第章给岳m按摩An often confused view on knives, knife use, and knife sharpening by an often confused man.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Nakatoishi Addiction - First Weeb Problems

99.9% of knife sharpening can be done with a coarse stone; such as a Norton Crystolon; and a follow up on fused ceramics; such as the Spyderco Sharpmaker; but most of us accumulate more.

Like many fellow addicts, Japanese-style 'medium' stones make up the bulk of my obsession.  The baseless hope is that the stone will remove steel almost as fast as a good coarse stone and leave a finish almost as fine as a good polishing stone.

Well it's not going to happen!

The best things a 'medium' or 'nakatoishi' stone can do are remove the scratches left by your coarse stone and either provide a surface smooth enough to receive a sparkling finish (or a misted, hon-kasumi finish for über-weebs) or an edge sharp enough for everything short of planing soft pine.  The stone will always be able to leave an edge that sharp (or sharper), but that's up to the sharpener's skill.  Can probably leave a good finish, too, but might take too long.

There are many great solutions on the market and there is a great temptation to try them all or go for the most expensive.  And then there's the most obscure or the natural stones from fabled mountains.  No matter how crazy or prestigious you go, there's always a new invention or hidden gem awaiting revelation.

My absolute favorites are 1,000 grit waterstones from Norton and whomever makes Sigma Power, but those are $35-50USD before shipping and handling.

As a more affordable alternative and one that gets your hands in anything from a very fine solution to a muddy slurry or terra cotta, I'm a big fan of King waterstones from Matsunaga.  The reader can get a nice King in 800, 1,000, or 1,200 for about $25USD shipped from Amazon (or pay loads more for the same stone for some reason).  The 800 grit I've used and all the 1,000 grit ones I've used can all be thrown in the water and enjoyed once they stop releasing air bubbles.  The 1,200 grit King I've used (as recently as today) had a protective coating as part of its baking process and I didn't know about it until reading an article from Dave Martel.  Until grinding away its coating, it was the worst stone I had used.  Now, it's in the same league as a Norton or Sigma Power stone.

To remove the protective coating and keep the sharpening surface flat, I recommend a rubbing stone as a compromise between sand paper on a reference plate or a 120-140 grit diamond plate costing $60-190USD.

Also, if you just need to get a Sigma Power 1,000 grit waterstone instead of a King 1,200 or want a good price on a King 1,000 in regular or ridiculous-sized, I recommend Stu Tierney as your salesperson.  He also has a great coarse stone from Sigma Power in two sizes.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sigma Power Stones Are Being My Buddies So Far

The broken-in Sigma Power 120 grit waterstone let me set a fairly low-angled bevel on my Cold Steel brand 'large' Voyager folding pocketknife with a clip point blade.  Its overall hardness and aggressiveness leads me to suspect it will also be a chum with the similar-sized Voyager with the Nogales Clip Point/Yatagan shape, but that's speculation for another time.

I wanted to remove the 120 grit scratches for better refinement at the edge.  Decided to use my King 800 grit waterstone for the task.  The reader should know the blade in question is made of AUS-8A steel hardened to just below RC60 - it's fairly soft and not highly alloyed and barely deserving of the epithet 'ledeburitic.'  With those weaknesses noted, the King 800 still took a while to do most of its job (which was revealed quite inadequate when later stropping on 3M 5 micron lapping film).

So the King 800 got flattened, put away, and replaced with the Sigma Power 1000 grit 'hard,' ceramic waterstone.  The Sigma Power 1,000 grit cut faster, stayed flat longer, and left a finer, more uniform finish than the 800 grit King.  The lapping film polish revealed much less scratches left behind from the 120 grit Sigma Power waterstone when all was done.

Most likely going to set the edge with a Spyderco 'fine' hone (either the Sharpmaker or DoubleStuff). It just does a great job.  Hoping I'll be able to use with ZDP-189 some day, but lack the fused ceramic skills for now.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Breaking In Sigma Power 120 Grit Waterstone

Earlier this year, I bought a Sigma Power 120 grit waterstone from Stu at Tools From Japan.  He included instructions for use, preparation, and maintenance and a few little jars of 36 SiC grit.

After an unnecessary soaking of about 48 hours, the bubby got conditioned on the rough side of a granite reference plate with a pinch of the 36 grit SiC.  I didn't do it as long as might have been needed for optimal results.  The outer crust (harder, slower-cutting, less likely to expose fresh abrasive) remained while I periodically tried extensive stock removal on the primary bevel of a Cold Steel brand 'Large' Voyager clip-point folding pocketknife.

Tonight, though, the outer crust started to wear away and expose faster cutting, rapidly refreshing abrasive.  Steel was eaten.  Not enough to create a 0.005" thick edge shoulder (0.127mm to our metrically inclined friends), but Rome wasn't reground in a day and neither was my Cold Steel brand 'large' Vaquero Voyager folding pocketknife.

The fun was palpable, but I wanted to have a less Sisyphean task, so I reground the narrower primary bevel on my Byrd brand Cara Cara folding pocketknife (were it not for the shiny pocket clip, I'd carry that booboo snipper more often).  The Sigma Power 120 quickly ground away excessive steel and let me use the 'fine' side of my Norton Economy stone to fail to put a sharp edge on the knife.  It's been a while since I've done most sharpening things and using that part of that stone was never one of them.

I will not say that Sigma Power 120 grit waterstone is necessarily better than the coarse side of a Norton Economy stone given identical care (conditioning with 36 grit; kept loaded with water or other lubricants; periodically flattened).  Both are great for rough grinding by hand with idiotic amounts of applied force (which is how one regrinds overly thick primary bevels within one lifespan by hand) that would instantly wear hollows into a Naniwa 'golden lobster' stone or cause extravagant grit shedding on Sigma Power's less vitrified SiC coarse stones.  The Norton has the edge in overall cost; the Sigma Power has Stu for tech support.  All good.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Meager Sigma Power 1,200 Use

Today was a good time to sharpen a Mac utility knife and Larrin Thomas gyutoku.

Initially just plonked my fairly untested Sigma Power Select II 1,200 grit waterstone into a tub of water, put a pencil grid on it, and lapped it before trying to put the edge back on the Mac (which has seen lots of edge-to-plate contact and no sharpening over the past year.)

So that was a funny thing to try…. Took out a worn, DMT DiaSharp plate (corrosion prevents me from knowing if it was 325 or 600 grit), spritzed some soapy water on the plate's surface, and got that edge set.  Just stayed with the diamond plate for all steps (as an unskilled homage to Joe Calton.)

Much less damage on the edge with the gyutoku, but I still started the process with the unknown DMT.

Raised noticeable burrs that I am ashamed to admit were intentional using both the DMT and the Sigma Power 1,200.  Deburred like Jeff Clark from Bladeforums after each step and then finished using a Naniwa 5,000 "super stone" (the Choseras are long gone) with extra care to not raise a burr.

Seems like I haven't lapped away the protective crust on the 1,200 yet.  Had a 1,200 King with the same issue that went from slow and so-so to being a great stone.  My Sigma Power 1,000 grit and 3F 'Carbon' #700 stones were aggressive right out of the box (and the 10K was alrightish…), so the growing pains of the 1,200 is uncharacteristic of my previous Sigma Power experiences.

Anyways, it was fun. Ciao

Friday, September 26, 2014

Market Distortions

What if there were no trademarks, copyrights, or patents available to steer cutlery users and enthusiasts to a select group of existing manufacturers for borderline-affordable cutlery?  Would all of the "innovations" in cutlery stop, would they accelerate, would they change character?  Would unscrupulous counterfeiting go "through the roof?"

All of these questions orbit the central question of "what would happen if government agencies didn't use threats and violence to keep others from competing with already established companies and corporations for the chance of satisfying the desires of paying customers?"

I doubt overly thick blades made from ledeburitic steel would be the phase that pays, but have less faith in any other predictions.

Monday, August 25, 2014

When In Doubt... ...Thin It Out

An obviously "no duh" post for today, gang, but it's those "basics" to which we pay lip service that keep underpinning fun.

Wifey got me a Cold Steel brand 'large' Voyager Vaquero folding pocketknife a few years ago and it's been my so-called everyday carry for most every day since.  Unlike Cold Steel's previous Nogales Clip Point series of folding pocketknives, their merger into the Voyager line has included the option of left-handed pocket clips and the ever joy-producing Tri-Ad Lock designed by Andrew Demko.

So it's a birthday gift, it's an EDC, it's a beater, and it was a fine cutter while I was sharpening in a way that applied undue strain on the edge's apex.

Then I learned how to sharpen without doing such things.

It was Cliff Stamp's method of destressing the edge, shaping the edge, and finishing the apex (with Jeff Clark-inspired deburring techniques throughout) that brought me such joy with the kitchen cutlery (a Sakai Takayuki wa-gyuto and Tilman Leder ?bermesser in particular), that I wanted to share that joy with the Cold Steel brand 'large' Voyager Vaquero folding pocketknife.  My luck with the pocketknife never matched the success I had with the other knives and the temptation to resume my old way of sharpening was strong though refused.

Yesterday, a subconscious realization occurred: the edge bevel was too thick and had been too thick for too long a time.  Today, more consciously, it was step two; shaping the edge; that I had been skipping.  Of course the two knives I had already thinned out plenty (the ?bermesser could use a little more thinning) could go through the 1. destress the edge 2. something 3. finish the apex without sending me back to the drawing board.  Due to thinning behind the edge, their edge bevels and apexes were nearly interchangeable.

Of course, with such neglect to step 2, I needed to follow the instructions out of order in order to follow them.  Well, I did destress the edge first, but thinning out the bevel so it crept a little closer to the spine (still too far away) left a lot of burring to remove.  So it was a 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3 step process.  Always so much better to follow the instructions than to do something else and think I was following the instructions (which happens far too often for me).

Blah, blah, did what was written, all sharp again. Hooray!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Profane Heresy

There was a time when I would finish my edges with 0.5? diamond spray or paste or 0.3? AlO lapping film and wouldn't feel right unless either those were used or some other polishing compound of indeterminate size that left a similar polish and similar feel when cutting.  During that time, I coveted even finer compounds such as those sold by Ken Schwartz (if you're going to covet a micro-finishing compound, you owe it to yourself to covet Ken's 0.1? CBN or polycrystalline diamond sprays).

That was up until quite recently and my use of Jeff Clark-style stropping on a kitchen knife and two of my folding pocketknives using just two grits (Jeff Clark stropping is the use of very high angles for a pair or two of alternating passes to remove weakened steel followed by returning to the originally chosen angle as demonstrated on Cliff Stamp's "Towards 0.1 Micron" website and three-step sharpening video.  It is named after Jeff Clark).

With learning that technique, my incredible strop and 0.5? from Hand American and 1? and 0.3? from 3M over a board or a sweet Hand American sharpening base have been rendered obsolete due to their inability to safely handle edge-leading sharpening.  Now, my DMT CF Duo-Fold, Spyderco DoubleStuff or Sharpmaker, and Lansky Dog Bone are fine enough.  In fact, I can't use the white hones from Spyderco (fine or ultra-fine) without singing "I'm So Fancy."

On the plus side, I'm no longer pining as strongly for a Shapton 16K Glasstone, Kitayama, or 10K Naniwa of the SuperStone or Chosera variety.

Wondering if I should replace the C/F Duo-Fold with an XC/C one, though.