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Unsharpenable Blade?

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  • #54179
    NorCalQ
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    • Topics: 51
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    Ok…I have a folder from a maker and have several others from the same. I’ve sharpened all of them to hair-splitting sharpness.  This current blade, like others, is made of 440C.  On my first attempt, I just couldn’t get the edge to the same level of sharpness that I’ve gotten used to.  Also, the edge had a couple of chips in it, which I’ve never seen before.  As a result I started from scratch and went thru the process once again.

    From that point, I’ve resharpened the same blade about 4 times with similar results, only without the chipping.  I’ve followed all my usual techniques, but have not been able to get to that last stage of consistent, hair-splitting sharpness.  The edge cuts phone book paper very nicely, but I just can’t get the edge to where I’ve gotten all the others.  I’m wondering if this has happened to others… or have I just lost the touch and feel that I had?

    #54181
    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 25
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    Although I do not have any 440C knives, I have read quite a bit on it. I would call it a tenacious steel very sensitive to good and bad heat and cryo treating. Take a look at Jay Fisher’s work with it. His finished products start at $3K.

    https://www.jayfisher.com/440C_Love_Hate.htm

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    #54214
    tcmeyer
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    • Topics: 36
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    I had a problem once with a friend’s Buck 110 folder in 440C and again in August of ’18, when I sharpened a couple of Buck 120’s (a fixed blade hunter) in 420HC that were stubborn buggers.  Both times, the problems appeared in the coarser grits.  Whereas other knife alloys seem to “machine” nicely, with the grit cutting nice scratches with each pass, with these the grit seemed to dig in and then bounce off, leaving a scratch pattern than looked like a poorly plowed field.  It was difficult just establishing a bevel.  After reading Fisher’s comments on 440C I have to wonder if it’s the high amount of chromium and a less-than-ideal hardening.

    From my experience, knives that tend to chip in use probably do it at a microscopic level too.   So my suggestion is to take double or triple the number of strokes at each grit level.  The objective being to remove edge chipping left by the prior grit.

    #54217
    NorCalQ
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    • Topics: 51
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    That article is way over my head.  What it interesting is that while I was taking my strokes with the coarser grits, I could really feel the toughness of this steel.  It felt like no other blade I’ve ever sharpened.  It felt like my diamond stones were just gliding across the surface, rather than biting in.  Again, I’ve sharpened several other 440C blades from this same maker, but never had that sensation. A bad batch of 440C?  Hmmm…I have no idea.  I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one to experience occasional difficulty with a particular blade.

    #54219
    000Robert
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    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 22

    That article is way over my head. What it interesting is that while I was taking my strokes with the coarser grits, I could really feel the toughness of this steel. It felt like no other blade I’ve ever sharpened. It felt like my diamond stones were just gliding across the surface, rather than biting in. Again, I’ve sharpened several other 440C blades from this same maker, but never had that sensation. A bad batch of 440C? Hmmm…I have no idea. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one to experience occasional difficulty with a particular blade.

    I think some of the steel in them are harder than usual. The stones in my Hall’s Pro Edge Wet Hone would not even scratch the steel in my Buck 301X pocket knife. And my diamond stones barely would.

     

     

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