there was one youtube guy who rigged up an inclined mount for his DMT (10 degrees) so that he just had to attack the stone with the blade held flat. seemed to work. he sharpened a zdp 189 spyderco.
Following David's (and others') advice, I got a DMT aligner guide some time ago. So far, I've used it on sandpaper and DMT continuous stones, as a "training" for pure freehand.
I'm very happy with it, especially when resetting a bevel. The only "bad" thing about it is that you will need some practice to learn how to clamp the blade securely, but it won't take long. For about 15 usd, it's a great help for someone who's learning how to sharpen.
I got the DMT Magna-Guide set, and so far so good.
Playing withUsing it and stropping (also new to me), I feel like I've already learned a lot more about sharpening, including understanding how to better use the ceramic rods I already have.
I'm really grateful for the tips (and pictures!) about shimming the DMT clamp and using sandpaper to provide a better grip for the blade, etc.
Would that DMT made a clamp specifically for smaller blades. I'm tempted to semi-permanently mod my clamp, as almost all my sharpening will be on small (and even tiny) blades, but I'm going to hold off for now. Has anyone else done more than add a zip-tie shim, and/or found a way to clamp the smallest blades?
Some of my pen blades seem simply too small to attempt with a clamp, regardless of mods. Yet, I have not figured out how to translate the knowledge and feel of the guided angle (with clamp) into being able to create a consistent angle freehand. Into a consistent anything freehand, for that matter.
I realize "learning to freehand" is one of the most-asked questions around here, and is something undoubtedly much more easily demonstrated than 'splained, but if anyone can give me advice specific on going from the Magna-Guide/clamp to the Duofold(s) alone, I'd appreciate it.
This is a fun learning curve. :-)
I like my Aligner, although you have to be careful not to shear off a little plastic nub when you're setting an angle. I had to glue that piece in place at a fixed angle setting and buy a replacement piece for working with other settings.
I think mine came with three stones and I bought two more.
A4X. black. extra coarse. 60 micron
A4C. blue. coarse. 45 micron
A4F. red. fine. 25 micron
A4E. green. Extra fine. 9 micron
A4EE. tan. extra extra fine. 3 micron
Another thing that seems to work for me, is to pay close attention to how I would hold the blade and hone in each hand, and the stroke used, if freehanding. Then, using the guided system, maintain exactly the same hold on each, with the same sharpening motion, but with the added assistance of the 'training wheels' afforded by the guide & clamp. The idea is to reach a point where the 'feel' is exactly the same between using the guide and not. You might even reach a point where you feel like the clamp & guide are getting in the way of, or restricting, your 'natural' process. As with learning to ride a bicycle using training wheels, at some point, you'll almost 'forget' the guide is there, relying more on the muscle memory of your hands, and the tactile feedback from the hone.
Beyond that, keeping everything slow and firmly under control makes a big difference too. For me, the process always gets somewhat sloppy if I start to rush things a bit. Take each sharpening pass one stroke at a time, and pay very close attention to the feel and the observed results of each and every pass.
I'm going to fiddle around with my Aligner clamp some more, to see if I can work up some ideas for clamping smaller blades. I have three guided systems (DMT, Lansky and Gatco), and I tend to fall back on the Lansky for my smallest blades, because it's clamp seems better suited for them. But, that hasn't kept me from wanting to find a way to make it work with the DMT clamp as well.
Last edited by Obsessed with Edges; 05-17-2012 at 11:44 AM.
Once again, thanks for your thorough and helpful response.
A few observations, and probably more questions:
Taken with this,I used the pad of my index finger, laid very lightly atop the blade, directly over the area of contact with the hone, to feel the change in friction when the bevel became flush to the hone.
HOW MANY HANDS DO YOU HAVE?!
This is probably what I described above as "glass"....When done with very light pressure, it's much easier to notice how much rougher it gets, if the angle gets too high (more on the very edge itself), or if it's too low (contact only with the shoulders of the bevel). When the angle is 'just right' (bevel flush to the hone), it feels much smoother. Especially at the finer grits, it becomes very slick-feeling when the bevel is flush.
Having read your words, returned to the magna-guide, then come back here, it's all making much more sense. Thanks so much.Once this is noticed and recognized for what it means, it's much easier to 'find' flush contact by feel, when freehanding. With enough sheer repetition, making adjustments to the 'feel' becomes almost instinctive and automatic.
After using the clamp to sharpen the wharncliffe blade on my mini copperhead, I took a gander at sharpening the tiny pen blade freehand. While I know I can do better (there are still some inconsistencies, and I'd like to know that I'm keeping the sides even, instead of just hoping), by the time I'd made my attempts and then stropped it, I had brought it to cutting-newspaper-every-which-way sharp. I'm very pleased. :-)
I've found my biggest (identified) challenge so far is going from one side of the blade to the other, and then back again-- to recreate the original angle from that first direction/edge when I return to it.Another thing that seems to work for me, is to pay close attention to how I would hold the blade and hone in each hand, and the stroke used, if freehanding.
Given the size of knives I'm working with and an evidently decent sense of "feel," I reached that point today, but am not yet confident that I've learned all I can from the guided set-up. I'm trying to be patient, but as I said, am enouraged by whatever-went-right with the pen blade this afternoon. I didn't count strokes, use my loupe or sharpie, or worry too much about anything but tactile feedback. Something worked.You might even reach a point where you feel like the clamp & guide are getting in the way of, or restricting, your 'natural' process.
I tried to keep that in mind every time I would either think, "Hey, I got this!" and the next newspaper swipe... wasn't one, or simply felt myself getting sloppy. If you've ever seen the "Making the Board" scene in the movie "Surf's Up," that sums up wherein my temptations lie.Beyond that, keeping everything slow and firmly under control makes a big difference too. For me, the process always gets somewhat sloppy if I start to rush things a bit. Take each sharpening pass one stroke at a time, and pay very close attention to the feel and the observed results of each and every pass.
I'd love to hear what you come up with, if anything. If I hadn't already read about using the zip tie and sandpaper, let alone about keeping the pressure really light (none of which is explained by DMT, nor clearly demonstrated in their videos-- their swipes look, or at least sound, like a fair amount of gung-ho on the stones), I'd be really frustrated right about now, instead of still enjoying the process.I'm going to fiddle around with my Aligner clamp some more, to see if I can work up some ideas for clamping smaller blades.
Oops."This begs a question I probably should have asked much earlier:
HOW MANY HANDS DO YOU HAVE?!
The downside to having used 3 different clamped systems is, I think I had the Lansky and/or Gatco in mind, in my earlier comment about looping a finger over the rod behind the clamp's guide loop. I don't hold the DMT the same way as when I use those, so I see the confusion here. With the other two, I hold the clamp with knife in my left hand (or in a vise, which is obviously more stable), and loop my index finger over the back end of the rod in the loop. With the Dia-Fold & Magna-Guide, I'm holding the handles on the Dia-Fold with one hand, and the handle of the clamped knife in the other. No 'third hand' at work here. Sorry about that.
Having said that, with the DMT setup, I still strive to keep the rod riding in constant contact with only one side of the guide loop, albeit without that extra 'helping hand.'
Last edited by Obsessed with Edges; 05-17-2012 at 11:18 PM.
Still, it wouldn't have surprised me if you did turn out to have three hands; that would explain a lot about your sharpening wizardry.
And since I don't have three hands yet, now I'm starting to wonder if I can somehow manage by holding the knife in my teeth. Something new to 'obsess' over.
The biggest problem I've had with the DMT Aligner is me overtightening the clamp which causes it to flex, changing the sharpening angle. I just ordered a metal Lansky replacement clamp hoping that it'll work (it looks like it will) with the DMT rods and that it won't flex. I'll post in this thread when I get a chance to try it out.
AKA - Spider-Pig
You will not know how many rounds you will need until the fight is over.
Hey guys, any other ideas on how to help shim smaller-ish knives to achieve lower angles on the DMT aligner kit? Alot of my knives fall under the 1 inch width mark which limits the aligner's ability. The zip tie method I'm gonna try on my delica soon. I might also try folded paper the width of my blade and see how it goes...I bought the Aligner kit for my pocket knives, it kinda irks me that my bigger knives (ie fixed blade, kitchedn) get to have the smaller angles because of width!
i sharpened one of my small knives today,used a toothpick as a shim,worked fine
I recently purchased the DMT deluxe aligner, but have not had the positive experience as other members here. It was proficient in getting the straight part of the blade sharp enough to easily cut paper (not sharp enough to shave), but the aligner function doesn't really help much for the curved portion of the blade including the tip. I had to finish these freehand. The clamp was also awkward on skinny blades, didn't give the option for shallow angles without modification, and, just as Hotsteel reported, the plastic nub on mine broke off as well. I ended up giving my sharpmaker another try and this time I got it to work. Getting off track here though, I'm not upset for buying the system because the stones are amazing, but if you really want an idiot-proof system, this idiot says keep looking.
"Remember, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over."
- Frank Zappa
Does anyone have any advice for sharpening recurves on a DMT setup?
DMT offers stones for recurves I believe... Heard they were complete crap though.
Anybody here end up freehanding with the DMT aligner 4 inch stones?
I freehand using DMT stones on some very small blades. Like the blade on a SAK classic. It's not the easiest and the edge isn't the best but it works for my purposes, mostly I just lack the patience to put a really good edge on such a small blade
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