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TOPIC: Can't get cheap knife super sharp

Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15576

  • TedS
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My definition of super sharp is when a knife easily slices a phone book page. Both the long side and short side of the page (against the grain).

I can never get a cheap Walmart Faberware knife to easily slice thru the short side of a phone book page.
The knife will easily slice the long side of the phone book page and also slice both the long and short sides of computer printer paper.

I have no problems attaining super sharp when a knife has better steel.

Is there something about a very cheap knife that prevents it from getting super sharp or is the problem the operator (me).
Last Edit: 8 months 3 weeks ago by TedS.
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Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15585

  • leomitch
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I will hazard my two cents worth and say the cheap steels won't sharpen well because their burrs in step one of the sharpening do not hold, but rather collapse or are insubstantial and so the edge is never really satisfactory. For the same reason they cannot hold any kind of edge at all well. The burr raised in the first step with the very coarse stone is the cornerstone of any edge...no complete and sturdy burr, no sharp or long lasting edge.
I stand to be corrected but I think this is the reason. I have had the same problem with cheap knife steels.

Leo
Never go anywhere without your knife!
Gibbs rule number 9

Leo James Mitchell
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Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15587

  • LeoBarr
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I agree with Leo I have seen this on a belt sander with a cheap knife the burr lengthens on the belt like a bit of aluminium foil I would suggest you try a higher angle for bad steel this will not produce such a delicate burr which may then allow you to get a better edge.
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Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15589

  • leomitch
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Thanks Leo.
Yes the structure of cheap steel is so soft...that is the crystals of steel are so poorly combined or fused together, that any attempt to raise burrs on both sides simply results in, as the other Leo says, a foil-like apex that folds or crumbles when you try to develop an edge with the other diamond paddles. If you try a more open angle e.g. 30 degrees,you might be able to get an edge that is somewhat reasonable, but under almost any kind of use, it will quickly dull and fail. even as a light duty kitchen knife. That's why buying cheap knives is false economy, because after a little use you are left with a nearly unsharpenable piece of junk. Better to buy an excellent knife made of a fine carbon steel that will last for years and will resharpen easily on the WEPS.
off topic here.
BTW in a recent scathing negative review of the WEPS by a very negative person, he stated that the WEPS removes way too much metal each time you sharpen your knife. Of course some metal is removed otherwise the knife could not be sharpened. He intimated that grinding on wheel or belt removes less. I have seen the knives of a local butcher who has his knives sharpened on a wheel and belt, resulting in sharp knives for sure, but also leaving the knives after awhile as only a shadow of the former blade shape due to the removal of so much metal. I submit that if a WEPS is used, the knife will last longer and the blade will retain its shape better. The reason for this is that IMHO the sharpening process is more easily and better controlled using the WEPS. I suspect that grinding, unless done very carefully by a very skilled person like Murray Carter or Mark Reich, cannot be so easily controlled.
My two cent rant! LOL! If Mark could read this sparks would fly! Like sparks from a wheel or belt! ROTFLMAO!

Cheers
Leo
Never go anywhere without your knife!
Gibbs rule number 9

Leo James Mitchell
Last Edit: 8 months 3 weeks ago by leomitch.
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Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15590

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I sharpened a pretty but only decorative stiletto one time that refused to get sharp. I could see exactly what both Leos are talking about regarding the wire edge collapsing immediately with any pressure.
--Clay Allison
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Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15593

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Having a belt sander I would agree with you it is an occasional tool to use on a knife . I think all sorts of methods are justified I do have a 3K trizac grit belt that is quite kind to an edge but I would still prefer to resharpen an edge that is not too far gone by hand either with the WE with either the ceramics or at least one of the higher grit diamonds or if I was using bench stones I would certainly use nothing lower than 1K unless there were chips in the edge.
I think the trick with a knife is little and often and I try to impress that on chefs otherwise they start getting corns on their fingers and strains in their wrists .
I think a chef should ideally have a sharp reference knife so that they do not get used to the slow decline of the edge which I have known some to do that is getting slowly used to a less sharp knife or perhaps they were just trying to save money.
I have heard of more than one chef say they don't like Globals because the handles give them corns this only happens when they are blunt.
When I first used a controlled angle sharpening system I did find I would start on the courser stones (EP 120) but these are really only for changing a bevel angle, removing chips and thinning and more often than not 600 is the absolute minimum required .
The less taken off the less often thinning is needed and the quicker the job is plus if its a regular job a knife will still cut even if there is the odd micro chip in it I don't think it needs to be perfect every time if its a working knife the chips only need to come out when they affect the use of the knife or if they are big or numerous in the working area near the point.
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Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15599

  • Geocyclist
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One difference in cheap steel vs high end steel is that high end steel (we assume that is designed for knives/cutting) has special alloys added to it that form carbides. This is what helps make a knife sharp and stay sharp. Even 1095, has high carbon content to form carbides. Additionally, the quality control must be higher on good knife steel. Impurities (alloys you don't want that adversely affect the steel) must be filtered out and the steel must be heated and cooled in a controlled manner to insure optimal properties are achieved. Low, low, low end knives are made from steel not even designed for knives and are stamped out steel vs. forging or sintering (powdered steels). zknives.com is an excellent web site with information about evert knife steel there is and explanations about what different alloys do.

All that being said you get some really nice steel for decent prices. The latest and greatest super steels will set you back $100 or more. You can get a knife in 154cm (a super steel from 20+ years ago) for $50 or so. I can get 154cm scary sharp. It touches up very easily. It doesn't keep an edge like CPM-M4 does, but for the price it is a great value and well worth the extra money compared to $20 junk.

As far as the WEPS removing too much material I think you have to consider two view points:
1. Re-profiling an edge. Here you are going to remove metal. Plain and simple. With some experience I think the WEPS can accomplish this efficiently as possible.
2. "Sharpening" a knife already sharpened once on the WEPS (at the same angle and setup). Here the WEPS truly shines. By being able to clamp a knife back in the same way as before you can sharpen it again with removing the least material possible.
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Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15603

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What he said!!!
Thank you mate. A very clear, succinct and scientific explanation of what I was trying to say. As we now know, this forum has some very knowledgeable people who can teach us much...here is the proof of the pudding! :) You and Leo 2 did excellently.

Best regards Geo ;)
Leo
Never go anywhere without your knife!
Gibbs rule number 9

Leo James Mitchell
Last Edit: 8 months 3 weeks ago by leomitch.
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Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15605

  • Mikedoh
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Removing too much steel is operator error, not the system. Don't see how you can blame the WEPS. Choosing to use too coarse of a stone is the only way to remove too much.

I'd be interested to read the "review". Makes no sense to me. Maybe needed finer grit than included in a particular kit?
Last Edit: 8 months 3 weeks ago by Mikedoh.
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Can't get cheap knife super sharp 8 months 3 weeks ago #15606

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Hi Mike
The negative review was on Amazon.com if you want to read it. The writer simply did not want to be reasonable. It was a negative rant, not a review really. Can't please someone who does not want to be pleased. :S
Leo
Never go anywhere without your knife!
Gibbs rule number 9

Leo James Mitchell
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