Edge sharpness

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Ruukuu, May 24, 2020.

  1. Ruukuu


    May 21, 2020
    I hear about people taking huge amounts of time with specialised gear getting their knives razor sharp. I've watched dozens of youtube videos with people showing how to get scary sharp edges.
    Thing is, for some reason i much prefer an edge that is sharp, but has a roughness to it. like its got tiny serrations.
    Am i wrong in preferring edges like this....does anyone else prefer it this way.....or am i just a lazy swine who cant take the time and energy to sharpen correctly?

    I'm curious as i am the only knife person i know of who prefers this kind of edge. Am i really the only one?
    bigsurbob, Smiling and 115Italian like this.
  2. Rykjeklut

    Rykjeklut Basic Member Basic Member

    May 23, 2018
    No, I'm with you. I do sharpen them up to pretty much hair-splitting once in a while, BUT I am way too lazy to maintain that edge. Most of the time I just do the paper-test and then I don't touch it again until it can't reliably cut these plastic wrappings we use at work.
    guy g and 115Italian like this.
  3. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    I prefer a micro toothy edge for everyday regular utility and it’s easier to maintain with just a few strokes to touch up the edge. I think it’s a better working edge than a mirror polished edge that is much more work and time to maintain. There are some cutting tasks that need a ultra fine edge for fine detail but usually that involves smaller projects on occasion or someone doing artistic carving. I know some guys that put a mirror polished ultra fine edge on but I don’t see them use them hardly ever. If there’s a need or reason for a ultra fine sharp edge then that is probably the thing to do but if not then it’s kinda unnecessary IMO.
    bflying and Alberta Ed like this.
  4. DangerZone98


    Dec 7, 2019
    I don’t have the skill level nor equipment yet to achieve the quark-splitting edge, but I’m fairly happy where I am now. My benchmark is that the knife needs to “glide” across paper without a hitch. If it can do that, I’m all set.
    guy g and Lesknife like this.
  5. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    In a broad sense, I like a lower grit edge. That has nothing to do with laziness or final sharpness though. Sharp and keen are different things.

    If properly executed a 300 grit edge should shave arm hair.

    Lower grit edges tend to last longer but it is really about matching the edge to the steel to the task.
    miso2, evilgreg, 954Ink and 1 other person like this.
  6. 954Ink

    954Ink Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Feb 22, 2020
    I have accepted this notion as well. Mainly because I dont have a better sharpening system. My nice stones got lost when I moved years ago and with so many options now a days I dont know what to buy. So I use a cheap wet stone and sandpaper mounted to an aluminum block. For my work knife I bring it to 600 grit because it gets re sharpened monthly or so. I agree the ragged burr does help with cutting.
  7. Smiling


    Nov 21, 2019
    I usually just sharpen them on #1500 stone till it shaves and call it a day. It shaves with some pressure but I don't need hair splitting edge.
    954Ink likes this.
  8. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    That depends on your steels. If most of what you sharpen is low-vanadium then a Norton JB8 will take you a long way. If most of what you sharpen are 4% or higher vanadium rich steels, then diamonds are a better option. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get good edges.
  9. bflying

    bflying Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    Yup, there is such a thing as “scary sharp” from a 200 grit stone. But I usually fall in the “micro bevel” camp. Often refine out somewhere between 1500 and full polish, then add a micro bevel around 300-600 grit. Not sure if that’s a good thing, or bad. But it’s what is on a bunch of my working knives.
  10. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    I don't know if it is really right or wrong and if it works for you then it is definitely right. I just don't see a reason to put in the time to polish the bevel only to leave the apex at a lower grit. I would just stop at the lower grit and call it good.
    bflying likes this.
  11. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    The traditional steels I use take basic hair shaving edges without a lot of effort or fancy equipment.
    They're still a bit toothy and aren't hair whittling sharp or anything as I just don't need that in a working knife.
  12. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    I don't mirror my edges, but I do like them taken to higher grits. Once the initial apex is formed, it's quick and easy to refine that edge through finer grits and then to stropping.

    And with a micro-bevel, that fine edge is easily maintained with high-grit stones.

    I don't like coarse edges any more than I like serrated edges. Coarse edges are more vulnerable to damage, either from those little points folding over or from cracks and chips initiated by the stress risers caused by deep scratch patterns.
  13. Ben Dover

    Ben Dover Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    To me, there is no right or wrong answer here.

    I sharpen to "whatever works for what I'm going to use the blade for."

    Most of my blades, I prefer well past razor-blade sharp and mirror polish.
    However, on the super steels especially, I will leave it just a bit micro-toothy, at 2k grit.

    Sharpening is a hobby for me as well as a practical skill.. When I sharpen my big Cold Steel SRK, or my Bark River Kephart to the point where it will comfortably dry-shave my face, I feel a sense of accomplishment.
  14. craytab

    craytab Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 26, 2012
    Not wrong at all. I use an inexpensive double sided norton stone and a ceramic rod to sharpen. I'm not sure what type of edge that gives me but I consider it sharp when I can shave arm/leg hair. My point is, so long as you can get your edge how you like it, who cares what other people are doing!
    DangerZone98, bflying and Ben Dover like this.
  15. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    I've been sharpening only with coffee mugs for most of a year, and my basic test is "shaves arm hair without having to work at it". Whatever grit the bottom of a ceramic coffee mug is, that's what I'm using. I've got it down to where the distance between not that sharp and shaves arm hair is about thirty seconds. I do two firm strokes (one each side) and then two more passes like that, lighter each time. Usually I can shave arm hair on the first try, but sometimes it takes a few more strokes because I screwed the pooch somehow. If you think this is BS, take the crappiest knife you own (or buy a $3 knife from wally world) and practice at it for a week.

    I do strop on cardboard boxes randomly when bored sometimes, and I have used the same loaded (green compound) leather strop on my whittling knives that I always did. The strop is with my whittling knives, so it's the one time the coffee mug is the less convenient option.

    On the rare occasion that I need more than the mug, like to re-profile a fat shouldered edge on a new knife or remove a lot of steel to fix a chipped edge I use my Ruby 320 Congress Tools rods in the Sharpmaker start to finish. I haven't dragged out my collection of bench stones or my Edge Pro Apex in ages.

    I've sharpened a lot of people's kitchen knives while at their homes, using their coffee mugs and a scrap of paper as my entire setup.
    bigsurbob and craytab like this.
  16. Ruukuu


    May 21, 2020
    Reading these posts I've realised one thing...….you guys are a lot better at sharpening than me. Lucky i like a 'toothy' edge, because i'd be pulling my hair out trying to get the 'scary sharp' edge.

    It's definitely an art i think.
    bigsurbob likes this.
  17. jideta

    jideta Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 8, 2020

    Dude, me and you.
    Practice practice practice!
    bigsurbob, guy g and Ruukuu like this.
  18. CSG


    Dec 15, 2007
    I like to get fine edges for the fun of cutting phone book paper but that's not important to my basic knife needs. I sharpen with the Sharpmaker, the old Smith's 3-in-1, or the wood Lansky box. All use ceramic rods (the Smith's also has a diamond interrupted plate). I also have a pair of Spyderco pocket stones I keep in my rig which work great on smaller blades. I recently ordered a pair of Spyderco bench stones (med and fine) but was disappointed how out of flat they were. I checked my two pocket stones and the med was flat but the fine can be rocked on a flat surface. Seems to be no issue with my little SAKs or sub-3" folders, however.

    But to get back on track to the op's question, I can live with a toothy edge and it seems to work better for some things (like food prep/slicing).
  19. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    There are some things you're either good at or not, but iMO sharpening is a skill that can be gained easily enough by anyone. I think the reason people give up before learning how to make something sharp is that is can be difficult to tell if you're making the situation worse or better in the beginning, so you can grind away without seeing progress until it clicks.
    bigsurbob and CSG like this.
  20. blanex1


    Feb 11, 2015
    I once spent hours sharping my knifes, but now I feel if it sticks in my thumbnail at an angle and cuts phonebook paper! its good enough for me, every now/then I will resharpen and strop, done- about 10 minutes.:)

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