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Struggling with getting sharp edges

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  • #58400
    Todd
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 1

    I’ve had a wicked edge gen 3 pro for a few years now, and to be honest I’ve rarely used it, tried it on several knives when I first got it, but struggled to get really sharp edges. Recently I’ve been re-motivated to figure it out. I’m really not that into making mirror edges I just want them really sharp.

    I’ve read a lot of the how to posts, searched here and read a lot of tips/issues others have and didn’t really find any obvious issues, plus watched videos and I’ve seen improvement, but I’m still not getting there. I’m wondering if I’m not going far enough in grit, not doing enough strokes when changing grits, or if I need to use the tapes/strops to get a good edge. It’s also possible that the stones are still breaking in, but I’d say overall I’ve now done 30-40 knives with it.

    This is my general workflow on a new knife where I want to set a bevel.

    I’ll get it clamped up, and use an angle cube to set usually an 18 degree bevel and set that edge with usually 100/200 grit. I’ll do as many strokes “scrubbing” focusing on removing sharpie, and then I’ll do full length strokes 5-10 per side working till 5 strokes will set a burr the whole edge. Then I’ll move down to 3, 2,1 and do a few alternating single strokes.

    When I switch to the next stone I start out “scrubbing” till it seems like I’ve got an even scratch pattern, and feel the stone get smoother, and then I’ll go back to the 5-10 per side, working down to single alternating stokes and checking the burr, I generally stop checking for a burr at 400, mostly because I usually can never feel them past that.

    Usually once I switch to 600 I just stay with alternating strokes trying to feel the stones glide smoother and get even scratch pattern. If I had to guess I’d say 30-50 strokes, and I do the same progressing to 800, 1000, and sometimes 1500 and I’ve tried the 2200. I know I read on some posts a lot of people are stopping at 400-800 grit and stropping and maybe I need to try that but my 400-800 grit edges seem super toothy.

    Even at 1500, the edge is not shaving sharp, and it still seems toothy certainly better than the more course grits but way more toothy than I get say using a lansky or edge pro at similar grits. I can take the knife for example and go to a spyderco edgemaker fine ceramic and in 10-20 strokes it will be shaving sharp the entire way (granted that’s a slight double bevel at 20deg).

    I’ve played around with the ceramic 1200/1600 but it didn’t seem to really do much. I haven’t played with the lapping tapes or strops. I know WE has a grit recommendation of 100-200-400-600-800-1000 + stropping at 5/3.5 for a sharp working edge so maybe I just need to do the stropping part.

    I have a few hypothesis, but figured perhaps those with more experience can see mistakes I’m making.

    1) I’m not making enough strokes when switching stones
    2) The stones are still not broken in and acting much more course than they will after more knives
    3) I need to start using the strops or lapping film (any pros/cons to which you have found better?)
    4) Something else I haven’t thought of

     

    Thanks in advance

    #58401
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 73
    • Replies: 2721

    Welcome Todd, consistency is number one. Finger hold position and applied pressure on the stones are key. Constant flat continuous pressure between the flat sharpening stones and the bevels is required. I concentrate by using repetitive sharpening strokes to keep the applied edge work done evenly and balanced. I verify my sharpening angles are correctly set and precise each any every grit using with an angle cube. Lastly, I work with a USB microscroscope. With practice and experience this high resolution visual aid allows us to see exactly where and how well the sharpening strokes are applied. Last I’ll add, more sharpening strokes are usually better than just a few.

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #58402
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 7
    • Replies: 399

    Welcome to the forum, Todd.

    I’ve not had any problems with my Wicked Edge sharpeners. I check for burrs on both sides after every grit. I use a piece of folded creased paper towel to feel for the burrs. I feel for the burrs with the creased part of the paper towel.
    I also don’t use edge leading strokes except for the scrubbing strokes to reach burrs on each side and/or to remove the previous stone marks. After the scrubbing strokes, I only use edge-trailing alternate strokes.
    The prevailing consensus is when you think you’ve done enough alternating strokes per side, do 20 more per side.
    I also never try to remove the burr with the blade clamped on the sharpener itself. For a toothy working blade, I will make a few cuts in cardboard or my 2″ HD Poly or Nylon webbing straps. For a polished edge I freehand with a strop/diamond emulsion, gently.
    That works great for me. Other people may have success sharpening a different way.

    #58403
    Todd
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 1

    Thanks glad to be here!

    That’s a neat tip on using a folded paper towel to check for burrs I’ll have to try that!

    I also never try to remove the burr with the blade clamped on the sharpener itself.

    Am I to understand that you’re removing the knife from the sharpener between every stone?  I figured it would be more consistent to never move the knife during the process, but I suppose if I was resetting the angles every grit with an angle cube, and checking for burrs every grit it wouldn’t matter.

     

    #58404
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 7
    • Replies: 399

    Thanks glad to be here! That’s a neat tip on using a folded paper towel to check for burrs I’ll have to try that!

    I also never try to remove the burr with the blade clamped on the sharpener itself.

    Am I to understand that you’re removing the knife from the sharpener between every stone? I figured it would be more consistent to never move the knife during the process, but I suppose if I was resetting the angles every grit with an angle cube, and checking for burrs every grit it wouldn’t matter.

    No, only after I am finished sharpening the knife. Then I remove it to get the small burr that is left, off.

    #58405
    sksharp
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 408

    There is a lot in your post. Providing your stones are all broke in, I find the higher(or finer) grits like 1500 take longer to break in than lower grit stones, diamond stones always have a “toothy” edge. The strops are a great way to get rid of the “tooth” on your edge. The edges I’ve made with expensive wet stones are the only ones that don’t need to be stropped, but stropping can help most any edge, if done correctly. There are also advantages in having a little tooth depending on use and knife material.

    MarcH is correct, there is no substitute for consistency. Developing good habits in the beginning will save a lot of time trying to unlearn bad or sloppy habits later.

    In order to minimize the # of strokes, it’s important to check angle with a cube with every grit change. With that being said the more stokes you use the less you have to check the angle but you wind up reseting the angle slightly with almost every grit demanding a lot of strokes. I check angle with cube on every grit change and I scrub the edge on every grit at the start. After profiling edge at the start, it only take a few passes to create a burr on both sides. then I do alternating strokes until satisfied. When you get to to fine grits you can check for a burr with toilet paper if you need to. Also I try to use diminishing pressure as I go through every grit change. Pressure can have a great effect on your edges. Every grit has limit to its results. While it is true a lot of stroke delivers generally better results, at some point you run into diminishing results. After a certain point, all the strokes in the world are not going to have a huge effect. You can, if you are like me, chase your tail looking for perfect edges. There is nothing wrong with that by the way but we all need to determine how much time you have or want to spend on each edge. Time is a strategy though if you have it. I’ve spent hours, hell 10, 12, 14 or more hours on 1 edge. After a few of those I determined, for myself, that much time on 1 knife wasn’t really making the edge a lot sharper but did make it prettier. My sharpest edges were not always my prettiest edges.

     

    For “shaving” edge you have to use strops, in my humble opinion. Lapping films produce less teeth than diamond stones but still produce little teeth here and there but less than a stone. Stopping gets rid of teeth and can produce “toothless” edges. It has taken me much more time with the strops than with the stones to produce results I was looking for.

    Keep in mind there is a lot more to sharpness than just the sharpener, stones, equipment ect. ect. The grind of the knife, thickness of blade, type of material are all factors in “sharpness” just name a few.

    Hope some of the rant helps, To the pleasure,  sksharp

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    #58432
    Brad
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 1

    The original post above describes my issue to a “T”.  I only have a new Go WE-60.  I have 200/600 and 800/1000.  I am just after a sharp edge, not polished.  After reading through the above, I have ordered some strops also.
    But up to the 1000, should I be able to slice paper?
    I also only got the burr with the 200.  After that, I only did outward strokes until it felt smoother, probably no more than 30 per side.

    If I am reading above correctly, I should get a burr at each grit change, focusing on each side independently, then once the burr has been gathered on both side, then alternate until smooth.

    I will rework a couple knives with this advice and see where that gets me.

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