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TOPIC: Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kit

Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kit 1 year 9 months ago #7173

  • wickededge
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Lately we're getting some emails and calls about the new arms and I think it's worth addressing in writing a couple of the questions being asked:

The Name:

We're calling the new kit an "Upgrade Kit" because anyone with a WE100 Basic Kit or Pro-Pack 1 can purchase the kit and install it on their machine. Much like a car enthusiast might add a sportier suspension or a supercharger kit to their car, Wicked Edge users can apply this kit to get some great new features. Computer companies offer optional upgrades in RAM, graphics cards and other parts of their machines and software companies offer various levels of their programs depending on the features needed by the users. We're offering the "Upgrade Kit" not as a solution to a problem, there is no problem to speak of, but as a way to enhance an already great machine with new features.

Will the New Arms be Part of Future Productions of the Basic Kit and Pro-Pack 1?

The new arms are not scheduled to be part of future productions of the WE100 Basic Kits or Pro-Pack 1 units; the stock arms of the Basic Kit and Pro-Pack 1 work extremely well and anyone can achieve tremendous results with them. The stock arms are produced through extrusion and are much more cost effective than the machined ball-joint arms. The cost of including the ball joint arms in the Basic Kits and Pro-Pack I units would be prohibitive and would price those sharpeners out of many people's reach.

Features

The Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kits expand the existing angle range of 15-30 degrees to 13-35 degrees. They offer a micro-adjustment feature and use a smoother ball-joint system in place of the universal-joint system in the Basic Kits and Pro-Pack 1 units.

Personal experience

I just returned from the New York Custom Knife Show where I sharpened several hundred knives over the weekend. I alternated between using the Pro-Pack 2 and the Pro-Pack 1 throughout the show. Neither the customers nor I saw any difference in sharpness or edge appearance from one system to the next. The main difference is in the way the units feel to use, the range of angles available and the ability to adjust the angle to a very fine level with the Pro-Pack 2. All the knives sharpened, regardless of which kit I used, were equally sharp and equally beautiful.

Deciding to Buy

If you're on the fence about whether to purchase the Upgrade Kit, it might help to ask yourself if you need the extra angle range and the micro-adjustments. The micro-adjustment is great if you're trying to precisely match the existing angle on a knife or if you're compensating for the stone wear of your waterstones. It's also great if you require bevel angles to have less than .5 degrees difference between each side of the knife. The experience of the Pro-Pack 2 arms is very pleasant. The small amount of play from the stock arms is eliminated and if that little bit of play bothers you, then you might consider the Upgrade Kit. Another option is to send your stock arms in to us for modification which involves the installation of a washer and replacing the pins with screws to tighten up the joint.
--Clay Allison
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Re: Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kit 1 year 9 months ago #7175

  • BobNash
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Thanks for that post Clay!:cheer:

Just posted on Blade forums something similar - though not nearly as complete or well written :blush: Would have saved me a lot of time if you had only posted this yesterday morning instead....:P

I continue to be extremely happy with my original arms - I own both sets and use them both, but I use my original arms much, much more, getting amazing results with no visible faceting or angle variance showing up. I use my ball joint arms primarily with my choseras and shaptons, to match the angles more precisely.

My advice for folks has been basically - if you are going to be sharpening straight razors or know that you are going to be working with natural/manufactured wetstones that are going to wear with use then you should probably go for the ball joint arms right away. They are also a must for piece of mind if you know you are going to want the most consistent angle you can possibly produce no matter the thickness of the stone or strop you are using. If you aren't in that group, start with the basic Wicked Edge Sharpener kit. You are going to have more angle consistency and control and you are going to get results that can't be achieved with nearly any other system out there and you are most likely going to be very happy. If you aren't quite satisfied after using the basic kit for a while (and realizing what sharp really is) or in that process you get infected with the sharpening/polishing bug, you can always add on the arms later.

It is a bit like the "upgrade" to the XXXX stones or XXX spray on strops (name your grit or spray). Do I need XXXXX? My father-in-law continues to use the basic stones only (up to 600) on his Gen II Wicked Edge Sharpener and his knives (and those of everyone on the block :silly: ) are the sharpest they have ever been in his entire life, and they look good too. Each of us is going to have slightly different expectations of our results, and I think it is a testament to the original design that it has raised the bar so much on consistency and results that the ball joint arms are even in the conversation, let alone a reality.
Some of the edges I've sharpened on the WE
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Re: Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kit 1 year 9 months ago #7183

  • mark76
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This is a great description of the upgrade kit, Clay! Not only what it is, but also why it is. I was considering a blog post on it, but your post makes that superfluous. I feel the same way as Bob, with the difference I hadn't written my post yet :P .
We're offering the "Upgrade Kit" not as a solution to a problem, there is no problem to speak of, but as a way to enhance an already great machine with new features.

I guess that's a really important point. It does not get your knives any sharper, unless... (see below). But it is simply a joy to use. It all feels so smooth and it is a masterpiece of engineering.
The small amount of play from the stock arms is eliminated and if that little bit of play bothers you, then you might consider the Upgrade Kit.

I really never noticed the small amount of play until people started talking about that play on this forum. Then I investigated it and indeed I saw it... under a microscope. And you really need a microscope to see it.

I guess the precision that the WEPS gives you makes people want even more precision. I've read the term OCD here a couple of times in connection with that precison. I didn't know what it was, so I googled it and found it's a psychiatric disease, listed in DSM-IV ;-). The best free-hand sharpeners are able to maintain their angle differences within, perhaps, 2 degrees. Here we're talking angle differences much lower than 1 degree.
It's also great if you require bevel angles to have less than .5 degrees difference between each side of the knife.

I fact it's even far more precise than .5 degrees (or did you mean .05? my angle cube goes to .1 degrees) since the angle adjustment is now on an analogue scale. It's just that the angle cube is not more precise.

To me the added value of the pro-pack 2 upgrade kit is really in the following things:
  • If you have stones of varying thicknesses (like I do; my Chosera's and Shaptons are thicker than the standard WEPS stones), you need to be able to make precise angle adjustments. That's a lot easier with this kit. Like Bob, I'd immediately recommend the kit to people using these stones.
  • The ability to go to 13 degrees is a bonus for my Japanese kitchen knives.
  • I still marvel the smoothness of the ball joints and their engineering quality.
BobNash wrote:
Each of us is going to have slightly different expectations of our results, and I think it is a testament to the original design that it has raised the bar so much on consistency and results that the ball joint arms are even in the conversation, let alone a reality.

Amen.
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by mark76.
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Re: Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kit 1 year 9 months ago #7186

  • Billabong
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mark76 wrote:
I really never noticed the small amount of play until people started talking about that play on this forum. Then I investigated it and indeed I saw it... under a microscope. And you really need a microscope to see it.

*cough*cough* :lol:

edit-
wickededgeusa.com/index.php?option=com_k...=7195&Itemid=63#7195
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Billabong.
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Re: Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kit 1 year 9 months ago #7221

  • DennisHibar
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Thanks Clay, Bob and Mark. I bought the upgraded arms/riser kit a while ago. Like you all have pointed out, it isn't really necessary to get a great edge. In my case ... two factors drove me to upgrade. My hands don't work as well as they did in my younger years and it was becoming increasingly more frustrating to get the kind of precise angle I wanted. I stopped using the angle detent dimples shortly after I got my WE, preferring, instead, to use an angle cube and adjust the arms accordingly. I found this a better option considering that rarely would a knife mount exactly in the correct position to give me a 100% equal bevel on each side using the designated dimple positions. Even with the modified arms (using the screw rather than the pin), there would be enough movement in the arms that as I was adjusting the angle with the angle cube, the position would change slightly by the time I moved to tighten the arm! This required many readjustment cycles. I guess if I weren't so obsessed with precision ..... it wouldn't much matter, as the results would have still been very good! The new upgraded arms with riser make things so much easier in terms or achieving the precision I want in the least amount of time. Since my belly was stuffed today .... and I wanted to relax, I decided to take on a project with one of my newest knives, an Allen Elishewitz Jekyll. Beautiful knife with an eye catching two-tone Damascus blade. The blade had a triple grind ( a sort of swedge at the top of the rounded tip, a hollow grind in the center of the blade, and a flat grind down to the edge bevel). While the knife was sharp, the edge bevel was VERY uneven. The lock bar side had a 20 degree bevel. The thumb stud side, however, had to be somewhere around 40 degrees! I wish I took before close ups, but I didn't. Here are some before pics I had which do show what I am talking about. The first shows the lock bar side with the bevel angle I wanted to retain.



This was what the thumb stud side looked like:



All I wanted to do was refine the lock bar side bevel (hone and polish) and get the thumb stud bevel to match the lock bar bevel. I also wanted to remove as little steel as possible on either side. It wasn't as easy as just setting the right arm to 20 degrees. It seems the problem was with that flat grind doming down from the middle hollow grind. In order to get the bevel to match the other side, I had to adjust the arm to 15 degrees. It took about 45 minutes to progress through the diamond stones, ceramics and strops, but in the end, the bevels now match perfectly, the knife is incredibly sharp and the knife looks great. Here are after pics:

Lock bar side with original, but refined, edge bevel:



And the reprofiled thumb stud edge bevel:



While I know I could have done the same thing with the original modified arms, I believe the new arms/riser upgrade let me do it with far less frustration. If you are interested in seeing the entire knife, here's a pic:



Now, I think it's time for a nap! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone .... that goes to all of our good friends in other parts of the world as well!!

My knives (updated 8/28/2014)
Dennis in PA
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Re: Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kit 1 year 9 months ago #7223

  • cbwx34
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Wow... what a cool looking knife!! :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:
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Re: Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kit 1 year 9 months ago #7225

  • xuzme720
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Such a gorgeous knife!
I don't know what it is about Damascus blades but I find them sooo sexy. :evil: Please don't tell my wife I said that!:unsure:
Particpant in finding out how sharp is sharp!
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by xuzme720.
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Re: Pro-Pack 2 Upgrade Kit 1 year 9 months ago #7232

  • Billabong
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wickededge wrote:
We're offering the "Upgrade Kit" not as a solution to a problem, there is no problem to speak of, but as a way to enhance an already great machine with new features.

Great post Clay, but to understand why people are saying there "is" a problem we would need to listen to what they are saying.

A problem for someone can be as simple as opening a jar of peanut butter.

Do we simply say "there is not a problem" or help find a solution that suits that person?
Or do we say "if you have arthritis you can't eat peanut butter"?

Perhaps the new arms were not created to solve a problem, but the reality is, they did solve a few.

edit - Funnily enough, it seems they were created out of a thread about the old arms. :whistle:
wickededgeusa.com/index.php?option=com_k...rt=60&Itemid=63#2350

Food for thought! ;)
Last Edit: 1 year 9 months ago by Billabong.
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