Are there steels/knife brands that are particularly hard to sharpen?

Discussion in 'Sharpening Station' started by Carl Kotte, Oct 6, 2019.

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  1. Oct 6, 2019 #1

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

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    A number of recent posts have made me wonder: are there steels or steels-treated-and-(mis)used-by-certain-knife-brands that you find to be particularly hard to sharpen? Are there any particular tips and tricks you want to share? Different stones, different techniques, etc?
    Personally I’ve only had real problems with tough stainless pocket knives with scandigrinds. It took ages to raise a consistent nice burr on them. But Aus-8, cromova, white, blue, v2, sg-2, 52100 and many of the other usual suspects have worked well for me (although I enjoy some more than others wrt how they feel on the stones).
     
  2. Oct 6, 2019 #2

    Brian Weekley

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    ZDP 189 and HAP 40 seem more demanding to me. They do seem to hold an edge forever though.
     
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  3. Oct 6, 2019 #3

    gman

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    generally speaking, i find that steels with high abrasion resistance take longer to raise a burr (obviously) and as a side effect, angle control becomes really critical (the more passes over the stone, the higher chance that wobble will take it's toll and round the apex). this can be overcome with practice.

    high toughness, on the other hand, makes de-burring difficult, and there are a million opinions on how to deal with that, and i'm still trying to figure out the best technique.

    looking at both qualities together, the worst steel for me to sharpen would be one with low abrasion resistance, but high toughness, because with those, it seems like you can raise a burr just by looking at the knife, but can then ever get it to break off. many soft stainless steels fall in this category.
     
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  4. Oct 6, 2019 #4

    Benuser

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    Found the Cromova frankly unpleasant to sharpen. Raising a burr and getting rid of it isn't much fun. Some plasticity in it, new burrs popping up here and there. Must have to do with aggregated chromium carbides.
    And it's the only soft stainless I've seen chipping.
     
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  5. Oct 7, 2019 #5

    Steampunk

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    Quite simply, yes... Some steels really suck to sharpen.

    I loathe most of the houshold German-name knives... Wusthof, Henkels, Messermeister, etc. Especially from their more affordable lines... There are others, doubtless even worse, but these suck. Victorinox, too, to a slightly lesser extent...

    Buck 420HC is also not nice, IMHO, as is Spyderco's 8CRMOV13, in terms of folders... I'd take VG-10, or AUS-6A or AUS-8 any day over these.

    The only carbon I've ever hated sharpening was whatever Case uses... Has a rubbery feel on the stones, strangely.

    Compared to these, ZDP-189 and HAP-40 feel like a joy, though neither are what I'd classify as 'nice'.

    - Steampunk
     
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  6. Oct 7, 2019 #6

    MrHiggins

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    I have a fixed blade hunting knives made of M390 and M4 l, both of which I have a very difficult time sharpening.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  7. Oct 7, 2019 #7

    Alder26

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    tojiro VG10 is really annoying to sharpen and deburr. I would agree about hap40, but I think that it takes a very clean edge once you get it there.
     
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  8. Oct 7, 2019 #8

    rob

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    I also collect folding knives. Some of the steels are quite hard to sharpen. The toughest i have experienced would be CPM S90V and S110. M390 is takes a bit of work also.
     
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  9. Oct 7, 2019 #9

    Carl Kotte

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    Interesting replies so far. Thanks!
    A follow up: what is it you find hard or annoying more specifically? Some have said raising a burr and deburring certain steels - and that is certainly one of the most important things. But are you often unhappy with the results (sharpness and edge performance) or is it mainly the time it takes for you to get good/decent results?
     
  10. Oct 7, 2019 #10

    Benuser

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    I forgot. There is worse. The 420xx Kai uses with their Wasabi series. Huge carbide clustering. I hope they have improved HT since.
     
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  11. Oct 7, 2019 #11

    Alder26

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    I think in the case of cheap VG10 the problem is that it doesn't take a very keen edge and holds on to a burr for a very long time. So you might sharpen up to 3k edge and spend far more time trying to clean up the edge than you did developing the burr.

    In the case of HAP40 I think the hardest part is how glassy it feels on the stones. Using the right stones makes a huge difference though.
     
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  12. Oct 7, 2019 #12

    Carl Kotte

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    Oh, interesting @Alder26! [emoji1303]
    Now I have to ask: what are the right stones for hap40?
     
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  13. Oct 7, 2019 #13

    Benuser

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    In my experience VG-10 does take a very keen edge. Start with medium-coarse, stay there as long as needed, deburr through the entire progression.
     
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  14. Oct 7, 2019 #14

    suntravel

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    resin bonded Diamond and Shapton works well on HAP40

    Sigma Select works also, but i dont like soft fast dishing stones.

    Regards

    Uwe
     
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  15. Oct 7, 2019 #15

    krx927

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    If I limit myself to kitchen knives I really do not like to sharpen my Blazen in SG2 and all the knives in SRS-15. Really bad feeling on stones!
     
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  16. Oct 7, 2019 #16

    lowercasebill

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    I swear the carbides on the edge pop off overnight in the drawer. Hard to sharpen very chippy
     
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  17. Oct 7, 2019 #17

    suntravel

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    With the right stones i find any steel easy to sharpen :)

    Time consuming is only to figure out which grind works best (longest) for a particular blade

    Regards

    Uwe
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  18. Oct 7, 2019 #18

    SeattleBen

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    I'll throw in for Buck knives too. Was the most challenge to my mental well being this far.
     
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  19. Oct 7, 2019 #19

    Carl Kotte

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    Interesting. Do you have rules of thumb (like you did for HAP40): for vg-10, pick stone x, for aus-8 pick stone y, etc etc? Or do you go by feel with each knife and quickly reach a wise decision what stone to use to get the job done?
     
  20. Oct 7, 2019 #20

    suntravel

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    For the final use only the last stone counts, I do all pre grind with DMD Diamond stones resin bonded.

    For very hard and abrasive resistant PM steel, Shapton 30k and hard Nakayama or Escher for bite

    For medium steels Green Brick an medium coarse Franke (Shapton 5-8k will do the same almost) , TU mostly Dick Mikro

    For low end stainless or soft K-Sabs ect. 1k and Dick Mikro steel

    Sharpening angle most times 16-22° depends on toughness of the steel and cutting style of the user, thinning above the egde also.

    For rock choppers I make the first 30% of the blade thicker and steeper angle than for pull or push cutters, 100% choppers also needs less bite than other cutters, so for this a finer polished edge works better and longer.

    Regards

    Uwe
     
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  21. Oct 8, 2019 #21

    kayman67

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    This! ^
    I don't do everything the same, but I do changes accordingly. I don't sharpen everything on a nail/hammer principle.

    Are there alloys particularly difficult to sharpen? Hard to say yes or no to a definitive degree. I was never able to find consensus on such matters amongst users of knives or sharpening gear. And to make things worse, listed stuff I know, never gave me any trouble.
     
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  22. Oct 8, 2019 #22

    Sharpchef

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    With Jiig`s any steel is easy ;) ...

    By hand i struggeled most with tata ! Kato Workhorse....

    Global is ok, just don`t do more then 1k.... DICK Micro after this and you are good to go.

    ZDP 189, MC390 are also a bit difficult because the large unsolved chromium carbides so i tend to use 1my Diamond Lapping Film to solve this problem, Natural after this.

    For mainly choppers i recommend as Suntravel already said very fine finish (5-8k by Hand) (30k+quarzite Natural like Transluent Arkansas/Black surgical or Jasper with a Jiig) .
    For rock choppers like me fast natural as a finish option (not too hard Suita, frankonian) , (with Jiig as fine as possible like 30k + medium hardness Jnat/finer one for deburr only )

    Both only for high alloyed steel.... (tungsten and vanadium) .

    Greets Sebastian.
     
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  23. Oct 8, 2019 #23

    galvaude

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    The more vanadian carbides a steel has, the more wear resistance it is. At abouth 3-4% diamonds work the best and provide optimal results.

    As for as soft and cheap stainless, I never found them problematic even with dirt cheap knives. You just have to use edge leading strokes and coarse grit finish. Most people try to polish them too much they end up with a shiny turd edge and then blame the steel when such knives can perform quite well with a coarse edge.
     
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  24. Oct 10, 2019 #24

    Ktva

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    I have one cheap DSR-1K6 steel knife and it’s really difficult to deburr.
     
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