Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Sharpening system or simple whetstone?

  1. #1
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Officer Gigglez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Originally out of Arizona, currently live in Missouri.
    Posts
    664

    Sharpening system or simple whetstone?

    I use a Gatco system now, and have always used a system. As such, I've never used a simple stone. Preferences? Advantages?
    Spyderco Knives (in order of obtainment):
    -Tenacious G-10, Combo edge
    -Tasman Salt, PE
    -Persistence Limited Edition Blue G-10, PE
    -Pacific Salt, Black, PE
    -Delica 4, Grey FRN, Emerson Wave, PE
    -Karahawk collector's club #015, Custom Scales, Emerson Wave, PE
    -DiAlex Junior, G10, PE
    -Byrd SS Crossbill, PE, Custom Engraved

  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    22
    I usually use either an Arkansas Tri-hone or my newest toy, a Ken Onion Work Sharp. Then I finish the knives on a leather strop loaded with Harbor Freight green compound.

  3. #3
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    22
    I should elaborate.

    I've had the Arkansas tri-hone for a good long while, and I really do like it. It's a good way to get started with freehanding since they don't cut very fast and they aren't expensive, like a set of water stones can be. Freehanding is more fun than other sharpening methods and it is almost an essential skill.

    The Work Sharp is amazing. While lowering the edge angle on a knife can take a long time of grinding away on diamond stones, the Work Sharp does it in a few passes with great consistency. It's capable of making a knife sharp enough to whittle hair, but I don't use it much for sharpening, because I like freehanding. It's a relaxing, cathartic activity for me.

  4. #4
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    836
    Quote Originally Posted by JHR View Post
    I should elaborate.

    I've had the Arkansas tri-hone for a good long while, and I really do like it. It's a good way to get started with freehanding since they don't cut very fast and they aren't expensive, like a set of water stones can be. Freehanding is more fun than other sharpening methods and it is almost an essential skill.

    The Work Sharp is amazing. While lowering the edge angle on a knife can take a long time of grinding away on diamond stones, the Work Sharp does it in a few passes with great consistency. It's capable of making a knife sharp enough to whittle hair, but I don't use it much for sharpening, because I like freehanding. It's a relaxing, cathartic activity for me.
    I agree!

  5. #5
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Officer Gigglez's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Originally out of Arizona, currently live in Missouri.
    Posts
    664
    Quote Originally Posted by JHR View Post
    I should elaborate.

    I've had the Arkansas tri-hone for a good long while, and I really do like it. It's a good way to get started with freehanding since they don't cut very fast and they aren't expensive, like a set of water stones can be. Freehanding is more fun than other sharpening methods and it is almost an essential skill.

    The Work Sharp is amazing. While lowering the edge angle on a knife can take a long time of grinding away on diamond stones, the Work Sharp does it in a few passes with great consistency. It's capable of making a knife sharp enough to whittle hair, but I don't use it much for sharpening, because I like freehanding. It's a relaxing, cathartic activity for me.
    I fell dozed off a couple times yesterday while sharpening up a custom knife I built as an Xmas gift for my brother. So I know what you mean about it being relaxing.
    Spyderco Knives (in order of obtainment):
    -Tenacious G-10, Combo edge
    -Tasman Salt, PE
    -Persistence Limited Edition Blue G-10, PE
    -Pacific Salt, Black, PE
    -Delica 4, Grey FRN, Emerson Wave, PE
    -Karahawk collector's club #015, Custom Scales, Emerson Wave, PE
    -DiAlex Junior, G10, PE
    -Byrd SS Crossbill, PE, Custom Engraved

  6. #6
    Spyderco Forum Registered User bh49's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    former Constitution state
    Posts
    8,329
    Free hand sharpening is a great skill, which I never developed. I believe that this skill will allow you more versatility than any system. The only problem that it takes a lot of time and practice to develop it. Also I think, that you need to practice quite a bit to maintain. Also I am not sure how easy or even possible with free hand sharpening to create edges edges, which will look as even as results on good sharpening systems.
    Quote Originally Posted by JHR View Post
    The Work Sharp is amazing. While lowering the edge angle on a knife can take a long time of grinding away on diamond stones, the Work Sharp does it in a few passes with great consistency. It's capable of making a knife sharp enough to whittle hair, but I don't use it much for sharpening, because I like freehanding. It's a relaxing, cathartic activity for me.
    I use Sharpmaker for years. Played with various coarse stones, installed on SM for repair and reprofiling, but never had a result, which would satisfy me. Last summer I bit a bullet and got WE Sport and Field. I love it. It is more expensive than Work Sharp and as not productive, but I would never trade it for WS. WE is giving me satisfaction and result. WS would give only result.
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf"
    George Orwell
    Any knife without Spyderhole is defective.
    My top choices Native5, G10/VG10 Caly 3.5/3 & C83 Persian Black micarta/bolsters

  7. #7
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Florida panhandle
    Posts
    7,687
    Quote Originally Posted by Officer Gigglez View Post
    I use a Gatco system now, and have always used a system. As such, I've never used a simple stone. Preferences? Advantages?
    If you are askiing for stone type suggestions I use two and would stick with them if I needed to "use only one" which is unrealistic. But we always want to dwell on which knife to keep if we could only have one. Anyway, Spyderco's stones are GREAT. I think they do better than most and even as good as some of the high dollar stones. Plus you use them dry. I also love Shapton glass bench stones but you need a sharpening pond or a sink bridge. Both of these can be expensive in themselves. I made a sharpening pond with plywood, a 12'" square mirror and some plastic for walls because I had that stuff lying around the house. It is UGLY but it works. The water stones are GREAT but can be expensive and for a quick touch up which is what knife sharpening is most of the time (unless you do it for money) the mess takes twice as long to clean up as the touch up itself. So if you want quality stones with as little mess as possible go Spyderco medium and fine. The fine grit is all anyone needs. But if you want ultra smooth (not sharp, smooth) edges get the UF also. A toothy edge can be just as "sharp" as a smooth edge. Just better or worse for different cutting applications. Most people like a little bit of "bite" on their pocket knives. I think the Spyderco fine grit (or medium) is perfect for this. If you only have $40 get the Spyderco med. If you have enough for the fine also get it and you might be set for life. The only area you may be lacking is coarser stones for re-profiling or really damaged or dull edges. For that I'll continue with my second stone type.

    Diamond stones. I have used DMT stones of various types in the past 4-5 years. I like them a lot. A good set to equal the SPyderco stones is the fine and extra-fine grits. These DMT grits are great as well. Use them wet or dry, it's your preference. If you need to sharpen damaged edges or really dull edges get a coarse or extra coarse grit. What I have aquired is perfect IMO. I have the Spyderco fine and UF 2x8" stones, DMT fine and extra fine 8" stones. I also have a set of DMT 2x6" stones with extr coarse - extra fine grits. Since I don't use the XC and C grits very much I haven't invested in them in the 8" DMT size. So my suggestions are to get these in this order if you can only get one at a time (like I do most of the time). Spyderco medium. After you see how it performs decide to get a finer grit or coarser grit next depending on what you need more. That would be a Spyderco fine or DMT coarse. Depending on that decision you can decide about future stones. The obvious choice to me would be the Spyderco fine grit. But my needs aren't everyones.

    If I had to limit myself to 3 stones it would be DMT coarse, Spyderco fine and Spyderco UF. If only two stones it would be DMT coarse and Spyderco fine. Since Spyderco limits themselves by only dealing with ceramic stones they limit themselves to selling only grits that are considered the "finer" side of the grit selections IMO. About the coarser grits, diamond stones can leave a deeper scratch pattern than the Shapton glass coarser grits. But the 500 grit Shapton glass cuts just as fast leaving a much more attractive edge bevel along with a tooty edge. If this is important to you it will cost you more money. And actually once broken in the diamond stones don't leave scratch patterns that are all that deep. Just deeper than some other type stones. Just my opinion.

    I wanted to mention other stones for comparison but my suggestion is Spyderco med. and fine for the best performing and economical option. After you have these you can expand in whatever grit direction you need or want most. Spyderco sells knives, sharp knives. So, to maintain their knives they sell the perfect sharpening tools in the finer grits for extremely sharp knives. If they sold dull knives they may also sell coarser stones to help get the knives they sell sharp for the first time.

    I like what bh49 said. Free hand sharpening takes longer to learn, especially to master than when using a system. But, it (for me) is a bit more satisfying, the edges can be just as sharp and free hand sharpening eliminatetes most of the different issues that all "system" have. They all have little limitations because of mechanical and geometric limitations even though some of them are outstanding. Free hand gives you the most versatility IMO. Just takes more time to learn. I'm not talking years, probably a couple of weeks to see significant improvement and sharp edges. From then it depends on how much time you spend sharpening.

    Hope this helps.

    Jack

    My EDC for a while. Stretch with carbon fiber handle, Chaparral 2, Dragonfly 2 with kirinite MOP handle, Manbug with bolster/red bone handle. Super blue/420J1 blades on all three (except Chaparral).

  8. #8
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    836
    jacknifeh, thanks for the info! There are so many sharpening threads and a lot of info on sharpening styles, techniques, systems that it can get confusing at times for the beginner!(me!) I've only done freehand since I was a teenager, then bought a Lansky about 25 years ago! I've been looking at the new products mentioned on this Forum and advice given by many, but what you posted above is for me! I prefer to keep thing simple! Thanks again!

  9. #9
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Florida panhandle
    Posts
    7,687
    Quote Originally Posted by eric m. View Post
    jacknifeh, thanks for the info! There are so many sharpening threads and a lot of info on sharpening styles, techniques, systems that it can get confusing at times for the beginner!(me!) I've only done freehand since I was a teenager, then bought a Lansky about 25 years ago! I've been looking at the new products mentioned on this Forum and advice given by many, but what you posted above is for me! I prefer to keep thing simple! Thanks again!
    Glad I could help. 90% of people don't want anything complicated and definately not expensive. Some people decide to do research and also buy different things to try personally. I have finally after about 4 years of reading, learning and buying stuff and trying it found what works for me. My pretty simple bench stone set works as well as the EP with assorted stones. Truth be told if anyone who just wants a very sharp knife all that is needed is a simple setup and the amount of practice required for the sharpness and skill desired for each individual. Buying one set of something and becoming skilled with it is the fastest and most economic method there is. If I buy one setup for$200 and don't master it within a month I thing, hey I need another setup. So I spend more money and try to master that setup. So I've spent more money and practiced less with each type and still haven't reached my goal of edge sharpenss. With only a little skill now, if you get the stones I mentioned (or other stuff) just keep using it and within one month you will have drastic improvement and very sharp knives. In six months your edges will be like another person is doing the sharpening. Good luck, have fun and stock up on bandaids. Not that you are clumsy. I find that the more I handle sharp edges the more often I nick myself. But then I AM clumsy.

    Jack

    My EDC for a while. Stretch with carbon fiber handle, Chaparral 2, Dragonfly 2 with kirinite MOP handle, Manbug with bolster/red bone handle. Super blue/420J1 blades on all three (except Chaparral).

  10. #10
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    836
    Quote Originally Posted by jackknifeh View Post
    Glad I could help. 90% of people don't want anything complicated and definately not expensive. Some people decide to do research and also buy different things to try personally. I have finally after about 4 years of reading, learning and buying stuff and trying it found what works for me. My pretty simple bench stone set works as well as the EP with assorted stones. Truth be told if anyone who just wants a very sharp knife all that is needed is a simple setup and the amount of practice required for the sharpness and skill desired for each individual. Buying one set of something and becoming skilled with it is the fastest and most economic method there is. If I buy one setup for$200 and don't master it within a month I thing, hey I need another setup. So I spend more money and try to master that setup. So I've spent more money and practiced less with each type and still haven't reached my goal of edge sharpenss. With only a little skill now, if you get the stones I mentioned (or other stuff) just keep using it and within one month you will have drastic improvement and very sharp knives. In six months your edges will be like another person is doing the sharpening. Good luck, have fun and stock up on bandaids. Not that you are clumsy. I find that the more I handle sharp edges the more often I nick myself. But then I AM clumsy.

    Jack
    Thanks again! The money I save will buy a couple more knives, which is always a good thing!

  11. #11
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    4
    Freehand sharpening I can fully recommend DMT benchstones,especially used for the kind of high end steels Spyderco offers.
    for a guided sharpening system I use my Edge-Pro Apex 4 system exclusively,it is adjustable in any angle you want to put
    an edge on your blade,for a regrind with a coarse stone I use it with an DMT D6c wich fits in this system nicely.
    Have fun sharpening !!

  12. #12
    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Upstate SC, USA
    Posts
    21,264
    I own a Sharpmaker, but the only knife I use it for is my one serrated kitchen knife. If I ever use a hawkbill or reverse S blade enough for it to require sharpening, I'm sure I'll use the Sharpmaker for that as well. However, since I've been sharpening freehand using flat stones for 60 years, that is my preferred method for any blade that does not have a concave curve in its edge and, aside from the aforementioned serrated K01 Bread Knife, all my "users" lack such curves. Currently I use DMT diamond whetstone bench stones in x-fine, fine, and coarse.
    Paul
    My Personal Website ---- Beginners Guide to Spyderco Collecting ---- Kiwimania ---- Spydiewiki
    Dead horses beaten, sacred cows tipped, chimeras hunted when time permits.
    WTC # 1458 - 1504 - 1508 - Never Forget, Never Forgive!

  13. #13
    Spyderco Forum Registered User wrdwrght's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    612
    I've been into knives for 60 years myself. My knowledge of knives and especially Spydercos amounts to nothing compared to the Deacon's, but I thought I was pretty good laying on an edge freehand. The Sharpmaker have proven to me that there is room for improvement...
    Marc

    USUAL CARRY: Air/Techno plus one from Manix/Native/Para/Caly/Stretch series. RECENT ARRIVAL: Cruwear Manix2. ON MY RADAR: CF S110V Native5 (pre-ordered); VG10 Caly 3.5. HOLY GRAILS: Superhawk; Manix (C95 FFG PE); S90V Manix2 (C101 "Mini" or 80mm). DREAMS: Tatanka (the long-awaited Bison!); Sage5.

  14. #14
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    256
    I use stones. For woodworking tools in carbon steel, I use Norton stones, including a Lilly While Wa****a or a fine India, soft and hard Arkansas stones, followed by a strop. Sharpening stones that I use vary with the tool Imam sharpening. I also have too many water stones.
    I have discovered that Spyderco ceramic bench stones are very convenient for stainless steel knife blades. I have the fine, medium and ultra fine 2x8" but only used the medium and fine. I follow this with 1200 grit Clover compound on a strop and very fine 1/2 micron Norton Diamond paste.
    Last edited by arty; 12-20-2013 at 08:07 AM.

  15. #15
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Northern KY
    Posts
    9,164
    I would gladly trade my Edge Pro and everything related for the skills to freehand and get equal results, but alas life is short and time is even shorter, and knives seem to dull faster each day.

    SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
    ~David

    Official plea to Sal: Can we PLEASE get a DLC Yojimbo 2? PLEASE!!?

  16. #16
    Spyderco Forum Registered User RLR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Posts
    711
    Freehand, always, forever. It's rhythm and patience, nothing more.

    For reprofiling, Lansky Med or Fine Diamond Bench stone
    For getting a nice toothy edge, a Norton Fine/Coarse Benchstone (black and tan)
    For finishing the edge to a mirror, a 1000+ grit ceramic stone (I think I have one up to 8000 from Lee Valley)
    Touch up with a white Spyderco rod.

    I used to strop, but haven't in a while. Truth be told, I often stop at the Lansky Fine diamond bench stone and call it a day.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •