Trying to get things a little edgy

Joined
Dec 30, 2007
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18
Alright well I've been practicing with my sharpmaker for quite some time... and can get a pretty wicked edge on almost all my knives.

My question is, should I spring and get the ultra fine stones? Or try out stropping?

I've read that using the ultra fine stones can make the edge so thin that it'll be brittle, and I don't want that, but maybe I read wrong? What are your experiences with the ultra fine stones?

I've also read that stropping can make the edge beautiful and like a mirror, but wouldn't it make the edge just as brittle? Could I strop in place of the ultra fine stones or vice versa?

I'm relatively new to sharpening so... any input is appreciated.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2008
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132
The stones won't make anything brittle....if it was brittle it was this way from the factory. If you change the angle of attack on the blade by reprofiling, then yes, you could make things want to chip, but that has nothing to do with the stones.

I say get the xxf stone and the strop...or at least some 1500 grit paper from the auto store and the strop.
 

Jason B.

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
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Thin and brittle= No, sharp and beautiful= yes. The UF stones will leave a very high polish with almost no need for stropping but it may take a bit to get the feel for them. Some people have a hard time at first because the stone is so fine, you must work on it longer and be very precise in your motion for it to be effective. Stropping is a must IMO and it can take the place of the UF stone, but if you use the UF stone before stropping you will spend less time on the strop and have a better looking and sharper edge in the end. Get both, the UF stones are cheap and so is a strop.

Diamond paste works the best with stropping, it cuts faster and works on any steel, this is what I use http://www.classicshaving.com/catalog/item/522944/482843.htm
and for leather http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=4242
and here is a place for UF stones http://www.knivesplus.com/SPYDERCO-SHARPENERS.HTML
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2001
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the ultra fine stones remove very little metal, a strop removes even less. if you didn't make the blade too thin to begin with, finishing steps won't do it. and since you have fixed your sharpening angle on the sharpmaker, it isn't a concern.

there is a difference between the ultra fine and chromium oxide (which I assume you would put on the strop) the UF is akin to 3 micron abrasive, the chromium oxide averages about 0.5 micron.
 
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Mar 22, 2008
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Grit doesn't determine brittleness and thiness, angle and edge geometry determines that, I would suggest the strop.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
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18
Sorry for my ignorance with thinking that thinking the sharper it got the thinner the edge got and it would be more likely to be brittle... I guess I just assumed, thank you for letting me know otherwise.

I've always wanted to try stropping.. I just love the mirror finish it leaves on the edge of a knife, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.. but funds lacking I have to choose one or another.. and I'm thinking since I use the sharpmaker(and already have it, I would need to buy the supplies to strop.) that I'll get the ultra fine stones first... I'm sure I'll get used to them quick enough, as I'm just not satisfied with how sharp the fine stones get my knives.

Thanks for your input everybody
Steven
 
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Oct 30, 2005
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"Brittle" usually refers to a material property of metal.

As to the issue of stropping versus the extra-fine rods, I'd recommend stropping.

You can use an old leather belt or sheet cardboard, get the rouge or paste inexpensively locally or via the net. Total cost shouldn't be much more than $20, if that, to get started.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
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brittle is a function of angle and geometry not polishing
that said I use mothers mag polish from the big box auto stores
I believe it is one micron grit
Just a little on a piece of cardboard and a lot of elbow grease and presto a great shine
 
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Sep 4, 2004
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One thing to keep in mind ... with the "regular" fine ceramic rods, the finish you get depends on how much pressure you use. Finishing up with the lightest possible pressure, especially using the flats instead of the corners, can produce a noticeable increase in sharpness. Often times I can achieve a level of sharpness on fine ceramic alone that really can't be improved upon much with ordinary stropping.

The one special, finish sharpening trick I like to use is stropping on clay coated paper; this is the heavier, shiny stuff like they print ads and phone book covers on. The clay coating contains very, very fine silicon-based abrasive compounds which act to strop and polish the edge, with the added advantage that it's difficult if not impossible to round/dull the edge of your blade as can happen when stropping on leather. Brittleness is not a concern, BTW, when doing this, or any other kind of stropping or finish sharpening I'm aware of.

So the Sharpmaker as it comes delivered is a powerful sharpening tool. Actually the accessory I would consider first is the diamond sleeves, which are much more effective and fast at removing edge damage and reprofiling.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
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So what I'm gathering so far is that stropping is a popular way to go... so I may skip the Ultra Fine stones, and just get them later on. You said clay coated paper was the stuff that that phone book covers are made of... would that mean a phone book cover could be used?

I use almost no pressure when finishing up on the regular fine stones as it is.. and can get a pretty good shine on my edges.. I just want it sharper.

I have thought about getting the diamond rods because I have a very old knife that was my grandfathers and it just has no edge at all, and I would like to revive it.. even if just to keep it in the sheath.

I'm learning alot so far here. Thank you all for your help.
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2004
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1,670
So what I'm gathering so far is that stropping is a popular way to go... so I may skip the Ultra Fine stones, and just get them later on. You said clay coated paper was the stuff that that phone book covers are made of... would that mean a phone book cover could be used?
Ayup! Back of the local yellow pages has seen a lot of stropping use here. :) It's best to pick an area that's mostly white I think, the ink probably doesn't help the polishing action (although I really don't know if it hurts much either.)

BTW this idea is the brain-child of a poster here named Zeasor, here's a link to the original discussion:

http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=537085

All-in-all it sounds like you're doing a good job sharpening, using the Sharpmaker the right way. So you're getting a very high degree of sharpness already ... but with a little finessing with a strop, clay coated paper, or whatever works out best for you, you may find a whole new level of blazing sharpness. It's a very addictive pursuit. :)
 
Joined
May 29, 2007
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386
Sharpmaker diamond rods or Sharpmaker ultra-fine rods or a strop and compounds? The diamond rods are good for heavier work such as reviving your grandfather's knife. Sandpaper (a cheap alternative) will also do the same thing. Once the old knife is profiled, you might not have any use for the diamond rods. They aren't necessary for routine maintenance. Effective stropping can be accomplished on clay-coated paper such as a phone book cover and a leather belt. If you "...just want it sharper", the ultra-fine rods would be a reasonable step between the Sharpmaker fine rods and stropping. I would suggest the ultra-fine rods. Profile with sandpaper, sharpen with the Sharpmaker (medium, fine, ultra-fine), polish with a phonebook cover. Your edges will be sharp.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2005
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317
i have BOXES of whetstones heavy enough to grunt when you lift them.. and i've been known to waste an old paperback stropping on the pages.. fast answer for short blades, works a treat on paring knives and similar sized folder blades.. JUST the pages, and it darn sure removes metal, you can see it. just any 20-30 year old faded fat paperback, i tend to use old westerns cause they're available.. but airport books work fine. caveat: I put on convex edges and don't mean to imply otherwise.. if you don't, take this with a grain of salt, it may not suit your sharpening style.
 
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