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Old 12-13-2016, 09:47 AM   #21
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A book worth owning for those who have more to sharpen than just knives.
The Complete Guide to Sharpening - Lee Valley Tools
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:29 AM   #22
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I went to amazon to by the

I forgot to mention I also have one of these:

Wen Wet Stone Machine Model 2900

but have not used it in years. I recall that it was fast, but I never really got the hang of using it.

I tried sharpening a chisel one time and messed it up so bad I never tried to sharpen another.

The diamond sharpeners work OK, but I do wonder what a really sharp edge would be like.

I went to Amazon to buy The Complete Guide to Sharpening by Leonard Lee as referenced above in this thread, until I came across this review by "Sugarloaf":

Firstly, the book looks like something from the 1950s, in both style and substance. It lacks mention of many modern sharpening machines, appliances and systems now for sale. It urgently needs an update.

More worryingly, it glosses over vital details. Almost every area I investigated just touched briefly on the topic, but did not go quite far enough. One small example: do you have a belt sander and would you like to use it to sharpen equipment? He shows old belt sanding equipment, and seems to imply that belt sanding is the way to go for many sharpening tasks, but little mention of actual details of how it's done, e.g. RPMs before you lose temper. No nitty-gritty. No step-by-step. No DVD with demonstrations included.

What if you have a conventional belt sander, one used for sanding wood, one which can be inverted and used like that? Nothing mentioned. So you are left wondering if it's possible... or not.

What if you use a Tri-Angle Sharpmaker (immensely popular, with 400 reviews on Amazon). It's not even mentioned (book too old?)

Go to the Index and look up "ceramic". Not mentioned. Too modern, perhaps? He does make a few throwaway references to ceramic sharpeners, but is dismissive (according to the author, they are useless without regular lapping with a diamond sharpener!)

Any in-depth discussion of the many modern steels you could come across? No.
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:38 AM   #23
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I wonder if this might work to quickly sharpen knives and lawn mower blades

on Amazon

WEN 4270 10" 2-Direction Water Cooled Wet/Dry Sharpening System

How would this compare to an edge put on by using a wet stone(s)?
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Old 12-13-2016, 12:08 PM   #24
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A couple of things about sharpening knives that I'll add here. One is the "point of diminishing return" on getting a blade too sharp, but too thin. Yes, it will be very sharp, but this will be at the expense of it being a short-lived sharpness because the edge is thin and weak and will easily curl. On the other end of the spectrum would be a very shallow bevel, such as on a meat cleaver. This will obviously not be as sharp as a razor blade, but due to the shallow angle, the edge, while not as sharp, will hold up longer, especially under hard use. The biggest decision is obviously, what type of cutting you need to do, and use a suitable blade for that need.

The other point, and this is mainly about using power equipment for sharpening, such as belt sanders and power wheels, is that you must be careful not to overheat the edge or it will lose it's tempering. Once it has lost it's temper, it won't hold an edge because the metal has been weakened, (annealed.) Tempering for "hardness" is a major factor of concern in all blade production manufacturing. Overheat the edge, and you have destroyed all the work the manufacturer has put into creating a good blade.
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Old 12-13-2016, 12:25 PM   #25
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So...let's say someone...don't remember who....sharpened a blade to the point where it got a blue /black part, here and there. Is it possible to slowly grind down the edge past that blue and get a good bright metal edge? a bright metal edge that returns it to the original temper that is.
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:23 PM   #26
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I guess "Sugarloaf" and I will agree to disagree. I've had the book for years and found it useful. I suggest next time you are in a book store, take a look and judge for yourself. Raz
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Old 12-13-2016, 06:11 PM   #27
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So...let's say someone...don't remember who....sharpened a blade to the point where it got a blue /black part, here and there. Is it possible to slowly grind down the edge past that blue and get a good bright metal edge? a bright metal edge that returns it to the original temper that is.
Not sure who "Sugarloaf" is, as it seems to be a rather cryptic statement, and I haven't seen any reference to such in any previous posts.

But to answer the other question. Plain and simple, no, you can't grind a blade back to health after you've "blued it" by removing more metal. The reason is that the steel of a knife blade is not tempered equally over the whole body of the blade. The main part of the blade is not "tempered" to the same specifications as the bottom 1/4" or so, which is the hardened portion. Once you grind past this part, there is no, or at least very little, tempering left to the blade, and it won't hold an edge. That also brings me back to point #1 I made earlier, which is why you don't want to take more metal off the blade than necessary when sharpening. If you grind a blade past the tempered part, you may as well toss it.
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:44 AM   #28
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Thanks Greg.

"Sugarloaf" is a customer on Amazon who reviewed The Complete Guide to Sharpening at Amazon. I posted his review here because it has valid points to consider. However, after looking at the book I bought it because it has good basic information.

I just don't have the patience to put a truly sharp edge on a knife. I followed advice on how to sharpen and worked for an solid hour on a knife and I could not see any improvement over the original edge as rec'd from the factory... and that was a carbon steel knife...

Come to think of it, that was when I was working. Now that I am retired and spend most of my days sitting around with my mouth open and a glazed look on my face (according to my wife) I may just give it another try.

Thank goodness for disposable safety razor blades. If I had to rely on a straight razor for a shave I would look like William Lee Golden.

I use a dry grinding wheel for my lawn mower blades and sharpen every other time I mow the grass. My wife said not wanting to mow the grass is an insufficient reason to become a full time RV'er. I told her I will expand on the list...
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Old 12-14-2016, 04:54 PM   #29
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I'm no expert. I just get curious and read a lot. Years ago you could buy high carbon steel knives that were very hard, and would hold an edge for a long time. I have a couple. They stain from the acid when you cut a tomatoe. Apparently knives that stain are a concern in regard to food safety. Knives sold today are all stainless steel. And while some are labeled high carbon stainless, they don't quite hold an edge as well. That may be your problem?

My favorite knife is a Shun Santoku with a 7" blade. It's made of layers of hard and soft steel hammered together. I have no idea why but it holds an edge better than any other knife I own.
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Old 12-15-2016, 06:04 AM   #30
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Have a few knives from Chicago cutlery that are high carbon steel. The Chicago blades are thick, dull easily, but also sharpen easily, and stain.

I found a chef's knife and steak knives (may be RADA Cutlery) that have a hollow ground SS blade with an all metal handles, at various flee markets. I touch up the blades now and then and they remain fairly sharp. I like the chef's knife but it is more of a backup knife at this point. We use the steak knives every day.

Mostly I use a Tramontina 8" Cook's Knife in the kitchen. I bought it at a knife shop in Cookeville, TN about 15 years ago. It cost about $15.00. It has a rather strange wooden handle: That is, unknown wood with shallow saw cuts perpendicular to the axis of the tang and about 1/4" apart and is secured by a screw in the butt of the handle to the tang. The following is inked(?) on the blade:

Tramontina
cromo molibdenio-brasil

It appears the steel is similar to 425M or near the type of steel the Victorinox uses for their SAKs. Probably close to 56RC in hardness.

Best money I ever spent on a knife. Holds an edge yet is easy to sharpen. I do occasionally (carefully) put it on my bench grinder to maintain an acute profile, then finish using diamond sharpeners.

I also have a number of Victorinox Swiss Army knives, and a Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife. I tried using the Gerber for kitchen work, but I find it too thick. I also have Mora knives, a Buck skinner, a couple of drop points with rubber handles that I used for butchering deer.

I like to keep all my knives sharp, but have never been able to achieve the level of scary sharp, as are some of my bow hunting factory broadheads.

Probably just as well. I swear those broadheads can be on a table 5 feet away and I still get nicked....
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:11 AM   #31
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Best money I ever spent on a knife. Holds an edge yet is easy to sharpen. I do occasionally (carefully) put it on my bench grinder to maintain an acute profile, then finish using diamond sharpeners.
Typically, a blade that holds a good edge requires a bit more of an effort to sharpen, but with regular touch ups to the edge will go on forever. I personally would never use a bench grinder on a knife. There is no reason for a knife's profile to ever get that much out of whack, as long as they are regularily maintained.

My wife has a myriad of good kitchen knives, and about once a month when sitting down to watch a movie or a game I will go through them all, using a bright light to first access their condition, and thus decide on the regime of stones I will use, to sharpen them. This earns me lots of brownie points.
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:31 AM   #32
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I've used scary sharp i.e. sand paper on chisels and plane blades but I would not use the method on a kitchen knife. A kitchen knife needs some tooth to cut through fibrous vegetables etc. Look at a blade under a microscope after using a steel and you will see striations.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:12 AM   #33
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Raz, good point about needing some tooth on a kitchen knife. I use a serrated kitchen knife as often as my plain edge chef's knife.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:37 AM   #34
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I have to put a word in for my favorite sharpener, the "A.G. Russell Ceramic Sharpening Rods". Unlike many cheaper versions, the angles are correct for a good sharp knife. It stores compactly in its own base. I use this on all my mid-grade kitchen knives (Henckels, Wusthof, etc) and works great on high-end steels like S30v too. If something is really dull, chipped or bad, I borrow a Worksharp power sharpener to bring it up to normal, then the Russel is all I need. There's not a single thing I'd change about it.
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Old 12-28-2016, 10:37 AM   #35
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John A.,
I cannot find A.G. Russell Ceramic Sharpening Rod on Amazon, so I Googled it. Looks exactly like the Lansky (Amazon) which has 4 ceramic rods in a wood base. Do you think they are comparable in quality and usability? Certainly the Lansky is cheaper.

I also checked out the Worksharp power sharpener. Which do you use? I see that some have belts and other models have discs.

I have a Wen wet stone model 2900 electric sharpener that I don't much like.
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:03 AM   #36
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The Lansky rods are apparently 5", the Russel rods are 9". That alone would make me choose the Russel. The Russel's angles are 30 degrees inclusive; the Lansky's 25 degrees I think would be good too.
I bought a Smith's sharpener and the angle was too blunt; I had to re-drill it in a machine shop to the same as my Lansky. The rods didn't store in the base, either.

Spyderco makes a good one that's even more expensive...

Worksharp: I borrow the "original" belt-sander one, which works great on knives and axes. If I were to buy one, I'd buy the Ken Onion model, which I'm pretty sure I would like better. Once knives are sharp, the Lansky is all I need, the Worksharp would be too much in my opinion.
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Old 12-28-2016, 01:27 PM   #37
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I have checked out Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker Knife Sharpener on Amazon, it has a 7"x.5" pair of rods. Apparently some from Amazon may be counterfeit, so maybe I will just go down to the knife shop and check it out.

Checked out the Ken Onion model, but other than the name I do not see any difference from the standard model.
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:37 PM   #38
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I like the 9" rods on the Russel sharpener; I wouldn't want them to be shorter. You can also buy generic ceramic rods (I assume) and make your own wood base pretty easily.

The Ken Onion Worksharp is more open on the blade insertion part nearest you, letting you have more control over that part near the blade base/handle of a knife- not so important with kitchen knives but easy to mess up that part on outdoor knives. There is some plastic in the way here on the Original model. Thick-bladed axes can stick in the vee of the Original model; the K.O. seems better designed about that. Less importantly to me, it has variable speed, wider belts, and variable angles. I think the changes are based on observations made in using the original model, which IMHO is the way changes ought to be made.

Back on thread, I agree with Raz that there's a difference between scary-sharp and usefully sharp. I find the ceramic rods leave a bit of "tooth" which is great in the kitchen. Not 'itamae sushi-chef sharp', but I'm not making sushi.
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:07 PM   #39
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I have checked out Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker Knife Sharpener on Amazon, it has a 7"x.5" pair of rods. Apparently some from Amazon may be counterfeit, so maybe I will just go down to the knife shop and check it out.

Checked out the Ken Onion model, but other than the name I do not see any difference from the standard model.
I would think (just guessing) that if you ordered the Spyderco from Amazon itself, you'd stand a better chance of getting the real deal. The counterfeit ones may be coming from a 3rd-party seller who lists their stuff on Amazon. I like the look of them.

I have one of the Smith's units that John A mentions, so I dug it out and measured the rod angles (now that I know a little more about sharpening angles), and it appears to be 25 degrees per side. Pretty good for jackknives and such, from what I've read in the last 2 weeks, but not so good for kitchen knives (which explains why my wife's Cutco knife wouldn't get much of an edge when I tried sharpening it on the Smith). It is not serrated, unlike most of her knives. I bought her a couple of plain-blade Victorinox knives for Christmas... wow are they sharp... so at some point I should get a different sharpening set with more angle choices and more grit choices.
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:36 PM   #40
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Yeah; 30 degrees inclusive on the Russel is only 15 degrees per side - and that's about as blunt as I'd be willing to go! I decided to make my Smith's the same angle, rather than a bit finer, just to keep everything identical around here.
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