How do YOU keep them sharp?


I finally got my Strider PT sharp! I use the Spyderco Sharpmaker for my knife sharpening and a Torrmek for chisels, plane irons and scissors. I was having a hard time getting my PT sharp and I thought there must be someting wrong witht the knife because no matter how much time I spent with the Sharpmaker I couldn't get it hair popping sharp. It was my first attempt at sharpening S30V and I thought, maybe it's not the knife, maybe it's the steel that's the problem-I knew it wasn't me cool 1

I like the results I get when I sharpen my other knives using the 40° (20° each side) slots on the Sharpmaker and that was what I was using on the PT. Well it took a while but I finally figured that maybe the real problem was that S30V is tough steel and I was trying to reprofile the edge using some rather fine grit ceramic stones. I'd broke down and decided to buy the Spyderco diamond covered steel triangles ($42.50 on eBay). Waa-Hoo what a difference! I could feel the diamonds cutting into the steel and was able to reprofile the knife with about 10 passes on each side. I finished up with the finer stones and then stropped it on my homemade strope--hair popping sharp, finally!!

So what do you use for sharpening?



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This is an area that is often talked about by customers, but seldom addressed by makers. Although my words might ruffle some feathers, I feel they are true....

I feel that many makers rely too much on what a heat treating manual tells them, or even a specific Rc hardness. Doing this is somewhat of a disservice to customers/end users, resulting in customers/end users who have either a difficult time sharpening the knife, or simply cannot sharpen it.
The point I'm making is that rather than taking the time to conduct a few simple experiments with geometry and hardness levels, many makers will simply consult a heat treating "recipe" or take someone else's word for it, and then start pumping out blades.....many times these blades possess a poor geometry, too high an Rc level, or in some cases both, and although they might possess the "cool factor" by way of looks, grind lines, or even materials, many of those same features deter the end owner/user from being able to easily sharpen/maintain the blade(s).

Makers are going to do whatever it is they do, for a vast array of reasons, however, I think many miss the boat when it comes to building in the ability for the customer/end user to care for (IE: Sharpen) the knife they purchased.

Its a lot like walking a tightrope....we as makers should experiment and test what we build, taking into consideration the end user, and how what we do in designing/building the knife will effect the end user as far as overall care and maintenance goes......for me personally, I have to roll my eyes when I hear a maker use a high Rc number as a sales pitch.....the edge is not going to hold up any better than a lesser Rc with the proper geometry applied, and its likely going to give the customer fits when he/she tries to resharpen the blade.
When I saw the pics in the previous post, all I could think was "OMG! That poor fella spent enough money on sharpening tools, that he could have likely purchased another knife." I shouldn't be that hard for a customer to maintain a knife!

I teach a lot of bladesmithing/knifemaking classes here in my shop, and I borrowed a quote from Wayne Goddard years ago.....There are 3 things that a knife needs to be...


That last one should not be limited to only the actual cutting performance of the knife...that should also include the customers ability to easily care for, maintain, and sharpen the knife that YOU sold to them.

What do I do??? I personally like to stay in the Rc 57-59 range for most of my forged blades, with some going up or down slightly, based on the knife, and its intended use. Specific steel type and geometry also play into the equation. In general, that Rc range, coupled with the correct edge geometry, will cut extremely well, for long durations, but most importantly, it will allow the user in the field to have the blade's edge back to shaving sharp, with only minimal effort.

:DOK, I'm climbing down off my soapbox now! :D
I feel that the problem with most Strider knives is that the edges are left thick and are not a very acute angle. It doesn't matter what the steel is or what the heat treating was, it's generally difficult to totally regrind the bevel on a sharpmaker. I understand why the Striders are the way they are, but knowing the why doesn't make them any easier to sharpen.

I also use the sharpmaker on knives that I'm keeping sharp. I use the grinder and buffer on knives that I'm putting the initial edge on or knives that need serious stock removal to resharpen.
Ed, thanks for that informative post. I had never given thought to some of the things you mention. I have had my suspicion that some blade shapes are easier to sharpen than others but I wasn't sure. Thinking of the different shapes that are out there, I guess recurves and tantos may be some of the more difficult ones.

Wise words from Ed, for sure.
Me? Well, after finding Bark River Knives, I convexed any others I had.
Wet/Dry Sandpaper on a firm foam pad, then a strop.

If I can use my Golok to chop through a couple 2x4's and have it still take the hair off my arm, I'm happy. 2thumbs