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Professional knife sharpeners

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by frogfurr, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

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    I purchased the TS Prof sharpening system. It is very similar to the Edge Pro but has more versatility and is much beefier. It was fairly expensive with all the options but I sharpen professionally and it does a great job. I use Edge Pro stones and they last for quite a while. 1.5 years so far.
     
  2. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    The key is not being in a hurry. I see some people sharpening a knife and they're moving the blade at super speed as if they're going to get some kind of award for how fast they swipe it across the stone.

    If you want to maintain a constant angle, you can do it easily by moving the blade slowly over the stone. Do it slowly as long as you need to until it becomes second nature and then you can go faster. Even after years of sharpening, I still move my blade relatively slowly compared to some folks who seem to be almost slashing at the stone when they sharpen.

    If it takes too long to sharpen using this method, then you need a coarser stone to start with . Trying to sharpen a knife with a really fine stone takes a lot of patience. Unless your time is really cheap, you'll be better off getting a coarse stone and starting with it to get the bevels set and then only using the finer grits to polish/finish the process.
     
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  3. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I want to recommend a magnifying glass. I sharpen by hand, no fixtures. I use diamond stones, like JohnKSa mentioned. I could not get great edges on these modern steels till I used diamond stones.

    Older knives, like this 1976 Queen Stockman, 440A was a premium steel to find on a production knife, and was relatively hard compared to the competition. But, in today's world, it is not that hard and you can sharpen the blades and do a good job with a standard whetstone

    vy47yY4.jpg


    These 1970's Green River knives, they were 420 steel, they were good in their day, you can easily sharpen them with a carborundum stone, or an india stone, because they are fairly soft. They are soft enough that you can get aggressive material removal in a few strokes.

    DMDRSKe.jpg

    This is probably 1095 and it is ridiculously easy to sharpen with a standard whetstone.

    XLD60c1.jpg

    But, once knife makers started using really good steels, such as D2

    1oFiRwp.jpg

    NE1FT6C.jpg

    I found it impossible to set the bevel and keep it from getting rounded with the older stones. Diamond stones really made my edges shine with these modern hard steels. I use coarse diamond stones. I set the bevel with the coarse diamond stone, examining the edge and making corrections based on what I see in the magnifying glass. (I use the one on my SAK)

    qol8jFR.jpg

    With that magnifying lens I can clearly see if I am holding the angle or not.

    It is important to see that the edge is centered, you can see this in your magnifying lens. You can also see burrs. For highly curved knives, I break them up into sections. Something like this, I might break up into three sections, at least two. I am going to work on that belly and sweeping point separately and try to blend the contour with the straighter section. You cannot hold a consistent stone to blade angle with such a curve in one long motion.

    Tiu4Kqw.jpg

    To finish, I use a medium India stone, which is the red side of this stone. All I am doing is smoothing the burrs created by the diamond stone. I don't want to change the bevel, just smooth things out. And this might be two strokes per side.

    k4wxpl1.jpg

    I will bet Florindo DiPinto could put on a great edge!

    YhCZpN3.jpg

    It was pedal powered.

    Xw6t6iL.jpg


    Notice the drip can above the grind stone

    1VSls4C.jpg
     
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  4. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Looking back at the title of this thread, I suppose I should clarify that I do not sharpen knives professionally. I do sharpen (and do some minor repairs on) other folk's knives, and I have had people offer to pay, but I have never accepted any payment.
     
  5. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    sparky,

    Thank you.

    Like most anything, it requires the three P’s. Practice. Patience. Persistence.

    According to my father I received my first set of stones as a present for my sixth birthday. I still use whet stones but also a variety of other tools to accomplish a fine edge in the least amount of time. I still prefer to freehand the angle but the Wicked Edge and similar are useful at times.

    Kevin
     
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    o_O

    44oA isn't generally considered to be a premium steel any longer and was pretty common on inexpensive import knives for many years. Kershaw and Camillus did a fine job heat treating it and got a lot out if it. It doesn't achieve as high a hardness as 440C, but it can be tougher and easier to sharpen and take a finer edge while being more corrosion resistant. It isn't as "cheap" a steel as many made it out to be, but it significantly was used for rust resistance and a fine finish as well as the cost savings in production and in avoiding warranty issues that a higher alloy might see.
    https://agrussell.com/chart
     

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  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I can understand why cheap Rough Ryder knives are 440A (or B) because the alloy is soft and easy to grind and stamp, but why didn't US companies, such as Queen, use 440C. Ditto for Randall, my Randall's are 440B steel. I used to visit Randall and they never let on that their 440 was B and not C.
     
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    A and B are easier to grind, very rust resistant, took a razor edge, easy to sharpen (even if it didn't hold it long) . There's nothing exotic about 440 A or B, they just have properties and costs attractive to some manufactures. As to Randall Made's stainless knives, they use B because it gives them the corrosion resistance and better toughness that they're looking for. RMK doesn't push to get the hardness sat the upper range of what the steel will provide anyway so they get an even greater improvement in toughness and they're not as difficult to sharpen. You can get RMKs in 440C or they may simply make them when C is available at a good enough price.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
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  9. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Those companies also buy a LOT of steel and I'm sure cost is a big factor in what steels get used.
     
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  10. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Rough Ryders knives are easy to sharpen, but they don't hold an edge. I am very disappointed in the brand, overall the knives are nicely fitted, but they dull too quickly. My older Japanese Parker Eagle brand knives were probably 420 steel, and they hold an edge better than the Rough Ryders.
     
  11. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    I've used Arkansas stones and any number of jigs and even angle grinders over the years, so there!
    Now about 90% of my non-machete work is with a set of lansky ceramic rod jigs. The trick is knowing when you need a stone and when you can get it done starting with the diamond rod and then going--quickly--to the medium rod. The fine rod is often skipped for everyday tools.
    The jig sets the angle for you and takes all the brain work and skill out of it. I keep my kitchen knives tuned up with these rods, too.
     
  12. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    A good system that controls the edge angle is going to outperform even a really good free-hand sharpener. It's just not humanly possible to control the edge angle by hand and eye as well as it can be done by a mechanical jig.
     
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  13. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    For something other than a straight blade instead of swept, curved, or recurved I'd agree completely.

    OTOH, just about every custom maker I know of significant prowess is not using any of these systems. That's probably the difference between us mere mortals and these lords of the blade.
     
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  14. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    Good point. Probably the worst edge I've gotten recently on a factory blade was on one with a pronounced recurve.

    I tried sharpening on conventional stones but the recurve wouldn't allow it. I ended up having to set the bevel with a diamond rod and finish it with a ceramic rod.
     
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  15. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    I've done exactly that.
     
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