Spyderco Military in s90v – Shave Ready

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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