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sharpening knives

Feb 23, 1999
I got a new gerber e-z out jr. I tried cutting everything I could find, webbing, fruit, paper. Well the edge felt razor sharp when new, I resharpen with a gatco @ 25° to match factory angle. It feels kinda sharp but it won't work worth beans for opening the mail. I have a buck 309 pocket knive that I sharpened @ 19° and it opens mail as good a x-acto knive. I also have a buck 102 @ 22° and it opens mail good too.
They all feel to touch just as sharp, no wire edge. If you run them across the hair on you arm, they all will not slide over the hairs, you can shave with them.
I have tried coarse, fine stone for the edge on the e-z out and still lousy. What is my problem, is it the angle? or the blade steel on the gerber? or the stones?

Any help would be great.
Try a longer angle, it might work better. I have a Gerber EZ-OUT, and I sharpen by hand, and found that an edge around 18 degrees works pretty well on it. The factory edge was around 25 degrees however. I don't understand how most people check the degrees when they handsharpen, but I just hold my knife really steady and then check it with a protractor
It's the angle. I don't know to measure angles; all I know is every time I buy a knife the first thing I do is grind it to a more acute angle. I think the factories choose the edge angle so no matter how a customer abuses the knife he won't chip the edge and send it back. Whether he can cut anything with it -- what does the factory care about that??? I don't think people send knives back because they won't cut, only because the edge chipped when they abused it.

I keep one or two knives around with the factory angle and never use them, only abuse them -- scraping battery terminals, cutting wire, things like that.

-Cougar Allen :{)
I learned something this past week about sharpening knives. I've always been pretty good at getting tools sharp; knives, chisels, drill bits, etc. My problem is that, as far as knives go, pretty good is not enough.

I received a Dozier K1 a few weeks ago, and marveled at it's edge (way sharp). The question was: why? The only way I could see to find out why a sharp knive was sharp was to look at the edge under a magnifying glass. I used a small ~10x lens that I used to use for keying out plants.

Looking at a sharp edge vs. a not-so-sharp edge makes it really clear what it is that you should be trying to do when you sharpen a knife. All the articles I've read about sharpening now make sense. A sharp knive has a uniform, even bevel that goes all ther way to the edge (the cutting edge). The angle of the bevel seems to matter less than the precision of the bevel and the fact that it goes all the way to the edge. It's really easy to see the wire edge as the sharpening process progresses, and the need to remove it is apparent.

Anyway, I encourage those of you who are not completely satisfied with your own sharpening technique - and results - to get ahold of a maginfying glass and look at the difference between a sharp knife and the one you're carrying today. It's also a really good rationalization for ordering an expensive new knife just so you can see where you need to go with your technique. Read the FAQs and articles, try what is suggested, and watch what happens on your own edge.

It works for me...

Yes, I agree try a little longer, flatter angle, BUT BE CAREFUL!! Keep both sides even as possible. Also a flatter bevel will chip easier if you are working as a utility. FIRST, try a little courser edge, see how that goes for your tasks.(Microinvisible serrations).. I call them.
Its not the angle. When I sharpen knives for friends I always use a very high angle > 25 degrees. This is usually because the edges are in poor condition and they take a bit of a beating so they need to be durable.

Anyway, a well sharpened edge at 25 degrees should cut paper, rope, etc really well. Now it won't perform as well as if you lower the edge but the performance should be high. Any edge that is polished enough to smoothly cut the hair on your arm should easily cut through paper.

We put a very hard bevel on the Uluchet so it can withstand chopping bone, wood etc. and still maintain it sharpness. Dave B is right when he suggests the use of a magnifing glass to see what's happening. Even with the sharp angle on the Uluchet edge it's still scary sharp (as one owner says "every time I get it out I remind myself to pay attention or lose my fingers") One more thing, it is very important to draw the stone/diamond or whatever away from the edge to remove the wire, a finer edge makes a finer cut.

YES,it is sharp, just keep your fingers out of the way!