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TOPIC: Newb needs tips for sharpening stainless steel

Newb needs tips for sharpening stainless steel 4 months 9 hours ago #17481

Hi, I am a wicked edge newbie. Had the system three days. I have sharpened five knives with it. I have had good results with carbon steel. Stainless steel (Swiss army knife and cheap steak knife) - not so much.... Sharpening helped a lot but I can't get close to the edge of the carbon knives. It seems very hard to sharpen the stainless steel and it takes lots of strokes to make much difference. The cheap steak knife seems almost impenetrable near the back of the knife.

Any suggestions for stainless Swiss army and stainless cheap steak knife?

I will be grateful for any tip.

Thanks!
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Re:Newb needs tips for sharpening stainless steel 4 months 8 hours ago #17482

  • edhead35
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Is it because the back of the steak knife gets much more thick towards the handle?
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Re:Newb needs tips for sharpening stainless steel 4 months 7 hours ago #17483

Thanks edhead35. The Swiss Army knife was a fine tomato and vegetable cutter and it was my very first knife on the Wicked Edge. I believe you are correct about the cheap steak knife - the back edge is thicker and must be highly tempered. That steak knife is at least 45 years old and could be as much as 60 years old. Is stainless just much harder in general?
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Re:Newb needs tips for sharpening stainless steel 4 months 1 hour ago #17485

  • tcmeyer
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I'm not the expert most of the fellows here are, but I've never had a knife that was too hard for the diamond stones. Your diamond stones will even abrade ceramic blades. I have, however, had instances of knives that simply wouldn't cooperate. In each case, I found that the knife was moving around on me in the vise. Check for movement by twisting on the knife's handle while it's in the vise. If it rocks from side to side, you'll never get it sharp.

If you find that this is the case, try clamping the blade in the vise wrapped with a patch of tape or leather (usually chamois). I use a heavy duty paper towel.

That said, you could theoretically run across a knife here and there which had not been tempered. Tempering is a process to reduce the hardness in a blade after it has been hardened. Usually, it's done by cooking the steel in an oven at a relatively low temperature for a few hours. It reduces brittleness and internal stresses in the steel.

Some say that stainless is more difficult to bring to a very fine edge than carbon steel, but I haven't noticed that stainless is any more difficult to grind than carbon steels. At least not with the diamond stones.
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Re:Newb needs tips for sharpening stainless steel 3 months 4 weeks ago #17487

  • edhead35
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The diamonds aren't going to have trouble even at the back of the steak knife where it gets thicker, it is just material you shouldn't waste time on in my opinion.
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Re:Newb needs tips for sharpening stainless steel 3 months 4 weeks ago #17490

  • LeoBarr
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ScreenShot2014-05-17at14.37.19.png

The paddle base overlaps the plate enough to stop you getting to the part of the blade nearest the scales some people grind this part off making it possible to get up to the last bit of the blade.
Another consideration is to get the Tormek Small Knife Holder SVM-00
The flat plate you grip in the vice jaws and the holder grips the knife by the handle some have used this I believe with good results.
Many small knives can be awkward to work on especially if the handle joins the blade diagonally some paring knives are like this .
As tomeyer says the diamonds are harder than anything else except diamond so they will cut through any steel or ceramic.
If you are trying to sharpen at a low angle it will take a lot longer to reach the primary edge if you don't have a loupe or something similar then make sure you look to see if you have reached the edge in good light - achieving some sort of burr is paramount since this means you have reached the edge so the edge will roll away to the backside away from the stone it does not need to be huge just enough to feel along the whole length
Last Edit: 3 months 4 weeks ago by LeoBarr.
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Re:Newb needs tips for sharpening stainless steel 3 months 4 weeks ago #17491

Thanks LeoBarr, edhead35 and tcmeyer,

I appreciate the replies. I think the old cheap steak knife may not have been tempered as it seems hard and brittle - thanks for that insight tcmeyer. Also, thanks for the tips about wrapping the knife with tape, chamois, etc. As edhead35 stated, it really is probably not worth messing with.

LeoBarr, thanks for the name of the small knife holder. It could come in handy for some small edc knives. I will check into it.
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