Wed May 21, 2014 3:51 am
I feel like I should star in the new version of "Valley Girl" using the term OMG so much regarding my purchases from
CKtG but here is another one. Again, I give advance warnings I tend NOT to get to the point (No pun intended) very quickly so be prepared.
Act One, Scene one: I was self taught, growing up as a young boy on fishing boats, watching the older guys sharpen and fine tune our filet knives. Every boat I fished with my Dad had their own stones soaking in the wells so when the grown ups were not looking I would sneak away and attempt to do my best with the very thin and narrow knives we used for cutting up tuna. And yes, I cut myself more times than I care to remember because I was figuring it out on my own in addition to just doing really dumb things with knives..... Memblety peg anyone? Eventually, my skills got better and by the time I was 9 years old I was pretty good. Not great but good enough for the guys not to tan my butt or kick me in the same place for plying my trade on their knives.
Act Two Scene Two: I would later own my own two sided stone but the joy of sharpening waned and eventually, after I could afford to pay others to do the majority of my sharpening, my interest pretty much dwindled to fine work and steel aligning of my kitchen knives only. I probably stopped fileting my own Tuna 30 years ago when my friendship with a pretty big time processor improved and he would filet my fish for nothing.... as long as he got a ton of fish in return. Hey, I could no longer, on my own, sell fish without a commercial license for both myself and the boat. Darn those Dept. of Fish and Game folks who patrolled the docks and canneries.
Skip forward to Act 3 scene 3: Through this site I discover the Apex 4 essentials system and after watching more videos than Pee Wee Herman in his trench coat years I purchased one to go with my new J-knives. Though I read mixed reviews that this system is definitely good for beginners and had mixed reviews for the more advanced blade wranglers I have to say the ease of use from the get go makes sharpening a piece of cake and fun. Gone are the days of the skin on my fingers pealing from salt water rinses and soaks of the stones or frankly just every now and then having a few fingers get a little cut or abraded from sliding off onto the stone. I have to say I do not miss that stuff one iota as with this device sharpening is almost risk free. ALMOST!!! as it is not totally risk free so Please do not lapse into some mindless stupor. I personally stayed away from the Scotch during my on going sharpening testing and production sharpening but never felt like I was risking a digit while sharpening.
I suppose this previous experience with both sharpening and tools in general gave me a head start but those videos from Edgepro and actually reading the instructions allowed me to figure out almost immediately how to use this great device. My very first try on my German Chef's knife was a success though I have since improved upon that as my experience has grown through use.
I was glad I learned in advance the Apex 4 might appear to some to be a bit toy like but I quickly learned this is no toy but a great and simple tool that should hold up very well for years to come. The Essential kit, Mark has put together, with the Shapton Glass stones, is certainly sufficient for the majority of folks out there as it includes 500 thru 4 K stones so until you have a need to take your sharpening to the next level I would use the stones provided in the kit and perhaps purchase a table top Horse Butt Strop kit from this site to finish the work. Of course if you are a regular on this site it probably means you want more, more and more, then the additional 8K Shapton Glass I purchased is certainly something to think about. After 8 K and stropping on a separate table base, with .5 then .25 (On separate strops) CBN sprays and then bare strop, I am discovering the sky is the limit for finer grits and finishing techniques but getting my blades any sharper than what I am obtaining with this setup seems to be a waste of good Scotch drinking time..... I am only speaking for me of course. (Undoubtedly this will change when I go on to buy finer grit stones but for now it is time for a drink.)
As a note, I also purchased the Angle Cube and I am glad I did. Though I do not doubt I could replicate the manufactures grind angles using the sharpie technique I am finding I can vary my grind angles, write them down for further reference and test out each differing angle of bevel to see if I can tell a difference in sharpness. Yes, there is a difference and for me my angles are different from the ones put in by the manufacturer. 2 of the 3 knives came with different edge bevels on each side of the blade so I simply evened them out. Though I suppose I could also put marks in my riser post for differentiating between my German and Japanese steel blades (There are already marks on the post but I would be a bit more accurate) I just feel empowered as I can nail my angles to a couple of decimal points (Half a degree is fine) regardless if my stones thin out or not. It may not matter to some but it matters to me.
A couple of other hints for new comers to this Edge Pro sharpening game:
Even though the Shapton Glass stones are fantastic, as they are splash and go, they will dry out after a certain number of passes so keep adding a splash of water as you pay attention to the dryness of the stone. You will get a much better feel for the grind when they are wet or moist as the stone will feel more aggressive.
Change out the Blue tape each time you use the device. Though painters tape is designed to have minimal absorption it will still hold the slurry residue from the grinding operation. I do not doubt old used tape can cause scratching especially on clad type blades. Besides, it is nice to have a fresh piece of tape to start the new day's process with. It takes about 30 seconds to change out including wiping down the plastic base under the old tape to insure the surface you are attaching the tape to is clean and flat.
Using the magnet that comes with the device is a good idea but possibly use something a bit stronger than painters tape to keep it in place for a long period of time might be a good idea. Also be aware using the magnet does mean you have to control the slide of the blade just a bit as you relocate for the next section along the length. I liked having the magnet personally.
I did purchase the horse butt strop for the Edgepro but much prefer the much larger table top stropping system I also purchased for finish work. Besides, I only need to take the super quick change strop set with me, rather than the entire Edgepro system, when I travel so it is beyond great and works amazingly well. Buh Bye to my honing steel and Ceramic.
With the setup noted above I am able to take anyone of my 3 new J-knives and in one slice easily get down the long length of an 8 1/2 X 11 piece of copy paper in one swipe with next to zero resistance. My newly sharpened German Steel is beyond the sharpness I have ever seen at a regular retail knife store and are sharper than my J-Knives were OOTB. As I noted in other reviews, before knowing what I know now I thought the OOTB grinds were beyond great but with the use of this system and the edges it yields I have taken my re-kindled love of knives and sharpening to an entire new level and it only took a very short period of time to get there.
The only draw back to the system, and yes there is one, is the requirement to hand hold the knife on the rack and to slide the blade along to set up for the next section of edge along the length. I realize the design and implementation of a knife holder and sliding track to move the rigidly held knife along the entire edge of the blade without relocating would add a possibly prohibitive amount of cost to this device so for now I find the system excellent and great for me and my budget but not perfect coming from an engineering and Aerospace back ground. Lets see if 25 years ago a wrench was 750 dollars and a toilet seat for an airplane was 1250 dollars I do not doubt NASA, their prime contractors along with some government oversight could not develop a better product for under...........Lets see...... Yup, 25 million dollars should about do it.
Though I realize most of the top sharpening folks out there are hand operators I highly doubt I will go back to hand sharpening over using the Edgepro Apex IV system. I never say never but if I was in Vegas and I was the odds maker I wet bet 50 to 1 against me giving up this system in the future. It is just so easy to maintain perfect angles, seems somehow safer than hand grinding and the results unquestionably speak for themselves. I highly recommend this system to anyone looking to simplify their lives, improve the sharpness of your edges, all at a great value price point.
Oh Yeah... Curtain drops.
Sat Jun 07, 2014 5:09 pm
thanks for the great review, Jamie, and i'm glad you like your EP. i like mine and it does give me great results.
Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:06 am
Yep, thats the Edge Pro. 95% of what a skilled hand sharpener would get, with a much easier learning curve. I cant imagine life without one, but I do prefer free-hand for stropping.
Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:04 pm
Sigh. Now wondering why I bought stones instead of an EdgePro--my first CKTG forum consumer decision! Enjoy the EP!
Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:08 pm
LaVieestBelle wrote:Sigh. Now wondering why I bought stones instead of an EdgePro--my first CKTG forum consumer decision! Enjoy the EP!
Don't regret your decision. They are much more versatile than the Edge Pro.
Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:46 pm
La Vie - I started on the EP and then got into free hand sharpening. I still use the EP occasionally, but I prefer the old school Zen of free hand sharpening. Like Rick said, don't regret your decision for a minute. Free handing has a higher learning curve, but either method offers a lifetime of opportunity to pursue knowledge and perfection.
Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:32 pm
Both systems--EP and free hand--are absolutely better than my older system--benign neglect and futile prayers that the knives would magically get sharper again by themselves.
Hope the OP has years of fun with this!
Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:28 am
Hope you have years of fun with your stones!
Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:52 am
LaVieestBelle < > I'm a fan of the EP but am certain that you made the correct decision. From what we know of you from these forums, I'm guessing you will become a freehanding Jedi.
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