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Sharpeners Fail Me

Jul 4, 2001
I have had a spyderco tri-angle sharpener system complete with 2 fine rods, and 2 medium rods for about 3 years. I have only been able to put a hair shaving edge on one of my knives once out of all the times I have used it. The knives I am trying to sharpen include:
1 Benchmade AFCK in M2 Steel
1 Benchmade Automatic Folder
1 Cold Steel SRk
1 Benchmade Nimravus (in ATS-34)
Is there this much tecnique involved in sharpening a piece of steel? What Am I doing wrong? :mad: :confused:
Have you tried reading the sharpening FAQ here on BF? Here's a link if you haven't. http://www.bladeforums.com/features/faqsharp.shtml . It's very complete and helpful, plus there's quite a bit of info on the Sharpmaker. If that doesn't help, e-mail me and I'll try to help you if I can. You'll have to do it before July 10 th though, since I won't have internet access for 9 weeks after that. Good luck!
There are a three possibilities that I can think of. First, you did it wrong, though I must admit I really doubt it. Second, your knives have greater angles than the Sharpmaker, meaning you only touch the bevel's shoulder when you're sharpening. Knives come with different angles from the factory. The magic marker trick will tell you where you're actually sharpening your knives at. Third, your stones are loaded, make sure you clean them regularly.
Frantium is right. If your angle of sharpening is narrower than your primary edge angle, you will be touching the bevel. Have patience and continue to sharpen. This will allow you to grind away the old primary edge bevel and begin to contact more of the old edge. If you stones are loaded take a scotch pad and some Comet cleanser and really scrub those ceramic stones until all of the metal is gone. I would then try to sharpen a folder that has a relatively thin edge first, the AFCK seems to be your best choice since is has relatively could relief and is carbon steel, which sharpens up easier. This will take less time that the Cold Steel SRK and will hopefully give you motivation to tackle larger knives once the job is completed. The #1 thing is keeping a consistent angle and going until a burr forms. I would purchase the Razor Edge Book of Sharpening. Not only is it entertaining but it is informative as well.
With fixed angle sharpeners it may take some time initially to regrind the edge bevels to the same angles as your device. Since BM like to use Really wide edge bevels, it is likely that all of your sharpening efforts are just wearing down the bevel, but doing nothing at the edge.

Read the sharpening FAQ. Do the Magic Marker Trick and see wear your stones are grinding the blade. Once you have all the angles working together, it will be easier in the future to resharpen.

If your edge bevels are Very different from the Sharpmakers, you might want to use coarse stone freehand to more quicky 're-profile' you primary bevels. Then go back to the Sharpmaker.

Keep at it. It will work eventually.

benchmade, Benchmade, sharpened CS prybar and another Benchmade: yep, I'd be looking at those bevels!

If the bevels are thick, go spend $6 or whatever you want for a coarse stone. Any coarse stone will do. DMT X-Coarse would be ideal, but it is by no means necessary. "sharpen" each knife with that rough stone at a relatively shallow angle (say 15 degrees) and then use your sharpmaker to set an edge. Mage sure that if you do what I suggest that you establish a burr at each step of the relief grinding process.