Just Another Dam Project - Pass HHT on your kitchen knife

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captaincaed

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The Hoover Dam was completed on 01 March 1936. It was a monumental effort using yet unproven techniques. The dam now provides power for much of Arizona, Nevada and Southern California.

In honor of achievement bought with persistence, get out your stones and your finest kitchen knife, and let's get to HHT sharpness together by March 1st.

I've gotten to HHT sharpness on my razor recently, and I know it should be possible even on a mid-grit benchstone, around 1-2k. I've heard @stringer and @Kippington talk about it. Recently, @Deadboxhero got some CATRA coupons to HHT with a 400 grit stone. Damn. I'm happy with my edges, but I think I can clean them up with some practice. If they can do it, so can I.

I'm pushing my self to sharpen once per day during February, with a goal of passing an HHT on March 1st. Is anyone interested in joining the challenge? Share your weekly progress, and offer tips and pitfalls you find.

There's no practical reason to do this for a kitchen knife, but I think it's a good exercise in making sure you've removed your burr completely. In practice, this should help dial in technique over a focused period, with some peer support. At the end, hopefully we'll all have a better understanding of the sharpening and deburring process.

I'm shooting for HHT-2 or HHT-3. I think more than that is unhelpful for a knife. Anyone up for a challenge? Put some energy back into this place?
 

captaincaed

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Some particulars:


HHT-0 - shave: The hair can be shaved immediately at the holding point. This is strictly spoken not a true HHT, but it does tell us that the edge is capable of shaving. [all other attempts must be made at least half an inch from the holding point]
HHT-1 - violin : The hair doesn't cut, but it "plays violin" with the edge. This is due to the shingles catching the edge, but it's not sharp enough to penetrate. On a full hollow razor, a faint ringing sound can be heard. On all razors it can be felt with the fingertips that hold the hair.
HHT-2 - split: When it is dragged across the edge, the edge catches the hair and splits it lengthwise.
HHT-3 - catch & pop: When it is dragged across the edge a bit, the edge catches the hair and pops it. The severed part will jump away.
HHT-4 - pop: The hair is popped immediately when it touches the edge. It still jumps away.
HHT-5 - silent slicer: The hair falls silently as soon as it touches the edge.

From: Hanging Hair Test - home of the famous Belgian Coticule Whetstone

And if you're wondering, yes, I struggled to come up with a good March 1st event to go with the challenge.

 

DavidPF

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I wonder whether an HHT-5 knife might cleanly slice a shell-on hard boiled egg :)
(But it would be just as impractical, because what could you even do with shell-on egg slices if you had them)
 

captaincaed

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I wonder whether an HHT-5 knife might cleanly slice a shell-on hard boiled egg :)
(But it would be just as impractical, because what could you even do with shell-on egg slices if you had them)
I think you need an actual light saber for that trick. Shell on Obi Wan.
 

KingShapton

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An interesting challenge. I'm watching the progress but I've just started too many projects to participate.
 

luuogle

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Seems like an interesting concept to test edge sharpness by cutting a piece of hanging hair.
 

DavidPF

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Seems like an interesting concept to test edge sharpness by cutting a piece of hanging hair.
It's something almost everyone can find, and is fairly uniform - but I do think that on average a hair from me was stronger a long time ago than it is now.
 

captaincaed

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Seems like an interesting concept to test edge sharpness by cutting a piece of hanging hair.
My read on this so far is you can pop hair on a medium edge if it's very clean. If you continue to sharpen you lose that ability for a while. When you get up near 10-12k and a very clean polish, it comes back and then some.

Just an experiment!
 

Kawa

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Although I like the challenge, and it is surely a goal to be able to achieve the HHT for the longer term, but

What makes you think you can get as good as a Kippington in a month time, just by being persistent?
If you can get this good in 30 days time, you are already nearly as good as the top sharpeners.

If you are new, low skilled, medium skilled or even fairly high skilled, you will not get there in a month time, just by wanting it and trying to sharpen better.
If it was that easy, we wouldnt be looking up to those Kippington kind of level sharpeners/knifemakers.



So, you made a challenge for those almost God-tier sharpeners, who were always to lazy to get the max out of themselves 🤡
 

MarcelNL

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Although I like the challenge, and it is surely a goal to be able to achieve the HHT for the longer term, but

What makes you think you can get as good as a Kippington in a month time, just by being persistent?
If you can get this good in 30 days time, you are already nearly as good as the top sharpeners.

If you are new, low skilled, medium skilled or even fairly high skilled, you will not get there in a month time, just by wanting it and trying to sharpen better.
If it was that easy, we wouldnt be looking up to those Kippington kind of level sharpeners/knifemakers.



So, you made a challenge for those almost God-tier sharpeners, who were always to lazy to get the max out of themselves 🤡
phew, that gets me excused, not having enough/long enough hair to attempt this is another reason to pass
 

stereo.pete

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I'm not going to be able to commit to sharpening every day, but I'll definitely get in as much as I can in the month of February. I've just recently gotten back into sharpening and I am practicing as much as I can to regain my lost skills and hopefully exceed where I was at before. I still can't get a shaving sharp edge, but I'm focusing on one stone (Shapton Pro 1k) and working on consistency and slowly getting better. I won't even pretend to get to anything on the above scale, I'm just looking for good quality consistent edges. I just had a minor break through, and that was staying at the 1k level, and not stropping / transitioning to higher grit stones. Every time I did that I noticed my edges would be dull and no where near as sharp using Carter's three finger method so clearly my muscle memory isn't there yet.
 

DavidPF

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a challenge for those almost God-tier sharpeners, who were always to lazy to get the max out of themselves
It does sound like a select little group. :) (I mean, it's hard to be both that good at it and also lazy.)

Some may say it's just determination and persistence, but that's not true. The determination and persistence only pay off when they're combined with being observant, understanding the materials, understanding how the process works, having the physical skills needed, and being always willing to learn and to admit mistakes when they happen. Some pretty good sharpeners deny that so many things are important, but that's because they've never known what it's like to not have one of them. They may say something like "Sharpening is simple, I don't pay attention to all that stuff, I just go by feel", forgetting that the fact they have any "feel" to go by proves they're using a specific physical skill, and so on. It's only simple if you already know how, and if it's always been simple for you then you started out already having particular skills that other people will have to spend time learning. It definitely doesn't automatically happen with just persistence.

Perfect makes practice. :)
 

captaincaed

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I hear a lot of excuses out there. I have no idea if I can get there or not in a month, but it's something to focus the mind.

So, come give it a try. Sharpen 15-30" per day for one month. See how far you can go. Group support to improve. Throw up an initial video, then post progress. You'll be surprised what you can do.
 
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I will try this. There is a good chance tho that I end up not practicing at all and just go for it on March 1st. Couple thoughts:

-For this test removing the burr isn’t really that important.
-Loaded strops make this test way easier. I will try and pass without them.
-I am far more confident in the sharpening than my ability to capture the HHT on video
-I should probably by a new knife for this challenge.
 
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ian

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Yea, I need a beater or something. All my knives are in current use and I don’t want to lose a lot of steel trying to create HHT passing edges.

Hmmm, or maybe I could try with this Heiji ss I have lying around. That could be fun.

Should we make the challenge to first split a spaghetti squash and then immediately pass HHT5?
 

DavidPF

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I think he means inches. Ie, remove between 15 and 30 inches of height from your knife each day. With that much practice the goal does seem achievable even for the novice sharpener.
But if I did that, I'd very soon have to buy a ...

Oh. Hmmm. Maybe it IS a good idea.
 

DavidPF

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Should we make the challenge to first split a spaghetti squash and then immediately pass HHT5?
Not everyone can easily obtain a spaghetti squash, but nearly everyone can get a hard boiled egg. Just saying.
 

captaincaed

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I am far more confident in the sharpening than my ability to capture the HHT on video
-I should probably by a new knife for this challenge.
I agree on both of these.

I got me a 1micron strop ready and waiting. And braaaand new Yoshi.

...

And poor camera skills
 

ian

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I am far more confident in the sharpening than my ability to capture the HHT on video

No joke. I completely failed, despite multiple attempts, so you'll just have to trust me that it worked. It wasn't as consistent as in Kipp's video, but that's not a surprise. I also cheated and used a 16k stone.

You know, though, I kind of think I could have done just as well on this challenge 6 months ago as now, even though I think I'm a much better sharpener than I was then. I feel like most of the skills I've acquired are irrelevant to this test. But whatever. I still have a lot to learn. I'm not sure I see the point of striving to get this kind of edge off of a mid grit stone, but there's also no point in making the videos below, so who gives a f.

Anyway, here's me treetopping arm hairs, and cutting pt and a single ply of tp, for some reason.





Maybe we also need to document our journey in learning to film HHTs.

Anyway, I think the most interesting content in the thread will be the stories of everyone’s progress sharpening. Looking forward to reading some. Maybe eventually I’ll see if I can do a HHT vid without cheating with a 16k.
 
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