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 Post subject: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:05 pm
Posts: 4
Beginner looking for some help here. I've read a lot of the posts on this forum and watched many videos and I stll cannot figure out what i'm doing wrong.

Problem: can't generate a burr on my knife, I might have even dulled the blade instead

Setup:
Beston 500 grit (part of CKTG's 8 piece starter package)

soaked and lapped the stone

Knives:
3.5" paring and 8" boning both Chicago Cutlery (don't really want to practice on my nicer knives)

I cut out a triangle of cardboard as a rough guide at about 22 degrees to make sure I'm not holding the knife too steep or too flat to the stone. There have been a lot of suggestions that for softer steel a higher 20-25 degree angle might be needed.

I've been going up to 20 strokes on the 500 stone and no burr develops on either side.

I tried, just as a test, on the 140 grid DMT diamond plate and I think I was able to get a burr, but I might just have been ripping up the blade. I did like 5 strokes on each side.

Will a burr on the 500 grit stone be obvious to a beginner?

Assuming the edge is facing away from me, should I apply more pressure on the forward or backward part of the stroke?

any other tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:23 pm 
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Zorro - I'm still on a heavy free-hand sharpening learning curve, but you might need a lot more time on the 500 stone to develop a burr. How dull is the knife? If you can hold the knife looking directly at the edge head-on under a light and actually see it reflecting then you'll need to remove a fair amount of metal from each side to get back to a nice "v" pointed edge bevel. I've worked on some cheaper knives recently that were really dull and I had to work a fair amount on the Shapton Pro 350 to get a good bevel cut. 20 strokes would have done nothing to raise a burr in my recent case(s). It depends on how much pressure you're using as well.

I suspect you just need to keep on the 500 stone longer. The 140 diamond plate will remove metal FAST and may not be the best thing to use when just starting out. If the knive(s) are really dull, try working some on each side as you progress towards that "v" edge bevel. I personally, don't just try to totally sharpen one side fully on dull knives before switching - that just my method. Take your time, check your work often, use Sharpie as needed to keep track of your metal removal, use some magnification if possible and you'll get a nice edge on your 500. Then you can move on to the higher grit(s). Your knives should be really sharp on the 500 before moving on the next stone.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:05 pm
Posts: 4
Thanks Steve.

I only used the 140 grit to see if I could figure out what a burr is supposed to feel like. that was just playing around to see what would happen.

I've tried the sharpie trick and I am wearing it all off on both side of the knife. Maybe I'm not sharpie-ing enough of the blade, I'll look that up again on the videos.

I'll keep at it. i've spent a few hours so far. Spent about half-hour last night with the paring knife trying to get "something" to happen so I could start to understand what's going on. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:45 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:44 pm
Posts: 633
Try marking the edges with a sharpie where it is supposed to sharpened and see where you remove the sharpie marks you made. You could possibly be holding the angle too shallow and sharpening behind it a bit. The sharpie trick tells you really quick if you are on target or off a little bit.

Also, are you looking for the burr or feeling for it? A burr is very easy to feel if you run your finger off the edge of the blade from the direction of the spine. Don't run them down the blade or towards the spine! You risk getting cut that way. ;) Just a simple brush across the edge from either side starting behind the edge and you should feel a difference between each side if you have a burr. The burr side will feel like it is scraping where the other side will feel smoother. You can also pass your knife over a paper towel like you are stropping it and see if either side snags it. That might be safer if you aren't comfortable feeling for it. If you are looking for a burr, it is possible that it is too small to see without magnification. A jeweler's loupe would help in that case: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/45xmimiwled.html
A burr from a 500 grit stone would be VERY obvious for someone that knows how to find it, but for a beginner it might be a little tougher until you get the feel for it. I know with my 600 grit stone the burr is very quickly found, but I can't see it, I have to feel for it. That might say more about the quality of my eyesight than it does about the size of the burr though. lol

As far as pressure, I had good luck keeping a consistent pressure, but many feel it is better to apply pressure when "cutting into" the stone and not applying so much on the return. Just don't bear down on the knife and try to force anything. That's when things can really go south.

Lastly, make sure you are holding a consistent angle regardless of what the actual angle is. You could be starting at 22 degrees but be all over the place during the actual sharpening process. If the angle isn't consistent you'll probably never get a burr to begin with. Just go slow and concentrate on holding the same angle at the edge from heel to tip. Remember that with a curved tip you will need to kick the handle up slightly as you get to the tip to maintain the angle. How much it needs to kick up and when you start raising it depends on the belly of the knife and the severity of the curve. Flatter edged knives like a cleaver or santoku you don't have to worry about raising the handle at the tip, only those with a belly like some slicers and chef's knives. After enough practice you will pretty much lock your wrist into place and hold the angle without thinking about it, but at first there can be a bit of a learning curve involved.


lol, Steve posted and zorro replied in the time it took to write this... I'm posting it anyway! :P


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 Post subject: Re: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:05 pm
Posts: 4
Thanks Guys, these tips are helpful. At least i know I've been going in the right direction. It's just hard to gauge my progress. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow I can spend another hour trying to get this paring knife sharp


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 Post subject: Re: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:17 am
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Don't feel bad or get discouraged, I turned a 10" chefs knife into a 10" butter knife when I first started out. Didn't take long to catch on though.



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 Post subject: Re: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:26 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2094
One of the first knives I learned to sharpen on was a Chicago Cutlery paring knife. Once you reach the edge it will produce a burr. The steel is soft and you have to be careful to abrade off the burr from the other side, not just rip it off. That 22° should be fine, but because the steel is not awesome, you will likely see poor edge retention regardless of the angle. Also, counter intuitively, larger blades are often easier to sharpen. With a paring knife, or even your boner, there is no flat section to get the hang of it and the belly is always the hardest part. You also have less surface to place your hand on to maintain control and get tactile feedback. So be patient, you have jumped in a bit deeper in the learning curve than you might realize but you'll get there. Good luck and have fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:44 pm
Posts: 633
Jeff B wrote:I turned a 10" chefs knife into a 10" butter knife when I first started out.


Sorry, but that made me laugh. ;)

Jeff is right. If you have never hand sharpened knives before it can take some getting used to. I had a leg up when I recently started using a water stone as I had been hand sharpening my knives on whetstones, diamond stones, and strops since I was about 12 or 13. I could already hold an angle, knew about burrs, etc. but I wasn't too comfortable with the "scrubbing" action, plus the lower angle used with my Yamashins took some effort to hold and not raise the back of the knife to the angle my hands are used to. Pretty much anything different than the norm has some learning curve involved, and the only way to learn is to do. I have a Forschner's 8" chef's knife with shiny new scratches in the blade and an angle probably too thin for the metal to hold very long to prove it... lol My Yamashins certainly benefited from it though. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:40 am 
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To appreciate what a burr is, first pick up the crappiest knife you own or get some grocery store knife.

Use a coarse stone. The Beston 500 will do for this.

Using a fairly steep angle just keep grinding on 1 side until you generate a burr - a big obvious one. Use lots of pressure too. You should be able to feel it AND if you drag it on that side of the knife across a paper towel, it should grab the towel and want to pull fibers out of the towel.

Now you know what a burr feels like. From now on you should strive to make tiny burrs.

---
Ken



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 Post subject: Re: Can't feel a burr - what am I doing wrong?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:46 am 

Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:05 pm
Posts: 4
Thanks to everyone for the comments and support back! Ken, I may just use this paring knife to try that burr test. I don't want to make my nice old Case chef's knife into a butter knife ;) Trying to feel the burr is essentially what I was doing trying to do a few strokes on the 140 diamond plate already. Hopefully with the holidays coming up I'll have some extra time for practice. Thanks again all and I hope to report back with a sharp knife soon!


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