Archive for the ‘Wicked Edge (WEPS)’ Category

Diamond Films by Jende Industries

November 10, 2014

Abrasion resistant steels and ceramic knives are now an established part of the knife and tool world, and this requires diamonds in order sharpen them effectively. That’s why we are proud to introduce Diamond Sharpening Films by Jende Industries! We have 10 grits available, ranging from 80 microns to 0.5 microns (180 grit to 30,000 grit), and come in Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS) size, Edge Pro size (1″x6″), 2″x6″, 3″x8″ and 3″x11″. They are also available with PSA and non-PSA backing.

2x6 jende standard set web

2″x6″ Diamond Films by Jende Industries

With a grit range that rivals that of some of the best sharpening stone series out there, our diamond films can handle profiling and repairs while bringing your edges to amazing heights of sharpness. Our films are also great for slip stone applications – they can be wrapped around dowels for sharpening serrated edges or the inside curvatures of turning tools, or used to polish the blade of old razors.

We’ve put together a few diamond film sets to choose from in order to get you started:

The Polishing Set includes one piece each of 15, 9, 6, 3, 1, and 0.5 micron films (1K to 30K grit), and is a comprehensive set that is geared toward general edge maintenance and regular repair work. Straight Razor honers will benefit greatly from this set, and those looking for shave ready knife edges will definitely impress!

The Standard Set includes one piece each of 45, 30, 15, 9, 6, and 3 micron films (320 to 6K grit), and is an “all around” set that can handle profiling and reasonable repairs. The 3 micron finish produces a mirror finish, and is “good enough” for most knife and tool applications.

The Coarse Set includes one piece each of 80, 60, 45, 30, 15, and 9 micron films (180 to 1,500 grit). This coarse set is meant for some more serious work, be it cleaning up scratches from belts or diamond plates, or for removing chips or reprofiling. The 9 micron film leaves a great “working sharp” edge that will hold up to abuse, and still do some serious cutting.

Finding Your Sharpening Philosophy

November 3, 2012

There is a HUGE range and variety of sharpening products and methods out there, and before going any further down the sharpening rabbit hole, forming  a sharpening philosophy can help you save time and money in the long run.

When you first embark on your sharpening journey and start sifting through the usual pile of information that search engines, Youtube videos, forums, and blogs (like this one! ) spew out, it can be very overwhelming. In reality, there are only two constants when sharpening: the first is that the answer to every question is It depends; and the second is that The more you know about sharpening, the more you need to know.

The next logical question is What do I need to know? Well, the answer is, of course It depends! I’m glad we got that cleared up. :D

Seriously, though, it’s not about answering “how to sharpen” (which is the easy part since the actual rules of sharpening are quite concrete) – it’s about asking and answering What do I want to achieve when I sharpen, and how do I go about it? The answers to these 2 questions are what form the backbones of your sharpening philosophy, and will guide you toward making purchases that are best for you.

The first major categories to think about are these:

  1. Speed vs. Cost vs. Precision
  2. Mechanized vs. Manual Sharpening
  3. Guided vs. Freehand Sharpening
  4. Maintenance vs. Full Service Sharpening

There are more categories to choose from as you progress deeper down certain paths, but these are the most important factors in the beginning.

  • Speed vs. Cost vs. Precision

The saying goes “Good, fast and cheap – Pick any 2″. Speed generally costs more, as do more precise results. However, if you are on a budget, less expensive products will still generally work. This is the is one major category that every decision will always boil down to. There is no “wrong” answer – it is completely subjective, and the answer can change at any time given the circumstances surrounding the decision(s).

Take a more in-depth look at cost vs. speed vs. precision here.

The second category will more clearly define the path of your sharpening journey:

  • Mechanized vs. Manual Sharpening

There is a definite split in the sharpening world between Mechanized and Manual sharpening. Both have many options to choose from, and both have their  pros and cons depending on the type of sharpening you are doing, and sharpeners can find a comfortable balance between them. Generally speaking, mechanized is anything with a motor – a belt sander, stone or paper wheel, grinders, etc., and are easily the fastest methods and are more aggressive than non-mechanized approaches.

Manual Sharpening is further broken down into Freehand and Guided sharpening, which are similar in terms of the types of sharpening mediums they use. They include sharpening stones, various abrasive papers, sprays, compounds, and stropping mediums, etc.. (More on this in a minute.) But overall, Manual Sharpening’s speed is slower, but results are generally more personalized and the process is more Zen-like.

So once you’ve decided where you stand in terms of Mechanized vs. Manual Sharpening, you will need to go one step further:

  • Freehand vs. Guided

With Freehand vs. Guided Sharpening, there is the obvious increase in precision with guides that makes them very powerful and almost idiot proof sharpening tools, however, the speed, skill and freedom of freehand sharpening has a large appeal as well. Note that both Mechanized and Manual sharpening can done freehand, or guided with various jigs and guides.

The final category to consider is:

  • Maintenance vs. Full Service Sharpening

In this case, Maintenance Sharpening is for someone who has several knives that are kept consistently sharp, and would like to simply touch them up here and there, with no real damage to repair or major sharpening to be done. Full Service Sharpening is being able to perform all aspects of sharpening from making repairs to chipped edges, profiling new blades, and maintaining edges over time.

This is not a black and white category – there is an overlap of abilities with many of the products and methods. Most Maintenance-minded sharpening products and methods will perform repair tasks, and Full Service-minded sharpening products and methods are perfectly suitable for maintaining edges.

Conclusion

If you’ve taken these 4 categories into consideration, you should start to have a better view of what kind of sharpening you want to do, and which products and methods you may want to consider given the specific things you want to sharpen.

Your philosophy is not set in stone – it will change and develop as you continue on your journey  – don’t forget – the more you know about sharpening, the more you need to know. For example, there are more advanced categories to consider, such as sharpening for Aesthetics vs. Functionality, “True grit” edges vs. Polished Grooves – just to name 2.

Remember – It Depends!

IDRS 2012 – Oxford, Ohio + Meeting Nasty & Gary Nicholas Sass

July 23, 2012

Even though I already had tons of fun in Chicago, Austin, and at the sharpening party, it was finally time to do what I initially intended to do on this trip – and that is to go to the International Double Reed Society’s  (IDRS) annual conference, which was held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. (I know it’s a geographic mess – but it’s a real place!)

Due to the 4th of July holiday right before the show, there was no rush to drive to Ohio, so I scheduled a couple of stops along the way. The first stop was at knife maker Gary Nicholas Sass’s place in Sharpsville, PA. Yes, I said Sharpsville. It does exist! Interestingly enough, there are still remains of the  locks that were once part of the Erie canal system in Western Pennsylvania.

Upon arriving, I immediately got inducted into Gary’s knife shop – I hit my head on the low door even though he warned me it was low :) A couple of days earlier, we had discussed him making a custom Reed knife for me, and he had a prototype for me that was ground down from an existing knife to take a look at. With a minor adjustment or 2, the knife was ready to go. There was a traditional samurai sword wrap on the handle that consisted of Ray skin wrapped in a synthetic silk, and this traditional approach was one of the things that drew me towards Gary’s knives a few weeks earlier at the Blade show in Atlanta.

Gary Nicholas Sass

We also discussed the different customizing of the handle options, which included different colored wraps and wood.  Here are some of his handles which included the ray skin wrap, dyed giraffe bone, and several types of wood. The far right is a boar tusk. I doubt it would ever be chosen for a reed knife, but it did fit in the hand quite comfortably…(BTW, the second from the left was the reed knife prototype).

Gary Sass’s Reed Knife handle options

Unfortunately, the prototype reed knife sold at the show the first day, and all I have are some quick photos I took so we can tweak the knife even more to suite oboists and bassoonists. With the slight curvature, the bassoonists LOVED the knife for getting into the channels, but the oboists were not as thrilled about it since their reeds are just so much smaller. FWIW, I asked Gary to put that slight curve on it for the bassoonists, and it was interesting that the oboists responded like they did! It was a bassoonist who bought the knife.

Gary Nicholas Sass Reed Knife 1

Gary Nicholas Sass Reed Knife 2

After some other business discussion (which will be posted soon!) Gary took us to Quaker Steak for some of their famous wings. The pepper parmesan sauce was just too good!

After a wonderful lunch at Quaker Steak, we headed out toward Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I was supposed to meet up with one of the super mods over at the knife forums, whose username is “Nasty”, but due to the storms that blew through OH, PA and West VA the previous weekend, our meeting was cancelled due to some cleaning up that needed to be done. There was mostly downed trees, but it was severe enough to cancel the local 4th of July celebrations. This setback would be remedied on the weekend, when Nasty and his wife came out to the university. But more on that in a little bit :)

We got to the beautiful Miami University campus, and started our normal setup routine, running into the usual suspects, including Ann Hodge of Hodge Products, Inc., who is one of my biggest retailers of the Jende Reed Knife and surrounding products. Her new display was amazing!

We bumped into Hanna Selznick, the “Oboe Fairy“, Robert Morgan of the Chicago Reed Company and inventor of the W.R.I.S.T, and Shawna Lake of Oboe Chicago.

I also ran into 2 new exhibitors – the first was Lisa Allen of Lisa’s oboe reedery, who also happened to be a fellow classmate and alumnus of The Boston Conservatory. She is now making oboe reeds full time. I couldn’t believe a fellow alum didn’t have my knife,  so I lent her my 15K Jende Reed Knife for a couple of days. She was happy :)

Lisa Allen of Lisa’s Oboe Reedery

I also ran into Robert Huffman, a long time “disciple” of mine who has sat at my table over the years observing, and absorbing the whole reed knife sharpening process. He’s a recently retired oboist of the US Army Band, and while he completely understands the sharpening process, his results were driving him to the point of no longer playing the oboe. Then he found the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS), which is an excellent guided sharpening system. Robert and I spoke about using the WEPS for reed knives several months ago, but when I saw him at the IDRS as an exhibitor FOR Wicked Edge, I was taken totally by surprise!

Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener for Reed Knives!

This was incredible news because I love my Wicked Edge, and Robert and I immediately went into the pros of using this system for reed knives – the most obvious is that it holds the angles for you. This is beneficial for repeatability, and for those players who might not have the dexterity needed for freehand sharpening on full sized stones, (which is the method I generally promote). For you double-reeders out there, I  also happen to be somewhat of an *ahem* expert on the Wicked Edge, although most of my you tube videos and blogging with the WEPS have been kitchen knife and shaving related. In fact, a few of us, including Robert, sat around watching some of my favorite shaving videos on one of the nights :) Shave 1Shave 2, Shave 3 (#3 is not for the faint of heart!)

Back on track here – the good news is that you can use the same Shapton stones that I use, or their major competitor, the Chosera stones which are custom cut to fit the WEPS. The bad news was that Robert didn’t have them at this show…. We’ll soon remedy that, though!

Back at my table, Things were moving along as usual – lots of people dropping off knives for sharpening. This year was a little different because I brought an extra sharpening station for people to sharpen by themselves. In the past, there is just not enough time for me to “let” people sharpen on their own. I’ve seen more and more knives coming back for their yearly service in much better condition, which tells me people are getting results – no doubt a result of  the help from my Reed Knife Sharpening Book. :D It is also clear that more and more bassoonists are starting to get into sharp knives.

One of my self-sharpening visitors was oboist Aybegüm Şekercioğlu, from Turkey. She was very good at sharpening, and we had fun modifying my usual nickel and dime method of sharpening to using Turkish currency, which would help her students get good results when she returned home.

Turkish Oboist Aybegüm Şekercioğlu

In the middle of all the fun and noise, Nasty (the supermod from knife forums) and his wife paid us a visit at the exhibition hall. I was very excited that the meeting was actually taking place after all! With a little help from some friends and a small fortune in hush money, we got them in for a few minutes to show them what the IDRS was all about.

I showed Nasty my sharpening setup, and a few of the knives I was working on. We posed for the obligatory picture (otherwise it didn’t happen!) :

Nasty and Tom Blodgett

But then the real treat came when Nasty offered to give me a few pointers on my sharpening – it was an offer that I eagerly accepted. I like to learn from everyone, and it is clear from the footage below that Nasty truly is a master at his craft, and I walked away a better sharpener! :-D

We then headed into town for some lunch at Mac and Joe’s, Oxford’s oldest tavern, where we were able to talk in a quieter setting. Since we know Nasty and I are both respectful, but unmovable as far as our sharpening preferences, the conversation easily shifted toward life things such as our work and places we’ve lived. I can’t tell you more without having to kill you, but if anyone from the knife forums is driving through Ohio, it’s well worth stopping by to meet Nasty, who really isn’t so nasty at all. The only regret in meeting him and his wife is that our time was limited to just a few minutes at the show, and a quick lunch. This meeting was yet another amazing feather in the cap of this trip, though!

That was pretty much the peak of the trip! The next couple of days was full of sharpening, and showing off another reed knife prototype, this time made out of Bombshell Steel by Maestro Wu. It’s a single bevel, with the back side hollow ground. This one is left-handed, but there will be right handed ones available soon.

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -1

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -2

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -2

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -3

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -3

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -4
Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -4

 

With a quick wrap up of the table, and a 12 hour drive back to NJ, We made it back just in time for me to get some laundry done, grab that last slice of pizza, and head out to the airport.

This trip was a whirlwind 3 weeks, with so many great things happening. It already seems like an eternity since the Northwestern Summer Camp that started this whole journey off, and I can’t wait until next year’s trip!

2012 BLADE Show

June 12, 2012

The Blade Show 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia started off great! For some reason, the travel gods were favorable. On my 14 hour flight from Hong Kong, the middle seat in a row of 3 was empty and I received a free upgrade on my rental car!

I flew in on Thursday and first met up with Ken Schwartz and some of his family, and while enjoying the finer aspects of the Kao-Liang Liquor I brought and some Green Label Johnny Walker Scotch, we had one of the most intellectually stimulating conversations that ranged from knives to liquor, to salt, to bread, to music, to physics and ended with quantum mechanics.

I had a feeling that this was going to be a great blade show!!!

On Friday morning, Ken and I headed over to the Blade show and met up with Mark Reich (aka YTriech) for breakfast and it was just like old times! We saw some of Mark’s knives he had been working on, and we were blown away by the level of diversity in the blade styles as well as the handle materials and shapes. Mark said he wanted to explore and develop his own style more, but judging by the work I saw, he’s definitely developed some mad skills and the true characteristic of his knives has already begun to emerge.

After breakfast, we headed over to the show, where we met up with Clay and Kay from Wicked Edge as well as Ron, Mike and Carla from KME Sharpeners. The convention hall was organized much better this year – it was more open and less compartmentalized than last year’s show. There were LOTS of tables and vendor booths, and the place was a beehive of activity with everyone setting up and getting to see old friends.

I spent the day with Clay and Kay over at the Wicked Edge booth. Clay unveiled some of the improvements to the WEPS, which included paddles with built-in inclinometers. He also brought a more precise arm with a universal bearing joint that had no play and amazingly smooth action that was coupled with a mechanism for fine tuning the angles that literally blew me away.  I really liked the Wicked Edge before, yet somehow Clay made me like it even more! I can’t wait to get these modifications for my WEPS!

As promised, I brought my Shapton and Chosera Wicked Edge stones, and set up. When the doors to the show opened to the public, it was a mad house. The Wicked Edge booth swarmed with people trying to get in, and of course, the knife sharpening began. It was great to see Clay sharpening from the corner of my eye – he really is a talented sharpener, and everyone commented on how much they loved their Wicked Edge.

One knife after the other was handed up to us for sharpening I kept hearing CPM145, S30V, and S90V. While Clay focused on the using WEPS stock Diamond and Ceramic stones, I treated people to the awesome refining power of the WEPS Chosera 800 and 2K (due to the sheer number of people in the booth, I just did not have the time to take knives up to the 10K level.)

One knife in particular that I had fun with was a beautiful knife made by Nicholas Sass. While a lot of the knife makers I talk to generally don’t spend as much time sharpening their knives as they do making them, It was refreshing to hear just how adamant Sass is about his knives being sharp. It took a little effort to reprofile the hardened 440C (I think), but once he saw the resulting 2K Chosera WEPS stone edge, he was all smiles – He even came back with his girlfriend’s knife a little later! :D

After an afternoon of non-stop sharpening on the WEPS, Clay, Kay, Ken and I hit the hotel bar for a drink – but not before Clay and Kay took a swig of the Kao Liang Liquor I had brought them J . We had a wonderful discussion about the future of the WEPS, and I can tell you that there are a whole lot of great innovations in the works!

On Saturday, I was eager to spend some time at the KME Sharpener booth. At last year’s BLADE show, I was really impressed with the quality of the KME, because they took all the faulty aspects of other guided rod sharpening systems and fixed them. In other words, there is no play AT ALL in the rod when sharpening, making the edge angle super precise. Another great feature is that the knife clamp rotates, which means you don’t need to worry about changing the position of the knife as you progress through the grits, and you don’t need to switch hands or be ambidextrous when you flip the blade over.

To be honest, I was so impressed with the KME last year, that I bugged them for a whole year to add the Chosera stones to their already versatile stone lineup, which includes DMT Diamonds, aluminum and silicone oxide stones and hard, black and translucent Arkansas stones. Ron finally caved in, and the Choseras for the KME finally made their debut!

When I got to the KME booth, Ron already had a few people gathered around him as he patiently demonstrated his sharpener and walked them through the sharpening process step by step on the KME. It was great to see Ron taking such care of his customers, and with his reading glasses nestled halfway down his nose, he had a rather grandfatherly feel to him (even though he’s not that old). While I already knew that Ron was deep down the sharpening rabbit hole, I could easily see in person just how much loves to sharpen, and how much he cares that others sharpen well, too.

Mike, Ron’s brother, was happy with the result of the Choseras, and we started playing around with some ideas of progressions. While he left off at the translucent Arkansas and progressed on the 2K, 5K, and 10K Choseras, I proceeded to sharpen his EDC from the ground up, first using the DMT Extra coarse, and then doing a full, 8 stone progression on the Choseras up to 10K.

As people filled up the booth, a ceramic knife came along for sharpening. Ceramic knives require the use of diamonds since they are very hard and abrade rather slowly. Since The KME uses 1×4” DMT diamond plates, I was eager to take up the challenge.

There were chips in the edge that needed to get removed, and after a few minutes, the chips were brought down, and I progressed through the rest of the DMT diamond plates. The customer was happy, and the KME was successful, as usual!

Ron, Mike and Carla had their crowd under control (I was actually getting in the way!) so I snuck out of the KME booth to spend some time walking around with Ken to see the exhibits. There were lots of knife makers, all showing off great work, and we stopped by a bunch of tables and booths including Stephen Fowler, and Travis Wuertz.

As usual, time flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to start shutting things down for the day. Ken and I packed up and said our goodbyes to Kay and Clay before heading out to dinner with Ron, Mike and Carla. Mark, and Ron’s old friend Kelly (who was at the booth with them all day) came out to have dinner with us at the Longhorn Steakhouse, and we had the best of times over a great meal. Mike was more than impressed with the 10K Chosera edge I put on his EDC earlier. After dinner we parted ways, but not before they agreed to come out to my next sharpening party (which is the 30th of June).

After Dinner, Mark, Ken and I went back to the hotel and spent the next few hours contemplating how to take over the knife world, and I gave Mark a few straight razor blades that needed new scales. He (we) got really excited about some of the materials for the scales that he was going to try. We ended well after midnight, and after a group photo, Ken and I went back home to get what seemed like only a few minutes sleep before heading out to the airport.

It was truly a great BLADE show!

Wicked Edge (WEPS) Tutorial – Lapping Chosera and Shapton Stones

May 14, 2012

In this Wicked Edge Tutorial, I take a deeper look into lapping the Shapton and Chosera WEPS stones using the diamond WEPS plates as well as the full size (3×8) Atoma Plates. You may remember that I briefly covered lapping the Chosera WEPS stones in the first Wicked Edge Tutorial, found here.

Enjoy!

Wicked Edge (WEPS) Chosera Stone Video Tuturials – Part 1 and 2 + a Shave!

April 22, 2012

Clay Alison of Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS) recently asked me to do a tutorial on the Chosera stones for the WEPS, and rather than write up another of my famous long-winded posts, I tried my hand at a video tutorial.  We ended up with 3 videos :)

The first video is the introduction to Chosera stones, and touches on flattening/cleaning the stones, as well as adjusting angles to account for the different thickness between the Choseras stones and the stock WEPS. (Read more about that here). I also go through the 3 different strokes that I use on the WEPS – Circles, Scrubbing, and Sweeping, and show some nice microscope pictures along the way.

The second video is the actual sharpening of a 3.5″ Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel folding knife using the 400, 1K, 3K, 5K and 10K Chosera stones. It’s a bit long because I wanted viewers to see a “real time” version. Due to the repetitive nature of the process, there was editing on the higher grits, where you should have the idea of the process and the time it takes by then. I finished with the WEPS leather strops with one side loaded with Ken Schwartz’s .125 micron CBN, and the other side with clean leather. More microscope pictures are posted along the way.

The third video is the same Maestro Wu knife put to a straight razor shave right out of the WEPS. It’s not my most controversial shaving video (like these!),  but there are some good closeups and the music is nice! :)

A special thanks to Colin Brown of ModelMosa for the use of his studio, and to Trevor Joines (TVGUY101), my cameraman and video editor.

Wicked Edge (WEPS) Shapton Pro Stone Microscopic Progression

March 4, 2012

This is the third installation of the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener’s (WEPS) progression of stones under the microscope. So far, we have looked at the Wicked Edge stock diamond and ceramic stones, and the Wicked Edge Chosera Stones under the scope. In this post, we will look at the complete Shapton Pro WEPS stone progression. I highly recommend reading the stock  and Chosera progressions first, as they both contain information that will be applied to this post.

The knife is a Maestro Wu bombshell steel folding knife with the angles set to 20 degrees per side. All pictures are taken with a Veho 400x USB microscope, and the actual dimensions of the pictures are all 1mm wide by 0.75mm high.

Once again, I will be doing a series of scrubbing strokes followed by sweeping strokes at each grit. Scrubbing strokes are aggressive, and are an up-and-down motion used to establish the scratches at each grit, and to account for any minor deviations due to the tolerances of the angle cube, and dishing in the stones, etc.. The sweeping strokes are alternating strokes the span across the entire edge from heel to tip or tip to heel, and they establish a straight line at the edge of the edge. I don’t generally use circle strokes with anything other than the WEPS 100 diamonds.

One major difference between the Shaptons and almost every other synthetic sharpening stone is the way they are used in order to achieve the maximum results. Simply put, Shaptons have a different sharpening approach, or “philosophy”. The majority of water stones, including the Chosera stones, benefit from the paste that is formed while sharpening,  The paste adds a level of polish and cleans up the edge of the edge, making the knife seem shinier and sharper than the actual advertised grit.

Shaptons do not generate a paste. They create a swarf, which is a mixture of water and metal debris, with no loose abrasive particles or bits of the stone matrix. Swarf is not desirable for the Shaptons as it actually inhibits the action and precision of the stones – especially at the 5K,  8K, 15K, and 30K levels. Shaptons rely solely on creating densely packed consistent scratches, which gives every level a “true” scratch pattern – without any enhancements. This gives the Shapton edges a sharp, yet smooth feel to them that gives the user complete control of the cutting action.  By the time you get a mirror (at the 5K), the scratches are so consistent and close together, they form a mirror finish.

In the case of the Shaptons, the cleaner the surface is, the better. They consequently use more water, and since it doesn’t get absorbed into the stone, there is more runoff.

Using a slurry (loose, usually same grit abrasive on the surface of the stone that makes abrasion faster) on the lower grit Shapton Pros is acceptable, although not usually necessary. IMO,  a slurry is usually not necessary past the 1K Shapton Pro level.

Shaptons have a huge range – from #120 to 30K (122 microns to 0.5 microns! – here is a WEPS grit comparison chart). When coming off the WEPS stock 600 diamond plate (16 microns), the #120 grit is a rather large step back, but man it can really take out those diamond scratches quickly! :D

Up first is the WEPS Shapton Pro #120 stone, scrubbing.

WEPS Shapton Pro #120 - Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro #120 – Scrubbing

Since this is such a large step back from the WEPS stock 600 diamond, I did not use a slurry.

WEPS Shapton Pro #120 - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro #120 – Sweeping

You can see the relative shallowness of the scratches, but it leaves a very serrated edge of the edge. In the next few grits, we will see the whole idea of the Shaptons creating a controlled “retreat” of the serrations rather than trying to enhance the finish at each level.

WEPS Shapton Pro #220 - Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro #220 – Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro #220 - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro #220 – Sweeping

We can see the serrations at the edge of the edge have changed from more of a chipped pattern to slightly wavy one.

The #220  and #320 Shapton Pro stones are excellent for a non-diamond approach to chip removal and profiling. The #220 is a hard, aggressive stone that is generally better suited to softer steels, and the #320 is a softer, yet every bit as aggressive stone that is generally better suited for harder steels.

The #220 or #320 is an excellent crossover stone from the WEPS stock 600 Diamond plate.

WEPS Shapton Pro #320 - Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro #320 – Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro #320 - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro #320 – Sweeping

As you can see from the #320 sweeping picture, the consistent line of points at the edge of the edge resembles a microscopic serrated knife. The #320 is one of the most popular foundation stones in the Shapton series, and this is why!

WEPS Shapton Pro 1K - Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro 1K – Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro 1K - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro 1K – Sweeping

At first glance, the Shapton 1K is a bit rough – and it is a rather coarse 1K stone. The stone is actually classified as  a “Coarse/Medium” stone – it’s actually much more similar in results to the 800 Chosera. This edge is now at a basic sharpness level. When coming off the stock WEPS 600 diamond, the 1K is a good lateral move.

We are still following the idea of a gradual reduction in the serrations at the edge of the edge, and you can see the edge has lost those consistent points from the #320, and there is an outline of a straight line at the  edge of the edge.

WEPS Shapton Pro 1,500 - Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro 1,500 – Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro #1,500 - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro #1,500 – Sweeping

The #1,500 Shapton Pro WEPS stone is a gem. This stone is coarse enough to do some repair work, while leaving a very good consistency of in the depth of the scratches that allow this stone to outperform many of the other medium grit stones on the market. This is what I personally use for a working edge.

WEPS Shapton Pro 2K - Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro 2K – Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro 2K - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro 2K – Sweeping

The 2K Shapton Pro WEPS stone is another excellent stone – aside from the almost mirror, and perfectly aligned scratches (they were once referred to lining up “like North Korean Soldiers”, but I’ve always thought of the scratches as Can-Can girls), the difference between this 2K stones and others is that it will only ever produce a hazy mirror at the macro level. This is due to the no paste/swarf policy.  :)

We’ve arrived at our “critical leap” – the point where the scratches are shallow enough to create a evenly reflective surface under the microscope. On the Shapton Pros, it is between the 2K and 5K.

WEPS Shapton Pro 5K - Scrubbing A

WEPS Shapton Pro 5K – Scrubbing A

You can see from the picture above that despite the perfection of the 2K scratches, the transition is not always pretty. While the scratches do line up beautifully, there are clearly exposed scratches still going in the wrong direction on the bevel, and the edge of the edge is quite dirty. Cleaning things up is imperative at this step, and is why I refer to the leap being “critical”.

WEPS Shapton Pro 5K - Scrubbing B

WEPS Shapton Pro 5K – Scrubbing B

That’s better! :D

One thing to mention from this point on is that the edge of the edge is becoming thinner and thinner as we progress. You can see from the pictures above that there are scratches in two distinct patterns at 5K, and that is due to the pressure I am putting on the edge of the edge while scrubbing. This is causing the edge to flex under the weight. If you push too hard, it will burnish, or roll over, leaving a fatigued edge that will fail to hold its sharpness for long.

WEPS Shapton Pro 5K - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro 5K – Sweeping

With my sweeping strokes, everything has cleaned up wonderfully. This is a mirror at the macro level, although not a shiny as the 5K Chosera, and the edge of the edge is more than most people have ever experienced. Most knives and tools are sufficiently sharp at this point.

I’ve done a lot of work up to this point, and the scratches of the Shaptons work very quickly at the 8K, 15K and 30K levels if you’ve sufficiently conquered the critical leap.

WEPS Shapton Pro 8K - Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro 8K – Scrubbing

WEPS Shapton Pro 8K - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro 8K – Sweeping

I am a firm believer that if your geometry is correct, you cannot do too many strokes on a stone up to and including the 8K Shapton. This is because the edge of the edge still has enough width (as we approach 0 width) to hold up to normal use without failing. The scratches here are clearly more refined than the 5K and the purpose is to now approach the zero width window without going over.

If you think about a newly sharpened pencil easily being broken as you write that first letter or two, the same theory applies to the edge of the edge, which is becoming ever closer to being a point with 0 width. If you make the edge of the edge too thin by doing too many strokes, it will fail. This can be adjusted with geometry, but every edge will ultimately approach  the same 0 width dilemma (see this post for more about the theory of over honing).

That is why I generally do not use scrubbing motions at the 15K and 30K Shapton Pro levels. I like to think of it as “polishing the 8K and 15K grooves” rather than trying to establish the 30K scratches, which would theoretically leave the edge of the edge at a 0.5 micron width (since 30K is .5 microns).

WEPS Shapton Pro 15K - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro 15K – Sweeping

I also don’t do as many strokes as I did on all the other previous grits (I did less than 50 per side). You can still see some evidence of previous scratches, but they are most likely 5K or 8K in size. Every progression is subject to leftover scratches since each level aims to remove the previous scratches, but while I could stand to do a few more strokes to get rid of them, I think we are fast approaching a point of diminished returns.

And finally – the stone everyone has been waiting for – the 30K Shapton Pro WEPS stone. Drum roll, Please! :)

WEPS Shapton Pro 30K - Sweeping

WEPS Shapton Pro 30K – Sweeping

As with the 15K Shapton Pro, I only did a limited number of strokes (about 10-15 ultra light strokes per side).  You can see no fewer than 3 very thin vertical scratches have been exposed – I’d put them at 8K (my last scrubbing stroke) Even at the 30K level, we are revealing previous scratches.

It’s enough to drive you mad! :D

There is a huge inverse proportion of the price ratio to the actual time of use of the 15K and 30K stones, but the results speak for themselves. No where else is there a stone option that creates such clean refinement and precision.

This will be touched upon more in the next post, which will compare and discuss these 3 progressions to each other in greater detail.

Wicked Edge (WEPS) Chosera Stone Microscopic Progression

February 25, 2012

This is the second installation of the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener’s (WEPS) progression of stones under the microscope. In this post, we will look at the complete Chosera WEPS stone progression. You can find the microscopic progression of the WEPS stock diamond and ceramic stones here. I highly recommend reading the stock progression first, as it contains information that will be applied to this post.

The knife is a Maestro Wu bombshell steel folding knife with the angles set to 20 degrees per side. All pictures are taken with a Veho 400x USB microscope, and the actual dimensions of the pictures are all 1mm wide by 0.75mm high.

On a new knife, or one I am profiling for the first time, I would normally start my Chosera progression after the stock 600 diamond WEPS plate. And according to this grit comparison chart, it is a clear step backwards to go from the 600 WEPS (16 microns) to the Chosera 400 (30 microns). But as we saw in the WEPS stock progression of the 1K WEPS diamonds to the WEPS 1200 ceramic, the depth of the scratches on the diamonds can be pretty deep, and while the 400 Chosera stones may be coarser, they will not scratch as deeply – so your deepest diamond scratches begin to be exposed and worked out at much lower levels. The 400 (and 600) Choseras are also excellent for doing maintenance and routine repairs without using the diamonds. While I know not many people will be convinced to go back to the 400 or 600 Choseras, this step back actually excels the sharpening process as it moves forward.

As usual, I will be doing a series of scrubbing strokes followed by sweeping strokes at each grit. Scrubbing strokes are aggressive, and are an up-and-down motion used to establish the scratches at each grit, and to account for any minor deviations due to the tolerances of the angle cube, and dishing in the stones, etc.. The sweeping strokes are alternating strokes the span across the entire edge from heel to tip or tip to heel, and they establish a straight line at the edge of the edge. I don’t generally use circle strokes with anything other than the WEPS 100 diamonds.

One thing I do with my coarsest Chosera stone (which may be the 400, 600, 800 or 1K Chosera, depending on the situation) when coming off the diamonds is to first use the stone with a slurry. A slurry is generated by rubbing two same-grit stones together (they should be pre-soaked and wet already). In this case, I rubbed the two 400 grits together. This releases 400 grit abrasives onto the surface of the stones, and makes them more aggressive. While they do arguably cut deeper (since the full size of the abrasive is loose as opposed to just a portion sticking out of the matrix), it will still not cut as deeply as the diamonds. It will not be “best” representation of the edge, either. At this early stage, I don’t worry about making the edge usable yet. For me, it’s the transition from the diamond scratches to the Chosera scratches that is key.

Below we have the 400 Chosera with slurry.

WEPS 400 Chosera - Scrubbing with Slurry

WEPS 400 Chosera – Scrubbing with Slurry

It’s hard to tell at this level what is lurking underneath as the slurry on the stones makes things rather “dirty”. Things do clean up better with the 400 Chosera sweeping strokes:

WEPS 400 Chosera - Sweeping with Slurry

WEPS 400 Chosera – Sweeping with Slurry

While the bevel is clearly smoother than the diamond finish, the edge of the edge is rather toothy and serrated. This is because of the slurry. If I wanted to stop at the 400 Chosera, I would not use a slurry. We’ll get to that in a little bit :)

Next, the 600 Chosera with water only (no slurry) scrubbing and sweeping:

WEPS 600 Chosera – Scrubbing

WEPS 600 Chosera - Sweeping

WEPS 600 Chosera – Sweeping

After the 600 WEPS, we can clearly see that the scratches are Chosera, and not Diamond scratches.

There is really not a whole lot of difference between the 400 and 600 Chosera stones other than the 400 is “harder” and generally better suited to softer knives while the 600 is “softer” and generally better suited to harder knives. FWIW, I personally like the 600 more than the 400 :)

The 800 Chosera is an excellent “lateral” move from the WEPS 600 diamonds.  I would use a slurry if I were coming straight off the WEPS 600, but since I am following the Chosera 600, I only used water.

WEPS 800 Chosera - Scrubbing

WEPS 800 Chosera – Scrubbing

WEPS 800 Chosera - Sweeping

WEPS 800 Chosera – Sweeping

There is an uncanny similarity to the 800 Chosera and the WEPS 600 Diamond finish at the edge of the edge. However, the polishing effect of the Chosera cleans up the face of the bevel, making it shine more. They are both very clean and ready for cutting at a basic sharpness level.

I want to take this moment to explain slurry and paste regarding the Choseras specifically. Slurry is loose abrasive that makes abrasion faster. On the Chosera’s it has a milky consistency that is roughly the same color of the stone.  Because the abrasives are loose and there are a large amount of them, I reserve slurries for the coarsest grits, and do not use them past 1K. Paste is the black buildup on the stone that accumulates as you use it.  It is a combination of water, abraded metal,  lose broken down abrasive that has been released from the matrix naturally (not through raising a slurry), and bits of the binder. On the Choseras, a paste is desired. It is a finer abrasive that serves to “polish the grooves” of the scratches while cleaning up the edge of the edge. This leaves the edge more refined than the advertised grit. The trick with paste is to keep it wet enough so it stays on the stone without dripping off. Also, the more strokes you do, the more refined the edge gets (but not infinitely).

(Paste is often called swarf, but as we’ll see in the Shapton WEPS progression, Swarf is the mixture of abraded metal and water that is not desired.)

In the case of the Choseras, the scrubbing action at each grit helps to create a paste, which then makes the sweeping strokes finish finer. It’s a fantastic 1-2 punch! :D

Now we will continue with the 1K Chosera:

WEPS 1K Chosera - Scrubbing

WEPS 1K Chosera – Scrubbing

WEPS 1K - Sweeping

WEPS 1K – Sweeping

The 1K Chosera is a wonderful stone for a working edge. It is often referred to as the “incredible hulk” since it bleeds green :D  You can see how smooth the bevel is, and how clean the edge of the edge is thanks to the effects of the paste.

WEPS 2K Chosera - Scrubbing

WEPS 2K Chosera – Scrubbing

WEPS 2K Chosera - Sweeping

WEPS 2K Chosera – Sweeping

The 2K Chosera may look a little rougher than the 1K Chosera, but the edge of the edge actually comes to more of a point than the 1K, and roughly equivalent to the WEPS Ceramic 1600 (although I think the 2K Chosera looks  a little better). Again, the paste has enhanced the performance of the stone, and there is actually a very nice mirror on on the bevel at this point, although the actual scratches are not even enough at the microscopic level.

A lot of guys swear by their 2K Chosera as the best all-around working edge, and the 2K sweeping picture shows why. :D

WEPS 3K Chosera - Scrubbing

WEPS 3K Chosera – Scrubbing

WEPS 3K Chosera - Sweeping

WEPS 3K Chosera – Sweeping

The 3K Chosera scrubbing picture begins to reveal some of the deeper scratches left by previous stones. Even though the Diamond scratches were well removed, you still have the earliest Chosera scratches to contend with. In fact, revealing and removing previous scratches is a fact of life with any progression.

The 3K sweeping is not much different than the 2K, although there is a thinner edge of the edge and the bevel is smoother, still. As we approach a microscopically smooth surface, the more “blue” the edge becomes. When it turns white, then we have achieved a a real mirror finish.

Much like the relationship between the 400 and 600 Chosera stones, the 2K is “softer” and more forgiving, and is generally better on harder knives while the 3K is “harder” and less forgiving, and is generally better suited for softer knives. Both the 2K and 3K progress to the 5K with no problems.

WEPS 5K Chosera - Scrubbing

WEPS 5K Chosera – Scrubbing

WEPS 5K Chosera - Sweeping

WEPS 5K Chosera – Sweeping

The scrubbing at the 5K Chosera level exposes the scratches quite cleanly while the sweeping creates a very smooth surface. At the macro level , this is a full mirror, but at the micro level the surface is not quite clean “enough” to give that mirror effect.

That brings us to the “critical leap” concept. In any progression, there will be a transition where the peaks and valleys are even enough to reflect the surface cleanly. Medium grits still create scratches that won’t reflect directly whereas polishing stones scratches will. This transition is the “critical leap”. On the Chosera progression, you have a visible mirror at the macro level by the 2K level, but not yet under the scope. The critical leap on the Choseras is therefore between the 5K and 10K levels.

WEPS 10K Chosera - Scrubbing

WEPS 10K Chosera – Scrubbing

WEPS 10K Chosera - Sweeping A

WEPS 10K Chosera – Sweeping A

WEPS 10K Chosera - Sweeping B

WEPS 10K Chosera – Sweeping B

Because the critical leap on the Choseras is between the 5K and 10K levels, it requires more strokes to perfect things since we are using the”slower” 10K abrasive size to abrade. The paste from the 10K leaves a slightly “imperfect” looking bevel and edge. Believe me, the bevel is a complete mirror thanks to polishing effect of the paste. The resulting edge is a little toothy due to the scratches, but very smooth due to the polishing of the grooves with the paste.

From here, you can definitely shave your face, or continue on with pasted paddles or Shapton stones.

:D

Wicked Edge (WEPS) Stock Diamond & Ceramic Microscopic Progression

February 12, 2012

I was preparing to do a video on the use of the Wicked Edge Chosera stones, and I wanted to show some still shots to show what is happening at each stage of the sharpening process on the WEPS. I ended up taking microscope pictures of the whole “solid” WEPS paddle progression – 100, 200, 400, 600, 800, 1K , diamond plates, and the 1200 and 1600 ceramic paddles.

I am posting them below since there has been more interest about choosing between the higher diamond grits, the WEPS ceramic and the Chosera and Shapton WEPS stones.  I’ll be posting the Shapton and Chosera WEPS progressions shortly.

The knife is a Maestro Wu bombshell steel folding knife with the angles set to 20 degrees per side. All pictures are taken with a Veho 400x USB microscope, and the actual dimensions of the pictures are all 1mm wide by 0.75mm high.

I generally begin sharpening a new knife on the WEPS with the stock 100 diamond paddles using circles. This is an aggressive method, and as the picture below shows, it leaves seriously “crystalline” looking scratches. These random looking scratches make stock removal faster because the diamonds won’t get into ruts from a singular direction. The downside is that the leave such nasty scratches in all directions which will need to be worked out in order to prevent/minimize micro chipping at the finer stages (see my reasoning about that, here).

WEPS 100 Diamond – Circles

With the initial bevel set at the desired angle (in this case, 20 degrees per side), I can now begin the cleanup and refinement of this edge. With the 100 WEPS, I keep the angles the same, and begin using scrubbing strokes, which are basically straight up and down strokes. Scrubbing cleans up the scratches from the circles, and establishes a very flat bevel angle. You can see some very deep scratches, but they are all pretty much lined up now, but it is not ready to progress to the 200 stock diamonds yet.

WEPS 100 Diamond – Scrubbing

Scrubbing may line the scratches up and make a very nice bevel, but they leave the edge slightly wavy since you are only abrading a 3/4 inch wide section at a time as you scrub. As the final step to clean up any waviness, I use a sweeping motion, which is single alternating strokes on each side of the blade,  as seen below. This also minimizes the burr buildup.

WEPS 100 Diamond – Sweeping

From here you won’t need circles again. Each picture below follows the same scrubbing/sweeping pattern at each grit. My routine is to change grits, double check the angles with the angle cube, and then use scrubbing on each side to raise a burr, and make sure of any slight changes in angles have been removed. Then I switch to alternating sweeping strokes to clean up any waviness, and to keep burr formation to a minimum.

Below is the WEPS 200, scrubbing and sweeping. Some of the circle scratches from the 100 diamonds are still faintly visible.

WEPS 200 Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 200 Diamond – Sweeping

The WEPS 400 Diamonds start to reveal some of the micro chipping elements from my microscope lens digging into the edge for the pictures. On the 400 Sweeping picture, you can see how the deeper scratches terminates with micro chips at the edge. At this relatively coarse stage, they can still be worked out with the 600 diamond plates.

WEPS 400 Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 400 Diamond – Sweeping

By the end of the WEPS 600 diamond plates, there is a decent, although what I call a “minimal” working edge. Note just how much cleaner the sweeping edge of the edge is compared to the scrubbing edge.

WEPS 600 Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 600 Diamond – Sweeping

It is from here that all WEPS owners must make some decisions – to stop at the 600 stock, or continue with the WEPS 800/1K, the WEPS 1200/1600 Ceramics, the WEPS diamond compound on leather, or to the Chosera or Shapton WEPS stones. For this blog post, we will continue with the WEPS diamonds and ceramic plates.

My 800 and 1K diamond plates are relatively new (only about 3 months old) compared to my stock diamonds, which are about 15 months old, so they are a still a fair bit more aggressive than they will be when they settle in after a few more months. Nonetheless, you can see the scratches on the surface of the bevel are not as deep as the 600 even though the edge of the edge isn’t as clean as the 600.

WEPS 800 Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 800 Diamond – Sweeping

On the 1K WEPS diamonds, the bevel smooths out even more, and the edge of the edge is actually a “tip” of a point, whereas on the 600, there is a “flat top”. At this point, we have a  “sharp” knife that is what I would call a general purpose working edge. (I have very high standards!  :D )

WEPS 1K Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 1K Diamond – Sweeping

The WEPS diamond plates tap out at 1K, and from there the WEPS ceramic stones are meant to further refine and polish the edge. Before you see the pictures below, take one more look at the 1K edge above. Note how consistent the scratches on the bevel are, and how clean things look, minus the occasional bump on the edge of the edge.

If you’ve read any of my posts before this, I talk about how the different abrasive mediums abrade differently. It becomes quite apparent below that when you switch from the diamond setup to the ceramics that there are hidden scratches that become exposed due to the more shallow scratches of the ceramics paddles. On the 1200 scrubbing picture, the scratches going against the majority could be written off as me just not doing enough scrubbing to remove the previous scratches. But when you see the sweeping picture, you can see just how wide the residual scratches against the grain are. Although those scratches are rather shallow at this point, you can tell from the width that they do not belong to the 800, 1K or 1200 plates (they look more like 400 grit scratches). Note how those deeper scratches leave serrations in the edge of the edge.

The solution is rather simple, either go back to the 800/1K WEPS, or do more on the 1200 until those scratches “bottom out”.

WEPS 1200 Ceramic – Scrubbing

WEPS 1200 Ceramic – Sweeping

Lastly, I finished with the 1600 WEPS ceramic plates.  You can see that I didn’t quite work out all the residual scratches from the lower grits in the scrubbing picture, but they seem to be under control from the sweeping – I did do quite a few strokes to clean things up :)

WEPS 1600 Ceramic – Scrubbing

WEPS 1600 Ceramic – Sweeping

By the end of the WEPS 1600 ceramic paddles, you have a very nice edge that should easily shave arm hairs.

I will be adding the microscope Chosera and Shapton Progressions in the next couple of posts.

Spyderco Military in s90v – Shave Ready

February 6, 2012

A while back, one of the members of the Keeping Sharp area of Knife Forums challenged me to sharpen his Spyderco Military in S90V. When I got it, it was pretty darn sharp already – there was a chip in the middle of the blade, but the tip area was sharp enough to cut hairs off my arm.

I can tell you that the Spyderco Military s90v is a wonderful knife -I started off using the Shapton Glass stones, an the knife just took an amazing, super scary/aggressive feeling edge up to the 4K level.After that, it was a ton of work because there was a point of diminishing returns – as each grit became finer, it took longer to cut through the steel.

I had the knife cutting smoothly from the beginning, but it just took 4 tries to get it sharp enough to cut hair comfortably. Even at the time of the shave, it only whittled hair, not popped. You can see how thrilled I wasn’t as the shave progressed, but the end result was much better than I had ever imagined when I applied the aftershave.

A couple of things I noticed – one is that while the steel is abrasion resistant, it was still prone to some rolling of the edge as it got so thin. I initially started with a 16 degree angle on each side, and went through the WEPS 100/200/400/600/800/1K diamonds, then on to the Chosera 800, 2K, 5K, 10K with a little help from some Hand American .25 micron diamond to help speed up the cutting a little. (it helped, but I really did need diamonds all the way here!) but the test shave off that was horrendously rough.

I then upped it to 18 degrees and used the 15K Shapton with the HA .25 and then the 30K Shapton with Ken’s .050 Poly. This put the edge in the right place, but not enough to shave yet. I went back and did A LOT of stropping on .25 diamond on felt and then .050 poly on balsa at about 30 degrees per side. Then some canvas stropping and some clean leather (Tony Miller strop).

The second is the fact that the knife shaved waaaay better against the grain than it did with the grain – the exact opposite of what it should do! My guess is that the resistance offered by the hair against the grain allowed for the edge to “grab on” to the hair in order to cut it.

The edge under the scope was perfectly straight and smooth at each attempt – this leads me to believe that while the carbides may be tough, the steel around them sort of “fell out” as the edge of the edge approached “shave ready”. The knife was “sharp” way early on, but getting it to shave was the real challenge.

This was just a warm up – the true test will be my Rex-121 Mule made by Farid… Stay tuned!


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