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When sharpening a knife how do you know what stones to start with

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  • #55525
    Kenneth
    Participant
    • Topics: 22
    • Replies: 29
      <li style=”text-align: center;”>When sharpening a knife how do you know what stones to start with? I have a very nice sheeps foot knife. Only have for 2 weeks. Its starting to get dull from cutting boxes. I even have a small nick near the tip. I can see some areas where the edge is folded over. Most of the knife is still super sharp.. I have not use My wicked 3 pro yet
    #55526
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 62
    • Replies: 2274

    Welcome to the W.E. forum Kenneth.

    It takes a good 10 knives worth of sharpening for your W.E. sharpening stones just to break in and begin to yield good consistent results.  Coincidentally, that’s about the same amount of time and practice it takes most new users to figure it out and get the hang of sharpening with their W.E. setups.

    I don’t suggest that you sharpen a good knife or a new knife until your stones are broken in well and you have gained some user’s experience.  Practice on junk or beater knives while you break the diamond stones in and learn how to use the sharpener.

    To answer your question, start with the finest grit stones you can use that will get the job done.  If you find you are having to work too hard or it’s taking too long to remove the damaged steel then back down to a coarser grit and start again.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #55527
    Kenneth
    Participant
    • Topics: 22
    • Replies: 29

    Thank you very much. I bought this set used but I believe I have every stone grit available other the way to Kangaroo strops and .01 micron diamond lapping films

    #55528
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 1988

    Every knife I do is different. If it’s a knife I’ve done before, the bevels are already established, and if it’s pretty dull, I’ll start with my 400’s. But it all depends on the degree of damage that needs to be erased.  I scan the entire length of the edge with my USB scope, first looking straight down on the edge to see how wide the edge is, then the entire length, looking sideways at the edge, to see how deep the damage is.

    Yesterday I started a kitchen knife I had made of D2. It was pretty hard and took quite awhile. I’m going to guess that the hardness is over RC62.  To start, the apex edge was about 0.030 wide, so I started with my lowest grit – 100.  I stayed with 100 until there was very little plateau left along the apex.  I switched to 200 grit until the plateau was almost completely gone, after which I used 400 grit, which is the grit that sees the most use out of my stable, by far.  I stayed with 400 until the apex was clearly formed.

    KnIves that have rather deep damage (maybe you’ve seen deep notches in the sideview) require that you remove all steel above the deepest part of the nick.  This is mostly efficiently done by filing the edge flat, until there is no evidence of the deepest notch.  I use an 800-grit stone for this.  When done, your next step is to pick a grit coarse-enough to re-establish a new apex.

    My next advise is to not let these coarser grits (<400) touch the new apex.

    Knives that need only a “touchup” might start with 800-grit.

     

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    #55650
    Kenneth
    Participant
    • Topics: 22
    • Replies: 29

    Ok ty

    #55685
    Rodger
    Participant
    • Topics: 5
    • Replies: 19

    tcmeyer, was wondering what your opinion is of using the 50/80 stones as the first set of stones when you want to completely redo bevels or when your apex is quite dull. Thank you

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #55695
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 1988

    I had some bad experiences with the lower grits, so I never bought a pair of the 50/80s.  If I’m in a situation where the 100/200s don’t seem to be doing the job (I’m old, so I don’t have a lot of time left to spend on really boring stuff), I will take the knife to my 1X30 belt sander, using the angle guide attachment, or to my WorkSharp.  It saves a lot of time, but takes some skill-building.

    Cliff Curry used to be a frequent poster here when he first started his sharpening business in Hawaii.  Now he has an array of belt sanders he’s modified and uses.  He’s posted a number of videos on Youtube which are very helpful.  See his channel at Curry Custom Cutlery.

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    #55698
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 62
    • Replies: 2274

    Here is what I wrote earlier in this same thread to answer Kenneth’s same question:

    It takes a good 10 knives worth of sharpening for your W.E. sharpening stones just to break in and begin to yield good consistent results. Coincidentally, that’s about the same amount of time and practice it takes most new users to figure it out and get the hang of sharpening with their W.E. setups. I don’t suggest that you sharpen a good knife or a new knife until your stones are broken in well and you have gained some user’s experience. Practice on junk or beater knives while you break the diamond stones in and learn how to use the sharpener.  I have replaced this grit pair a couple times in 5 years sharpening with my W.E. sharpeners.

    To answer your question, start with the finest grit stones you can use that will get the job done. If you find you are having to work too hard or it’s taking too long to remove the damaged steel then back down to a coarser grit and start again.

    For me the finest grit stone that’ll get the reprofile job done right is often only the 400 grit. Sometimes I’ll need to go all the way down to the 100 grit.  I have owned the 50/80 grit pair for a year or two now and needed to use them maybe twice.  The 50/80 pair is very very aggressive pair and require quite a bit of use to break them in.  You can damage or waste a lot of steel before theses grits begin to yield uniform, predictable and expected results.

    When using the 50/80 grit pair, you have to be prepared to remove all the knife edge steel down even with the bottom of the deepest furrows, of those heavy grind grooves imparted by your coarsest grit stone used.  That is, if you want to reprofile back to a smoothly polished and uniform appearing knife edge.  In the case of the 50/80, to end up with polished finished results your talking about removing a lot of steel.  The more steel you remove the thicker the knife edge will become.

    The 50/80 does have it’s place and value.  I just reserve it for when it’s absolutely needed.  More often I prefer to use a metal file to remove a damaged apex.  It works quite well and is less aggressive.

    Starting moderately coarse with the 400 grit and stepping back coarser, when necessary, gives you a basis for comparison as you experience the efficiency of how well each successively coarser grit stone works.  It only takes three or four sharpening strokes to know if that grit is sufficient to do what it’s needed to do.  If not, just step down a grit coarser.  If you always just start with your coarsest grit assuming that’s the place to start, you’ll always have acceptable results.  But, then you’ll never learn through experiencing it, that you would have had these same acceptable results by starting at a finer grit level.  Along with saving yourself time, effort and knife edge steel.

    My 400/600 grit pair stone set gets the most use of all my diamond stones based on this practice.   Also, this 400/600 grit pair is the most practical combination of coarness and fineness.  These grits are coarse enough to remove light damage and to re-establish a worn profile along with fine enough not to remove too much steel, unnecessarily, to impart a deeper scratch pattern then is required for the sharpening job.  Because of this practice I have replaced my 400/600 stone pair a couple times in five years sharpening between all my W.E. sharpener setups.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by MarcH.
    #55701
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 137

    Here is what I wrote earlier in this same thread to answer Kenneth’s same question:

    It takes a good 10 knives worth of sharpening for your W.E. sharpening stones just to break in and begin to yield good consistent results. Coincidentally, that’s about the same amount of time and practice it takes most new users to figure it out and get the hang of sharpening with their W.E. setups. I don’t suggest that you sharpen a good knife or a new knife until your stones are broken in well and you have gained some user’s experience. Practice on junk or beater knives while you break the diamond stones in and learn how to use the sharpener. To answer your question, start with the finest grit stones you can use that will get the job done. If you find you are having to work too hard or it’s taking too long to remove the damaged steel then back down to a coarser grit and start again.

    For me the finest grit stone that’ll get the reprofile job done right is often only the 400 grit. Sometimes I’ll need to go all the way down to the 100 grit. I have owned the 50/80 grit pair for a year or two now and needed to use them maybe twice. The 50/80 pair is very very aggressive pair and require quite a bit of use to break them in. You can damage or waste a lot of steel before theses grits begin to yield uniform, predictable and expected results. When using the 50/80 grit pair, you have to be prepared to remove all the knife edge steel down even with the bottom of the deepest furrows, of those heavy grind grooves imparted by your coarsest grit stone used. That is, if you want to reprofile back to a smoothly polished and uniform appearing knife edge. In the case of the 50/80, to end up with polished finished results your talking about removing a lot of steel. The more steel you remove the thicker the knife edge will become. The 50/80 does have it’s place and value. I just reserve it for when it’s absolutely needed. Starting moderately coarse with the 400 grit and stepping back coarser, when necessary, gives you a basis for comparison as you experience the efficiency of how well each successively coarser grit stone works. It only takes three or four sharpening strokes to know if that grit is sufficient to do what it’s needed to do. If not, just step down a grit coarser. If you always just start with your coarsest grit assuming that’s the place to start, you’ll always have acceptable results. But, then you’ll never learn through experiencing it, that you would have had these same acceptable results by starting at a finer grit level. Along with saving yourself time, effort and knife edge steel.

    I agree. Most of the time the 50/80 stones are not needed. But they would be nice to have when you do need them. They will keep me from prematurely wearing my 100 grit stones out.

    #55729
    Brewbear
    Participant
    • Topics: 7
    • Replies: 161

    I have a set of 50/80 and honestly, I used it twice on a couple of machetes that were so beat up and damaged they couldn’t cut cold water. If space is a problem, then yes, buy a set for those rare occasions when you have to remove a lot of metal, Even then, I wouldn’t apex (raise a burr) with them, just get really close to the apex and then use the 100/200 to raise a burr. The same amount of metal can be removed with a file and reprofile with the 100 stones.

    #55730
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 4
    • Replies: 137

    I have a set of 50/80 and honestly, I used it twice on a couple of machetes that were so beat up and damaged they couldn’t cut cold water. If space is a problem, then yes, buy a set for those rare occasions when you have to remove a lot of metal, Even then, I wouldn’t apex (raise a burr) with them, just get really close to the apex and then use the 100/200 to raise a burr. The same amount of metal can be removed with a file and reprofile with the 100 stones.

    That’s pretty much what I was thinking.

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