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Stones direction? Uniform or circles?

Recent Forums Main Forum Techniques and Sharpening Strategies Stones direction? Uniform or circles?

This topic contains 36 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Nicko 04/03/2019 at 3:28 pm.

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  • #38339

    Nicko
    Participant
    • Topics: 11
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    Hi guys,

    first post. I’ve seen some really great youtube videos, one had the up and away style of sharpening, the other had the stones (one side at a time) not leaving the blade and doing a mix of circles and up and down movements.

    I tried the up and away first and achieved a good edge enhancing an old decent edge (400/600 800/1000 3.5/5 strops), then i tried the other method and achieved another great edge using the same stones and strops. again just working on the existing edge.

    So my question is, for those guys with microscopes, i’ve seen those cool photos of the blades and the clear channels you can see, if using the mini circles style sharpening, wouldn’t those channels be all over the place and less uniform and subsequently less sharp than a uniform sharpening style like up and away? Or is it that minute a difference it doesn’t really matter?

    I found the two methods comparable but the up and away was definitely slower as putting heaps of fast circles and up and down strokes into the mix definitely sped things up.

    Okay, apologies that my first post is so long haha. Appreciate all the great posts on here!

     

    Nick.

     

     

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    #38340

    sksharp
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
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    Hey Nicko,

    I don’t have a micro-scope I use a 14x jewelers loop but the reason some go up/down or in a circular motion is, I’ve heard from some, that not breaking contact with the blade can help stop micro chips in the blade, but with the wicked edge a lot of us use a method called scrubbing, up/down or in a circle, to raise a burr before beginning your progression or refinement if you will.

    Some also change direction of the scratch pattern to help identify when you have erased the scratches from the previous stone. The direction of the scratches does have an effect on the cutting edge, that I do know from experience. With the knife in the clap of your WEPS the scratches that go up and away help the edge in a slicing motion since most people with draw the knife toward them when slicing, while if your scratch pattern is up and down, 90 deg. to the edge it helps with a push cutting motion.

    Things like this are as much preference as any one thing. Through experimentation and advise from folks who have been down that road, you will find the methods that work best for you personally.

    If you sharpen for others you will find that slight differences in some knives, angle – refinement – scratch patterns will suit some better than others. It helps to know who you are sharpening for and how they use, maintain, or abuse their knives.

    One reason I use a sweeping motion, one stroke on one side then one on the other is I believe it helps keep the edge straighter and more consistent down the length of the blade and it also works the burr off as you go thru your stones. A lot of this is still personal preference.

    Hope this helps

     

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    #38345

    Readheads
    Participant
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    #38346

    Nicko
    Participant
    • Topics: 11
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    Thanks, not sure i’m coordinated enough for the double stroke just yet but will try it!

    Just put my first micro bevel on a small kitchen knife, feels great and a really nice edge just going through the stones from 100-1000 which is probably all i’ll do now for general kitchen knives, except my big chopping knives, i’ve stropped them etc. keen to see how they go! I’ve warned my wife that our knives are now wickedly sharp haha.

    For my fishing knives i’m going to try using 2000 grit sandpaper just to see how they come up, should be very interesting!

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    #38347

    Nicko
    Participant
    • Topics: 11
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    Just put my first micro bevel on a small kitchen knife after re-honing it a bit finer, like the idea and see how it lasts in the kitchen.

    did the scrubbing but finished each stone with directional movements to get rid of scratches etc, worked very well, thanks! Also got my first cut, not too deep but did the stupid run finger along top of blade trick haha.

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    #38349

    Mark76
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 179
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    Welcome to the forum, Nicko. Good to hear you’ve used your WEPS quite a bit already. I think the movements you make a quite personal, but there are some commons. Personally I most often use the swing movement you often see Clay make in his videos. I only use the up-down movements with my first grit and only if it’s difficult to make a burr (i.e. I have to remove a lot of material). I think that otherwise it is too easy to knock out carbides from the edge. Some people even go so far they only make edge-first movements.

    And yeah, a micro-bevel can be great. Makes an edge stronger and easier to maintain.

    Success and don’t hesitate to ask any more questions.

    Molecule Polishing: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

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    #38350

    Nicko
    Participant
    • Topics: 11
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    Thanks Mark

    #38359

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
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    There’s some evidence that horizontal strokes (parallel to the edge through part of a circular motion) will actually damage the edge. Vertical strokes leave micro teeth where a point of diamond grit breaks through the edge.  The same point of grit running parallel will leave scratches at the apex that are parallel to that apex, leaving long sections of ragged edge.

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    #38370

    Nicko
    Participant
    • Topics: 11
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    Thanks, so what is your preferred method?

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    #38371

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
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    I use different methods depending on what I’m doing, reprofiling, sharpening, touch-up, or polishing. A USB microscope is extremely helpful to see what I am doing no matter which method I’m using at the time. Generally I start each stone grit pair with a scrubbing technique. Then I observe the scratch pattern with the scope to make sure I’m lined up correctly and working on the bevel. I want the scratch pattern to be across the entire bevel. If I’m high or low I check my arm set angles or adjust my grip on the paddle, up or down to apply the scratches correctly where I need them. After I’m sure I’m applying the scratches where I intend them to be, then I chose the method or pattern that lets me achieve the results I need with the least amount of scratches to the knife. For me, which ever direction or method I’m employing, proper technique is the most important issue which is keeping the stone flat and centered on the bevel and not letting it roll any or slap against the steel as I move it across the metal. I’m trying to keep the stone flat against the narrow bevel and maintain even light pressure throughout the entire range of stone movement whichever direction or method I’m using at the time. I believe the least amount of scratches you use then there’s less to remove with the next finer grit in your procession. Recently I’ve been trying to minimize the direction changes of my scratch pattern thinking that if all the scratches are in the same direction as I progress up the grits I should be able to avoid those random cross scratches that sometimes plague us later on down the progression causing us to back track a grit or three to remove that random deep scratch. Direction changes are often used to make it easy to determine if you’ve removed all the scratches for the previous grit but your applying a lot of new scratches obliterating the previous alternate direction scratches. I believe with the microscope I’m able to see the deeper previous stone’s scratches are obliterated while avoiding changing directions to do this. You also will be removing less metal which may mean something over the life of a good knife. So far my personal verdict’s not in but I’m using this technique with good results. I really believe it’s saving me time to achieve good final results.

    Hope this may help

    Marc

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #38372

    Nicko
    Participant
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    That’s great thanks Marc and makes complete sense. I’m buying a 10x Jewellers loupe but might look into a USB microscope.

     

    Cheers

    #38375

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1835

    Recently I’ve been trying to minimize the direction changes of my scratch pattern thinking that if all the scratches are in the same direction as I progress up the grits I should be able to avoid those random cross scratches that sometimes plague us later on down the progression causing us to back track a grit or three to remove that random deep scratch. Direction changes are often used to make it easy to determine if you’ve removed all the scratches for the previous grit but your applying a lot of new scratches obliterating the previous alternate direction scratches. I believe with the microscope I’m able to see the deeper previous stone’s scratches are obliterated while avoiding changing directions to do this. You also will be removing less metal which may mean something over the life of a good knife.

    Please consider that the scratches from prior grits are quite deep and are really difficult to remove with stones more than one grit step finer.  Also consider that these deep scratches are not just cosmetic flaws, but extend all the way to the apex, where they have produced a deep notch in the apex.  If you truly can discern between scratches as to which grit produced it, good for you, but if miss it, you’re in for a lot of stoning.

    While we usually see changing direction in the scratch pattern as a means of most easily removing the visible evidence of the prior grit, the fact is that those scratches tell you something about the condition of the edge at a macro level.  A less-than-perfect polishing job will certainly produce excellent practical cutting edges,  but a deep scratch in the bevel field is usually a deep scratch at the apex.  You may find that these points along the edge will snag when trying to cut a less-than robust sheet of paper.  Those of us who are possessed by the obsession of achieving pure cutting nirvana will take that as a sign of failure.

    For knives I sharpen to be working tools in the field, I usually use only four grits: 400, 600, 800 and 1000.  I have my stones stored on a rack of  pegs, with each stone mounted with a top and a bottom, left side and right side.  This means I always hold the stone in the same hand and the same direction.  I have a sheet of paper hanging on the wall next to me, telling me what direction to use with each grit.  For instance, 400 is always down and toward me, 600 is down and away from me, alternating similarly with the 800 and 1000’s.  For stones under 1000-grit, I always use down-strokes (edge leading) if the stone will hit the apex.  If I’m not there yet, I’ll use scrubbing strokes to speed the process along.  The objective is to not rip any particles free at the apex, which is much more likely with an up-stroke (edge leading).

    For 1000-grit I will generally use the same down-strokes, but will switch to gentle scrubbing strokes as I near the finish. When I get to the last few strokes of the last grit, I’ll do alternating down-strokes; left-right, left-right, etc. for maybe 5-10 strokes on each side.

    After 1000-grit, I usually jump to 6-micron film.  Film requires that you use up-strokes to keep the edge from digging into the soft film, but by that time, you’ve eliminated the raggedness of the edge and the film being used edge-trailing will not add to it.

    You can start out with the 14X loupe, but try to find an old laptop and monitor and a USB microscope. It will add hugely to your experience and confidence.

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    #38382

    Nicko
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    That’s really interesting thank you TC. I agree about 100-1000 for a good working edge. I’ve decided that’s what my kitchen knives will all be from now on. I have stripped quite a few of them, not sure if the carrots cared too much haha.

    Your method makes a lot of sense and ticks my OCD boxes so I think I’ll start doing the same. I have looked at my stones and wondered if I should use them just one way in order to break them in quicker. I think most people would by default as we pick them up and put them down and pack them the same way probably…

     

    Anyway, very interesting thank you for sharing. Yeah I think I do need a USB microscope! Now to find a cheapie on fleabay.

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    #38383

    Nicko
    Participant
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    Oh I’ve ordered a spyderco from the states, was thinking after stones and before strops, using sandpaper from 2000-10000 any votes for and against? If I was living in the states if just buy a heap of diamond film..but I’m not.

     

    Also so saw a guy on YouTube doing 200 passes with each stone, seemed like massive overkill when looking at clays videos and others, but I have heard of people spending a couple hours polishing an edge, so where does the time get chewed up if stones are so quick? Stropping such a mirror finish??

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    #38384

    Mark76
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 179
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    I also buy from the States if I want something really bad and I cannot get it in the EU. Knife-related stuff is much cheaper over there. But overall it’s more expensive. It’s not only shipping costs, but also import taxes. Those are 33% of the value of the product . So I really appreciate sellers that put a (much) lower value on the box.

    And about the number of passes with each stone. That’s about the first question I asked when I first came here a couple of years ago. At first all answers I got were “it’s a rabbit hole” or “I don’t count”, but then I got a very good tip from Leo. He advised me to do 50 swipes per side (after setting the burr). It’s overkill for nearly every steel (I knew that), but hopefully not massive overkill and I’d be on the safe side. Now I’ve got much more experience and I don’t count anymore either. (And I’ve got a USB-scope for those cases I really want to know I removed all scratches from the previous grit.)

    But for fun I recently counted a couple of times and it appeared I did about 30 strokes with each stone on average after the initial burr. Again, don’t take this as a guideline. And when in doubt, use a loupe or (even better) a cheap USB-microscope.

    Molecule Polishing: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

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