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Sharpening

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  • #54086
    -Terry
    Participant
    • Topics: 10
    • Replies: 27

    I’m sure this applies mostly to beginners, but I discovered something today. I noticed that there is a small bit of play with the stones on the guide rods a while back, but today, I noticed that if you hold your stones too close to the top, the knife edge acts as a pivot point for that little bit of play. This causes the knife edge to be inconsistent, and you actually miss the lower part of the bevel. I noticed this when checking my progress with a microscope. I wish I saved the pictures, but didn’t think about sharing this till it was too late. This little bit of play is only a few tenths of a degree, but it makes a big difference. Any experienced members feel free to chime in if I’m wrong.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #54087
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 61
    • Replies: 2148

    In one of the many emails I exchanged with -Terry, I suggested to him to become a better sharpener I found it helpful to become a student.  I used the USB microscope to observe my scratch patterns and correlate the placement of the scratches or the position the scratches are laid down on the knife edge bevels with the different finger positions and finger pressures I apply, to the sharpening stones, while attempting to sharpen knives.

    Change your finger positions and observe where the scratches are made.  When you hold towards the top of the stone where do you see the scratches on the bevel?  When you hold down towards the bottom of the stone, then where do you see your scratches made.  When to hold towards the middle of the stone, the same question, where do you see the scratches?

    From doing this over and over, if you are patient and observant you should be able to correlate and develop an understanding of what you are seeing.  Sort of a cause and effect.  This you can approach in two ways:

    1. you can use your finger position and pressure to steer or to intentional place your scratches where you want them or you need them to be, or
    2. you can find with trial and error what finger position and pressure gives you a scratch pattern that covers the bevel completely and evenly.

    I choose to use and employ both lessons.  I change my finger position and pressure as needed when I need to steer where my effort needs to go and I use a more centered finger position and pressure to work the entire bevel evenly.

    Those who read my posts may recognize that I prefer to share the theory and don’t usually say, “do it this way”.  I try to teach W.E. users how to learn to do this for themselves.  Use your time and your power of observation to learn the cause and effect of finger position and pressure so you can make it work best for you.  The USB Microscope is a great tool for this.

    The Wicked Edge is touted as or called the “world’s best knife sharpener”.  I prefer to think that Wicked Edge users are the world’s best knife sharpeners.  The Wicked Edge Sharpeners are an incredibly rigid vise and clamping system and a precisely adjustable variable angle sharpening jig that comes with excellent sharpening and polishing mediums that are paired to work with the jig-vise system.  The Wicked Edge alone is a fancy easy to use well toleranced and machined vise.  With our own hands, our understanding of how to operate it and our experience only then does it become the “worlds best knife sharpener”.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #54088
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 61
    • Replies: 2148

    There’s always “one other thing”…  this is why those of us that have figured it out and have learned to use our Wicked Edge Sharpeners well, often share the same bit of advice, consistency is key”.  Once you figure out how to use and control your scratch patterns to your benefit then you begin to realize how consistent finger/hand-hold position and pressure and stone stroke styles are the key.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #54089
    NorCalQ
    Participant
    • Topics: 51
    • Replies: 142

    Terry, I found the same thing.  Add to that, variances that occur whether your stroke is leading edge/tailing edge, heel to tip/tip to heel, scrubbing/full strokes, working the blade in sections or taking full strokes and combinations of all those variables.  Right now, I’ve settled on holding near the top of the handle, trailing edge, heel to tip, full stroke, for the most consistant bevel scratches. That said, maybe I’m wrong and should be holding near the bottom of the handle…I don’t know.

    #54090
    airscapes
    Participant
    • Topics: 13
    • Replies: 286

    Hold it how you have the most control over it, just like you would if you were sharpening free hand.. you think those guys don’t change the angle as they go.. They just don’t stop and look at it with a microscope..

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #54091
    -Terry
    Participant
    • Topics: 10
    • Replies: 27

    <!–more–>

    Terry, I found the same thing. Add to that, variances that occur whether your stroke is leading edge/tailing edge, heel to tip/tip to heel, scrubbing/full strokes, working the blade in sections or taking full strokes and combinations of all those variables. Right now, I’ve settled on holding near the top of the handle, trailing edge, heel to tip, full stroke, for the most consistant bevel scratches. That said, maybe I’m wrong and should be holding near the bottom of the handle…I don’t know.

     

    Like I was told, you have to do what gives you the results you desire. However, I do scrubbing to form the burr, then edge leading, heel to tip strokes, and continue those strokes until all or close to all evidence of the previous grit, have disappeared. I also hold about a third of the way up from the bottom of the stone. With edge leading strokes, holding the stone too high (besides getting the results I originally posted) can also put you in greater danger of cutting yourself if you’re not paying 100% attention.

    #54092
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 61
    • Replies: 2148

    There is no wrong.  The key is making what you do, work for you.  That’s all that matters.  If you can get good sharp results you’re doing it right.  Now from there, you can experiment with tweaks and changes to improve your results, to be even more so, to your liking.

    Down the road in your sharpening journey you may decide to invest in an objective observer like an Edge-On-Up Sharpness Tester.  Using one also comes with it’s own challenges.  With a little practice and experience you’ll get to the point you can feel confident in your test readings.  Then you can chase down that fork in the rabbit hole trying to correlate sharpening techniques to sharpness results.  Not as easy as it sounds.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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