What is wrong with my sharpmaker...or knife?!

What is wrong with my sharpmaker...or knife?!

This is a discussion on What is wrong with my sharpmaker...or knife?! within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I got a Spyderco sharpmaker fairly recently. I also got the diamond stones for it. I've been freehanding on bench stones for a while, and ...

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Thread: What is wrong with my sharpmaker...or knife?!

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    What is wrong with my sharpmaker...or knife?!

    I got a Spyderco sharpmaker fairly recently. I also got the diamond stones for it. I've been freehanding on bench stones for a while, and I'm pretty decent at it. Anyway, I sharpened a few knives on the sharpmaker, and got them shaving sharp. My Benchmade auto that I've had as my EDC for the last 3 years (and gets used every day, and sharpened whenever it needs it)...refuses to get sharp. I used the diamonds to rebevel it back to 30 degrees. I decided to go straight 30 instead of 30 with a final bevel of 40. I used the sharpie, so I know that I'm getting the edge. I have a nice 30 degree bevel, both sides come to the edge all the way, and I went through diamond, then medium, then the fine...and I can't shave arm hair, leg hair, or slice paper very well. What's going on? Is it possible for a knife to just stop taking an edge? It hasn't been heated to where it would mess with the temper. I've been freehanding this thing for 3 years and it's never done this. I don't get it...in theory, it should be sharp! I'm thinking of just going back to freehanding it, but then it's going to change the angles again.

    Also, even though I can get all my blades shaving sharp freehanding on a bench stone, I have no idea how to find a burr. I know how...I just can't do it. I can see if the edge is reflecting, but I can't tell what side the burr is on or feel it.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    If it matters, the blade is 154CM...my others are not. I've heard 154CM doesn't really develop a burr, and the edge doesn't look like it's reflecting light...it should be sharp, but it ain't!
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    Try draging the edge accross a piece of wood, then strop it on the rough side of a belt a few times and see if it shaves.

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    Didn't work. I can't even get it to dig into my thumbnail when its almost perpendicular...I've tried grinding a ton on just one side trying to get a burr that I could notice, but no luck. I feel retarded right now.

    **edit**

    I got it to shave, but only by going to a 40 degree secondary bevel. Guess this knife just wasn't meant to have a single bevel. I know double bevel is stronger, but I don't mind sacrificing how long it holds an edge for having a super sharp one. Oh well.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array MilitaryPower's Avatar
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    I'm experiencing some trouble with the Sharpmaker myself. I accidentally dropped my brand new Endura on the tile floor and damaged the blade edge. Now I'm trying to profile the edge again, but it is proving difficult. The rest of the blade is fine, it is just that half inch section about a half inch from the tip that is rough and not really sharp.
    Gun control can be blamed in part for allowing 9/11 to happen.
    "Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum" (Latin)- "If you want peace, prepare for war".

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    it will take a while with the medium grit stones. If you have diamond it goes faster. Make sure you are cleaning the steel often. If it builds up too much, the abrasives get clogged and won't cut until you clean it again.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  7. #7
    Member Array theghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C9H13NO3 View Post
    ... I used the sharpie, so I know that I'm getting the edge. ...
    Are you getting the whole bevel, or just the edge? I'll assume your getting the whole bevel since it should be obvious what it means if your just getting the edge.


    How much pressure are you using? If your getting the edge on both sides, then it's possible that your using too much pressure. I usually lighten up the pressure gradually until using only the weight of the knife.


    You mentioned that you've been free handing for three years, and had to re bevel for the Sharpmaker. Does that mean that you were free handing at a steeper angel, or that you just let it get so dull that it needed a new bevel? Either way, it will probably take a while to set the new bevel (even with the diamonds). It's possible that the knife is dull, but your still noticing that the ink from the sharpie is being taken off at the edge. That might indicate that you haven't taken off enough steel to set the new bevel (it almost sounds like this might be the case).

    Look at it this way. If your knife is dull, then that means that you've rounded the edge. Because of this, the bevel on both sides does not meet in a point, but is instead rounded. To make it meet in a point, you must remove steel until that point is formed. Then you can move to the medium rods. This might be why it looks like your getting the whole bevel, yet not getting it sharp.

    Not sure it this applies, but hope it helps.


    Also, have you watched the video and read the booklet?

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    I wasn't using much pressure at all...pretty much just sliding the blade across the stones with its own weight. I was getting the whole bevel including the edge.

    I hadn't let it get dull and needed to rebevel...I just wanted to kind of start over for the sharpmaker I guess. The right side of the blade I was freehanding for what I estimate to be a 32 degree bevel, and the left side I had been freehanding for probably a 38 degree bevel. I just wanted fresh bevels. I sharpied and completed the new bevels. When I ground with the 30 degree side, It would evenly wear the sharpie off from the edge all the way to the top of the bevel after I was done.

    I've read the book and watched the video. They both say to use the 40 degree as a microbevel after you set the 30 degree. I was reading the "Mike's hair whittling guide" thing on here though, and he mentioned he just uses a 30 degree single bevel. I thought I'd give it a try.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  9. #9
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    Hummmmmmmm....interesting.

    Not sure if this will be helpful (or not) but some blade styles tend to thicken at the edge very quickly above the original factory edge. Some BUCK brand blades are famous for doing that.

    Many times you will need to thin the blade again because it's almost impossible to continue to get an ultra sharp shaving edge by putting any degree of sharpened beveled edge on an overly thick blade.

    Thinning out the blade thickness before remaking the edge is not really an easy thing for most average folks to do without messing up though.
    Mostly since you pretty much need to refinish the entire blade after you do it.

    Also...Diamond Hones & Stones require very little pressure. "Three Hairs And Some Air" of pressure with Diamond is about right.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array boricua's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great "justification" to buy another knife...
    Duty, Honor, Country...MEDIC!!!
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  11. #11
    Member Array theghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C9H13NO3 View Post
    I wasn't using much pressure at all...pretty much just sliding the blade across the stones with its own weight. I was getting the whole bevel including the edge.

    I hadn't let it get dull and needed to rebevel...I just wanted to kind of start over for the sharpmaker I guess. The right side of the blade I was freehanding for what I estimate to be a 32 degree bevel, and the left side I had been freehanding for probably a 38 degree bevel. I just wanted fresh bevels. I sharpied and completed the new bevels. When I ground with the 30 degree side, It would evenly wear the sharpie off from the edge all the way to the top of the bevel after I was done.

    I've read the book and watched the video. They both say to use the 40 degree as a microbevel after you set the 30 degree. I was reading the "Mike's hair whittling guide" thing on here though, and he mentioned he just uses a 30 degree single bevel. I thought I'd give it a try.
    Are you checking the ink after the first stroke, and after each consecutive stroke? Or, are you checking after several strokes?

    Sal said to use about three pounds of pressure when using it. The lighter strokes should be used in the final strokes.

    Also, you seem to have a good handle on sharpening if you can get shaving sharp by free hand. What are your thoughts on what should change? Is it possible that you just haven't completely re-set the bevel (it does take some time to do that)? Sometimes it takes a while, even with the diamond rods. (Trust me. I once spent 12 hours pushing my Crossbill down those rods, and it still wasn't enough to set the bevel). I'd say it amost sounds like you have fully set the new bevel, but it's hard to say without trying it myself.

    Really, the Sharpmaker isn't all that different in principal to a regular hone, but it just makes it easier to maintain a consistent edge, as well as use a finer grain for a keener edge.

    Something you might try (that I did with my Waved Endura) is to use free hand to set the bevels at a lower angel than 30-degrees. I did this and now my E4W is very sharp after taking it to the Sharpmaker at 30-degrees.

    Two other things:

    One: You could try other knives (although you might still have the same problem if their angle is more than 30-degrees).

    Two:
    Have you ever read "Joe Talmadge's Knife Sharpening FAQ's"?

    If not, then it's a good read for anyone interested in keeping a keen edge on their blades. He is widely recognized/respected within the cutlery community.
    Sharpening FAQ by Joe Talmadge - Custom Knives at Knife Art

    In the article (Don't know which one is the updated version) he talks about some of the modern steels (like your 154cm) that don't need to have a steeper angel set to them. My advice to you once you get it figured out is to not use the 40, and just stick with the 30. (That is once your getting a consistently good edge at 30.) Use the knife at 30 for a while, and if you think it's not strong enough (shouldn't be the case) then you can always grind it back to 40. It's a lot easier to take it from 30 to 40, than visa versa.

    You might also want to check out Spyderco's own factory forum.

  12. #12
    Member Array theghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Hummmmmmmm....interesting.

    Not sure if this will be helpful (or not) but some blade styles tend to thicken at the edge very quickly above the original factory edge. Some BUCK brand blades are famous for doing that.

    Many times you will need to thin the blade again because it's almost impossible to continue to get an ultra sharp shaving edge by putting any degree of sharpened beveled edge on an overly thick blade.

    Thinning out the blade thickness before remaking the edge is not really an easy thing for most average folks to do without messing up though.
    Mostly since you pretty much need to refinish the entire blade after you do it.

    Also...Diamond Hones & Stones require very little pressure. "Three Hairs And Some Air" of pressure with Diamond is about right.
    That's kind of what I was thinking, but he said that he's been keeping it sharp for three years. Then again, he also said that it has an approximate bevel of 32 on one side, and 38 on the other side. Most people wouldn't believe how long it takes to grind of that much steel to set a new bevel.

  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    I usually check it after every stroke (the sharpie) when checking for evenness. I might not be completely to the edge...But it is removing ALL the sharpie from the edge. There was a point where it was so close to the edge I almost thought the sharpie I saw was on the other side of the edge, but now it's removed completely. That could be why a few passes on the 40 got it sharp. Spydercos factory forum didn't help much, but I hadn't ever seen Joe's faq. Reading it now.
    -Ryan

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  14. #14
    Member Array theghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C9H13NO3 View Post
    I usually check it after every stroke (the sharpie) when checking for evenness. I might not be completely to the edge...But it is removing ALL the sharpie from the edge. There was a point where it was so close to the edge I almost thought the sharpie I saw was on the other side of the edge, but now it's removed completely. That could be why a few passes on the 40 got it sharp. Spydercos factory forum didn't help much, but I hadn't ever seen Joe's faq. Reading it now.
    I think you may be onto something there. It might be a case of just not getting the bevel completely set, or it might be a bur.

    It sounds like you have actually removed enough steel to set the bevel. Now you are onto the brown stones. Work with those for a while (make sure you keep them clean, they clog fast) and see how that goes.

    This is kind of the way it goes with me. I'll be able to get a knife super sharp one day, then, when it gets dull, it will be a pain to find the edge. One thing that I have noticed is that the more I use it, the better I get. If I go without sharpening for a few weeks, my skill level dips.

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