help wih sharpening vg-10 steel

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Hinkle, May 18, 2020.

  1. Hinkle


    Apr 16, 2020
    Hi, I'm fairly new to sharpening my own knives using whetstones. I'm using a 1000/6000 combination stone and have had some success practicing on some Chicago Cutlery and Ikea knives. I have been able to find the burr and follow the process described by many sharpening YouTube videos. However, when I have sharpened my VG-10 3 clad Zhen chef's knife I cannot feel the burr, but could swear the knife is in fact sharper. Am I deluding myself that the knife is sharper without creating a burr? Need some advice.
  2. KenHash


    Sep 11, 2014
    Feeling the burr is not what's important. What's important is that it is removed after being created. Do you finish up with a strop?
    jux t likes this.
  3. Hinkle


    Apr 16, 2020
    Yes, using a leather strop.
  4. Whitedog


    Dec 30, 2005
    Does it cut stuff with ease? If it does that is all that matters.
  5. TheEdge01


    Apr 3, 2015
    VG10 has a tendency to develop a burr that can be difficult to remove. Every now and then cut into a piece of wood or something to pull the burr from your edge then commence to sharpening. VG10 takes a nice edge when sharpened properly.
    Alberta Ed likes this.
  6. Could very well be that the knife is actually sharper now. This may just be due to your sharpening efforts making the edge's apex thinner than it was before.

    'Sharpness' is relative, in that simply thinning the apex of the edge will move it in that 'sharper' direction. Sharpening all the way to a verifiable burr will make it essentially as sharp as it can be, as the burr forms when the edge becomes thin enough that it can't be made thinner without the edge folding (which IS the burr).

    So, point being, you've made progress in a sharper direction. Going further with a progressively lighter touch will get it further along, until you can actually see or feel the burr is there. After that, a very, very light touch on the stone, or with a strop, can clean up the burr without degrading the previous work. And when the burr's cleaned up correctly, it'll get sharper still, and the edge will retain some strength then, as well.
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
    Barmaley and Blues like this.
  7. Barmaley


    Dec 31, 2016
    Hi David,

    I guess Hinkle tried to check the burr with fingers (Hinkle, please correct me if I am wrong). Can burr always be detected by finger test or sometimes it is too small to feel? Should I try to develop obvious burr or there are better techniques?
  8. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    Burrs can be any size. Obviously they are small before they are big.
    A big burr is only useful in that you can feel it. But really the smallest burr you can feel is the best, because after that you're just removing more material for no benefit. A burr is merely a positive sign that you got as far as is useful.

    If you have a cotton ball, fuzzy felt, or something of that sort you can run it along the edge and see if something catches. If it does you found a burr.

    Not all knife sharpeners go to the point of burr formation, wanting to get to an apex without removing excess material.
    Also as you get closer to an apex without actually getting there, your knife should perform better.
  9. The reply by Ourorboros is good, in suggestions for how to detect a burr that otherwise can't be felt by the fingertips. In particular, the cotton ball or Q-tip, or a tissue or paper towel rubbed along the edge will snag a bit, if a burr is there. Fibers of the cotton or paper will be visible clinging to any burrs. I've found this works even better if the cotton or paper is wet. Also, one can strop the edge on a piece of smooth leather to see hints of burrs. If burrs are there, the burrs leaning into the leather will scrape some leather off in 'tracks' clearly seen on the leather. On a strop with a heavy layer of compound or black swarf, burrs will also scrape off and collect the compound/swarf along the edge where the burr exists, much like the same stuff would collect underneath your fingernails if you scraped the strop with them. Use a well-lighted magnifier to inspect the edge, to see where that material might be collecting along the edge.
  10. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    I sharpened a Zen VG10 knife for a friend a little while back. I used a Fine India to set the bevel and restore the edge and then light honing/de-burring on a soft Arkansas stone (probably could've skipped this) and some light strop passes on leather.

    I found that example at least to be pretty responsive.
    garry3 likes this.

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