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Can Edge Pro Stones Be Used For Freehand Sharpening?
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Thread: Can Edge Pro Stones Be Used For Freehand Sharpening?

  1. #1
    Senior Member larrybard's Avatar
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    Can Edge Pro Stones Be Used For Freehand Sharpening?

    Title pretty much says it all. Not sure if any additional information is really needed to answer the question, but I'll amplify a bit anyway:

    Several years ago I bought an Edge Pro Professional sharpening setup. Tried it a few times (exclusively on symmetric knives; didn't own any others) and was not at all happy with the results. Despite the many things that have been written here about the shortcomings of such setups, I'm inclined to ascribe my sub-par results with "user error." (Yes, I watched their video, and attempted to follow their instructions.) Anyway, the Edge Pro was relegated to my basement, and I made no further attempts to use it.

    Now that I recently became much more interested in better quality Japanese knives (and have acquired a few), and their maintenance, I would like to learn how to sharpen freehand. I know there's no substitute for expert instruction (especially something like a DM class), but I'm hoping that with much practice, and after watching again many of the excellent sharpening videos (as well as a set of DM's DVD's that I am arranging to obtain from a current owner), I can learn to put a decent edge on my knives -- and then continue to learn much, much more, through a class or other means.

    Anyway, my Edge Pro came with the following grits -- most of which seem far too coarse to be, as a practical matter, useful (assuming none of my sharpening practice knives don't need really major work, which would be beyond my ability anyway): 100, 180, 220, 320, 600, 3000. Seems to me the 600 and 3000 [tape] might be enough for practicing on my knives. But I suppose the threshold question is the one I originally posed: is there any good reason why I couldn't/shouldn't use the Edge Pro stones?

    Even if the 600 and 3000 would suffice for initial practice purposes, is there nevertheless anything else needed as a "must have," e.g., a 1200, for purposes of learning and practicing freehand sharpening?

    My intention would be to first practice on some of my relatively low grade knives, e.g., a Henckels, and then if I'm somewhat happy with the results graduate to something like my carbon "sab," and then -- with enormous trepidation -- try on one of my Japanese knives, like an Aritsugu. (Not sure I'll ever be sufficiently confident and courageous enough to try sharpening one of my better Japanese knives.)

    I'd be grateful for any advice. (Please be gentle; I'm new to all of this.)

    Larry

  2. #2
    Senior Member Robert's Avatar
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    I don't think you can use them for freehand sharpening because they are too small and you can't keep an even angel

  3. #3
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    Larry,

    Note that the Edge Pro grit numbers are not the same as the JIS grit numbers. For example, the EP 3000 is roughly equivalent to a 4-5000 JIS. There have been several comparison charts compiled; here is one from KF:



    As to freehanding with the EP stones, it is going to be difficult because of the narrow width of the stones. An experienced sharpener might be able to pull it off, but attempting to learn to freehand sharpen on them is likely to be an exercise in frustration. I'd say to "bite the bullet" and get Dave's three full size stone setup of Beston 500, Bester 1200 and Suehiro Rika 5000.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Rick
    “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

  4. #4
    Senior Member GeneH's Avatar
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    It's possible on small knives if you put the stones up on a block, but not worth the trouble, even for practice. It's even hard to use them on 1 in or 2 in wood carving blades. But hey, give it a try. No doubt they would work acceptably if needed to carry something backpacking because of the minimal size, weight, and limited use.

  5. #5
    Senior Member larrybard's Avatar
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    Very helpful; thanks much! I suspected that Dave's set was probably the way to go. But I'm curious as to the choice of one of the stones in the set. (I'm certainly not trying to second guess or question Dave or anyone else; just curious.) As you may well be aware, after the Beston 500 in the set there's a Bester 1200. Why is the Bester 1200 a better choice than the King 1200, which is also less expensive when sold individually, and which seems to also be very highly regarded? Dave's website says the following about the King: "This is the 1200x stone that I prefer to use following the Beston 500x as they seem to be a good match up. This 1200x (unlike the Bester 1200x) is in my mind only a transition type of stone to be used between coarse and medium stones where burr creation/bevel cutting isn't needed. I use it for scratch pattern refinement and burr reduction. It leaves a fine finish and I find it to provide great feedback and ease in feeling the bevel which helps in holding the knife steady and staying level." Is it because burr creation would typically be desired? Would it be best for me to try and ask Dave directly?

  6. #6
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    take a crappy knife, and have at it. what's there to lose?

  7. #7
    Senior Member larrybard's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone. (Rick, that chart is quite illuminating and helpful.) I've decided to bite the bullet and buy Dave's starter set. (And, while waiting for it, also try, as panda suggested, and apply try using an inexpensive knife with the EP stones.) Dave also kindly explained to me why he thinks the Bester 1200 is a superior choice to the King 1200 for these purposes, so I'm completely comfortable with that.

  8. #8
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    I think in pinch you could but not really worth the effort. I will use them like finger stones now and then to touch up an edge quickly.

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