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Using two stones vs multiple stones setup for sharpening

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure if this has been discussed before but I wonder what is the effect in the resulting sharpened edge if the procedure involves just two stones with a big step in the grid (like for example a 1000 and a 6000 waterstone) compared to a system that use grids closely related ( like for example 1000/2000/3000/6000 )

 

I think the 1000/6000 will probably give an edge that has more aggressive teeth that are then polished which maybe would give better bite in the cut.

 

On the other hand the 1000/2000/3000/6000 muplistone setup will probably result in a smoother edge which will also last longer or maybe I'm wrong and the two stone system gives the same edge as the multistone setup but it just takes longer to smooth the rough edge that a 1000 grit leaves using a grid as smooth as 6000.

 

I would appreciate your view on this.

Alex


Edited by alexane - 4/16/13 at 3:53am
post #2 of 24

500/1k/5k is the best set up. 

 

a basic 1k/5k set up is ok as well.

 

the 500 just makes it faster to create a burr and a lot easier when u wanna thin a knife.

post #3 of 24
You could use a single stone for sharpening if you choose, you will just find the stone dishes out quickly from so much use.

The larger the selection, the less wear each stone will have to endure in the sharpening process
post #4 of 24

500 - 1k - 6k is my usual setup.  Once I establish my cutting edge I use 1k & 6k primarily.  I go back to 400 or 500 if I need to thin.  I use a Mac ceramic steel to maintain my edges and a felt block or wine cork to deburr.

post #5 of 24

Alexane,

 

You misunderstand the interaction of sharpening and polishing.  To some extent they are separate processes, but by and large they are part of the same process.  We sometimes use the terms as though their action on the knife were completely different things.  I know I do; and if that's part of your confusion, I apologize. 

 

The abrasives embedded in the stone have a given size.  When the knife is rubbed on the stone, the abrasives scratch the side of the knife, continuing all the way up to the edge.  The resulting scratch size depends on the size of the abrasive.  At the very edge of the knife, the scratches create teeth. 

 

Thus, the size of the teeth are determined by the size of the scratch which itself is a product of the size of the abrasive.  This is true, even if the edge is created by deburring.  

 

However -- and here's where you confusion seems to set in -- this is true for every grit size along the polishing ladder. 

 

When a finer stone is used to polish the knife after a coarser stone was used to sharpen, we use the term "polish" as a way of saying that the finer stone will reduce the size of the coarse stone's scratches.  If the edge is polished out as far as the stone will take it, a new burr forms.  When the knife is deburred, a new edge is created.  And the size of the teeth on the new edge are determined by the size of the scratch left by the finer stone. 

 

Everything else being equal (and it isn't) it will take more works for a 6K surface to bring a 1K bevel to 6K than it will take a 2K surface to bring a 1K bevel to 2K. 

 

But remember: (1) A 2K bevel is not a 6K bevel -- the comparison is apples to oranges; and (2) Some 2K stones are very slow for 2K and some 6K stones are very fast for 6K, so it's not possible to make specific predictions without naming the specific stones. 

 

Some people like to work with relatively small tight jumps between grits.  Others prefer larger.   I find, that for most people, the best strategy is to use the fewest number of strokes through the entire process.  1K to 6K is a fairly large jump, but is quite doable with many stones.  If it weren't, 1K/6K combination stones -- like the ubiquitous King -- wouldn't be nearly as popular as they are. 

 

I find that using a coarse stone, a 500# for instance, for ordinary sharpening -- when the knife doesn't need repair, thinning or other profiling, is counter productive and inefficient.  It is counter productive because a 500# stone not only removes so much metal to create a burr, but requires that a great deal more be removed to polish out the 500# scratch.  It is inefficient, because polishing out the 500# scratch with a 1K - 2K range stone, and pulling a new burr, requires as long as it would take to use the medium/coarse stone to begin with. 

 

Remember, that the process of creating a burr and deburring is NECESSARY, because that's the process by which the edge is created. 

 

Remember also, there's no single best combination of stones for everyone. 

 

As a general rule:  A good 1K stone is an adequate lead in for a good 6K stone.  But if your using a 1K as a rung of a grit ladder which goes finer than 6K, you would probably be best served with an intermediate stone of some type.

 

My water stone kit goes to 8K.  I usually start sharpening on a Bester 1.2K, then use a 3K Chocera to bridge the gap to the Gesshin 8K.  Even though my 8K is very fast for an 8K, it still saves strokes to use the 3K.  1.2K to 3K isn't a more optimal jump than 1.2K to (say) 5K.  Rather, I like the 3K Chocera edge as a final edge for those knives I don't take to 8K, but don't like a 5K edge for any of them.

 

It's helpful to think of stones in terms of their function within a comprehensive set, and at a very general description which balances function against a range of grit sizes rather than at particular grit numbers.  This viewpoint helps to reinforce the idea that particular grit numbers can be misleading and are typically overemphasized. 

 

A generalized kit like mine could be described as:

  • Coarse stone, for profile and repair
  • Medium/coarse, to pull the first burr;
  • Medium/fine - Fine, to pull the second burr and create a refined -- but not necessarily final -- edge; and
  • Extra fine - Ultra fine, to create a very refined, and final edge. 

 

FWIW, my water stone kit, in particular, goes:

  • Beston 500, coarse;
  • Bester 1.2K, medium/coarse;
  • Chocera 3K, medium/fine;
  • Gesshin 8K, extra fine. 

 

Let me tell you about the reasoning behind the kit, so you can get an idea of how much happenstance can sometimes be involved.

 

My old water stone kit was stolen, a long with my Japanese knives.  My oil stone kit was more than adequate for my Euro knives so I wasn't in any particular hurry to replace the water stones, but you know how that goes.  The no particular hurry period didn't last long.  In a sane fashion, I decided on a Bester 1.2K as the "key" stone; and also decided on a Beston 500, a Naniwa SS 3K and a Naniwa Pure White 8K.  

 

A friend of mine, who tried every stone on the market as they came up, wanted to get rid of his Beston, Bester and Naniwa SS 8K.  Since the SS 8K was essentially free, I figured wotthehell, might as well try it.  I mentioned, online, that I was going to fill in the kit with a Naniwa SS 3K, and another friend offered me a brand new Chocera 3K at a price far too good to refuse.  The SS 8K eventually died, and I replace it with the Gesshin because the Gesshin is the best 8K on the market.  I still think the Pure White is better value, but I tried the Gesshin at the JKI brick and mortar, was extremely impressed, could afford it, so wotthehell.   

 

I could replace the Beston, Bester and Chocera with a Gesshin 400 and 2K, and -- because the Gesshins are so fast and have so much reach -- end up with as versatile and complete a set, but the kit works perfectly well as is... so there's no particular hurry.  If you think I'm saying that, as a rule, a 2K can replace a 1K and 3K, you're still mired in numbers which seem to mean more than they actually do. 

 

But if you think that "no particular hurry" may be replaced by "wotthehell" at any time and without prior notice, you're starting to grasp the process.

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by pancake house View Post

You could use a single stone for sharpening if you choose, you will just find the stone dishes out quickly from so much use.

The larger the selection, the less wear each stone will have to endure in the sharpening process


Do you not flatten your stones?

I wouldn't worry about overusing a stone for fear of dishing.

post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexane View Post

 

I think the 1000/6000 will probably give an edge that has more aggressive teeth that are then polished which maybe would give better bite in the cut.

 

Alex

 

I simply don't see this alleged agressiveness that coarse finishes are said to have, in meat or vegy, at least at the relatively acute angles I sharpen at (12 to maybe as high as 20deg).  At the more obtuse angles you may not be able to push-cut through tomatoe skin, but an imperceivably small pull is all it takes.  "Teeth" are said to cut meat better, but I simply don't see it myself.  And polished edges do last longer.

 

I am using a 1-6k at this time, and it simply takes longer than you would intuitively think to polish-out the scrtches from the 1k, but when you only sharpen every month or so (steeling with a ceramic hone in between) which I think is typical for most home-kitchen situations, it's no big deal.

 

You most definitely need a course stone to thin an edge, but you can put that off for quite some time by convexing/multi-angling an 1/8" or so behind the edge with the 1k, or better still using an aluminum oxide/india stone which come cheap as course/[not so] fine, which will also thin your blade with some effort.  Speaking of convexing, I like doing that even with relatively thin blades, going back about .04-.06".

 

Rick

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thank you BDL for taking the time to write such a long reply!

 

So basically I can jump from a medium grit of 1000 to a 6000 and as long as I spend a proper time on the 6000 get rid of all the 1000 scratch pattern/grid and leave the edge with a 6000 pattern, it makes perfect sense.

 

I think I still have a gap on the method I should follow, in a 1000/6000 configuration I raise a burr in both sides with the 1000 , do a couple of strokes in the first side to get rid of the burr and then in the 6000 use alternating strokes (the same amount in each side) to polish the edge instead or raising a new burr.

 

I understand that different methods can be considered correct and give equally good results but I'm also thinking that maybe I should raise a burr in the finishing stone too because it is the only method that can "tell" me when to stop and that I have reached a "polish" that matches of the grid that I use.

I mean I may get the same result doing say 100 alternating strokes but how can I know when to stop, it may take 50 or 80 or 150 strokes but if I do it until I get a burr then I know when it is time to stop, the higher the jump between grids the better it should be to use the burr method instead of doing strokes for a random amount of time.

 

So is raising a burr a valid  method or a burr method can/should be used in all stones apart from the last one (the higher grid)?

For example is a 1000/3000/6000 raise a burr in the 1000 and 3000 but only do alternating strokes in the last stone.

 

Alex

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post

You most definitely need a course stone to thin an edge, but you can put that off for quite some time by convexing/multi-angling an 1/8" or so behind the edge with the 1k, or better still using an aluminum oxide/india stone which come cheap as course/[not so] fine, which will also thin your blade with some effort.  Speaking of convexing, I like doing that even with relatively thin blades, going back about .04-.06".

 

Rick

 

I do intend to buy a coarse stone ( probably a 400 grid Suehiro new CERAX) but I was mainly asking about 1000+ system.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post

I simply don't see this alleged agressiveness that coarse finishes are said to have, in meat or vegy, at least at the relatively acute angles I sharpen at (12 to maybe as high as 20deg).  At the more obtuse angles you may not be able to push-cut through tomatoe skin, but an imperceivably small pull is all it takes.  "Teeth" are said to cut meat better, but I simply don't see it myself.  And polished edges do last longer.


Rick

 

I'm not experienced enough to decide on this , so far I have only sharpened the Tojiro DP petty (7") once and I got better result by doing stropping on the 6000 stone instead of normal strokes , this gave me an edge that was grabbing more on the fingernail test and gave me a better cut in tomatoes too but maybe this was caused by some angle  inconsistency while sharpening and the backstroke which is more gentle is more forgiving.

 

Alex

post #10 of 24
If it is really you're intention to reduce the number of strokes, an intermediate stone between the 1k and 6k will help greatly.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 

My questions was not related to reducing strokes, I just thought that jumping from a 1000 grit to a 6000 would produce a different edge but I was wrong.

 

My last question about raising a burr in high grit is related to what BDL wrote

 

Quote:
If the edge is polished out as far as the stone will take it, a new burr forms. When the knife is deburred, a new edge is created.  And the size of the teeth on the new edge are determined by the size of the scratch left by the finer stone.

I was basically using the burr as a way to know that I have created a V edge with the rougher stone but I wasn't aware that a burr is created only when the edge scratch pattern has reached the grit of the stone and if this is indeed what happens and I didn't misunderstand then this way can be used even in the polishing grits (although the burr will be much finer and maybe trickier to detect).

 

Alex

post #12 of 24
My questions was not related to reducing strokes, I just thought that jumping from a 1000 grit to a 6000 would produce a different edge but I was wrong.

 

Jumping from a 1K to a 6K might produce a different edge than jumping from a 1K to a 3K to a 6K, but won't necessarily.  It depends how thorough you are with the 6K.  The thing to remember is that a true 6K edge (the result of thorough sharpening/polishing) is a true 6K edge no matter what preceded it.  Getting to that true 6K edge can take more or less work and more or less tedium depending on what preceded it.  

 

I was basically using the burr as a way to know that I have created a V edge with the rougher stone but I wasn't aware that a burr is created only when the edge scratch pattern has reached the grit of the stone and if this is indeed what happens and I didn't misunderstand then this way can be used even in the polishing grits... 

A burr DOES NOT ONLY form when the bevel is as fully polished as a given stone will take it.  There are two different kinds of burrs which occur during sharpening; deposit and bending.  One or the other or some combination will ALWAYS form when sharpening an edge where the bevel angles almost meet.  The actual dimension of "almost" may depend -- to some extent -- on the size of the grit.  Coarser stones will create a little further away from an ideal apex than finer stones. 

 

...although the burr will be much finer and maybe trickier to detect.

Detecting even very slight bending and deposit burrs is very simple, once you know what to feel for and how to feel for it.  Detecting a "wire" can be very problematic, but that's a different thing.

 

BDL 

post #13 of 24
Dear BDL, could you explain the phenomena of the burr occurring before both sides actually meet? Especially with steels containing large carbides one will see some apparent burr formation where the sides 'almost' meet. Would you advice to go further until a more evident burr has been formed? With finer stones I don't want a burr to get that large, and would switch sides whenever the smallest burr suspicion occurs. How to be sure about the sides actually meeting?
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

I just watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFhMGJYhYpU

According to Bob Kramer the down force that should be used while sharpening on a whetstone (he is using chosera) is 4-6 pounds (1.8-2.7 kilo) , that seems too high to me (I tried it on a scale), I measured the force that I use and it is definitely less than a kilo (two pounds) , about 500-800 grams.

 

Can you please advise giving an estimation of the proper force that should be used?

 

Alex

post #15 of 24

Dear BDL, could you explain the phenomena of the burr occurring before both sides actually meet? Especially with steels containing large carbides one will see some apparent burr formation where the sides 'almost' meet.

 

According to metallurgy/sharpening experts like Verhoeven, there are two types of burrs formed during sharpening.  They are "deposit burrs" and "bending burrs."  My understanding of deposit burr formation, is that when there's sufficient abrasive action on a sufficiently thin edge, metal splinters are dislodged from the bevel, then flip up and over.  This phenomenon is most evident in grainy alloys. 

 

Bending burrs are formed during sharpening when one of two things occur -- or they occur in combination.   If the edge is sufficiently thin, widening a bevel while the other side remains the same, causes the edge to curl over toward the shorter side.  Put enough pressure on a thin piece of metal and it's going to bend away from the pressure. 

 

Finally, the bevels don't ever "actually" meet.  There are no ZERO thickness edges. 

 

Paranthetically, "bending burrs" can be caused by the impact of edge on anything hard enough, and are sometimes known as "impact burrs."  Those are the burrs we true by steeling (or sometimes stropping).  Note that because of the enormous pressures generated along a small contact patch, that steeling is an EXTREMELY efficient method for chasing a burr during the sharpening process. 

 

Would you advice to go further until a more evident burr has been formed? With finer stones I don't want a burr to get that large, and would switch sides whenever the smallest burr suspicion occurs. How to be sure about the sides actually meeting?

 

Up until your final polishing surface, you want to create enough of a burr that it can be chased and deburred.  Finer stones, used carefully, create finer burrs, yes.  But not to beat a dead horse or anything those burrs must still be chased and deburred.  Once you've created the finest possible edge you can get by deburring, there's not much point in forming another burr.  So, in an ideal world you polish out the scratch left by your pen-ultimate stone using your final stone without creating a new burr. 

 

Unfortunately this world is somewhat less than ideal, and burrs sometimes (usually) happen even if we polish very carefully.  My own experience is that when there's no burr formation with the finest stone or strop, there's frequently rounding over or -- especially with stropping -- a wire.   Detectable or not, assume a burr (or wire) and ALWAYS deburr as your final act in sharpening or polishing. 

 

One of the best way to be sure that the bevels have approached an apex (i.e. "actually met") is by creating a burr, chasing it, and deburring.  The combination of creating even bevel angles with a crisp shoulder which runs parallel to the edge (i.e., no high or low spots); chasing the burr until it flips on every stroke and with very little pressue; and deburring ensures that the edge will be as close to an ideal apex of bevel-meeting as possible.   

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

post #16 of 24
Thanks a lot, BDL, much appreciated.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexane View Post

I just watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFhMGJYhYpU

According to Bob Kramer the down force that should be used while sharpening on a whetstone (he is using chosera) is 4-6 pounds (1.8-2.7 kilo) , that seems too high to me (I tried it on a scale), I measured the force that I use and it is definitely less than a kilo (two pounds) , about 500-800 grams.

 

Can you please advise giving an estimation of the proper force that should be used?

 

Alex

 Cramer's advice here, as well as on steeling, seems completely off the wall to me, haven't a clue where he is coming from, can't believe this is actually how he treats knives.  The only time you'd use pressure like that is when thinning a blade.  Steeling requires practically no pressure at all.

 

Rick

post #18 of 24
I must admit in all humility I don't understand what Mr Kramer wants us to believe. That sharpening is very simple and can be done in just a few minutes? That you don't have to take care about geometry? Burr? One stroke and it's gone, by miracle.
I would count pressure in ounces, not in pounds. My max would be the double of the blade's own weight, and only for the coarsest stone.
The consequences of higher pressure are: risk of a concave edge, not reaching the very edge, edge instability, losing stone feedback.
post #19 of 24

For what (little) it might be worth, I agree with BDL -- and with Benuser about Kramer.

 

I don't understand where Kramer is coming from at all. Setting aside all the more obvious concerns about the knife and edge, this totally ignores what happens if (as in my case) you use principally Japanese single-beveled knives. With that big flat bevel, there is a definite tendency to stick hard to the stone, and this increases the more force you use. If you have ever had a screaming-sharp usuba or yanagiba stick hard down and then jump as it releases, you know how close you've just come to a very serious injury. I say let the stone do the work, and from what I've seen of top-notch Japanese professionals -- including professional sharpeners -- they feel the same way.

 

As to the grinding and grits thing, BDL is very thorough, but a simpler explanation might be in order for non-fanatics.

 

In short: the last stone you grind on produces the polish of the edge, assuming that you grind long and smooth enough to remove any previous scratches. In other words, if you look at the edge under a lens, if every scratch is equal, your knife is polished to the grit of your last stone.

 

The problem is that assumption. In theory, yes, you could grind a totally unsharpened piece of #1 white steel on a 12k polishing stone and end up with a fabulous edge. But this would take an unbelievably long time, and grind your fancy stone to nothing. What's more, the more strokes you use, the more chances there are of a screwup. With a very even single-bevel, like an usuba, this isn't a big worry, but the time and stone factors are pretty serious. With any other kind of edge, where you have to hold an angle accurately, lots and lots of strokes will, human error being what it is, produce a convex rather than flat edge.

 

So the best thing is to use a setup that minimizes strokes, and is effectively tuned to your knives and your sharpening preferences -- and your wallet, of course. I use 400 for coarse, 800 if I feel the need to get a clean slate. Normally I begin at 2k, then 6k, then 10k for the knives that benefit from it.

 

There are lots of theories about how much jump is appropriate at each level, but I've never seen much to support any of them.

 

Hope that's of some value.

post #20 of 24

Kramer is an excellent knife maker and sharpener.  His sharpening techniques aren't mainstream, but that doesn't make them wrong.  Bob Carter, is one of the best sharpeners in the country, and he's somewhat out of the mainstream as well.  And there are tons of sharpeners just as good as Kramer and Carter who use more common techniques and methods.

 

In fact, I don't know many really good sharpeners who don't rely on at least a few seriously quirky techniques.  But since there isn't much overlap, you can readily deduce that the quirks aren't the really important parts. 

 

I find the best way for many people to learn sharpening is by gaining an understanding of how to make the steel at the knife's edge behave in order to form consistently good edges.  Chris uses the same idea-driven approach to learning, improving, and teaching sharpening.  We both sharpen and teach sharpening using the "burr method;" and we both try to teach real understanding and simple techniques.  Our way is not the only way.  It's not the only best way.  It is, I think, the easiest to comprehend of the best ways.  

 

BDL

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Kramer is an excellent knife maker and sharpener.  His sharpening techniques aren't mainstream, but that doesn't make them wrong.  Bob Carter, is one of the best sharpeners in the country, and he's somewhat out of the mainstream as well.  And there are tons of sharpeners just as good as Kramer and Carter who use more common techniques and methods.

 

In fact, I don't know many really good sharpeners who don't rely on at least a few seriously quirky techniques.  But since there isn't much overlap, you can readily deduce that the quirks aren't the really important parts. 

 

I find the best way for many people to learn sharpening is by gaining an understanding of how to make the steel at the knife's edge behave in order to form consistently good edges.  Chris uses the same idea-driven approach to learning, improving, and teaching sharpening.  We both sharpen and teach sharpening using the "burr method;" and we both try to teach real understanding and simple techniques.  Our way is not the only way.  It's not the only best way.  It is, I think, the easiest to comprehend of the best ways.  

 

BDL

murray carter, not bob

post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Kramer is an excellent knife maker and sharpener.  His sharpening techniques aren't mainstream, but that doesn't make them wrong.


BDL

 

I didn't criticize his ability to sharpen knives but the fact is that in the video he recommends a force of 4-6 pounds while using a waterstone and when using a steel to true an edge , does this seem a logical amount of force?

 

Maybe he is just giving a wrong estimation of the force he uses.

 

 

Quote:
Murray Carter, is one of the best sharpeners in the country, and he's somewhat out of the mainstream as well

 

I have watched his videos and the only part that was king of strange to me was his suggestion to not flatten the stone but use the bumps to sharpen in order to eat them away, seems like a hard thing to try and keep a proper angle on a curved bump or valley of the stone but it also depends on the degree of bump I guess, it it still doable though.

http://youtu.be/_InT88SR19w?t=3m37s

 

Alex
post #23 of 24

Besides bumpy stones, Murray (not Bob) Carter uses fewer stages of grit to get to levels of extreme sharpness than almost anyone else.  He goes from cinder block to newsprint, pretty much. 

 

Sorry about calling him Murray "Bob."  The reference to Kramer you see... 

 

Wait til you get old and see what happens.

 

BDL 

post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Besides bumpy stones, Murray (not Bob) Carter uses fewer stages of grit to get to levels of extreme sharpness than almost anyone else.  He goes from cinder block to newsprint, pretty much. 

 

Sorry about calling him Murray "Bob."  The reference to Kramer you see... 

 

Wait til you get old and see what happens.

 

BDL 

 

I detect some facetiousness here.  I quickly figured out using the bumpy stone technique entirely on my own when I saw how quickly waterstones can dish.  As to what Kramer and Carter claim for their sharpening techniques, I have to take that with a grain of salt, particularly Murry who is coming from a tradition famous for its fable-making/tales of supernatural ability.  When someone is selling something, whether it is a line of cutlery and accessories and/or sharpening services, you have to always consider motive.

 

Here is what I call a "suspect"t performance of sharpening skills/methods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTV4ph1LE3c

 

Not that this would stop me from buying a Carter knife, they are well proven.

 

Rick

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