1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker stones & more

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by kreisler, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    Just wondering if you or someone/something else ever made one of your Sharpmaker rods break. Could be the open window clashing against the device, the grumpy cat tipping it over, the toddler trying to play drums on the floor, the wife dropping everything on the kitchen floor, or the dog chewing it like a bone. Or a mishap by yourself.
     {g (*inclination angle of rod wrt the vertical*),
      z = 5 (*uncut height of vertical prism*),
      b = 3 (*rod profile: length of triangle edge*),
      a = Pi/3 (*rod profile: 3 angles inside triangle are all 60 degrees*),
      R (*center of common circumcircle is coordinate origin*),
      tri1Base (*rod profile: triangular base near the bottom*),
      tri1Top (*rod profile: triangular base near the top*),
      pri1 (*vertical prism formed by the two bases*),
      tri2Base (*2nd triangle base*),
      tri2Top (*2nd triangle base*),
      pri2 (*2nd prism*)
     R = [email protected](b/Sqrt[3]);
     tri1Base = tri1Top = {{R Cos[a], R Sin[a], 0}, {-R, 0, 0}, {R Cos[a], -R Sin[a], 0}};
     tri1Top[[All, 3]] = z;
     pri1 = Prism[tri1Base~Join~tri1Top];
     tri2Base = tri2Top = {{R, 0, 0}, {-R Cos[a], R Sin[a], 0}, {-R Cos[a], -R Sin[a], 0}};
     tri2Top[[All, 3]] = z;
     pri2 = Prism[tri2Base~Join~tri2Top];
        {PointSize[.03], Red, Point[{R, 0, z}]},
        Style[{pri1, pri2}, ClipPlanes ->
          {InfinitePlane[{{R, 0, 0}, {R, 1, 0}, {0, 0, R Tan[g]}}],
           InfinitePlane[{{-R, 0, z}, {-R, 1, z}, {0, 0, z - R Tan[g]}}]
           }, ClipPlanesStyle -> Opacity[.1]
        }, Boxed -> False, RotationAction -> "Clip"
      , {{g, 20 Degree, "Edge Angle"}, 0 Degree, 45 Degree}
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  2. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Nope; but I do handle with care when I use it and swap rods. And I use a rubber pad on my work area so even if one fell it would land on a soft surface.
    kreisler likes this.
  3. MyLegsAreOk


    Aug 31, 2017
    No I haven't and I even dropped them! My PM2 tip snapped off easier than these things break. I dropped a PM2 on a cement floor and bam no tip.
    kreisler likes this.
  4. BellaBlades

    BellaBlades Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 12, 2013
    Yes. Dropped an extra white rod from an old set in my cramped workshop a few years ago. It Broke in half after hitting the concrete floor.

    Ive also dropped a gray rod once from my current set. Minimal damage to the corner. I have since stopped sharpening on the edge of my work bench and do it at the table instead.
    kreisler likes this.
  5. DMD08

    DMD08 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 22, 2005
    I dropped a medium rod on the wood floor and it snapped right in half.
    kreisler likes this.
  6. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    No . . . when I got this one I fully intended to cut it in half or at least shorten it so it would fit in the sharpening tool roll I carry but then once I started using it I decided to just carry it in the tube full length and so far so good. I don't have a Sharpmaker; I just use this Ultra Fine free hand. I have never dropped it but I do carry it in a back pack or bike bag every single day. Some of my knives really respond to it.
    kreisler likes this.
  7. MyLegsAreOk


    Aug 31, 2017
    What are the gray rods? I only ever see brown or white ceramics. Are you talking the nickel ones with the boron or diamond (zircon) in them?
    I've found diamonds will always give you more tooth. Can you list what alloys respond better to the UF? I bought all the sharpmaker rods in an attempt find the fastest and best sharpening system and I think only 154CM, D2, VG10, 440a/c, and Sandvik work good with it. s30/90/110v and maxamet are better with diamonds (I use DMT blue to tan w/the new medium).
    kreisler likes this.
  8. jc57

    jc57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    kreisler likes this.
  9. uxo2

    uxo2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 3, 2013

    White stone fell off table and snapped.
    kreisler likes this.
  10. Chris "Anagarika"

    Chris "Anagarika"

    Mar 7, 2001
    The end chipped when fell on tile. Totally still usable as I hold them in hand & never use the end.

    I only have UF rod.
    kreisler likes this.
  11. BellaBlades

    BellaBlades Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 12, 2013
    I meant the brown medium rods.
    kreisler likes this.
  12. aleforme

    aleforme Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Snapped a Fine rod in half when it fella and hit the tile floor. Also dropped a one of my medium stones and it now has a nice chunk out at the end on one corner. I just turn it and use the other side.
    kreisler likes this.
  13. Dangerously

    Dangerously Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 8, 2013
    Dropped an extra fine rod and broke it clean off about 1/3 of the way up. Super glue worked.
    kreisler likes this.
  14. Lapedog

    Lapedog Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    Yep, broke the brown rod. Now I have two travel sized rods. Also broke the corner off an ultra fine.
    kreisler likes this.
  15. MyLegsAreOk


    Aug 31, 2017
    Are the ceramic balls in the locks a different compound? There's story floating around where spdie or their supplier tested them back when and the ball popped from the vise and stuck in the metal roofing of the shop. I'm wondering if they're still alumina silicate in the balls as they seem much more resilient and they're shinier than - I don't have a simile for this, maybe than Kitt was waxed?
    kreisler likes this.
  16. TheEdge01


    Apr 3, 2015
    I have chipped a couple before but never actually broke any. I was getting ready to go to my parents house one evening and instead of making two trips from my house to the car, I tried to carry everything at once, including my Sharpmaker. Well, I dropped my Sharpmaker and when it the gravel covered ground, th lid popped off and my ceramic rods scattered. This resulted in one my medium rods with a corner broken completely off, and a fine rod with small chips in it.
    kreisler likes this.
  17. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    Today i got my own complete set (1pc 204MF, 2pcs 204UF1), brandnew from geman vendor for under 104EUR total ouch; i know that the tool cost 50US$ for many years in the US. Even though i get unbelievable results with my RUIXIN and guided rod stropping (PTS method), super sharp, super polished, one-handedly, sitting, drinking Coke with my free hand, i was always interested in also owning the Sharpmaker .. for my fun. Also for having an edge maintenance alternative to my "1" leather strop (i have several leathers but they are all loaded with the identical SiC paste) which i use very regularly. Edge maintenance is more fun and satisfactory than setting up the RUIXIN every effing time. When my blades need a full RUIXIN treatment, i'd gladly schedule ahead an afternoon of resharpening session. But likewise lazy me is grateful, if i can complete an edge maintenance treatment instead, within 5mins. The sharpmaker should be an energy-saving, effective, fun way to maintain razor-sharpness. I am looking forward to the new experience.

    Btw, this thread shall be the first and only thread opened by me on topic of the Spyderco Sharpmaker. If something comes up re my experience with the Sharpmaker, i plan to post here in this thread (OP: stories about breakage), no need to open another thread on the Sharpmaker by me.

    Thanks for your attention and interest, appreciated!
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
  18. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Broke a white rod and a course. Found them that way in my kitchen utility drawer. But I have a mischievous granddaughter. I need to order another set but will probably buy a whole unit instead of ordering just the stones. I noticed that the stones have more play when seated in the holder than previously. I really do think the sharpmaker is a fantastic product though.
    kreisler likes this.
  19. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    Well my set is brandnew and i have noticed that the 40° holes have tons of play, one (much) more than the other. The other holes are acceptable. And there is also a difference between the stones, the brown stones are minimally thinner (you can't see, you can't feel, but the play will tell, and your digital caliper of course) resulting in even more play. So my first Sharpmaker session a week ago got derailed by the hole-varying wobbliness of the stones.

    Today i spent all afternoon on figuring out which the optimal taping combo is for each rod. With the tape, each rod must find good seating in all of its 4 positions, for example the Medium "U-rod" in U40-edge, U40-flat, U30-edge, U30-flat, and the Medium "P-rod" in the P40-edge, P40-flat, P30-edge, P30-flat.

    Where to put the tape, how much of the tape, what kind of tape (which tape combo), and how to turn/orientate/rotate the rod in the hole to minimize the remaining play .. these were the questions which got answered after hours of trial and error. The different tape colors can also serve as color-coding (RED=UltraFine or 30°-Ultrasharp). Electrician's tape is so colorful, me likey!

    I used a total of four(4) different adhesive tape products: tesa film (*very thin*), CN book foil (*thin*), DE book foil (*less thin*), and electrician's tape (*isn't thin*). 1 flat face of each rod had to stay completely blank/untaped, which meant that i could tape only 1, 1.5, or 2 flats, always starting with 2 flats of electrician's tape. And then cutting down on it, adding a layer of a thinner tape, etc. So much trial and error, you wouldn't believe it!

    But in the end i managed to find the solution set: for each rod the one and only taping solution which leads to minimal play in its four designated positions. I also improved the readability of the letters and numbers on the black plastic (btw i actually hate looking at black things, including black mammals and everything else black, it gives me the eye cancer, never mind lol). Btw from the black marks at the bottom of the white stone, you can tell that the black plastic is wearing off whenever you insert a rod with tight tolerances. The holes are developing play over time, no doubt about it. I've got more tape to remedy this in future.

    So at the start of my next Sharpmaker session, as soon as i open the black[sic!] box, i know exactly which rod has to go into which hole; and there will be no more surprises of sudden/varying plays, after switching or turning the rod. For example i sharpen all my Ganzo 440C knives at the 40° setting. The Medium "U-rod" would go into the U40-hole, with the tape at the bottom. Starting with the edge of the triangle stone, i would only need to figure out (or try to remember) which of the possible three(3) "edge positions" was the one with minimal play. Later, when turning the "U-rod" to its "flat position", there are only possible two(2) such positions.

    I have a total of six(6) rods, they are all taped at one end, and each rod has designated four(4) optimal positions. That's a total of 24 optimal positions, so to speak. And lemme tell you, about half of them have zilch play now, and the other half has minimal or negligible play. I am satisfied with the situation, now. And who knows, maybe the tape layer helps to prevent the hollowing out ("grooving") of the holes after years of Sharpmaker usage?

    A shopper could be disappointed that the tolerances of the plastic holes aren't tight or consistent at all, but from a plastics manufacture engineering standpoint it makes totally sense: each hole must provide six(6) seating positions for the rod. That's hell of a complex 3-D cavity within a small space (see OP for a 3-D rendering)! Trying to produce such a cavity with plastics injection moulding is a true technical challenge, especially when the resulting plastic object should have tight tolerances. The latter actually is impossible to achieve. The only way to achieve tight tolerances on such a component is by way of CNC-milling aluminum or laser-cutting metals. But then again, i doubt that a CNC-machine can mill such a complex 3-D cavity. Never mind, plastics is the way to go. It is easy/fast/cheap to produce and when the resulting component lacks tight tolerances, the end consumer can find a workaround?
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  20. kreisler


    May 11, 2012
    As I mentioned elsewhere, i don't use my guided systems (Spyderco Sharpmaker, Ruixin, Exduct) anymore. In the past few weeks i rather quickly transitioned to freehanding on "small stones", i.e. either the 204M/204F/204UF series of stones or the Ruixin-compatible stones.
    Today in the morning, for example, i finished sharpening four big kitchen knives, starting with the 204F, skipping the 204UF, and always ending with a single SiC leather strop. One of the big knives was some super cheap old bread knife, it had a serrated blade with lots of micronicks from cutting crispy crunchy geman bread :p, so i had to start with the 204M. It was my first time ever to try to sharpen a serrated blade!

    The corner lines of 204M ("edges") are —originally— rounded, smooth(!), and somewhat shiny. When sharpening an ordinary knife, they don't seem to get consumed or worn down. The manual however admits that the 204M do wear down over time. It was hard to believe until i witnessed it today!:confused: When you do a sawing motion of the serrated blade against the 204M edge —which is needed for sharpening the entire length of the serrated edge—, the knife shaves the very surface of the stone and you end up with black (or superdark brown) micro shavings around/on your stone. First i thought that the black stuff was metal shavings from the blade. However, the bread knife is made out of stainless steel, not carbon steel; the blade is shiny, not black, not rusty. Also, i can see with my bare eyes that the corner line is consumedo_O (and roughened up!) where i did the freehanding. Maybe i used too much pressure while freehanding on 204M, but that's not the point.

    That bread knife is really not worth consuming my expensive Spyderco stone nor is it worth my time resharpening. So I quickly completed the sharpening with 204F and UF (these stones don't get consumed) and some stropping and will never resharpen that cheapo bread knife again hah! I also noticed how challenging it was to remove the burr. The most effective method for removing a burr from a serrated edge (or a recurved blade for that matter) is the use of a convex rounded strop (leather or PTS), never mind.

    Interesting experience.

    I experienced how fast the 204M can get consumed and under which conditions this happens. Simply put, it happens when you use it for sharpening serrated edges. That's possibly why the manual suggests using the 204F for serrated edges. But as i said, because of the many micronicks i couldn't start with the 204F, unfortunately.:(

    And once the corner line gets consumed, its surface becomes less smooth (and would need to be dressed or re-smoothened/re-polished), it becomes grittier, more aggressive-cutting.:eek: It will be interesting to use this messed up corner line specifically for its higher aggressive-cutting property in future sharpening sessions, we will see. I still have five perfect smooth 204M corner lines left (2*3 - 1 = 5), so I am not worried. Also, i typically use the flat sides ("faces") of the 204 stones when freehanding.

    It's kinda funny/unbelievable/ridiculous:oops: to use such a narrow stone for freehanding but it absolutely works and is imho the way to go for new/old owners of the Sharpmaker product! Even though i really am new to freehanding, the fact that i can and do freehanding successfully on such frikkin narrow stones is a testament to my confident advancement;) in sharpening expertise. I have a total of 'hundred' of hours of practice and experience with the Exduct system, the Ruixin system, the Sharpmaker system, and with guided strops (PTS method) and freehanding strops. It's probably mostly due to my practice/experience with the latter (the freehanding leather strops) why i advance so fast/successfully —without fails or errors— with my freehanding results, so i shouldn't be too surprised. But it is exhilarating nonetheless!

    Seriously, i will not use the Sharpmaker (as "V"-guided pull-through system) anymore! :cool: :thumbsup:

    Of course, if money didn't matter, i'd love owning and using a 306UF instead of the 204UF: the wider the stone, the more convenient the freehanding. But i am done spending any more money in sharpening accessories, since i am already able to achieve and to maintain scary sharpness confidently, in a non-failing straight-forward way. I even once reached the point where i could whittle a hair (after ruixin-freehanding on the GREEN10000 and my standard leather strop); just imagine, i am new to freehanding and already managed to reach that point! :eek: Not because i am talented ... but because freehanding on a GREEN10000 is so much more effective than using the GREEN10000 in the Ruixin system.

    Hence this post is also to encourage readers and Sharpmaker owners to consider not buying more and more sharpening accessories. In fact, in my Sharpmaker box, henceforth i carry only 3 rods: 1x 204M, 1x 204F, and 1x 204UF. I've put the other 3 stones away, boxed them in my Exduct plastic box, see photo below. From Michael Christy's videos i understand correctly(?) that the finest stone on the market you'll ever need before hopping onto "hair-whittling strops" is the Spyderco UF; no need to look any further! And the advantages of the Spyderco UF are clear: it doesn't get worn down, its edges/sides/corner lines don't get shaved (because they are minimally rounded and superhard), you can use it dry without water/oil, it is easy to clean. It is such a great stone that most Spyderco sharpening accessories are built on the identical F and UF stone material, just in different sizes and formats.

    In the past few weeks, depending on the knife (heel geometry) and my mood, i'd either pulll out the triangle stones for "204-freehanding" or pull out some Ruixin-compatibles for "Ruixin-freehanding", same same. The RUBY3000 is imho even more effective/enjoyable than the 204UF but, as mentioned, it also depends on my mood which "narrow-stone-freehanding" i pick on the day. Certainly, opening the Sharpmaker box is always satisfactory and fun, i must admit! :cool:


    As you can see, i keep the other 3 Spyderco stones as spares wrapped with a thick red rubber band and squeezed tight in between the blue box (Exduct sharpening system) which is stored away in my closet. I stopped using the Exduct system many years ago because it is **** :poop: but luckily once i a while i can still make use of its four diamond sharpeners, e.g. for sharpening gardening tools, scythes, lawnmower blades, etc.

    Have you guys tried 204-freehanding, too? :)
    bucketstove likes this.

Share This Page