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Thread: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

  1. #1
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    Default the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    what was the sharpest you ever got an edge, how did you do it, and what was so awesome about it?

    i don't have a good brag myself, being a bit of a dilettante. stoning the kitchen knives at 1000 grit this evening, in preparation for a long weekend of kitchen work. sharp enough to cut an aluminum can, and then look how it cuts this tomato!

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    I know it doesn’t look like much, but this old thing is the best carbon steel I’ve ever seen and holds a scary sharp edge with just occasional stone touchup. Kitchen guests always want to use it and I have to warn them about its edge. And have to tell them to scrape the veggies off the cutting board with the BACK of the knife, not the edge. I’ve had it about 45 years.

    0063F8BA-2E87-43CC-AA27-88B2CA5DE344.jpg

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    HSS sharpened on a surface grinder with a white wheel. .015 feed, 3/4" width of cut, deep groove on 24" dia 4104 steel. Would have cut aluminum also.

    Not suitable for kitchen work.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    how did you do it
    being the lazy sort
    while turning on the wood lathe one evening
    i glanced away and spied my vertical sander
    dragged that thing over next to the lathe and fitted 600 grit aluminum oxide belt
    three seconds later
    then a few seconds on the buffing wheel
    done
    perfect edge
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    IMHO, it all comes down to the piece of steel: You can get softer steel up to an edge you can easily shave with, but it won't last to do anything real in wood.

    ken

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    I know it doesn’t look like much, but this old thing is the best carbon steel I’ve ever seen and holds a scary sharp edge with just occasional stone touchup. Kitchen guests always want to use it and I have to warn them about its edge. And have to tell them to scrape the veggies off the cutting board with the BACK of the knife, not the edge.
    that's a beauty, ron.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    ^^And yes I fixed the handle once, didn’t like it as well.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    I only deal with blades that I can use doing home improvement stuff and I'm not a chef Like Ron so I don't need 8 degrees of sharpness. A 600 stone to dress any issues I caused by cutting things I shouldn't and then a honing rod to give it a little somthin somthin.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    45 years cohabiting with a chef's knife is most excellent.

    i have already missed my chance to match that, unless i use this stainless zwilling pro for...42 more years?

    need to take better care of myself...

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Quote Originally Posted by McMike View Post
    I only deal with blades that I can use doing home improvement stuff and I'm not a chef Like Ron so I don't need 8 degrees of sharpness. A 600 stone to dress any issues I caused by cutting things I shouldn't and then a honing rod to give it a little somthin somthin.
    yes, 600 grit is pretty sharp for chopping meat and veggies. the main thing is to actually sharpen once in a while. i wonder where the law of diminishing returns really kicks in for kitchen work?

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    being the lazy sort
    while turning on the wood lathe one evening
    i glanced away and spied my vertical sander
    dragged that thing over next to the lathe and fitted 600 grit aluminum oxide belt
    three seconds later
    then a few seconds on the buffing wheel
    done
    perfect edge
    admirable efficiency. but your knife won't make 45 years sharpening that way.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    yes, 600 grit is pretty sharp for chopping meat and veggies. the main thing is to actually sharpen once in a while. i wonder where the law of diminishing returns really kicks in for kitchen work?
    I have no idea about kitchen work but I like my knife to act as a gyp cutter in a pintch when I can't find my utility knife, a wire stripper, and a wood carver. I Sharpen after a weekend of heavy use or once a month if I'm being lazy.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    what kind of knife mike?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    what kind of knife mike?
    A Benchmade 154CM is my work knife with an old school craftsman razor knife. That Benchmade is one sturdy folder.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Probably a Mora knife , the basic carbon steel model with the birch handle painted red. I was cutting some willows and sliced a finger didn't know it till I saw the blood ... damn , slapped it closed for a few mins and carried on , no scar because it was so sharp I guess

    Opinel knives are easy to get sharp , I like that and they are cheap . Never understood the knife fetish thing where some folding knives go for well over a $100 and not easy to sharpen .

    1095 steel seems to be as good as any and can get VERY sharp

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Quote Originally Posted by Three Cedars View Post
    Probably a Mora knife , the basic carbon steel model with the birch handle painted red. I was cutting some willows and sliced a finger didn't know it till I saw the blood ... damn , slapped it closed for a few mins and carried on , no scar because it was so sharp I guess

    Opinel knives are easy to get sharp , I like that and they are cheap . Never understood the knife fetish thing where some folding knives go for well over a $100 and not easy to sharpen .

    1095 steel seems to be as good as any and can get VERY sharp
    I like my Mora but my wife took it for yard work, prying bee hives, fighting off unruly chickens.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    being the lazy sort
    while turning on the wood lathe one evening
    i glanced away and spied my vertical sander
    dragged that thing over next to the lathe and fitted 600 grit aluminum oxide belt
    three seconds later
    then a few seconds on the buffing wheel
    done
    perfect edge
    Donn would be most pleased.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    The knife in my pocket is sharp enough to shave with. As are most of my butcher knives and my leather working blades. I touch up blades on a fine stone at a flatter angle than recommended. I then strop on leather (glued to a piece of silky oak wood) using a fine abrasive compound and finish by stropping on the palm of my hand. When skinning animals I touch up the blade every minute or so. The knife I carry in my pocket (I have several little antique pocket knives which go through a rotation just for s##ts and giggles) gets a touch up every evening while I watch the local news. More often if necessary. The trick with any blade is to sharpen it before it gets truly blunt. JayInOz

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    One of the great satisfying things in life, to cut a tomato with a really sharp knife.

    Is there a unit of sharpness?

    I keep my pocket knife, an opinel, pretty sharp. I've shaped the blade so it sharpens almost like a flat razor (through the front 50%). This makes it easy to sharpen, no need to hold at an angle.
    I use a diamond stone at 1000 and then a buffing wheel on the bench grinder with some cutting compound by way of a 'strop'.
    I find a touch of the buffer every now and then brings the edge back and only needs a proper stoning every few months.

    I use an Opinel because they're cheap. i keep having to throw them in the bin at airports cause i forget to leave them at home. The locking mechanism leave a bit to be desired. I have a couple of nice full scars on my fingers. One bute from sharpening, the blade caught the buffing wheel and flicked closed on my index finger. Went to get stitches but it didn't need any, the cut was beautifully clean and straight.


    I might get the kitchen knives out tonight too.
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

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    Default

    Using Scary Sharp™️, took my brand-new Lie-Nielsen low angle block plane. Flattened the back of the blade using machinists' layout dye, starting at 80 grit and working up to 2500 grit (if you use a properly spaced grit progression, that's about 10 or 15 strokes at each grit.

    I have rolls of sticky back paper, and had a glass shop cut slabs of plate glass for each grit, so it's just a matter of swapping it the slabs when you change grits. Repeated the process on the bevel.

    Nice thing about scary sharp is that you only use the full panoply of sandpaper for the initial sharpening, or if you really butcher the edge. For touch-ups, you just run through, the finer grits to bring the edge up to snuff.

    When it was done, I took some sample passes on a bit of true mahogany. Once I got the adjustment dialed in, I mic'ed the shaving at at something like 0.002 inches. You could see through the shaving. Very satisfying.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gypsie View Post
    I use an Opinel because they're cheap. i keep having to throw them in the bin at airports cause i forget to leave them at home. The locking mechanism leave a bit to be desired.
    I do that, too. I generally, if I realize I've got the knife whilst I'm still in line, or before, try to find a suitable soul to gift the k ice to, rather than bin it. One time, there was a distinguished looking gent with a big handlebar moustache, wearing a Stetson saying goodbye to somebody. I allowed as how he looked like the sort of guy who appreciated a good knife, and gave my Opinel to him. He was pleased.

    The guy who runs Lost Arts Press just recommended these knives, made by a father/son knifemaker from Portugal. Not as cheap as an Opinel, but reasonable -- $20 to $60 or so, depending on size and wood (or stag horn) that you choose.

    https://cutelaria-jose-da-cruz.negocio.site

    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Until the advent of CPM steel, my go to was 1095. Not Farmer proof but easy to true an edge.
    Edge geometry of 30 or 20 included, provide long service.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    I’ve honed a few x-Acto blades with my thumb. I’m a slow learner.

    I use the same technique on my plane blades as described in post #20.

    Jeff C
    Don’t expect much, and you won’t be disappointed…

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Just for fun sometime, look at second hand knives on eBay. Not just to save money but to see what's available. I had a look one day and just by chance a feller was selling off his huge collection, some knives individually but the less than perfect looking pocket knives in lots of ten. I scored some beauties for almost nothing, and the steel in many of them is excellent. If they also happen to be unusual even better. Here ya go- eBay USA
    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...temCondition=4 JayInOz

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    I know it doesn’t look like much, but this old thing is the best carbon steel I’ve ever seen and holds a scary sharp edge with just occasional stone touchup. Kitchen guests always want to use it and I have to warn them about its edge. And have to tell them to scrape the veggies off the cutting board with the BACK of the knife, not the edge. I’ve had it about 45 years.

    0063F8BA-2E87-43CC-AA27-88B2CA5DE344.jpg
    Looks a lot like one of my favorites. No maker's marks. I bought it at a hardware store on the upper East Side on Manhattan in 1967.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    This is sharp,
    drawknife jig.jpg
    but this is sharper.
    DSC04059.jpg

    I use a slate whetstone with a slurry of fine sandstone grit.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    I get my blades so sharp you have to look at them sideways or they'll cut your eyes.


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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Since the early 90s, when I shave (like, when I have a goatee rather than a full beard), I use a straight razor.

    Sharpening was a learning curve. My best blades are $15 flea market finds. What made the difference was renewing the cutting geometry at the edge, and learning how little pressure to put on the razor while doing that. Merely using a razor hone and then stropping wasn't enough to get the razors to work well, without dragging. But putting 300, 400, and 600 grit on a plate of glass and treating those like hones first made an unbelievable difference, when I then went to an antique ceramic razor hone, and a horsehide strop loaded with green chromium dioxide.

    It's the edge geometry, even more than the edge sharpness, that makes it cut well. A really sharp edge with too steep a geometry won't shave well. A duller edge with a perfect edge geometry will shave better, but be irritating. A perfect combination if geometry and sharpness makes the razor feel like it isn't there.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    perfectly sharp knives are like perfectly stitched sails,imo
    unreasonable goal
    what's the point?
    why?

  30. #30
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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    For fun. Rather like hitting a golf ball 'perfectly', or a baseball.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Depends on the purpose. A not perfectly sharp (for the purpose) razor is the one which will pull and nick you. I'm not interested anymore in drawing a razor across my throat that is more likely to leave either nicks or red inflamed irritation. Seeking a solution to the latter is why I switched to straight razors in the first place - a cost effective way to have a fresh blade every time.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  32. #32
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    Hard to say. Probably a plane blade or chisel, taken through the grits.

    But, since I have never used a chisel to filet a fish or chefs knife to make a tenon, comparisons are tough to render.

    Someone else mentioned, earlier in the thread, that the steel matters. I concur.

    Kevin


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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    what's the point?
    What TomF said just above. For that particular application. For woodworking, for carving, IME, the best edge requires less physical effort to push the blade through the wood to take a chip, and that edge will also shave the hairs from your wrist. And that sharpness will also leave that cut surface clean enough to have a patina without needing any goram sanding, or at least less of it. Depends on what you're making or fixing how sharp you want a blade. For other sorts of cutting things, along with the ideal sharpness, the quality of the surface of the blade behind the edge also makes a difference in how nicely the cut is made, how much effort and whether or not your cut gets accompanied by a word. I regret polishing the sides of a nice super sharp kitchen knife, after I noticed that the blade adhered slightly as it moved through raw meat.

    As for the razors, I have an almost identical experience to Tom's, as far as learning how to restore shaving sharpness.

    The first time I got a shave by a straight razor was at the on-base barber shop in Taiwan. The prices, because of being on base, and because Taiwan, were ridiculously low compared to a barber stateside. Haircut for fifty cents. Shave, two bits. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered. Stateside at the time, a haircut was five bucks and a shave was ten!

    It was an experience, sitting laid back under a sheet having another man touch and feel my face, but it was worth it. Hot lather, then the steaming hot towel immediately after, and before he cranked the chair back up. When he was done there was a moment of sublime luxury, and then without any warning and just literally out of the blue, the barber had applied after shave lotion to his hands, and then he SLAPPED it on. I levitated.

    But the whole point of the exercise became clear later in the day. Having had the shave in the a.m. I was pleased to find that it was so close I couldn't feel any whiskers with my fingers. Smooth like a baby's. And even more pleasing and unexpected was that it was still that close well into the p.m. and I didn't even think about shaving before work the next day.

    Back in the states, while on a leave a few years later, in a touristy spot in California, I happened to see a cutlery store and went in to browse. When I saw the straight razors for sale, I bought one, thinking to recapture that miracle shave mentioned above. It didn't quite work out that way, mostly because a barber can get a better angle of attack and pull the skin taut better than you can do yourself, but it was closer than I was accustomed to, and the shaving was not really much more effort, preparation and all, than a regular shave with a saftery razor, or one of those sacrilege plastic things.

    Then, to get to Tom's epiphany regarding the resharpening, I was temporarily rooming with my younger brother Pete in our older brother Tom's apartment, across the boulevard from Tom's hardware store here in Sacto. Pete had brought home from the store a diamond sharpening 'stone.' One of those with a perforated steel plate with diamond embedded like a diamond cutting wheel for a grinder, mounted in a plastic base. Pete said it was the best thing for sharpening, and like a fool, I tried it with my razor. Way too aggressive. Oh, god was it awful after that. I couldn't get it back and shaving with it became a painful ordeal. So much so that I just couldn't bring myself to drag it over my chin or around the more sensitive parts of my face, so out of that necessity I started sporting a chin beard. Eventually I resented buying the damn desposable blades enough that I figured out how to bring the exquisitely sharp edge back.

    I eventually gave up on all the ritual prep. I skip the lather altogether. Just getting the whiskers soft with hot water is enough if the blade is properly sharp, and I've even dry shaved with it without much discomfort.

    Another point about getting a profoundly sharp edge is, when you make a normal human error in handling the tool, and it bites you, a razor sharp edge will make a clean cut, less painful and less damaged surface area in the sides of the flesh so it bleeds less and heals faster, better. A less clean wound leaves more of a scar. An illustration is when you cut your face with the razor when you're learning how not to make that stroke, and the cut is so clean it doesn't bleed but sticks back together by itself and heals almost before you rinse face.

    ***

    I don't recall the movie at the moment, but there is a scene in a mob crime movie where the bad guy confronts a guy he needs to kill, grabs his wrist and quick as a wink cuts the victim's forearm from his wrist to his elbow with a straight razor, lets him collapse to the floor and tells him not to struggle, it's over. He's just about bled out before he slumps to the ground.

    The hitman couldn't do that with just a trusty ol Barlow. Just sayin.


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    Default Re: the sharpest blade you ever sharpened

    Which reminds me to state, if it isn't obvious, that you absolutely cannot use a straight razor for any kind of woodwork. Not if you want the work to be good and the blade to survive. Ask me how I know.


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