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Thread: Sharpening with Belts

  1. #1

    Question Sharpening with Belts

    I've been sharpening with stones for years and generally avoid using belts for anything other than setting the primary bevel with a 120 grit ceramic. So, my question is, what type of belts do you use in your like up and are there any tips and tricks to it? I'd continue to hand sharpen everything but the volume of knives of knives is steadily increasing so I need to find a better way. I'll probably continue to finish by hand but would like to get 95% of it done.

    "There is a lot to keep up with when you go full time, being your own boss can be a real let down. You find out how many people you really work for: your suppliers, power company and clients. It can be a real strain on an artistic mind." - Gary Miller (Fellow Knife Dog)

  2. #2
    I use a worn 400 grit then a 30 micron then 15 micron,hard buff with green chrome and then strop.

    Stan
    www.sbuzekknives.com
    Aspire to Inspire before you Expire

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Southeast, MI
    Posts
    10
    I also decided to give this a shot on my little 1x30 harbor freight special. I bought a succession of belts up to 9 micron, specifically some norax pyramids and some gators, and than a couple leather belts from usaknifemaker. I have yet to try it because a skunk took up residence in my garage so I can't say how it performs yet. But I do all reshaping and sharpening by hand so I can't wait.
    I'll let you know how it goes as soon as I get a chance to try it, but always remember to keep dunking that blade constantly. Fast to sharpen, fast to ruin a blade...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica Ca.
    Posts
    5,695
    Mike,
    I have been doing almost all of my sharpening for customers on my 2 x 72" Variable speed.
    I like to run at about 25-30% speed tops to help keep things cool.

    I use Hermes superflex in 120 Then 600 and stop and buff with Green chrome for German & Americana type culinary knives.
    Then for Japanese a go from the 600G to 3M 15 Micron then 9, Appox/2000 Grit and then a buff with green chrome.
    Also the buff is more of a Burnishing with a far amount of pressure.

    This works great to achieve a strong and sharp convexed edge.

    Laurence

    www.rhinoknives.com
    www.westsidesharpening.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Decatur, Illinois
    Posts
    1,768
    It is also going to depend on what you are doing with the knife. My chopper that I use for brush clearing is sharpened on my grinder with 220 grit. My kitchen knifes are sharpened on a crockery stick sharpener. My pocket knife or anything that I want a finer edge on are sharpened on stones and stropped on leather.

    Doug
    Old age and trechery will always overcome youth and ambition.

  6. #6
    Thanks guys. I have quite a bit of experience sharpening different blades on stones so my technique is set for better or worse. This experience is limited to stones as when the knife bug bit, I spent a few thousand buying high end natural stones and synthetics of the same repute. I've since cut back and left only the stones that work for me and my style so finishing edges isn't much of an issue. The only thing I'm a bit new to is sharpening with belts. I've done a few knives on a small taut slack portion of belt and am ok with them (choppers), now I've started to experiment with refining edges a bit farther on the grinder (variable speed) so that I can jump over to the 6K-30k synthetics and then hit the felt and leather. The only big issue I've had is getting a FLAT edge off belts. After grinding, they look fine but when they hit the stones, you can see that they are anything but. It may be worth mentioning that I flatten every stone prior to sharpening and check them during sharping. It may sound nuts to take and edge into the 6k-30k range especially when the edge degrades down to a 1K-5K after a few cuts but I do love a scary sharp edge. And I've noticed that a straight-razor like edge is almost always welcomed by potential owners.

    Anyhow, I'm rambling. You guys have given some good advice here and it will be used when ordering from Super Grit tonight.
    "There is a lot to keep up with when you go full time, being your own boss can be a real let down. You find out how many people you really work for: your suppliers, power company and clients. It can be a real strain on an artistic mind." - Gary Miller (Fellow Knife Dog)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Decatur, Illinois
    Posts
    1,768
    I'm not sure that I understand what's happening. If you are using a slack belt to sharpen with you will not get a flat secondary bevel. If you are using your platen then I would say that you are not holding a constant angle when you make your passes.

    Doug
    Old age and trechery will always overcome youth and ambition.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    844
    Belts don't give a truly flat surface, neither on bevel or edge. I think thats why it shows when you use your stones. Try it on a disc and you will notice the difference.

    Fred

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lester View Post
    I'm not sure that I understand what's happening. If you are using a slack belt to sharpen with you will not get a flat secondary bevel. If you are using your platen then I would say that you are not holding a constant angle when you make your passes.

    Doug
    Doug, sorry for the incoherent rambling, chalk it up to too much caffeine and not enough sleep. Anyhow, I flatten my stones using a reference granite plate so they are flat as one can get them in a shop setting (.002) and no matter how flat they are coming off of the belts, they don't compare to them coming off the stones. Though this is the case, they'll flatten out quickly on an 5k stone coming off of a 220 to 400 grit worn belt. I'd like to incorporate a better belt repertoire to my routine. They come off nearly flat off a lower grit so I figure that a higher grit would allow the edge to be even closer, though I may be mistaken.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Rowe View Post
    Belts don't give a truly flat surface, neither on bevel or edge. I think thats why it shows when you use your stones. Try it on a disc and you will notice the difference.

    Fred
    Thank you Fred, I've noted how not flat things are off of a belt even with a great platen. I have a few disc sanders but I've never attempted to sharpen with them. It might be worth a try once I get a beveled disc again. I needed some other tools and sold my least used grinder... sadly that happened to be the one I need most now.

    Well Gents, thanks again for your help. I know that it seems a bit petty and obsessive to chase and edge with more devotion than I do my overall grinding but an ugly knife with a good sharp edge is millions of times better than its opposite.
    "There is a lot to keep up with when you go full time, being your own boss can be a real let down. You find out how many people you really work for: your suppliers, power company and clients. It can be a real strain on an artistic mind." - Gary Miller (Fellow Knife Dog)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica Ca.
    Posts
    5,695
    Mike,
    Stiffer belts give a flatter edge if you want it?
    In my Less than Humble opinion, Convex edges "done right" cut better and last longer that a truly flat edge.

    It's called sectional density I believe? More metal behind the cutting edge.

    Laurence

    www.rhinoknives.com

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