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Spyderco sharp maker

Randall

Richard Proenneke
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I just sharpened two kitchen knives. They're supposedly reasonable quality - wusthoff. The larger 8" standard blade is very thin behind the edge, and seems to damage (roll?) easily. The other is a 6" utility knife - it also damages easily. We use cutting boards; nylon and wood, and I've trained my partner to use the back of the knife for scraping (unlike chefs on TV :eek:).

I'm pretty basic with sharpening - everything is 20°. Supposedly 17° is recommended for chef knives; maybe for chef knives with higher end steel. The blade geometry on these wusthoff knives is very good; this allows the knife to cut or slice with minimal resistance from the rest of the blade that comes after the edge.

I originally got these knives in the ball park of 20° with a worksharp electric belt sharpener. For these knives I used the stropping belt (1200 grit) because they are pretty thin and soft stock. The worksharp gives a convex bevel but isn't too much work to flatten out later with hand sharpening. I left them at this until they needed sharpening again. On a side note, I mostly use the worksharp on mower blades and axes etc.

Since the intitial worksharp sharpening I have been using a home made strop - section of old leather belt glued to a piece of 4"x1.5". The leather is loaded up with green compound. If I don't have much time I'll strop even when I can see the edge is damaged and stropping isn't fixing it. It still gets it reasonably sharp.

I use a spyderco sharpmaker. I'm hopeless at freehand sharpening. Even with the spyderco there is a bit of skill involved - I kind of swing the handle of the knife out a bit to keep the belly near the front of the blades parallel with the flat of the stone. This isn't an issue when using the corner of the stones. The beauty of this system is ease of use, it works with all blade shapes, you can sharpen the whole blade. The other big thing for me is that I can actually feel if one side is rougher than the other side. I don't think I'm that sensitive to feel - I never feel a burr with my finger. I can also feel roughness with the worksharp when using the stropping belt. The advantage of feeling this is that I know when the edge is good and I can move on to the next stage. I am able to see this same roughness / damage in light, but I can't tell which side it's on.

Nick mentions the edge pro as an example of a higher end sharpening system below. I have something similar by lansky. The problem with these types of systems is that they don't work with small blades - the clamp gets in the way. They don't clamp uniformly with some blade grinds. For example, a full flat grind. The clamp is going to want to hold the blade flat on one side and just hold the edge of the spine on the other side. This gives odd angles. They are popular; for me, there are too many variables and they just seem like too much trouble.

With the sharpmaker It is pretty easy for me to get knives shaving sharp. I'm OK with that level of sharpness - all my knives are to be used. As Nick says, beyond this level of sharpness you probably need something else. A better person could go the extra distance with strop and compound; I just use a strop for finishing off or maintenance between sharpenings. I only have the basic sharp maker - white and brown stones. This dude gets it much sharper, but he has the skill and he's bought the extra stones. He also doesn't use the corners of the stones - using the corners is the more aggressive first step.


 
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Wentworth

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Good post Randall.
I grew up freehand sharpening, so when we picked up the Sharpmaker, it felt pretty intuitive to use.

Like you've noted, there are more variables than the clamp based systems, but it also clicks together in 30 seconds so isn't much work to touch up an edge.

Ours has the brown and white rods and we picked up a couple of the diamond ones as well.

Glad you're enjoying the system too.
 

Randall

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there are more variables than the clamp based systems
I think there are more variables with the clamp bases systems :D. For example, one biggy for me was trying to get the blade clamped symmetrically; with most blades it favored one side or the other, which meant angles weren't the same for both sides.
 

Wentworth

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Ha you did write that too.
Yes you'd want to be clamping symmetrically in the same place on the blade each time with the edge pro.
I found the sharpmaker good, but a user could potentially tilt the blade when sharpening, or exert more pressure on one side.
Neither are foolproof I guess.
I've been digging out the dc4 handheld stone recently to make sure I don't lose the technique, the sharpmaker is too useful!
 

old4570

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Hmmmm , keep sharp knives sharp !
I havent used this one , but I got something similar a long time ago with ceramic rods ..
Wasn't impressed .. ( Again not this one ) ..

GKS.jpg


This is the first guided knife sharpener I got ..
And quite frankly it works and I still use it ..
Yes it's mikey mouse , and without mods is rickety as all .
But mounted on a board , it becomes a solid work surface for sharpening knives .

If you want a nice straight bevel at a known angle , then this is the minimum I would recommend .
I might have to post a new thread on all my sharpeners ( guided )
 

Randall

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That does look good because it doesn't have a clamp that gets in the way of sharpening small blades and blades that aren't high. It's the first one of this type I've seen without a clamp.

I won't buy more sharpening gear myself - I actually like the sharp maker. I have a lansky too, but just don't use it; that shitty clamp :(
 

Randall

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I mentioned potential issues with the lansky type sharpeners that use clamps. I just came across this youtube dude who points out one issue, but then creates a different issue. If you watch the video you see his answer to keeping the angles correct, he ends up with the clamp just grabbing the corners of the spine. He's also relying on sight that the blade is held in the clamp symmetrically.

 
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old4570

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Hahahahahahahahahaha ....

Now the other issue is the blade rocking in the clamp ... !!!
Just because the clamps line up , does not mean that the blade sits even in the clamp ..

Now !!!!

If you clamp so that the jaws are flat against the sides of the blade ( even ) ..
Then the knife should be centred .. In the clamp .
Does not matter if the clamp itself ( back off ) is not straight , as long as the knife is straight compared to both sides of the clamp . ( Or equally offset )
( It's a two sided / two part clamp ) ..

So ????? Is this person solving a problem ? ( That may not exist for certain knives )
Or is he creating a problem .
It's up to the user , but the last thing I want ......... Is for the knife to rock in the clamp ! I don't care how straight the clamp is ..
As long as the knife is centred and locked in solid .

Also , you blade could be ground FUBAR , so this is all mute !
 

Randall

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Yes, clamps and angles are problematic. Clamps and small blades are problematic.
 

old4570

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Yeah , small blades ..


I got this one for smaller knives , but even with the smaller clamp ..
Small knives are tricky ( Pocket knives )
 

Randall

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I did come across another knife sharpener that looks good as a profile or bevel repair. It looks like something to get the edge in reasonable shape fairly quickly before moving on to a less aggressive system. It actually looks like a good design too and $120 in Australia. I don't think I'd use the honing stones at the different angles (as recommended), if at all.

Update: apparently the rods don't last long, and they're expensive ($80 - $90).

 
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