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Sharpening with waterstones

Mon May 21, 2012 1:08 pm

Thanks for getting back with me on this today. I have a set of Wustoff's at home and several Forschner's that I leave in the lodge for guests to use. This way I won't be real upset if one gets bent or goes missing. The stones that I have currently are mainly Arkansas, some heavy grit American synthetics and DMT's of various grits down to 1200. Recently, I have have the pleasure to visit with ABS Mastersmith Ed Fowler. He forges knives out of 52100 and gets them down to a very very fine 14 grain in the lower 1/3 of the blade. He has agreed to take me on as a student this summer for a stint of some 10 days of 1 on 1 teaching. This type of material would react well to very fine grits and stropping I believe. Also, in this part of rural Texas quality knives are hard to come across. Forschner (high end for this part of the world) or ordered from an online Chef's catalog are the limited options. It was refreshing to accidentally stumble across your website that I've been glued to for the last day or so drooling over the numerous high end knives available as well as other items such as stones. Most of the sharpening that I have done lately has been on a Tormek with 1000 grit wheel followed by 4000 grit water stone. It gets them sharp. But, I feel that a better edge can be attained with hand sharpening and smaller grit stones. Feel free to post to forum.

Thanks, Carl

Re: Sharpening with waterstones

Mon May 21, 2012 1:09 pm

Hi Carl,

Nice talking to you today. I'll let some of the other guys communicate with you on this.

Re: Sharpening with waterstones

Mon May 21, 2012 1:16 pm

The only restriction here is budget limitations. :) Infinite answers good answers, most end with Shapton. :)

For a cheap upgrade, and to see where your current set-up stands, getting a good 8,000 grit stone to follow that 4,000 would be a great idea. If the 8,000 gets your knives sharper, then you know your current setup is decent enough. If the 8,000 doesn't have much effect, then you will have to upgrade the 1,000 or 4,000 stone. Having a good course stone and diamond plate are essential in my opinion.

Let's let someone else chime in

Re: Sharpening with waterstones

Mon May 21, 2012 4:38 pm

If you get good edges that will last you a good while then what Shaun said is good to go, but if you get so-so edges you might want to get a good course stone and plate like Shaun suggested. Hand sharpening will give you great edges once you get the motions and angle holding down right, it just takes practice and willingness to learn. If you would like a nice simple set up then it's hard to beat a 400 or 500 for bevel cutting or making a fast burr, then a 1k for refinement, and the green brick which is a 2k but will finish like a 4 and a leather strop and you have what I do for Vitronox (sp) and other such knives and the edges are good to go. Hope this helps.

Re: Sharpening with waterstones

Tue May 22, 2012 9:26 am

From all accounts, including a good friend of mine who spent some time with him, Ed Fowler is capable of extracting every bit of performance out of 52100 there is. Steel treated this well made into a knife using his techniques deserves to be sharpened to perfection.

You should definitely consider going to finer grit stones and compounds. Forschners and Wustoffs won't benefit a great deal from extremely fine grit edges much beyond 2k (5k if you must), but your finer knives that can hold a much nicer edge - including Ed's knives and various Japanese knives, certainly will. Many of the Japanese stones will give you a considerably sharper edge than your Arkansas stones, but certainly the Arkansas stones can work well with the softer Forschner type knives.


Re: Sharpening with waterstones

Wed May 23, 2012 11:54 am

Thanks for all the input and advise. I ordered the Beston setup (will upgrade if needed and more funds are available) recommended by Mark today with a flattening plate and strope kit, angle cube and other goodies to get me started.
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