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How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:04 pm

OK all you expert sharpeners out there...I'm trying to further my free hand sharpening education.

Erica started an interesting thread recently on a smooth knife steel and we diverged into discussing pressure when sharpening.

Can any of you quantify, maybe in approximate pounds, how much pressure you use when sharpening in different situations? For example, setting a bevel on a coarse stone or diamond plate, getting a burr on a 1K versus 3/5K, etc. I know this will vary based on the steel, stone, who is sharpening, etc, etc.

I'm just trying to get a feel for when I might use more pressure or less pressure to get the job done most efficiently.

I could use my kitchen scale to get a feel for x pounds of pressure holding a knife to a surface.

Thanks very much in advance!

Steve

Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:41 pm

Hi Steve,

I'm no expert so digest with caution.

The short version, between 0 and 5 lb as measured on a digital kitchen scales.

But....... it depends on what I am trying to do, what the knife is, and what stone / strop I'm using.

If we assume my regular edge on a Richmond AS Laser.

With 140 diamond plates, I tend to keep it under 3 lb. If I go much harder, I start popping the diamonds out and gouging the steel.

On my course stones, a 150 and 400, I'll go up to 4 lb or 5 lb to start and taper off to about 1lb when I am getting close to finishing.

Mid grit stones. For most things, I like an edge which is pretty much a refined 1K edge. What this basically is is a 1K edge which I refine by stropping on a 5k or 6K stone. Because of this, I tend to not lighten up too much as I get near to finishing. I start and finish at about 2 or 3 lb.

High grit stones. I pretty much only strop on high grit stones and don't use much pressure. Generally between 1lb and the blade weight.

With strops, I use little more than the weight of the blade. I've never measured it, but really, very very light.

Weight definitely effects the edge you get with each grit. For example, a 5 lb 1K edge is way toothier than a 1 lb 1k edge. Because of this, I think there is a lot of value in experimenting to find the balance that get you the edge you are after.

I'll be back at my house in a few days. If this thread is still active, I'll take a couple shots with a microscope so you can get a better idea.

Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:48 pm

Setting a bevel - On another forum, long ago, we had this discussion and some of crazy idiots took our scales out. I was applying about 10 to 15 pounds of pressure when using a really coarse stone to set a bevel.

Raising a burr - 5 to 10. Stone grit wouldn't matter to me.

Final passes - virtually no weight

Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:50 pm

Damn, I am such a woos :)

Steve, listen to what Adam says, he really is an expert.

Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:03 pm

Thanks guys :-).

Adam - you are a beast, dude!

Branwell - your microscope shots are awesome, that would be great if you feel like doing it.

Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:08 pm

Wow, 10-15 lbs, now I'm going to have to get the scale out. I doubt I ever hit 5lbs on any stone but I could be wrong.

Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:54 pm

Just a little introduction. This is my first post here and I've really started looking into kitchen knives as a way to see what works and what doesn't, since they get used MUCH more than other knives, and for a surprising variety of tasks.

Anyway, for coarse sharpening, I'd say between 5 and 7 pounds. For the final polishing passes on my 4k or fine Sharpmaker rods, it's 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce. Not much at all.

Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:05 pm

Was watching a Bob Kramer sharpening video on YouTube and he said to use 4 to 6 lbs. And he uses more on really dull knives.

Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:13 am

It's always progressive.

I push pretty hard on coarse stones and then use less and less pressure as the stones get finer. I'm sure I average out at some point but I have never measured.

me2, good to see you here!

Re: How much pressure do you use when sharpening?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:40 pm

Shaun, Ken, Melampus, BDL, et. al. - care to toss your 2 pennies into the conversation? :-)
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