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Is a Global Diamond Steel REALLY WORTH THE MONEY???

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm Currently considering if I should buy a Global Diamond Steel to add to my global set, I already have the minosharp 3 to sharpen my knives but is it worth me importing the diamond steel for honing my knives? Or does anyone know of a product just as good that isn't going to cost me over NZ$400 and won't damage my precious Globals?  

post #2 of 10

Is a Global diamond steel worth the money?  Absolutely not.  

 

First;  Diamond steels are destructive because they're way too coarse and cut way too fast..  If all you want is to maintain your edges between sharpenings you want something in the fine to smooth range.

 

Second:  Even if a diamond steel were not a bad thing in and of itself, Global steels -- diamond and "regular" are overpriced.

 

As a general rule, ceramics are better buys and better performers than steel hones.   The three I like most, in order, are the Idahone fine (aka "1200") ceramic, the DMT CS2, and the MAC Black.  IIRC the MAC -- which is made in Japan -- is available in NZ at a fairly competitive price.  Here, I'd say it's overpriced compared to the other two. 

 

A nice thing about both the DMT and the MAC is that the ceramic outside is cast around an internal steel rod which makes them considerably stronger and less prone to breaking than the otherwise excellent Idahone.  But how often do you drop your rod hone?

 

The DMT which is very well priced (at least in the US) has had a fit and finish issue ever since it first came out, and which DMT -- for some unfathomable reason -- has never remedied.  Many (most?  all?) of the rods have little beads of ceramic blow back from the kiln on them and require a light sanding before use.  However, once that's fixed, the CS2 is an excellent rod.

 

Forschner steel rods are very good and well priced (at least here), but kind of ugly.  F. Dick makes the best steel rods, especially their Dickoron series. 

 

Worth Repeating:  Fine, polished or fine/polished only.  No mediums, no diamonds.  Also: If you're considering a Dick, avoid the oval

 

IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE:  All things considered, you're probably best just sticking with the Minosharp. The final, polishing stage in your MinosSharp3 doesn't give up much to a rod hone in any way other than convenience.  That's ESPECIALLY TRUE if you, like nearly everyone else, don't know how to use a rod properly (steady angle, very light pressure, very few strokes, rapid motion, one direction).  

 

BDL

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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you this advice has been incredibly helpful.

post #4 of 10

BDL do you have any experience with the hand american borosilicate honing rod?   Ive been thinking about pulling the trigger on one to use with my j knives but am unsure if its worth the upgrade over my ceramic hone.

post #5 of 10
Your ceramic has a grit of ~ 1200g. The glass rod is smooth and does not have the sharpening ability of the ceramic. I know some of the glass rods have both smooth and textured areas but a smooth glass rod will have minimal sharpening ability and is more for realignment of the edge

I'm a big fan of balsa wood or leather strops over rods. More surface area contacting the strop. Easier to maintain a proper angle. Can be mildly aggressive or can be as fine as an 1/8 of a micron or less

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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubadoo97 View Post

Your ceramic has a grit of ~ 1200g. The glass rod is smooth and does not have the sharpening ability of the ceramic. I know some of the glass rods have both smooth and textured areas but a smooth glass rod will have minimal sharpening ability and is more for realignment of the edge
I'm a big fan of balsa wood or leather strops over rods. More surface area contacting the strop. Easier to maintain a proper angle. Can be mildly aggressive or can be as fine as an 1/8 of a micron or less

Well, Im stropping all the way to .25 micron spray on balsa on my edgepro at home, but stropping at work is not an option.  Sometimes I do have to hone at work, and was wondering if the glass rod would be a better option for when I need to do so instead of putting my edge onto a 1200 grit ceramic (which would seriously degrade the edge Im putting on with my stropping at home I imagine)

post #7 of 10
I'd say give the glass a whirl. They can be reasonable and should do no damage you finely sharpened edges

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post #8 of 10

I hate to contradict, but I've had an HA borosllicate rod for about 10 years and disagree with almost everything scubadoo said.  HA glass rods ARE expensive, running around $100;; and unless things have changed (and they do sometimes) they're not smooth, but "microgrooved." 

 

Grit numbers aren't univeral.  Idahone's 1200 is roughly equivalent to most 2000 grit Japanese synthetics.  Also, the Idahone doesn't "sharpen," at least not in a meaningful way.  It trues edges which have been misaligned by impact, by straigthening the burr.  Because an Idahone has some texture it will also scuff up a very polished bevel.  The scratch isn't necessarily equivalent you'd get on a 2K stone, it could be more or less -- mostly depending on angle holding and pressure.  Let me be clear though, a fine rod not only won't sharpen it won't do a very good job at polishing out the scratch left by a coarse stone either. 

 

Getting back to the HA rods, they're different from other rods in the sense that the grooves are very precisely cut, the rods are VERY hard and chip resistant, and are extremely stable.  I'm not sure it's fair to say they have a specific purpose, but they do have "best uses" consistent with the finer rod in a two rod system.  You use it as a way of chasing a burr before deburring after sharpening on a 2 or 3K stone, and before polishing; or to true a knife which still has a lot of polish left. I've talked with Keith DeGrau (Mr. HandAmerica) abput this, and that's pretty much how he uses his own glas rod; and for that matter, so do I.  Generally, if your knives aren't good candidates for steeling anyway (too hard, too asymmetrical, etc.), or you don't sharpen to a fair degree of polish, don't bother. 

 

BUT more specifically and as it happens, your knives and sharpening habits fit the HA borosilicate profile very well. 

 

You can use a strop -- whether loaded or plain -- to true as effectively as a rod; however, for most of a rod is significantly more convenient.  I don't fine angle holding easier or more convenient on a strop than a steel.  I accept that some people do, but have some trouble understanding why this would be a problem on a fine, extra-fine, ultra-fine (e.g., "microgrooved") or polished steel as long as honing is accomplished with a few, light strokes.

 

Speaking of which... I think you want to be pretty darn accomplished at using a rod hone before buying an expensive, glass rod.  You can do a half-assed job for a lot less.

 

Bottom Line:  At best an HA borosilicate is a luxury and not a necessity.  Whether you can really make use of it depends on your answers to two questions:  Do you use your steel to chase the burr before deburring?  Are you willing to spend $100 to keep a polish on your knvies for an extra week or so before moving down to your Idahone?  If yes to either an HA glass rod is worth considering.  If yes to both,it's a great idea.

 

Hope this helps,

BDL    

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post #9 of 10

I concede to BDL.  Never owned a HA borosillicate glass rod.  Figured it was a smooth borosillicate glass rod which I've seen on the internet for cheap.  I've been told the average ceramic rod is about 1200 grit.  Don't know about Idahone but BDL is certainly more qualified to comment.
 

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post #10 of 10

The Idahone fine ceramic, by touch anyway, is a little finer than the other ceramics with which I'm familiar.  Idahone lists its grit size comparison as "1200," but the number is very deceiving.  Whenever you look at any manufacturer's published number for hones, stones, strop compounds, etc., you have to ask two questions.  (1) "How accurate is it?;" and (2) "Compared to what?" 

 

As it happens, the Idahone "fine" ceramic is very roughly equivalent to around 2K on the JIS (Japanese) standard.  But, remember you have to interpret that in light of the fact that not all ~2K JIS stones are equal.  IIRC, MAC estimates the MAC Black as 2K, and I think it's slightly coarser than the Idahone -- but I may have mixed up the MAC with the DMT CS2.  Not to veer too far from the subject but all three hones are excellent.

 

If you want to know what that means as a practical matter you have a good sense of how steeling effects edges and bevels in general; and a good sense of how your particular steeling technique effects your particular edges.  The first will control the second but only to some extent.  As a general rule, if you sharpen a knife to a fine edge with a good polish on a very fine stone, then hone it on a rod which is significantly coarser than the stone, the rod will scuff the bevels AND create some serration on the edge.  However, a fine hone usually won't do much to polish a knife which was recently sharpened on a coarse stone; although -- depending on how the knife was sharpened on the stone -- honing can make the knife feel as though it has a little less "bite."  

 

Obviously, there's a lot of variation, and even if I knew them all (I don't) the variance depends on too many factors to analyze, describe or even name in this post.   

Because the contact patch is so small, the forces involved in honing on rod are much greater than when sharpening on a stone or using a strop.  If you're going to use a hone to maintain your knives, I STRONGLY urge that you use it only with the idea of truing edges which have gone out of true, not to "sharpen;" don't bang your knife against the hone; hold your honing angle as steadily as you possibly can; use the edge angle on the hone, never more acute, and only as little more obtuse as you can manage; use very light pressure and very few strokes; never use a coarse and/or diamond rod on a knife you care about; and never hone a dirty knife or use a dirty rod.   

 

Wagstaff's watched me use a rod, and he can testify that my rules and methods really work.

 

You can do a lot of damage to a good edge with a hone, and most people do.  If you want an example how to do it wrong in just about every way, watch Gordon Ramsay.

 

BDL

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