Trouble Sharpening Spyderco CTS XHP

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sansho

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i have a spyderco chaparral pocket knife in CTS-XHP, and i've never had so much trouble sharpening a knife.

1634526214459.png


first of all, that protruding finger guard right at the heel of the blade makes it pretty annoying to work the first 5-10mm. that aside...

i'm using the jki gesshin stone set.

i have A LOT of room for improvement, but i can sharpen kitchen knives to my satisfaction. i have a few tests for sharpness and usability: 1) slice cut standard printer paper without snagging or tearing, 2) easily do thin slices of onion and tomato. not high standards, but it works for what i do.

i cannot get this pocket knife to pass those tests. i've tried a few times.


this guy makes it look so easy. i tried his way just kind of whipping it around on there. i also tried a more methodical approach that i use on my kitchen knives (careful, deliberate edge trailing strokes with fingers on the blade to form a burr -- then more edge trailing with gradulally declining pressure -- then deburring on cork -- then some edge-leading, stropping-style strokes).

forming a burr on the 2000 grit was taking forever, so i started with my 400 grit.
i'm forming a burr on my 400 grit stone, but it seems to happen more slowly than i'm used to on other knives in steels like SKD12, shirogami, whatever victorinox is made of, etc.
then i go to my 2000 grit to finish up.

i have no idea how hard the blade is. spyderco doesn't seem to publish that info.

is this steel considered difficult to sharpen, or can i safely blame it all on my technique?
i've never had a knife in difficult-to-sharpen steel, so i can't tell what my problem is.
i wonder if diamond plates would make this easier.
 

jedy617

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XHP sharpens very well for me, but I use diamond stones on a KME
 

HumbleHomeCook

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I also use diamond for XHP but that's mainly because when I was sharpening it more often, I didn't have water stones.

XHP has a fair amount of carbon and ton of chromium so it can be challenging. Some people say it's akin to sharpening D2.

You don't need to change your technique other than to turn 90 degrees at the start to get in by the choil.
 

Kawa

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Pocket knives shaped like this are a pain. They are all curvy from heel to tip.
In my experience just go the same as with your kitchen knives. Don't approach it like in that youtube link. It looks like hes teaching, but hes doing a bad job at it. He should know that no starter can hold the stone in one hand and just 'whip it around' with the other.

What I had succes with near the heel: normally you raise the handle when you get near the tip. Do the opposite near the heel, since there isnt an acual straight part on these knives. So, raise the tip of the knife from the stone, 'pushing' the heel into the stone. Otherwise the last few mm probably dont hit our stone (use sharpy to verify). This feels very awkward the first few times.
From there, when you work towards the tip, keep raising the handle for every cm you get closer to the tip. This knife is all belly-to-tip compared to kitchen knives. The last few mm might even have a slight recurve

Pocket knife sharpening is a new journey. You need to learn it, even if you can sharpen kitchen knives. The angles, bladeheight and curvature are all different. Only the sharpening basics are the same.

Keep on trying, you will get there!
 

sansho

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haha. now i wish i got a straight-blade pocket knife (some kind of spyderco wharncliffe blade).

1634573051662.png

like this in LC200N.

thanks for the encouragement. i'll keep at it.
 

sansho

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sharing for others in the future...


i found this video. seems decent. if nothing else, someone can watch and learn how he adjusts the blade angle to maintain contact along the edge as he does some slow strokes in the beginning. i'm looking forward to trying later today.
 

HumbleHomeCook

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If you want some good videos on pocket knives, look up Jef Jewell on YT.
 

stringer

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Where is @coxhaus when you need him? This would be a great knife to use with a Ken Onion Work Sharp or similar sharpening system. Freehand just remember that the angle will be quite a bit higher than you're used to with kitchen knives to actually hit the apex. I do like to sharpen pocketknives in hand. Actually I do most my sharpening in hand.

 

daveb

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I went right to SG for my spidies, one of which is CTS. They're sharper than when I started.
 

coxhaus

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Where is @coxhaus when you need him? This would be a great knife to use with a Ken Onion Work Sharp or similar sharpening system. Freehand just remember that the angle will be quite a bit higher than you're used to with kitchen knives to actually hit the apex. I do like to sharpen pocketknives in hand. Actually I do most my sharpening in hand.

Yes, I think a Worksharp Ken Onion is great for curved knives. I think the Worksharp Ken Onion Elite will probably do a better job with curved knives. Just remember with the tip only pull the tip half way across the belt otherwise you can damage your tip.

I picked up an axe so I have been sharpening my axes using the Ken Onion Elite.
 

Steampunk

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The Chapparal isn't a weird shape, it isn't a weird steel... XHP is a roughly D2-class steel (Like SLD, ZDP-189, etc.), with a very easy to sharpen profile. Not fun to deburr, but not hard to physically abrade on most stones, and it's not like you're sharpening a recurve... No need for mini belt sanders, or any other special tools... Even diamond stones are more an option than a necessity, on this steel. It's just a bit fiddly to deburr, and like most Spyderco's needs proper geometry set.

First, establish good bevel geometry. Generate a consistent, notable burr on a hard, medium or coarse stone, or diamond plate... Then, refine using a normal for-aft stroke, and deburr using edge-leading strokes on a medium-soft, fine stone that generates some slurry. Cutting into some fine mud really helps to deburr this sort of steel, and create a durable edge. J-Nats with nagura, BBW's with some misty slurry, 3-6K Suehiro stones, etc, really do a good job. However, you have to have good geometry to start with. This provides a fairly well balanced edge.

The JKI set (400 ceramic, 2000 ceramic, 6000 resinoid.) is nice, but not for this sort of steel so much. Tends to create more rounded edges on something like this, than the sort of knives Jon normally sharpens. I'd advise picking up a plate (Dianova 600/1200 diamond, Ultrasharp 400/1000 diamond Spyderco 400/800 CBN, etc.), to give yourself really precise geometry as a baseline... Then move into a finer/muddier stone (J-Nat with Nagura, BBW with Nagura, a Suehiro 3K-6K stone, etc.)... If you've got a steady hand or a jig, Shapton Glass or Naniwa Pro also do a good job.

If you strop, do so on a very stiff media (Wood, or maybe kangaroo leather.), with a touch finer grits than normal (Sub 1-micron.), to prevent rounding the apex.

It's not the toothiest steel, and begs a little more refinement, but isn't anything crazy, like some of the high Vanadium or Tungsten carbide jobs. Reminds me a bit of the old ZDP-189 Spydies...

I'd shoot for a 20-25dps inclusive bevel. It's relatively hard, and stable. Leaning it down a bit more, makes it a bit easier to deburr.

The edge area behind the ricasso needs to be sharpened simply at more of a 90-degree angle to the stone, with a bit more pressure towards the handle to create a uniform bevel. Harder stones/plates make it easier to make this part of the bevel match the rest, than with muddier/softer stones like the JKI trio.

The Chapparal is a good knife. Enjoy it. Thin stock, okay geometry. Be brave, and try to keep it thin; maybe impliment a little convex thinning, over time. You'll enjoy the knife a lot more.

Hope this helps.
 

Steampunk

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haha. now i wish i got a straight-blade pocket knife (some kind of spyderco wharncliffe blade).

View attachment 147522
like this in LC200N.

thanks for the encouragement. i'll keep at it.
Dead-straight blades are actually harder to sharpen than normal curves. The human hand struggles to apply pressure precisely over a perfectly straight line, which means you can mess up the profile pretty quick if you aren't careful. Looks simple, but is actually quite hard.

Easiest to sharpen current production Spydies are probably the UK PK in CTS-BD1N, and the Urbans in N690, if you only have normal water stones. Even their VG10 is a little unpleasant compared to some kitchen knife makers (Even Tojiro DP feels better than Spydie VG10.).

However, for normal EDC tasks (Involving cardboard and plastic packaging.), I'd up the ante, and go for something with 3%+ vanadium, and a simple 600-1200 diamond/CBN plate to go with. This will hold up much longer. I actually prefer a coarser edge on my EDC's.
 
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