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Can you produce great results on a chisel ground blade using a sharpmaker?

Discussion in 'Emerson Knives' started by DRK, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. DRK


    Oct 10, 2012
    Can you produce great results on a chisel ground blade using a sharpmaker?

    If so I would love to get a couple of tips. I seem to be able to get my CQC 7 quite sharp on a sharpmaker, it will cut paper easily but not as cleanly as I would like. I just can't seem to get it as sharp as I can conventionally ground blades and I think I should be able to any suggestions? I use a the sharpie trick, I set a bevel, move to a secondary bevel and then gently remove the burr on the flat side and like I said it is reasonably sharp but ...
  2. CarterR


    Apr 28, 2014
    In my experience, chisel ground blades don't like to slice paper very well unless the bevel is a pretty low angle. The only suggestion I have is try to thin out the bevel a little, which would probably take quite a while on a sharpmaker lol, or get a strop for that extra step to sharpness. Again this is just my personal experience and your best bet is probably a strop.
    Also, if the knife can shave hair pretty clean, it's sharp enough for me ;)
    Hope something I said helps!
  3. DRK


    Oct 10, 2012
    Thanks Carter, I guess that paper a side, when I feel the edge with my fingers it feels sharp but not as sharp as I get my other knives. Maybe stropping is the answer with chisel ground I haven't tried that yet.
  4. Akapennypincher


    Sep 12, 2013
    I would think you could, or should be able to cut paper with a sharp chisel blade.
  5. DRK


    Oct 10, 2012
    I can cut paper with it fine, like I mentioned I am just having trouble getting a really keen edge on it. I marked the whole blade with sharpy and just tried again and I was actually surprised at how far off centre that I needed to turn the blade to hit the edge. So I held that position on both the primary and secondary edge that did actually help quite a bit.
  6. Billy516

    Billy516 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 30, 2007
    I've had a few 7's and found that they all were a higher angle than the 40* on the SM. Try tilting the blade further away from the rod to make sure you are hitting the edge (use the sharpie trick to confirm). Never had this problem with any other Emersons, just the 7. But once I figured it out, I could get it as screaming sharp as all my other Emersons.
  7. DRK


    Oct 10, 2012
    Thanks Billy516 I just discovered that. I put sharpy on the whole blade and kept tilting and tilting, I was surprised how far over I had to get to actually hit the edge.
  8. straitr

    straitr Gold Member Gold Member

    May 29, 2011
    For knives that I don't totally convex with mousepad/sandpaper, I use a Sharpmaker to bring the edge to 20 degrees (labeled 40 edge), and strop from there. Yeah, it can be some initial work depending on the knife, but it's easier and more repeatable than trying to remember what angle to hold your wrist, and 20 degrees works well for me.

    Keep your stones clean, dirty clogged up stones done remove material. Wash with soapy water often and it goes faster.

    My CQC-8 was initially done this way, and it was shaving sharp. Ive sense lightly convexed it for no other reason than I wanted to.

    Good luck.
  9. Akapennypincher


    Sep 12, 2013

    I am guilty of not understanding you post.
  10. Wallaby7747


    Mar 21, 2012
    short answer is yes...long answer is yes :D
  11. DRK


    Oct 10, 2012
    Sorry I probably didn't explain that well.

    With a sharpmaker if you keep the blade at the 12 o'clock position and pull the knife downward on the rod as you normally would, say the 40 degree setting, the knife doesn't make contact with the secondary bevel. You need to tilt the knife away from the rod quite a bit (maybe 10 or 15 degrees) to actually make contact with the edge. Prior to learning this (I guess I wasn't tilting it enough or maybe not holding it in the right position consistently) I was unable to get it really sharp. I could get it to cut paper but in a toothy sort of way, not to just glide through it.
  12. dalefuller

    dalefuller Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    I use a SM and t works fine for me. There was a bit of a learning curve because of the single sharpened bevel (all my Emersons are V-ground), but now it works great. I do the same thing Billy516 said. Find the angle that matches your blade bevel (Sharpie), sharpen the bevel, then take the burr off the backside. Sometimes a strop is really good at deburring the back of the blade.
  13. DRK


    Oct 10, 2012
    Thanks Dale, I will try the strop as well, I am finding the Chisel ground more difficult to sharpen than I thought it would be.
  14. dalefuller

    dalefuller Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Use the 40 deg slot and make sure you're actually hitting the bevel on the SM. The Sharpie can be a real help here. Keep the pressure light. Maybe even try trailing-edge sharpening instead of leading-edge. Emerson's 154CM is fairly easy to abrade so a lot of pressure and high reps shouldn't be needed if the knife gets regular attention. You will probably have to adjust your angle away from 90 deg. All my Emerson's run a bit more obtuse than that.Not to worry, though. The flat side of the CQC7 blade still makes the edge very sharp and capable.

    As far as cutting paper... my Emersons aren't as "slick" there as my Spydercos and BMs and ZTs either. I find that the Emersos work better for me with a slightly toothy edge, so I use the F SM rods and knock the burr off with a strop. After that, I find that they actually cut material as well as, or better than, my more highly refined double beveled edges. For instance, I took my mini-15 to work in the warehouse one day and used it breaking down a few computer workstation setups. That meant cutting through a fair number of industrial (not computer) zip ties that we used to strap power supply cables under steel work tables. The mini-15 ate 'em up with almost no pressure needed. My fine slicer PM2 and Rift and small Seb have to saw through those zip ties when I take them to work. And those other knives will pop hairs when I finish sharpening them.

    Now, I do go very fine, almost polished, on the edges of these other knives, just because I can and it's fun. They pop hairs. They filet phone book paper. They're impressive, at least to me, because it took me a long time to learn to do that. My Emersons just get The F rod and a pretty toothy edge. That makes some difference in the performance of the knives. I know that.

    But you know what? I can't remember the last time I was attacked by a phone book and I had to filet it in self-defense. I do remember how easily my mini-15 handles real world warehouse and home remodeling work... and how easy it is to get it back in shape after the jobs are over.

    My point is just that I've become more impressed by the actual performance of a tool in a real situation than I am by tests that don't really have a place in what I do. I do, however, use paper cutting to check the consistency of the edge on my Emersons. When I cut phone book or printer or newsprint paper now, I'm looking for consistent performance along the entire edge, not how effortlessly the edge slices the paper. A clean cut like you mentioned above that feels and sounds the same along the entire edge is what I'm looking for with my sharpening. I want to make sure that I haven't left a flat spot or a dull spot on the edge. If I've done that well, I find that the Emersons I use will equal any of my other knives in my real usage even though they don't rack up test points like the other brands do.

    Sorry to be long-winded here. I just hold my Emersons to a different standard than I do other knives and I wanted to try to explain that.

    'Course... it could all be in my head, too...
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014
  15. DRK


    Oct 10, 2012
    Thank you Dale for taking the time. That is a lot of knowledge and experience that you have shared and I appreciate it. I also think of my Emerson as working knives particularly the CQC7 and it has been of great service to me. And really like you said I don't expect them to be hair popping sharp, I use the paper more to check the consistency of the edge than anything. I am going to put some of your tips into practice tonight.

    One question that might be dumb but I will ask it anyway is; does it make any sense on a chisel grind to put a micro bevel on the flat side at maybe 10 or 15 degrees? Up to now I have either just stropped or removed the burr by dragging the blade almost flat across the flatter surface of the rod.
  16. dalefuller

    dalefuller Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Some Emerson users do just that by using the SM at 40 deg for the bevel side and at 30 deg for the flat side. I don't, and I don't really see any advantage to a microbevel on the flat side of an Emerson blade. One of the real advantages to an Emerson is that you sharpen one side and deburr the back side. If you've created a micobevel on the back side, now you have to worry about matching it when you're deburring instead of just going with a (nearly) zero angle.
  17. MrPocketsOfSteel


    Mar 13, 2012
    Great post Dale. I didn't realize there was a thread on this as I started one earlier. First time I used the SM on a chisel grind and it was no problem, stropped to deburr and everything was fine. I think I let the horror stories bother me till I just did it. Kind of like taking an Emerson down for the first time. Now to delete my other post if possible. ;-)
  18. akula83

    akula83 Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 19, 2008
    I used the SM white rod freehand as shown using a diamond rod on the Emerson website, just visually match the edge, then stropped on cardboard. The grind geometry does not lend to making it a pure slicer (for me) but will still reasonably cut through receipt paper well.
  19. MatthewSB

    MatthewSB Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2013
    This has been my exact experience, and solution.

    I love the way that my chisel ground '7 cuts, but in a different way.
  20. Akapennypincher


    Sep 12, 2013
    People have mentioned that a Emerson Chisel Ground Blade works differently in the right, or left hand. I ask why?

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