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Thread: "Value" of steels: edge holding vs ease of sharpening

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    No. I outlined exactly what I meant by "value" so people wouldn't take it subjectively. Because the relationship between time to sharpen and edge holding is not linear, there can be and has to be one specific steel (or at least a group of steels can be narrowed down) that shines above the rest as per the given definition of "value" described in my original post (assuming all variables are the same).
    If all variables are the same, that would mean the person had the correct tools for the job when sharpening. The difference in time between sharpening an S110V blade vs. sharpening one with VG-10 or something more commonplace really isn't that noticeable when using the proper stones unless you're completely re-profiling. Even then, should you have the correct stones, it's not so time consuming or frequently performed that you'd really bother to care on an EDC tool. It's because knife people have so many knives that the time to re-profile is a factor at all. As for proper tool for sharpening, I use a Wicked Edge now. I would even make the case that the Spyderco Sharpmaker is not a proper tool for sharpening because it cannot re-profile many steels on the market (even sold by the same company) in a timely manner. That's because they haven't yet released abrasive stones (last I checked, I know they have something new for this releasing soon).

    So given that I feel I have the correct sharpening tool for the job, when everything is considered, S110V is likely the best 'value' because it can be maintained rather easily once it is re-profiled and can go for far more than twice the length of time than more 'normal' steels (like VG-10, 154CM, etc) before I feel it requires a sharpening. I don't quantify when steel needs to be re-sharpened as Cliff has done (more or less) in his cutting tests, so that is subjective.

    If one wanted to maintain that initial sharpness, that would change things. If one wanted an angle less than 15DPS, that would change. If one used something like a Sharpmaker (which is far more affordable) and given that the Diamond rods are currently the best there are for re-profiling, the choice would change.

    I like both high and low carbide steels. Sometimes it's nice to have a screaming sharp knife. Other times it's nice to be able to cut all day and not worry about having to re-sharpen later.

  2. #42
    Spyderco Forum Registered User opusxpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknifeh View Post
    I have not read any of the replies. I think I know what you are asking and some of the replies I'm sure have some technical steel info including words like carbides. Since I don't know much about that I'll say this. There is only one blade steel that Spyderco uses that has given me problems when sharpening it. And the same steel still takes more time and effort to get sharp. That is ZDP-189. I think M4 and S30V both sharpen easily. I think M4 will hold the edge longer but how much longer I don't know. CTS-XHP is right there, maybe a little better at holding an edge than S30V but not enough to worry about. VG-10 sharpens easily and holds an edge very well but IMO not as long as S30V, XHP, M4 or ZDP. These are the only steels that come to mind that I've used enough to have an opinion (accurate or inaccurate) about. Of all of them ZDP is the only one that drove me crazy when I got my first one. I absolutely COULD NOT get it sharp as easily as the others. In fact the only thing that saved me is sharpening ZDP was encorperating a micro-bevel. Trying to bring wider bevels to a nice sharp apex was impossible for me. Now I always use a micro bevel on ZDP so I haven't tried to apex wide bevels in 3 years. And even now, it seems I need to pay a little more attention on the last refining strokes of the apex.

    All the steels I mentioned I like. ZDP is the only one that seems to require extra effort (time and/or angle accuracy) to get shaving sharp. My feelings, accurate or inaccurate.

    Jack
    Hey Jack for the uninformed I hear a lot about micro bevels and apex what does that mean? all I know is that most American knives have 2 angles the shoulder angle closest to the spine and the edge angle . Well except on convex and scandi grinds I am very basic on sharpening, any help or direction would help.
    Keep 'em sharpEndura4 (blk all edges, brwn, FG, SB, RG ZDP, blk tac, wave) Salt1 (blk, yllw PE H1)Tasman(yllw SE H1) Pacific salt(blk SE H1) Stretch(ZDP, SB) Delica4(blk CE, wave, SB) Drgfly2(yllw SE H1, org PE,SB PE) Pingo(blk) Cat G10(blk) Centofante3 Ldybg3(FG,SB,Hwk yllw H1, tan H1, blk) Manbug (blk SE, SB) Manix2(Ltw trans blue PE, G10 PE, Ltw dark blue frn) Para2(dig/satin, blk/satin) Military(Cru-Wear) Resilience, Tenacious(blk CE,grn PE), K04 Blk PE, K04 Blue SE, Byrd Robin2 G10

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cujobob View Post
    If all variables are the same, that would mean the person had the correct tools for the job when sharpening.
    If you are talking about value, then I don't see how you can just ignore the cost of specialized equipment for maintenance. If you have one steel which can be sharpened on any stone, and another steel which will only be comparative in ease/time if specialized equipment is used which both costs more and wears out faster then obviously that has to factor into value.

    As for S110V, that is an extreme end of cost, if you find S110V at 2:1 over VG-10, then where are steels like Elmax, M4, S30V ?

  4. #44
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by opusxpn View Post
    Hey Jack for the uninformed I hear a lot about micro bevels and apex what does that mean? all I know is that most American knives have 2 angles the shoulder angle closest to the spine and the edge angle . Well except on convex and scandi grinds I am very basic on sharpening, any help or direction would help.
    The edge APEX is the spot where both bevels meet. The actual sharp edge. When sharpening and the edge is still dull you can remove steel on both sides without the two sides meeting. When they meet, they meet at the APEX and the knife is sharp.

    The 2 angles you are familiar with can be called different things by different people. But the main knife blade I call the grind. It can be a Full Flat Grind (FFG) or a hollow grind, saber grind, etc. These "grinds" are not what we sharpen. The area that we sharpen are called bevels and there can be more than one bevel and again they can be called different things. The terminology can get confusing because we are all from different parts of the world. Anyway, let's say you sharpen your knife and APEX it (two opposite bevels meet). That bevel is called the primary bevel or an edge bevel and can be very sharp and you are done sharpening. Or, you can also add a micro-bevel. This will be RIGHT ON THE EDGE APEX and is usually very small. It is at a higher angle than the first (primary or edge) bevel you established. Using a micro-bevel can make it easier to resharpen very quickly and also strengthen the very edge against tiny chips or nicks. All of this is a pretty simple thing that can become complicated at first. Others can explain it better than me and also provide pictures.

    Ask if I didn't make it clear or if you have more questions.

    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. #45
    Spyderco Forum Registered User MadRookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknifeh View Post
    The edge APEX is the spot where both bevels meet. The actual sharp edge. When sharpening and the edge is still dull you can remove steel on both sides without the two sides meeting. When they meet, they meet at the APEX and the knife is sharp.

    The 2 angles you are familiar with can be called different things by different people. But the main knife blade I call the grind. It can be a Full Flat Grind (FFG) or a hollow grind, saber grind, etc. These "grinds" are not what we sharpen. The area that we sharpen are called bevels and there can be more than one bevel and again they can be called different things. The terminology can get confusing because we are all from different parts of the world. Anyway, let's say you sharpen your knife and APEX it (two opposite bevels meet). That bevel is called the primary bevel or an edge bevel and can be very sharp and you are done sharpening. Or, you can also add a micro-bevel. This will be RIGHT ON THE EDGE APEX and is usually very small. It is at a higher angle than the first (primary or edge) bevel you established. Using a micro-bevel can make it easier to resharpen very quickly and also strengthen the very edge against tiny chips or nicks. All of this is a pretty simple thing that can become complicated at first. Others can explain it better than me and also provide pictures.

    Ask if I didn't make it clear or if you have more questions.

    Jack
    You summed it up perfectly Jack!


  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Stamp View Post
    If you are talking about value, then I don't see how you can just ignore the cost of specialized equipment for maintenance. If you have one steel which can be sharpened on any stone, and another steel which will only be comparative in ease/time if specialized equipment is used which both costs more and wears out faster then obviously that has to factor into value.

    As for S110V, that is an extreme end of cost, if you find S110V at 2:1 over VG-10, then where are steels like Elmax, M4, S30V ?
    It's complicated because S110V may cost multiples of what other steels cost, but in real world terms, they aren't that much more expensive. If the goal was one knife to last for ten years, spending $100-200 instead of <$50 isn't a big factor for some people...for others, it may be. An S110V Manix for $100 probably offers the best Value (IMHO), but at the cost of nicer handle materials. Since this is a discussion about steels and their value, we must assume that the handle materials would be similar, I guess so it doesn't count.

    I don't know all costs for various steels, I've only seen a few for sale online and other makers discuss similar costing steels. Elmax, properly treated, costs about the same as S30V and has superior edge retention. With that said, few makers have achieved that level of edge retention from a production standpoint. So do we assume the costs are the same despite this? M4 I have no experience with and VG-10 I don't know the actual costs involved (assuming it's less expensive than S30V). S110V has not only the higher costs initially, but also puts more wear on any parts used to create the blade. It's overall cost will be quite high comparatively, but not in real world terms. Think of it this way, if you were to put a value on your time, that could factor into how much time you spend sharpening. Not including the time spent re-profiling, I would guess that a person would spend far less time sharpening S110V with proper maintenance equipment than steels that hold an edge for less time. Therefore, wouldn't a dollar amount be put on that time savings? If going as cheap as possible was the goal, would you also count in long-term value like wear on stones, wear on the steel, wear on the lock-type, etc? A stone may wear out faster on S110V, but the steel, and thus the knife, would wear out faster for something like AEB-L. This would favor the lower wear steels, of course, as sharpening equipment can be costly.

    As for equipment costs, once Spyderco releases Sharpmaker stones that can actually re-profile in a timely manner, I think so long as a person uses the proper stones, the maintenance costs should be quite low on most steels.

    M4 may be the best 'value' but as I have no experience with it and no knowledge of the costs of the steel/treatment/belts used I can't say how it would compare. To really analyze what is the best value for folks, I think it's necessary we know: how long they intend the knife to last, what sharpening equipment they currently own, the purpose of the knife, what kind of edge they prefer, etc.

  7. #47
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Strong-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blerv View Post
    Yea. If wear resistance and edge retention were the same. Unfortunately, they aren't.
    That is what I'm saying. So then what I'm proposing would favor a higher toughness, lower wear resistant steel.
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  8. #48
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Blerv's Avatar
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    Not to speak for Cliff...but I read from his post that the initial cost of a CPM-110v knife (vs say VG10) plus the specialized sharpening equipment like alumina ceramic stones is the problem. In this case, a Delica and a cheap stone would cost you about $60 total or about 1/3'rd the overall cost. Even comparing a CPM-S30v Para2 to a "better" sprint you have to pay 1.5-2 times more money and there are always hidden disadvantages for those extra couple points of carbon.

    Spyderco's diamond SM rods work fine. I have a diamond Duckfoot which was like $15 on clearance. The brown sticks won't reprofile nearly at the same rate but a patient person can work with them on a bored weekend and can find it methodical.

    Phrases like "superior edge retention" or "less time sharpening" really should have half a dozen disclaimers after them (110v at 6 degrees per side?). Usually they don't. This either is due to a streamlined response based on assumed criteria or a lack of understanding to the counterpoint. ie: AUS8 isn't crap compared to CPM-110v, it's just radically different and that is neither a good or a bad thing even in the context of pocket knives.

    Archaic things are eliminated from availability. Most the blade steels we use constantly are decades old (even CPM-S90v isn't a spring chicken). Spyderco doesn't work with inferior materials but does work with some very old formulas, even some lower carbon ones. So does Mick Strider and Chris Reeve. Their products are typically of very high to award winning quality. Not to trust the hand that feeds me, but I have to expect if they work with even the mundane stuff like VG10 there is applicable reason for knives made in 2014 besides cost.


    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    That is what I'm saying. So then what I'm proposing would favor a higher toughness, lower wear resistant steel.
    Typically higher toughness steels are lower wear resistance. Edge retention takes into account abrasion resistance, resistance to chipping, rolling, denting (ie edge stability*) which tough steels* are often excel in. They tend to have lower carbon and lower amounts of ultra-hard carbide forming elements which essentially form micro-fault lines. Like a diamond saw where the stones are harder than what is being cut...assuming they don't tear out of the wheel.

    Looking at extremes of the spectrum, compare iron to ceramic. One is very tough, the other is very brittle. Assuming exactly the same edge angle/finish IF the ceramic one doesn't chip it will stay sharp longer. Grinding iron is easy and grinding ceramic is a chore. That doesn't mean the edge made of ceramic will be better. It doesnt factor ease of sharpening or edge stability. It's like saying clearly a Chevrolet Corvette would make a better commuter car than a small SUV. After all, it gets better mileage, is faster, and can seat two people. Forget the initial cost, ability to drive in adverse conditions, entering parking lots with steep angles, or general ease of vehicle entry/departure.
    Last edited by Blerv; 04-22-2014 at 11:55 AM.
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cujobob View Post
    As for equipment costs, once Spyderco releases Sharpmaker stones that can actually re-profile in a timely manner
    The CBN/Diamond sharpmaker rods are of similar speed to the Wicked Edge stones, but even they are a significant investment in cost. Now yes you can say over the lifetime the cost is low, but that kind of perspective can justify anything. If I came out with a new steel which has a broad 2X performance of (insert fad steel here) but to sharpen it you needed a $1000 stone then many people would say the value/cost isn't practical. However someone who was going to buy many of them, and who only need the one stone, and who plans to use the knife for 10-20 years could easily look at that stone as a minor investment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strong-Dog View Post
    I've been thinking, and I know someone like Cliff will have an answer. I'm fairly certain that all steels do not have a linear relationship between "ease" (time it takes) of sharpening and their edge holding. What I mean is that M4 may take a half hour to sharpen from dull to shaving sharp, and hold that edge for 100 cardboard boxes (time and material are just for example here). But S90V may take 2 hours to sharpen from dull to shaving, and only be able to cut 200 boxes before dulling to the same degree. So with S90V, you are sharpening 4 times as long, but only getting twice as much performance (again, steels, materials, and times are only used for example here). So I guess what I am saying, is which steel has the best "value" in terms of ease of sharpening and edge holding? Or a better way to put it is which steel gets the best edge retention for the time it takes to sharpen it?
    What is the point at which it no longer becomes worth using the latest supersteel to the average user, as the sharpening time is just not worth the edge holding to someone who has stones available to them? Is the steel with the best "value" in this regard not even a supersteel at all? Thanks
    I think about this type of thing all the time but there are too many variables to get any kind of sharpening efficiency ratings for the different steels. I have an abstract formula rattling around in my head that goes something like this....

    If "x" steel takes five swipes across the Sharpmaker every night to maintain a hairpopping level of sharpness under my every day work load it has an efficiency rating of one.

    efficiency rating of x equals (the number of days between sharpening divided by the number of swipes) multiplied by five

    efficiency of x = 1/5 X 5 = 1


    Say you have steel "y" that is more abrasion resistant and requires 25 swipes every five days. It also has an efficiency rating of one.

    efficiency of y = 5/25 X 5 = 1


    Say you have steel "z"dp and it requires 100 swipes on the Sharpmaker every five days. It has an efficiency rating of .25.

    efficiency rating of z = 5/100 X 5 = .25 and so on and so forth.

    The higher the efficiency rating the better.


    Now, I don't keep track of the numbers of swipes and do the math on paper. Subconciously, I am looking to create the most work using my knife while using the least amount of effort sharpening it over a period of time and figuring out which steel gives me the best efficiency rating. My thought process on this is totally laziness driven. and doesn't take reprofiling into account.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by sok View Post
    I think about this type of thing all the time but there are too many variables to get any kind of sharpening efficiency ratings for the different steels.
    I have worked on data sets which were generated from literally hundreds of variables changing in nonlinear influences, the number of variables in ease of sharpening and edge retention are trivial to work with.

    Here is what you would need to answer :

    -what materials are you cutting, how is it being cut
    -what is the edge angle and finish
    -what stone(s) is being used and how is it being used

    With those answers it is trivial to then define edge retention as a function of sharpening time, here is an example : http://www.cliffstamp.com/knives/reviews/hemp.html .

    Now if you want some kind of rank then you just look at edge retention / number of passes. This ratio is straight forward, is linear, and easy to interpret.

  12. #52
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    Thanks Cliff, interesting stuff. I book marked it and will take a harder look at it when my mind is a little fresher(long day at work). Every time I read your stuff, I absorb a little more.

  13. #53
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sok View Post
    Thanks Cliff, interesting stuff. I book marked it and will take a harder look at it when my mind is a little fresher(long day at work). Every time I read your stuff, I absorb a little more.
    I have to admit I don't understand 80% of what Cliff says. I don't know enough about steel. What I do is figure out as much as I can and go by what I think he is trying to suggest. Edge angles, sharpening theory, whatever. Even though I don't know the "why" of what he suggests, his suggestions have proven to be accurate in application, when it comes to sharpening at my skill level anyway. So, I have come to assume the stuff I don't understand is probably accurate as well. One thing I know for sure about his posts. You can say "Hey Cliff, which steel is the best steel for a knife blade?" Then after reading 2 pages of technical jargon, you find out there is no "best" steel for a knife blade. He does seem to know his stuff though.

    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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    ^^^ I agree.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User 78lilred's Avatar
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    Cliff here's a question(Or for anyone else obviously) for something say a Cruwear Military. What grit/finish and dps would you suggest? If the media being cut will be zipties/cardboard/rubber hoses/nylon rope + the occasional fish and wild game(mostly slicing cuts with the occasional push cut when not enough space for a pull/slice). What I have to work with is DMT Coarse/Fine/Extra Fine. Mold Master 240/320/400/600. Shapton Glass 500/1k. Balsa with DMT 6 Micron paste and another balsa with .25 diamond spray. I understand there's a lot of variables and differences in the tasks I'm asking about but just getting a feeler for what you might suggest. Thanks in advance.

    Ryan
    M390 Para2, CTS-XHP Para2, CTS-204P Para2, Gayle Bradley, Techno, Bob T Slipit, M390 Mule, Southard, Southfork, Air, Tuff, ZDP Caly 3.5.

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    An edge of 10 dps, 15 dps micro-bevel, 1200 DMT would be my starting point. How much draw you use and how much of the materials that would benefit from a heavier draw would say if a fine DMT would be better (a lot of the poly rope for example), a few light passes on the balsa loaded spray might be of benefit if you did a lot of the zip-tie cutting as you can't really slice/saw through that, it is just a push cut.

    I would go 5 dps, on a personal carry knife for that type of work, but if you are not used to that kind of bevel you might damage it on some of the heavier cutting if you do a lot of twisting/pushing in the cut. As you decrease the edge angle you will find that you need less of a coarse edge to get slicing ability because of the inherent very high cutting ability.

  17. #57
    Spyderco Forum Registered User opusxpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknifeh View Post
    The edge APEX is the spot where both bevels meet. The actual sharp edge. When sharpening and the edge is still dull you can remove steel on both sides without the two sides meeting. When they meet, they meet at the APEX and the knife is sharp.

    The 2 angles you are familiar with can be called different things by different people. But the main knife blade I call the grind. It can be a Full Flat Grind (FFG) or a hollow grind, saber grind, etc. These "grinds" are not what we sharpen. The area that we sharpen are called bevels and there can be more than one bevel and again they can be called different things. The terminology can get confusing because we are all from different parts of the world. Anyway, let's say you sharpen your knife and APEX it (two opposite bevels meet). That bevel is called the primary bevel or an edge bevel and can be very sharp and you are done sharpening. Or, you can also add a micro-bevel. This will be RIGHT ON THE EDGE APEX and is usually very small. It is at a higher angle than the first (primary or edge) bevel you established. Using a micro-bevel can make it easier to resharpen very quickly and also strengthen the very edge against tiny chips or nicks. All of this is a pretty simple thing that can become complicated at first. Others can explain it better than me and also provide pictures.

    Ask if I didn't make it clear or if you have more questions.

    Jack
    Ok so apex is the edge and the top bevel is the lower degree and edge bevel(apex) is the higher degree right? And that is what most knives have from factory or not? Or do we actually have to proceed and put a micro bevel on it? Sorry for all the questions I just want to understand sharpening a little better, I can sharpen knives, that is not the problem the problem is I don't know what or how the hell I am doing it. I use a sharpmaker also smiths flat Arkansas stones, some other smiths synthetic stones, diamond rods and strops. And I know I am dominant on my left bevel I always get a wider bevel so I have been trying to correct that. I know that if the knife is really dull I have to hit it with diamond rods first to cut it faster and then move on, on retouching an edge sometimes I just use the med stones and fine stones or sometimes just the strop.
    Last edited by opusxpn; 04-22-2014 at 08:24 PM.
    Keep 'em sharpEndura4 (blk all edges, brwn, FG, SB, RG ZDP, blk tac, wave) Salt1 (blk, yllw PE H1)Tasman(yllw SE H1) Pacific salt(blk SE H1) Stretch(ZDP, SB) Delica4(blk CE, wave, SB) Drgfly2(yllw SE H1, org PE,SB PE) Pingo(blk) Cat G10(blk) Centofante3 Ldybg3(FG,SB,Hwk yllw H1, tan H1, blk) Manbug (blk SE, SB) Manix2(Ltw trans blue PE, G10 PE, Ltw dark blue frn) Para2(dig/satin, blk/satin) Military(Cru-Wear) Resilience, Tenacious(blk CE,grn PE), K04 Blk PE, K04 Blue SE, Byrd Robin2 G10

  18. #58
    Spyderco Forum Registered User 78lilred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Stamp View Post
    An edge of 10 dps, 15 dps micro-bevel, 1200 DMT would be my starting point. How much draw you use and how much of the materials that would benefit from a heavier draw would say if a fine DMT would be better (a lot of the poly rope for example), a few light passes on the balsa loaded spray might be of benefit if you did a lot of the zip-tie cutting as you can't really slice/saw through that, it is just a push cut.

    I would go 5 dps, on a personal carry knife for that type of work, but if you are not used to that kind of bevel you might damage it on some of the heavier cutting if you do a lot of twisting/pushing in the cut. As you decrease the edge angle you will find that you need less of a coarse edge to get slicing ability because of the inherent very high cutting ability.
    Thanks for the informative and quick reply, and I agree on the push cut issue with zipties as I did a few with the factory edge and had to use more force than expected. I do have to twist at times but also have other knives if I know abuse or high side load will occur in my mundane days.
    M390 Para2, CTS-XHP Para2, CTS-204P Para2, Gayle Bradley, Techno, Bob T Slipit, M390 Mule, Southard, Southfork, Air, Tuff, ZDP Caly 3.5.

  19. #59
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by opusxpn View Post
    Ok so apex is the edge and the top bevel is the lower degree and edge bevel(apex) is the higher degree right? And that is what most knives have from factory or not? Or do we actually have to proceed and put a micro bevel on it? Sorry for all the questions I just want to understand sharpening a little better, I can sharpen knives, that is not the problem the problem is I don't know what or how the hell I am doing it. I use a sharpmaker also smiths flat Arkansas stones, some other smiths synthetic stones, diamond rods and strops. And I know I am dominant on my left bevel I always get a wider bevel so I have been trying to correct that. I know that if the knife is really dull I have to hit it with diamond rods first to cut it faster and then move on, on retouching an edge sometimes I just use the med stones and fine stones or sometimes just the strop.
    Correct on the apex and the lower angle on the bevel above the edge apex bevel. Here are some of the terms I've heard when referencing the cutting edge or bevel;

    Edge bevel: I like this term because it is obviously referencing the cutting "edge". It also can be called the primary edge. After you have one bevel on the knife edge making it sharp you can then raise the angle to put an edge bevel on the knife. This makes it easier and/or faster to do touch-ups when the edge gets slightly dull. It can also strengthen the very edge (apex) against chipping or rolling while the back bevel keeps the blade thinner. There is one constant that is always true regarding knives. The thinner the blade and lower the edge angle the better it cuts. Always. But some cutting tasks require a thicker blade and higher edge angle to keep the edge from being damaged too much, too fast. You wouldn't want to use a straight razor to sharpen the stick you plan on putting a marshmallow on.

    Back bevel: I think this is Spyderco's term for the bevel at a lower angle right above the edge bevel. Some may call it the secondary bevel. This bevel keeps the edge thinner so it improves cutting performance and the higher angle on the edge apex strengthens the edge and also makes it faster to resharpen.

    Micro-bevel: The same as the edge bevel except it is so small you can't or can barely see it with the naked eye. People generally use a micro bevel to ensure burr removal. A micro-bevel that can barely be seen I dont' think strengthens the edge very much. Once you can easily see the edge bevel there is enough steel there to make the edge apex stronger.

    What angles to use for different cutting tasks is something each person learns who takes sharpening their knives seriously. How much almost-abuse a person puts their knives through makes a difference in this decision. Anyone who keeps the knive blade straight when cutting and doesn't use any twisting or prying can get away with much lower edge angles than someone who twists and prys a little bit when they cut differnt things.

    Hope that helps. It sounds like you have the basics down. Once you start tryinh differnt edge angles on different blade steels for different cutting tasks all this stuff becomes very clear. Another thing that is always true is a skill that needs to be mastered as soon as possible is removing any burr on one side of the edge. A burr will degrade cutting performance and since a burr is made of weaker steel than the solid portion of the edge it will snap off leaving the edge duller also. Then you may think the blade steel has poor edge retention when in fact if the sharpening had been done a bit better the blade would stay sharp longer.

    Bed time.

    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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