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Thread: Guided Sharpening Devices....Why?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by X-JaVeN-X View Post
    I've thought about getting into sharpening my knives myself, but my biggest hang-up thus far has been my eyesight. It is quite poor (degenerative eye disorder - retinitis pigmentosa), and I'm not sure I have the vision required to see the enough to get the best edge possible using water stones. I've looked into some of the sharpeners out there but there just seem to be so many options. The one that peaked my interest the most was the wicked edge sharpening system. Is this option also a waste of money in my situation? Getting stones + some sort of sharpening tutorial/guide material will still be a decent start up cost which I wouldn't want to find out is a waste because I can't really see enough to sharpen the edge properly (not to mention the cost of any potential damage I do to my knives). Would you still recommend trying to sharpen by hand for me? Have you tried the wicked edge system at all? Not sure which direction I should go.

    I apologize if this is an inappropriate question for this thread/forum. Thanks.

    I haven't used the Wicked Edge but have used the Edge Pro a lot. I suspect that the WE has an advantage other the EP for a couple of reasons. I would think that it's clamping of the blade offers stability, that it can use independent angles on each side as may be required, and that it allows for minimum burr creation through alternating (right then left then right...) strokes being used.

    I have no idea if it's lowest angle settings are low enough for our thin knives but I think that I heard that they were going to make the WE adjustable down to a very low angle, you'd have to check into that. The EP doesn't go low enough but you can raise the knife off of the table through the use of a riser block to get the lower angles needed.

    As for eyesight issues, that's a problem for sure, but I'd suggest getting a lighted magnifying lamp and sharpening under that. I know this can be done because I used to do it. Also, many sharpeners and knifemakers use those magnifying flip down head piece things over their glasses, they have lighted versions too. I'm certain that you can get past your eyesight problems unless your sight is real bad to the point that magnification won't help.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-JaVeN-X View Post
    I think they have an "accessory" kit that they sell for the standard Wicked Edge sharpener that adds a riser block and longer guide rods. The riser block is suppose to let you go down to 13° at 0.05° increments.

    Edit:

    Link to what I'm talking about - http://www.wickededgeusa.com/index.p...mart&Itemid=53
    Thanks! It's been a while since I've visited the Wicked Edge website.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by X-JaVeN-X View Post
    Thanks for the post! If need be, my wife can help set up the machine, but at this point I can read a ruler, so I feel like I'd be able to see the markings on the sharpener. From the videos I've seen, and knowing my own vision limitations...I feel like I could use the machine...it was really more of a question of how good of a job it did. Most everything I've read seems to put the machine in a positive light, but I'm always open for more feedback. When I saw this post from Dave, it made me curious to what his opinion would be given my particular circumstance.

    I would always recommend someone to try free handing yet I realize not all can go that route and that you might be in that situation. I'm not so sure that you'd do well with learning free hand muscle memory if you can't see the gap between the stone and knife and notice that you're wobbling, you can't see what a mess you're making of the bevel and how to make adjustments to get things straightened out. I'm certain that using a jig like the WE will help here. The main thing is for you to get your knives sharp so in your case I'd say go for the WE if you feel that you might be able to use it.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Martell View Post
    I haven't used the Wicked Edge but have used the Edge Pro a lot. I suspect that the WE has an advantage other the EP for a couple of reasons. I would think that it's clamping of the blade offers stability, that it can use independent angles on each side as may be required, and that it allows for minimum burr creation through alternating (right then left then right...) strokes being used.

    I have no idea if it's lowest angle settings are low enough for our thin knives but I think that I heard that they were going to make the WE adjustable down to a very low angle, you'd have to check into that. The EP doesn't go low enough but you can raise the knife off of the table through the use of a riser block to get the lower angles needed.

    As for eyesight issues, that's a problem for sure, but I'd suggest getting a lighted magnifying lamp and sharpening under that. I know this can be done because I used to do it. Also, many sharpeners and knifemakers use those magnifying flip down head piece things over their glasses, they have lighted versions too. I'm certain that you can get past your eyesight problems unless your sight is real bad to the point that magnification won't help.
    The angle limitations were probably my biggest concern on the WE system and as mentioned earlier in the thread I heard it mentioned a long time ago that they were looking at adding a way to go below 15°, which recently they have which lets you go down to 13°. Honestly, I don't know how much of a difference this makes as I only own one japanese knife (which you have right now for a rehandle/sharpening lol). It is a Kumagoro which I believe has a 15° angle by default and it cuts like butter through everything I've tried it on. I buy my knives for use in the kitchen. I really only see myself getting 2 or 3 more knives, but I don't really know what typical edge angles are on them and if 13° would be ample enough for me. I will eventually be getting some sort of utilityish knife as well as a boning knife of some sort (posted in your thread about that potential future project) and maybe a nakiri. I'm just looking for an option to maintain these knives. I don't really have a "sharpening bug" where I want to play and get sharper and sharper edges lol. I use my knives frequently in my home kitchen and just want a way to keep them up with good working edges.

    As for the magnifying glass/light idea. That is kind of what I have to do for many things now. My disorder is very light sensitive (I have to have a LOT of light). My acuity is also fading (and will just get worse as it's a degenerative disorder). I really just don't trust my eyes, even with magnification and light for something this...delicate? I wish I had someone near me that I knew that sharpened by hand so I could give it a whirl, but no such luck. Everyone I know thinks that the $20 knife on the rack at walmart is a "sharp knife". I have had them cut something with the one kumagoro that I own and then watch their reaction...pretty funny.

  5. #15
    Senior Member zitangy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-JaVeN-X View Post
    I've thought about getting into sharpening my knives myself, but my biggest hang-up thus far has been my eyesight. It is quite poor (degenerative eye disorder - retinitis pigmentosa), and I'm not sure I have the vision required to see the enough to get the best edge possible using water stones. I've looked into some of the sharpeners out there but there just seem to be so many options.

    I apologize if this is an inappropriate question for this thread/forum. Thanks.
    Mother nature is kind.. we learn to compensate with our short comings.

    I too have problems with sight. Left eye had ruptured blood vessels adn has scaring adn hence seeing depth is an issue. I am not complaining as a "one eye Jack is still king in teh kingdom of the blind". I still drive 400km each way very often and at night.

    As Dave mentioned a visor wld be good. I do have magnifying glasses around adn use them mainly when I need to examine the knife and edges before I start to determine what needs to be done. As I go along, I depend more on the sense of touch. I may be biased but for sharpening, you need to employ the sense of touch primarily.

    The Key issue is if you rule out Free hand sharpening because of poor eyesight.. we are limiting your options for when you do that, we reduce the possibilities of things that are open to us and things that we may enjoy. If we are limited by our eye sight, then alot of things wld be narrowed for us leaving us with reduced possibilities.

    IF you persist in free hand sharpening, you are working towards heightening your sense of touch and it opens another dimension. YOu can gain much information via sense of touch.. believe me...

    ONly after doing free hand sharpening and it is not your thing, then by all means use what ever works!

    By the way, I have seen and heard blind men doing guite regular normal things.. and they really excel just with their sense of touch.

    Thus It is quite a major decision adn do it for the right reasons and not succumb to the limitation which can be overcomed.

    Have fun adn enjoy what ever you do..

    Rgds
    d

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by zitangy View Post
    Mother nature is kind.. we learn to compensate with our short comings.

    I too have problems with sight. Left eye had ruptured blood vessels adn has scaring adn hence seeing depth is an issue. I am not complaining as a "one eye Jack is still king in teh kingdom of the blind". I still drive 400km each way very often and at night.

    As Dave mentioned a visor wld be good. I do have magnifying glasses around adn use them mainly when I need to examine the knife and edges before I start to determine what needs to be done. As I go along, I depend more on the sense of touch. I may be biased but for sharpening, you need to employ the sense of touch primarily.

    The Key issue is if you rule out Free hand sharpening because of poor eyesight.. we are limiting your options for when you do that, we reduce the possibilities of things that are open to us and things that we may enjoy. If we are limited by our eye sight, then alot of things wld be narrowed for us leaving us with reduced possibilities.

    IF you persist in free hand sharpening, you are working towards heightening your sense of touch and it opens another dimension. YOu can gain much information via sense of touch.. believe me...

    ONly after doing free hand sharpening and it is not your thing, then by all means use what ever works!

    By the way, I have seen and heard blind men doing guite regular normal things.. and they really excel just with their sense of touch.

    Thus It is quite a major decision adn do it for the right reasons and not succumb to the limitation which can be overcomed.

    Have fun adn enjoy what ever you do..

    Rgds
    d
    hehe...yea...my sense of sight is far down on the list of which sense I default to...my sense of hearing and touch are much more trusted these days. I lost my license a couple years ago (the worst thing to happen to me...I am a huge car nut), and being in the country don't have the option of calling taxis, catching the bus, etc. I have virtually no peripheral vision, no night vision (virtually no vision in dim lit rooms). Really the only vision I have left is what I would call "ok" central vision or acuity and only in very well lit areas. With all of that said, I still have many things I enjoy doing (cooking being high on the list). Knife sharpening isn't really looked at as a hobby to me (as it seems to be for many which is perfectly fine). I really just want the most efficient way to maintain my knives and really learning the "art" of sharpening so to speak, while a nice thing to know, isn't really a goal of mine. If I was bent on whittling hair and making the absolute sharpest edge possible and wanted the challenge of learning to free hand sharpen...I'm sure I could because as you have mentioned...you'd be surprised what we can do with a vision impairment using our other senses.

    I guess if I had a passion to learn sharpening, I would feel more inclined to do that option....and I still may if I find a way to try it out and see what kind of learning curve I would be on. But, again, I'm looking for the end goal of just being able to maintain my knives and the WE seemed like a pretty much zero learning curve option that would suit my needs. However, reading this thread made me second guess if this was a viable option. I don't want poor performance from my knives, and if I NEED to learn to sharpen by hand, then I would just bite the proverbial bullet and do so.

    Sorry for derailing your thread Dave...

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by X-JaVeN-X View Post
    Sorry for derailing your thread Dave...

    No derail at all. Hell, there's probably others wondering the same thing as well.

  8. #18
    I bought some sharpening guides from SLT, along with my first stone, a Shun combo. Stupid things left crazy rubber residu on everything that they touched, and it wasn't easy to remove either. I've been free hand ever since. I don't claim to be good at it, but yeah though things were worthless, even aside from the residu.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Chef Doom's Avatar
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    So Dave, I have to ask, did you by any chance drop some LSD before sharpening? Have you gotten any feedback from your father-in-law about your work?

    I once dropped some LSD once and thought I made a fantastic meal for myself one night. I thought I hit a new high (pun intended) in my quest for culinary perfection. When I came down, turns out it was nothing but burnt toast, desert level dry chicken, and overcooked rice.

    Just wondering......
    "Into a country where the jails are full, and the mad houses closed." - Charles Bukowski

  10. #20
    I had an issue with my wrist when I first started sharpening. I had been using oil stones and I was in agony fighting the stone and holding the angle. So I bought an Edge Pro. It worked fine, it was serviceable. But like people said before, you are only as good as the EP let's you be. The biggest problem I had with it is that it takes FOREVER. I don't know why this isn't mentioned more when debating pro's/con's of the EP but freehand sharpening is so much faster. It's a bigger stone that you can put more pressure on and work faster, that simple.

    I could put pretty good edges on my knives with little to no visual inspection. I usually adjust angle by feel and sound and test edges by feel. Granted, I am already experienced and know what I am looking/feeling/listening for. So could I learn to sharpen without my sight? I don't know. But once you learn you can certainly do it without it.

    Stones are cheap. You don't NEED a sink bridge, stone holder, diamond plate, etc right away. Buy one ~1k stone, like a Bester 1200. I sharpen on a overturned rectangular pan from work with a nonslip pad on it. Try it out, if it isn't working, sell the stone on here and buy a WE.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

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