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Thread: Guys! I can sharpen knives!

  1. #1
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    Guys! I can sharpen knives!


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    I'm kind of excited. I sharpened up one of my knives today, and tried to shave with it - normally it doesn't work, or it takes too much effort. But I cleanly shaved my arm with a freshly sharpened knife! I can finally sharpen properly!


    And just so this thread isn't a total waste of space, how long did it take you to reach this point in your abilities?
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  2. #2
    Congrats, before ya know it you'll be whittling hair.

  3. #3
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    It will never be the same feeling again.

  4. #4
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    unfortunately "sharp" is a sliding scale

    Years ago, when i couldn't make a knife push cut paper, shaving sharp was sharp enough and kinda mythical to me. I certainly couldn't do it, but i knew people who could.

    Now, i can do shaving sharp with no problem, and i'm an whole new quest. I am finding the quest for the "hair whittling edge" to be quite frustrating.

    I invested in a Wicked Edge in the hope that i will be able get there

    I have now come to believe that the term "sharp enough" is really best defined by "one level sharper than i am capable of achieving right now"

  5. #5
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    congratulations! Welcome to one of mankind's oldest skills
    dull knives suck.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by machine26 View Post
    Congrats, before ya know it you'll be whittling hair.
    WHITTLING HAIR! You guys are killing me. I am still working on paper. It's kind of like getting a under graduate degree just to hear everyone now wants a maters....now you are talking about a PHD.....Ahhhhh.

  7. #7
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    Good job, Grease.

    What are you using to sharpen your knife?


    "Cataloguing my virtues won't work either... I hold them to a minimum so they're easy to keep track of." -Jim Rockford

  8. #8
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    That's always a tremendously satisfying skill. It took me about a year of sharpening freehand before I could consistently produce a shaving sharp edge. Then I picked up a Sharpmaker with some extra fine stones and refined it a bit more. Now I have an Edge Pro and I worry more about what angle to reprofile the edge to cor best retention and lowest amount of friction without chipping or rolling. Although using the Edge Pro does feel a lot like cheating as the edge I get has a heck of a lot more to do with the equipment than with my skill.

  9. #9
    Congrats, dude!


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  10. #10
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    It took me about six months of genuine effort to get from barely shaving to tree topping and I would not have been able to do it without this forum. There are a lot of masters (I'm not one of them) who will respond to threads and offer advice. Read old threads as well. And congrats, you are on your way but you will find as soon as you reach one milestone you are seeking another. I'm presently trying to get my blades where they can push cut hanging toilet paper like Murray Carter does but that may take awhile.

  11. #11
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    I recently have achieved my first true free-hanging hair whittling edge. All it took was adding a micro-bevel from the sharpmaker all the way up to the ultrafine stones. High resistance steels such as s30v have been trouble some for me. I can get it shaving sharp, but not hair whittling sharp. Its easy to refine an already existing edge to hair whittling, but to re-profile an edge to hair whittling is much harder. Sharpening carbon steels on my arkansas stones, however, has been a breeze and I get fantastic results on 52100 steel.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bladenoobie1 View Post
    I recently have achieved my first true free-hanging hair whittling edge. All it took was adding a micro-bevel from the sharpmaker all the way up to the ultrafine stones. High resistance steels such as s30v have been trouble some for me. I can get it shaving sharp, but not hair whittling sharp. Its easy to refine an already existing edge to hair whittling, but to re-profile an edge to hair whittling is much harder. Sharpening carbon steels on my arkansas stones, however, has been a breeze and I get fantastic results on 52100 steel.
    what micro-bevel or reprofile has to do with sharpness?

    OP - congrats on the milestone! Next is to ensure that edge stay at that level of sharpness longer. Cut up a few pages of newsprint and if it's still shavable, voi'la congrats again!

  13. #13
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    Good on you Grease,...Keep it up

  14. #14
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    Sharp is when you cut yourself and don't even realize it until you see the blood.

  15. #15
    I got shaving the first time I used a stone ( diamond steel) now I have edges that do this-

  16. #16
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    i am hoping that my Wicked edge will up my game substantially. I have everything they make up to the 1600 ceramic and then 2 sets of strops so i'm really hoping i can go from really sharp (which i can do now easily) to obscenely stupid sharp

    i know it's crazy, but i'm willing to spend 2 hours at my dining room table sharpening a knife if that's what it takes to make it absolutely PERFECT

    if it's not perfect, it will bug me until it is

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Grease View Post
    I'm kind of excited. I sharpened up one of my knives today, and tried to shave with it - normally it doesn't work, or it takes too much effort. But I cleanly shaved my arm with a freshly sharpened knife! I can finally sharpen properly!


    And just so this thread isn't a total waste of space, how long did it take you to reach this point in your abilities?
    Longer than I care to admit. I spent a long time sharpening blindly without understanding the plastic deformation characteristics of steel (mainly the burr) or how a steel apex is formed, and I had a lot of very disappointing experiences like working all night to achieve a mirror polished primary bevel, only to find that the edge I created wouldn't slice 28 lb laser printer paper (not kidding). And then there was the first strop I made from a leather belt. I meticulously loaded it with compound, and then I'd spend hours stropping the hell out of a knife I'd just spent hours sharpening, only to make it increasingly dull (and frustrating the hell out of myself in the process) because I didn't understand the way a strop dulls an edge by rounding over under pressure and slack...

    I'll stop now... these are very bad memories that I've tried to block out...

    That said, I'm glad I learned free hand. I often compare sharpening to shaving. The degree of control, feedback, and creativity that free handing (like wet shaving) gives you makes it a completely different process. The free hand process gives you wings and lets you fly; that's how I'd describe it. I own a sharp maker with all the rods, and I'll never go back to it. Not because it doesn't work (because it does work), but rather because I need the feedback and communication with my edge and the stone. Not being constrained by a guiding system, you become your own guide and communicate freely with the steel and the stone. That is very important to me now.
    Last edited by Magnaminous_G; 10-27-2012 at 09:38 AM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by JWRobinson View Post
    I'm presently trying to get my blades where they can push cut hanging toilet paper like Murray Carter does but that may take awhile.
    Actually, Murray Carter can't push cut toilet paper (or rather, his normal sharpening routine can't, and he doesn't care to try anything else). He admits to such in this video (at 10:47) but he doesn't seem upset about it (continued after the break):



    I agree with him. The degree of refinement needed to push cut toilet paper produces an edge that will not last and is easily damaged. (That said, Murray's edge in the video does almost push cut, with very little sawing). He makes the excellent point at 11:28, when he says, "Of more interest to me is how does this thing shave?" Sure, he could take it to the next level with sub-micron pastes on balsa, but an edge like that has no practical application for him (or me or anyone I sharpen a knife for). But if someone wants to do it as a challenge, then whatever floats their boat.

    EDIT: I don't remember which one, but in one of JDavis' (CrimsonTideShooter here on BF) videos, he also comes to the conclusion that that level of refinement is useless because the edge doesn't last. I'll try to find it and post if I don't forget or get bored trying. :P
    Last edited by Magnaminous_G; 10-27-2012 at 11:01 AM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by david tn View Post
    WHITTLING HAIR! You guys are killing me. I am still working on paper. It's kind of like getting a under graduate degree just to hear everyone now wants a maters....now you are talking about a PHD.....Ahhhhh.
    Once you can put a shaving sharp edge on it break out the strop, you'll have a hair whittling edge in no time.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maniacal Pete View Post
    Good job, Grease.

    What are you using to sharpen your knife?
    DMT's credit card diamond plates. I go truly freehand, holding both the knife and the card in my hands as I sharpen.

    I need to get a strop put together now...
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