understanding that part of it. I’m thinking if I start at 26.85, and I reprofile, even if it is only a little bit of the over all height of the blade the angle has to change slightly, then if I adjust the next stone to 26.85 I’m worried that I now won’t be going to the edge of the blade… or am I just way over thinking it?

    #47626

    Leo James Mitchell
    Participant
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 687

    I very seldom check the angle after each grit paddle. It certainly doesn’t seem to  bother how sharp my blades get. By the way, awhile back a member of this forum developed a unique locking mechanism that fits on the rig and as well allows for the locking in of a very long blade. I forget the chap’s name but for a hundred dollars I got a rock solid guarantee that my angle rods will never go out of alignment plus long blades now do not flex on me as I work. One can do no better than to follow Clay’s instructions that comes with t he kit. He does not recheck angles I believe and neither do I. I will try to put up a picture of my locking rig improvement when I get a chance.

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    #47627

    Leo James Mitchell
    Participant
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 687

    Here is a picture of the Modification to my WEPS.

    Attachments:
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    #47646

    Leo James Mitchell
    Participant
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 687

    You can see in the picture I posted above that the device to lock the angles and to extend clamping on a long knife blade, is very sturdy. I will add also that it was beautifully machined. I wish I could remember the mate’s name who designed and built it. Maybe he will see this picture and come forward.

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    #47648

    Leo James Mitchell
    Participant
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 687

    Here are the parts of the Mod for the WEPS in close detail.

    Attachments:
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    #47651

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 57
    • Replies: 1752

    If you don’t mind me asking, do you also check the angle between every stone and adjust if it is different? I just am not understanding that part of it. I’m thinking if I start at 26.85, and I reprofile, even if it is only a little bit of the over all height of the blade the angle has to change slightly, then if I adjust the next stone to 26.85 I’m worried that I now won’t be going to the edge of the blade… or am I just way over thinking it?

    Eric I believe you’re thinking you are grinding an angle on the knife.  You are grinding a flat plane, (i.e., the knife bevel), at an angle relative to the knife’s vertical position, on the knife’s edge.  The flat plane of the bevel moves parallel to the previous plane as each stone grit is removing steel every so slightly as you refine the bevel plane by removing the previous scratches and smoothing the steel with the successive finer grits.  As you refine and polish the two planes of the bevels on opposite sides of the knife these planes are getting closer together where they intersect at the knife edge.  The more refined this intersection is the sharper the knife is.  You are not removing an angle or a wedge of steel that creates a change in the angle with each new stone and therefore you won’t be able to reach the edge because you see the angle as changing.

    The reason I check the guide rod angles and make fine adjustments with each grit is because I’ve found that with the improved precision these latest model Wicked Edge sharpeners allow and the precision of the new high resolution digital angle cubes allow, the slight adjustment insures I’m getting the best results the equipment enables me to.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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