Getting your knife as sharp as possible?

Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
43
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to post this question to the General Knife Discussion forum groups because I'd like to get as many perspectives as possible. I'm quite novice to the whole knife-enthusiast scene. My knives range from AUS-8 to S30V steel. I've been practicing my sharpening technique using a 400 Grit Japanese whetstone. So far, it has turned out pretty well. My knives have passed the "paper slicing test" and "nail shaving test" relatively well. I would like to learn how to get my knives "razor-sharp" to the point where they can treetop arm hairs with ease. I would like to ask everyone what techniques, supplies, resources, so on and so forth that you use to get your knives this way. I understand that different steels will have different edge retention properties and this is all dependant on how much I use them. But I would like to learn and try this for the sake of learning. Please share if you're able to.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
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1,446
Sounds like you already have it fgured out. I don't think every knife should be that hair pop'n razor sharp. Sharp is relative. I sliced my fingers on knives (I thought were'nt that sharp). Only thing I would add for the ultimate edge is using a "black" Arkansas stone.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
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260
I use a coarse and fine DMT and strop on green compound. I'm might get some diamond paste later, but the green is just fine. I have found that I prefer an aggressive edge over a highly polished one. I very rarely have push cut stuff, I can almost always get a small amount of slicing action in there.

Anyway, my point is that an edge off of a set up like this cuts like a laser even if it won't tree top a hair.
 

EChoil

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May 22, 2014
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I use Arky stones and a diamond field rod for final and touch-up Usually strop on a belt.

A few of the 'advanced' sharpening systems out there are interesting....
 
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Sep 11, 2013
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3,121
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to post this question to the General Knife Discussion forum groups because I'd like to get as many perspectives as possible. I'm quite novice to the whole knife-enthusiast scene. My knives range from AUS-8 to S30V steel. I've been practicing my sharpening technique using a 400 Grit Japanese whetstone. So far, it has turned out pretty well. My knives have passed the "paper slicing test" and "nail shaving test" relatively well. I would like to learn how to get my knives "razor-sharp" to the point where they can treetop arm hairs with ease. I would like to ask everyone what techniques, supplies, resources, so on and so forth that you use to get your knives this way. I understand that different steels will have different edge retention properties and this is all dependant on how much I use them. But I would like to learn and try this for the sake of learning. Please share if you're able to.

You're still at a 400 grit stone? You need to get your self a few progressively higher grits if you want the type of polished edge that will treetop hairs. A good compound loaded strop is also a good idea for finishing your edges.

I've personally given up on SUPER sharp edges.Their just not worth it IMO. You spend a LONG time getting them perfect, and then you cut something and it's immediately back to just "shaving sharp". Unless you never use your knives for anything but showing off, I can't really see the benefit of going just that little bit sharper

But it's never a bad thing to know how:thumbup:
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
43
You're still at a 400 grit stone? You need to get your self a few progressively higher grits if you want the type of polished edge that will treetop hairs. A good compound loaded strop is also a good idea for finishing your edges.

I've personally given up on SUPER sharp edges.Their just not worth it IMO. You spend a LONG time getting them perfect, and then you cut something and it's immediately back to just "shaving sharp". Unless you never use your knives for anything but showing off, I can't really see the benefit of going just that little bit sharper

But it's never a bad thing to know how:thumbup:

It would be nice to know how to do it and such. I guess I just gotta get a higher grit stone.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Messages
14
Is it free handed 400 grit? And that is the only stone you have? I will fill you in on an Edge Pro System on a budget. You will be able to go through phone book paper like it's not even there. (slicing an S into the phone book paper too)

Go to Amazon and search for AGPtek® Professional Kitchen Knife Sharpener System Fix-angle with 4 Stones.

Buy that for $34 and throw the stones out (you don't have to but I think they're crap)

go to chefknivestogo and search for edge pro stones - get the 120, 220, 400, 600, and 1000 grit stones (These are the stones that come in the actual Edge Pro System. ($70 total for the stones) (the 220 and 400 grit come in a 2 stone package to save a few $$)

Best $104 you'll ever spend.

Then you get into the world of strops after the stones are used......
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Messages
14
With that said....getting razor sharp edges depends on the steel, how the manufacture treats the steel, what grind it is, how they grind the edge in the factory, etc
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2013
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475
Is it free handed 400 grit? And that is the only stone you have? I will fill you in on an Edge Pro System on a budget. You will be able to go through phone book paper like it's not even there. (slicing an S into the phone book paper too)

Go to Amazon and search for AGPtek® Professional Kitchen Knife Sharpener System Fix-angle with 4 Stones.

Buy that for $34 and throw the stones out (you don't have to but I think they're crap)

go to chefknivestogo and search for edge pro stones - get the 120, 220, 400, 600, and 1000 grit stones (These are the stones that come in the actual Edge Pro System. ($70 total for the stones) (the 220 and 400 grit come in a 2 stone package to save a few $$)

Best $104 you'll ever spend.

Then you get into the world of strops after the stones are used......



THIS ^^ Is why I love BladeForums! Thank you for this suggestion! I have been pondering the idea of a Wicked Edge, or Edge Pro, but haven't pulled the trigger due to price. This may just be the better alternative! Again, thanks!!
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
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THIS ^^ Is why I love BladeForums! Thank you for this suggestion! I have been pondering the idea of a Wicked Edge, or Edge Pro, but haven't pulled the trigger due to price. This may just be the better alternative! Again, thanks!!

No problem! Glad you found it useful. I have sharpened quite a few knives using this now and the edge pro stones are holding up very well. Last few knives I sharpened was a Sypderco Sage 2 and an 8 inch chef's knife that I brought back to life that was in my parents basement for 30 years. 2 of the sharpest knives that I have been in contact with. That was after stropping it with the black compound and then the green compound by Bark River.

If you end up getting this setup let me know I will let you know the process that I use with the stones.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
43
Thanks again to everyone for their contribution. I'm really starting to fall for the welcoming nature of this site. I picked up a 1000 grit Naniwa stone from a local shop today. I've had good experiences with them. That doesn't rule out a possible Wicked Edge system in the future thought :).
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Messages
14
Thanks again to everyone for their contribution. I'm really starting to fall for the welcoming nature of this site. I picked up a 1000 grit Naniwa stone from a local shop today. I've had good experiences with them. That doesn't rule out a possible Wicked Edge system in the future thought :).

No problem. The stone you got is an amazing stone....good stuff. However, that is a free hand stone, yes? It takes a large amount of skill (high level of familiarity) to sharpen a blade free handed. Depending on the state of the edge of the knife you cannot do what you want to do solely for the purpose that it is a quality 1000 grit stone. There is no supplicating a full sharpening from 120 grit through to 1000 grit plus stropping for just having a a stone or two that is of high quality.

Does that make sense?
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Messages
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As an FYI from my experience there is no way around taking any production knife from 120 grit to 1000 grit and then stropping it....no edge from any production manufacture will beat it. A fully custom blade on the other hand is a different scenario.
 

bdmicarta

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
5,547
There are people here that go to great lengths to sharpen edges using many different stones and then even several different strops. If you are new to knives you can get an edge that you think is extremely sharp for a lot less work. As you play with edges you will get better at sharpening and better at telling the difference. You might be able to tell the difference with the S30V but maybe not with AUS8.

To start with you probably just need a coarse stone, a fine stone, and a simple strop. This will get you edges that can be sharper than you thought was possible. Anything sharper is mostly just an academic exercise for the average knife user, IOW what are you going to use the knife for that needs that sharpness and understand that it won't retain that sharpness for very long.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Messages
14
There are people here that go to great lengths to sharpen edges using many different stones and then even several different strops. If you are new to knives you can get an edge that you think is extremely sharp for a lot less work. As you play with edges you will get better at sharpening and better at telling the difference. You might be able to tell the difference with the S30V but maybe not with AUS8.

To start with you probably just need a coarse stone, a fine stone, and a simple strop. This will get you edges that can be sharper than you thought was possible. Anything sharper is mostly just an academic exercise for the average knife user, IOW what are you going to use the knife for that needs that sharpness and understand that it won't retain that sharpness for very long.

I agree and disagree. This is a hobby and I like to do things to the best of my ability (even though I have been doing it for a while now). If I have the means and the ability to do so then I am going to see how good I can get and not just settle for something that is acceptable or above acceptable.
 
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Jan 27, 2013
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I agree and disagree. This is a hobby and I like to do things to the best of my ability (even though I have been doing it for a while now). If I have the means and the ability to do so then I am going to see how good I can get and not just settle for something that is acceptable or above acceptable.

I think it's worth learning, but not worth doing on every knife. When I started sharpening, my goal was a true HHT-5 from freehand sharpening. Along the way, I learned many different methods and grew to understand the sharpening process fairly well. Now that I have attained that goal, I can tell you there is no way in hell I'm going to put an HHT-5 edge on all of my knives. It's easy enough to set an edge with the 400 grit stone then strop it lightly and have a hair whittling edge; there's rarely any reason for me to go beyond that.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
322
No problem. The stone you got is an amazing stone....good stuff. However, that is a free hand stone, yes? It takes a large amount of skill (high level of familiarity) to sharpen a blade free handed. Depending on the state of the edge of the knife you cannot do what you want to do solely for the purpose that it is a quality 1000 grit stone. There is no supplanting a full sharpening from 120 grit through to 1000 grit plus stropping for just having a a stone or two that is of high quality.

Does that make sense?
ftfy.
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
6,560
There are people here that go to great lengths to sharpen edges using many different stones and then even several different strops. If you are new to knives you can get an edge that you think is extremely sharp for a lot less work. As you play with edges you will get better at sharpening and better at telling the difference. You might be able to tell the difference with the S30V but maybe not with AUS8.

To start with you probably just need a coarse stone, a fine stone, and a simple strop. This will get you edges that can be sharper than you thought was possible. Anything sharper is mostly just an academic exercise for the average knife user, IOW what are you going to use the knife for that needs that sharpness and understand that it won't retain that sharpness for very long.

This is it.
Experiment as you go through a progression on various materials and it becomes glaringly obvious that "sharp as possible" really has no meaning taken out of context - what is to be cut? For some applications a very coarse edge will outperform a highly polished one, and be far easier and faster to create esp for folks new to hand sharpening.

Learn at the low end, apply to the middle and high end. Test everything so you understand the dynamics behind cutting stuff. Think of steel as a sculpting media and the edge as interacting with whatever it comes into contact with. Develop a feel for how edges dull and how they cut. Craft the edge that works best for a given task. Over time you'll get a feel for what works best for general usage and what works best for fine carving, and what works best in a tough work environment. A custom tailored tuxedo is still no match for sweats and a T-shirt if you're working under a heavy kettlebell instead of sipping a martini...
 
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