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The Microbevel…. yes or no and why?!

Recent Forums Main Forum Techniques and Sharpening Strategies The Microbevel…. yes or no and why?!

This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  sksharp 01/13/2018 at 8:56 am.

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  • #44464

    Jacob
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 23

    First off, thanks for continuing to respond to all my questions!

     

    Do do you guys utilize a microbevel? If so how do you do it and maintain your knives on the WE?

     

    Prior to a WE I used a sharpmaker do upkeep of the microbevel was easy because that’s kind off all a sharpmaker does.

     

    I noticed Clay utilizing one on his PM2 video on YouTube so now I have a few questions about how you guys are doing them.

     

    In in regards to edc blades I find myself using them a lot and thus needing to sharpen them more frequently than some may. I don’t do anything crazy with them but I think a microbevel will extend the edges life. If I sharpen my pm2 at 17• every time the blade is gonna start getting some serious metal removed after not too long.

     

    If I sharpen at say 17• should I microbevel at a certain angle? Would the microbevel be the same for a knife with a 16• or 18• edge?

    Clay recommends a few passes with a 1000 grit stone. Should I strop again after that?

    What about upkeep of the edge? When I need to resharpen do I just do a few strokes at the microbevel angle?

     

    Sorry if this is a silly question, I’m still learning and trying to get the best edges possible without wasting metal!

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #44466

    sksharp
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 397

    Hey Jacob,

    I do utilize a micro bevel on most edges but not all. I do most of my maintenance with a steel for kitchen knives and use a strop every fourth or fifth steeling. Edcs I maintain mostly with strops on a WE or a hand strop but use the last stone used when sharpening every so often and strop after.

    Even on the knives I use the most I don’t have to resharpen or touch up with a stone more than every 6 months or so and even then I’m not taking much metal like you do when you sharpen a knife for the first time with the WE. A touch up with the last stone used when sharpening in most cases will reset the bevel and make it good for another 6 or so months. I don’t go thru the whole progression when re-sharpening and don’t remove much metal at all unless there is damage that require a new edge to be created.

    The 2 angles that I use the most are 15 deg with a 17 deg micro, and 17 deg. with a 20 deg. micro. The 15/17 angle I use for most of the kitchen knives except the paring knives. For paring knives and most of the other edges I do 17/20 is the one I use the most.

    For me a 2 to 3 deg angle difference works as good as anything I’ve tried. In this configuration when you steel and/or strop you will create a convex bevel over time because the high point is where the bevels meet so when stropping and steeling the union of the 2 bevels is where the most metal comes off initially. I think a micro bevel is way more forgiving when maintaining by hand especially and I am certain that for me helps with edge retention.

    If your edcs are going dull on you quicker than you would expect then play with the angle up or down and see if a different angle will hold the edge longer. When maintaining on my WE, I only need to strop it and usually no a crazy amount. I think you should be able to keep your knife sharp without having to re-sharpen every couple weeks.

    What angle are you working with on your edc ?

    This is not a silly question at all. After learning to put a great edge on a knife the most important thing after that (other than safety) is learning to maintain an edge at the sharpness you desire without taking a crap load of metal and wearing the thing out in a few short years.

     

    7 users thanked author for this post.
    #44468

    Justin Fournier
    Participant
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 54

    I used to do micro bevels on my EDC folding knives. Then I picked one up with a 23 dps close to FFG. And it cut really good as it has a thin stock. Now most of my knives are just more obtuse. I find I remove almost no metal when sharpening them, and for my tasks perform no worse.

    Kitchen knives… I prefer the most possible effortless glide through whatever it is I’m cutting, so no micro bevel.

    So in short, I used to like a micro bevel on a thicker stock where it required a more acute edge to cut well, then a micro bevel to get it back to being more durable, but when I switched to knives with thinner stock, the performance was already there with a more obtuse edge. I have almost all knives like that now.

    6 users thanked author for this post.
    #44469

    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 33
    • Replies: 1835

    I’ve done a lot of the 17/20 microbevels, but I’ve gotten a bit less enthused by them.  There are supposedly two benefits provided by microbevels: Less prone to chipping and the addition of a bit of “tooth” to cut into slippery, tough materials.  While it’s not usually pointed out, there’s a third benefit.  Microbevels can make the touch-up of the edge very easy.

    I haven’t seen an improvement in “chip resistance” with microbevels, so I only use them for special applications, like filet knives, again, with the 17/20.  I also put a microbevel on most skinning knives, but the angles are greater, maybe 20/24.  The objective is to easily cut the connective fibers with the toothy microbevel and the higher angles are to help avoid accidental cuts into the hide.

    I usually create the microbevel using three very light strokes per side with my 1000-grit stones.  In most cases, the owner can’t even see the microbevel, other than the lack of reflected light when compared to the main bevels.  Some have reported success using as low as 200-grit for a microbevel.

    With very thin blades, the main bevels may be so narrow that a second touch up of the microbevel would remove almost all of the main bevel.

    If I sharpen my pm2 at 17• every time the blade is gonna start getting some serious metal removed after not too long. When I need to resharpen do I just do a few strokes at the microbevel angle? Sorry if this is a silly question, I’m still learning and trying to get the best edges possible without wasting metal!

    I think that more acute angles will result in deeper damage to the edge. I believe you are spot-on in the inference that 17 dps will result in more metal being removed per sharpening.  If you continue to do touch-ups with the microbevel stone, the microbevel will continue to grow, until it entirely replaces the main bevel, at which time you can revert to the lower angle to re-establish the main bevel.  You can save a bit of metal here by not trying to reach all the way to the apex with your main bevel grit.  That’s all metal that will be removed by the microbevel anyway.

     

    7 users thanked author for this post.
    #44474

    sksharp
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 397

    It is true that an edge that is sharpened at angle more acute than the steel, or the use of the knife is intended or capable of will result in damage and more metal to be removed than necessary. However, who and what are the factors I try to take into consideration when sharpening for anyone. I find the micro bevel to be much more forgiving for most people that I deal with to maintain. 15/17 and 17/20 are the two angles I use the most for kitchen knives, but for a lot of edcs I find 18/20 and 20/22 works well. You shouldn’t sharpen a 14″ Bowie the same as 6 inch fillet knife. I don’t sharpen crappy steel the same as premium steel. Blade width, type of steel, style of blade, use of knife, knife’s user and more are all factors when determining sharpening strategies.

    There are no absolutes as to what works “the best” for angle, progressions ect. ect. I think we will all find things that work well for us and will tend to use those the most unless we determine that something else works better for us.

    Jacob, what you are all ready doing is exactly what you should be doing and that’s experimenting and trying to determine how far to go and what’s important to you in your knives. I love these discussions because they cause us to pause and to consider alternatives that just might make us better.

    4 users thanked author for this post.
    #44479

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1855

    When I  first got my Wicked Edge it was hard for me to determine what type edge worked best.  I tried everything:  low angles, obtuse angles, strops, no strops, micro-bevels, super polished edges.  I was sharpening knives only for myself.  The bottom line was I just wanted to play, learn and experiment.  The downside was I never left anything well enough alone, and long enough to use it to really determine what worked well.  Now a few years later down that road I do practice a little patience.  I do sharpen for others so I can see what works on a knife that is used for some time, between sharpenings.   Now I do use my blades for a while to give myself an opportunity to see how they perform.

    A micro-bevel does have it’s place.  When I use one I do like a 17º-20º pair.  I apply the microbevel with about three light strokes with the microfine or ultrafine ceramics followed with a quick light strop at 18º.  You can barely see the bevel and it seems to share attributes of both angles.  It cuts well and has a little more durability.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

    5 users thanked author for this post.
    #44534

    Jacob
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 23

    Hey Jacob, I do utilize a micro bevel on most edges but not all. I do most of my maintenance with a steel for kitchen knives and use a strop every fourth or fifth steeling. Edcs I maintain mostly with strops on a WE or a hand strop but use the last stone used when sharpening every so often and strop after. Even on the knives I use the most I don’t have to resharpen or touch up with a stone more than every 6 months or so and even then I’m not taking much metal like you do when you sharpen a knife for the first time with the WE. A touch up with the last stone used when sharpening in most cases will reset the bevel and make it good for another 6 or so months. I don’t go thru the whole progression when re-sharpening and don’t remove much metal at all unless there is damage that require a new edge to be created. The 2 angles that I use the most are 15 deg with a 17 deg micro, and 17 deg. with a 20 deg. micro. The 15/17 angle I use for most of the kitchen knives except the paring knives. For paring knives and most of the other edges I do 17/20 is the one I use the most. For me a 2 to 3 deg angle difference works as good as anything I’ve tried. In this configuration when you steel and/or strop you will create a convex bevel over time because the high point is where the bevels meet so when stropping and steeling the union of the 2 bevels is where the most metal comes off initially. I think a micro bevel is way more forgiving when maintaining by hand especially and I am certain that for me helps with edge retention. If your edcs are going dull on you quicker than you would expect then play with the angle up or down and see if a different angle will hold the edge longer. When maintaining on my WE, I only need to strop it and usually no a crazy amount. I think you should be able to keep your knife sharp without having to re-sharpen every couple weeks. What angle are you working with on your edc ? This is not a silly question at all. After learning to put a great edge on a knife the most important thing after that (other than safety) is learning to maintain an edge at the sharpness you desire without taking a crap load of metal and wearing the thing out in a few short years.

    I’m still in the learning phase of “what angles to use” on my knives. Currently I’ve been trying to match the factory edge but so far I have yet to find a knife that has the same angle on each side. It’s caused a bit of confusion when trying to select what angle to sharpen at. So I’ve been doing some sort of reprofiling on most of my knives.

    Most of my edc knives are Spyderco’s so I’ve been using around a 17-18 degree bevel it seems. My ZT 0562 had a very wide bevel, I think 24 degrees per side.

    Bekng able to select my angle is new to me. Before, when I had a sharpmaker I couldn’t really choose. Now I can choose and it’s opening up a whole new world!

    Also, that makes sense about touch ups. I was thinking I would need to go back through all my grits every time and I realize that is a waste of metal.

     

    Good discussion!

    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #44535

    Jacob
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 23

    I’ve done a lot of the 17/20 microbevels, but I’ve gotten a bit less enthused by them. There are supposedly two benefits provided by microbevels: Less prone to chipping and the addition of a bit of “tooth” to cut into slippery, tough materials. While it’s not usually pointed out, there’s a third benefit. Microbevels can make the touch-up of the edge very easy. I haven’t seen an improvement in “chip resistance” with microbevels, so I only use them for special applications, like filet knives, again, with the 17/20. I also put a microbevel on most skinning knives, but the angles are greater, maybe 20/24. The objective is to easily cut the connective fibers with the toothy microbevel and the higher angles are to help avoid accidental cuts into the hide. I usually create the microbevel using three very light strokes per side with my 1000-grit stones. In most cases, the owner can’t even see the microbevel, other than the lack of reflected light when compared to the main bevels. Some have reported success using as low as 200-grit for a microbevel. With very thin blades, the main bevels may be so narrow that a second touch up of the microbevel would remove almost all of the main bevel.

    If I sharpen my pm2 at 17• every time the blade is gonna start getting some serious metal removed after not too long. When I need to resharpen do I just do a few strokes at the microbevel angle? Sorry if this is a silly question, I’m still learning and trying to get the best edges possible without wasting metal!

    I think that more acute angles will result in deeper damage to the edge. I believe you are spot-on in the inference that 17 dps will result in more metal being removed per sharpening. If you continue to do touch-ups with the microbevel stone, the microbevel will continue to grow, until it entirely replaces the main bevel, at which time you can revert to the lower angle to re-establish the main bevel. You can save a bit of metal here by not trying to reach all the way to the apex with your main bevel grit. That’s all metal that will be removed by the microbevel anyway.

    Do you strop after the microbevel passes?

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #44536

    Jacob
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 23

    When I first got my Wicked Edge it was hard for me to determine what type edge worked best. I tried everything: low angles, obtuse angles, strops, no strops, micro-bevels, super polished edges. I was sharpening knives only for myself. The bottom line was I just wanted to play, learn and experiment. The downside was I never left anything well enough alone, and long enough to use it to really determine what worked well. Now a few years later down that road I do practice a little patience. I do sharpen for others so I can see what works on a knife that is used for some time, between sharpenings. Now I do use my blades for a while to give myself an opportunity to see how they perform. A micro-bevel does have it’s place. When I use one I do like a 17º-20º pair. I apply the microbevel with about three light strokes with the microfine or ultrafine ceramics followed with a quick light strop at 18º. You can barely see the bevel and it seems to share attributes of both angles. It cuts well and has a little more durability.

    I can definitely relate to where you were at in the beginning because that’s exactly what I’m going through! I have a few that I’ve sharpened that I wish I would’ve done differently. I don’t want to change it without using it but I also want to try different things!

     

    Patience is a virtue and I need to practice it lol

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #44539

    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 58
    • Replies: 1855

    For me playing, learning and practicing is still most important.  I didn’t do any damage such as removing an excessive amounts of steel to all but a very few knives.  Those I could replace if important enough.  If it’s a special knife don’t mess with it till you know what you want to do with it.

    The lesson I learned with time, patience and sharpening maturity is you really don’t know how a knife feels if you keep changing it up.  It takes some use in a variety of different situations to really feel what your changes have made.  You need to use it and then switch to another knife that you like it’s performance and know how it was sharpened.  A knife to use as a basis of comparison.  Then go back to the work in progress, knife, so you can feel the difference.  You really can judge a knife based on a couple slices with paper to truly know what you’ve got.

    If you really want to play then follow the suggestions to get some cheapo knives such as from the thrift store.  Buy some really inexpensive folders to mess with.  The one problem there is cheap steel doesn’t really perform well like better steels, so it’s more difficult to learn from what you’re doing with the cheap knives.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-It)

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    #44549

    Mikedoh
    Moderator
    • Topics: 38
    • Replies: 560

    Currently, I like micro bevels. I use the WE to get my knives into “shape”, then put it away (don’t have a dedicated spot to keep it set up) and use the spyderco sharp maker for touch ups. Other than my kitchen knives, my pocket knives have it pretty easy so this works well for me.

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    #44557

    sksharp
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 397

    I do strop after setting the micro bevel of most of them. There are a few exceptions, where I sharpen and strop and then very very lightly make 2 or 3 passes with whatever tooth I want.

    The angles, finish, tooth, ect. ect ect… are up to you in the end. Some knives still surprise me but for the most part 15/17 or 17or18/20 angles are the ones I use the most. I have found a lot of knives that won’t handle a 15 deg. edge, but very few that won’t handle a 20 deg. edge. By micro beveling you can sharpen some knives at 15 and micro at 17 or 18 and they will hold.

    Micro bevels are so much easier to maintain and, in my experience so far, will last longer than a straight V edge. I do have several of my knives sharpened with a V edge but I can touch up easily. For the people I sharpen for though a micro bevel is absolutely the way to go for ease of maintenance and longevity, at least from what I’ve seen to this point.

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    #44566

    sksharp
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 397

    I felt I needed to expand on my opinion on this subject. While I use a micro on most of the knives that I do, if I want an edge absolutely as sharp and clean as I can get it then I don’t use a micro-bevel. For my personal knives it’s about 50/50 with or without micro’s. Knives that are going to see harder duty tend to get the micro-bevel, edc’s and hunting (outdoor) knives. Most of my kitchen knives don’t have micro-bevels. Try like knives with and without micro’s to see if you find they hold up better or whether it loses to much for your taste. I micro-bevel almost all of the knives I do for others though.

    It can be tricky to get a proper micro bevel on some knives. I have to remember to be very careful on the first couple passes while applying the micro or the edge will lose refinement due to the very fine amount of steel you are on. A little to much pressure and you can actually damage the edge and you wind up with a wider than wanted micro or going back to fix damage. It’s critical to set the stone on the edge very gently and make light EVEN passes while setting , usually 3 to 5 passes unless I use the ceramics to micro then maybe 10 to 15 passes. I love the ceramics for micro’s because they remove steel very slowly and are more forgiving than the diamond stones for me during this process.

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