Not Too Bright or Keen on Mirror Edges?

rje58

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I don't have a Wicked Edge or other high end sharpener. About 90% of my sharpening is done using with a Sharpmaker, and if that doesn't get to where I want, I sharpen by hand until I get there, then move back to the Sharpmaker for maintaining the edge.

I have purchased quite a few knives on the Exchange, almost all my experiences have been good. But I haven't been thrilled by the knives I get with mirror finish edges. For the most part, they haven't been really sharp when I receive them - but, that could just be because they hadn't been sharpened recently, but still had the polished edges.

Worse, I have found it difficult to get edges that were mirrored/polished by the previous owner back to the sharpness I desire and usually get fairly easily. I almost dread it now when I get a knife in the mail and open it up to find it has shiny mirror edges - kind of "here we go again, is this going to be a pain to re-sharpen?"

Maybe this is because they have been re-beveled to a non-standard angle?

I am about to the point where I want to PM the seller and ask "does this have mirror edge? has it been sharpened on a WE?" before I make an offer or say "I'll take it!"

I know this is going to probably be sacrilege, because so many seem to be proponents of the high-end sharpeners and polished mirror edges.

I would like to hear your take on this subject, if you have experience one way or the other.
 

yoko

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That's interesting

If I mirror an edge (rare these days, I usually only only go to 800 grit if I feel like it) I'll run the edge to 15 to 17.5 depending on the knife

I use all my knives and keep a sharpmaker in my toolbox for quick touch ups and have never had a problem
 

Whitedog

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Are you talking about those edges that reflect a printed page etc that we all see from time to time posted here. I guess they look great but I use my knife(s) to cut stuff so I do not take all that extra time to do the extra work required for a show edge.
 

91bravo

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On my fixed blades, I take it up to 2000 grit on a DMT stone and strop for a few minutes to finish. It ends up getting mirror polished with maintenance over time. My choppers' edges are mirror polished, because they are basically pushcutting, or push chopping. Nothing pushcuts better than your finest mirror polished edges.

On my folders, I finish on a 600 grit stone, and strop for a few minutes to finish. Mostly used for draw cutting, so the 600 grit finish has some "grab" and some "bite" to it.
 

rje58

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Are you talking about those edges that reflect a printed page etc that we all see from time to time posted here. I guess they look great but I use my knife(s) to cut stuff so I do not take all that extra time to do the extra work required for a show edge.

I haven't tried to read anything on these edges, I'm talking about knives that I buy on the Exchange whose edges appear "polished" or brightly reflective far beyond what I have ever received on a knife I purchased new, or sharpened by me.
 

Kmikaz3

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Mirror edge is usually for fun and giggles but a pain in the backside to maintain especially when you ding it....
 
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f02uJrT.jpg
 

CWL

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I used to using stropping compounds on leather and a paper wheel to get mirrored edges, but it took too long and I don't care to enough to bother anymore.
 

Roy Batty

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Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like mirrored edges get gunked up from cutting tape on packaging more easily, so it’s a “no” from me. Just a good edge from the sharpmaker does everything I need a knife to do. I’m not trying to signal planes while stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with the edge of my knife so there’s no point in it for my uses.
 
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I only have an N=2 but I've noticed this as well.

Looking at most of the threads I see about mirror polished edges it seems to me the goal is a good looking edge that is well polished - not a sharp edge that cuts well. I've hardly ever seen anyone post their edge doing the cigarette paper tests but do see lots of setting the knife to reflect like a mirror on stuff. It's a different sort of focus I suppose.
 

rje58

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I only have an N=2 but I've noticed this as well.

Looking at most of the threads I see about mirror polished edges it seems to me the goal is a good looking edge that is well polished - not a sharp edge that cuts well. I've hardly ever seen anyone post their edge doing the cigarette paper tests but do see lots of setting the knife to reflect like a mirror on stuff. It's a different sort of focus I suppose.

Thank you!

I appreciate all the replies I've gotten so far - thanks everyone! Especially those like yours (above) that directly addresses what I was hoping to learn:

The answer I am specifically looking for is: once someone has put a shiny/polished/mirror edge on a knife, does that make it -more- difficult to sharpen and maintain for the next owner, who doesn't have a Wicked Edge or similar sharpening system?

Is it possible that the edge is so smooth, sharpeners like the Sharpmaker tend to glide over it, to less effect? Or why am I - and now apparently at least some others - experiencing this phenomenon?
 
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I used to mirror finish all my edges and wouldn't go out unless I had at least one knife on me that was hair whittling. Done with that now.

Now to answer the question of whether it's easier or harder to get it back sharp. When I rebeveled for mirror finish, I usually thinned out the edge to at most a 15 dps angle and sometimes thinner. It's much easier to touch it back up with a micro bevel but with a caveat. It depends on the skill of the person touching up. I've seen a people who could get a knife back to hair whittling within a few minutes and people who spent over an hour and just dulled a knife. Of course if it's pretty dull, the skill of the sharpener becomes even more crucial.
 

Kmikaz3

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Thank you!

I appreciate all the replies I've gotten so far - thanks everyone! Especially those like yours (above) that directly addresses what I was hoping to learn:

The answer I am specifically looking for is: once someone has put a shiny/polished/mirror edge on a knife, does that make it -more- difficult to sharpen and maintain for the next owner, who doesn't have a Wicked Edge or similar sharpening system?

Is it possible that the edge is so smooth, sharpeners like the Sharpmaker tend to glide over it, to less effect? Or why am I - and now apparently at least one or two others - experiencing this phenomenon.

I would say yes. I mirror edge my knives with diamond lapping films down to 0.5 microns. That puts a really fine edge without any toothiness. Once you touch up said edge on a Sharpmaker, you reintroduced toothiness on the edge again unless you stropped with CBN emulsions.

0-BC33-D3-A-3-C4-E-41-A1-81-A3-3-C732892462-B.jpg

38-E9-E73-F-C037-47-A4-A92-B-6289-ADA7790-F.jpg
 

Kaizen1

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I'm guessing your issue is more about the angle than anything. If you're comfortable sharpening a knife, going over a mirror edge with a larger grit isn't a big deal. Trying to correct a bad edge, or reprofile an edge so it's at a different angle requires more work and I can see that being annoying.
 

The Mastiff

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A properly done mirror edge is an amazing thing. Or it can be anyways. The slightly coarse edge will always have a little more bite when tested on skin. It ( the coarse edge) will cut better in many different medias also. I gave up putting mirror edges on anything I'm not shaving with. It's just not needed and won't cut tape, cardboard, etc. as well. Sometimes the mirror seems like it resists damage a little better but geometry has a lot to do with that.

I have had mirror edges that seemed to lose sharpness over time when stored and not used even when there is no corrosion to be seen by the naked eye. Whether that is microscopic or the steel edge 'relaxing" I don't know. That sort of research takes resources not available to me. Either way the same should be happening to the coarser edge but might not be as noticeable.
 

000Robert

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I don't have a Wicked Edge or other high end sharpener. About 90% of my sharpening is done using with a Sharpmaker, and if that doesn't get to where I want, I sharpen by hand until I get there, then move back to the Sharpmaker for maintaining the edge.

I have purchased quite a few knives on the Exchange, almost all my experiences have been good. But I haven't been thrilled by the knives I get with mirror finish edges. For the most part, they haven't been really sharp when I receive them - but, that could just be because they hadn't been sharpened recently, but still had the polished edges.

Worse, I have found it difficult to get edges that were mirrored/polished by the previous owner back to the sharpness I desire and usually get fairly easily. I almost dread it now when I get a knife in the mail and open it up to find it has shiny mirror edges - kind of "here we go again, is this going to be a pain to re-sharpen?"

Maybe this is because they have been re-beveled to a non-standard angle?

I am about to the point where I want to PM the seller and ask "does this have mirror edge? has it been sharpened on a WE?" before I make an offer or say "I'll take it!"

I know this is going to probably be sacrilege, because so many seem to be proponents of the high-end sharpeners and polished mirror edges.

I would like to hear your take on this subject, if you have experience one way or the other.

I do have and use a Wicked Edge 130. But I don't care much for mirrored edges either. I only put a mirrored edge on knives that I plan on collecting. The rest get a toothy edge of 800 or 1000 grit, mostly 800. But if I decide to collect my CPK UF, I'll probably just leave it alone and not even touch it with a stone.
 

miso2

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I second on the angle issue.
Probably, the edge angle is bigger than the Sharpmaker settings (15 and 21 DPS?).
The edge may be convexed a bit due to extensive polishing/stropping, which would increase the edge angle.
You can test it by tilt the blade when using Sharpmaker to increase the angle and see whether the edge responds better.
 
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A mirror polished edge just means that the bevel is shiny, it doesn't mean that the actual apex is good. Been there, done that.

This.
How well the bevels are finished has no bearing on whether they actually meet at a clean apex.
There's also the possibility of "over-stropping" and rounding off the apex, which is easier to do when the edge angle is lower.
 
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