Hair Whittling...

Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
4,458
For me, hair whittling edges are an interesting thing.

I've only achieved it once and that was with a lot heavy lifting from my KME. But even that accomplishment was a little rough.

My free hand sharpening is an ongoing education that I am getting so much better at and really starting to understand what kinds of edges I like.

I have no need for a hair whittling edge and understand its fleeting life but it still intrigues me...

After messing around with Traditional knives for a good bit I pulled out my Spyderco Manix 2 LW Cutlery Shoppe exclusive in S90V and tuned it up on the KME because right now I have the most refinement depth there for high vanadium steels but then carefully stopped it down on some diamond films I have and that edge is extremely sharp.

It'll ruggedly dry shave facial hair without pain. Not razor keen for sure but knocks the whiskers down. For me, cleanly shaving leg hair is a really sharp edge so the face/neck is a real test. The edge slices through paper towels in any direction. It is freaking sharp.

Yet, the edge won't whittle hair.

I know about different hair densities and such.

My point is, worthy or not, needed or not, a hair whittling edge is an impressive accomplishment, especially free hand.

You watch guys like Michael Christy and @DeadboxHero and many others and it is just very, very impressive.

Again, I'm not advocating these edges for general use or in any way thinking they should be a goal. I'm just saying that I admire what it takes to get there.
 
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000Robert

Platinum Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
6,157
For me, hair whittling edges are an interesting thing.

I've only achieved it once and that was with a lot heavy lifting from my KME. But even that accomplishment was a little rough.

My free hand sharpening is an ongoing education that I am getting so much better at and really starting to understand what kinds of edges I like.

I have no need for a hair whittling edge and understand its fleeting life but it still intrigues me...

After messing around with Traditional knives for a good bit I pulled out my Spyderco Manix 2 LW Cutlery Shoppe exclusive in S90V and tuned it up on the KME because right now I have the most refinement depth there for high vanadium steels but then carefully stopped it down on some diamond films I have and that edge is extremely sharp.

It'll ruggedly dry shave facial hair without pain. Not razor keen for sure but knocks the whiskers down. For me, cleanly shaving leg hair is a really sharp edge so the face/neck is a real test. The edge slices through paper towels in any direction. It is freaking sharp.

Yet, the edge won't whittle hair.

I know about different hair densities and such.

My point is, worthy or not, needed or not, a hair whittling edge is an impressive accomplishment, especially free hand.

You watch guys like Michael Christy and @DeadboxHero and many others and it is just very, very impressive.

Again, I'm not advocating these edges for general use or in any way thinking they should be a goal. I'm just saying that I admire what it takes to get there.

Rough Rooster on YT can get some hair whittling sharp edges freehand. Better than I ever could. I have been giving all of this a lot of thought here lately. My biggest question is the best edge to cut a seatbelt? Because if someone burned up in a car because my knife wouldn't cut the seatbelt, it would haunt me for the rest of my life.
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
4,458
Rough Rooster on YT can get some hair whittling sharp edges freehand. Better than I ever could. I have been giving all of this a lot of thought here lately. My biggest question is the best edge to cut a seatbelt? Because if someone burned up in a car because my knife wouldn't cut the seatbelt, it would haunt me for the rest of my life.

I've watched his videos.

You don't need that level of refinement to cut a seat belt.
 

Sonnydaze

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2009
Messages
11,667
My biggest question is the best edge to cut a seatbelt? Because if someone burned up in a car because my knife wouldn't cut the seatbelt, it would haunt me for the rest of my life.

I suspect that a nice 400-grit edge would be just fine for a seat-belt. I probably would NOT choose a mirrored edge for that kind of work...
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2018
Messages
219
;):(I’d love to be able to do it to Eli, not for any particular purpose but just to prove to myself that I can.

Are the stainless kitchen knives that I sharpen just too crappy?

Does their edge profile mean it’s just not possible?

Am I taking them to a high enough polish?

More likely, is my technique just not good enough?

The trials and tribulations of a free hand sharpener
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2019
Messages
53
A cheap USB microscope really helps to figure out what's happening with your edges. Makes it easy to spot things like a burr too small to feel or if the edge has been slightly rounded.
 
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
959
apart from @micheal_christie i also admire @NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY 's skills to sharpen to BESS score 15. at this sharpness levels hairs explode at the touch of the apex, and one cannot whittle anymore.

they need only few steps and little time to get to hair whittling freehandedly. very impressive

they also use similar sharpening techniques, and I'm the original copycat
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
5,577
apart from @micheal_christie i also admire @NORTHWEST_KNIFE_GUY 's skills to sharpen to BESS score 15. at this sharpness levels hairs explode at the touch of the apex, and one cannot whittle anymore.

they need only few steps and little time to get to hair whittling freehandedly. very impressive

they also use similar sharpening techniques, and I'm the original copycat
What about 4 BESS :)
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
1,858
I've whittled hair, using the sharpmaker, off of the medium rods. Now I'm into freehanding, getting better all the time. I use the spyderco medium stone as my final edge and I love it, and have whittled a hair off of it, but I don't really try to achieve that edge. It's fun, but not really useful to me. If I can shave my arm or leg hair, or cut thin paper cleanly I'm happy.

And aside from doing major reprofiling, I sharpen with my stones in hand. I can watch the edge hitting the stone and make sure I'm actually sharpening this way. Kind of like Michael Christy I guess. It works, even if it does take a little longer! But as long as you don't let it get too dull it doesn't take that long to get it back to stupid sharp.
 

Bigfattyt

Gold Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2007
Messages
19,128
Hair whittling is not too difficult freehand. This Opinel was A quick job.



hPEfGA7.jpg


It is something I try occasionally. Freehand sharpening.

No special tools, or fixed systems (I have a Lansky system, but don't really use it much any more)

Here is freehand sandpaper on a rubber backing.

If you look between the two knives there is a hair.
idPnMam.jpg


Closer
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UFyb4Ha.jpg


I do find that the pursuit of hair whittling typically leads ro an edge that is less ideal for cutting other things.

I do test all my edges to make sure they easily shave hairs both directions with no pressure.

Tree topping is another stage beyond that. Ive had lovely tree topping edges.

I tend to look more now for edge "stickiness" with the three finger test all along the edge.

I can have an edge that easily whittled hair, but the edge does not have the sticky bite when checking it lengthwise with three fingers.

When I can feel the bite, instant grab and feeling like if I move my fingers at all, it will cut, that is the edge I prefer.

I am no expert, though!
 
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