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Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:41 pm

I used to sharpen a lot like Steve, but when KCMa got me to increase speed, I had to lower pressure to maintain "touch" and angle consistency. I never use firm pressure anymore. Max is moderate (5 - 7lbs at a guess) I use less pressure (moderate/light) to chase the burr and still less (light) to polish.

Moderate/light for all stropping except final polishing -- which I try to keep light enough (light) to NOT draw a wire.

The variations in pressure are consistent with moving a lot of metal, pulling a burr, chasing the burr, and polishing. The way I sharpen, more pressure than necessary is counter-productive. Not just because of feedback and bobble, but because a lot of pressure means big burrs.

On the other hand, going too light (e.g., "very light" or "feather light") in order to avoid drawing more burr than you want risks the same problems as going too strong; i.e., screwing with touch and angle. So the minimum pressure is enough to "click in" and feel the bevel against the stone or strop. The exception to "not too light" is a honing rod. Pressure should never be more than "very light" on a rod.

My way is not the only way, or the "right way." It's just one way; the way I happen to use now; and a way which works for me as well as anything else.


Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:42 pm

Thanks BDL - that makes a ton of sense. I just simulated my sharpening pressure on my kitchen scale and I was surprised how much pressure I had to use just to hit 3-5 lbs. I've been using 1 to 2 or so pounds max. I've also probably been going much too light when polishing and stropping, thus losing my "locked in" feeling.

I'm not going to target a specific pressure, but I will try a bit more when setting a bevel on coarser stones, and try a little more pressure during some other sharpening phases and see if I can get "clicked in" better. I think that's what I'm missing in getting better edges.
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