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Thread: A few newbie sharpener questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member milkbaby's Avatar
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    A few newbie sharpener questions

    OK so I have a King 1000/6000 combo stone. I stopped trying to sharpen cheap Wal-Mart stainless steel knife anymore because I got in a not too expensive non-stainless carbon steel knife from Japan. I felt OK to mess it up and learn if I made it more dull instead of sharpening...

    I went 1000 then 6000 and pulled edge thru cork at the end. I used the sharpie like everybody told me too and felt for the burr while sharpening trying to raise it then flip it or make it disappear. I actually had to raise the angle more to get the burr to flip at points even though I saw the sharpie was gone? Is that weird? Or was I just going too shallow? The sharpie was gone from the edge though.

    I also did a slightly more expensive knife on only the 6000. Both knives will push cut rolled over newspaper (though not great with the blade perpendicular to the rolled over paper, but excellent at a 30°-45° angle), the knife I did 1000-6000 will shave arm hair, the one I only did on 6000 will shave 60-70% of the hairs. Not expert, but way better than any of my non-Japanese knives and better than these were out of the box.

    However, while sharpening the edges didn't feel sharp on my fingers. And I still haven't cut anything because I have too many leftovers to prep more things to cook, LOL. Are my fingers messed up or is it something about when they are wet that you can't feel how sharp the edge is? Does push cutting paper or shaving tell me anything useful at all about sharpness in regards to prepping food?

    When should I stop the work on the 1000 side of the stone? As soon as the burr goes away or flips? Do I need to raise a burr on the 6000 side or does it need less work at that point?

    It was quite satisfying to finally shave hair with a sharpened knife even if it might not mean anything.

  2. #2
    Senior Member milkbaby's Avatar
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    Also, I just used the stone holder that came with the King 1000/6000 and let all the slurry drip on my counter. Is that worth saving for polishing or something else?

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    I would say that using your fingers to feel for sharpness can by fraught with danger. Yes Murray Carter has his patented 3 finger test, for me personally I can feel a sharp edge, but can't really feel differences once it reaches a certain level of sharpness.

    Ultimately, the only real way to tell is to cut something. It could also be that the burr is actually still there if it doesn't feel sharp (though someone with more experience can correct me if that is wrong).

    Also I wouldn't lift the angle of the knife while de-burring, keep the same sharpening angle, and just swap the blade over, the burr will eventually weaken and start to flip as you keep doing it.

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    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    You stay on a stone until the lightest stroke will just make flip the burr. That's the moment you go to the finer stone.

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    Mr. Carter tells it how it is. From his perspective as an experienced sharpener, the assumptions underlying the 3 finger test are part of his perfectly sane reality. And he can afford not to care what anyone elses perfectly sane reality looks like. Actually, I like that about the man.

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    Von blewitt's Avatar
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    I used to have a silmilar problem when I first started sharpening, and was also using a King 6000. Stropping on news print seems to help restore the bite.
    You may have a bit of wobble going on which would explain why you are erasing the sharpie but not raising a burr.
    Huw

    Make simplicity seem like abundance - Tetsuya Wakuda

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    An arm hair test should succeed after 1000+deburring+newsprint strop, if not, work more on the 1000 before progressing (except if you want to microbevel aggressively on the 6000).

    I find aggressive grinding with a lot of slurry or swarf on the stone can abrade sharpie off without actually touching that spot...

    And I still find it hard to distinguish small burrs from sharp shoulders with my fingertips... but I guess both need to be dealt with anyway

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    Practice holding the bevel angle while moving you knife very slowly on the stone -- you will not get a good edge until you can keep the knife at a fixed angle from start to finish of each stroke AND start the next stroke at the exact same angle. Takes a while to learn, don't rush.

    Until you hold the knife at the same angle all the way through sharpening, you will be making a very convex edge, and going "too far" with the angle will grind off any edge you have made. Very annoying, eh? Use the sharpie this way:

    Paint the edge black on both sides. Carefully make one or two strokes on each side, concentrating on holding the angle you have chosen as closesly as you can. Wipe the knife off and look at the edge, preferably with a loupe of 20x magnification or so.

    I suspect what you will find is a thin line somewhere in the middle of the bevel, and the bevel will probably be visibly rounded and rather rough. Mine were until I learned to hold a decent angle. Hand sharpening will almost always give you some amount of convexing, but once you get good at it not enough to cause trouble.

    Re-blacken the edge and make a couple more passes, then check. Repeat until you can get a flat bevel forming in the same spot every pass on the stone, then keep working until the bevel reaches the apex of the edge. At this point you will start to feel a burr that means you have a sharp knive, not just a burr driven up by sharpening at an obtuse angle for one or two passes. The bevel will be nearly flat with evenly spaced scratches on it, not a series of facets.

    As far as burrs go, you don't really want one, it's just a way to tell when you have ground a bevel all the way to the apex. You will have to learn to find it, but I stop as soon as I feel the slightest burr from end to end, doing a couple very light passes on each side to get most of it gone, and move to the next stone. The bigger the burr the harder it is to get rid of it without ripping it off the edge, which makes for a blunt apex. I find I can feel one very quickly by trailing a finger very lightly over the edge from spine to edge (and NOT the other way, please!). One side will feel pretty smooth, the other will feel scratchy. That's the burr.

    Also, I suggest using light pressure. You won't make that King work any faster by pushing down hard, you are just going to roll grit off the stone like crazy and make tons of mud. That also means the stone is going to have a dish in the middle, and that means a convex edge. They wear like mad, believe me.

    Your King 1000 will dish like mad, it's one of the charms of clay binder stones. Grinds pretty fast, but I found them useless for woodworking tools. If you don't yet have a flattengin device, you need one pronto. Drywall sanding screen and a flat tile is probably the cheapest, and will work fine with a King, they are, as noted, quite soft. You will also need to flatten the 6k side, but not anywhere near as much, you should not be using it as much as the 1k side and it doesn't dish very fast anyway. Don't soak the 6k side, it's a splash and go stone.

    Don't try to sharpen cheap stainless knives on the King, all you will get is a hollow stone, soft stainless works much better with a belt sander. Cheap hard stainless definitely needs a belt sander, I've work out diamond plates trying to re-profile the stuff. Quality stainless is another issue, your King will work fine with that so long as you keep it flat.

    Keep your stones flat and learn to hold a constant angle and all will be well. Practice makes perfect....

    Peter

  9. #9
    Senior Member milkbaby's Avatar
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    Thank you all for all the help and explanations! It makes a HUGE difference to me when I know why and what to look for when doing something.

    I'm pretty sure now that I'm using too much pressure and not the best angle to match the original bevel. I'll definitely need to re-sharpie and check more often than what I tried.

    With my low level of sharpening skill, is it still useful to gently pull through cork at the end?

  10. #10
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    I always deburr on a piece of soft pine. Won't hurt a bit, and can remove a stubborn burr on things like VG-10.

    Peter

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