Steel / Optimum sharpening grit

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by HKGuns, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. HKGuns


    Jan 28, 2019
    I don't know enough to provide the data and I don't know that I've seen this anywhere else on this site.

    Seems it would be useful information for a guide that has a list of Steels and the optimum grit to stop at when sharpening. Realizing some of it may be use dependent.

    I've read S30V likes a toothy edge. 600 Max? 400 Max?
    Which steels are best served by a mirror polished edge?

    Post your experience and I can try to capture it when there is a consensus, if that is possible.
  2. mycough

    mycough Basic Member Basic Member

    May 20, 2007
    I like my m390 finished at 400 then stropped on balsa with 1um diamond paste. Didnt want to leave you hanging Man...
    HKGuns likes this.
  3. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    I've found that steels with large carbides -- D2, S30V -- work best with a toothy edge. I wouldn't go beyond 600 grit (DMT red). Extra Coarse (220) works fine on those steels, too. Some of the more recent powder steels -- CTS-XHP, S35Vn, S110V, seem to have a finer grain structure and will take a finer polished edge, though I prefer a coarser edge on those, too. Steels with low carbide content -- high carbon steels and most non-powder stainless grades (4116, 12C27) will take a very fine edge. I usually finish those with DMT Extra Fine (1200 grit) or an ancient Black Arkansas bench stone.
    Rich S and HKGuns like this.
  4. HKGuns


    Jan 28, 2019
    Thanks for your responses. May not be as interesting as I initially thought.

    oh well, no biggie.
    mycough likes this.
  5. mycough

    mycough Basic Member Basic Member

    May 20, 2007
    I have started worse threads, I found it interesting Man.
    jux t and HKGuns like this.
  6. TRfromMT


    Jan 4, 2016
    You might get more response on this question over in the maintenance, tinkering and embellishment sub forum. Lot's of sharpening discussion going on over there!
    HKGuns likes this.
  7. mycough

    mycough Basic Member Basic Member

    May 20, 2007
    Perhaps a kindly admin guy can move this, I am hoping for some more participation.
  8. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    I like to finish "super steels" to at least 8,000, or even higher. Then strop to .25 micron.

    Lesser steels like D-2, S30V S35 VN etc, I will leave rough and toothy, perhaps 2,000-3,000 grit.
    Motega likes this.
  9. Motega

    Motega Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    I agree with the above. My EDC are m390 and 20cv and this works for me. I strop once a week and haven't had to sharpen in at least 4 months. My go to is a 3" Hinderer.

    I start around cbn 60, then 120, 200, 400, 800 then Venev 800, 1200, Cerax 3000, Suehiro G8 8000, Chosera 10k and/or Sigma Power 2 10k, then diamond strop 3 pastes to .25.

    Good times. Probably not necessary but fun.
    Ben Dover likes this.
  10. lambertiana

    lambertiana Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    For general purpose blades a 400-600 grit edge works best and is longer lasting. Buck did some testing and found that for the knives they tested, this grit actually stayed sharper longer than a highly polished edge. The PM steels like S30V, M390, etc., have fine carbides that are much smaller than this grit range. D2 has large carbides that are pretty close to this grit range.

    For woodworking I would go with a highly polished edge. Woodworking is almost always push cutting and benefits from a very polished edge.
    Rich S likes this.
  11. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    That's probably accurate with the less expensive steels used in most Buck knives. I would seriously question whether it's true with high end steels.

    And grit is dependent on what kind of cut you want. IMHO, 400-600 gives a toothy ripping-tearing cut like a saw. I can't imagine getting a smooth, surgicsl cutting action below 2,000 at the lowest.

    Of course, many folks desire a ragged, tearing type cut. MY preference is for more of a smooth, surgical type of cut. JUst MHO!:)
  12. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    I see lots of people say this, and don't understand.
    I've given my s30v blades every edge imaginable, up to face shaving.

    But I agree that a 600 grit (fine) diamond edge has the best all around utility in everyday use, with any steel.
    I think going much lower or higher than this starts heading towards specialty use.
    HKGuns likes this.

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