American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Monday, December 09, 2013

Sharpening Obsessed

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,



At 1:28 PM, Anonymous mac said...

So, you're advocating DMT diamond paste over standard buffing compound like Dico's emery, stainless, and chrome compounds?

With the diamond paste, do you no longer need diamond stones, or do you still use them?

I'm still working out my technique with strops. I have a coarse and fine diamond stone, a fine ceramic stone, and strops w/ each of Dico's ferrous metal compounds. I'm not sure where the fine ceramic stone fits into the mix (before stropping, between the emery and stainless compounds, or somewhere else).

At 1:42 PM, Blogger American Bushman said...

For the time being, yes. I'm going to try another supplier of diamond paste just for comparison though.

My routine for S35VN now is Spyderco Ceramic Medium, Fine, Ultrafine, then strop with the diamond compound.

I do find the diamond stones really excel with certain steels or when edge damage is more significant. I just used my DMT plates extensively on vacation with the massively abused kitchen cutlery where we were staying.

With your setup, I suspect the ceramic would come after the Fine diamond and before the strops. That's where I'd use it anyway.



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