Oscar: I'm 99.9% in agreement with everything you've said. (Only difference is that I do like my working knives to be razor sharp if possible, but then, I don't do a whole lot of seriously heavy cutting with mine.) Like you, I leave my collector knives alone.OSCAR wrote:Daryl: Thanks for the link to those angle guides. They look like they will do a good job. I will order some so I can use my waterstones again. I only sharpen knives I use as working tools. Collector knives I leave alone. I do think most people are challenged when it comes to freehand sharpening on a stone. I’d rather use a guide like these or Lansky stones with guide rods.
I’d love to have the skill for freehand, but I hate to mess up a good tool so whatever method I use, I need guides. I also agree that angle is important. I like 15 degrees off on each side. More acute will create a sharper edge, but it will dull way faster, or curl or chip. Working knives should NOT be shaving sharp. Oscar
So, the real reason I'm writing this is that I just spent nearly two full hours working on my favorite paring knife with a set of water stones. I used my usual approach of getting a 15 degree/side back-bevel, and then doing the final sharpening at 20 degrees/side. As far as I can tell, I was doing everything just the way they showed in that good Japanese sharpening video shared earlier in this thread, which is pretty much the same way I do things with the angled rods and the GATCO and Lansky clamp/rod systems.
After a lonnnng effort with the 400 grit stone, I finally got a burr on one side. I flipped the knife over and eventually got a burr on the other side. I began alternating sides to remove the burr and keep things even. When the burr was gone, I switched to the 20 degree guides and started again.
For a while, it looked like I was succeeding. The knife was starting to pass my paper towel test, cleanly cutting a hanging, gently pulled Brawny paper towel, but it was still not shaving sharp. I switched to finer and finer grits, and feeling like I'd finally gotten it. I could FEEL the way the knife engaged the stone, and everything seemed great! But, sadly, no. Suddenly, the knife was duller than it had been when I began. It wouldn't even begin to cut the paper towel.
Finally, I gave up. I got out my Lansky angled rod sharpener and set the coarse rods at 20 degrees. During the first few strokes, the knife shed some flakes of some sort, maybe a burr I didn't know was there? After 30 strokes, it cut the paper towel easily. After 30 more strokes on the fine rods, I could shave arm hairs with no trouble.
What I don't get is that, as far as I can tell, I did the same thing with the stones as I do on the angled rods. And yet, the rods worked for me and the stones didn't. It's frustrating. I want so much to be able to do this! (Sigh)