Japaneese Water Stone

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Daryl
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by Daryl » Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:20 am

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
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.

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)

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OSCAR
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by OSCAR » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:17 am

Hey Daryl,
Have you tried using ceramic rods to finish the edge? They don’t really sharpen, they remove any burrs and straighten the edge. I use Lansky crock sticks as final finish. The angle is set, so you just run edge vertical to the rods a few times. Also, I use them often to touch up a good edge.
From what you describe, sounds like you are doing things correct. The 20 degree secondary bevel is a good idea also. The edge is really dependent on what the tool is used for. A razor edge on a working knife is good, but it is too fine to hold for long. I shave with Dovo straight razors. Not sure what their angle is, but I am sure they are way less than 15 degrees. The strop is to straighten the edge and remove burrs. It doesn’t sharpen. I send them to a pro every 2 years or so. At about 300 bucks each, I don’t want to mess them up.
Other possible factors can be the type of steel that you’re sharpening. Some can be VERY difficult. Harder steel holds a better edge but is harder to resharpen. I have some VG 10 and some D2 that is way harder to sharpen.
Also, the stones. Cheaper ones aren’t great and great ones aren’t cheap. Good Japanese stones are expensive. They wear down pretty fast. They have a smaller one I think is called nagura. It’s sole purpose is to flatten the sharpening stones when they have developed a dip in them. After many tries, and removal of too much material, I gave up.
Guided Lansky works great. And I sometimes use my Worksharp. I know many here don’t like Worksharp but it has worked great for me. Just a few light passes on it though as I don’t want to remove much metal. Once I get a good edge I follow up with the ceramic sticks. Works great for me. Hope you succeed. Best advice I can think to give you is to practice on cheap knives. You don’t want to make a stiletto out of a Bowie.
The most useless thing ever is a dull knife.

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cudgee
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by cudgee » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:14 am

Daryl wrote:
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
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.

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)
Daryl, i really do not know your sharpening needs, blade length, type of blade etc., but you may want to look at the Idahone website, they also have angle system ceramic rods. But you sound pretty competent and i'm sure you will work out what is best for you.

Daryl
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Location: Southern California

Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by Daryl » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:32 pm

OSCAR wrote:Hey Daryl,
Have you tried using ceramic rods to finish the edge? They don’t really sharpen, they remove any burrs and straighten the edge. I use Lansky crock sticks as final finish. The angle is set, so you just run edge vertical to the rods a few times. Also, I use them often to touch up a good edge.
From what you describe, sounds like you are doing things correct. The 20 degree secondary bevel is a good idea also. The edge is really dependent on what the tool is used for. A razor edge on a working knife is good, but it is too fine to hold for long. I shave with Dovo straight razors. Not sure what their angle is, but I am sure they are way less than 15 degrees. The strop is to straighten the edge and remove burrs. It doesn’t sharpen. I send them to a pro every 2 years or so. At about 300 bucks each, I don’t want to mess them up.
Other possible factors can be the type of steel that you’re sharpening. Some can be VERY difficult. Harder steel holds a better edge but is harder to resharpen. I have some VG 10 and some D2 that is way harder to sharpen.
Also, the stones. Cheaper ones aren’t great and great ones aren’t cheap. Good Japanese stones are expensive. They wear down pretty fast. They have a smaller one I think is called nagura. It’s sole purpose is to flatten the sharpening stones when they have developed a dip in them. After many tries, and removal of too much material, I gave up.
Guided Lansky works great. And I sometimes use my Worksharp. I know many here don’t like Worksharp but it has worked great for me. Just a few light passes on it though as I don’t want to remove much metal. Once I get a good edge I follow up with the ceramic sticks. Works great for me. Hope you succeed. Best advice I can think to give you is to practice on cheap knives. You don’t want to make a stiletto out of a Bowie.

Hi Oscar,

After reading your message and pondering some more, I think the stones themselves might be the biggest part of the problem. I did go with the less expensive ones (about $60 for two double-sided stones and a flattener/nagura), and it felt like even the #300 wasn't removing much metal. It shouldn't take that much work to make so little progress, especially on this particular knife, which I consider fairly easy to sharpen - not at all like some D2 steel knives I have!

I have been careful about re-flattening the stones after each use.

I guess I need to think about whether or not it's worth springing for a set of better stones and trying again.

Thanks for all the time and great advice!

Daryl
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:02 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by Daryl » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:39 pm

cudgee: Thank you for pointing me to the Idahone site. I like what I see there.

I mostly sharpen pocket knives and kitchen knives. I use a GATCO or Lansky clamp/rod sharpener for the really tough cases (if the blades are big enough), and angled ceramic rods for easier knives and for general maintenance sharpening. This setup has worked very well for me over the years, and I can get scary-sharp edges this way, but there's just some crazy thing inside me that wants to be able to do just as well freehand on a stone.

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OSCAR
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by OSCAR » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:19 pm

Daryl. You’re very welcome. I believe I’d call it quits and use whatever method works for you. The money you save not buying more stones can be spent on knives.
The most useless thing ever is a dull knife.

Daryl
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Location: Southern California

Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by Daryl » Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:09 am

OSCAR wrote: I believe I’d call it quits and use whatever method works for you. The money you save not buying more stones can be spent on knives.
A good point. I just tuned up four of my knives in 15 minutes with my usual method, and that included cleaning the ceramic rods.

Maybe if I get a ton of Amazon rewards points in the future, I'll try some better stones. We'll see.

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FRJ
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by FRJ » Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:53 am

Daryl wrote: I used my usual approach of getting a 15 degree/side back-bevel, and then doing the final sharpening at 20 degrees/side.
Daryl, may I ask what is the advantage of changing to 20 degrees for final sharpening.

I have been sharpening knives freehand for years and although I don't know what angle I'm sharpening at I do know that
my angle is not consistent. It can't be, it's freehand, but it's almost consistent and my knives get very sharp.
I wonder if adhering to these certain angles is causing you problems that are unnecessary.
Using a guide is fine but as soon as you move the blade from the guide you are now freehanding anyway.
The man in the video probably isn't sharpening at a true angle all along his blade edge. I'll bet his knives are quite sharp.
It does take practice and you have to know when to quit and pick it up again. Each time you do you are gaining on it.
I hope you keep trying.
If you think your waterstones are causing you problems try using a large inexpensive Carborundum stone for a while. They are great to learn on and give quick feedback. You can always go to better stones. ::nod::
Joe

Daryl
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Location: Southern California

Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by Daryl » Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:39 am

FRJ wrote:
Daryl wrote: I used my usual approach of getting a 15 degree/side back-bevel, and then doing the final sharpening at 20 degrees/side.
Daryl, may I ask what is the advantage of changing to 20 degrees for final sharpening.
That's a good question, and I'm sure this will be more than a little controversial. Maybe it's a subject for a whole new thread?

I started doing this many years ago after reading "The Razor's Edge" by John Juranich. He promotes back-beveling as a way to get rid of excess blade material and make it easier to achieve your final objective angle. Personally, I usually like a 20 degree/side final angle, so that's my final goal on most of my knives.

The approach seemed to work, so I've stuck with it. Is it necessarily right, or more right than just sharpening to 20 degrees (or whatever you like) instead? I don't know. I haven't tried to put that to the test for a long time.

You've now got me wondering if anyone else even uses this method, and how many might have tried it and said "no, thanks"!

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FRJ
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by FRJ » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:14 am

I don't think it's a bad thing necessarily. It can strengthen the edge I suppose but I was just thinking the complexity of the
thing might be getting in the way while you are learning. Just developing a decent cutting edge can be daunting enough
without the extra angle.
Joe

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OSCAR
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by OSCAR » Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:23 am

FRJ:
The idea of going to a more obtuse angle to finish off the edge is, to create a micro bevel. This way, you have more steel behind the edge and it (in theory) holds the edge longer. On my working knives, I started using a convex edge to accomplish the same thing.
The most useless thing ever is a dull knife.

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FRJ
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by FRJ » Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:31 am

Thank you Oscar.
How do you create your convex edge?
Joe

Daryl
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by Daryl » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:01 pm

FRJ wrote:Thank you Oscar.
How do you create your convex edge?
I'm hoping Oscar will answer your question about how he does it.

In the meantime, the two main ways I know of to do it are with a low-speed belt sharpener, like the WorkSharp, or by stropping with a flexible strop. The curvature of the belt or strop does the trick.

The Wicked Edge sharpener's web site shows a third, more tedious method: create and polish a primary (shallower) angle, then create and polish a steeper secondary angle. Then, you pick an angle halfway in between to blend the two and then finish up with a strop to smooth it all out. For me, this one would definitely require an angled guide system!

https://support.wickededgeusa.com/porta ... onvex-edge

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FRJ
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by FRJ » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:52 pm

Thank you, Daryl.
All are viable sharpening techniques. Limited, but viable. :)
Joe

Daryl
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Re: Japaneese Water Stone

Post by Daryl » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:13 pm

OSCAR wrote:Daryl. You’re very welcome. I believe I’d call it quits and use whatever method works for you. The money you save not buying more stones can be spent on knives.

A quick update: The problem was the "cheap" $60 stone set.

I just unearthed my old Arkansas tri-hone and, using the exact same technique, put a razor-sharp edge on that same knife in about ten minutes with hardly any effort.

Anybody want a set of Knife Planet water stones? (Just kidding -- the set I have is not even worth the shipping cost!)

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