Posts Tagged ‘Shapton Professional Stones’

Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels under the Microscope

June 22, 2015

We wanted to document the speed and ability of our Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels. Aside from having remarkable anti-break technologies in the tip and handles, they also actually work really well, as the microscope pictures will show. We freehand sharpened a couple of  Maestro Wu D-8 Nikiris (RC~58) from scratch and finished on both steels, and also demonstrated the speed of the steels by removing a chip on a customer’s custom Maestro Wu D-9 Damascus (RC~60). Pictures are with a Veho-400 USB Microscope, and the actual picture size is 1 mm wide by 0.75 mm high.

First, a picture of the steels – The white steel was difficult to see, so I also added a picture of a “dirty” section that had been used so the texture of the materials could be seen. Getting a picture of the black steel’s “dirty” section proved to be difficult as well. Basically, the surface of the steels is scaly looking, much like a reptile’s skin.

Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels

Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels

White Steel clean

White Steel clean

White Steel dirty

White Steel dirty

 Black Steel Clean

Black Steel Clean

Black Steel Dirty

Black Steel Dirty

For new sharpening, I generally start with an #80 Grit belt, followed by a #240 Grit belt, and follow with a #1,500 Shapton Pro stone. This is my “basic sharp”, and it will shave hair and juuust push cut. The picture below is the edge off the #240 belt, which is jagged, and usually has a significant burr, which is pictured in the picture below that.

1. 240 Belt A

1. 240 Belt A


2. 240 Belt B

2. 240 Belt B – notice the gem-like burr

I then cleaned up the edge on the #1,500 Shapton Pro stone, roughly 35 back and forth passes per side, followed by a series of about 15 single-sided strokes:

3. 1500 Pro A

3. 1500 Pro A

You can clearly see a micro bevel from the stropping strokes vs. the knife strokes. This is pretty much the result of using less pressure with single-sided strokes, and it helps put the apex on the edge of the edge. While some haters may have something to say about my lack of precision, in reality the micro bevel is only 0.04 mm high – meaning my variation is pretty darn low. What matters most is that my stropping/steeling strokes are consistent, which they are.

3a. 1500 Pro A Measured Variation

3a. 1500 Pro A Measured Variation

After the 1,500 Shapton Pro, I did 10 light, alternating strokes on the Jende White Ceramic Sharpening Steel:

5. White Steel A  x10

5. White Steel A x10

The result shows a noticeable increase in reflection at the edge of the edge, indicating some cutting/burnishing action. The apex of the edge has evened out a touch, but is still quite similar to the edge from the just the stone. The cutting test determined that the edge was more aggressive than that straight off the #1,500 Shapton Pro stone. The White Steel cut very quickly and aggressively, which is the way it’s meant to.

I then sharpened up a different D-8 on the belts followed by the #1,500 stone in the same fashion, and then went straight to the Black Steel and did 10 light, alternating strokes:

7. Black Steel A x10

7. Black Steel A x10

As my micro bevel shows, I am pretty consistent from knife to knife. But back to the point – the difference here from picture 3 above shows noticeable cutting/burnishing of the bevel, but less than that found in picture 5 from the White Steel – which is the way things are supposed to happen. More importantly, the edge of the edge smooths out, and the cutting test produced a practically indistinguishable result from the #1,500 Shapton Stone. That’s friggin’ impressive because my results off the #1,500 Shapton Pro are very difficult to beat. 😀

For the next trick, I used a customer’s D-9 Damascus (RC~60) that came in for sharpening. There was a nice little chip in the edge which would’ve been easy enough to remove on the stones and belts, but I wanted to see how many licks it would take with the steel to get to the center of this chip. I also measured the “gap” along the way. Here is the “before picture”, and the same picture below it with the measurement of the width of the chip:

10a. Chip Before

10a. Chip Before

10. Chip Before

10. Chip Before

Then, with 10 strokes of the White Steel: I used what I would call an aggressive amount of pressure since I knew I was trying to fix the chip. Again, the picture followed by the same picture with the measurement. The chip which initially took up the majority of the screen width at 0.77 mm, was now only 0.46 mm – generously. The deepest part of the chip was about only half of that.

11a. Chip white steel x10

11a. Chip white steel x10

11. Chip white steel x10

11. Chip white steel x10


Then I did 10 more aggressive strokes on the White Steel, bringing it up to 20 strokes. Only the deepest part of the original chip remained, with a width of only 0.24 mm.

12a. Chip white steel x20

12a. Chip white steel x20

12. Chip white steel x20

12. Chip white steel x20


I followed this with a third round of strokes, bringing the total up to 30. There was no real evidence of the chip left at this point. I looked up and down the blade for any other indications of the chip, and there were none.

13. Chip white steel x30

13. Chip white steel x30

In keeping with the mentality of these steels, the White (Mohs 9) is the aggressive steel while the Black (Mohs 8) is the finishing steel. I then took 10 light, alternating strokes on the Black Steel.


14. Black Steel Final x10

14. Black Steel Final x10

I’d say this looks pretty freakin’ good! At a macro level, you can visibly see the micro bevel from the steeling (picture size is 13 mm wide by 9.75 mm high, and the actual micro bevel is approx. 0.22 mm wide). And because of the geometry behind the edge is still established and intact, the knife actually still cuts very smoothly despite it not being a 5K edge anymore.

15. D-9 Macro Black Steel Final

15. D-9 Macro Black Steel Final

Overall, the Jende Ceramic Sharpening Black and White steels can do quite an amazing job of maintaining knives – and can even handle small chips. More importantly, when used in conjunction with one another, they can help your knife maintain its edge for an extended period of time before needing a full resharpening.

Advertisements Reed Knife + 1,500 grit Shapton Pro Travel Sharpening Stone (2 Videos)

March 27, 2014

An introduction to using the Swiss Star Knife from Oboes.Ch on a custom 1,500 Shapton Pro grit travel stone by Tom Blodgett of Jende Industries, LLC.
This video first introduces the 1,500 grit Shapton Pro 1″ x 6″ stone, which is mounted to an aluminum base for better stability. The stone is stored dry in a sheath and just needs a quick splash of water before use. Then he uses the Swiss Star Reed beveled reed knife to demonstrate how to properly use the stone in order to refresh an edge that is simply tired or dull, but otherwise in good condition.

The second video shows how to effectively account for the rounding by using a permanent marker to mark the edge. On older single bevel reed knives, there is almost always rounding that has occurred at the edge, either through sharpening and/or stone wear over time. When touching up the edge of the reed knife, it should remove the marker from the edge of the blade. If you use the travel stone on your older reed knife, it may not work when the blade is placed flat on the stone. If it does not remove the ink when flat, then the blade should be raised off the stone slightly in order to abrade the actual edge.

This stone can also be used on hollow ground knives and of reed knives of all makes. Enjoy!

2012 Operation O.B.O.E and Bocal Majority Summer Camps – Austin, Texas

June 30, 2012

The second leg of my trip took me to Austin, Texas where the beautiful Chicago summer lake weather turned to hot and sunny Texas summer weather. I was scheduled to give some reed knife sharpening seminars to the budding oboe and bassoonists of the Bocal Majority and Operation O.B.O.E. Summer Camps, which are run by Bassoonist Jennifer Auerbach and her amazing admin team and student helpers/workers.

Jesse Woolery, who is the assistant director of the camp, and a band director at Denton High School in Denton Texas, met me at the airport and we immediately became the best of friends! This trip really needed to stop getting better already!

We headed over to the camp at Pflugerville high school, where I met up with Jennifer and the gang, and barged in on Martin Schuring’s reed making class to say hello. More on him later…

In the meantime, I received a phone call from Extended Stay America – the hotel where I was scheduled to stay – saying that they had overbooked the hotel, and they moved me to another hotel and were going to comp me 1 night! YEAH, BABY! And if things just couldn’t go any better, I even got a very nicely discounted rate for the second night!! Thank you for the great customer service, Extended Stay America!

The camp ended for the day, and we all headed out to eat at Kerby Lane. Their guacamole dip with melted cheese was just satanicly decadent. I ended up ordering the grilled chicken sandwich with a mashed potato side. As many of you may know, Martin Schuring is the current president of the IDRS, and with the 2012 conference in Oxford, Ohio only a week away, we ended up having a really nice, in-depth discussion some of the current IDRS issues. It is safe to say we all left fully satisfied after the great meal and a great conversation!

Tuesday was my seminar day. We got there a little early, and the door wasn’t open yet, so we ended up playing catch for a few minutes. 🙂

Oboists and Bassoonists Playing Catch

Since there are different age and level groups at these oboe and bassoon camps, we started with the beginner reed makers who were mostly middle school age and were making their first reeds ever this week. This was a new challenge for me, too, since my seminars usually cater to more experienced double reeders and reed makers. So instead of the usual knife sharpening demo, the seminar revolved around the introduction to the reed knife and its role in the whole reed making and adjusting process. We also passed around a few different knives of varying levels of “sharp”, and began to calibrate the students to the differences in feedback and results between a sharper knife and a duller knife. This worked out really well, and it was a great reminder that I can always learn something from my own seminars.

Just after lunch, Jesse conducted the more advanced ensemble, and I sat in for a bit. It was a little weird, actually. There are usually only 1-2 oboes and/or bassoons in an ensemble, but to see and hear 1st, 2nd and 3rd oboe and bassoon parts with multiple players on each part was a new experience for me – especially when one of the students is Martin Schuring!

Ensemble Rehearsal


The afternoon seminar was for the high school level students, who had more reed making skills overall, and knew about the importance/requirement of a reed knife. So this was familiar waters for me. We grouped the bassoon and oboe students together, and enjoyed a lengthy, in depth reed knife sharpening demo. After the initial demo had concluded, students had the choice to break off into their reed making groups, or stick around for more sharpening. Those who stuck around got their knives sharpened and questions answered. A nice treat was one bassoonist’s reed knife that was a beautiful single bevel knife made in Japan. It was very well made from laminated steel, and it was an absolute dream to sharpen. Even though my technique for sharpening that knife was not the usual method prescribed in my reed knife sharpening book, I was more than happy to get a little geeky on the student and produce a more aesthetic (yet every bit as sharp)  finish that was more the style of a Japanese sword polisher off my Shapton Pro stones.

As I was sharpening, it was really great to see Martin interact with the students. This man receives the utmost levels of respect in the double reed world, and I can totally see why. He was having a great time with the kids, patiently and informatively answering every question thrown at him, and making fun little jokes while enthusiastically encouraging them through the trials and errors of beginner reed making. All the students were relaxed and felt completely at home. I easily could see why there were about 50 participants in this week’s camp alone!

One interesting moment came when one Martin mentioned a reed knife at the table needing a little TLC. I naturally said that we can just happen to do that today… This knife was an older Herder, but the stabilizer on the shoulder was much lower than the rest of the blade. I didn’t want to ruin my stones too much over this (we’re actually talking a lot of time to fix this issue on just the stones) so I took Ashley, one of the assistants in the camp (who showed great interest and improvement in her own sharpening since I had met her a couple years ago at Michigan University) and gave her the “graduate” level sharpening class, which took place under the hot Texas sun on the curb just outside the music room. Yes, I literally took the knife and got medieval on it – scraping away the height of the shoulder to bring it up to level with the rest of the blade. Ashley even gave it a try. With the knife somewhat evened out (more of a band aid, really), I proceeded to sharpen it up, much to the satisfaction of everyone.

After the day died down and I cleaned up, we went to Tino’s Greek Café, where the food was plentiful and oh so tasty! I had a Gyro platter with beef, rice and vegetables along with a nice lemon chicken soup. The conversation centered on bassoon, which is an interesting change from all the oboe talk I’m more accustomed to.

I said goodbye to Jennifer, and thanked her for such a wonderful experience. I told her just how impressed I was with everything they were doing, and that I would love to come back again next year. On my way back to the hotel, Jesse and I had some more great conversation, and after a sound sleep, headed out to the airport, where I started getting ready for our sharpening party in New Jersey.

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! 😀

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.


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! 😀

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! 😀

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! 😀

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.

3 Shaving Videos with 3 Different Maestro Wu Cleavers – OMG!

September 17, 2011

Warning – In all seriousness, please do not attempt to do this without a mastery of the proper wet shaving techniques – it is extremely dangerous.

The people in the following videos are actually all experienced straight razor shavers and are skilled razor honers who have all been deemed legally insane, crazy, unhinged, and even nuts by the highest authorities across several shaving communities. For more information about Maestro Wu’s knives, please visit or

I’m not sure how these videos ended up coming to be, but I think someone one the knife forums posted a video of himself dry shaving his goatee off with a 240mm kitchen knife, and someone said they could do that with a cleaver, and well, here we are  🙂

The first video is of yours truly, Tom Blodgett, aka, jendeindustries. I’m using a Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver that was honed using he Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS) with  Shapton Pro stones up to 30K, finishing with Ken Schwartz’s .125 micron CBN (see my microscope progression of the honing process here). I have been shaving with straight razors for over 9 years, but only 1-2 times per week.

Next up is my good friend Michiel Vanhoudt of Belgium with his Maestro Wu D-11 Cleaver. He’s pretty new to the straight razor scene, but he is an extremely talented and experienced sharpener and fast becoming a major force in the straight razor honing world. I was secretly hoping he’d slice his head clean off, but alas, the only head that got sliced was that of a pimple on his chin.  🙂  His progression used the Edge Pro with custom cut  Shapton Pro #320, 1k Chosera,  then 2K, 5k, 8k, 15k Shapton Pros for the Edge Pro followed by 0.5 CBN, 0.5 CrO, 0.125 CrO, 0.125 CBN horse (all on balsa), and finally stropped with Clean horse from Hand American.

Next is my good friend Jens Skandevall from Sweden, aka, Honed and Bengt-Hans with his custom Maestro Wu Damascus D-11 Cleaver.  Jens probably has the most straight razor shaving experience out of the 3 of us. He free-hand sharpened his cleaver using full sized Shapton Pros 1.5K, 5K & 8K, then the Naniwa Superstone 10K . He finished by stropping with HandAmerican 0.50µ and .25µ Mono Diamond on leather, back to Hand American 0.5µ Chromium Oxide on balsa, then on to Ken Schwartz 0.1µ CBN on balsa & finally with Ken’s 0.025µ poly diamond on kangaroo. – Say that 5 times fast! This shave includes 2 parts below. Part 1 is With the Grain (WTG), and part 2 is Against the Grain (ATG).

AND Since someone is going to get the bright idea to attempt a large knife shave after watching these videos, please watch  this tutorial video I made about shaving using a Maestro Wu A-5 Damascus 10″ Chef Knife. I know the knives will be sharp, but it will hopefully save some of you crazy yahoos from lopping your head off because of poor shaving technique.  (BTW, the technique in the 3 videos above is all acceptable, it some of the others out there I’m referring to below.)


Edit: Another video with a Maestro Wu D-11 has surfaced – this is the one and only Ken Schwartz of Precise Sharpening, and the granddaddy of the sub-micron CBN and poly diamond sprays out there on the market. This video is not for the faint of heart! (yes, he makes it out alive – but I don’t know how….)

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver Turned into a Straight Razor using the Wicked Edge (WEPS)

September 14, 2011

Warning – I have over 9 years of straight razor shaving experience, so please do not attempt to shave with the biggest, sharpest implement of destruction you own!

As with all challenges, someone posted a video on the Knife Forums dry shaving his goatee with some kind of 240mm knife. Naturally, it brought out the freaks who enjoy shaving as well as sharpening, and the gauntlet was thrown down by I forget who at this point, and we ended up having 3 guys commit to doing shaves with their Maestro Wu Cleavers…. 🙂

I decided I was going to hone my Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver on my Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS), and use this opportunity to document my Shapton Pro Stones for the WEPS. The main reason I chose the WEPS over free hand and even the Edge Pro was because of the clamped knife system, which reduces the amount of accumulated error due to flipping the blade that would need to be done on the Edge Pro or freehand.

One of the difficulties I knew I was going to face with a blade this big was the amount flex in the blade itself, being a good 3 inches (7-8cm) high and 1.8mm thick. On top of that, straight razors require a super-light touch, and I knew there would be some issue with how the paddles of the WEPS would create flex at the edge of the edge, which would normally not even be thought about if I were sharpening the knife as a cleaver.

But hey, if it were easy, everyone would do it!

This particular cleaver was a beater that had been experimented on several times, so I reset things on my belt sander before heading to the WEPS. I did not get a “before” picture, but below is a picture of a stock Maestro Wu edge taken from a D-6 Chef knife for another competition.

Maestro Wu D-6 Stock Edge

Maestro Wu D-6 Stock Edge (2.5mm wide x 1mm high)

Since I had already gotten the edge on the belt sander, I decided to begin with the stock 600 WEPS diamond plate set at 15 degrees on both sides. (I checked all my angles along the way with my Angle Cube. It’s a must for precision!) All microscope pictures from this point are 1mmx1mm.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver with WEPS 600 stock Diamond

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver with WEPS 600 Stock Diamond

I decided to do my normal progression of Shapton stones that I would do on straight razors. Looking back, I should’ve gone to the #320 Shapton after the #600 WEPS to really clean things up since I normally go to #1200 on diamonds – I actually don’t have them for the WEPS, though  :/

But I do know what I’m doing, and I went to the 1K Shapton Pro from the WEPS 600, which as you can see, is perfectly fine.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 1K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 1K Shapton Pro

Then onto the Shapton #1,500. I really like this stone because the 1K Shapton is on the coarser side of things, and the #1,500 really helps clean things even more before the critical leap to 5K, where all of the previous shortcomings are revealed.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS #1,500 Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS #1,500 Shapton Pro

You’ll notice there is the slightest wave at the edge of the edge  t is at this point where I was beginning the think that 15 degrees was going to be too shallow. Most straight razors are between about 18-21 degrees.

I moved on to the Shapton Pro 2K stone and saw that the edge was crumbling a little – mostly due to my lack of razor honing technique on the WEPS – so I upped the angle to 18 degrees. You can see the new angle in the first picture below, and then the finished 2K.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 2K Shapton Pro - transition to 18 degrees

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 2K Shapton Pro – transition to 18 degrees

Maestro WU D-4 Cleaver WEPS 2K Shapton Pro - Finshed 18 degrees

Maestro WU D-4 Cleaver WEPS 2K Shapton Pro – Finshed 18 degrees

The finished 2K shows evidence of a burr, but up until this point, that is acceptable in my mind, given the circumstances and dimensions of the knife!

On to the 5K – the 2K-5K is the critical leap, and I spent a good deal more time perfecting my 5K edge than any other. It is the key to success with the Shapton Pros.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 5K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 5K Shapton Pro

At this point, picture taking becomes more difficult with the added frailty of the edge being likely to chip from hitting the scope!  If I were sharpening this cleaver as a regular cleaver, this is where I would normally stop on the Shapton Pros. However, for a straight razor shave, it is not good enough yet!

On to the 8K. Having done my preliminary polishing on the 5K, the rest of the stones move pretty quickly to further polish.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 8K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 8K Shapton Pro

You can see how thin the edge of the edge is becoming – there is some evidence of rolling at the edge of the edge – again, from my technique and the way the stones do need to push against the steel. In fact, you can see from the slight angle change that I did put some pressure on the edge.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 15K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 15K Shapton Pro

However, on the 15K I used as little pressure as possible, and the edge becomes very crisp and clean. The shine from the reflection of light was becoming a hassle for the pictures! This would be a comfortable shave by normal standards, but Shapton goes to 30K. 🙂

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 30K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 30K Shapton Pro

I will admit I did something I shouldn’t have done, which is more strokes than normal at this stage. The clumping on the bevel is evidence of elements of the swarf. I normally only do 10-20 strokes, but It felt so good, that I did about 50, and the water on the stone dried out.

I wasn’t worried because I knew I was going to use Ken Schwartz’s .125 Micron CBN (available from Wicked Edge here), and that there was going to be some convexing of the edge of the edge due to the leather paddles.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS/Schwartz .125 micron CBN

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS/Schwartz .125 micron CBN

The CBN really cleaned things up for the plain leather WEPS strop.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS Plain Leather

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS Plain Leather

As you can see from the plain leather paddle, there is some rounding of the edge of the edge. This is not always bad for shaving 🙂 The weakest, thinnest portion of the edge is gone, leaving a solid enough width at the edge for shaving. You can see a fresh score going in the opposite direction of the normal scratches – this is from contamination, most likely from me when wiping the blade down with a tissue with my dirty hands…

The overall shave was a success. There are 3 guys in on the “competition”, and I will post all 3 videos when they come out. In the mean time, here’s my picture of the Shave of the Day. Enjoy!

SOTD 9/12/2011

SOTD 9/12/2011

Wicked Edge (WEPS) Shapton Video with Clay Alison

July 28, 2011

This video was published by Clay Alison of Wicked Edge, makers of the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS) . He used the prototype Shapton Pro WEPS stones on the Richmond Addict. I got an email from him telling me that “I finally get it!”  😀

He gives me a nice plug, too – not to mention a jaw dropping knife demo… (and I’m no easy pushover when it comes to knife demos)

Thanks for a great video, Clay!




2011 BLADE Show in Atlanta, Part 2 – What Happens in Atlanta…..

July 19, 2011

This is a continuation of the adventures leading up to the BLADE show in Atlanta in June 2011. Part 1, The Sharpening Party, can be found here.


This being our first BLADE show, Ken of Precise Sharpening and I decided to show up the evening before the setup day to see if we could make a few friends. The approach into Atlanta was awesome!

Approach into Atlanta

We arrived at the hotel hungry. Once checked in, we hit the hotel bar for some dinner. It was obvious there were already some people there for the BLADE show. Ken and I sat down at the bar and we noticed a push dagger sitting on the bar where a person had left it while hitting the bathroom. The owner returned, and Ken immediately struck up a conversation that started with “That’s a real nice push dagger you’ve got there on the bar...” It turned out to be none other than Jim “Treeman” Behring and his son, James, of Treeman knives.

After a little discussion and some admiring, I asked Jim if I could try out the steel on some of my Shaptons. 😀 I ran up to the room and hit it on the 1K, 2K and 4K Shapton Glass stones. I must say, this dagger was already plenty sharp off the belt grinder – I was really impressed. So for this blade,  I was in it more for the aesthetic contrast the shine off the Glass stones would produce against the dull matte finish of the steel. I made it back down before the next round of drinks, and Ken asked how come I finished so quickly, and I simply stated “I wanted to get some work done, so I used my Shaptons”. 😀

We ended the night feeling super pumped for the next day, which was a setup day.


This being our first BLADE show, and my first show together with Ken, we had no idea what to expect, and actually spent the entire day trying to figure out the lay of the table. We had all kinds of stones – Japanese Naturals, Shapton, Chosera, full sized, Edge Pro size, Wicked Edge size, and an assortment of Ken’s CBN and Diamond compounds. We had 3 sharpening stations as well – A Shapton pond setup, a WEPS station and an Edge Pro station. I even brought some Maestro Wu knives!

Jende Industries Blade Show Table

WEPS Station w/ custom Marble Basin


This was the big day! We had a breakfast meeting set up with Clay Alison and Bob Nash from Wicked Edge, and our good friend Mark R., aka: Ytriech, from the Knife Forums. Although I had countless hours of conversations with Clay and Mark, we  had never met face -to-face, and it is always so nice to put a real face to the names. We were quickly all like old friends.

Bob (L) and Clay (R) of Wicked Edge

At the opening of the BLADE show, things got moving pretty quickly. I had planned NOT to sharpen, but that didn’t work for more than about 5 minutes into the show 😀 I started off with a Spyderco knife (sorry, the model escapes me) working it up to 30K on the Shapton Glass stones. Ken was swamped with immediate interest in the high end CBN and Diamond compounds with his balsa wood strops, and people salivating over the beautiful Japanese Natural stones.

Ken Schwartz in action!

Then a Tanto knife that someone had used their Edge Pro on was presented. So I sat down at the Edge Pro station and gave it my best. I was doing OK, but then Mark showed up. Mark is a big-time Edge Pro user, and I’ve seen his work before (which is MUCH better than mine on the EP), so I quickly got him to sit down and give the knife a go. He had that knife sharpened to a 2K Shapton edge before I could finish my next sentence! I had done most of the work already… 😀 Next thing I know, he’s doing some recurved blade! Watching Mark made me realize very quickly that there is room for  a lot of improvement in my EP skills. I’m really glad I got to see him in action – it was truly inspirational!

Go Mark!

It was at that moment I had such an amazing feeling – Ken, Mark and I had never worked together in person before, but the table was running like clockwork, as if we’d been doing this for years.

Then I got the first knife for the WEPS. It was an S30V blade. I must admit that I don’t get exposed to many pocket knives, and I don’t know my steels as much as I know my stones. I must also thank (blame) Locutus from the Knife Forums for making me want to put a 16 degree edge on this thing! That was a chore! That steel is tough! And I know it’s not the toughest out there. I ended up using the 16 degrees as a relief angle and opted for a healthier 18 degree  bevel. That was much easier 🙂 I stared with the WEPS stock diamonds, and continued with a nice 800/2K Chosera combo, and the knife was kicking sharp!

The rest of the day went quickly, and before we knew it, they were closing the doors for the evening. Mark, Ken and I went to dinner and began what is possibly the worlds most geekiest sharpening conversations in the history of mankind. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! 😀

For those of you who don’t know, Mark is Murray Carter’s first apprentice, and so we had an extensive discussion about almost every aspect of Murray Carter’s approach and philosophy to knife making and sharpening. Knives were coming out of nowhere from Mark – from his neck, his back pocket, his leg. People at other tables were actually starting to look at us. 🙂

What a perfect end to the day!


Saturday was busy. I don’t know how many people passed through or how many knives got sharpened. One thing in particular stood out, though. and that was Larry Beverly’s “letter opener” with a 50 Caliber rifle round. Ironically, I had shot a Smith and Wesson 500 just a few days earlier, and had kept the casing as a souvenir.

50 Caliber letter opener

Larry Beverly

Naturally, I had asked Larry if I could touch it to the Shaptons….

Just like the push dagger from Wednesday evening, I was more concerned with bringing out the contrasts of the matte finish of the metal and the high mirror shine of the blades. Of course, it was probably the world’s most lethal letter opener, since I had taken it up to 6K. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was able to capture the shine with my camera at the show. Here is a picture below, but click here to see the full size version.

Letter Sharp!

That evening, Mark, Ken and I headed out to the Buckhead Pizza Co. in the Galleria Mall connected to the Cobb Centre, and had great pizza (and I’m from New Jersey, so I’m very picky) and even more knife talk! We met up with the Executive Chef, and told him to stop by for some free sharpening of his knives.


The final day came all too quickly. John from the Buckhead Pizza Co. stopped by with his knife roll, and we spent a few minutes sharpening his knives up. After 2 wonderful meals there, it was the least we could do!

Buckhead Pizza Co.

Before we knew it, it was time to start breaking down and cleaning up. I’ll spare you the rundown 🙂

Afterwards, the adrenaline began to wear off, and we were able to calm down for a quiet, sober discussion about what had just happened over the past few days.

Relaxed and hungry, we hit the hotel bar for a burger, and, YUP – you guessed it – we had another intense knife conversation, complete with diagrams on napkins and scientific calculators (I’m not kidding! ) Mark is quite the closet propeller head!  In fact I commented on how Mark was the cool jock at the lunch table who was also really smart and popular. (He actually let out a genuine, ALLLLLLRRRIGHT! when Ken gave him a loud orange “May the Schwartz Be With You” T-shirt).

As the pumpkin hour approached, and the inevitable return from our weekend at the ball was closing in, we took a group picture.

3 Sharpen-a-teers

We had a totally awesome time, and we met so many more wonderful people who I didn’t get to mention, but who are not forgotten.

This was one BLADE show I won’t soon forget!