After years of learning how to freehand sharpen, I think I've finally got enough steps worked out that I can take a dull knife to razor sharp in a short amount of time but I still like to keep tweaking to see if I can do it faster, more efficiently, or just better.
The recent addition of the LED work light (the supernova blast in the corner) has really elevated the final steps when used in conjunction with the loupes. Edge inspection has leapt forward and polishing/refinement definitely has improved.
This may look like a mess to you but there are knives, strops, compounds, stones, loupes, and plenty of light. There are even a few Sharpies in a couple of colors because sometimes black just doesn't jump off the edge at me like blue or green can.
I am a diamond paste convert and find it really cuts fast and puts a high-polish on the super steels like nothing else I've ever tried. Even the 1-micron stuff cuts fast (relatively) and leaves a mirror edge even under magnification. The DMT Dia-Paste works really well and I'm going to try the paste from Graves someday soon. I'm working on an idea that would use the coarse grit paste on leather earlier in the sharpening process to see if it speeds up or slows down the finished result.
I'm NOT a fan of edges that take a long time to refine and polish as most of my knives are used for rougher work like breaking down boxes, cutting up food, and opening packages and just don't deserve hours on the strop when a 600-grit edge is suitable for the majority of the tasks and takes very little time to complete. Plus, I've talked about doing some professional sharpening in the past but I've found that I'm SLOW to get the work done and (Matt knows) I'm even slower to return the knives…sorry.
None of this really works with the convex edges but it could be adapted pretty easily.
The best part about using the diamonds is the ability to cut everything from 1095 to S35VN to 3V and M4.
Thanks for reading,