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TOPIC: Sharpening Intensive...

Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16908

  • GibCurry
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Took a 6-hour knife sharpening intensive Tuesday from master sharpener Albert Edmonds (www.knifesharpeningseattle.com/).

An all-day meditation in motion with the sounds of steel on stone. What a blast.....

Most of the day and most of the information is not new to most of you on this forum. And, for the most part, not new to me. Though, obviously, there is something to be said about working under the direct gaze of a master.

Albert knows of the Wicked Edge and complimented it. He does everything freehand. In the class, we worked with his Chosera water stones from 400 up to 10,000. And, at the end of the day he pulled out a milky-white, nearly translucent stone that was used dry and still so slick it felt like the blade floated on it.... Amazing... I'll get the name of it from Albert.

There were two bullet point lists on his whiteboard that made up the sum total of the day.

His process:

1 Inspect
2 Address Issues
3 Sharpen
4 Inspect
5 Strop
6 Cut

In general, Albert repeats steps 1-5 until all issues have been resolved through thorough inspection.

He likes to strop between each grit level. So, we typically did 10 strokes per side, then 8 strokes per side, then 5 strokes, then 2 strokes and then 1 stroke per side for 5 strokes, then strop. Inspect, repeat as necessary before moving on to net grit or next blade issue.


And also, all day, Albert emphasized the underlying foundational principles:

* Movement isolation – once you find your technique you lock it in, make it repeatable. Start slow.

* Consistency

* Inspection

* Patience!! (The exclamation points are his!!)


~~~~
A few pictures….

He teaches newbies to set your feet, legs, hips, back, neck, head, shoulders and arms in a relaxed & ready position. Set the angle of the blade on the stone and gently but firmly “lock” your wrists keeping the fingers “just” touching/gripping the knife -- like shock absorbers.




Center the thumb on the back of the blade, as in the photo.

Intensive1ThumbPlacement.jpg


Then, lay the blade on the stone so the heel of the blade has a good purchase. Then, slide the blade along the stone without wearing the corners off your thumb!

Intensive1ThumbPlacement2.jpg



There – that’s my/your natural, normal blade angle setting. You can make the angle more obtuse or acute by moving the blade up or down the thumb as it rests on the stone. A simple trick that helped me lock in my sharpening angle.

The Henckel EdgePro knives I picked up at the local Goodwill for a couple of bucks each.


IntensiveBlades.jpg



Now, I have to pick up some stones so I can keep in practice.

I'm not sure how to describe exactly how this class helped me but the two knives I've done on my WE since the class are sharper than I got before the class.
~~~~

For Now,

Gib

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"Things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out."

"My goal is to be a good, practical knife sharpener. My dream is to polish molecules."
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Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16909

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Ha!!

I just read through my own post and left out two very important pieces that were absolutely the two most mentioned topics.

Any guesses?

The burr. Chase the burr. Test for the wire edge.

The sound. Listen to the sound.
~~~~

For Now,

Gib

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"Things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out."

"My goal is to be a good, practical knife sharpener. My dream is to polish molecules."
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Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16910

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Sounds interesting!
GibCurry wrote:
He likes to strop between each grit level. So, we typically did 10 strokes per side, then 8 strokes per side, then 5 strokes, then 2 strokes and then 1 stroke per side for 5 strokes, then strop. Inspect, repeat as necessary before moving on to net grit or next blade issue.

He give any reason for stropping between each grit level? A bit counterintuitive to me.
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Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16912

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cbwx34 wrote:

He give any reason for stropping between each grit level? A bit counterintuitive to me.

Most people I've seen do this do it to remove any residual burr between steps. Not really an issue with correct WEPS technique but free hand? Yeah, I guess I get that.

Ken
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Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16915

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KenBuzbee wrote:
cbwx34 wrote:

He give any reason for stropping between each grit level? A bit counterintuitive to me.

Most people I've seen do this do it to remove any residual burr between steps. Not really an issue with correct WEPS technique but free hand? Yeah, I guess I get that.

Ken

Good question. Good answer.

So many little moments of insight.

He set up a situation where we were able to thinly slice paper then cut something else. After that, it was dull. Would only rip paper.

We rolled a wire edge. Stropping removes it.

Stropping between grits, in his opinion and experience say strop between (and lap stones) between grits.
~~~~

For Now,

Gib

Φ

"Things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out."

"My goal is to be a good, practical knife sharpener. My dream is to polish molecules."
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Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16916

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Very interesting .
When I free hand it is that technique pretty much -clean - check is it bent damaged or twisted(repair or straighten)- is it thin enough - work secondary bevel first then primary usually on 1K ( the burr part is not as important as looking to see if there are flat spots on the blade (reflection and the 3 finger technique will help since as the blade gets sharp it will feel less polished and sort of stick to the skin as it tries to pierce it then strop on the stone trailing strokes only - de burr by pulling blade under its own weight through pine wood - then onto 3/5/6/8K(whichever you have)stropping only not many strokes if its not sharp enough stop back to 1K and then repeat again on the finer stone around 5 passes per side is usually enough with little pressure at the same angle as sharpening(trailing strokes only) . Access sharpness with three fingers thumb on spine if the edge feel slightly sticky its sharp for super sharp finish stropping on news paper .
I like to do good blades particularly Japanese this way and cheap or flat blades that have no secondary bevel on the WE.
The trick is regular practice I tried to do a knife every day for at least 6 weeks to get the hang of it I try now to use the bench stones at least as often as the WE to not loose it and it is also a good comparison.
If someone is knife proud I do them on the bench stones if they just see them as tools then I do them on the WE.
I will do small knives like pen knives on the WE especially if they are very showy knives perhaps damascus or highly polished.
I do about 50/50 that is using bench stones or the WE.

It sounds as if it was a rewarding day .

Leo Nav
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Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16918

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GibCurry wrote:
KenBuzbee wrote:
cbwx34 wrote:

He give any reason for stropping between each grit level? A bit counterintuitive to me.

Most people I've seen do this do it to remove any residual burr between steps. Not really an issue with correct WEPS technique but free hand? Yeah, I guess I get that.

Ken

Good question. Good answer.

So many little moments of insight.

He set up a situation where we were able to thinly slice paper then cut something else. After that, it was dull. Would only rip paper.

We rolled a wire edge. Stropping removes it.

Stropping between grits, in his opinion and experience say strop between (and lap stones) between grits.

Figured it was burr removal, but hey, ya never know. :). Don't think I've seen it between stones, although it's occasionally mentioned as to whether or not it should be done. My technique now is to only use leather to add a little "zing" to the final edge, but not as a burr removal technique... that should be done prior to leather if at all possible. My .02 anyway.
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Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16921

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cbwx34 wrote:
not as a burr removal technique... that should be done prior to leather if at all possible. My .02 anyway.

No argument here. In fact I've seen stropping "mask" burr removal by simply straightening it out. You couldn't feel it any more but it was still there and collapsed on the first cut.

Ken
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Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16923

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So often I am reminded it always goes back to the basics. No matter what I try to learn to do or more importantly how good I think I have become? Life somehow reminds me to go back to basics. ;)
Gibb it sounds like you had a great day! Thanks for sharing with us!
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result?
An old Irish toast, May the wind always be at your back, may you always have work and may you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows your dead. Cheers!
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Sharpening Intensive... 4 months 2 weeks ago #16925

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There seem to be various ideas on burr removal I think that tying not to built a real distinct burr is one answer try looking at the edge for reflection try the three finger instead of looking for a pronounced burr and drag the blade over a piece of wood to remove it and if it still persists try a ceramic steel . I think an overly pronounced burr is not necessarily desirable since they can be persistent especially on inferior steels .
Test the blade running it across 3 fingers with the thumb on the spine if it is sharp the edge will tend to drag into the skin
A distinct burr mens the edge has hooked over to the opposite side and is very flexible which can be difficult to remove trust the mk 1 eye ball to look for any reflection from the blade edge - I think a very small burr is ok but a very obvious one is overkill and can be a mission to remove and maintain a good edge I think using a loupe if the 3 finger technique does not work for you the bevel is clear enough at 20X mag so progress should be visible without necessitating the need for a very noticeable burr particularly with poor steel it is likely to be highly flexible and will flap like a flag .
I think feeling for a burr is a part of sharpening but should not be stressed as an absolute necessity ; if the blade pulled across the finger tips bites rather than runs freely then the edge is keen after stropping (but there is of course no absolute on this matter ; having said that if the burr is very flexible then it will often run away from the strop which will require suitable time to move on. .
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