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The grandpa knife edge.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I can work a knife on a nortan tri-stone and get it pretty sharp but I want to know the secrets you guys know to get the holy grail of sharpness which I call the "grandpa edge". I call it that because it seems that only the older guys can get that split a hair in half sharpness on their knife.

Please share your knife sharpening methods.
post #2 of 9
Yes, please.
post #3 of 9
This article, plus the books it references will get you there.

Sharpening FAQ by Joe Talmadge - Knife Articles : Custom Knives - Knife

I have a lot of different tools for sharpening. For the kitchen, I have a diamond stone I touch up blades on most frequently.

When I want to really refine the edge, I use the Spyderco Sharpmaker.

To get a truly wowser edge will take you into stropping for the final finish, most commonly done on charged leather. if you pursue stropping fully, you'll come to the convex edge which I find I prefer. My pocket knives have this sort of edge and I have a few other outdoors knives with full convex grind that are awesomely sharp.

If you want a foolproof way to get a mirror polished edge, the Edge Pro system will do it. My neighbor has one and it produces astounding edges. (He too likes convex edges better though) It's expensive. It's more work than other systems especially on larger knives such as used in the kitchen. Even with this tool, some stropping can still improve things when done properly.

But these sorts of mirror polished edges, while points of pride and awe, are not particularly useful in the kitchen. A toothier edge will last longer and cut more aggressively in the food arena. A garnishing knife would benefit from this highly refined edge.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you phatch. Anyone else want to contribute their secrets?
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
By the way phatch....... what is "charged leather", if you dont mind me asking........
post #6 of 9
Charged leather is a strop that has a fine cutting/polishing compound rubbed into it. Many compounds work.

The most common is green compound such as at Lee Valley. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...84&cat=1,43072

You prep the leather with a solid fat, tallow being ideal. Then you rub the compound on, it doesn't take much. Spread it out as best you can with your hand.The heat and friction from your hand help it dissolve into the strop. And you're ready to strop.

But many metal polishes work. Flitz isn't bad but dries out quickly. I've used some Flitz and some strips of cardboard as disposable strops and been satisfied but it's a very fine polishing compound so your blade had better be pretty dang sharp to start with or you'll take forever to refine the edge.

I have a strop from Lee Valley too. It's well made but you have to be careful in it's use as its easy to chop up the leather strip with the very sharp knives you're stropping. I've got a couple of gouges and chamfered edges in my strop as a result of a few slips.

Mike Stewart has two compounds he uses to finish sharpening knives. His are Black and Green. The Black is referred to as Black Magic because it can produce a thoroughly wicked edge. His Green is just a polishing compound and will not hone. My neighbor has some of this too but I haven't tried it. I do have some of Mike Stewart's outdoor knives and they are the sharpest things I've handled out of the box. I can keep them scary sharp but not as sharp as shipped from Mike.

You can sharpen knives from dull with a stropping technique too which uses wet/dry sandpaper (the kind used for sanding metal). Home improvement stores carry some of this but you'll have more choices at an auto parts store like Pep Boys. This produces the convex edge. Some good instructions on Mike's site are Bark River Collectors Association Convex Guide

When he says a 'hard' mousepad he means HARD. It should have just a little give, more resiliency than give, like leather does.

this technique is fairly inexpensive to get into but you'll consume sandpaper every sharpening session.

Start with about 400 grit and work your way on up to 2000 grit. You'll commonly find grits at 400, 600, 800,1000, 1500, 2000. I usually skip 600. Depending how dull the blad is, I start resharpening at different higher grits.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #7 of 9
You'll find alot of sharpening information with woodworkers. Again, Lee Valley has an excellent choice of materials and tools and a great book on sharpening by Robert Lee, the founder of Lee Valley.

Consistent bevels and going to finer and finer grit abrasives is the path to the holy grail of what woodworkers call "scary sharp". It will take you considerable time, effort, and a drawer full of sharpening paraphanalia to get to this Zen-like zone, I'm only halfway there. But it's a fine trip.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #8 of 9
I have always sharpened knifes on polishing equipment, my dad had it around so I learned how, spent a year in a plating shop polish room, a couple of those boy's where great sharpeners, I took all the training they would hand out.

My finish with is a soft cotton wheel, and a very fine abrasive, will make a good blade scary sharp,

From what I had a chance to see of a leather smiths cutting tools, that had been stropped, they have the same finish.

post #9 of 9
All that equipment and technique.....yikes! Not me. I spend a minute or two with a whetstone or a piece of fine emery cloth wrapped around a 1" by 2", then a few seconds on a ceramic steel. I can usually shave with the knife when I'm done. In truth, I use the ceramic steel to true the blade almost every time I use a knife, so they rarely are ever what one might consider dull.
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