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Thread: Sharpening free hand. Lift handle/don't lift handle????

  1. #21
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Donut's Avatar
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    There are a lot of things involved with this. Some blade shapes require you to lift the handle to keep the same angle, some don't. A lot of Spyderco's don't.

    Also, some sharpening methods will minimize how much you need to lift the handle. Take a look at Solo's method.
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  2. #22
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donut View Post
    There are a lot of things involved with this. Some blade shapes require you to lift the handle to keep the same angle, some don't. A lot of Spyderco's don't.

    Also, some sharpening methods will minimize how much you need to lift the handle. Take a look at Solo's method.

    The Manbug I used in the videos was chosen for two reasons. First, the blade is short enough that it doesn't reach all the way across the stone. Second, this short blade has more belly than most of the knives I have this small. So, what I am showing here is for basic blades and not the ones that will involve modifications to the stroke. Lord knows there are plenty of those blades out there. I haven't tried anything out of the ordinary with the lift handle stroke yet. I'm sure they all will require their own changes to the basic, simple stroke I'm thinking of.

    Some sharpening methods do change how much to lift the handle. In fact the other stroke I show requires that you DON'T lift the handle. I don't know where Solo's method is. Where is that? I'm going to sound a bit arrogant now. All my life I've been hearing people say things like "yeah, tha's cool but I like to do it a little bit like this instead". I've even thought this and said this myself more times than I care to remember. If that little bit different thing has been established from time and experience it may be good and it may even work better. BUT when someone is just learning something and "thinking" they (me, I) are probably "thinking" of the same crap the other guys have already thought of and tried. Then, they find out if it works or not. Or they find out a way to change it to make something work better. After a long while (years) they have established a system or method to do whatever they are doing. So they show someone how to do something and that person says something like "yeah, that's cool but I like to do it a litle bit like this instead". History repeats itself. Any parent has experienced this when they try to impress something to their kids. The kids know all they know and based on that they think they know a lot. Hopefully, over the years they learn they don't know everything and open themselves up to advise from people who have been through the same things and have learned from them. On and on, ramble ramble. Here comes my arrogance. I am not trying to insult anyone or suggest what anyone is doing is wrong but,,, I've been working hard on this sharpening stuff for 3 years. I have taken advise and not taken advice. I have heard advice and thought "I'll do it my way anyway". Why? Because doing it a different (maybe better) way required I almost start over with my training of my hands to develop different muscle memory. This is called lazy. Anyway, after 30 years of doing a half decent job and a few years of wanting to improve but not immediately taking advice and also, not getting some advice or knowledge soon enough I have finally come across a stroke method that is so easy and so trustworthy and produces results much sooner because of it's simplicity that I want to share it. Summary: If you haven't mastered a free hand sharpening method or still say out loud (on forums ) that you have a problem controlling your angles just stop. Watch the video of my doing the lift hand method and start duplicating it. It works. THat's all. There are no "yeah buts", or anything like that as long as you are sharpening a basic knife blade with a basic shape. If you don't want to stop and start over with a new stroke method that's cool. You will improve just like everyone does with practice. I just think that a simple method like this works faster. I could be wrong. Maybe everyone has to work hard for 3 years trying all the stuff I've tried. I just don't think that is necessary. I've read people review Murray Carter's classes on sharpening knives. They swear by how much AND HOW FAST they learned and how sharp their knives are now and that they do it. I believe that is because they learned very specific movements that Murray has learned over many years. His students learn from all of Mr. Carter's mistakes. I have learned from many people on this forum and other's as well. BUt knifenut1013's thread on BF was like a revelation.

    I'm retired now so I have a lot of time to sit there sharpening and practicing sharpening. If anyone works and has a family they want to spend time with they don't have the time I have. The practice I say I have done is probably 2 hours to 6 hours a day sometimes. Some days none but other days LOTS of time spent just for practice. I have practiced sharpening just like I have practiced playing guitar and playing pool. Guitar excercises, pool stroke excercises, etc. You don't get good at guitar by just playing songs. You get better but your improvement will speed up 10 fold if you do excercises and take lessons from better players. Same with sharpening. And I'm just as bad at resisting changing my habits as anyone. If anyone just learns a known proven method I don't think the amount of practice will be even close to how much time I've used up.

    Finally, I don't know everything, never will. I do want to share what I've learned though. I started a thread about 3-6 months ago to cover what I was learning as I learned it because finally everything was coming together. Sounded like a good idea but I couldn't make it work. The effort to maintain the thread was a bit much.

    The info I'm repeating about the lift hand method comes from bladeforums.com, knifenut1013's thread "the first sharpening". The "don't lift handle" method I learned from Ken Schwartz's video. Don't remember which one. Both methods work. I prefer the lift handle one for simplicity. Slight changes will be needed for different type blades I'm sure and that is where experience will come in.

    If I sound like a jerk I'm sorry. I reread some of this and if I were reading it not knowing the writer I might think he is a conceited ass. I hope I'm not. If I am, let me know. I don't always recognize my own faults. Wife has clued me into a few of them.

    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).

  3. #23
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    There is one difference in the two different methods I've shown. If you are going to leave the edge toothy and you want the teeth facing straight ahead the "don't lift handle" is better. If you lift the handle and keep the blade perpindicular with the stone the scratches won't be at a 90 degree angle with the edge. They will be at a 90 degree angle with the entire blade along the entire edge. The angle of the scratches to the very edge will be determined by the curvature of the blade. knifenut1013 hits on this in his thread "the first sharpening" on BF.com. One key point Ken Schwartz emphasizes in his method is the scratch pattern stays perpindicular with the very edge as it goes around the belly. Some have said having the teeth pointing toward the tip or pointing toward the heel of the edge will make a knife cut better when slicing with push or pull strokes. Just like the teeth on a saw blade face only one direction. A saw blade only cuts when stroking against the direction of the teeth. It's the same with toothy edges I've read. How much of a difference it makes I don't know. Interesting though. But, if you plan to get the edge you are working on very smooth by progressing to really high grit stones it doesn't matter which direction the scratches or teeth are pointing when you are finished with the coarser stones. Scratches and teeth will not be there after a 4k (approx.) or higher grit stone. All this is theory to me because I've never tried sharpening a knife and leaving teeth pointing one way or the other. It does make sense but how much difference it makes in real life I have no idea.

    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).

  4. #24
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razorsharp View Post
    Do what feels natural, I lift the handle, used to do a combo of both.



    http://instagram.com/p/kOg1D7R6xs/
    http://instagram.com/p/iiESSBx6yh/
    I wouldn't say these edges are wrong cause I didn't lift the handle
    I had to make this picture reappear. Not only is the edge beautiful being even and mirror, but it's just a great picture with the background. If I remember the material is a place mat or something from Wal Mart.

    Here are some pictures of edges after I am getting more and more used to lifting the handle. This is the easiest method I've found for most knife edge shapes. I want to point out one difference on the GB edge though.

    Notice the bevel getting wider at the tip. This is because the blade gets thicker as the edge gets closer to the spine. While the angle is the same, well, as close as I can get to the same, the bevel gets wider. To keep the bevel width the same you would need to change (increase) the angle of the blade by twisting the knife handle as you get to that area and/or raising the handle higher. It seems the tip presents it's own difficulties using about any method I guess. Keeping the bevel width the same in this case would take some practice I bet and is one thing that people have mentioned about different blades requiring different techniques or movements to get the results we desire.

    Bradley Folder.


    Chaparral 2


    Bradley Folder and Chaparral 2 (not the best picture)


    I hate to beat a dead horse or repeat things but I'm going to do it anyway. If anyone is just learning to free hand sharpen on your own and you haven't developed your own technique yet I urge you to try to develop the habit and technique of lifting the handle to go around the belly while keeping the blade perpendicular with the stone throughout the entire stroke. This is the best and easiest method I've found because it involves the least number of movements of your hands or knife. I prefer to use both hands and always have the edge facing away from me but that is optional. If anyone can maintain the same angle on both sides when you are looking at the spine when sharpening one side and looking at the edge on the other side all is well. Using both hands means I'm always looking at the spine. This way I get the same picture and feeling on both bevels. This is just my preference because I get more consistent results.

    The key was explained to me like this regarding maintaining a consistent angle. Keep the tangent between the stone and the blade the same. This tangent needs to always be at a 90 angle with the very edge portion making contact with the stone as the contact point travels along the edge from heel to tip. I understand this but I don't know enough about geometry terms to know if I explained it correctly. I also don't have any way to easily produce a picture of it. Maybe some one else can help with this.

    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).

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