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Thread: Spyderco stones compared to Shapton glass stones (my impressions)

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Spyderco stones compared to Shapton glass stones (my impressions)

    For several months I've been seeing my results from using the Spyderco fine and UF ceramic stones and the Shapton glass stones (finer grits). Coarser grits are not a part of this thought or thread. For a while now I've been using Shapton glass stones up to 8k to polish and sharpen the edge on my EDC knives. I have normally used the Spyderco fine or UF stones for touchups when no more steel removal is needed except for sharpness. No thinning of the edge or reprofiling. I have had the feeling that the Spyderco stones, especially the UF stone were leaving the edge with a crisper edge. I use the word "crisp" for when the edge is already VERY sharp but then when I use the pad of my thumb to check the edge the edge seems to reach out and grab the skin. The amount of sharpness difference is noticable when slicing phone book paper but not as noticable when using the knife for normal use. What I'm saying is the Shapton glass 8k gets the edge VERY sharp but the Spyderco CERAMIC stones seem to add the crispness to the edge I don't get with the 8k. This is MY thought on MY results. Others may have different results. Possibly those who have used the Shapton glass stones more than I have get more crispness than I do because they are more "used to" the higher grit Shapton's. That is a thought, not an opinion. But it is an issue I'd like to hear opinions on. Possibly, since I have used the Spyderco stones more for touch ups than I have the Shapton glass stones I'm more "used to" them when refining the cutting edge. Someone who always uses the Shapton glass stones (up to 8k) they might get better results than I do using those stones. This would be a matter of becoming more skilled when using a particular stone type because that type stone is used more. These are the thoughts I've had for a while now. This morning I decided to get a better opinion of this (Spyderco vs Shapton glass) issue.

    I used my already very sharp D'fly (SB) and starting with a DMT fine grit stone I used it on the bevels and edge. Then I used the extra-fine DMT. Then I used the Spyderco fine grit then the UF stone. I polished the bevel and sharpened the edge as best I could. The bevel was nice and shiny but not even close to a mirror finish. The edge however was as crisp as I could get an edge. Then I wanted to compare those results to using the Shapton glass stones. I then used the 8k Shapton on the bevel and edge. The bevel became much more polished than the Spyderco UF stone can produce. There is the beginning of a mirror finish. The edge is VERY sharp but not as "crisp" as the UF stone can produce (when I'm sharpening). Then I used a Shapton glass 16k stone on bevel and edge. The bevel became mirror (naked eye). The edge became "crisper" than after using the 8k stone. It also competed with the Spyderco stones (fine & UF) regarding "crispness". It is NOT "CRISPER" than the Spyderco stones but does compete with them. For now I am done examining this and have an opinion. This is one of those opinions that can change in the future because of more experience on my part.

    MY OPINION:
    Shapton glass stones are head and shoulders above (better than) the Spyderco (or DMT) stones regarding bevel polish. The Spyderco (and DMT) are better than the Shapton glass stones regarding the edge apex "crispness". I am the only one that I know of who has used the word "crisp" when referring to a knife sharpness. I wanted a word to seperate describing the VERY VERY sharp edge with the one just a step sharper. I hope people can understand what I'm thinking about this. "Thoughts" a person has turn into words on paper. The words on the paper then turn into "thoughts" the reader gets. Hopefully the "thoughts of the reader are the same "thoughts" the writer had.

    The "crispness" I get is not limited to the edges after using finer grit stones. Coarser grit stons can produce "crispness" also. EXCEPT the coarser grits in the Shapton glass stones. At the moment I can not get the super crisp edges from any Shapton glass stone that I get from the Spycerco ceramic stones. Or the DMT fine or extra-fine stones but these stones I didn't consider during this little examination.

    So, if I want a mirror finish on my bevels and a super crisp edge on my knives I need both the Shapton glass stones and the Spyderco stones. If I don't care about the bevel finish being super nice or mirror but I want the edge apex to be as "sharp" or "crisp" as possible I can get away with only the Spyderco stones.

    Personally, the sharpness or crispness is more important to me than bevel finish (if I had to choose). So, for now my opinion is the Spyderco ceramic stones are my choice for finishing the edge. That doesn't mean they are all I need however. I still need stones to use for reprofiling when more steel removal is needed. For that I will choose either DMT fine thru extra-coarse stones or the coarser grit Shapton glass stones. I don't have enough experience with the Spyderco medium stone to have an opinion of it compared to the other coarser stones I've used. I think it is good for a good toothy edge but not for quick reprofiling.

    All of this is of course based on my experience and my experience lacks enough experience to be completely confident in my opinions. My thoughts and opinions may change in the future after I learn more from more experience. The only way for me to give the Shapton glass stones the opportunity to change my opinion on their capability to provide the "crisp" edge I'm used to with the Spyderco stones is to only use the Shapton glass stones for a while. This would give me time to develop the knowledge and/or skill using the Shapton glass stones. Different type stones may require a different "touch" than another type stone.

    The biggest difference in the Shapton glass stones as I see it is the Shpatons are water stones of course. In addition to that is they seem to be softer than the Spyderco (or DMT) stones. If you raise the angle enough and press hard enough you can actually cut into the Shapton glass stones. You can't cut into the Spyderco or DMT stones.

    I have only used Shapton glass, Spyderco and DMT stones enough to have an opinion on them. I've used other stones some (moldmasters) but not enough to have as strong an opinion of. Moldmasters are good though. I like them a lot but I don't know if they are available in sizes larger than 1"x6" (EP size).

    I'd love to hear other's opinions on this subject regarding these stones as well as other water stones or other different type stones.

    Jack
    PS
    I meant to add a tag to this thread but forgot. I edited this post to add a tag but now I don't see the option. Are tags only possible on the initial creation of a post? Just curious.

    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).

  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Ok now I'm confused. Happy, but a little confused. I put a touchup on my SB Manbug with the 8k and 16k Shapton glass stones. After using the 8k stone I was a little surprised how "crisp" the edge felt when using my thumb to feel the edge. I then cut phone book paper and it sliced super super easy. Then I hit the edge a few strokes with the 16k Shapton glass and the edge was sharper or crisper than I remember after using the Shapton glass stones. Just as good as when using the Spyderco's. The only thing I did different is I used the 8k stone for the EP instead of the bench stone. I don't think that made any difference even though it was a difference in my normal choice of stones. The only 16k Shapton glass I have is the EP size. So this would lead me to believe the lack of outstanding performance from the Shapton glass stones in the past was a problem with me, not the stones. Not a big surprise. Maybe I just haven't been paying close enough attention to my technique when using the Shapton's. Why would I pay less attention when using the Shapton's (if that's the case)? I don't know. This is where the confusion is setting in.

    More playing with this issue is needed. Since the stones don't change from one sharpening to another I have to believe the problem lies with my technique. If that is true I'm happy with that. If it were a problem with the performance of Shapton glass stones I couldn't fix that. But a problem with my technique can be corrected.

    Here is a head scratcher though. Why, after posting my opinions on this issue, did the first knife I used only Shapton glass stones on come out so much better? Attitude? Paying more attention to detail? Maybe since I put enough thought into the issue to try to explain it in a post it brought the issue closer to the front burner of my mind and I am now focused on my technique more. Meaning I can fix my problem and not blame the tools. Who knows?


    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. #3
    Spyderco Forum Registered User kbuzbee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknifeh View Post
    Here is a head scratcher though. Why, after posting my opinions on this issue, did the first knife I used only Shapton glass stones on come out so much better?
    Karma

    Ken
    玉鋼

  4. #4
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbuzbee View Post
    Karma

    Ken
    Maybe I should start a thread about everything I need to improve on. That sure would be a LOT of threads.

    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 kbuzbee's Avatar
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    I hear ya, brother! And I'm right there with you.... I think I'll start with improving my rum drinking technique

    Cheers,

    Ken
    玉鋼

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    I think I may have figured out why I wasn't having the success on the Shapton glass stones when refining the edge apex attempting to get the sharpest, crispest edge. This is just a thought. It hasn't been promoted to opinion yet.

    I noticed to get the best results with the Shapton glass stones I had raised the angle just a tiny bit. As if I wasn't hitting the apex all along. That is the perfect explanation of my results. But I don't believe it was an issue of not hitting the apex alone. There is a reason for it. This is my epiphany. The water on the Shapton glass stones caused my edge to hydroplane. This could happen when the apex is off the stone surface but my also happen when the apex is barely touching the stone. By raising the spine the edge apex in effect slices under the water and makes better contact with the stone.

    I don't know my thinking is accurate but it does make perfect sense to me. I will be considering this theory as I continue sharpening.

    Has anyone else heard of anything like my edge apex hydroplaning theory?


    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).

  7. #7
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Been working with the Shapton glass stones and my conclusion is I've put too much credit or blame on stones. My edges after the 8k Shapton glass are now sharper than when I started this thread. I also mentioned this issue on CKTG's forum. No one there even hinted that one stone (Shapton glass or Spyderco ceramic) were better or worse. What it seems to boil down to is getting a feel for different stones and this is really minor compared to the basics. Mainly angle accuracy and consistancy. At the moment I prefer the Spyderco UF stone for the final strokes when wanting a smooth edge. This is just my preference now and quite possibly will change in time. Does leave the delima of which stone to get next. I thought I was done buying stones. Buying the Manbug, D'fly and Stretch with SB blades has scratched my new knife itch for a while. The next stone is either the Shapton glass 16k bench stone or the 3x8" Spyderco UF stone. I have the 2x8" UF stone and the 1x6" 16k now. The 2x8" I can live with but the EP size stone for bench sharpening is less than satisfactory IMO. The more sensible choice is the Shapton glass 16k since I don't have one at all for bench sharpening. I sure do want the 3x8" UF stone though.

    Spyderco's UF stone is rated as 4500 grit and 3 micron on the Unified Grit Chart. I guess these are estimates from the opinions of experienced sharpeners. But, right now I prefer to use the UF stone after the Shapton glass 8k (1.84 microns). IMO the entire set of Spyderco stones (med., fine, UF) are supurb. Not only do you not have to flatten them, you don't need any water. Less mess. That's trivial compared to performance but Spyderco stone performance is top notch IMO. I wish Spyderco had coarser grits to choose from but they don't. Maybe some day.

    I've also been using the Spyderco fine and UF grit stones for my razors. Still on the fence about them for straight razors but so far I'm very happy with the edge I get using the UF stone then stropping. But my razor honing skill is extremely lacking. I can't get a REAL good edge on a razor yet. I can get them shave ready but I've shaved with a razor hones by a professional with years of experience and there is a difference in that edge and what I can get. Maybe I don't have the right stone. See??? Blaming the tools again.

    I've enjoyed this experience of finally spending the time with the Shapton glass finer grit stones attempting to get the very best edge I could get off them. Literally, getting the same edge I could get with the Spyderco stones. I think the 16k Shapton glass stone is required to match the edge of the UF stone.

    Any opinions I have are not from good testing procedures. Just sharpening and cutting. So my opinions should be taken with a grain of salt probably.

    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 jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Just ordered a 16k Shapton glass stone. Got it on ebay at a SUPER great price. Brand new, not used either. Now all I need is the 3x8" UF Spyderco stone. Then I'll be done buying sharpening stones. I should have been done a long time ago. Nobody needs more than 3 or 4 stones and some people get along with 1 or 2. I think the 3 Spyderco stones and a coarse DMT is about as good a set as anyone needs. Anything more is excess and only for the obsessive.

    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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