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Getting Started with the Wicked Edge

TOPIC: Raising a burr

Raising a burr 6 months 17 hours ago #16643

  • leomitch
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This is a very important part of the sharpening process, perhaps the most important.
Once you have secured the knife in the vise, begin doing one side at a time. Use the 100 diamond paddle and using a firm up and down scrubbing motion begin. This is the only time in the whole process that you will use any kind of pressure. Make sure you scrub right out to the edge along the whole length of the cutting edge.Every so often check with a cotton ball or a cue tip dragged along the edge to see if the burr is raised. The cotton fibers will snag on the burr. Once again be sure you get the whole length of the edge. When you are satisfied that the one side has a burr, then switch sides and repeat the process. When you have a burr on both sides, you are ready to switch to the 200 diamond paddle and start the sweeping motion along the whole cutting edge keeping some kind of counting pattern so each side is treated equally. Run through all the paddles up to the 1000 diamond paddles.
I will stop here so that others can jump in and add some finesse to these instructions. I will reiterate what Mark said earlier...you only need to raise the burr 'once'.

Leo
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Gibbs rule number 9

Leo James Mitchell
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Raising a burr 6 months 16 hours ago #16648

  • TedS
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IMO, there are two things that I believe are must haves that will help you make sure you are really creating a burr.

- A permanent marker to mark the entire edge (heel to tip). I personally like a red marker better than the traditional black color marker.
- A magnifying glass to make sure that you are fully removing the red marker. I have a
UltraOptix 7X Aspheric LED Lighted magnifier (same model that Tuffy uses).
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Raising a burr 6 months 10 hours ago #16652

  • mark76
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leomitch wrote:
Once you have secured the knife in the vise, begin doing one side at a time. Use the 100 diamond paddle and using a firm up and down scrubbing motion begin. [...] Every so often check with a cotton ball or a cue tip dragged along the edge to see if the burr is raised. The cotton fibers will snag on the burr. Once again be sure you get the whole length of the edge. When you are satisfied that the one side has a burr, then switch sides and repeat the process.

Using a scrubbing motion here is good advice. And this is probably also the only time you can use quite a bit of pressure as well.

However, I wouldn't advice to scrub on one side of the blade only until you get a burr at the other side. The reason is that by then you have created quite a bit of a bevel at this side. If you then continue at the other side, you'll have a burr in no time at the first side and the sides of the bevel will be uneven. So alternate a bit between the sides during scrubbing.

And feeling the burr was the real challenge to me. A cotton ball didn't really work. In the end I was best off trying to feel it with my fingers. If you don't know how a burr feels, this may be a bit of a challenge. But feel the edge (along the blade, from down to the edge, not into the edge :) ) before you start sharpening and it will probably feel quite smooth. Once there is a burr, you will feel a small protrusion, very very tiny. It may take some time to get used to noticing this.
Last Edit: 6 months 5 hours ago by mark76.
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Raising a burr 6 months 7 hours ago #16655

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The way I described seems to work for me, but I can see that a beginner might over-do it.I have been doing it for so long that I don't even have to think about it anymore...that is a bad habit to get into.
Anyway, I would say that your method is safer for getting even bevels. Good point!

Leo
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Gibbs rule number 9

Leo James Mitchell
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Raising a burr - Phantom Burr 6 months 7 minutes ago #16661

  • Quoddy99
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I thought of this thread this morning while sharpening. While trying to reprofile a fairly new, fairly sharp (but later discovered to be an almost chisel edged) Chinese kitchen carving knife, I felt what turned out to be a "Phantom Burr" while using the 100 grit diamonds. After progressing through the 200's, and working with the 400's for awhile I wondered why I wasn't getting any noticeable sharpness. At this point I went to the marker, and after a few stokes used the loupe to find that I wasn't working even close to the edge of the blade on one side. Back I went to the beginning, and after a very long time with the 100 on that side finally reached the edge, and the beginning of a real burr. In future, especially when reprofiling, I'll refrain from skipping steps that will, in the end, be counter-productive.
Last Edit: 5 months 4 weeks ago by Quoddy99.
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Raising a burr 5 months 4 weeks ago #16681

  • EamonMcGowan
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I like to think of the burr like a small lip? I take my thumb nail and rub against the side of the blade in a up motion softly and feel for a small protrusion at the edge of the edge. When felt there will be a small "snap" created by the "lip."
For a new guy I really only advise this method to be used for 400 diamond and below. Once you get comfortable with it then move up the grits. As long as you use it for below 400 grit you should have no problems at all? I was told by Tom of Jende Industries that the ring finger nail is the most sensitive of the nails. I use this nail when trying to feel burrs created by diamonds 600 grit and more? This is a quick, easy and once felt a sure way to feel for a burr.
Good luck and remember to always have fun!! :P
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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Raising a burr 5 months 3 weeks ago #16731

  • Allgonquin
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Regarding using a marker - this is directed mostly at new folks - the best benefit of using a marker for me is when matching an existing edge bevel angle. I set up the blade mark both sides with a sharpie. I take my best guess at the angle and make a couple light passes with the 1000 grit diamond and see how the sharpie mark is getting worn off. Then I adjust the angle and/or the clamp position to try to get the worn off portion nicely matching the existing bevel. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get a good match and I often re-mark the edge after adjusting the angle and trying again.

(many of the kitchen knives I get from friends are so dull and abused that I don't bother trying to match the angle. I just set up at 18 or 19 or 20 degrees and "nuke" the existing edge, so to speak. No need for the marker in these cases.)

But yes, the burr is the absolute key to a good edge. I made that mistake when I first got my WE. Unless you have the burr full length, you are wasting time and effort!
Allgonquin

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