The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
I recently bought a diamond plate to flatten sharpening stones. This was bought from Aliexpress in China. The plate worked fine so I sent for three tubs of diamond paste to assist in sharpening razors,
Very happy with it so far,1 micron,1.5 microns and .5 micron. I have no way of checking the sizes or the quality except that the stuff does what I want. Coarser sizes are available and would be better for sharpening knives I think.
Next order was for four diamond "stones" for the edge pro. Of course, there is genuine diamond made for the edge pro and in the past, I have bought those. They cost over £40 each here if I remember correctly, the ones I bought from China were £12 for the four !! I am sure that there is a gap in quality but they work fine. I sharpened a friends kitchen knife yesterday, not a great steel 420 I guess, shaving sharp after a few minutes work though and what more can you ask for.
The stone on the left is an authentic edge pro one and the stone on the right is very coarse, shifts that steel though.
I too sharpen free hand by default. I picked this up for setting the edge on blade blanks that have a basic grind present ..but.. not an edge. You have an example of such in the laminated blade blank (small dagger) I sent with the "kit". I didn't want to take it to a belt sander because I couldn't hold it steady enough to get (what I'd consider) a symmetrically acceptable grind. This fixture provides a perfect uniform grind w/o the risk of a bad one from an aggressive belt sander ..&.. far better than I can do by hand.
Another purpose I use it for is re-profiling an edge (think Queen Cutlery of the vintage when they did NOT come with a keen edge) ..or.. when sharpening a knife where I do not want to risk scratching the nice shiny finish on the blade (think .. my S&M humpback lockback whittler) which I carry & therefor want sharp ..but.. wish to maintain a near factory like appearance.
The all metal construction & total price of under $20 had some influence too.
I do NOT use it on a weekly basis ..but.. wouldn't trade it either. It sets a PERFECT edge. Far better than I can do by hand. However .. initial assembly is time consuming. Not difficult ..just.. time consuming. Should you purchase one & if you've the room .. you might wish to just assemble it & leave it that way. Storing it in some out of the way place when not actively being used.
Also .. I've experienced some difficulty clamping SMALL blades in place such that the cutting edge extends far enough out of the fixture's clamp that I'm not sharpening / abrading the edge of the fixture's clamp instead of the blade .. at low angles anyway. I've gotten around this by clamping the blade such that the edge to be sharpened extends out to one side or the other of the clamping area. With an assembled knife .. the issue disappears .. as I clamp on the handle. Again .. extending the edge to be sharpened off to one side or the other & not directly in front of the clamp.
NOTE: I still do the majority of my sharpening free hand. My EDC's these days are all D2 or VG10 core laminated & I don't let them get so dull that I have to "break out the heavy schtuff". Also, I've a fair inventory of diamond whetstones. SO0o .. I just touch them up ..free hand.. when needed.
Still .. would not trade the "fixed angle sharpening fixture" !!!
To the point .. I purchased my daughter one .. before I got myself one.
She's literally about 1.4K miles away from me now ..so.. Dad can't sharpen her knives for her anymore.
She reports using it to good effect.
I would also add .. it is ideal when striving to maintain the "STRAIGHT FLAT" cutting edge of a Wharncliffe blade.
J.J. Smith III said:
You know, I've always freehanded, but for $20.00 I might have to try one of them. ...
I think that Dale has covered all the important points in the above.
However, I will just give a brief analysis of the way I use my Edge Pro. When I got it I was influenced by various forums as to how to get the "perfect edge" these are usually described as hair whittling or something similar, well that was my goal. Every edge was worked on with a full set of stones and then moved on to the polishing tapes, which are a little fiddly. I eventually stopped using the Edge Pro and resorted to freehanding and have been getting good results. Now that I have the set of diamond stones I am finding that although the system does take a few minutes to set up with the diamond stones it takes such a short time to set a perfect bevel literally five minutes and I am done. Then finish polishing on a pasted strop and I am spending less time than sharpening freehand. These diamond stones to me make the system work so very efficiently that it really is worth getting it out and the few minutes to set up.
The key is to sharpen the blade on the coarsest diamond, that 120 is a beast, only take out the worst scratches with the other three stones. At the end, there is a blade close to shaving sharp and 2/3 minutes on the pasted strop truly does make for a great edge.
When sharpening "free-hand" ..all too often.. I ended up rounding out the tip of a wharncliffe , sheepsfoot , utility knife design. For me .. the nice pointy ..yet, robust.. tip of that blade design is what's both most desirable & useful. I'm often disappointed with myself attempting to free-hand sharpen blades of that nature. Till I got this fixture .. I was forever "screwing up" the tips of my utility knives by "rounding" them off. The household utility knife before this one was retired with a very round tip. Sharp ..but.. rounded. The one pictured below is VERY hard. It uses HSS tempered to a 62 +/-1 HRC .. SO0o .. it's also very brittle. We've broken the tip 3X now. The first couple times I was able to redress w/o much issue .. thanks to the sharpening fixture under discussion. The last time though .. I snapped off about a 16th of an inch of the tip & had to lower the spine to regain that sharp pointy configuration.
JJ .. I just checked .. I have one more of the exact same cigar boxes I configured for storage of my fixed angle sharpening fixture. Should you decide to proceed with the purchase of one of those fixtures .. that box is yours if you want it. I'd gladly cut the smaller interior liners down to facilitate storage of the stones along the outsides edges & forward in your direction.
J.J. Smith III said:
For me, especially on my wharnies, is variable. A robust edge, near the handle to a finer edge at the tip.
This is a pic of the "retired" utility knife. It was originally a sheepsfoot design. You can see where I've rather messed that up.
It is the only identifying mark on it. The handle design is an exact match to all the old Catt kitchen cutlery I have ..but.. no Catt stamping on it anywhere. Anyone have a clue as to who was the original manufacturer ?!?
The stamping reads "Quikut" in script [over] "TOOL STEEL".
I used a 100 grit -a very rough diamond stone-to sharpen various kinds of oil stones found at flea markets. The stone was manufactured by DMT in Marlboro, Ma which I got at a flea market. The DMT stone wore out pretty fast. This was more an exercise in learning.
A set of DMT diamond stones was used in flattening water stones but now I use just DMT diamond stones for sharpenng.(no water stones). I heard that the diamonds are manufactured from gas in the lab-who knows if that is true? DMTs are expensive but last forever. There are two stones with 220 mesh, 325 mesh, 600 mesh, and 1200 mesh. Another stone has a 10,000 mesh which is extra extra fine.
Pocket knives once sharpened here are honed with buffing wheels when the fine edge is gone. You can sharpen at an angle that makes the blade thinner but that chip-outs more easily. Didn't the old knifemakers use diamond wheels? No knifemaker who wants production volumes would use flat stones.
The old guy's certainly used wheels I have seen pictures of them lying on top of some huge grindstones, don't know if diamond was used in the past.
It certainly feels like the way forward especially with the rise of the very hard super steels.More importantly to me though using diamond stones just makes the job so much easier.
I too have seen pictures of large round grindstones being used in early factory production of cutlery. Often belt drive (in the pics I've observed) from a common drive-shaft centrally mounted above the workspace & used to simultaneously energize numerous pieces of production equipment. I believe .. quite often .. water driven. i.e. cutlery factories (and other forms of manufacturing) were often located adjacent to a river or "mill pond" & used a water driven wheel to energize their production equipment.
As a child growing up in a rural farming area .. I can recall a neighbor that still had (and used) a grinding wheel that was 3~4 ft in dia & manually powered via a foot pedal (think .. the early Singer sewing machine). The grindstone was literally about 4 ft in dia & of a very coarse almost sandstone material. I'm sure equivalent stones could be quarried of various "grits".
For efficiency & production viability .. it is certain that flat stones were not used to obtain the basic desired grind geometry. It would simply have been economically nonviable.
Great pictures Dale.