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Re: Sharpening Cowry-X

Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:33 am

Thanks -- Kamata in the kappabashi district fits well with my recollection of where I bought them.

Well, push comes to shove, and I don't think that I can add anything to the trailing-stroke/carbide-pullout debate.

I can say that the Peak 1964-L 22x loupe with illuminator through Amazon is a pretty good deal for the $34 I paid. It has a very usable 5 mm field of view and the color correction (violet and red fringing on high-contrast subjects) doesn't suck. A huge step up from most of the made-in-China swill out there. Not quite up to the standards I'm used to for graphics use, but damn good for the price, even without the illuminator.

Anyways, that 22x loupe let me see what the 6x loupe I had from my days in photography didn't -- that the edge itself was apparently breaking away a tiny bit back. It was definitely visible "here and there" and, I suspect, also occurring in other places at scales that even the 22x loupe didn't let me see. I suspect that these bits of edge were what I was feeling in the swarf as well -- nice and sharp on probably two edges, one sharpened, one where the metal fatigued as my inexpert sharpening skills bent the thin edge one way or the other.

Checking the angles again, the road was at ~5* total and the final edge was at about 7* total. Note that this is not each side, but total. Yes, really. Pretty clearly my freehand technique was not enough for this fine an edge. Ken suggested that I back off "in about 2* steps" in other communication, which seemed a reasonable idea.

This evening, I got the steak into the sous vide, then got down to business. I did have to put the Konosuke back in the box and hide it from myself...

Targeting 5* per side, for 10* total included angle, was only about 1 mm higher at the spine than where I was sharpening before. The 2k Shapton Glass Stone quickly put a tiny bevel in place, but the loupe showed that there were still a few places that the edge wasn't as smooth as I would have liked. Working with a light touch, the edge came back far enough to remove the blemishes that were there from the edge failures quite quickly. Coming off the 2k, the edge was stinkin' sharp with a lot of tooth. It polished up nicely on my 6k Glass Stone and was plenty sharp enough to "Zoro" paper in a flourish, push or pull, if you wanted to risk it, as well as still having nice tooth to it.

I'll see how this edge holds up, but it is the kind of edge that I remember falling for when I first got the knives.

Thanks for the suggestions on how to figure out what I might have been doing wrong.

At the very least, using both leading and trailing "cutting" strokes makes it easier for me to avoid the "stickiness" of the Shapton Glass Stones and, I believe, maintain a more consistent angle on a stroke-to-stroke basis.

As to the carbides, I didn't hear any scream like I was pulling teeth, but my hearing is only marginally better than my eyesight these days.

I'm definitely interested in the debate on carbide pull-out, so feel free to continue to discuss and explore -- one of the great joys of the Internet is the ability to share ideas with people you never would have otherwise met.
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