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Sharpening previously sharpened knives

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    OK. Here’s the deal. I have some really good kitchen knives that I have previously sharpened by hand using Japanese water stones. Because of this, I can’t determine the original angles the edges were delivered with. I try to sharpen my good knives (Kramer knives) at a 15 degree angle. Since this was done by hand, it may not be exactly 15 degrees.  Should I just set my Wicked Edge to 15 degrees and regrind the edge, or should I use a Sharpie to determine the current angle, and try to reproduce it with my WE 130?


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    Hey Tim if you have already sharpened at something other than the factory angle then I’m not sure there is a point in using a sharpie unless it is to visually aid you in ensuring you sharpen right to the apex .

    I’d personally just set the WE up to now sharpen to the angle you desire.  If you find the knife performs the way you like then duplicating that angle is easy in the future if you record your settings .

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    If you’re happy with the edge you put on free hand, use the sharpy and see how you like that angle off of the WE.

    Either way, I think using a sharpy lets you see more clearly where you’re removing metal. It won’t hurt to use it and doesn’t take any time

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    First, Welcome to the Wicked Edge Forum, Tim. I would do some of both for those Kramer knives.  Let me explain.

    I’d use the sharpie to determine your “sweet spot” position for each knife in order to clamp them in the most efficient sharpening position with your WE130.  I like to clamp the knives in the blade’s center in a manner that levels the knife edge as best as I can or if it’s a curved style blade, I’ll arch the edge evenly in front and behind the vise’s center, looking to make the curve symmetrical.  Large wide blades I usually clamp lower in the vise on the bottom depth key position.  Narrower bladed knives I usually clamp on the top depth key position.

    Then after marking the knife edges with the sharpie I set my guide rod angles to at least 20 degrees per side with a properly zeroed digital angle cube.  I use this wide angle so I’m almost just hitting the knife edge’s apex using a very fine diamond stone.  The purpose is to see where I’m removing the ink without really removing steel.  What I’m looking for is an even sized strip of bared steel after running the stones along the knife’s edges.  If there are places on the knife edges towards the knife’s heel or knife’s tip where the removed ink strip is thinner there, then towards the knife’s center, then I re-clamp the knife while tilting or re-positioning the knife higher in the vise.  If the bare strip of steel at the heel or the tip is wider then at the knife’s center, then I re-clamp the knife to lower the tip or heel rotating the knife’s position accordingly.  I’m looking to have the knife clamped where the stone contact is as close to uniform across the entire knife edge as possible.  Then I record that clamping position in my sharpening log for the future.

    Next I’d re-set the guide rod angles to your 15 degree, decided, sharpening angle and get started.  This first time you will be profiling the bevels to precisely even 15 degree bevels.  You will most probably see the difference between this new bevel and the existing bevel using some sort of magnified, lighted visual aid. I would be more concerned about applying this even profiled bevel and creating a sharp edge then obliterating any remnants of the bevel that may be remaining from your previous free hand sharpening.  Any remnant bevels will work their way out with use and subsequent sharpenings.

    If your free hand technique was pretty good you may find your new bevel right on top of the old existing bevel.

    Alternatively, You could at the start after you found the “sweet spot” clamping position, with matching the existing free handed bevels with the sharpie method just to see how close or far off they are from your planned 15 degrees per side, bevels.  You may find they are lower then 15 dps so you may want to rethink your plan and match the lower angle of the two existing bevels.  You may find they are a wider angle then the 15 dps then you’ll be sure your new 15dps bevel will profile over them and you’ll be right where you wanted to be.

    Just to make sure…Don’t sharpen your really good Kramer knives with a new WE130 with stones that are not broken in yet.  Save your good knives for after the stones have sharpened a good 8 or 10 beater knives to where they are more broken in and uniform in their scratch patterns.  Use the break-in period to get through the W.E. sharpeners learning curve till you develop a good basic understanding and sharpening technique with this device.

    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    I don’t think Tim has said that he has a digital angle finder, so setting up for 15 degrees using the horizontal degree bar could be wildly off if his blade is a wide one.  The degree markings are for reference only and calibrated for a nominal blade height of 5/8″ above the vise jaws.  Setting up for a wide blade, like a typical chef’s knife, would move the apex almost an inch and a half higher than the 5/8″ nominal.  This could result in actual angles of 13 or even 12 dps.  Besides taking a long time to remove that amount of steel, the now more acute included angle could put the edge at risk of rolling over or chipping.

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    You’ve already received some good advise. I want to reiterate Marc’s point: do not sharpen you Kramer knives right away. Do yourself a favor and sharpen a few knives that you don’t care about too much first. This will give your stones time to break in and will help you to figure out how to find the sweet spot, how to avoid accidentally marring the flats of your knives, and just generally make you more comfortable with the system.

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    Thanks to everybody who chimed in. I have a Wixey WR300 digital angle gauge, and will use that, following the suggestions. Thanks MarcH !

    I will sharpen 8-10 beater knives to break in my new stones. I also will use the advanced alignment guide to reproduce the position of the knife once the “sweet spot” is discovered. This is a great forum to help us newbies to the WE system.

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