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Wicked Edge Gen 3 Pro clamp improvement?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by ToddM, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. ToddM

    ToddM Gold Member Gold Member

    625
    Oct 2, 1998
    I have the older Wicked Edge Gen 3, and it works alright but I've never been impressed with the clamp and had the same complaints as everyone else. The jaws did not clamp well on a distal-tapered spine blade, and it didn't take long for lots of junk to get into the jaw cams.

    I see now that they have an update out for the new "pro" version that has a "split" jaw evidently allowing it to flex to conform to a tapered spine, adjustable cam tension, and also better sealing for the internals of the clamp, which is what it clearly should have had from the start if the first users feedback was any indication.

    Has anyone used both clamp styles and can you comment on how much better the new system clamps blades the old system struggled with? It's almost a $250 upgrade for something that if they had done more testing should have been very obvious was lacking from the start. So I'm not sure I want to dump another $250 into it, especially if the new clamp is not MUCH better, or just sell it.
     
  2. jalapeno

    jalapeno

    91
    Jan 16, 2017
    I can't speak to a comparison to the old one, but the 2017 split-jaw GEN3 clamp does have some ability to clamp distal tapers. It's obviously not unlimited since the jaws are pretty stiff, but I haven't yet come across a distal taper where it wasn't a solid grip on the narrower end. Keep in mind that on many distal tapered knives, the taper is steeper as you get toward the tip, while the place you actually clamp the knife spine generally is more toward the middle and has a lesser taper over the width of the jaws. FWIW, I've not seen anyone complain of a specific knife with a particularly steep distal taper that could not be clamped, but there very well might be some specialty knives where the distal taper is too steep.

    On debris getting into the clamp, it still does. Fortunately it's pretty quick to disassemble, clean, and re-assemble. But it's a pain to have to do that. Really the best thing to do is (once you have the knife clamped into position) to put a piece of 2" wide painters tape along the body of the knife, just above where the top of the jaws hit the blade body. Then press the tape down so the dust entry points at the jaws are all covered with the tape. This deflects the dust from getting into the internals via the jaws (and also gives a layer of protection so you don't accidentally grind the tips of the jaws at small angles). If you've watched gen3 videos, you've probably seen any well-used WE clamp has ground away at the top of the jaws. It doesn't hurt anything functionally and it's purely a visual thing.

    I've seen where some people go a step further and wrap the whole body of the clamp in saran wrap or whatever, to cover all the entry points. I'm not sure that 2nd step is really necessary but it can't hurt.
     
  3. expidia1

    expidia1 Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Feb 18, 2018
    I feel ya on the debris issue . . . I’ve owned a WE300 Pro for a week now. What Im disappointed about with this model is exactly as you said in that diamond and metal dust collects inside the clamping mechanism.
    What ticks me off is they know it was clearly a bad design leaving it open like that. So instead of offering some type of plastic covers to close in the opening WE trys to nail us for an excessively over priced $239 upgrade to correct “their” flawed and poorly thought out jaw design. I’m going to try and fashion some type of covers rather than give them another $239. Should be a class action suit as if you try and blow it out with compressed air your blowing it all around hour house or workshop and you best wear a mask and even better do it outside.
     
  4. ToddM

    ToddM Gold Member Gold Member

    625
    Oct 2, 1998
    Yeah I've done the painters tape trick for some time now. I agree it seems like if they did any sort of user feedback based testing both the clamp and the debris would have been obvious issues that needed to be addressed. So to stick those early supporters with another $250+ seems pretty crappy, but unfortunately not. In reality a cheap $11 Lansky clamp, while certainly slower, is much more versatile and secure than the first Gen 3 clamps with anything but a perfectly large flat blade spine, it does seem like a $800+ investment should yield better performance. Since the new version doesn't seem that much better sealed to debris, I wonder if it's possible to just upgrade the jaws to the new type, probably not since I bet they are relying on the adjustable tension to provide extra "oomph" to flex the new split jaws.
     
  5. jalapeno

    jalapeno

    91
    Jan 16, 2017
    That's an interesting question, but it doesn't look like they sell just the 2017 split jaws as a separate item anyway. Might send them an email and ask if they'd sell just the 2017 jaws, and whether it would work the same with an older clamp body.
    I was thinking maybe you could just cut out the slot in the older jaws yourself, but if I recall they also thinned other aspects of the jaws to get the slight distal flex.

    I'm not sure of this, but I think the lower part of the new clamp body is better sealed than the prior version. But the upper part, from the jaw pivot upward, you can't really seal since it has to open.
     
  6. ToddM

    ToddM Gold Member Gold Member

    625
    Oct 2, 1998
    That's a good question, and it brings up another one. The old jaws had two small raised pads maybe 1/4" square on each end. I suppose they were hoping these would greatly increase pressure at two points instead of having full length contact with the blade, or it would help facilitate some "flex" to help with distal tapers. However it seems like friction is your best friend and more contact with the blade would be better, though I suppose it probably depends on the blade finish, clamping force etc.

    Does the new jaw design still has these raised pads on the inside of the jaws where you are really only getting minimal contact with the blade?
     
  7. expidia1

    expidia1 Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Feb 18, 2018
    tip: im doing a small paring knife 3.5 inch kitchen knife as im typing this. Im using the 2016 WE300 Pro (was $899). The 2017 WE pro is the newest jaw model which is enclosed and yet still is the same $899. Yet the 2016 is the poor open cam design, so WE expects us to cough up another $239 for the upgraded enclosed deign or $1,138 in total to correct their faulty design! Clearly, WE should give "previous" owners a break and charge like $99 to upgrade IMO.

    Im using today on this small knife the optional low angle adapter ($48 ebay incl shipping). WE gets like $75. So when I'm doing a small or low profile blade this LAA covers the top of jaw opening, nothing falls down onto the inside blade locking cam from the jaws. If Im not using the LAA, I use a small piece of painters tape over the open hole just below the spring in the jaws.

    If you get a roll of 2 inch wide blue painters tape a 5 inch long piece covers the lower vice opening very nicely. do the same for the other side.
    also use a small piece of 2 inch blue painters tape just above the cam lock level facing you and the same for the other side. now the unit is sealed off from diamond and metal dust. you might want to take a can of compressed air the first time from debris that has already fallen and accumulated in there. do it outside or by an open window to blow out that cam area out before you put the painters tape over the cam openings. i dont think i can post pics but if you email me at [email protected] im happy to send them to you of how i applied the tape.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  8. jalapeno

    jalapeno

    91
    Jan 16, 2017
    Here's a video that shows the 2 different jaws, beginning at 16:45:
     
  9. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Sounds like almost enough to make a guy take up free hand sharpening . . .
    almost . . .
    and I'm kidding about the free hand, yeah I wouldn't wish that guessing match on anyone . . . but perhaps a $250 "upgrade" is, indeed the solution . . .
    Badges ? We don't need no STINKING badges !
    I mean Clamps ? We don't need not STINKING clamps !


    https://www.bladehq.com/item--Edge-Pro-Apex-Model-4-Knife--13168
    edge-pro-apex-4-manufacturer-large.jpg
    Actually I lean more to the version with the Shapton Glass stones but those take a little more Google Fu to find. I don't need the tapes and I don't need the ceramic rod.
    Get or make the small knife spacer and you are . . . unnnhuh, unnnnhuh. . . livin' large my friend.
    Now maybe if you are going for the absolute APEX in bevel evenness, in appearance (not the best performance actually), then you may want a high maintenance escort like Miss wickedness but . . .
    I'm just saying.
    IMG_3334.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
    expidia1 likes this.
  10. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    The new vise is totally worth it imho... no issues w/ full distal tapers now, with the new clamp and the tension adjustment. Works SOOO much better!
     
    Officer's Match likes this.
  11. jalapeno

    jalapeno

    91
    Jan 16, 2017
    It also handles profile tapers well[*]. Apparently in the prior versions of the clamp, a blade with a profile taper (within the portion of the spine that the clamp is grabbing) would often lean to one side very slightly and you'd have to use different angle bar settings to get equal grind angles on both sides. Either that, or some people would wrap a slightly compressible material like a square of chamois cloth around the spine before clamping, and that would help in getting uniform clamp pressure for profile tapers.

    [*] it seems to be related to a couple things. The different internal surfaces of the new jaws (as shown in the video link I posted above), instead of the "square pad" of the old jaw, possible also a slightly different angle of the clamping surface so that profile tapers can grip the spine at a lower point (below where the square pads in the prior version would reach)
     
  12. Nico Owlman

    Nico Owlman

    5
    Jun 6, 2017
    Freehand sharpening ftw! #shapton
     
  13. expidia1

    expidia1 Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Feb 18, 2018
    Thanks Josh. From your video I upgraded yesterday to the 2017 vice from my 2016 WE300 Pro vice. And I have more distal tapered knives than I thought I did.
     
    razor-edge-knives likes this.
  14. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    I had a knife with a tapered spine -- not distal tapered, but narrower at the to of the spine than it was a half inch lower.

    I clamped the blade in place, but when I went to sharpen it, the knife popped out of the clamp, flipped in the air and stabbed me in the chest. No injury at all, but a little exciting.

    Wicked Edge is so good -- and I already have so much invested -- that I don't have much desire to switch to a different system. But the systems they make always have serious flaws.

    I think a better approach would be to clamp the handle, using a camp with a pre-tensioning adjustment so it would fit handles of all sizes. Then, you wouldn't need all the other attachments, like the ones for a thick blade or a thin blade or a tapered blade or aa blade that could use a more acute angle.

    On the other hand, all the stones and attachments are difficult to find elsewhere.

    WE remains a great system with obvious flaws and tons of promise that never quite gets fulfilled.
     
    razor-edge-knives and expidia1 like this.
  15. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    lol, glad you are ok! Yeah I don't even bother trying to clamp knives w/ a swedge like that unless I can get at least one of the sides of the vise on a flat near the thumb stud, then it does fine. Otherwise I use the tormek small knife jig to hold it by the handle like you are saying.

    Each system has it's own set of issues and none are perfect to be sure. I do wish that WE had figured out the 2017 vise as the first release of the gen 3 but oh well!
     
  16. tomsch

    tomsch Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    I'm with you guys. I have an older Pro Pack I that I've used on and off (more off lately) over the last few years. My biggest issue has always been trying to jimmy a way for the clamp to securely hold a fully flat ground blade such as all my kitchen knives. I too have been looking at the clamp upgrade from my pre-2017 PP1 to the new Gen3 vice with the 10" rods. This upgrade is $355!! I'm just about ready to pull the trigger but before I do I do want to ensure it has the ability to adjust to a fully flat ground blade without having to come up with some sort of crappy spacer solution.
     
  17. Officer's Match

    Officer's Match Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 23, 2013
    2017 WE-130 split jaw owner. Works perfectly with Spydies.
     
  18. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    I use paper towel a lot... you do need something especially w/ certain grinds. But with a little paper or paper towel it works perfect for me. I do it anyway to protect the spines from getting scratched.
     
  19. tomsch

    tomsch Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    Thanks! I've been using the single sided foam tape and it is painful. A little paper may be just the solution.
     
  20. tomsch

    tomsch Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    Thanks for the paper towel advice. I used a little folded a few times and inserted just at the tip of the clamp. With the extended clamp I was able to re-profile my workhorse custom 240mm Gyuto down to 13dps using the clamp extension. After the reprofile it turned out to be so sharp that I was able to slice an ultra thin tomato slice freehand with it sitting on the cut board.
     
    razor-edge-knives likes this.

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