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Rookie needs advise on new kit

This topic contains 18 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  sksharp 04/04/2018 at 11:03 am.

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  • #45712

    carguy4471
    Participant
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 11

    I’m reasonably new to high end sharpeners.  I’ve used a lansky in the past and currently use a work sharp guided system but I’m ready to upgrade.  I mostly sharpen daily carry knives and occasionally kitchen knives and bushcraft knives and tools.

    I’ve decided to pull the trigger and get a wicked edge.  Probably the WE100 as the additional options of the 120 or 130 don’t seem like they’d help someone sharpening as casually as I am.

    My question is this:  In addition to what comes in the kit, what would you recommend for additional stones/strops/lapping stuff?

    I was thinking about adding the 800/1000 diamond stones and the 5/3.5 diamond paste with leather strop per the article in the knowledge base.

    Does anyone feel I should add anything beyond that??  The 1200/1600 ceramic??  What would I add if I wanted a bit more polished blade (a little bit)?

    Thanks everyone!!

    #45713

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1855

    Welcome to the Wicked Edge Forum “carguy4471”.  Without the intention to try to upsell you I know from sharing this same shopping and buying experience with  lots of new to WE buyers that proceeded you that for the little different, ($50), in initial investment the WE120 gives you a lot more sharpening range, latitude and adjustability to achieve the finer more polished edges, I believe your trying to get.  When the shopper starts with a shopping list and a desire for upgraded stones from the get-go it leads me to believe they want more than the “basic working edge”.  The WE120 with the taller vice height, wider square angle adjustment bar and micro-fine angle adjustments will get you there better and easier than the more basic entry level, less adjustable, WE100.  The quality and workmanship of both systems are equal, just the WE120 has more features and bang for your few bucks more.

    Both systems would benefit from the 800/1000 stone upgrade.  You would certainly realize better edge results, (i.e., more precise polished bevel angels) with the WE120 and 800/1000 stones and 5.0/3.5 leather strops.

    I would hold off on the Super-Fine 1200/1600 Ceramic Stones at the initial setup.  Their break-in period is far longer then the Diamond Stone Set and requires far more time and experience before you’d ever see a benefit from using the ceramics.  The cost savings would be better spent on a Digital Angle Cube, plastic safety shields or cut-proof gloves and a lighted magnification aid of some sort.

    We’re here to share our experience and of course our opinions.  I’m sure several other of the regular Forum contributors will log by and share with you too.

    Welcome to our WE community.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    6 users thanked author for this post.
    #45714

    carguy4471
    Participant
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 11

    Thanks for the response March.

    If I read the descriptions correctly, the WE120 only gets me from 15 degrees down to 13 degrees, with micro adjust ball heads.  Is the extra 4 degrees that beneficial??  I could see if I was trying to match an angle, but I could simply reprofile a blade to an angle repeatable on the new WE.  So aside from matching an angle could you give me some examples of how the additional 4 degrees on the low end with the micro adjust ball heads would benefit me??  I’m not opposed to spending a little extra, but I’ll need to have some knowledge on why before I do.

    I have a digital angle gauge already, used for setting up RC helicopters.  So I have that.  Skipping the ceramic stones, would I be able to get a decent polished edge out of the other items listed?

    Thanks!!

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #45715

    AlieN
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 9

    Hi carguy4471,

    I was in the same position and I went for the WE100 system. Although it is very capable, I do now crave a few of the things that the WE120 would have given, specifically the better arm adjustments. Since buying the WE100 I have spent a bit on additions and upgrades and while I haven’t added it all up, I’m pretty sure that I’ve not been as economical as I could have been by springing for a better starting system up-front.

    On the stones front, I rarely hear people rave about the ceramic stones. However, as well as the 800/1000 stones, I also went for the 1500 / glass platten along with 6 micron lapping film. This combination (in particular the 1500 stone) seems to attract universally positive reviews and I can confirm results from that combination far exceeded my expectations.

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy the kit and the process, whichever direction you take.

    AlieN

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  AlieN.
    6 users thanked author for this post.
    #45717

    perkins907
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    I just received my sharpener two days ago, WE130. I opted for the 1500 grit and glass with 6 micron lapping film with the 4/2 micron stop. Fantastic results for me last night, and it should only get better as my stones break in. I know it’s not the same rig as the one you want, but just saying that you don’t need the ceramics to achieve nice results.

    6 users thanked author for this post.
    #45718

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1855

    carguy4471 the micro-fine adjustments allow you to decide your angles and for you to set the system to that angle you want to sharpen your knife to.  The WE100 forces you to use the more gross settings take what it gives you. As you recognize, you’ll be reprofiling every knife you clamp and sharpen.  That would include touch ups.  Even knifes you’ve previous sharpened may be more difficult to re-sharpen and match the bevel precisely with the WE100.  It is much easier, quicker and a better use of steel conservation and knife longevity if you have the ability to match the existing bevel.  When you start looking for fine edges, as everyone does the micro-adjustment makes a world of different.  The extra 5 degrees of angle adjustment on the paper specs doesn’t seem like much.  But when you start sharpening a wide variety of knife types, styles and shapes it makes all the difference in the world.

    AlieN’s take on the ceramics and the 1500 diamond is “right on”.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    5 users thanked author for this post.
    #45719

    carguy4471
    Participant
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 11

    So here is what I’ve gathered, someone can chime in and let me know if I’m picking up what y’all are puttin’ down.

    Adding the 800/1000, 1500 w/ lapping film, and a 4/2 strop to the factory kit should have me setup to get some nice sparkly like edges??

    Going with the WE120 will allow me to better match blade angles with more precision that the WE100 and allow me to go a bit shallower on the blade angle.  26 degrees or so vs 30 on the WE100.

    This is great information.  I’m a bit befuddled by the comment about having difficulty matching the blade angle of a blade I’ve previously sharpened on the WE100.  I’ll be a bit honest here, I thought folks paid the big $$ for the WE system because it was highly precise and repeatable.  Does this statement indicate that there are some variances when mounting knives that may cause small amounts of deviation over it’s last sharpening??

    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #45720

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1855

    I’m a bit befuddled by the comment about having difficulty matching the blade angle of a blade I’ve previously sharpened on the WE100. I’ll be a bit honest here, I thought folks paid the big $$ for the WE system because it was highly precise and repeatable. Does this statement indicate that there are some variances when mounting knives that may cause small amounts of deviation over it’s last sharpening??

    The variance is all in the users ability to repeatedly reclamp and reposition the previously sharpened knife precisely and exactly where it was previously clamped. It’s a precise tool.  The tool operator has to able to use the precision. Just because you wrote down the knife’s position from your last sharpening session, it’s not always simple to read the recorded placement and recreate and reposition the knife exactly there, six months or a year later. The ability to make a little easy micro-adjust to the arms to match the bevel helps a lot when repositioning a knife.

    The 1/2º gross angles settings of the WE100 were made using a standardized height clamped knife, above the vice clamp level.  These inscribed angles become more arbitrary as a wide variety, style and shape of knives are used.  The $50 micro-adjustment ability gives you back more control and ease of use.

    I love similes: how’d you like watching you big screen color TV if it only had 4 volume setting levels; low, mid, mid-high and high.  Don’t you prefer to be able to raise and lower the volume to precisely the level for your listening pleasure.

    The micro adjustment gives you the availability of not only 1/2º gross increments but also all the adjustments in between.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    4 users thanked author for this post.
    #45721

    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 851

    You’ve been given good advice thus far. The WE 120 does offer more flexibility and it will be easier to use. That said, people were putting mirrored edges on knives long before the WE120 / WE130 / Generation 3 were around and I’ve even seen people accomplish that with the WE GO. You don’t need the extra features and you can upgrade down the line, but you’ll be glad to have them and I doubt that you’d regret the extra cash spent. If you’ve got the flexibility in your budget, the WE130 should also be on your list of options to consider. The self-centering vice is a costly luxury, but it makes clamping and re-clamping your knives a total breeze. I have that vice on the Gen. 3 pro model and I love it.

    If you’re going for shiny edges then adding the 800 / 1000 is a must and the 1500 / 6 micron film will get you there way faster than just about any other combination of stones and strops. The ceramic stones are good, but there are some who don’t like them and they will require many more strokes to get similar results to the 1500 diamond.

    You will want at least one set of strops. If you have to get only one to start out with then either the 5 / 3.5 diamond paste or the 4 / 2 diamond emulsion sets are the way to go. I would choose the 4 / 2 set because the emulsions last longer, but both should get you great results. Stropping will take an edge from sharp to SHARP!  If  my budget were limited and I could only add one thing to the base WE100 kit it would be the 4 / 2 micron strop set. If I could only add two things then those would be the 800 / 1000 and the 4 / 2 micron strop set.

    6 users thanked author for this post.
    #45722

    carguy4471
    Participant
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 11

    I feel the argument to go with the WE120 is a pretty good one.  Pricing the upgrade and comparing that to the $50 it makes sense fiscally.

    I think I am going to order the unit and the 800/1000 stones as well as the 5/3.5 strops with the 1500 set to follow in a month or so.  It seems these are the most highly recommended and since no one has mentioned much of any other sets I’m hoping this will get me some great results.

    Thanks for all the input.  I really appreciate it.  I’m looking forward to trying out one of these fine unit!!

    Any other input on initial kit considerations are more than welcome, I know enough to know I should listen to those with experience.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #45723

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1855

    Just to add your shopping consideration and confusion, “Organic” is so right when he says the WE130 with the self centering cam action vice takes the ease of sharpening to a whole new level, and removes the clamping frustration and inherent difficulty associated with the less refined clamping system of the WE 100 or WE 120. I stayed away from discussing it keeping the price consideration as the boundary.  There is no comparison for the ease of clamping and position repeatability the WE 130 affords.  It’s at a, well worth the cost, higher price point.

    More times then not, I have seen WE users upgrade to the WE130 clamping system.  I started with the WE120 about 5 years ago.  I updated and upgraded it to what is comparable to the latest version WE130 model.  I also have purchased and use the Gen 3 Pro. I also updated and upgraded that system with the latest and most refined components offered.  If I had to start all over again I’d start with the WE130 mounted to a base plate and the stone and strop selection you’re choosing.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    5 users thanked author for this post.
    #45724

    Pinkfloyd
    Participant
    • Topics: 21
    • Replies: 199

    I agree with Organic about considering the WE130, you don’t have to worry so much about the cant of a blade as you do with WE100\WE120 clamps. I think the micro adjust (on the WE120\WE130) is a must for easy and quick adjustments for matching angles, especially when changing hones because of the varying thickness of each hone makes for easy adjustment to keep the same angle.

    I started out with the WE100 and have progressed thru all the upgrades WE120, WE130, now have the Gen3 Pro. I definitely like the ease of clamping a knife with the Gen 3 clamp. The ceramics are an acquired taste, they do require a lot of use to break in. Mine are broken in (i have used them several years) and i like them a lot. You would probably be better served starting out with the 1500, 6u combo. I think the AAG is a must have also.

    5 users thanked author for this post.
    #45728

    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 39
    • Replies: 276

    My take after going though the same decisions you are, only a month ago.  Spend the extra $50 now and get the WE120.   Forego the ceramics stones as the they will cost you $95 for the 1200/1600 and another $120 for the .6/1.4 if you go for both ceramic stone sets.  After I read how long they take to break in, I never even opened the box, I just sent them back.

    They say it takes at least 15 knives to break in your basic diamond stone set of 100 through 1000 grit.  I didn’t see the point in investing another $200 in ceramic stones so early on, because you are not going to see very scratchless edges even if it was possible to get them very clear when looking through a $10 10x lighted loupe until the 100-1000 stones break in more.  You will get mirror edges by following tips mentioned above but I  picked out and chose from the various tips I was given and brought my technique so far similar to what pink floyd had posted above . . .

    ** Don’t skip buying the 1500/glass platen when you get your system.  This is my “favorite” combo so far.  Once you get through the 1500 you will see your mirror finish appear.  Then follow with the 6mu that you buy from WE for $30.  This will give you 10 stick on strips that will last you a long time.  Stick two on the glass platens and you won’t believe the mirror finish that these 6mu diamond strips give you.

    Lastly,  the leather strops for $45 (which includes  the two tubes of 5/3.5 diamond paste) will really polish up those mirror edges with not that many final strops of each grit.  Caution never strop downward or that now super sharp edge will cut right into the leather strops.  Watch a youtube vid before you attempt to strop.

    Thats about the cheapest way to go in my opinion with my short 1 months of experience with the system and maybe 12 knives so far.

    Keep asking questions here or read through the threads while practicing on knives.  Buy some cheapos at a thrift shop to practice on.  The regulars here saved me hours of time in the learning curve.  its not how much $$ you spend, its how much you practice your strokes and techniques that will eventually get you “up to the mountain top and to the promised land of the “Wicked Edge”!

     

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    #45808

    carguy4471
    Participant
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 11

    Well, I have pulled the trigger and ordered the WE120.  I’ll be hitting up the home depot for a nice piece of wood to put a sexy finish on to use as the base.  I’ve weighed all of the wonderful input and have compiled the following shopping list, unfortunately these items have to wait a week or two but they will be on the way soon:

    800/1000 grit stones

    1500/blank stones

    6 micron lapping film

    5/3.5 stropps

    angle cube

    Those are the items that will complete the kit and from all indication here, should be able to provide some very nice polished edges once I get my stones broke in.  Thank you all for the input and advise.  It’s pretty great to have a spot to go ask questions about this jazz.

     

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    #45810

    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 851

    I think you’ll be happy with that kit. It will offer you a lot of flexibility. If you get the sharpening bug like I did then you’ll be back for more accessories and stones in the not so distant future. Let us know if you run into any troubles when sharpening your first few knives.

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