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Thread: Another Stone Progression Question

  1. #1
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dgebler's Avatar
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    Another Stone Progression Question

    So I am finally going to step up to an EP system and am pulling my hair out trying to determine the best type and progression of stones to purchase to maximize the value for me.

    I am a torn partially because I want this system to do things on both ends of the spectrum. On one hand I want to be able to re-profile my harder steels like K390 or 204p but also want to get that awesome mirror polished bevel I envy from some of the pictures I see posted.

    I am going to get the preloaded leather strop for a final touch, but am not sure on the stones, I am thinking of getting the apex 1 and choosing the stones I want. I am looking at congress stones, chosera or sharpton and also not sure about grits. So can anyone with more experience suggest the best combination (on a budget) to get both re-profiling ability and mirror edge. I am not crazy about tapes, but if this is best I will try.

    I was thinking of getting something like this, but not sure about progression, etc:
    Chosera 400, 1000, 5000, 10000. (I dont want to buy 10 stones if I don't need to) Also, not sure if I can reprofile harder steels with the 400.

    Any advice (sorry I know this has been discussed before but I could not find exact advice through my search).

    Thanks,
    Drew

  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Things really get screwed up when the "on a budget" issue comes up. It comes up with me all the time. So, hopefully this will work for you as it did for me. Let's say you want to be able to reprofile even harder steels as well as get a very nice polished mirror finish and don't forget sharpness () RIGHT NOW TODAY. Order some coarser grit moldmaster stones from congress tools. For easiest progression get as many as you can at this price. Start with the 400 grit and get as many lower grits as you want. I have the 320, 400 and 600 grit moldmasters. I don't care for the 600 grit when using water. It gets muddy. The 320 reprofiles ZDP fairly easily so if I were in your shoes I'd get the 400, 320 and the next lower grit. They are around $5 each I think (plus shipping). BUT, you need to get some aluminum blank material (Lowe's) to make your own blanks or buy them from edgeproinc.com. You can get a 36"x1"x1/8" aluminum blank at Lowe's for under $10. You can cut them yourself easily with a Dremel. Or a hacksaw and file will work also. The aluminum is pretty soft. So now you have a set of stones and truthfully the 400 grit MM will leave a very nice edge all by itself. Now it gets fun though. The only "better" stones I've used are the Shapton glass and I love them. I think you could get by with a 2k Shapton after the 400 MM. Then you will need the 4k and 8k. With these stones you can get a beautiful, mirror finish (to the naked eye) without any stropping. Not to mention a very smooth, very sharp edge. You may find you want the 1k Shapton glass stone after trying the 400 MM to 2k grit progression. This is what I would suggest for the budget purchase. If you have more money get only Shapton glass stones. I have every Shapton glass grit for the EP from 500 to 16k but I bought them in different pruchases. I once thought (and still do a little) that any old stone could be good for the coarser grits because they are used for profiling the edge and the deep scratch pattern will be removed later so who cares what kind of stone (cheap or expensive) created the scratches. This is a good thing for the budget. Over time I've learned that cheaper coarser stones will leave scratches of different sizes. Some of the very deep scratches will not be noticed at first. But after a 4k (or so) the bevel will begin to be polished and the deeper scratches that weren't visible suddenly jump out at you. Better quality stones will leave a more consistant scratch pattern regarding scratch depth. However, I have found the moldmaster stones to leave a VERY, VERY consistant scratch pattern. Using DMT stones or even the water stones that come with the EP I was constantly getting a mirror finish with random visible scratches on the bevel. After all the time spent trying to get a mirror finish only to have a bunch of individual scratches all over the bevel is infuriating to me. I don't remember using my 320 and 400 MM then switching to my Shapton glass at 2k so I can't swear by the progression. Adding the 1k would probably help.

    My suggestion:
    MM 220 (or whatever is the next lowest under 320)
    MM 320
    MM 400
    Shapton glass 2k
    Shapton glass 4k
    Shapton glass 8k

    If you can't swing all of these stones I'd start with leaving the highest grit stones for later. For normal people the 2k edge is a very nice edge. Pretty nice finish also with the Shapton glass. Later get the 4k and 8k as money permits. The 16k is probably going overboard. And, if you end up with random scratches once the bevel is really pretty you could consider the Shapton glass stones in the coarser grits. They cut fast on all steels and leave a VERY consistant scratch pattern.

    One thing I have come to find out for myself is the more stones you have for grit progression the better the finish will be. I've read where most pros and very experienced sharpeners have said this but I have the 500, 1k, 2k, 4k, 6k, 8k and 16k in Shapton glass for the EP. Spend a little time with every stone and the beautiful edges just come. The 6k is not really needed but I have it so I use it.

    I use thise bench stone as a really nice and easy progression for a great finished bevel.

    Shapton glass 320
    DMT fine (600 grit)
    DMT extra-fine (1200 grit) (I have the Shapton glass 1k on order as an alternative for this stone)
    Spyderco fine (2700 grit approximate by the unified grit chart)
    Spyderco UF (4500 grit approximate by the unified grit chart) (or Shapton glass 4k which I have)
    Shapton glass 8k

    The bench stone info is just FYI indicating how I feel about using more stones for a closer grit progression between stone. When I want a very nice finished edge and bevel I use every stone I have. Same when using the EP. I could probably get away with using the EP stones 500, 2k and 8k. It just seems like more stones make the better finishes easier. But when on a budget which I always am I buy these things in different purchases. This also allows me to know what I need. Buying everyghing at once may result in having stones I don't really need (like the 6k for the EP ).

    I hope this helps.

    Jack
    PS
    Others have gotten great results with the EP tapes. I don't use them for these reasons: I don't like buying them over and over. Due to carelessness I cut them up. They seemed to cut differently as they get used and/or clogged with swarf. But make your own judgement because some people love them and I have to say I never really gave them a good chance. They do a great job though. I just don't care for them for the reasons I mentioned.

    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. #3
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dgebler's Avatar
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    Thanks Jack for the advice.
    I have read many of your threads and posts regarding sharpening and I can tell that you are both passionate and knowledgeable about truly sharp edges.

    I appreciate you taking the time to share some of this knowledge with me and the rest of the community; this helps alot.
    I only hope with practice and good advice I will continue to advance my own skills and be able to in turn share this with others.

    I am thinking of starting with the 320 and 400 Congress Moldmasters and the 2K + 4K Shaptons and go from there. Given the progression of my S.A.D. (yes I stole that term from another post) I have a feeling I will end up with the full range you have suggested. I will post results once I get the new tools and most importantly some edge pictures If I can get my photo's right.

    I am really excited to try to take down my Southard to a lower angle and high polish and see how it performs.

    Thanks again,
    Drew

  4. #4
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgebler View Post
    So I am finally going to step up to an EP system and am pulling my hair out trying to determine the best type and progression of stones to purchase to maximize the value for me.


    Thanks,
    Drew
    I didn't consider one thing that may help you on budget issues. The EP Apex 1 set will give you 2 stones I think. If the total cost of that is about all you can swing now that would be the best. Get used to the EP. You will get realy good results after just a little practice. BUT, after a good deal of practice you will get much better results. This is mainly after you develop the ability to use a very light touch. So, since the best results will come later (2-3 months thru one year) the great results of the higher grit stones can produce may not show up right away. For the really great results you will need the better quality, higher grit stones as well as getting to know the EP, like any new tool. Also, while the water stones that come with the EP may not provide the level of performance the Shaptons or Chosers's will they are very good stones IMO. They are not supposed to give us a mirror finish, just very sharp edges and they do do that very well.

    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).

  5. #5
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgebler View Post
    Thanks Jack for the advice.
    I have read many of your threads and posts regarding sharpening and I can tell that you are both passionate and knowledgeable about truly sharp edges.

    I appreciate you taking the time to share some of this knowledge with me and the rest of the community; this helps alot.
    I only hope with practice and good advice I will continue to advance my own skills and be able to in turn share this with others.

    I am thinking of starting with the 320 and 400 Congress Moldmasters and the 2K + 4K Shaptons and go from there. Given the progression of my S.A.D. (yes I stole that term from another post) I have a feeling I will end up with the full range you have suggested. I will post results once I get the new tools and most importantly some edge pictures If I can get my photo's right.

    I am really excited to try to take down my Southard to a lower angle and high polish and see how it performs.

    Thanks again,
    Drew
    Those stones should do nice in addition to whatever you get with the EP set you buy. Just about anything you want or need for the EP can be gotten on the CKTG site. Lot's of stones to get headaches over trying to decide.

    I am getting knives 10 times sharper than I was 5 years ago. A lot of this improvement is from my spending a lot of time practicing. I douldn't count the times I'v sharpened already sharp knives just for practice or changing edge angles. Plus 95% of my knowledge has come from help for the people on this forum. They have taught me so much it's hard to believe. All the pracice I've done would have helped but I would have been practicing my old bad habits and not knowing I needed improvement on my technique the sharpness of my edges would be nowhere near what it is now. I can't think of one trick, technique, etc. that I have thought of on my own. Everything I know someone else figured out first. Then they were generous enough to share it here as well as other forums, youtube, books and articles in magazines, etc. There's a bunch of great people here. You can buy DVD's and I'm sure they are worth the price. Since I've never bought one I wonder if there is anythign on them that isn't out there for free if you have time to search for it.

    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).

  6. #6
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Revival's Avatar
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    About a month ago I was in your shoes and after alot of research and alot of questions, I went with the Shapton Glass Stone set. So far I have been amazed by these stones. Only other stone I added was the 2k shapton glass stone. I suggest reading up on the stones and see which works best for you.

    Also dont forget the llittle things that will help out alot like:

    - Angle cube
    - spring for quick stone changes
    - magnet to keep the knife on the table
    - sharpie with the chisel tip. Using the chisel tip version sharpie is soooooo much easier than using a regular sharpie. It marks only the edge and nothing else. Your knife doesnt end up like a 2 year old marked up your blade!

  7. #7
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dgebler's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips Revival!

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User MadRookie's Avatar
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    Yep, good solid advice from you guys....nothing for me to add...except concentrate stroke by stroke.....one bad stroke puts you back where you started....

    Enjoy your EP!



    PS: ...maybe consider some Atoma plates when the wallet recovers.....

  9. #9
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Revival's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadRookie View Post
    Yep, good solid advice from you guys....nothing for me to add...except concentrate stroke by stroke.....one bad stroke puts you back where you started....

    Enjoy your EP!



    PS: ...maybe consider some Atoma plates when the wallet recovers.....
    On thing I want to add to this is by concentrating, that means going slow. Dont rush it which you will tend to do because you are excited. I dont have anywhere the experience as Jack and Mad Rookie and they have helped me with the EP as well. You will learn through your own experience and practice makes perfect. You will want to sharpen everything in sight!

  10. #10
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Holland's Avatar
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    I would definitely get a stone below 400. I do most of my reprofile work with 100grit stones on my WE
    Phil Wilson Smoke Creek s110v, SouthFork, Gayle Bradley, Chaparral 1, Chaparral 2, Native 5, Para2, Para1 SE, Caly 3, Dragonfly 2, Dragonfly 2, Delica 4, Ladybug 3


    -Spencer

  11. #11
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dgebler's Avatar
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    Thanks again guys...getting excited now. I think I will do my taxes tonight. Should help with justification to the wife when I blow this kind of cash on sharpening equipment.
    Might be hard for someone uninitiated to understand why I need to spend hundreds on sharpening equipment when you can buy a crappy stone for ten bucks.

  12. #12
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgebler View Post
    Thanks again guys...getting excited now. I think I will do my taxes tonight. Should help with justification to the wife when I blow this kind of cash on sharpening equipment.
    Might be hard for someone uninitiated to understand why I need to spend hundreds on sharpening equipment when you can buy a crappy stone for ten bucks.
    One thing that has helped (sort of) with my wife's acceptance of me spending more on sharpening stuff is the sharpness of the knives now. She cares NOTHING about sharp edges as long as a knife isn't actually dull. But, she does respect or realize the difference from the sharpenss 4 years ago and now. So as your edges get sharper over time don't show your wife. Then when they are getting REALLY sharp she will notice on her own. Or maybe not. You can also tell her when she slices her finger open it will heal faster and with almost no scar. My wife grabbed an 8" knife off the magnet thing on the wall in the kitchen the other day. I watched this happen. It was one of those "slow motion" moments. She grabbed the handle and pulled and as soon as the blade was off the magnet thingy the handle slipped and the knife was falling strait down between her fingers. In her infinate wisdom () she tried to catch the knife. By the time her fingers tightened the blade is what she grabbed. So the knife was falling and sliced her finger right in the middle of two knuckles. It left a really pretty, clean slice. I grabbed a paper towel and told her to bend her finger a little to close the cut and hold the paper towel there. I left and came back with the electrical tape. You thought I was going to get the duct tape didn't you??? The cut was too big for a normal bandaid. Anyway, wrapped it up and she removed and replaced the bandage the next day and when she removed that one she was AMAZED how fast and cleanly the cut had healed. I explained how such a clean slice from such a sharp knife allowed the cut to heal better and faster. A cut with a duller, toothier edge would have taken longer to heal and left a big scar. Is this true or was I trying to justify all my sharpening crap??? Don't know but she didn't say anything. And to be honest my wife has cut herself in the kitchen about 4 times in the past 2 years. The previous twenty something years we've been married I don't remember her cutting herself once. Not enough to mention anyway. So, you can tell your wife that when the knives in the kitchen are super razor sharp and she is slicing her hands and fingers all the time the cuts will heal fast with almost no scar. How's that for justification? I bet she asks you to spend another couple hundred on stones.

    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).

  13. #13
    Spyderco Forum Registered User 78lilred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknifeh View Post

    My suggestion:
    MM 220 (or whatever is the next lowest under 320)
    MM 320
    MM 400
    I free hand with the MM 80/120/150/240/320/400, agree with Jack completely. The 600 I have breaks down extremely fast even under very light pressure and gives an iffy edge on some of my harder steels, it might work better on softer but haven't tried. For my edc's it goes 150/240/320/400 then Spyderco double stuff. If a polished bevel is wanted then you could always just tape some 1k/1.5k/2k/2.5k/3k sandpaper to blanks or stones and then finish up with stropping compound but scratches can come out of nowhere. Travis does some beautiful edges with MDF board and diamond paste also.

    Edit: keep your pressure very light before moving to the next grit and keep progression as tight as possible for the beautiful bevels. The grand unified chart on BF will help you pick the stone progression going off of abrasive micron sizes.
    M390 Para2, CTS-XHP Para2, CTS-204P Para2, Gayle Bradley, Techno, Bob T Slipit, M390 Mule, Southard, Southfork, Air, Tuff, ZDP Caly 3.5.

  14. #14
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dgebler's Avatar
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    Just ordered the Congress Mold Master stones in 120, 220, 320 and 400 + gonna try out one of the flex stones at 600. Picked up the drill stop collar as well since I decided to go with all 1/4" thick stones.
    I decided good bevels and sharp edges were my first desire and I will venture into the shapton/chosera territory once I master the lower grits.

    I will post results once I have some edges to talk about! I tried to cut TP last night with my best effort on the sharpmaker to no avail...I can get to hair shaving, but not quite to that hair splitting, TP slicing razor sharpness I desire.

    Thanks to all so far who have contributed, lets keep the conversation going. I think I mentioned in another thread as I back off on buying more knives and focus on the edges I find I am enjoying my hobby/collection even more.

  15. #15
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Evil D's Avatar
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    Personally I wouldn't buy any of the Shapton glass stones below 1k, and would instead buy the Atoma diamond plates for low grit work. This will benefit you in 2 big ways, 1) you'll never have to worry about varying stone thickness when reprofiling, which makes life a lot less of a headache, and 2) you'll never have to worry about your stones dishing and needing lapped to make them flat. They'll also last a lot longer than any stone, so to me those three things make them easily worth the asking price. As for progression, I may not be the best person to ask because I do some crazy stuff like jumping from 400 grit to 16k grit....it gives you a really interesting edge.

    SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
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  16. #16
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgebler View Post
    Just ordered the Congress Mold Master stones in 120, 220, 320 and 400 + gonna try out one of the flex stones at 600. Picked up the drill stop collar as well since I decided to go with all 1/4" thick stones.
    I decided good bevels and sharp edges were my first desire and I will venture into the shapton/chosera territory once I master the lower grits.

    I will post results once I have some edges to talk about! I tried to cut TP last night with my best effort on the sharpmaker to no avail...I can get to hair shaving, but not quite to that hair splitting, TP slicing razor sharpness I desire.

    Thanks to all so far who have contributed, lets keep the conversation going. I think I mentioned in another thread as I back off on buying more knives and focus on the edges I find I am enjoying my hobby/collection even more.
    Excellent stone purchase. I had forgotten about the FLEX stones. I have the 400 and 600. They will get closer to a mirror finish than the MMs will. Great choice IMO. Something to consider though. I called Congress Tools when I first bought mine and was told these stones are supposed to be used with oil as the lubricant. I won't use oil with the EP. WAY too messy for me. So, I have used them dry and with water. When dry they will work fine but they will clog faster and you will need to flatten them more often. I prefer them dry but water is ok too. I'd try it both ways. Since you are getting the 1/4" thickness (which is really smart) you can flatten them a lot before they start getting thin.

    I have given up on trying to cut TP. I've gotten somewhat close to some of the videos I've seen but never what I'd call satisfactory. I was using cutting TP as a goal until I watched a video of Murray Carter shaving with one of his knives but also slicing TP first. His TP slicing was not very good either. And that was with a knife he also shaved with. I also think the texture of TP makes a big difference. Anyway, I gave it up because the TP I use doesn't slice very good. My favorite brand of TP is 3M 220 grit. For a good testing media I like phone book paper. As far as texture it is between printer paper and TP but the main reason I like it is I normally get 3 or 4 phone books delivered to my house a year so I always have some. Newspaper and magazines work well also. Doesn't really matter what you use. What matters is how the edge feels as you slice it. When I use phone book paper I can tell a huge difference in sharpness between these two "feelings". When the edge wil slice into the edge of the paper and continue slicing it is satisfactory for EDC use but not sharp enough. But as I keep working the edge gets sharper and sharper and the resistance I feel gets less and less until I can barely feel any resistance at all. At this level of sharp the blade thickness and edge angle will make a difference. The knife edge can be as sharp as a honed straight razor but the cutting efficiency is less because of the blade thickness and higher edge angle. Don't use paper to test straight razor sharpness. I just think of a straight razor when I want to identify a cutting tool with the ultimate cutting or slicing performance. Printer paper would probably destroy a straight razor edge. But, no matter what you use to test the edge not only should the knife slice it you will have different feelings of the resistance as the edge gets sharper. It's rediculous how someone can use so many words to talk about slicing a piece of paper.

    What will you use for blanks for your stones? I think for the price of 2 blanks from Edge Pro ($5 ea.) you can make at least 5 if you buy the material at Lowe's and cut them yourself. It comes in 36" and 48" lengths that I know of. I think the 36" is $8.?? here. With the 36" length you can get 5 blanks. For glue I use basic, general purpose glue from Wal Mart. If you use epoxy or something permanent you may need new blanks when it is time to replace stones. The gen. purpose glue will hold fine and then release when you want it to in boiling water. Then use the same blank. These are 1" wide just like the stones. But, if you get the blanks with the EP purchase you won't need to worry about cutting them.

    Let us know how things go.

    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).

  17. #17
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dgebler's Avatar
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    Jack:

    I am thinking I will make my own blanks from some 1" aluminum stock like you mentioned at my local hardware store. Making these will give me something to hold me over while I wait for the congress stones to arrive. Since I don't have any blanks to measure do you have a good dimension to cut these to? It looks like the bars for the stock stones are a little longer than the stones themselves to fit the EP and also have a 45 degree end cut on them. I would like to try to cut these as precise as possible, I am thinking hacksaw for the cuts and take them to the belt sander to grind the 45 degree edges.

    So when you say basic Wal Mart glue are you talking elmers? I did see Ben recommends using 3m Super 77 spray adhesive which I have plenty of here at the office, but I did not think about removal.
    I can almost feel my Southard shaking in fear in my pocket now...thought you were too tough for my crappy stones huh? I will make you sharp if it kills me.

    -Drew

  18. #18
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgebler View Post
    Jack:

    I am thinking I will make my own blanks from some 1" aluminum stock like you mentioned at my local hardware store. Making these will give me something to hold me over while I wait for the congress stones to arrive. Since I don't have any blanks to measure do you have a good dimension to cut these to? It looks like the bars for the stock stones are a little longer than the stones themselves to fit the EP and also have a 45 degree end cut on them. I would like to try to cut these as precise as possible, I am thinking hacksaw for the cuts and take them to the belt sander to grind the 45 degree edges.

    So when you say basic Wal Mart glue are you talking elmers? I did see Ben recommends using 3m Super 77 spray adhesive which I have plenty of here at the office, but I did not think about removal.
    I can almost feel my Southard shaking in fear in my pocket now...thought you were too tough for my crappy stones huh? I will make you sharp if it kills me.

    -Drew
    45 degree angle is good. The angle doesn't need to be perfect. If you cut the blanks with the hacksaw at about 45 degrees it will save you a little work grinding. The length to cut them is 6 3/8" long. This is measured on the bottom of the blank. The length doesn't need to be perfect. A difference in length of 1/16" is ok. Any more than that and you may have problems if using the spring for stone changes. In fact if you cut them at 6 3/8" long that is the LONGEST they should be. If you want to grind them down a bit more it's ok. I'm making a bigger deal of this than it is. Cut them 6 3/8" long with a 45 degree angle on both ends.

    Not Elmer's. Just looked. I have Loctite stick n seal indoor adhesive. The 3M 77 glue is perfect I guess since Ben uses it. I think he lays a bunch of blanks down and sprays them then slaps stones on them. It also releases easily in hot water. That's why he uses it I think. I only use the gen purpose glue because Ben said a can of the 3M was about $15 or something. Since I only would be doing a few blanks and I already had the other glue in the house I tried it and it worked. But use the 3M if you have it. It may dry fast also. I have to leave mine clamped fro a couple of hours or more.

    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).

  19. #19
    Spyderco Forum Registered User dgebler's Avatar
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    Name:  stones.jpg
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Size:  42.6 KBI made blanks and attached my stones this weekend. I used 1/8" x 1" aluminum bar stock from lowes and just ground down to an approximate 45% angle holding the measured blanks on the sanding belt. You can see they are not perfect from the picture (sorry about the quality) but they sit flat and measure within 1/16" of the cut size so they should work out fine. I am looking forward to trying my first knife tonight!

  20. #20
    Spyderco Forum Registered User MadRookie's Avatar
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    Well done there!


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