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Sharpening 52100 steel? How to get it super sharp?

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jgraeff

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Ok so I'm using a gyuto right now in 52100. I can already tell it is pretty hard steel as i worked this knife very hard two days about 12 hour shifts without any touchups and it pretty much the same as when i started using it.

However the edge on the knife is not near what I'm use to using, so i decided to refine the edge some more.

I went through my normal progression and decided to keep the bevel as it was and i tend to like a 60/40 so slightly right bias, started with my 400 Gesshin, took quite a while even on this stone to raise a burr the entire length of the blade especially the heel. Once i got there i swathed the other side and flipped the burr back over I did this while lightening pressure each time. Finally i stropped on the stone and sliced through some cork to remove all the burr.

I then progressed to my 1k, 6k stones and repeated the same process. I then moved to my Takashima and started with a lot of pressure to build up mud, however i noticed that with this knife i could not get quite as much mud as i do with my other knives. Not sure why exactly maybe that its not removing as much metal because the steel is harder?

Anyways i finished on the j-nat. I didn't add a micro bevel as i believe the steel is strong enough without one.

Although it is very sharp and definietly useable i find that i can get my Kono quite a bit sharper. I feel that the steel has the potential to get sharper, am i missing anything? I do the same with the Kono HD, and i think the edge thinness is about the same on both knives as well.
 

wsfarrell

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I use a Kalamazoo 1x42 belt grinder on my 52100. 320, 600, 1000, then CrO on a leather belt. Glides silently through newsprint, which is just a hair sharper than my HD.
 

jgraeff

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Do you think I'm not grinding enough at the 400?

using a belt grinding i would think that removes quite a bit of metal right?
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I find 52100 a little harder to sharpen, than say, White or Blue, but once you get it there, the edge stays there for weeks with minimum stropping or touch ups.

I got one of my 52100 back from a review and it came with one of sharpest edge I have ever experienced (I am still working on my sharpening). I asked the person what stones he used and I am posting his response here:

...
Gesshin 400
Bester 1200
Rika 5K
Dave's hard felt strop with his poly diamond
I also stropped in-between each stone with the loaded felt as well.


He widened the bevel a bit and sharpened at a more acute angle. I have used this knife for a few days now on an engraind board and have not noticed any edge degradation yet.

Knives that don't need to be thinned, don't require starting on a belt grinder. One can start with a diamond stone in same grit.

M
 

ThEoRy

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Hahahaha :happymug: That knife was a dream to sharpen so thank you. Though I've had a bit of trouble sharpening the Fanatic cleaver. Same steel, same progression... :scratchhead:
 

NO ChoP!

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52100 holds a pretty steep edge. I don't like it much past 3 or 4k, though.... it loses its toothiness quickly, and gets real slick.
 

ejd53

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Send it to Dave:lol2: (sorry, couldn't resist).
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Hahahaha :happymug: That knife was a dream to sharpen so thank you. Though I've had a bit of trouble sharpening the Fanatic cleaver. Same steel, same progression... :scratchhead:
The proof is... in the pudding. :)
 

Dave Martell

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I've heard many accolades put upon 52100 knives from makers that work with it for years and really dial in the heat treat and I've also heard from many people who have failure making knives with it. I often wonder if this is a steel that is best utilized by the advanced knifemaker versus something that a factory can churn out?
 

deanb

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I've heard many accolades put upon 52100 knives from makers that work with it for years and really dial in the heat treat and I've also heard from many people who have failure making knives with it. I often wonder if this is a steel that is best utilized by the advanced knifemaker versus something that a factory can churn out?
Dave - Have you run across a Zwilling Kramer yet?
 

Mike Davis

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As much as it is toted as a beginner steel, it really is not. 52100 really is a fairly complex alloy steel, and i think that some have issues bringing out the full potential of it. 52100 with a proper heat treat can be quite a great steel, but if it isn't done right, it will only be mediocre. Here is Kevin Cashen's recommended heat treat information.
http://www.cashenblades.com/steel/52100.html
I know that each maker does stuff a little different, just thought i would share :)
 

Eamon Burke

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It might be the Heat Treat, who did it?

Are you sure the performance difference is the edge and not the grind? I mean, some knives just cut better than others.


:eek:fftopic:
Hahahaha :happymug: That knife was a dream to sharpen so thank you. Though I've had a bit of trouble sharpening the Fanatic cleaver. Same steel, same progression... :scratchhead:
The Fanatic is AEB-L, not 52100.
 

Bryan G.

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Unless Mark gave him the prototype for testing. Fanatic is coming out in 52100 very soon as the carbon version.
 

ThEoRy

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It might be the Heat Treat, who did it?

Are you sure the performance difference is the edge and not the grind? I mean, some knives just cut better than others.


:eek:fftopic:


The Fanatic is AEB-L, not 52100.
Oh good I thought I was going crazy trying to figure that out. Thanks for clarifying.
 

jgraeff

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I do agree with the edge retention of this steel. Not that its not sharp it is quite sharp by all means. I just feel that it has more potential than i have been able to achieve granted i only sharpened it once although if anyone has any tips on what to try let me know.

I have heard that above 10k is better and 4k is the highest you should go with stropping. I have a feeling that the high angle and small bevel is once cause of it not being quite as sharp. however I'm not going to change the bevels on this particular knife.
 

tk59

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I've sharpened a number of flavors of 52100. Sometimes it's a dream to sharpen (not unlike any other nice carbon steel) and others it takes a long time and the burr just won't give up. If that is the case, I'd suggest going with a "microbevel" with a very fine, hard finishing stone on just one side to try to remove the burr.
 

RRLOVER

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Did I miss on who made the knife??? If you are getting a great edge on your other knives and this blade is giving you a hard time I would say it's the knife.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Mario that is one of mine knives. It should have a decent (though earlier) heat treatment. It's 62RC and was HT to maximize wear resistance. It was tested in a pro environment before this trial.

Two of other 52100 knives that came back razor-sharp were finished on strops (felt and leather) with either diamond or boron carbide. I wonder if this is a must-have step for 52100, as I never was able to achieve a razor edge myself on the same knives, just using the stones - starting with synthetics and finishing on j-nats. Getting to 5-7K edge is not an issue, it is the higher grit finish that is hard to get to. I attributed it to my sharpening skill, rather than equipment, but might have to look into the stropping option.

Jared, put a wider bevel and sharpen on an accute angle if you like. Don't worry about changing bevels.

M
 

RRLOVER

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If a knife is not properly stropped after hitting the stones I would not even consider it "finished".
 

wsfarrell

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No love for belt grinders here. Understandable I guess. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you've mastered it it's a wonderful sharpener. And no, in the right hands it doesn't remove any more metal than stones. If for no other reason, try one for stropping. You'll never have to say the words "stubborn burr" again.
 

tk59

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There are people with experience in using belt grinders here. I've done it myself. They are nice when you have piles of blades to grind, esp. the stubborn burr varieties, mainly stainless. The problem is they are more expensive, less precise, take up more space, noisier, and dirtier, in general. I also don't get much personal satisfaction from it. It's more of a meditation thing for me.
 

jgraeff

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Thanks for the replies guys just trying to figure out how to achieve a razor sharp edge on this.

I gotta say i love how well it comes back from minimal stropping on newspaper. I mean this edge barely degraded at all after 3 long hard shifts and i was really working it. I stropped it maybe 5 strokes and its back to normal I'm pretty sure if i do this after every shift i doubt it would ever dull. pretty impressive compared to what i have been using.

Going to keep working it a bit before i hit the stones again, really want to put the edge retention to the test. So far love the profile as i thought it would be a bit too curved for my liking it actually work very well.

Great work on this knife Marko really love this knife! Thanks again for sending it out to me.
 

jgraeff

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If a knife is not properly stropped after hitting the stones I would not even consider it "finished".
I don't really strop my knives, i use newspaper on my stones but i don't have any compounds too expensive for me...
 

SpikeC

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You don't need compounds to strop. It's the action, not the media.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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JC is coming over tomorrow and we will sharpen some 52100 to razor edge. Will report tomorrow.

M
 

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