204 Base?

Discussion in 'Spyderco' started by mr44, Apr 10, 2000.

  1. mr44


    Dec 16, 1999

    I'm sure someone must have brought this up before, but is the 204 plastic base avaiable separately? I've got my four month old 203 here, purchased from my local dealer before I even knew the 204 existed. Now I feel screwed because that extra 30 degree bevel would be really nice to have, but damned if I'm going to go buy a new 204 when I've got these brand new ceramic triangles here.

    I recently tried to sharpen up my Nimravus and after thousands of strokes it's still just as dull as when it came from the factory. I believe that the edge is too thick, and thinning it down would fix this problem, but I can't very well do that with a fixed 20 degrees now, can I? BTW the 203 works great for most of my other knives.

    On a related note, has anyone thought of, or actually rigged up some kind of variable angle "thingy" to hold the ceramic sticks? I was thinking of some kind of hinged arrangement clamped to a table with a protractor setup so that the angle of each stick would be continously variable...

  2. storyville


    Aug 11, 1999
    Hi Mr44,

    The 20" angle is a *guide* which can be altered. You can, for example, turn your hand just slightly in toward the ceramic stone for a sharper angle. Or, equally, you can place a thin block or magazine under one end, for the same effect -- except that you'll need to switch it around to sharpen the other side of the edge. Or, you can use the stones freehand (which is what many folks who use the Sharpmaker "intuitively" learn to do, anyway).

    How do you know that you're holding the "right" angle? Use the trick that many of us have learned from Joe Talmadge's great sharpening FAQ here on Bladeforum: mark the edge with a black (or whatever color) felt marker. Swipe the blade lightly but firmly, check the marker ink, and modify accordingly. If you've removed ink from the higher (spine) part of the edge bevel but left ink along the edge itself, you know that your angle was too steep (i.e., you left the edge untouched). If you've removed ink from the edge but not on the top of the bevel, then you angle may be too shallow. When you start to consistently get a clean swipe which removes ink evenly along the edge, then you've got it down!

    I've probably made it sound more difficult than it is. It's actually quite fun because you're learning a good, basic skill. Once you've got it down, it won't matter much whether you have the 203 or 204, as you'll know how to determine angles freehand. The set angles then will not but a crutch but a convenience, and the true "guide" will be with you always -- etched in your memory! Sort of like that difference between having a fishing pole vs. learning how to fish.

    Sorry for carrying on. Hope that helps --

    PS You might want to practice for 30 mins or so with a cheap knife. Those first 30 mins of concentrated effort really make a difference.

    [This message has been edited by storyville (edited 04-10-2000).]
  3. David Rock

    David Rock

    Oct 3, 1998

    Using the 30-degree angle (15 degrees per side) of the 204 sharpmaker won't speed up the sharpening process. It will take substantially longer using the more accute angle. You'll get better cutting performance, though, if you have the patience to stick with it. I like having the 30-degree option, but for serious re-profiling of a new Benchmade, I prefer to use a coarse diamond hone (DMT extra-coarse benchstone) rather than the Sharpmaker. Angles notwithstanding, the Sharpmaker rods simply aren't coarse enough to remove a lot of metal quickly.

    I believe the 40-degree angle will be sufficient for the knife in question, for most normal applications. If you get in a hurry, try leaning an extra-coarse benchstone against the sharpmaker stick and sharpen one side of the blade at a time.

    David Rock

    AKTI Member # A000846
    Stop when you get to bone.

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