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Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:26 pm

My first thought was you need a coarser stone. Setting a proper bevel on a coarse stone is key to getting a knife sharp.

Second, don't count strokes, it doesn't work.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:58 pm

Yeah, setting a proper bevel certainly does help a lot. Can't argue with that advice.

However, really coarse stones are dangerous for some newbie's. Don't get crazy grinding on a 320 grit stone....it'll remove metal faster than you think.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:18 pm

Another bit of advice I've learned to live by, is to treat that 1K stone as THE bridge and the ONLY way to transition from foundation sharpening (course) and polishing. I used to error frequently by spending far too little time at this stage. I make sure my 1K edge can shave hair and slice phone book pages cleanly, no exceptions. Its the last chance to adjust bevel geometry and really clean things up, deburr, etc. Invest attention and patience at this stage and your finishing becomes efficient and enjoyable.

I love my course stones - they save tremendous time and elbow grease, but make sure you allow the stone to do the work, not your muscles, and inspect your work OFTEN. As Adam stated, you can loose steel quickly and unnecessarily. When I learned to ease up pressure on my lower grit stones, and let the stone do the work, successful bevel setting and consistent burrs followed.


Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:59 pm

Counting strokes helped me a great deal when I started out. Jason B is a far better sharpener than myself, I am more positive of that than pretty much anything else in life. But for somebody starting out and struggling a bit, I found counting back strokes in small increments to be a good structure to start with before you can go on purely feel.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:48 pm

Counting strokes my help with keeping things even but if the bevel itself does not start even then things only get worse. Counting strokes can leave you short of the objective too, kinda like how many licks to the center of a tootsie roll pop?

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:27 am

You need to build confidence and to do that you need to become proficient with that first stone. Like Josh said, that 1k stone is the key, unless you are absolutely satisfied with the edge from that stone don't move to the 4k. Now do that about 20 times, every time you do it successfully you are adding a layer of confidence and strengthening your skills.
I agree with Jason that a coarse stone will help but only if you are confident, as Adam says, a coarse stone removes metal fast, you make mistakes faster. If you are making mistakes with the 1k, the 400 stone will magnify those errors. However, once you are confident with the 1k, a coarser stone, 500 glass for example is something I guarantee you will love.

Forget the 4K stone for now, think of that as a reward stone that you give to yourself after you have achieved the level of confidence that your homework with the 1k will bring. Are you hitting the edge of the edge on BOTH sides of the knife, do the bevels look even on BOTH sides.
I mention these things because of the mistakes I made and learned from. It's a bit of a head game too, don''t knock yourself out and don't sharpen frustrated. It's just a knife, if I can sharpen one, you can and nobody here went to knife sharpening university and became scholars, they learned by trial and error and doing it over and over.

I don't believe in counting strokes any more. Freehand sharpening allows us to experiment and adjust on the fly to ensure that the knife is getting sharp and it's getting sharp correctly. If you count strokes, you are limiting yourself, your stifling your creativity and ability to perfect that edge by stopping too soon or too late and switching sides or stones at potentially the wrong time. (Like Jason eludes too). You make sure the bevels are even on both sides by looking at them, not just counting to 30 and then switching sides.

Put that lovely 4k stone away, all it is doing it adding to your frustration. Once you have got your "dream edge" on that 1k stone or coarser stone, than you can pat yourself on the back and unleash the power of the Shapton Glass 4,000.

Practice, Patience, Persistence.

Have fun it's just get better and better.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:21 am

Sailor wrote:......Practice, Patience, Persistence.
The best advice on the board.

I would again emphasize burr removal. I use to deburr after my 1k and then check with a magnifier only to see small pieces of burr still there. It taught me to spend and extra minute or two on the 1k and flip the burr a few more times for better removal. Once you have that clean edge then you can worry about polishing.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:25 pm

Your angle is not persistent....period!

You are rounding/dulling the edge on your final stone!

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