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Easier and quicker sharpening with the KME & Sharpmaker?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Cscotttsss, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Cscotttsss


    Mar 3, 2015
    I'm busy with work, young children and other hobbies and I don't have a lot of free time to sit around and sharpen my knives. I'm trying to come up with a plan to make the sharpening easier and faster.I currently own the KME system with standard stones and a Spyderco Sharpmaker with the standard stones. I also have a knivesplus strop block although everytime I strop it seems I dull the blade rather than sharpen it.

    Most of my knives 70% are Spydercos with a factory edges or sharpened with KME set to factory edges. The other part of my collection are several Benchmades, a couple ZT's and a bunch of Kershaws that rarely get any pocket time. I work in an office environment so very few of my knives get hard use, other than a few fixed blades for outdoor activities.

    In the past I've tried to document what angles each of my folders have been sharpened to on the KME. My ultimate goal is to set all my Spydercos at one angle, BM and others at either the same or other angles on the KME and touch them up on the Sharpmaker. I know you can flip the KME around to go below the 17 DPS.

    So, recommendations? Should I sharpen everything at a 17 DPS on the KME or flip it to do 15 DPS and touch up with the 30 degree setting on SM? If I stay at 17 DPS what setting and rods should I use to touch up? I'd rather not spend any more money on sharpening equipment at the moment and I think I can get everything hair popping with what I have.

    The more I ponder this the more I'm overthinking it, and I know it's pretty simple. So, what is my best option to save headache and time?
  2. Lapedog

    Lapedog Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    The angle of the sharpmaker rods has to he higher than the total angle inclusive of the edge. If you sharpen the knife to 17 degrees per side and then use the 30 degree setting on the sharpmaker the sharpmaker won’t be hitting the apex. For 17 degrees per side you have to use the 40 degree jig on the sharpmaker.
    Cscotttsss likes this.
  3. BruceMack

    BruceMack Basic Member Basic Member

    May 20, 2015
    With the Lansky and now the KME I like taking the angle below 15° and then using the Sharpmaker 15° setting to micro bevel. This more acute edge will slice well, allowing for blade geometry, and there will be no need to resharpen with the KME unless you ding it. As stropping does not work for you, consider adding ultrafine rods to the Sharpmaker.
    taste.blade likes this.
  4. Bob6794


    Apr 21, 2013
    Could always get diamond rods for the Sharpmaker and set them all to 15 dps and call it a day. Even with diamonds it will take awhile to reprofile on a Sharpmaker unless it's pretty close already. Afterwards life will be easy for touch ups.

    I just touched up 12 kitchen knives and brought them back from dull to sharp in the course of an hour. Only took that long because I had to reprofile 2 of them, the others were at 20dps from the electric worksharp. This is with using the diamond and medium rods on the Sharpmaker.

    Than leave the kme in reserve for major reprofiles to get you close to the Sharpmaker angle. No matter how you cut it the Sharpmaker sucks at reprofiling, but maintaining and edge it excels at.
  5. Haffner


    Feb 13, 2007
  6. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    If you haven't already, put a clinometer app on your phone. Mark your Spyderco bevel and make some passes until you've removed the ink. Then rest the edge of your phone on the stone holder while it is on the knife bevel. I think you'll find you're not really 17 degrees but at 15. I know what the hash marks say but I've sharpened a bunch of Spyderco's and other knives with 15 degree bevels with the KME just as is.

    When you say "standard" stones for the KME are you meaning the diamonds or the the ceramics? I bought mine way back when the ceramics were the standard offering but these days it comes standard with diamonds. The standard diamond kit should do you pretty well for regular sharpening. A 140 is nice for re-profiling. One thing I had to learn was to not take as many strokes as I started out with. I'm talking the "refining" strokes. I was doing something like 20 on this side, flip, 20 on that side, flip, 15, flip 15, 10, flip, 10, 9, flip 9, etc. And then doing like 20 single strokes per side. And I was doing that for every stone. That was all well and fine for those high polished edges I thought I needed so bad but had very little practical impact. I don't do nearly that much work any more and quite often I stop on the 600 grit diamond.

    Now, I know you might hate this answer, but free handing is faster. At least, when you know what you're doing and have confidence. The KME is a great way to build that knowledge and an awesome system for setting bevels, challenging steels, etc. But, overall, free handing is indeed faster.

    Some of this is why the super-duper, razzoo, uber-high vanadium steels just don't appeal to me.
  7. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    is freehanding an option? it's the most efficient method imho
  8. CasePeanut

    CasePeanut Gold Member Basic Member Gold Member

    May 25, 2018
    agreed that the KME and Sharpmaker are great for setting bevels, but touching up is so much faster on a bench stone. A cheap hardware store stone or one of the excellent baryonx stones will set you right in a fraction of the time it takes to set the KME up precisely.
  9. aleforme

    aleforme Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Personally, I would set everything at 17 dps on the KME and then use the 40 dps slots on the Sharpmaker for maintenance. Or go lower than 15 dps on the KME and use the 30 dps slots on the SM.

    Touchups will be very easy with the micro bevels. You can always put them knives back on the KME every 6 months to a year or so. Keeping all your edges consistent will lead simplicity. Keep it stupid simple in other words given you are trying to speed things up.
    Cscotttsss likes this.
  10. Cscotttsss


    Mar 3, 2015
    Good info, I've got an angle app on my phone so I'll try this. I'm also going to purchase an angle cube as well.

    Just so we're on the same page, you're saying that you set the KME to the lowest setting @ 17 degrees without flipping it around and it ended up being more like 15 degrees? That's good to know as this is probably the route I'll take.

    Sorry, yes I have the diamond stones for the KME.

    Thanks for the help.
  11. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Essentially, yes. I have never inverted the carrier yet have no trouble sharpening 15 degree bevels. I would recommend considering the pen jaws as well. With narrower (edge to spine) knives, the lower angles can be an issue with the standard jaws.

    I use to check the angles but basically gave up on that. I just don't really find it necessary. I mark the edge and adjust until I'm removing the marker along the entire edge. If I want to bring it down, then I just drop it down a notch or two. Now, that gets hard if it's already at 15 degrees and that might require the flip.

    Let me know what you find.
    Cscotttsss likes this.

    NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 14, 2017
    I've never owned one of these however I know a lot of people like & swear by em'. From what I can tell they use a very soft (looks like chap leather). This kind of leather normally has a fair amount of give to it so you're gonna want to use a lower angle and very light pressure.
  13. Cscotttsss


    Mar 3, 2015
    Thanks, yes I considered the pen jaws a while back but never pulled the trigger. I'll order them to have on hand.

    Yes, I've used the lightest pressure possible but still seems like I just can't get it to work correctly.

    NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 14, 2017
    Hmm, well I could understand it doing nothing but using very low angle and very light pressure normally won't round or dull an edge like that. How sharp is it prior to stropping and what kinda steels are you working with?
  15. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    It might be that you have a little bit of a wire edge left on the blade and that is what makes it feel very sharp and then the strop is deburring it and making it feel not as sharp. If that is the case, it would mean your apex isn't completely true off your stones, at least the last one. And, if that is the case, then you'd want to make sure you're hitting the entire bevel (use a marker) and that you finish with very light, one-direction, single passes, alternating sides with each stroke.

    Just a thought of what might be happening. Don't get flustered, you'll get it sorted out!
    NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY likes this.

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