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Knife Sharpening Systems - EdgePro, Apex


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...  I could spend 20 minutes on the Edge Pro and not get an edge anywhere close to 5 minutes on the waterstones.

I'm intrigued by this.

As I understand it, the knives you were using had previously been sharpened (repeatedly?) freehand on the waterstones.

So what angle did you set? Did you use a Magic Marker?

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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...  I could spend 20 minutes on the Edge Pro and not get an edge anywhere close to 5 minutes on the waterstones.

I'm intrigued by this.

As I understand it, the knives you were using had previously been sharpened (repeatedly?) freehand on the waterstones.

So what angle did you set? Did you use a Magic Marker?

The knives hadn't been on waterstones until I sold the Edge Pro. I used a Sharpie and kept the angles very consisten for the different knives, including writing down angles and taking photos of where I had the arm set for each knife. I honestly have no explanation for it...it just didn't work as well as I thought it should have.

If you use Japanese knives I would absolutely recommend getting waterstones and learning how to sharpen by hand. It's not as hard as some people make it seem. Just start slow.

Edited by WiscoNole (log)
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The knives hadn't been on waterstones until I sold the Edge Pro.  I used a Sharpie and kept the angles very consisten for the different knives, including writing down angles and taking photos of where I had the arm set for each knife.  I honestly have no explanation for it...it just didn't work as well as I thought it should have.

I'm not saying that this happened to you, but one startup problem I had may be related to inconsistent performance for others. When I first put together the system, I had the sliding bar that holds the stones installed upside down on the vertical post, which meant that the bar didn't slide smoothly. I couldn't figure out the problem for a while because it wasn't (or isn't -- perhaps this has changed) clearly indicated on the manuals that I could find. Anyway, flipping over the sleeve that goes on the vertical post solved that problem.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I had the sliding bar that holds the stones installed upside down on the vertical post, which meant that the bar didn't slide smoothly. I couldn't figure out the problem for a while because it wasn't (or isn't -- perhaps this has changed) clearly indicated on the manuals that I could find. Anyway, flipping over the sleeve that goes on the vertical post solved that problem.

Chris,

The bar was installed upside down on the unit I received for Christmas. It seemed wrong to me so I looked at the picture and saw that it was shipped to me assembled incorrectly. I reversed it immeadiatetly.

I think I need to send an email to Edge Pro since this may not be an isolated problem.

Porthos

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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I think I need to send an email to Edge Pro since this may not be an isolated problem.

I did email EdgePro and got a response that he assembles each unit himself. I experiemented and found that you can install the vertical rod with the stone-holding rod in the correct and incorrect positions. The instructions in the manual are correct for how to insert it but they assume you already know the nomenclature of the parts of the sharpener. I think if I were to pursue this further with EdgePro I would recommend an oveheard illustration showing the pivot shaft (the vertical piece) inserted into the base so that you can see that the stone arm is to the left of the pivot arm. This is a relatively minor issue, though.

I watched the video again today and took a cheap paring knife bought on a camping trip years ago and following the instructions I put a new angle on the blade. I also touched up two of my travelling knives. I'm having way too much fun.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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I can always get shaving sharp with any knife I try sharpening as long as I get a burr along the entire length of the blade and then lightly remove it using the EdgePro. I have done knives with angles of that ranged from 25 to 15 degrees. I have not been able to go below 15* with the EdgePro. I understand that if you raise the knive by adding a riser on the platform that you can get lower angles. I'm just not sure how to measure them.

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  • 1 month later...

I've noticed something, or at least I think I have. It seems that cheaper knives with softer metal in the blades can't be charpened to the same level as my good knives. I've experineced this twice so far. I put a completely new 17 degree edge on a cheap knife I bought specifically for learning to sharpen. I couldn't get anything near to sharp compared to my Henckels or my Forschner 10: chef's knife. Last night I tried working on a less expensive 3 1'2 inch paring knife and no matter what I did it was only so-so.

Is it me, or is it the softer metals?

Outside of wondering about this I am loving having this machine and can't believe I turned my nose up to it a year ago.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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Not sure Porthos. I sharpened a bunch of low end kitchen knives for my son before he went back to college. All could shave my arm and slice cleanly through paper. I don't expect them to remain that sharp for very long but they were very sharp. I really don't think I get my Henckels any sharper.

edited to add: I tried to put a 15* angle on a cheap paring knife and it just flaked. I did my son's knives with 18* back bevel and 20* primary.

Edited by scubadoo97 (log)
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I've noticed something, or at least I think I have.  It seems that cheaper knives with softer metal in the blades can't be charpened to the same level as my good knives.  I've experineced this twice so far.  I put a completely new 17 degree edge on a cheap knife I bought specifically for learning to sharpen.  I couldn't get anything near to sharp compared to my Henckels or my Forschner 10: chef's knife.  Last night I tried working on a less expensive 3 1'2 inch paring knife and no matter what I did it was only so-so.

Is it me, or is it the softer metals?

I think you have the hardness thing backwards. Cheap knives are made with hard stainless so that they will keep their factory edge as long as possible. After that, they are a pain to resharpen. Better knives with higher carbon content are softer, don't keep their edge as long, but sharpen much easier. At least that's what I've been led to believe.

Jim

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I've noticed something, or at least I think I have.  It seems that cheaper knives with softer metal in the blades can't be charpened to the same level as my good knives.  I've experineced this twice so far.  I put a completely new 17 degree edge on a cheap knife I bought specifically for learning to sharpen.  I couldn't get anything near to sharp compared to my Henckels or my Forschner 10: chef's knife.  Last night I tried working on a less expensive 3 1'2 inch paring knife and no matter what I did it was only so-so.

Is it me, or is it the softer metals?

I think you have the hardness thing backwards. Cheap knives are made with hard stainless so that they will keep their factory edge as long as possible. After that, they are a pain to resharpen. Better knives with higher carbon content are softer, don't keep their edge as long, but sharpen much easier. At least that's what I've been led to believe.

Jim

No Jim Porthos was correct. High carbon steel is harder so it may take longer to get sharp but will maintain it longer. The down side of a very high Rockwell rating of mid 60s is the metal will be brittle. Very hard steel will have a Rockwell rating of maybe 60-62.

Look at this Korin site for Masamoto in VG-10 and Virgin High Carbon steel. They list the Rockwell scores. The VG-10 is in the upper 50s and the carbon steel is in the low 60s

http://www.korin.com/subCategory.php?cat=5...b70cba4c947188c

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I've noticed something, or at least I think I have.  It seems that cheaper knives with softer metal in the blades can't be charpened to the same level as my good knives.  I've experineced this twice so far.  I put a completely new 17 degree edge on a cheap knife I bought specifically for learning to sharpen.  I couldn't get anything near to sharp compared to my Henckels or my Forschner 10: chef's knife.  Last night I tried working on a less expensive 3 1'2 inch paring knife and no matter what I did it was only so-so.

Is it me, or is it the softer metals?

Outside of wondering about this I am loving having this machine and can't believe I turned my nose up to it a year ago.

Something I've noticed when sharpening some of my cheaper knives is that I was too aggressive in taking the burr off. I reasoned that since the metal was softer I was taking off too much of the burr and creating another one on the other side. When I take the burr off with very light strokes (maybe only 1 stroke) they come out very sharp.

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I've noticed this in general. Those stones can easily create another burr, leading to the flip/grind/repeat problem. One long, light stroke at the end is how I finish off all of my knives, but it has taken practice to do it consistently.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks to everyone here for your tips: I just got my Edge Pro yesterday and finished doing my knives tonight. I can't do any side-by-side comparisons, but they seem to be about as sharp as when I have them professionally sharpened, especially the ones I did towards the end of my marathon sharpening session. I'm one of those people who doesn't particularly care for the chore of sharpening, so I am happy to have an efficient system that does an acceptable job.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I have to chime in here -- I'm another EdgePro fan. I love that system! I'm a home cook with a set of Henckels German knives and I didn't know my knives could get that sharp!

The first time I used the EdgePro my knives got so sharp that they seemed to jump out and bite me when I washed them. I've learned to be very very careful when washing them after sharpening them.

I read the instruction book carefully before using the EdgePro the first time and I was astounded at the results. The burr that formed was easy to feel and clearly visible to those with good eyes.

I am now addicted to super sharp knives. What a pleasure they are! (Except when they bite me instead of the food I'm prepping, of course!)

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[...] I am happy to have an efficient system that does an acceptable job.

"An acceptable job"? I think you're "mis-underestimating" (quoting the American President) things. If you're only getting acceptable results, somethings's wrong.

I'll presume that your pro sharpener isn't a knife butcher.

It may take some more experience with the Edge Pro to fully realize it's potential.

Did you try a Sharpie pen on the the edges of your knives before sharpening?

I tried many sharpening methods before the Edge Pro, but never managed to get it quite right. Nothing else caused me to fear casual contact with the edges. Egale has it right, scary sharp is good, but also scary. :biggrin: This is a good thing.

Edited by Human Bean (log)
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[...] I am happy to have an efficient system that does an acceptable job.

"An acceptable job"? I think you're "mis-underestimating" (quoting the American President) things. If you're only getting acceptable results, somethings's wrong.

:laugh: I hesitate to use superlatives when I have no basis for comparison. Until now, I have had sharp knives because I had them sharpened by a professional. Now, I am sharpening them myself and achieving at least qualitatively similar results. I'm sure I could do better with practice, but I suspect that an experienced pro with a whetstone setup could do better still. I did indeed use the sharpie technique, and again, I got better the more experience I got with the system. To me, "acceptable" is not an insult, it is just not a gushing "OMFG!!" since I am unqualified to be quite that ecstatic.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Exactly Chris, how excited people get about how sharp their knives are is a very relative thing. I don't use the Apex system. I've used nothing but whetstones since day 1. I remember being so excited when I first got started and my knives got sharper each time I hit the stones. If I was to look at those edges now, I'd say to myself these edges are crap. :blink: But today, I seriously doubt that anyone can produce the kind of edge I can get with my Shaptons using this device. I've heard great things about it from many pro's so I know it does a great job but if someone was to show me their best work, I doubt I would be gushing OMFG either.

Practice does have a big impact on progress as with anything as well as working outside the box. Try thinning the edges a little each time you sharpen instead of sharpening your current bevels (the status quo). Work outside the box...lower your angle a degree or two to thin the bevel then raise it to give it a quick back bevel for strength. These devices can have a tendancy to let the some users get lazy rather than strive for the best edge they can get each time they sharpen. Something that cannot happen when working with stones as it forces you to improve because of the freehand nature of the task. If people are taking on the job of doing their own knives then everyone should be striving to improve with each session and get sharper every single time. Otherwise what was the point of spending all that money?

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  • 9 months later...

I recently got an Apex.

Its a tool that enables me to produce a damn good edge.

I doubt that I could ever approach that precision freehand.

I suppose some might say that it "de-skills" the process.

A few serious enthusiasts might be able to do better freehand. I rather doubt that I could.

Its not absolutely instant gratification. You need to use it carefully, with a bit of deliberation.

But it gets you to the zen of the edge several months (if not years) faster.

The tool doesn't do the whole job.

It just steadies your hand.

Up to you what you do then.

Its more expensive than any of my knives.

But now they are sharp knives.

And can be resharpened whenever needed.

Unless you've been bitten by the 'learn a totally manual skill' bug, I'd suggest that anyone might consider getting one - instead of getting yet another knife. Make the most of what you've got!

I'm impressed by the thought behind the product. Its a pretty elegantly subtle bit of engineering design.

Does Ben really sign every one?

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I'm debating which Apex kit to get. Kit 2 gets me a small ceramic hone plus an instructional DVD. The hone seems like it would be awkward to use since it doesn't have a real handle on it. I would think I would be better off with the hone the sell that does include a handle. But I'm sure the DVD would come in handy.

Would it be better to buy Kit 1, then add in the DVD and the 12" ceramic hone?

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I'm debating which Apex kit to get. Kit 2 gets me a small ceramic hone plus an instructional DVD.  The hone seems like it would be awkward to use since it doesn't have a real handle on it. I would think I would be better off with the hone the sell that does include a handle.  But I'm sure the DVD would come in handy.

Would it be better to buy Kit 1, then add in the DVD and the 12" ceramic hone?

Ask EdgePro nicely, and they'll likely swap the hones for the (either $5 or $10) difference in item prices. I don't know whether the longer one, (12" plus handle), would fit inside the Apex carrybag. I'm sure they'd tell you! :smile:

The hone is important, though its used very very lightly (almost no contact force) and very very little (just a few seconds.) And the basic one is perfectly functional, if not very pretty.

If you go for anything other than kit 1, the DVD is really in for nothing. Its well worth seeing, but maybe not twice! Its like a longer version of the website video, taking more trouble to explain the stroke action, and showing things like how gently to use the hone.

I'm glad that I have the coarse stone. I've actually used it on all my old knives to establish a proper edge shape. But unless I do a serious mischief to the blade, I'd hope not to have to use it again on those knives.

I haven't tried to use the polish tapes. Maybe I'm not obsessive enough! But I do use the Ultra Fine stone (as a light polish) to finish. Kit3 brings the coarse and ultra fine stones and (on balance) for $2 the polish tapes.

Therefore, IF your knives are currently in reasonable shape, AND you aren't after a very fine finish -- which I think is an unlikely combo -- THEN Kit 2 would do you. But I think the other two stones are worth having.

Incidentally, I'd echo the earlier comments about 'soft' steel in more economical knives. Its 'easier' to cut, less effort to remove metal. But that makes it actually a more difficult skill, requiring a lighter touch, to achieve a good edge on the softer steel. Its easy to feel the burr all along the blade, but then hard to lose it! But even for the softer steel, I used the coarse stone to tolerably quickly cut the basic shape.

And you can feel and (I think) hear the difference in how the stone cuts the softer steel.

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I can put the ceramic hone in the same place my steel is. And put the steel in the trash. :) I WOULD like to see the DVD, heck, I may even need to refer back to it a few times until I get the hang of it.

My current chef's knife is a Forschner. I think I will learn on that before plopping down the cash for a Shun (or maybe a MAC)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I have a "kinda" sharpening question... I have some knives that I used a Chefs choice 110 on.But only to do a touch up on the edges, not the rotary grind thing.

Anyway, there is an unsightly 3/8" or so area along the bottom edge of the blade that is marked from the vibrating ceramic things...The edges are fine , and I dont use the 110 any more, but is there any way to clean up the unsightly area that the thing left on the blades????It is not affecting the edge , but looks crappy.

I was thinking maybe some 2000 wet or dry paper glued to a chunk of wood to clean it up??

any. comments would be appreciated from the knife experts...

Bud

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I have a "kinda" sharpening question... I have some knives that I used a Chefs choice 110 on.But only to do a touch up on the edges, not the rotary grind thing.

Anyway, there is an unsightly 3/8" or so area along the bottom edge of the blade that is marked from the vibrating ceramic things...The edges are fine , and I dont use the 110 any more, but is there any way to clean up the unsightly area that the thing left on the blades????It is not affecting the edge , but looks crappy.

I was thinking maybe some 2000 wet or dry paper glued to a chunk of wood to clean it up??

any. comments would be appreciated from the knife experts...

Bud

What will work for you is a 4000 - 6000 grit waterstone, however they are expensive as hell. You could buy a good knife for that money,

However, places that sell to woodcarvers like Lee Valley, have very small waterstones meant for small carving chisels. They are called slips.

A few minutes with one of those and your knife will look like a mirror.

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