Shaving Sharp...I finally get it! :)

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gcbryan
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Shaving Sharp...I finally get it! :)

I finally possess the “secret” to getting my blades shaving sharp! Smile

There’s no real secret in fact but the devil is in the details as they say. I’ve found that if you go through the process (whatever your process is) and it’s paper cutting sharp but doesn’t quite cut hair easily then you have to go back to the fine stone stage. If that’s not enough go back to the coarse stone stage.

Then go back the stroping stages (in my case medium and then fine). In case everyone isn’t doing it this way I’ll mention the (not quite) obvious. When using the stones move the face of the blade into the stone. When using the strop move the face of the blade away from the strop.

I generally made 10 passes on each side for both the coarse and then fine stones and the same for the medium and then fine strop but 5 passes would probably do the trick.

No more than light pressure is required for any of this as well.

Initially, when I got the blade so that it would just barely cut hair I tried to get it sharper with the strops but when I decided to go back to the fine stone stage and then the strops this is when the blade really became shaving sharp.

Now all 12 of my folders are shaving sharp.

This isn’t rocket science but until today I wasn’t able to get my knives quite as sharp as I wanted them to be and I read here and elsewhere that many people were having that same problem. So I thought I’d post exactly what I did.

It actually could be done with just a single inexpensive two-side stone and a spare leather belt and probably without even having to use compound on it.

Edited by: gcbryan on 09/16/2012 - 00:15
DarkSide
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That theory and solution can be applied to many hurdles life will throw at you…

Woah……That was deep. For me at least..

 


jlh454
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Dunno if this is even on topic, but here’s a little tip to keep disposable razors sharp.

http://lifehacker.com/5502841/extend-the-life-of-your-razor-blades-with-...

I’ve seen numerous articles about this and tried it and it seems to work. (Albeit I keep a trimmed beard and only shave my neck)

gcbryan
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jlh454 wrote:
Dunno if this is even on topic, but here’s a little tip to keep disposable razors sharp.

http://lifehacker.com/5502841/extend-the-life-of-your-razor-blades-with-...

I’ve seen numerous articles about this and tried it and it seems to work. (Albeit I keep a trimmed beard and only shave my neck)

Makes sense. I shave with an electric razor and then use a razor after that so mine last quite a while anyway but I’ll definitely give that a try.

Hokum
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heartfelt congratulations.

never got to the stage, and I’d love to get my knives to shave.

NightCrawl
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Yep, getting knives sharp with a stone isnt exactly easy but not rocket science either. Just takes some practice. I started by sharpening the cheap kitchen knives for about 10 bucks each and sharpened the most expensive one (around 120 bucks) today. I had to make a new edge before getting it really sharp, but now its a smooth razor.. in fact, its sharper than any knife I have sharpened. I guess its good quality steel..

I do it just like bryan described. The last strokes on the fine stone only in the same direction and after that to the leather peace with some grey paste on it until the recently sharpened areas look nice and shiny.

Oh, I pull the knife through a piece of hard wood (cutting boards are usually hard wood) before going to the leather. Then I pull it through the hard wood again, and then I go back to the leather again until I am satisfied.

You might notice that the knife wont cut into the wood as far after the leather treatment as it did before, but its meant to be like that. Wink

old4570
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Yeah , Ive gone to the diamond hones , and when Im done with the diamond hone I move onto a steel rod , to remove the very slight bur , when Im done it shaves ..
After this , a bit of work with the steel maintains the edge ..

I can maybe go 3 to 6 months with the steel rod [ maintain edge ] , and then re do the edge with the diamond hones .. and so the cycle continues ..

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

edc
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I use diamond stones and then finish with a ceramic steel.

 

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sintro
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I myself usually just use a sock to remove the any kind of burr inbetween stages, sometimes a few times during a stage if it’s the coarse stage. This works out well because I usually sharpen in my room. And where I sharpen is about 4 feet from my hamper.

gcbryan
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I’m guessing that when people say they can’t get it that sharp that they are not going long enough with the coarse stage?

I think if you keep going in the first stage until you get a burr along the edge and if you keep getting finer with the proceeding stages you’re bound to get a razor sharp edge.

NightCrawl
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I dont think its necessary to always have the burr.. maybe the first time you sharpen a knife when giving it a new edge.

A lot of people have a problem keeping the same angle during the sharpening process. That will lead to big time screw-up.

dchomak
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What a riot, just last night we watched “The Butter Shave” (Kramer discovers shaving with butter)
I think Seinfeld was the best comedic show of all time.

BTW, for my light beard, I have always used Noxema Skin Cream to shave.

2pts1scn
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I was beginning to suspect that my problem has been patience, and this thread reinforces that. More strokes,folks, is what I’ve needed (the right kind, that is).
f42
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jlh454 wrote:
Dunno if this is even on topic, but here’s a little tip to keep disposable razors sharp.

http://lifehacker.com/5502841/extend-the-life-of-your-razor-blades-with-...

I’ve seen numerous articles about this and tried it and it seems to work. (Albeit I keep a trimmed beard and only shave my neck)

Tried this with mach3 and it didn’t work I think Smile


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Tally-ho
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OK, welcome members of the shaving sharp knives club.

Post a picture of your partially shaved calves and / or forearms. Wink

Hokum
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NightCrawl wrote:

I dont think its necessary to always have the burr.. maybe the first time you sharpen a knife when giving it a new edge.

A lot of people have a problem keeping the same angle during the sharpening process. That will lead to big time screw-up.

this is IMHO my biggest problem. ah how I wish I could get my knives to shave…

NightCrawl
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Tally-ho wrote:
OK, welcome members of the shaving sharp knives club. Post a picture of your partially shaved calves and / or forearms. ;)

I would, but I have almost no hair on my forearms anyway.. I just see them on the knife. Big Smile

 

@Hokum: There are tools for that. Little chocks of metal or wood work well, but its best to train a lot until you can do it by hand/with your fingers to keep the distance. I sharpened 8 cheap knives from almost numb to razor-sharp before I started with the expensive ones. I got faster from knife to knife and had to remove less and less material.

Oh, and sharpening knives is really satisfying. People always give me that weird look until they feel the knife and cut something.. or shave. Big Smile

gcbryan
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I would say if you have never been able to shave with the edge more than likely you need to work with the coarse stone some more.

If you have previously been able to shave and now can’t you can probably just strop it back into shape or at most go to the fine stone.

I know that’s how it worked for me. As far as keeping the same angle I just lock off my wrist and quickly use the same motion. Your body remembers this motion fairly easily.

I would say it’s like anything else. It seems hard until the first time you are able to do it. After that it’s easy.

gcbryan
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Here’s a fun YouTube video.

agenthex
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If you’re lazy (like me), just get the accusharp 1 pass system. The cheap imitation also work ok, but not as good as the original.

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

Pulsar13
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agenthex wrote:
If you're lazy (like me), just get the accusharp 1 pass system. The cheap imitation also work ok, but not as good as the original.

I'm lazy like you. Links? Esp for the cheap cheap imitation. Laughing

eebowler
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Murry Carter is the guy I attribute my sharpening knowledge to. http://www.cartercutlery.com/ I bought a sharpmaker a couple years before and and couldn’t get knives ‘shaving sharp’ every time but, after watching Murry’s videos, I can do it easily with varying girts of wet/dry sandpaper. NightCrawl, it’s my opinion that the burr IS necessary even if it’s barely detectable. How else would you ensure that one side of the blade meets the other and that you’re creating a sharp edge?

My gratitude to those who are willing and able to help others (in whatever way you can)! Being human is more than just existing for yourself. Smile

edc
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Tally-ho wrote:
OK, welcome members of the shaving sharp knives club.

Post a picture of your partially shaved calves and / or forearms. Wink

Damn I deleted that photo of my nutsack Shocked

 

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sintro
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I don’t know if it makes a difference. But I clear my stone and edge as much as possible. I just think grinding the knife edge against little pieces of itself will dull it.

agenthex
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Pulsar13 wrote:

agenthex wrote:
If you’re lazy (like me), just get the accusharp 1 pass system. The cheap imitation also work ok, but not as good as the original.

I’m lazy like you. Links? Esp for the cheap cheap imitation. Laughing

This is their site: http://www.accusharp.com/
For those in the US: http://www.amazon.com/AccuSharp-1-001-Knife-Sharpener/dp/B00004VWKQ
Many imitations on Ebay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=knife+sharp...

It works via two hard elements (tungsten carbide?) at some angle (I think 30deg on real one) and it removes material until the edge conforms with the profile. Just slide knife through and insta-sharp.

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

Pulsar13
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Ah I see, Accusharp is the angled carbide ones. I already have a few of those imitation ones.

They do get the job done fast, but takes too much metal off. And the sharpness is limited to paper cutting sharp. Also, this  seem to work better for thinner steel knives (kitchen) but not as good for thicker blades.

Anyhow, for quick sharpening of kitchen knives this works really well. 

gcbryan
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That’s my impression as well. They take too much metal off and it’s a coarse approach to the problem. It leaves the “micro” serrations too large and therefore they dull more quickly.

You could use a strop on them afterward I suppose but as mentioned they still take too much metal off.

I have a two stage Kitchen Chef sharpener that would be similar I suppose (except for the second stage) but I think it wears the knife blade out too quickly as well (and therefore don’t use it).

There’s nothing cheaper or much easier than an oil stone and a piece of leather.

agenthex
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Pulsar13 wrote:

Ah I see, Accusharp is the angled carbide ones. I already have a few of those imitation ones.

They do get the job done fast, but takes too much metal off. And the sharpness is limited to paper cutting sharp. Also, this  seem to work better for thinner steel knives (kitchen) but not as good for thicker blades.

Anyhow, for quick sharpening of kitchen knives this works really well. 

The original accusharp tends to work better than the cheapos. The easy way is just pull it through, but I get even better results by slowly working both sides seperately (without letting the “edge” touch the bottom).

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

agenthex
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gcbryan wrote:
That’s my impression as well. They take too much metal off and it’s a coarse approach to the problem. It leaves the “micro” serrations too large and therefore they dull more quickly.

You could use a strop on them afterward I suppose but as mentioned they still take too much metal off.

I have a two stage Kitchen Chef sharpener that would be similar I suppose (except for the second stage) but I think it wears the knife blade out too quickly as well (and therefore don’t use it).

There’s nothing cheaper or much easier than an oil stone and a piece of leather.

Decent carbide edges are if anything finer than stone. The “secret” is more in the technique than anything (like, don’t pull/push too hard for already moderately sharp edges). The accusharp commercial product just makes it harder to screw up.

There are also sharpeners with variable angle to minimize removal if you know the exact grind the original edge has.

Also, steel edges are never permanently sharp. For best results, hone before usage to align the serration because steel will always get out of perfect shape after any usage.

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

gcbryan
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Agreed. I prefer to strop for that. Sometimes I’ll go to a fine stone or ceramic first but many times stropping is all it takes.

I’m finding that there is paper cutting sharp and then shaving sharp and the next step after that is phone book paper cutting sharp. I haven’t been able to reach that level.

It’s not necessary of course but I’d like to get there. I’ve seen the YouTube videos demonstrating this. I can cut phone book paper of course but not in the manner of the videos.

I probably need to get a perfectly consistent angle each time and a greater variety of stones (or wet/dry sandpaper).

It’s not intuitive to realize that it’s harder to cleanly cut a phone book page than to shave hair!

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gcbryan wrote:
I think if you keep going in the first stage until you get a burr along the edge and if you keep getting finer with the proceeding stages you’re bound to get a razor sharp edge.

When you are sharpening straight razors, it is better to never have a burr as you will need to remove it and then go back to previous sharpening stages. As the burr is attached to the very end of the cutting edge, removing it will leave very small dents and pikes.
For sharpening knives, I don’t know every techniques or tips but I still think that it is better to also avoid it.
I don’t think that ‘micro-serrations”“ help to cut, it helps to saw, not to cut. The cleaner the cutting edge is, the better it cuts….at least in my standards / opinion.
So I’m always trying to avoid a burr.

A simple way to test the apparition (?) of a burr, (during or) after a sharpening stage, is to test the cutting edge with a pointy needle.
Try different parts of the cutting edge on both sides, and different needle’s angle with the blade plan. The tip of the needle will “abut” the burr.

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