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Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:42 am

Been trying to learn how to sharpen on a leatherman 420HC knife using waterstones.

My question is: can I get a working edge with just a 1200grit water stone?
Below are my attempts at sharpening....

First try, marked the bevel with a sharpie, and started with a bester 1200, got the angle right initially, though I went off from time to time. Raised a burr on parts of one side, then switched to the other. Pushed the burr to the other side, then deburred on a wet cloth. Went on to the suehiro rika. When I was done....I had a piece of blunt metal.

2nd try, this time I used the stack of quarters trick, went slower, and checked my angle with every pass. Bester, rika, and found I succeeded in getting an edge....on small sections of the blade.

3rd try, I concluded that I didn't raise the burr completely along the length, so I tried only on a bester, raise burr along entire length, flip, push burr back entire length, flip, do a couple passes, flip and do a few more. Pulled thru a wet cloth and it sliced the cloth. Working edge achieved right? Tried to sliced a piece of paper and it couldn't even dent it. Though I am happy with how even the width of the new bevel was along the blade.

I avoided the rika as I thought my poor angle holding on the higher grit is the reason why I don't get a working edge. Could it be that my angle is too steep for the metal that it folds over when trying to cut paper? My quarters come out to roughly 20 deg at the spine of the blade.

Re: Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:08 am

420HC is fairly soft steel, so the 1200 and 5K may be too fine grits for it? I wouldn't expect that steel to hold much of an edge. I would use it for practice feeling and removing the burr, but that's about it.

Re: Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:45 am

So I should just jump to my fibrox for learning then....
Or I could try a double bevel on the 420hc?

Re: Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:45 pm

I usually finish my leatherman on a 1200 bamboo stone and that's good enough to make it shaving sharp with a good cutting edge. The steel is soft so going too fine will result in the edge either being sharp but not holding it or being blunt because the burr formation at a fine grit is excessive. Basically so much burr forms it feels dull and its a PITA to remove.

Re: Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:33 pm

Sharpening soft steel is way different than sharpening hard steel, so I would practice on something more like you will be sharpening and using. I tend to find that finer than a 2K waterstone on a softer steel is a waste of time. I often go to a 1200 grit and deburr, then touch up on a ceramic rod, or use diamond stones and touch up on the ceramic after de burring. Or get a Naniwa Aotoshi 2K green brick of Joy; that is supposed to work quite well on the softer steels.

Re: Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:42 am

I sharpen my Victorinox(which are like HRC 56) up to like 10k, but that's just for the hell of it, and it makes opening mail easy.

But yeah, your pocket knife does not need a 5k edge. I wouldn't bother with mine, but I got the Leatherman Skeletool CX with a 154CM blade, and it'll take it. But man do I want to switch to a fixed blade.

Re: Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:49 am

If you want a nice fixed blade, get one of the Jantz kits. They have some in Alabama Damascus, 1095, D2 and S30V now that make great little utility knives! I have one in D2 and love it.

http://www.knifemaking.com/category-s/319.htm

Re: Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:27 pm

Another great fixed blade option is Murray Carter's neck knives. I have been amazed with his white steel. Usually you hear people discuss blue steel as being superior, however white steel (as Murray points out) has much more potential in the right hands, obviously it's all about the heat treating. I found these little blades sharpen easily but maintain an incredibly sharp edge for an extended period, well beyond what I would have expected, but his edge geometry sure helps the cause as well. Great concealable fixed blade of all different sizes. Yes you'll pay more, but if you get on his mailing list you can take advantage of offers like 20% off your first order. Highly recommend. - Josh

Re: Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:19 am

heh, nice to see we have gone on a tangent....anyway...back to topic,

just to be sure, even if I just use my 1200 grit I can get a harder steel to a usable edge?

Re: Can I get a working edge with just a 1200 grit?

Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:40 am

I've never stopped at a 1000 or 1200 grit edge, so it would depend on the stone and how it polishes. You will have to de burr and re sharpen to get the edge correct, but I guess that it may work? I would go up to a 2K or 5K edge.
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