Wicked Edge gets here Thursday!


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Fat_46
September 18, 2012, 04:23 PM
I finally broke down and purchased the WE (and an angle cube). Delivery should be some time Thursday.

I've already picked out the first "volunteers" - an old Case Western that was sharpened by someone on a bench grinder, an assortment of low-end stainless kitchen knives, and a rescued Mora that has a non-standard and uneven grind on it.

Hopefully pics to follow Thursday night, assuming I don't give myself carpal!

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Valkman
September 18, 2012, 05:31 PM
You will love it!

Big_John1961
September 21, 2012, 03:26 PM
I'd love to hear your impressions of the WE, because I'm considering one myself. I'm not having much luck with my Sharpmaker.

bjs1187
September 21, 2012, 03:41 PM
Kind of interested myself. You'll have to do a review.

Fat_46
September 21, 2012, 05:30 PM
I'll do a longer review after a few more sessions, but my initial review is WOW.

Learning to use it is startlingly easy, but I think mastering it will take some time. My first sharpen was an older Kershaw blade trader, followed by my EDC Leek. On both I got very sharp edges, but they are a little uneven at the heel. I'm positive that's my fault, and just need to get some more time on the machine.

Valkman
September 21, 2012, 09:58 PM
You also need to sharpen anough knives so that the stones break in, then you'll really start to get results.

Fat_46
November 14, 2012, 11:02 AM
Heres is a follow up:

I'm 15 knives in, and the stones are starting to get really broken in. The 100/200 ans 400/600 are much easier to use now. I don't always go to the 800/1000 on all knives, as I prefer a bit of a "toothiness" on some of my blades.

I read as much as I could, and watched a ton of YouTube videos on the WEPS, but I still had a bit of a learning curve. Hopefully some of the following helps somebody out:

After you form the "burr" or "wire" using the 100, use the sound and feel of the stones going across the steel to determine when to move up in grit. I started out counting the strokes, and using the same number for each grit. My success was limited, and I couldn't figure out for a bit why my knives seemed to get duller after 75 strokes of 1000.

A little LED light is really useful to examine the edge and insure you have all of the previous grit's scratches out. Being right handed, I sometimes tend to lift off the blade too soon with my left, and the little light was indespensible for showing me the coarser areas of the edge.

Stropping with the diamond paste was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. By the time you get to the stropping phase, the edge is SHARP and if you fail to move the strops up and away, even once, you slice the balsa into very fine flakes!

There are a few issues I'm experiencing, though.

My left arm is nearly hairless

I bring the WEPS with me when visiting friends, and raid their kitchen drawers for sharpening fodder

I prowl Goodwill and other such stores looking for abused blades

I still use my Sharpmaker on occasion, such as when processing deer last weekend. Its more portable, and I just use the fine rods as an awesome alternative to steeling.

I've also found a bunch of mods/hack/improvements on the web I've shamelessly stolen:

place a large rare earth magnet on the front of the base - it collects much of the fine steel shavings you make

Get an angle gauge/meter. It has assisted me immensely in finding the sweet spot to sharpen.

Lube the joints in the rods with a good quality dry lube. It makes them super smooth, and doesn't attract and trap the shavings. I use graphite powder meant for pinewood derby cars. $4 and it will outlast the stones.

Overall? Its the best money I've spent in a very long time, probably second only to the engagement ring I purchased 15 years ago!

Big_John1961
November 14, 2012, 04:07 PM
Great review and thanks for the follow up Fat 46. Your tips should be very helpful and your issues section was hilarious. I've gotten better with my Sharpmaker, but the Wicked Edge is still on my short list of knife accessories to buy.

Bartholomew Roberts
November 14, 2012, 04:26 PM
Thanks for the review. I have the Wicked Edge and Sharpmaker myself but had been meaning to purchase some balsa strops because I kept cutting up the leather ones. You just saved me some cash and disappointment!

Fat_46
November 14, 2012, 09:42 PM
Mr. B. Roberts - I did not mean to imply that the balsa strops were a waste of money. However, at least for me, my technique is not refined enough yet to use them correctly.

I'll get there eventually. It just takes some us us(like me) longer to learn! And the older I get the more expensive the lessons seem to be!

Valkman
November 14, 2012, 09:59 PM
I like the balsa strops better than the leather but you can cut them both.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 29, 2013, 08:41 PM
Just thought I would update: I finally bit the bullet and added the 1200/1600 grit super fine ceramic stones to my arsenal. I have used them to touch up a few blades and they have helped improve sharpness as well as just improving the look of the edge. Essentially the 1200/1600 grit are very close to the 5 micron/3.5 micron strops in terms of grit. The main difference seems to be that the strops "smear" the metal for lack of a better term leaving a highly polished surface and the 1200/1600 ceramic still leave a visible scratch pattern that is very fine but not as highly polished as the strops. While the strops give a higher polish, inevitably, there are deeper scratches thatthey do not get that are still visible to the naked eye.

In the past, I had just stropped the blades like crazy to get a mirror polish; but I spent a lot of time on it. The ceramic stones seem to have two benefits:

They reduce the amount if stropping I have to do (even including the additional time for the ceramics)

The edge, while even prettier and more polished to the naked eye, appears to be toothier in terms of cutting ability. That kind of suprised me since in the past the highly stropped edges I was doing were occasionally a little too polished to get a good bite on some objects (zipties being one example). For some reason though, the ceramic/strop combo seems to give a more useful utility edge. I am interested to see how long it holds up.

Valkman
April 30, 2013, 03:38 AM
I love the polished edges that come off the WE. I'd love to try out some of the really high grit stones but they get pretty expensive.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 30, 2013, 12:29 PM
I hear you... I originally wanted to get crazy and try the ultra fine stones and 1.5/0.5 micron paste on the roo leather strops but that was just too pricey. I did get the super coarse stone so I could reprofile faster though.

I can say you aren't looking at a dramatic difference in efficiency here. From a practical angle, the only thing I've noticed is the increased toothiness I mentioned. To give an example, I've gotten fairly good at shaving the hair off my arm with a highly stropped blade to test sharpness. Using the same angle and pressure I normally use, I've got three little lines in my arm today where it bit into the skin instead of just lopping off the hair (which it will now grab and cut a loose hanging hair midway if the angle is less than 20 deg).

So that is the $115 difference between the Pro-Pack I contents and the Pro-Pack I with 1200/1600 stone.

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