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Why don't more sharpening pros use ceramic bench stones?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by maximus83, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Don't use the ceramic for removing a rolled edge. Use it for a few light strokes on either side after removing the edge damage on other stones. If you were to use it after the Norton you'd probably get good results. It would be most accurate to refer to them as hones rather than "sharpening stones".
     
  2. maximus83

    maximus83 Gold Member Gold Member

    689
    Nov 7, 2011
    Hey @FortyTwoBlades, since you like ceramics for edge refinement: how do you see this fitting in with say the 2-stone solution I ordered from your store? American Mutt for profiling, Artic Fox AlOx stone (I think it's 400 grit, right) for everything else. Do you see the Arctic Fox as a type of ceramic, or do you use an additional stone that is a hard, high-grit ceramic beyond the Arctic Fox?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  3. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    As a two stone solution, those work well together. Both the Mutt and Fox have ceramic bonds, but are not sintered like the Spyderco ceramics. I have some prototype sintered ceramics and some natural locally sourced black siltstones that I like to use as a final stage.
     
  4. maximus83

    maximus83 Gold Member Gold Member

    689
    Nov 7, 2011
    Make sense. So after I try your 2-stone setup for a bit, if I want to add a 3rd step for edge refinement (remember I'm trying to keep my process and amount of gear and steps minimal), I assume it would be one of these options:

    • Use my existing strop paddle with the Tomek 8000-grit paste
    OR
    • Get an ultra-fine ceramic bench stone (Spyderco, etc.)

    True? I kind of agree with the approach of some sharpeners I see here, I'm not that interested in cosmetically polished edges, so I will only mess with a separate stropping step if I have to, and if it actually gets me a sharper edge. If I can get the same results by just hitting a 3rd stone, IMO that is preferable, it's the same sharpening motion.
     
  5. HeavyHanded

    HeavyHanded KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 4, 2010
    To finish off I'd use a hard backed strop - your Tormek compound or stone residue from the Arctic Fox wiped on a sheet of paper and wrapped around your Mutt. This will work whether you use oil or water, tho you will want to let the paper dry before using if the stone residue is mixed with water. You could use this sheet many times before it loads up. This mud/residue can also be smeared on poplar or maple and get a similar effect though is a little less forgiving.

    Or use an eef diamond plate in place of the ceramics.

    The finishing step is the most effected by different alloys, using diamond in this role (if taking it to a fine edge polish) eliminates problems with high alloy steels or low RC ones that are especially prone to burnishing with diamonds.
     
  6. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Cereal box cardboard laid on top of the stone makes a good strop if recycling grit. I generally feel that strops should be as rigid as you can feasibly make them.
     
  7. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger

    Sep 20, 2015
    See now this is why I don't have any friends.
    The world is just a different place for me. I suspect I am from another planet but can't prove that.

    I KNEW that I could unroll the edge using the hard ceramic rod using the corners of the rod.
    Yes, yes I saw the Cliff Stamp vid on how the edge is all "work hardened" and what are all the other scary terms he uses (I actually like Mr Stamp). In practice I find that is a bit exaggerated unless the blade is properly heat treated (think fine Japanese kitchen knife up around 64). This Case is more along the lines of a framing nail (exaggeration) because if it were harder it would have chipped rather than rolled. Give me a chip rather than a roll any day ! ! ! !

    Sooooooo . . . where was I . . .

    Got 'er all unrolled and pretty much shaving to both sides (balanced edge shape) . . . that just left that pesky bur.
    In my mind going back to the ceramic after the Norton 8,000 would have been a step backward for two reasons : the 8,0000 is finer than the ceramic and secondly I would have been starting another bur after I had just got it all taken off.

    NOW if the blade had been like M4 or much harder or something I would perhaps be inclined to agree.

    just depends on the steel/temper and some other thing I can't quite put my finger on but may have to do with where ever it is I may, or may not have come from.
    :)
     
  8. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Nah the 8000 isn't a finer than a fine sintered ceramic. Grit size is only one part of the equation for the results produced. Vintage barber hones, for instance, are technically around a 600 grit or coarser, with the average size of the particles probably being closer to 400. The reason why they're so fine is because their surface is treated so the particles are only just barely above the substrate. Think of it as similar to setting the depth of the iron on a plane or spokeshave. Sintered ceramics typically have an average particle size of only around 1µ, and very low grit protrusion.
     
  9. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger

    Sep 20, 2015
    The following two "guestimates" educated opinions taken from two different threads in an entirely different discussion forum tends to agree with my practical (shall we whip out the term "empirical") results.

    I hear what you are saying. I have one of those razor stones you speak of here at arms length away so I know what you are talking about. I have never used it; it was my Granddad's and is just a conversation piece how ever a razor expert acquaintance of mine warned me to NEVER attempt to flatten the surface or other wise abrade the surface because it would ruin that top surface you are describing.

    I will keep what you have taught me in mind.
    THANK YOU !


     
    FortyTwoBlades likes this.
  10. sodak

    sodak Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    I still use the Spyderco medium when I want a quick edge on a low alloy knife that hasn't gotten very dull, and I also like it for my kitchen knives, which are on the soft side (no sushi knives). Other than that, I do also prefer either diamond or waterstones, depending what I'm working on.
     
  11. HeavyHanded

    HeavyHanded KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 4, 2010
    FWIW, my old three line Swaty hone was only a touch finer than my hard Arkansas, a shade less fine than my translucent - gotta remember a strop was always intended to be used after the hone.

    My 8k Norton is very close to a mirror finish if the progression is good - I wouldn't use a ceramic anything after it. A strop if using it on woodworking tools, or plain paper or leather for a Chef's knife.
     
  12. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I find bonded stones to trend towards the soft side at the high end simply due to the relationship between grain size and bond ratio. Where I find sintered ceramics excellent is taking an edge that may have plowed into abrasive grains from a soft tone and just putting the final crisp apex on it. That's done with very light, minimal pressure, and only a few strokes.
     

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