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Razor Edge sharpening system

Discussion in 'Blade Discussion Forum Archive' started by Starfish, Oct 22, 2001.

  1. Starfish


    Jun 14, 2001
    In my recent move to another state as a result of the economy slowing down, I lost my Sharpmaker 204 :(. I'm looking for a system to replace it, and I would like to either get another 204 or maybe the Razor Edge system (I think it's the Super Professional or something like that, but it has a steel and edge tester included).

    So anyway, before I buy anything I am going to pick up a copy of the Razor Edge Book of Sharpening, as I was never able to get satisfactory results with the 204, and I am certain that it is due to a lack of understanding on my part. However, it is my understanding that the Razor Edge system does not lock one into 2 preset angles, and I like that fact since I do not want to spend all of my time reprofiling...

    So those of you who own the Razor Edge system, how does it work? What is the process involved in sharpening a sub-4" folder? Are the provided stones coarse enough to work with steels like CPM-440V, and fine enough to provide a mirror edge? Does the edge tester really work?

    Any and all comments on this sharpening system are much appreciated!
  2. Cliff Stamp

    Cliff Stamp Banned BANNED

    Oct 5, 1998
    It is my understanding that the clamps are preset at ~22 degrees, however you can adjust the angle that this produces on the knife by varying where you fix the clamp. Joe Talmadge has used the clamps he would be able to provide more information.

    In regards to the stones, I have no idea how they work. However when I looked at them before they seemed expensive. As well when I contacted them for grit information they didn't have any idea. Personally I would go with japanese waterstones, or DMT benchstones, the latter will cut any steel with ease.

  3. gordyt


    Oct 11, 2001
    Hey Starfish,

    I have one on order and am expecting to have it in some time this week. I ordered the Ultimate Pro system, which comes with the book that you mentioned. If your not in a big rush, I'll run it though its paces and write up some notes -- should be able to have some info by this coming weekend.

  4. Starfish


    Jun 14, 2001
    Thanks gordon! No rush here, except on getting the book. Looking forward to reading about your experience with the system!

  5. knifenerd


    Dec 27, 2000

    You'll find the book to be very helpful and informative. I'd go that route first and then decide which system to go with.
  6. STUMP


    Aug 27, 2001
    I own the Lansky system, the spyderco 204 and the Razor edge along with several other sharpening tools. I have found the 204 and the Lansky the easiest to use. I never quite got the hang of the razor edge sharpener. The book is excellent though.
  7. AF

    AF Hobbyist Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 14, 2000
    I own the Razor Edge guides and large stones. I can achieve good results but I don't think the system is all that good. The guides wear out (particularly at the ends, from lifting to sharpen the tip), causing the angle to vary. The think to do is reprofile freehand and set the edge with the guides. That will help to preserve the guides. What I like about the system is that it teaches you how to sharpen freehand. The rough stone is rough enough to remove a lot of metal and the fine stone polishes well. But I have no experience with other popular stones.
  8. Crayola


    Sep 23, 1999
    I own:

    The Sharpmaker 203, an f.Dick steel, a grinder (Belt Sander) and drill rpess I use as a buffer, a strop, and the Razor's Edge Systems Professional Kit (2" by 8" stones, 2 guides, edge tester, and folding steel. I think this is the kit you were talking about. Here is my experiences and my judgements about the worth of the system.

    The folding steel, in my opinion, is the best steel out there. It is very smooth and the fact that it folds keeps things compact. And it takes some fo the guess work out of steeling. All you do is swing out the arms, line them up with these 35 degree arrows, and tighten two thumb nuts.

    Yes, the edge tester works. Magically better than other things? Well, no. But better than thumb nails I think. your knife has to pass 4 tests and if the edge isn't up to par, it will fail a test. the edge tester isn't a necessary piece of gear, but it does work.

    The stones, I think, are awesome. The coarse stone is very coarse. VERY coarse! It has done a fast job reprofiling ATS-34 folders, AUS-6, AUS-8, 440-C, 1095, and some mystery steels. I have never used it on any Crucible super steels though. But I suspect it would do a good job, given how fast the coarse stone has worked on the steels I have tried. The fine stone won't put a mirror finish on blades. More of a satin kind of finish. But man, what an edge. It is a sorta polished edge that is still micro-toothy. yes, it will shave hair. Not as easily as whan I use a strop. But the edges it puts on the knives I have used will cut cardboard and the like very well. It is a compromise edge I guess, but they got the compromise right. The finish is finer than a coarse finish which isn't all that useful for most EDC knives. And, it won't be shiny like a super polished blade either. but I don't do a whole lot of push cutting anyways. The fine stone is a great compromise then.

    The stones do wear kinda fast. Faster than other stones, but not as fast as Japanese water stones. Oh, I have a medium water stone too. I don't use it that much. My Razor's Edge stones are more useful. I have had my kit for a couple of years at least and I'd say I have sharpened, hmm.... probably around 60 blades or so. Maybe more or less, I;m not sure. Take that figure as a ROUGH estimate. But given my frequeancy of sharpening, I think the stones will last me at least 20 years more. So I don't worry about the wearing thing. Oh, I never use oil too. I sharpen dry 9they recommend that) and after a few sharpenigns I will wash the stone susing water and a brush wish stiff plastic bristles. 24 hours later I put the stones away (they need to dry).

    The guides have been very interesing. At first, I hated them. I was very close to sending the whole kit back. I think there is a bit of learning and fooling around that you have to do with a Razor's Edge piece of gear than with other systems. Now, however, I like the guides. I don't use them all of the time. But they do produce nice flat bevels. And you use a natural sharpening technique. You can press very hard on the knife as you sharpen. As far as equipment goes, the RES kit is the most satisfying to use, I think. Very natural, um... I'm not sure what to say. It just feels good. Sharpening is enjoyable. The GATCO kit I used to have felt very mechanical and awkward. I dunno, I like having both handls on a blade and stroking it on a stone (no bastids, you can't post anything sicko about this statement!) Oh, the guides do wear down. I don't know how many times I have used them, but you will have to buy new ones from time to time. Whatever angle you set them to, they hold it. You have some adjustment available by positioning the clamp in different spots on the knife. In fact, the instructions in the kit tell you to do just that.

    So, in the end, it was and still is a worth while piece of gear to get. The stones and the folding steel are awesome. The guides will take some learning time, but they do the job as specified. The whole kit is more versatile than a sharpmaker. When I go to my relatives I take my Sharpmaker and my Razor's Edge kit. The Razor's Edge kit gets used more. One advantage the Razor's Edge System has over other systems I think is its versatility. You can use the stuff free hand, use the guides, steel or not, you have great stones, it is relatively small and portable, etc.

    Any further questions you have, please feel free to e-mail me. Also, I may know where you can get a used kit for a good price. Happy sharpening!
  9. Shay Oudanonh

    Shay Oudanonh

    Sep 19, 2000

    Read the book but learn to sharpen freehand. The book will tell you everything you need to know about sharpening. Take everything you learned and try to do it freehand. I spent a lot of money on many systems (including the Razor Edge) and have given them all away. I just use the good old Tri-hone sharpening stones with a Gerber steel and leather hone freehand. Hack, steel and hone your edge often and you don't even need the sharpening stones.

    You don't really need an edge tester. If it shave hair it is sharp. If you run the edge pass hair and it popped off with out you having to make contact with your skin, it is sharp! A lot of people seem to feel that you don't really need the edge of your knife that sharp but hey, I went backpacking during the summer and forgot to pack my razor so I shave with my Ka-Bar. You never know.

    There's my two cents!:D Good luck, have fun and watch out for all your fingers.


    P.S. Try out the smooth steel Razor Edge sell, you might like it.
  10. matthew rapaport

    matthew rapaport

    Jun 23, 1999
    I have the razor edge system. There is only one angle, and I don't like that much. Also as others have said, the guides themselves wear down eventually. Like other "clamp based" systems, unless you manage to set the clamp exactly the same way every time, the angle changes, etc. About the only good thing I can say about it is that the clamps will handle some big knives, even up to 1/4" thick which you typically can not do with some of the other clamp-based systems.

    Personally if I had to do it over again, I'd buy the guides but get the other stones that are a lot less expensive and experiment. The book is good, but mostly common sense and you will get the same information from the sharpening FAQ here on BFC and many other places...
  11. Doc Mac

    Doc Mac

    Aug 12, 1999
    The razor egde system never made it for me, and the guides do wear quickly. I prefer to thin an edge or re-profile with a Norton bench stone or the Lansky with diamond stones, then get that super sharp edge with the Spyderco 203 or 204. YMMV
  12. Longbob


    Oct 16, 2001
    I feel the cardboard wheels and a grinder beat all of the systems mentioned hands down. They work faster and better than anything else I have used. I have used all that were mentioned.
  13. ExamonLyf


    Dec 22, 2000
    So are most of them if you just keep hacking away. The best thing I ever did in my life (knifewise)...was to learn to sharpen freehand using a doublesided India Stone. Not the easiest method, and it does have a "learning curve", but gets tremendous results after some practice.

    "Hunters seek what they [WANT].., Seekers hunt what they [NEED]"

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