Edge Pro sharpening (being updated occasionally, July 2020)

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by miso2, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hi all,

    I would like to post my sharpening procedure with Edge Pro Apex and to hear how other Edge Pro users sharpen their knives. I hope that information here would help improving my sharpening and may also help others using the apparatus.

    (Update has constantly added to this post. Check out below.)


    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    Abrasives used:
    #150 diamond stone from Gritomatic
    #240 (60 micron according to the Grant Grit Chart), #320 (46 micron), and #400 (40 micron)
    silicon carbide stones from Congress Tools (Moldmaster)
    #600 (10 micron) aluminum oxide stone, #1,000 (4.5? micron) ceramic rod, and #2,000 polish tape from Edge Pro
    Diamond suspension (1 micron) from Precision Surfaces International
    Pikal for stropping (aluminum oxide, 3 micron), which might be available only in Japan, but other
    stropping compounds can be used.​
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    Pikar is applied on a leather sheet mounted on a plate. Diamond suspension is deposited on a #2,000 Edge Pro polish tape.
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...5VN-sharpening-issues?p=17036037#post17036037
    Inspect the flatness and thickness of the stones before use. If they are not flat, use a diamond plate, sand paper on a glass plate, or Edge Pro leveling kit to flatten them. If the thickness differs, sharpening angle would change at each stone. You need to compensate for the difference using either an angle cube or an adjustment collar (see the discussion below).

    The point of this method is to create scratch marks with a coarse stone (either #320 or #400) and to keep them as much as possible on one side of the edge. The final burr removal on the strop would lightly polish one side while mostly leaving the other side coarse. I believe this results in a kind of toothy-polished edges or micro-serration. The image of a plane below partially shows the idea, although one side would not be fully polished like the image.
    [​IMG]
    (courtesy of seisakunohibi.blog.so-net.ne.jp).


    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    Procedures (The stones are soaked in water with a drop of dish soap for a couple of minutes before use. )
    I do not apply pressure to a stone but just rely on the weight of the stone and the Edge Pro arm.
    Strokes are edge-leading strokes with stones, tapes, and rod, but edge-trailing strokes with strops.
    I also just rely on the weight of a knife for stropping.


    1. Bevel setting
    #150 raise burr (typically 5~10 strokes on each side unless reprofiling), then deburr with alternate strokes.
    #240 raise burr (typically 5~10 strokes), then beburr with alternate strokes.

    2. Sharpening (start here for resharpening)
    #320 about 10 strokes on each side until a burr raised, then deburr with alternate strokes.

    3. Deburring and refinement
    – For S30V, S35VN, and S110V
    Lightly polish with 1 micron diamond suspension deposited on a #2,000 Edge Pro polish tape.​
    – For low vanadium carbide steels[/B]
    #600 very light strokes on each side until the friction from a burr cannot be felt.​
    (Do not overdo in both cases. A few swipes on each side should be sufficient. I do more swipes on the side, which would have a burr after the step 2. S110V requires little more work.)

    4. Stropping
    Strop (Pikar on leather), light strop with a raised angle, 5 strokes on the side with burrs. Inspect the edge for burrs.
    Strop (Pikar on leather), llight strop with a raised angle, 2 alternating strokes.
    Strop (Pikar on leather), light strop with a low angle, 10 alternating strokes with a few crisscross strokes.

    5. Wire-edge removal
    Draw the edge on hard wood twice and then on thumb nail with a light pressure to remove any remaining wire edge.

    6. Final refinement
    Strop (Pikar on leather), light strop with a low angle, 5 alternating strokes.
    Strop (linen), light strop with a raised angle, 4 alternating strokes.
    Strop (linen), light strop with a low angle, 5 alternating strokes.​
    Burr inspection is done by eye at low grit stones (up to #400), and then by fingerprint rubbing.

    The extensive strop steps may not be necessary but seem to improve the edge as nicely described in https://scienceofsharp.wordpress.com/.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

    Edge (coarse side) after sharpening (Spydiechef, LC200N), showing scratches made by the #320 stone mostly intact.

    [​IMG]


    Grit Progression from #150 to diamond suspension (1 micron) on the polished side of S35VN (Boker Exskelibur). The other side retains most of the scratches from #320 (not shown).

    [​IMG]
    (This edge is over-polished with the diamond-loaded film to show the effectiveness)



    On a good day and with a good steel, I can get a hair whittling edge, which last some time. The video below demonstrates such an edge.





    I am able to achieve this kind of edges with M390, LC200N, XHP, S30V, S35VN, S110V, M4, ZDP-189. ATS-34, VG-10, and carbon steel also take very fine edges but loses them quickly.

    Let me know how you use your Edge Pro and what kind of results you get.
    Thanks!



    Update (July 21, 2019):
    I wanted a quick way of getting a nice coarse edge and found one I think.
    (1) Bevel setting/sharpening with #150 diamond or #240 silicon carbide stone until burr raised.
    (2) Deburring on the stone with alternating light edge-leading strokes as much as possible.
    (3) Deburring on DMT EEF stone free-handed.

    The edge can be refreshed on DMT EEF a couple of rounds.
    This procedure gives a hair-whittling coarse edge on most of steels easily.

    [​IMG]


    Update (July 1, 2020!):
    I have been using the above combination of #150 Venev diamond and DMT EEF since then.
    It works really well and quick to set the edge.
    Also, the EEF stone removes the necessity of using a strop.
    See a recent discussion of the coase-to-extra-fine method and the DMT stone.
    https://www.bladeforums.com/threads...ra-extra-fine-possible.1725827/#post-19753813

    I also found that you can revive the edge with EEF more than a couple of times, probably a couple dozen times (a few strokes on each side at a time).
    Since the stone is very portable, you can get a hair-whittling edge in a minute whenever you want on the go.

    One downside of this method I have found so far is that the coarse diamond stone sometimes generate micro-chips.
    I just got the Edgepro matrix diamond #240 and will be testing it.[/B]
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 6:34 AM
  2. Raymond3

    Raymond3 Gold Member Gold Member

    487
    Jan 18, 2006
    Hello Miso,

    Thank you for posting your process for using the Edge Pro. You made some interesting suggestions.

    My process is similar to yours with some exceptions.

    Here is what I may do different:
    1. When going through the various stages, i do not use a predetermined number of strokes. I inspect for final removal of any remaining scratches of the previous stone, and being confident of a new micro burr having been formed before progressing to the next grit level.

    2. Depending on the knife and its purpose, i may only proceed to a 400 or 600 Congress SC stone (or similar Edge Pro or other stone or diamond PSA) followed by a short stropping on a loaded strop using green compound to remove the final burr. During the first stages, I will apply pressure and use both edge leading and trailing strokes. I have found that if I am very precise about holding a consistent angle, and by lightening up on the final strokes on the stone, this edge can be excellent for most knives that will be used in hard use situations, such as extensive cardboard cutting.

    3. On knives that I want a hair cutting type edge, I will usually use a longer progression of finer stones (maybe up to a 10,000 Chosera, Ozuku Asagi or Shapton 30,000 on Edge Pro plates) before any stropping with either the Edge Pro paper or loaded leather or micro cloth. Final strokes are edge trailing. The green compound that I use is rated for about .5 micron. For the final edge on these knives, Ken Schwartz's diamond sprays are excellent. A new favorite is his 0.025 micron diamond spray on nano-cloth followed by stropping with regular paper, then photo paper taped to a Edge Pro plate with glass. Depending on the steel, some knives and all razors finished with this final process should pass the level 4 or 5 HHT.

    4. For the harder steels, like K390 or S110v, i have really enjoyed using the 3M PSA (Pressure Sensitive Adhesive) diamond strips on Edge Pro plates. The are super consistent in grit size, very fast cutting and can be used dry which prevents some of the downsides of stones which form a slurry. You should be able to get those delivered worldwide. A favorite source is Precision Surfaces International http://www.psidragon.com/ Consider starting with
    PSI-1530D-6A 3M DiamLapFlmSht,3inx6in,PSA,30mic,TypeA
    PSI-1515D-6A 3M DiamLapFlmSht,3inx6in,PSA,15mic,TypeA
    They come in 3x6 sheets which can be fitted for the 1x6 Edge Pro plates very easily.

    5. I usually keep the same angle throughout the sharpening process. If i do put on a micro-bevel, it is usually only at the final step in the process for that particular knife. That applies to both free-hand sharpening as well as using the Edge Pro or the Hapstone Pro Gritomatic, which i really like.

    Thank you again for your post. Sharing methods and experiences like this helps our whole community.

    Best,

    Ray
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  3. vilePossum

    vilePossum

    Jan 14, 2015
    Hi miso,
    Once again thank you so much for your well thought out and written post. I always look forward to your reviews.
    Also thanks to Ray for adding his own experience to this.
     
  4. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hi Ray,


    Thank you very much for the precious info! I am really glad to learn that PSI can ship microabrasives internationally. I will definitely get some.

    Your procedure for making a course edge (2nd bullet) seems simpler than mine. Could you share your tricks for burr removal with us?
    The reason I added the ceramic rod and extensive strop steps was that I could not completely remove a foil burr (or wire edge) on stones, particularly on S30V and S35VN. They seem to develop hair whittling edges with a good bite right off stones, but these edges go quickly by just one swipe on cardboard and show some edge rollings under intense light. I tried raised angles on stones, but this seemed to just push the burr to the other side (or develop a new burr) for these steels. Burrs are very sticky on these steels!

    And your polishing procedure….. very meticulous! My method can make an edge HHT3, probably little close to HHT4, at most on some steels. I should really try your method at some point to see the best of best.

    Thanks again for sharing the info.


    Miso
     
  5. singularity35

    singularity35

    Mar 1, 2010
    Hair whittling edges don't last. Especially on high carbide volume steels.
     
  6. Raymond3

    Raymond3 Gold Member Gold Member

    487
    Jan 18, 2006
    Agreed.
     
  7. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Can you elaborate on the latter part?
    I guess that the comment is based on your experience. But do you know why high carbide volume steels like S35VN cannot keep that kind of edge longer than or as long as other low carbide steels?

    I am just curious.


    Miso
     
  8. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014

    Thank you, vilePossum, for kind words. Appreciate it.


    Miso
     
  9. Raymond3

    Raymond3 Gold Member Gold Member

    487
    Jan 18, 2006
    Hi Miso,

    Please let us know about your experience with PSI and their ability to ship internationally. Many here would appreciate that information. And, you seem to modest about your sharpening skills. The video appears to be a very fine example of an extremely sharp knife.

    You asked a lot of questions, so let me try to address some of them.

    Define "Sharp": Regarding a course edge, or any edge in fact: I have come to realize that there are several other factors besides grit that effect "sharpness". There was a time when in my sharpening history (about 55 years) that I focused on carefully moving very patiently up the scale of grits. Sometimes, i might use as many as 15 to 18 or more grits in my search for the "perfectly sharp edge".

    I have come to realize that a "perfectly sharp edge" is not some theoretical condition of a blade under a microscope. Rather, a properly sharp edge has to do with the task that a knife is supposed to assist the user with. The renowned Ankerson "only" sharpness his test knives to 400 Congress SC grit before his tests on cardboard, wood and rope. For the straight razors that I use to trim free hanging hair at the tips of my beard, the razor must have an edge that I find far to "sharp" to shave my face with. So, "sharp" as a goal for any given knife sharpening has very much to do with understanding the role that the knife will be used for, and what kind of edge condition best accomplishes that task.

    In the past several years, in part challenged by the results of real experts like Ankerson, MadRookie, Ken Schwartz, Al at Big Easy, Sharpener Peter and many others, i have had to look carefully at many of my edge sharpening processes, some of which I had been taking for granted.

    Angle Constancy: One area that I had not focused on carefully enough was ensuring the precise consistency of angle during the whole sharpening process. Many things can effect that including:
    1. Exactly how the knife is held or stationed in comparison to the stone on the Edge Pro (or Gritomatic, which is fantastic). Any slight variation in positioning of knife, or angle differences caused by pressure on the knife or handle, or stability or wobble in the unit will definitely effect the final result.
    2. The angle is significantly effected when changing stones of varying thicknesses. I wrote a whole article on one of the process improvements that was very helpful me for in in this category. you can find it at this site: http://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8437 Be sure to read the comments and discussion that followed as there are fantastic suggestions, questions and explanations which I did not include in the original posts. This area of concern lends credence to the concept of a single stone sharpening session which I have done with some very welcome success, most recently with a worn in 30 micron PSA on several knives including a Spyderco S100V and a custom hunter in W2.
    3. Stone flatness is another huge factor in consistency that is often overlooked. A stone that is even a little out of flat can effect the degrees of a bevel much greater than many think. There have been some studies which suggest that a stone which is even a little out of flat can cause from a 4 to 8 degree variation in a bevel. For me, for testing stone flatness, I used to think that if I could hold a machinists ruler along an edge and not see light or If I was not be able to slip a piece of phone book paper under it, then a stone was flat. Now I use the pencil method where I mark up a surface, and rub it briefly against another "flat" surface, like another stone and the pencil mark should quickly be removed. It is important to avoid having to use force, and to avoid the presence of slurry as that will remove pencil marks when the stone is slightly out of flat. A special caution in the area of stone flattening is to never assume that a new stone is actually truly flat.

    Testing Methodology: Another area that helped me make a huge stride in improving my technique was developing a scientifically valid system for testing the sharpness of my work that was realistic for the useful definition of "sharp" as I discussed earlier. I found that sometimes, steps that I thought were helping to improve an edge, were actually reducing the effectiveness of an edge. That was a real eye opener.

    There are lots of systems for testing sharpness. My recommendation is whatever system a sharpener chooses that it be Consistant in terms of both methodology and also in terms of medium. For me, finger, thumb or nail tests are not precise enough to really be useful in this testing. Except for my own facial hair for testing razors, I don't have access to hair that is consistently thick, has similar moisture content, age etc that is useful in my real world. So, for me, I have settled on using the pages of a single large phone book. I keep it dry. And, all the pages are of the same thickness, and have the internal fiber laid out in the same direction. I test using this medium by holding the knife in precisely the same angle, on the same side of paper, the same distance from my hand and using the same motion each time. I have two tests, one a slicing motion, the other a push cutting motion. For me, this process is excellently consistent in helping me judge progress in achieving real life "sharpness" for a number of scenarios from outdoors to kitchen knife use. The former needs to slice cut well, while for me, the latter is usefully sharp when it easily and almost silently push cuts the phone book paper (PBP). (Of course, i do try to find some hair from time to time to test those knives with the HHT, LOL, but honestly, that is for fun and vanity and not really necessary for kitchen work.)(The Kohetsu HAP40 gyoto in this picture passed the HHT test before I used it. It stuck to the cutting board which is really not normally needed in a kitchen knife. http://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12342)

    Removing the Burr. Great question, and one of the top concerns for both sharpness and edge retention. One of the first things that I do in this regard is when I am finishing up with a stone, I take a few moments to remove most of the burr left by that stone with alternating gentle edge leading strokes with that same stone before I wipe up and go to the next finer stone. Finger testing works at this level. That is a big help at each level. I often use a cotton square, or soft wood for a couple of strokes before the final steps. A little stropping with compound right at, or close to the end is also very helpful. That is why I always strop even when only stopping at a relatively course stone like the 400 or 600 grit or the 30 mu. I have found that close visual inspection, often with a jewelers loop will show I need to do more work at polishing than I thought to remove a wire edge.

    But keep in mind, that especially at the coarser levels "properly sharp" for any given condition can often tolerate some wire edge. It doesn't have to be perfect, just to be able to do the job to our satisfaction.

    Thank you again for your input.

    Cheers,

    Ray
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  10. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Wow! Great write up! Thank you very much for taking your time, Ray. And thank you for the kind words on my skills. Comparing to your 55 years (!) of experience, I am sure to need to learn a way lot more.

    I actually did not know that it was you who wrote that article regarding consistent angle on Edge Pro. That article made me to buy the collar from them, and then I was told that they do not ship overseas…… I am still looking for something equivalent. I would appreciate it if someone can point me to such an alternative.

    I do keep stone flatness as much as possible by using Edge Pro’s stone leveling kit or by replacing stones often. But I have never inspected a new stone. I will do it from now on.

    As you pointed out, how the knife is held on Edge Pro seems quite important. I still have this issue, when I hold a knife with my left hand (I am righty). If I am little careless, that side of the edge becomes inconsistent sometimes. I learned that I should not drink and sharpen.

    I totally agree that it is difficult to define “sharpness”. For that reason, I avoided using the words “sharp” and “sharpness” in my original post. I guess my “sharp” edge is somewhere between corse and polished edges, which have a hair whittling ability and can retain it after some use, an indication of a refined thus strong apex. I just like this kind of edge. I have been able to achieve this, to some extent, with M390, CTS-XHP, and LC200N lately.

    But I have been struggling to get it on high carbide steels like S35VN because of their seemingly sticky burrs. After reading your post, though, I started to think that maybe I am asking too much for these steels and should consider a “sharpness” for them. I will try your polishing method at least a few times to see if they are capable of having a “sharp” edge I like.

    Thank you again for sharing your valuable experience.



    P.S. Oh I will report my experience with PSI sometime soon.


    Miso
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  11. Raymond3

    Raymond3 Gold Member Gold Member

    487
    Jan 18, 2006
    Hi Miso,

    you are welcome.

    The system in the article can be done without a collar. Simply place the spacers (anything can be used, such as washers) right on the base itself.

    I sent you a PM.

    Cheers,

    Ray
     
  12. singularity35

    singularity35

    Mar 1, 2010
    I'm sorry but I have no idea why. It probably has to do with the large size of the carbides in the matrix but I'm probably wrong. I do find that steels with finer grain sizes will hold a fine edge longer.
     
  13. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    I intuitively agree with you, singularity35. I have read in several places that simple high carbon steels take finest edges for chefs. In my own experience, CTS-XHP and LC200N, which do not have much tungsten, vanadium, or silicone, take the finest edge among other high end steels I have used. But M390 also takes a great edge, and it contains almost same amounts of these elements as in S35VN. So, if the grain size of carbides matters, that in M390 must be smaller than that in S35VN due to Bohler's production process. If that is true, then I should be able to get a fine edge on S35VN if I can refine carbides at the apex. I don't think abrasives I have are not hard enough to refine tungsten, silicone, and vanadium carbides, and therefore would like to try Rays method using diamond abrasives.

    I am no expert on this topic anyway and welcome people with more knowledge on this topic to the discussion.


    Miso
     
  14. singularity35

    singularity35

    Mar 1, 2010
    I think that you can get anything equally sharp if you have the proper abrasives. What I am trying to say is that in my experience(average maybe), fine grained steels hold an fine edge longer. The high carbide volume steels quickly lose that fine edge but will hold a "working edge" longer. Still, as I have also experienced, any steel will lose a hair whittling edge with just a few cuts on cardboard. It probably is a YMMV thing.
     
  15. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    I just realized that this very subject is discussed in the thread below.
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...ening-high-hardness-and-wear-resistant-steels

    I agree that the experience may vary across the board and different steels. In my recent experiences, somehow M390, XHP, and LC200N can keep hair whittling edges even after some food prep on a wooden cooking board and cutting up some cardboard. Especially, LC200N on Spydiechef does it quite well. I have used it lightly for about a week without resharpening, and it still has a hair whittling edge (it is less aggressive though). Other steels lose it much faster. I am very impressed.


    Miso
     
  16. Raymond3

    Raymond3 Gold Member Gold Member

    487
    Jan 18, 2006
    Hi Miso,

    Regarding burr removal, I forgot to mention the value of stropping in different directions. For example, from toe to heel, then from heel to toe. That is easily done on the Edge Pro, and since those strokes are at 90 degrees to each other, it breaks the burr nicely.

    Also, a final cross stroke works wonders. An example of that is at 7:05 of this video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLEBF55079F53216AB&v=XnhIKOX6Rco
     
  17. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014

    Hi Ray,

    Thank you for the suggestions. I will try them next time I sharpen.


    Miso
     
  18. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    I'm lurking. Being really a nube with the Edge Pro, had it only since last Christmas, I don't feel qualified to even begin to list my process or comment.

    I am learning though ! Thank you all SOOOO MUCH for this thread.

    I may not be understanding the collar that you speak of because I have not yet read the article.
    I have two collars one that came from Edge Pro and one I had that seems to fit and work better. The one I got from Edge Pro required over tightening the screw to keep it from slipping even after oiling the threads of the fastener and deburring where I could for better performance. Then it would fit the post too tight and not slide when the screw was loosened. I finally gave up and used the color I already had. It has more spring to it so it opens and slides when the screw is loose but easily grips the post when the screw is tightened.

    One common use for these collars is as drill bit depth stops. See these Photos. Is this what you are asking about ? I would recommend going to a machine shop tool supply center and trying what they have on your Edge Pro post for best fit. Ordering them on line is a crap shoot.

    I am lucky in that I have a full size metal lathe so I can bore stuff to an exact fit if necessary. That would be the other option if you have trouble . . . get a machinist to bore or ream an undersized collar to fit well : slide easily when loose but clamp securely when the screw is tightened.

    PS: I gave up early on the L shaped allen wrench and I use a bit driver. I have a very small one and it stays in my Edge Pro kit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I am much better at getting mindlessly easy hair whittling off of my woodworking jig and Shapton Pro stones. I wish the Edge Pro was as precise as this woodworking plane blade jig. Hard to do with so much variability in knife blades . . . but I can dream can't I ?

    I agree about the importance of stone flattening when using a jig. I am concerned about the possibility of taper in the thickness of the Edge Pro stones. The woodworking edge tool jig rolls right on the surface of the stone so a stone that is tapered in thickness would not effect the edge quality as long as the stone is flat.

    The ability to solidly clamp the blade to the jig and the fact that the woodworking jig has angle adjustments built in to change the angle a degree or so consistently really comes in handy. Not sure how to effectively add these functions to the Edge Pro but they are welcome.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Thank you for the comment, Wowbagger.
    Yes. What I want is a drill collar. I can buy one online in Japan, but I am not sure if I can get one which fits well because we use metric on tools.
    Did you get a collar from Edge Pro? If so, I am damned. I could have just bought one from them?

    Anyway, I found that Gritomatic offers a collar which fits Edge Pro, and it is on the way.

    Nice jig by the way!



    Miso
     
  20. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    It gets worse than that . . . even the stone flatting equipment is not always flat.
    I have a Starrett granite surface plate so I can check stuff for REAL flatness.

    The stone leveling stone in this photo, the pink stone with the wide diagonal slots cut in it, was quite far out of flat.
    [​IMG]

    I was able to FLATTEN IT using the diamond plate shown here being verified on the surface plate. (actually I am measuring the depth of the dimples for an on line member. He was saying the dimples had no depth and were flush with the diamonds. Nope, nope, nope they are well bellow the diamonds.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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