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Preventing Micro chips while sharpening

Recent Forums Main Forum Techniques and Sharpening Strategies Preventing Micro chips while sharpening

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  • #56217
    Trevor Riendeau
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    I’m new to sharpening and have only been doing it steady now for about a year or so. I have been sharpening numerous knives and can never seem to get a razor sharp edge. Every final edge that I seem to end up with always has micro-chips in the bevel. I was wondering if maybe I’m not cleaning the stones enough? Kind of hard to diagnose something online, but my patience is going to drive me mad if I don’t try to get some help. Any advice or follow-up questions would be great. P.S I did try to make a micro bevel to grind out the chips. My knife is a high carbon knife made from a file. The blade is about six inches long.

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    #56220
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2486

    Welcome to the Wicked Edge Forum, Trevor.

    It may help us, to help you, if you could provide some basics:

    • W.E. Sharpener model?
    • Which stones are you using? (For example: the standard W.E. diamond stone set).
    • Which grits are you using for your sharpening progression? (Coarsest to finest).
    • Are you using any other sharpening or polishing mediums ? (Such as ceramics stones, strops and/or lapping films).
    • Which sharpening strokes are you using and in what order, or which direction, throughout your sharpening progression?

    Are all the knives you sharpen chipping out, similarly, like shown in that photo.  Do you have any magnified edge views showing the results after each grit you use, in the progression?

    Some steels are hard, brittle and may be chip prone. You wrote, “seem to end up with always has micro-chips in the bevel”.  Those results, “always”, I wouldn’t expect.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56221
    Trevor Riendeau
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2
    • My model is the we130.
    • I have mostly WE diamond stones. I have 100-3000 grit diamond stones. I do have ceramic, leather strops, and diamond pastes, but I haven’t used them yet. My coarse set for the file knife was 50/80, 100/200, 400/600, and 800/1000 grit diamond stones. I normally do not use 50/80 grit, but I had to re-profile the knife and had to remove a lot of material.
    • As far as using the other methods of sharpening, I haven’t really used them.
    • Mostly the strokes are forward strokes. Sometimes I will scrub each side until the previous scratches are gone and then I will continue with forward strokes. I don’t have a picture for each progression, but I can tell you this happens to even smaller SVN35 knives as well.
    #56222
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2486

    Kind of hard to diagnose something online, but my patience is going to drive me mad if I don’t try to get some help. Any advice or follow-up questions would be great.

    Like you said, Trevor, it’s hard to say on line.  I’ll try to help.  I’m sorry but I have to start with trying to determine your basic understanding, experience using the WE130 and use of a basic sharpening technique.

    I can tell you I see the results of remaining scratch patterns from several previous grits running at several angles across and through the knife bevel.  Some of these remaining scratches are quite rough and deep in appearance.  I cannot pick up the micro-bevel you said you applied.  That’s tough to see from a photo of the knife edge shown on a video screen.

    There’s a couple very important basic things to consider.  Are the sharpening stones broken in well?  This can take more than 10 knives of use with each and every grit to achieve a good break-in.  Do you have a good foundation and a basic understanding using your sharpener and a sharpening technique.

    I suggest you view this entire video.  It should help you to understand some of the different basic strokes and directions they’re used.  Both to improve your sharpening skill and outcomes, and so you can better relate to and describe the strokes you are using.  Aside from there being different sharpening strokes there are different stroke directions, such as edge trailing, (up and off or away from the edge) and edge leading, (down and into or against the edge).  Then these two stroke directions can be used along the knife’s edge from heel to the tips and from tip to the heel.  Each different stroke can affect your edge’s appearance and your final outcomes. The stroke you choose to use, the order that you use these, the way that use them, (the consistency and the thoroughness of how those strokes are used) all contributes to the out come.  Sharpening is a systematic, repetitive process, that must be done with consistency and attention to detail.

    In order to achieve a sharp knife edge the grinding we do with the sharpening stones, to one side of the knife edge must pass up and off the knife edge and intersect with the similar grinding done to the knife’s edge on the other side.  These two ground sides, are planes, that is, the bevels, and where the bevels intersect forms a line that is the apex or the knife edge.  The keener, and more precise this line of intersection between the bevel planes are, at the apex, the sharper your knives will be.

    Each and every grit starting with the first coarsest grit, effects the sharpness outcome.  The first grit establishes the knife’s profile, (that is the shape and the angle of the bevels relative to one another).  Each subsequent grit refines the bevels for smoothness and consistent flatness and how precisely they intersect at the knife edge.  Each step is dependent on the results of the previous step.  The amount of work you put into this and your attention to details will determine your outcomes.  That is the sharpness of your knives.

    With well broken in stones, proper, consistent effort and attention to detail you will have sharp knives.  All I can do is try to start you at the beginning with a good and proper understanding of what we’re trying to do here, and work you forward from there.  If the user’s basics are not done well and correctly you have no chance to have the results you can rightfully expect.

    I’m new to sharpening. I have been sharpening numerous knives and can never seem to get a razor sharp edge. Every final edge that I seem to end up with always has micro-chips in the bevel.  Any advice or follow-up questions would be great.

    I think the chipping issue will resolve itself if we can help you with learning the basics.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56223
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2486

    I’m trying to help you determine if your sharpening stones are fully or sufficiently broken-in.  The more random, and rough appearance of each grit’s scratch pattern will become more uniform, predictable and consistent when the stones are broken in.

    After starting a knife with your first coarsest stone, can you profile the edge set to the bevel angle you want.  The created and established bevels on both sides of the knife, should intersect at the apex and if done well and properly will form a burr. The burr indicates the steel is ground up off the bevel as it’s shaped and flattened at your set angles, as it gets pushed up then off the knife’s edge where it rolls up into a sort of ball there.  Through visual inspection, we can determine if the apex is complete and that it runs down along the entire length of the knife edge, on both sides of the knife.  The scratch patterns we apply to the bevels should appear consistent and uniform down across the full length of the bevels.   There should be no odd or different looking areas, inconsistencies or very rough appearing scratches.

    You should be able to determine if visible edge chipping you experience is occurring right from the get go.  If your experiencing these rough chips to the apex all down the knife edge or in a couple places and possibly with multiple stone grits that suggests right away your stones aren’t broken in yet.

    The 50/80 grit is very very coarse and should be saved for only when you really need to use it.  The large grit size and coarseness will definitely chip an edge if they are not broken in well.

    The coarser grit stones will lay down a deeper and wider scratch groove and the grooves are further apart.  But when that grit is broken in it still should appear uniform in their large deep scratch pattern.  Each finer grit will scratch narrower and shallower with those scratches spaced closer together.  As we use each subsequent finer grit it is meant to over scratch the previous bigger scratches, with their shallower narrower scratch pattern.  When the previous coarser grit scratches appear obliterated and overscratched by the finer grits and everything looks uniform, nice and even looking,  with no odd or stray deep coarse scratches, it’s time to go to the next finer grit.  The scratches should also appear even, parallel and straight. The scratches need to go up, across and off of the apex, on both sides of the knife edge to ensure the edge will be sharpened correctly.  Sharpening is the same thing over and over.  We lay down the finer grit scratches over the top of the previous coarser grit so everything appears even, clean and uniform.

    Any thing odd appearing or too random, too rough and too deep should be a red flag.  If you suspect you have a bad stone, the first time that you use a stone with any surface defects it should be obvious.  I would expect after a year of knife sharpening you would have discovered and found any large or odd placed grit clumps.  To be clear, bad stones with these odd large clumps are few and far between.  The clumps can usually be fixed.  You can knock them off running the stone over the edge of something hard.  The edge of a piece of plate glass or a solid piece of hard steel.  Like the edge of a bench vice.  If you found a defect you can’t knock off, W.E. will replace it.  If everytime you used that same grit stone you’d hear that clunk or click sound as the large grit clump crossed your knife edges you would have found it.  That’s why I think it’s more likely the edge chipping you experience is sharpening technique and still new stones.

    Each subsequent finer grit refines and smoothes the steel on the bevel planes and up off the apex.  If your angle setting is consistent and stays uniform, and your sharpening technique is thorough, uniform and consistent, by the time you get to your very fine grit stones your edge should be sharp and fairly polished.

    After you are sure your sharpening stones are indeed broken-in, and you gain a good understanding of the various sharpening strokes we use with the W.E. sharpeners, we can help you dial in your sharpening technique to get the best results with it.  We say here on the forum ” your technique ” because how you decide to make use of the sharpening strokes and how you put them together into a regular sharpening routine,  one that your comfortable with, can be quite individualized.   What you enjoy using to achieve your desired results and the way I choose to do that same thing may be somewhat different.  All that matters is the quality of our results; a sharp knife edge.  How you do it is up to you.  We’re here to help you figure out how you want do that.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56234
    Trevor Riendeau
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    So I tried the techniques in the video that you sent and I will say that the quality of consistency is way better. The edge did appear to be sharper and more uniform. I did order new stones for the coarse grit and 400/600 previously. I noticed that the 400 grit stones were not normal. Normal meaning one of the 400 grit stones had a very deep rough scratch patter than the other new stone. I’m trying to use my old 400/600 stones, but I feel like they don’t really remove any of the previous scratch patterns. I might just have to buy another new set. I’m not sure how Wicked Edge is with warranties, but maybe I should write them an email. I also got two ceramic stones that fell apart while sharpening (the stones fell out). So anyways the scratch pattern with 100/200 stones seems good, but when I move up to my already used 400/600 stones they just don’t cover up the previous pattern. By the way I did not notice at much chipping while using the new technique that was shown in the video. The knife was sharper that I have been able to get it in the past. I feel once the 100/200 grit stones break in, then they will be more consistent and true. I’ll just have to get the 400/600 grit stones replaced. Not having the 400 grit is crucial. I’m not sure if I should replace my 800/1000 grit stones yet? It does seem like they are broken in nicely, but at this point maybe I should just focus on the other grits.

    #56235
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2486

    The 400/600 is used quite a lot by many of us.  We try to start with the finest coarse grit stone that will get the job done.  After the initial sharpening of a knife with the W.E. when you usually need to use the 100 grit, the 400/600 is often an effective starting stone for future touchups.  This stone pair probably gets the most use of any other grit I use.

    W.E. is very good with customer service.  I would have to guess that the main issues you have are the stone’s are not broken in well and the need to learn good basic technique.  I could understand maybe one bad grit, (like maybe your 400), but I wouldn’t ever believe that multiple grits are problematic.

    The ceramics stones are mounted to the handles with 3M VHB double stick foam tape.  Due to the nature of the ceramic stones, coming loose is not that odd an event.  The heat in shipping and with storage can effect the adhesive.  If the stones are whole, intact and unbroken,  W.E. will provide you the tape so you can easily reattach them.  Just peel off the original foam tape first.

    The sharpening stones generally will last for several hundred sharpenings  I am still using diamond stones from 5 or more years ago.  I did wear out and replaced my first 400/600 stone pair.

    FYI: you really can’t over do the amount of stone work you do when working with each grit.  If you think you’ve done enough and it’s time to move on up a finer grit, don’t…do more stone work just to be sure.  When you’ve done enough the stones will slide easier and more quietly across the steel.  There won’t be any more rough or grinding feel or sound.  With more practice you’ll learn to recognize when it’s time to move on.

    Double check your angle adjusters are staying tight and secure, often.  Just try the microadjuster lock knobs to feel for tightness.  A locked position is necessary for consistency.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    #56236
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2486

    You may find that if you check your angle settings each and every time you make a grit change you may see improved or more consistent outcomes.  If the angles are off, even a small amount, from grit to grit, you will not see the consistent scratch patterns stone after stone.  The scratch patterns may not superimpose over the top of the previous scratch pattern which is helpful to obliterate that previous scratch pattern.  It is an extra step and may be time consuming but it helps you to recognize the subtle differences from one stone handle set to the next.  The stones are made well and they work well but they are molded plastic and then the diamond plates are then applied assembled, so they may vary slightly from one handle to the next or even one side to the other side.  Double checking and re-adjusting the micro-angle settings, as needed for each grit will help you achieve the consistency necessary for the results you seek.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #56237
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 294

    You may find that if you check your angle settings each and every time you make a grit change you may see improved or more consistent outcomes. If the angles are off, even a small amount, from grit to grit, you will not see the consistent scratch patterns stone after stone. The scratch patterns may not superimpose over the top of the previous scratch pattern which is helpful to obliterate that previous scratch pattern. It is an extra step and may be time consuming but it helps you to recognize the subtle differences from one stone handle set to the next. The stones are made well and they work well but they are molded plastic and then the diamond plates are then applied assembled, so they may vary slightly from one handle to the next or even one side to the other side. Double checking and re-adjusting the micro-angle settings, as needed for each grit will help you achieve the consistency necessary for the results you seek.

    Yep, that’s what I do.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #56340
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 2031

    TL;DR  Which I think stands for “Too long, didn’t read.” which I’m sorry for, but I’m way behind on my forum reading, so I’ll jump in here, not knowing if what I have to add has been discussed or not.

    Serious chipping is a problem that nagged me for the first two years of WE sharpening and it changed my approach entirely.  It popped up again this last week, when I hurriedly sharpened my Delica in ZDP-189.  For those not familiar, Spyderco’s ZDP-189 blades to at least RC64.  I think that maybe both of my problems are happening here with Trevor.

    The first is related to stones which hadn’t been completely broken in.  These diamond stones have a tendency to have clusters of diamonds which resist efforts to knock them free from the surface matrix of diamond particles which are correctly positioned and attached to the platen.  Clusters which stand proud of the surface can easily tear out chips at the edge of blades which are very hard, and/or have a very low included apex.  If you can feel a “clicking” sound as the stone(s) move over the edge, you may have one of more clusters that still need to be knocked off.  Try to pin-point the location of the cluster and try to knock it off on some hard steel.  I use a piece of glass.

    The second problem lies simply with the hardness of the edge and the direction of stone movement.  Edge trailing (upward) strokes have a greater chance of tearing chips from the edge than edge leading strokes.  Edges which are very hard (as with one made from a file?) and which have incomplete crystallization along the edge also have a greater tendency to have chips break free.  As I was sharpening my Delica, I was focused on a rather deep defect in the edge and carelessly switch to a scrubbing action with my (well-broken-in) 400 grit stones.  When I re-checked with my USB ‘scope, I found the edge was now riddled with small chips.  Never happened before with higher grits and downward strokes, except where a cluster refused to leave a new set of 800s.

    Normally, 400 grit is the lowest grit I’ll use on any knife, unless I’ve filed the edge flat and can clearly see when I am well clear of the edge center-line.  This was the first time I had ever used the 400s on this knife.  Clearly, it didn’t like it, and my guess is that it sure didn’t like the upward strokes.

    My suggestion is to knock off any remaining clusters and to switch to edge leading (downward) strokes only, if only for this particular knife.

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    #56403
    JimR
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 12

    This has been a most valuable insight offered by tcmeyer on two points – one is the problem caused by an unbroken in stone. Two knives I sort of really care about had some unique deep scratches that I ultimately traced to an unbroken in 1500/2200 diamond stone that I had added to my collection of stones without really breaking it in well enough. An easy fix once I realized which stone was causing the problem; lesson learned!

    The second point is really interesting in light of Tom’s experience with ZDP-189 only my experience was with M390. I had sharpened it pretty well (or so I thought) all the way to strops when I noticed a reflection off the edge apex that shouldn’t have been there; a USB scope showed what looked like chips or irregularities that I couldn’t remove with films or leather strops. I finally discovered that anything I tried that involved edge trailing strokes caused these reflections and I couldn’t get rid of them – it only made things worse. I went back to 600 grit and cleaned up things and then went in a progression to 800 / 1000 / 1500 / 2200 and then 1.4/.6 ceramics but only using edge leading strokes. I could even get away with scrubbing as long as I followed with edge leading. The secret for me is very light (weight of the stone) edge leading strokes with stones that can actually be used in edge leading (which leaves out films and strops). The knife is super sharp but not necessarily pretty.

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