Beginner sharpener

Joined
Jun 29, 1999
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Diamond hones will work on any steel. I've used a set of DMT bench stones for 15+ years and they still cut as well as when new. Freehand is probably the most versatile sharpening technique.
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2013
Messages
362
Wow! That's an awesome gadget there. I'll have to check that out.
How difficult is it to sharpen a cpm154 drop point blade? I've got one on a benchmade mini barrage.

CPM154 is not too difficult to sharpen. The worksharp does have a lot of features, but it's very well made and will get you on the right path for freehand sharpening. It's not the best way, but for a beginner, it's a good option. Good luck.
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
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1,648
I do like the DMT diamond stones a lot too but in this case I would second HeavyHanded's advice. The Norton Crystolon combi stone is an awesome price/quality deal, sharpens also every knife and the slurry can be reclaimed a la HH on paper and used for refinement of the edge, just like a strop. So a 4-in-1 stone, really!
 

bdmicarta

Gold Member
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Feb 16, 2012
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I use a DMT Aligner set for all of my sharpening, I think the basic one is available for under $40 and works very well to set your angles and reprofile. I added a simple homemade strop. I think this is the cheapest setup to easily get your knives sharp.

You can get some simple stones for less, or even sandpaper as some people use, then buy a couple of cheap knifes from a local thrift store to practice on. Once you have learned how to freehand this would be the cheapest setup, but at least at first it won't be the easiest. The DMT setup is much more foolproof.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2014
Messages
31
I found a norton combo stone for cheap and a dmt diamond sharpener for $20 today at Home Depot. Is this the same dmt u guys mentioned? It looks sorta like a butterfly knife design. If that is the right one then I'll pick it up.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
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322
A set of 8" Paper wheels on the HF 6" buffer should run you less than $100 and will do serious work. The only issue is heavy reprofiling jobs.
 

Jason B.

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
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11,089
A set of 8" Paper wheels on the HF 6" buffer should run you less than $100 and will do serious work. The only issue is heavy reprofiling jobs.

I would never recommend a new sharpener to use power tools. Too much can go wrong in an instant and I've fixed way to many blades because of new sharpeners using power equipment. I just finished up 5 Busse knives that were sharpened on a Work Sharp, edges didn't look too bad from a distance but upon closer inspection it was easy to see the over/under grinds, dips, recurves, rounded tips, inconsistent angle.... Very inconsistent angle.

But who cares about all those minor details, it's sharp right?
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
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6,559
I found a norton combo stone for cheap and a dmt diamond sharpener for $20 today at Home Depot. Is this the same dmt u guys mentioned? It looks sorta like a butterfly knife design. If that is the right one then I'll pick it up.

Try to make sure its (the Norton) made in Mexico. If still learning and you're already buying the combination stone, I'd hold off on the DMT. Unless you need a pocket sharpener, you'll be better served holding onto your limited resources till you have built up some skills. You'll develop a much better idea of what tools are a good fit. In the meantime, you can do a great deal with that Norton stone.
 

chiral.grolim

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Try to make sure its (the Norton) made in Mexico. If still learning and you're already buying the combination stone, I'd hold off on the DMT. Unless you need a pocket sharpener, you'll be better served holding onto your limited resources till you have built up some skills. You'll develop a much better idea of what tools are a good fit. In the meantime, you can do a great deal with that Norton stone.

I don't know, I had stones for years and never really managed to achieve the edges i wanted until i moved to the DMT. In my experience, the DMT was easier to learn good-technique and understand the basics of what sharpening really is - being able to hold both blade and hone with ease and watch as the scratch-pattern formed on the bevel... Also the DMT is easier to maintain, just water or spit and a toothbrush to keep it clean, it's easy to see when it's clogged, and yes it is also light & portable. You can be sharpening your knife while sitting on the John ;)

I'd say get both, but only if the DMT is double-sided (i.e. 2 different grits) and sensible grits. If it is single-sided, wait and just get the Norton.
 
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Jun 4, 2010
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I don't know, I had stones for years and never really managed to achieve the edges i wanted until i moved to the DMT. In my experience, the DMT was easier to learn good-technique and understand the basics of what sharpening really is - being able to hold both blade and hone with ease and watch as the scratch-pattern formed on the bevel... Also the DMT is easier to maintain, just water or spit and a toothbrush to keep it clean, it's easy to see when it's clogged, and yes it is also light & portable. You can be sharpening your knife while sitting on the John ;)

I'd say get both, but only if the DMT is double-sided (i.e. 2 different grits) and sensible grits. If it is single-sided, wait and just get the Norton.

I have no issues with DMT or diamond plates in general - they do an excellent job. As the OP stated being very low on cash and still wanting to get something that will work well to learn on and do a good basic job, my personal feeling is the combination stone is a much better choice. It has more feedback, grinds just as fast or faster than diamond plates on most steel, cannot be harmed by using too much applied force. If used with oil (cost insignificant), the resulting mud makes an excellent finish/maintenance stropping compound. And it only costs about $6 or $7 bucks. For the money, nothing else comes close. If one has more to spend, all sorts of good options (DMT among them) exist, but that Norton stone will always be useful.
 

Jason B.

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
Messages
11,089
I don't know, I had stones for years and never really managed to achieve the edges i wanted until i moved to the DMT. In my experience, the DMT was easier to learn good-technique and understand the basics of what sharpening really is - being able to hold both blade and hone with ease and watch as the scratch-pattern formed on the bevel... Also the DMT is easier to maintain, just water or spit and a toothbrush to keep it clean, it's easy to see when it's clogged, and yes it is also light & portable. You can be sharpening your knife while sitting on the John ;)

I'd say get both, but only if the DMT is double-sided (i.e. 2 different grits) and sensible grits. If it is single-sided, wait and just get the Norton.

I have a Norton econo, India and Crystolon, and I can only get decent edges on the India. The other two basically just rough up the edge unless ther is a lot of stropping involved. Now, this could be because I only use them occasionally but I have no trouble with other stones and I use dozens of them daily.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2009
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I'm finding more & more (& more) use for my inexpensive SiC stones. Has taken some time to get a feel for them, and I'm still experimenting with using them dry or soap & water-lubed, or with oil. Most recently, I tried my small 4" SiC stone (from ACE Hardware) with some honing oil, and liked the feedback and the results I got in sharpening an inexpensive paring knife on it. I think I've had a small but very significant breakthrough in being able to quickly find & feel flush bevel contact on hones, at what seems to be just the right pressure. All of a sudden, it's 'working' better for me on these SiC stones, on diamond hones and any other I've tried; I think I've found a universal touch for getting quickly acquainted with any new hone. So much so, I picked up a larger 8" x 2" SiC stone from ACE, as well as a little DMT Fine Keychain hone ('Mini-Sharp') at the same store. Haven't used the larger SiC stone yet, but I'm surprised at how useful the little DMT keychain hone is becoming; it's riding pocket-duty now. :)


David
 

chiral.grolim

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I have no issues with DMT or diamond plates in general - they do an excellent job. As the OP stated being very low on cash and still wanting to get something that will work well to learn on and do a good basic job, my personal feeling is the combination stone is a much better choice. It has more feedback, grinds just as fast or faster than diamond plates on most steel, cannot be harmed by using too much applied force. If used with oil (cost insignificant), the resulting mud makes an excellent finish/maintenance stropping compound. And it only costs about $6 or $7 bucks. For the money, nothing else comes close. If one has more to spend, all sorts of good options (DMT among them) exist, but that Norton stone will always be useful.

This may sound silly, but it wasn't until i could watch the scratch-pattern forming (i.e. with my face close to the contact point) that i really understood how to sharpen well, how to adjust technique based on the tool and the abrasive being used. I couldn't do that with a benchstone, it was too awkward, so it took longer for me to gain a proper understanding of what i was doing right vs doing wrong in various circumstances. Folks come one here all the time having tried various sharpeners, often high-quality ones, without achieving good results even when a cheap hone could get the job done if they only understood how to use it properly. That's why i keep suggesting the DMTs, especially the folding ones, over benchstones or angle-guide systems - they're not too expensive, they're easy to maintain, you can free-hand with them and do so in a way that allows a different perspective on the process, allowing you to see the effect as it happens with the bevel facing you.
So while the Norton is cheaper, might allow for a decent job (depending on the grit), and may even last longer, I still recommend the DMT if the OP can swing it. It's a good pocket-hone and also a good learning-aid. But that's only my experience.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2009
Messages
12,052
This may sound silly, but it wasn't until i could watch the scratch-pattern forming (i.e. with my face close to the contact point) that i really understood how to sharpen well, how to adjust technique based on the tool and the abrasive being used. I couldn't do that with a benchstone, it was too awkward, so it took longer for me to gain a proper understanding of what i was doing right vs doing wrong in various circumstances. Folks come one here all the time having tried various sharpeners, often high-quality ones, without achieving good results even when a cheap hone could get the job done if they only understood how to use it properly. That's why i keep suggesting the DMTs, especially the folding ones, over benchstones or angle-guide systems - they're not too expensive, they're easy to maintain, you can free-hand with them and do so in a way that allows a different perspective on the process, allowing you to see the effect as it happens with the bevel facing you.
So while the Norton is cheaper, might allow for a decent job (depending on the grit), and may even last longer, I still recommend the DMT if the OP can swing it. It's a good pocket-hone and also a good learning-aid. But that's only my experience.

My habits were formed similarly, on smallish hones held such that the cutting edge was oriented so I could look directly into it. Originally started doing this with a Spyderco DoubleStuff pocket hone. I still use any hone of 6" or smaller in the same manner, including my 6" Norton Economy stone. I might even try out my 8" x 2" SiC stone this way, though my 'hold' on it will have to be adapted somewhat. I've ordinarily spanned the 6" or smaller hones lengthwise, between thumb and middle/ring fingers, with my index finger folded underneath to support it.

I've also liked the above 2-hand method, because I feel the feedback is better, and adjustments made more easily, when I'm 'sensing' what's going on with both hands from opposite sides, as opposed to trying to feel everything from above with one hand on the blade, and the hone on a bench.


David
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2014
Messages
31
Thanks a lot guys. I'll be getting the norton and the DMT next week. We have our Christmas shopping done and hours are about to pick back up at the plant so there's no reason why I can't get both. I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions for u guys then.
 
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