Staying razor sharp

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Aug 22, 2018
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I have a few knives in different steels, and i`ve been sharpening them to hair shaving sharpness. But what im getting is im losing this edge rather quickly on any kind of steel, with normal edc use. I mean they`re still cutting paper, but not shaving.

So question is - should I see longer shaving sharpness on higher-end steels? All my stuff is one of those: s30v s35vn 154cm m4 d2 20cv

Secondly, is it possible to get it back to razor with only stropping (i have white & green compound ones)? I was not able to get it this way, but that may be because of a simple lack of proper stropping skill... Or might be due to those compounds dont actually do much to certain steels (m4, d2?)..

thanks
 
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M4 and 20cv should hold their edge the longest I think. But for stropping those I'd invest in diamond sprays/compunds for your strop.

If you notice no differece between s30v and M4 that's weird imho.Although materials you cut, edge angles and thickness behind the edge make results verry different and make comparisons between steels on different knives difficult.
 
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No offense intended, but why do you even want a knife "razor sharp"? No one shaves with a knife (that I know of) and they won't hold an edge for long (as you've found out). Get the knife "phone book paper" sharp and it will cut anything you wish and hold it's edge much longer. Just a thought.
Rich
 
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I dont obsess with it. I`ve been getting into sharpening, playing with angles, comparing steels..

So to be clear, when I read "hold their edge" it actually does NOT mean holding shaving sharp edge?
 

soc_monki

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From what I understand, pretty much all steels lose that super sharp razor edge fairly quickly. It's the working edge that will stay a while. Even if you don't use it you'll lose that razor edge due to microscopic corrosion I believe.

I honestly love getting my knife so sharp I can split a hair with it, or go right through paper towels (which is very tough to do cleanly!) but I know it won't last long. Also been experimenting with coarser edges too, and I'm kind of liking them.
 
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I would double check that you are not leaving a wire edge on the blade. That will seem "shaving sharp" but will break off fairly quickly when cutting just about anything. Also, check to see if the blade is shaving sharp cutting both directions (with either bevel down), that would also indicate a wire edge if only one direction is shaving sharp.
 
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Cool, could you elaborate on the wire edge?

Initially i was sharpening on guided systems, got 1 side to full burr -> switch sides -> deburr.

Now im doing sharpmaker changing sides on each pass until it slides freely on both sides.
 
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With the sharpmaker, and alternating sides, you are *probably* not leaving a wire edge.

But, a wire edge is where a burr (or remains of a burr) is left on the cutting edge. It can seem very sharp, but is extremely fragile.
 

The Zieg

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I have a few knives in different steels, and i`ve been sharpening them to hair shaving sharpness. But what im getting is im losing this edge rather quickly on any kind of steel, with normal edc use. I mean they`re still cutting paper, but not shaving.

So question is - should I see longer shaving sharpness on higher-end steels? All my stuff is one of those: s30v s35vn 154cm m4 d2 20cv

Secondly, is it possible to get it back to razor with only stropping (i have white & green compound ones)? I was not able to get it this way, but that may be because of a simple lack of proper stropping skill... Or might be due to those compounds dont actually do much to certain steels (m4, d2?)..

thanks
Depending on what you're cutting, you will lose the shaving sharpeness pretty fast, but this also is very dependent on the grind of the blade.

You can indeed get back to shaving sharp with only a strop. I do it all the time and I go to the strop long before I take a knife to back to the stone.

And finally, there are some nuances to stropping that will up your game there, particularly using a lighter touch as you get close to your desired sharpness.

Zieg
 
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Apr 3, 2015
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Cool, could you elaborate on the wire edge?

Initially i was sharpening on guided systems, got 1 side to full burr -> switch sides -> deburr.

Now im doing sharpmaker changing sides on each pass until it slides freely on both sides.
The wire edge is a burr that won’t deburr, it just rolls from one side to the other. I’ve experienced this and really don’t know what causes it, but I’ve found that stropping is one way to get rid of it.
 

Korean Hog

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That's why lately I've been an advocate of not being so picky about what steel you're knife is made of.
Obviously, being picky in regards to certain things like rust resistance would make sense in considering carbon vs. stainless.
My point is just that if you're knife is made of a quality steel with a good HT and good blade geometry it should cut everything you
would use a pocket knife for just fine throughout the day.

I tried for a while to find a knife with a blade steel that would maintain that super slick razor edge all day, but the abrasive materials I cut regularly,
just won't have it. One day I used like a $20 dollar Kershaw and quickly realized that the higher end steels far surpass cheap steels when it comes to maintaining
a decent working edge throughout the work day. Still, I've found nothing that is going to stay razor sharp, even utility razors/ box cutters.
The only reason they seem to be "razor sharp" a little longer than a pocket folder is because they are so thin, but the apex of the edge is still dulled back to just a working edge.

I normally sharpen on a 300 grit diamond stone and then smooth the edge out a bit with a 5-600 grit diamond stone.
By no means is this a super fine edge, but generally I see no point in sharpening to a super high grit with an edc folder for work.
I save my high grit Japanese water stones for kitchen knives.
Super fine edges make slicing food more enjoyable and the fine cuts from a mirror polished edge make the finished product look better too.
 

sharp_edge

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Jul 30, 2015
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From what I understand, pretty much all steels lose that super sharp razor edge fairly quickly. It's the working edge that will stay a while. Even if you don't use it you'll lose that razor edge due to microscopic corrosion I believe.

I honestly love getting my knife so sharp I can split a hair with it, or go right through paper towels (which is very tough to do cleanly!) but I know it won't last long. Also been experimenting with coarser edges too, and I'm kind of liking them.

^This. It does not matter which steel the knife has, they will all lost that hair splitting edge with just a few cuts. The difference is that good steels will hold a reasonably sharp edge for much longer than inferior ones.
 
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Aug 22, 2018
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Yeah that answers my main question. Thought it had something to do with my sharpening. Now im calm :)
 

Rhinoknives1

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Depending on what you're cutting, you will lose the shaving sharpeness pretty fast, but this also is very dependent on the grind of the blade.

You can indeed get back to shaving sharp with only a strop. I do it all the time and I go to the strop long before I take a knife to back to the stone.

And finally, there are some nuances to stropping that will up your game there, particularly using a lighter touch as you get close to your desired sharpness.

Zieg
This^^^ you can use the back of a note pad. The cardboard there will work well to strop your blades. Most Steels are to aggressive , they are a file to abrade carbon steel blades. Just kind of tear up Stainless Steels .. use, Smooth or Ceramic rods. Most of the time. Cardboard works great to Hone..
 

soc_monki

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I usually just hit mine on my brown stones on the sharpmaker when mine isn't feeling as sharp as it was. Brings it back really quick, just takes a few swipes.

I'm really liking how the knife cuts after just the brown stones. Nice and aggressive!
 
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Sep 20, 2015
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So question is - should I see longer shaving sharpness on higher-end steels? All my stuff is one of those: s30v s35vn 154cm m4 d2 20cv

Secondly, is it possible to get it back to razor with only stropping
Let me say this about that :
Follow this link to one of my past links by clicking on this :)
(To steal a good method from Scooter G)
 

AntDog

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Apr 3, 2001
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Sometimes an edge just needs alignment. Sometimes it needs sprucing up. Sometimes it needs lightly honed, and sometimes it flat out needs sharpened.

I like to take off as little steel as possible to minimize wear, so I start with a smooth steel. If that doesn’t work I try a loaded strop. If that doesn’t work I try a fine stone, then the strop. If it obviously needs sharpened, I take it all the way through the progression of stones, then the strop.

This method has worked for me for many years. My knives are always sharp enough to at least shave hair, unless it’s been one hell of a week. Lol

This phenomenon of the razor sharp edge wearing off quickly only happens if I’m cutting a LOT of abrasive material. A “working edge” does last a long time, but if you’re knocking the razor sharpness off very fast, there’s a problem. Sounds like wire edge to me.
 
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Steeling often makes a razor edge spring back. I use a burnisher @RC 62 or so that works well -- a valve stem would also work.
 
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