Ready to try freehand sharpening! What stones?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Travis Santelmann, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. Travis Santelmann

    Travis Santelmann Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 27, 2018
    Ok so, I own a Wicked Edge guided setup with an anglefinder, and multiple stones and strops. I am quite good at putting a edge on any steel around. I am just ready to freehand now, and I want to be able to sharpen dagger blades without using a guided setup.

    I am ready to try freehand sharpening now, I am looking in to some DMT bench stones with 600 Grit one side and 1200 Grit on the fine side.

    There are several different options available. I do not mind investing $100-$200 bucks in a nice setup.

    Someone point me in the right direction. I will be sharpening S30V, and CTS-204P, and S110V.

    I am particular about my edges, so I will most likely practice with some cheap knives first. Before I start grinding away on my Microtech.
  2. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I think the large DMT DuoSharp is an excellent choice and the one I use along with other bench stones. The Fine and Extra Fine combination is a good choice. I started with coarse and fine, and then quickly got the Fine/Extra fine plate. Don't press hard when sharpening.
    Alberta Ed likes this.
  3. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    Tony Bose recommended EZLap diamond stones once in a thread. He should know. I've used the DMT duofold and they work well.
  4. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    I have multiple guided setups, and a large collection of bench stones, but I've switched over to coffee mugs for 99% of my sharpening needs. Dagger shaped blades pose no sharpening problem with a coffee mug, and I've sharpened all three of those steels without issue using the coffee mug system:

    1. Flip over coffee mug (note, it helps to use an empty coffee mug)
    2. Hold blade at the angle of attack you desire and stroke across rim of coffee mug as it was a regular bench stone
    3. There is no step three
    If you really want a bench stone the previously mentioned duosharp is nice and came with a neato stand. I also like the Norton two-tone stones I have, convenient to just flip to change grits if you can find a pair that suits your needs.

    . . . or you could come over to the my side and join the coffee mug sharpening revolution (really it's just me, but I welcome company and the revolution is caffeinated).
    jacksterp likes this.
  5. Travis Santelmann

    Travis Santelmann Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 27, 2018
    Ive used coffee mugs too but I don’t think I’d want to seriously consider this for reprofiling my knives.
  6. ScooterG

    ScooterG You mean Ireland? Yeah, it’s mine. Platinum Member

    Mar 15, 2016
    @FortyTwoBlades will have some great options. He has some threads in the sharpening forum too if I recall. Also, check out some YouTube videos from Michael Christy and Big Brown Bear (@DeadboxHero)
    FortyTwoBlades likes this.
  7. MtnHawk1

    MtnHawk1 Basic Member Basic Member

    May 22, 2019
    Travis Santelmann, are you looking for recommendations for both sharpening and reprofiling stones?
    I don't think you'd want to reprofile with 600 or 1200 grit stones.
  8. Travis Santelmann

    Travis Santelmann Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 27, 2018
    Both. I see so many options on the DMT stones. I wouldn’t reprofile with the 600/1200 stone. But I would with the coarser DMT stone that is also (2) sided. So I suppose I need two, (2) sided DMT stones. One for reprofiling, and one for getting a quick fine edge.

    I am currently using my Wicked Edge for reprofiling, and sharpening.

    I’m not a big fan of the time required to setup on my W/E just touch touch up a Edge after work.

    I totally suck at freehand sharpening. I truly believe it is a god given skill.
  9. Fanglekai


    Jan 7, 2007
    Norton Crystolon coarse/fine 8" bench stone. They're about $20. I like the Norton India stone a bit more for low alloy carbon steel. Also about $20. These won't remove metal as fast as lower grit stones, but they don't tend to dish and they'll probably last forever. I use a small amount of regular USP mineral oil from the pharmacy section of any grocery store as the sharpening oil. Less than a tsp will cover the whole stone.
  10. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    Just use those stones. Who knows maybe you are another Michael Christy.

    I've fooled around with hand sharpening for fifty years. I still take the occasional flirt with the hand sharpening as a slight touch up or for drill bits and such at work.
    My opinion ? When you come to your sense you can pick up with the Wicked Edge again and you won't have wasted any money.
    Sure . . . free hand the daggers what not.

    Guided sharpening is superior sharpening.
  11. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    It's not like I am lacking for bench stones it is just that hand sharpening sucks so much compared to my guided system (Edge Pro).
    Full disclosure . . . I use jigs to sharpen my woodworking tools on these large stones.
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  12. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    A simple angle guide and a set of DMTs, from ultra-coarse (220) to ultra-fine will do as well as the guided systems IMHO.
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I use the Norton India Stone too. But I use WD-40 as my lubricant. I always used oil before Ethan Becker told me he used WD-40. But I only use it on softer steels in general and follow up with the DMT.
  14. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    Yes one would probably want to escalate to espresso to get the needed surface feet per-minute up for serious stock removal.
    MtnHawk1 likes this.
  15. GIRLYmann


    Nov 7, 2005
    free hand is a skill
    that keeps sharpening
    to a bare minimum of
    just the sharpening medium.
    understandably, one could
    seriously ruin the bevel or
    worst yet, accidentaly scratch
    the wrong areas in frustration.
    but, practice makes perfect;
    and we gotta start somewheres.
    dmt? hell yeah!
    more convinient than slabs of traditional arkansas + washita stones :)
    MtnHawk1 likes this.
  16. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    That S110V really limits your options, I don't think novaculite or unglazed ceramic mugs will cut it.
    DMT diamonds are really the best option. SiC stones like Norton Crystolon will handle it too.
    For a less well known choice, Gritomatic has a 1K and 2500 SiC waterstone that feels great. Should handle your steels without issue. So it would be DMT coarse, Gritomatic 1K, maybe then the 2.5K and then stopping with a diamond or CBN compound if you want an edge that polished.
    Though a full run of DMT will do the trick.
    FortyTwoBlades likes this.
  17. cbwx34


    Dec 27, 2004
    I cut the "lip" off the W.E. stones (for another reason)... but found that clamping them in a stone holder...


    ... makes a pretty good freehand setup. :) (Since the W.E. diamond stones are actually quite good... figured might as well put them to use).
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  18. Travis Santelmann

    Travis Santelmann Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 27, 2018
    Maybe you’re right. I’ve considered upgrading to a Wicked Edge WE130. I own a Wicked Edge WE52 with 200/600 stones, and 800/1000 stones, and 10/14 micron strops with a digital angle finder. I want the better clamping system on the WE130. Sharpening Spyderco’s is tricky, although I have mastered it on a WE setup after about 18 months of owning mine.

    My current Wicked Edge GO setup requires you to use the angle finder on the PM2’s blade to verify that they are center.. “ or any other knife too” I have it memorized, 0.245 degrees on each side of the blade is perfectly level for a PM2. 0.275 degrees for a Military is perfectly level. This is with the angle cube stuck against the left side and right side of the blades verifying it is perfectly straight. Then I have to set my stone angles lol.

    The WE130 doesn’t require any of that. Just set your stone angle after clamping in!
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  19. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Stick with 8" stones. The price difference makes 6" stones quite tempting but the 8" stones provide far more versatility and you'll be much happier down the road.

    1. I'd recommend a Norton Crystolon Course or a Baryonyx American Mutt (or whatever @FortyTwoBlades recommends) for re-profiling and heavy lifting. SiC and AlO will sharpen even the S110V.

    2. Then I'd say get a Ultra Sharp 400/1200 combination stone.

    3. Next, get a universal stone holder.

    4. Lastly I'd recommend stropping of some sort. You could get away with some diamond spray on paint sticks. I'd probably go with .5um.

    So you're looking at:

    1. $20 or $8 depending on choice.
    2. $63
    3. $17
    4. $22
  20. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    For those steels you can use aluminum oxide and silicon carbide stones up to around 400 ANSI (~700 JIS) without issue, but the high vanadium carbide content will start causing issues with stones finer than that if you're not using diamond or CBN stones.

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