How well do you master the 204 ??

Aug 8, 2000
Initially, let me say that using a Spyderco Sharpmaker 204 can be both very easy and at the same time very difficult. Let me explain.

Until I bought a 204 I was using a Fiskars Roll Sharp and it worked alright for me, because I didn´t know of anything better. My friends where very impressed of the sharpness I could achieve. Well so was I.

But then I met a guy who was making his own knives and his blades were unbelievely sharp. My ones were not even close! And for the first time in my life I experienced the feeling of actually being able to shave my forearm. When I asked the guy how he could achieve this fantastic result, he simply answered: Sp 204.

Hm, what was that?
To make the story short. I bought a 204 and started sharpening my knives. My knives were suddenly much sharper than before. However, I was not able to put on the same kind of extreme edge as that guy! I was watching Sal´s video, I was doing exactly the same motions as he did. I was patient, I was accurate, I was everything. But my knives were still kind of blunt. So, what did I do wrong??

The answer came to me some 3 weeks later, as one of my friends watched me sharpening and complaining…Suddenly he said: Why are you leaning the knife leftward while sharpening the right hand side of the knife and why aren´t you putting as much pressure on the knife as on the other side?
Pardon me?

He was right, my sharpening angle was not consistant. I discovered that I didn´t feel comfortable sharpening the backhand side. I didn´t put as much force to it as to the forehand side and the angle was much more steep. And subsequently, the lesser pressure resulted in a somewhat sissy motion, taking off very little steel, comparing to the other side.

Now, to rectify this, one can go in two ways. Either increase the pressure on the backhand side and alternate the sweeps, or (this works best for me), do 2 or 3 softer motions on the backhand side to one on the forehand one!! And, most important, WATCH THE ANGLE!

Hope this helps all of you guys, having similar difficulties as myself and only hearing of others bragging, how well they succeed to sharpen their knives (especially on the 204).

And finally, I don´t believe that everyone here on this forum is able to put on that famous scary sharpness on his knife. It´s not that easy. And maybe not necessary either??

Regards, and stay sharp

Originally posted by dePaul:
And finally, I don´t believe that everyone here on this forum is able to put on that famous scary sharpness on his knife. It´s not that easy. And maybe not necessary either??

Regards, and stay sharp

Absolutely. Keeping the blade straight up and down isn't nearly as easy as Sal makes it look. If I'm not real careful, I find myself tilting the knife slightly to the left.

I can usually get my knives to shave, but nothing like what some people describe. And I'm not certain that scary sharp is better or necessary (although definitely cool), since the edge isn't going to last.

It's worth noting that my Apogee will barely shave. Darrel Ralph knows more about knives than most of us can even dream, so if this is what he feels is the proper degree of sharpness for a working edge, I'm inclined to believe him.


Let no one ever from henceforth say one word in any way countenancing war. It is dangerous even to speak of how here and there the individual may gain some hardship of soul by it. For war is hell, and those who institute it are criminals. Siegfried Loraine Sassoon
If you use very gentle strokes, applying no pressure, and just allowing the edge to skim down the stones it seems to just get sharper and sharper. My AFCK and BM 940 (the two that get used the most) are both hair-popping sharp. Every few days, I'll give them 3-5 gentle strokes per side, and a few passes on an unloaded leather strop to keep them that way.
This kind of edge is really overkill, since a rougher edge will cut more effectively. I just have a thing for seeing how sharp I can get them. I like BM knives w/Spyderco edges

I like to use the flat of the white stones freehand, too.

btw, every knife is different, and I don't get those kind of results on all my knives. Those are the ones I have the most practice with, and am used to sharpening.

[This message has been edited by OwenM (edited 11-29-2000).]
As in any method of sharpening keeping the angle is the most important thing. I also think that OwenM is right, after you have established your bevel and edge angle, lighter pressure will 'polish' the edge. A 1000 grit stone and a strop work even better though.

I can only get a really 'scary' edge on three or four of my knives. I attribute this to the steel type and the heat treatment it received.

203, 204 ~ No problemos!!
Lots of practise and I became a natural in getting scary sharp results! *hee-hee!* Keeping the blade straight with a little bit of pressure on the sharpening grits and with a consistant stroke yield plenty of good results!


have spydies
will travel...
AKTI Member #A001148