I’ve been having a personal grudge match with magnacut, and high volume carbides of any kind are a pain in the ass. Portland knife house once told me “no one sharpens zdp right, so we have to do it,” which makes me think there’s an approach that most of us don’t do just because we stick to our normal habits.
Asking both users of steels with lots of carbides and a couple other shop owners, ~1k edge then really light, high grit deburr, high as you can feasibly do, is a good recipe. A little back and forth between the two to get the edge really clean, since deburring is a chore.
Honestly I haven’t needed to sharpen my own zdp yet. But I bought a coarse diamond stone cuz I’m scared of it. I find R2 challenging, but I feel like I can really nail that edge. It also involves back and forth between the bevel setting stone and the deburring stone. Final passes are edge leading, really delicate like I’m trying to peel a tissue paper label off the finishing stone surface. Super slow and patient, and not too much. If I do that, my edge will last 4-6 months cleanly cutting paper towel on the only petty I own (and it gets used nearly daily).
The same approach with magnacut hasn’t left me satisfied yet, so I’m going coarser and finer for the two stones, see if that works. The edge feels “rubbery” rather than “bitey”. It grips, but not in the mean way I like. Can’t really get it fine enough to just fall through either. I blame myself. By any normal cooks metrics it’s sharp, but it’s only 85% for me. I’m trying to finish on 3k diamond, but I think I’ms switching to a 400/800/1k then 6k routine, and trying out which bevel set fares best. The 400 makes a shaving edge on a razor, so may be a good option. Super consistent.
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Curious to hear the direction you take it. Sorry for writing a book…