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Your favorite progression for sharpening high vanadium steels

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Baron Mind, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Baron Mind

    Baron Mind

    Mar 30, 2018
    Curious what stone progressions everyone is using for high vanadium steels, or if anyone has any less common stone combinations they've been having success with lately.

    Of course the intended use of the knife may dictate what you use or where you stop, so feel free to share any or all you would like.

    If I had to pick only one ATM I would still default to a full DMT progression finished on a Spyderco UF (usually loaded with a diamond spray), but I've been mixing in an Edgepro diamond matrix stone here and there, or even a gritomatic SiC stone or two.

    I'm interested in getting one of the new venev OCB 1200F stones. Description says it uses a new binder that has no abrasive qualities of it's own. The previous binder used in the original Venev stones included abrasive particles up to 7 microns, which is why the 1200F and 2000F didn't produce the results you would expect from such fine diamond abrasives.

    At least a 4 micron and 1 micron polydiamond strop follow any stone progression, usually 1 or 2 more.

    Anyway, what is everyone working with these days?
    bucketstove likes this.
  2. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    I feel like you won't be impressed with how I sharpened a half dozen knives (including one in S90V) this morning. Bottom of a coffee mug followed by a quick stropping on a loaded strop (green compound).

    I have four guided sharpening systems and more various stones than one man should own, but I've been rocking the coffee mug + strop system almost exclusively for the last couple of months and I'm quite pleased with the results.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    115Italian and bucketstove like this.
  3. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Oh you shouldn't have asked me that.

    Still . . .
    I have fooled around with toothy and polished and toothy and polished and toothy . . .
    I still prefer DMT ALIGNER stones (tiny but they have truly fine grit finishing stones).

    Assuming no large dings in the edge :220, 325, 600, 1200 (9 micron), 8,000 (3 micron)
    Zero strops or other funny stuff.
    Stuck to the blank plates on an Edge Pro Apex (of course).
    = hair whittling, brilliantly sharp, scary edge.

    Then I use it for a while and it deteriorates to sort of shave sharp or worse.
    I shrug and go oh well.

    Then I pick up one of my knives with M4 (which, more than likely, is still nicely shave sharp after twice as much use) . . . put it in my pocket and go off into my day with a big, blissful smile on my face.

    How to sharpen that ? Oh . . . just a glance with the Spyderco Ultrafine triangle rod every month or so whether it needs it or not . ;)
    I'm telling you . . . the attraction to S110V escapes me. I have three of them.
    I reach for the M4. :thumbsup:

    PS: same brand of knives for both alloys. Hell the same model of knife in some cases.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    Deinos and Chris "Anagarika" like this.
  4. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    DMT bench hones: ultra-coarse, regular (red). Don't usually bother with the fine for high vanadium steels (S30V etc.) as the regular seems to create a more aggressive edge.
  5. hiwa


    Jun 7, 2009
    Medium grit (400-600) diamond plate , then a strop with silicon carbide sandpaper.
    Diamond spray is unavailable here or too expensive, otherwise I'd use that.
  6. Korean Hog

    Korean Hog Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 12, 2017
    I go from the blue coarse DMT to the finer red DMT stone. I wanna say the grits are like 300 and 600 but not entirely sure.

    I've only ever had luck using diamond stones and ceramics for higher end steels s35, s110, zdp 189
    Trying to use aluminum oxide or Arkansas stones it seemed like the knife was wearing away stone but not much sharpening going on.
    teudy likes this.
  7. Chris "Anagarika"

    Chris "Anagarika"

    Mar 7, 2001
    I have to start carrying GB1 again :eek:
  8. 115Italian


    Nov 13, 2015
    For a full sharpening I use a lansky guided sharpener with diamond stones and finish with a ceramic and strop.
    For touch ups i use a fine diamond stone freehand and a strop.

    Lately Ive been starting with my extra coarse diamond stone then going straight to my medium stone and then 3-4 very light strokes with a ceramic stone 5 degrees higher to finish it off. Maybe Im getting lazy. I do like the finish the medium stone leaves too.
  9. Blues

    Blues Lapsed SuperMod / Cattle Knife Rustler Staff Member Super Mod

    Oct 2, 1998
    I rarely need to do a full on sharpening since I tend to stay on top of the knives in regular use. So in those cases I use the highest grit, (least coarse), option that will get the job done.

    For knives that require a full sharpening, I'll start with the coarsest stone diamond stone required to make headway in a reasonable amount of time.

    The range employed will vary with the level of sharpening required and the intended usage.
  10. HeavyHanded


    Jun 4, 2010
  11. Baron Mind

    Baron Mind

    Mar 30, 2018
    Thanks for all the replies. I definitely understand the tendency to keep these steels toothy. They excel in that role, outperforming simpler steels by a fairly wide margin. I still enjoy taking them to high grits a lot of the time. If you're in need of a super fine edge with the goal of creating the cleanest cuts possible, simpler steels will outperform high carbide content steels (that's what I should have said rather than high vanadium) by a fairly wide margin. However, the benefit of taking these type of steels through the higher grit stones, is if done correctly, you get a very fine edge that still carries a lot of bite and slicing aggression.

    Very interesting discussion :)
  12. PeterS84

    PeterS84 Sharpening addict, collector of "super steels" Gold Member

    May 9, 2018
    If I were starting from scratch (general purpose use): DMT C -> F > EEF -> Spyderco Ultra-fine -> 4 um CBN strop

    For knives which will be used primarily for slicing: DMT C or Norton Crystolon F -> 4 um CBN strop

    For touch ups: Spyderco Medium (20 DPS in Sharpmaker) -> 4 um CBN stops (leaves it a little toothy, which I like)
  13. brando555

    brando555 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 26, 2018
    Venev diamond 150 & 400 followed with a 1 micron diamond strop
  14. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    Venev diamond at #150.
    That’s all for me.
  15. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I'm at the other end of the spectrum, and don't think that grit type comes into play until one takes it way finer on the higher
    vanadium steels. So, I use my coarse / fine SiC stone at 120 & 280 grit. Like Jim Ankerson. Then 'may' take it to a fine diamond to remove the burr. Which is still too coarse to have much effect on the very small vanadium carbides. That's as fine as I ever take any knife. DM
  16. DavidL41


    Oct 12, 2014
    by no means am I any where close to a professional.. an amateur. But I do like DMT diamond stones no need to deal with the mess of water of whetstones. my preference. I've heard the Atoma 1200 works as good as a 1000 grit waterstone in finish feel and speed of sharpness, and its a fast cutting diamond stone.
  17. Bob6794


    Apr 21, 2013
    For anything high wear resistant, if I dont use my worksharp pocket sharpener I will usually use my diamonds. So DMF course, maybe the fine afterwards. Or if I end up using the Sharpmaker the 400grit diamonds and maybe the brown rods.

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