Sharp Knives

the guy was talking about the burr on the edge. That gave me a whole new understanding of sharpening. I was looking for a visual "shiny" on top of the "V" to see if there was a shiny rounded edge.
Both of those are good techniques, you can feel the burr a lot easier than you can see it as well. Kind of draw your fingers away from the edge all along it.

Sort of an aside since I’m firmly in camp burr …. But since it’s useful sometimes to talk about the other ideas. There’s actually a bit of controversy around “sharpening over the edge” (burr) vs “sharpening to the edge” (minimal or no burr). When the burr comes off there is some kind of damage is sort of inevitable as it tears the metal a bit. This can be minimized by how fine it is and working it down so it wears off instead of tearing. The people who get really into that are the razor folks who want a really really smooth edge and are perhaps a bit obsessive and dare I say perhaps even a little superstitious at times.

I haven’t found raising and working off a burr to really be a problem in woodworking tools and kitchen knives. I’ve tried the sharpening to the edge technique and it’s just a bit too fussy for me. And the burr is such a good indicator that you’ve gotten where you need to be all along the edge that it’s pretty much what I use as a guide for checking consistency along the edge. It also lets you know if you’re done or not.

In double bitted axes I agree with Ted that they are extremely dangerous. I wasn’t allowed to use them until I was in my late teens even though I had been using single bitted for over a decade by then. They’re difficult to carry safely (in front and you can land on it, over the shoulder it can land on you both can be equally as disastrous), they’re difficult to use safely, and most people should probably never handle one. They are useful for some tasks though. For a falling axe you want a thin razor edge and having two of them at hand reduces down time, for camp axes we kept them with one super sharp edge and one “utility” edge that was a bit less acute for things like splitting salt blocks. The balance is also quite good. I still need to make a sheath for this one at I won’t carry one any distance without.
As an aside, double bit axes can be more dangerous than regular axes. During a timbersports competition between my school and the Penn State College of Forestry one of the guys was doing the standing block chop (no protective equipment back in those days) using a pimped out short handled, heavy headed double bit axe. When he rotated the axe back behind his head to begin the power stroke, he split his scalp straight down the middle from front to back. That's when I learned how much scalp wounds can bleed. Lots and lots of stitches.
For those of you who were in the Boy Scouts you may remember a patch that had to be earned in order to be able to carry a knife or an axe or hatchet. It was the Totin' Chip. Lots of scouts earned their Totin' Chip at summer camp.

One summer when I was a counselor at camp I worked two jobs. One was teaching archery and the other was filling in at the Health Lodge (first aid station) while the camp doctor inspected camp sites. His inspection tour took a couple of hours and all I had to do was man the Health Lodge and dispense band-aids for minor injuries. If a kid was hurt badly I was supposed to ring the bell and the doctor would come running.

On this particular day the doctor had asked me to organize the supply cabinet which meant put the things where they were supposed to go according to the labels on the shelves. I am doing this when I hear some boys screaming and I went to the front door of the building.

I see a bunch of boys and a couple of counselors bringing a kid up the hill from where the Totin' Chip classes were held and he had an axe stuck in his right calf. I rang the bell! I mean I really rang the bell!

They brought the kid into the Health Lodge and placed him on the examination table. One of the counselors wanted to pull the axe out of his leg and I stopped him. I didn't think that was a good idea.

Just a few seconds later the doctor's station wagon pulled up and he came into the Health Lodge and assessed the situation. He reached into the supply cabinet and got two boxes of sterile cotton and told me to sit in the back seat of the wagon; open the sterile cotton and have a wad in each hand. I did what I was told to do. He and the counselors carried the kid out to the car and laid him on the back seat with his legs across mine. He told me he was going to pull out the axe and I was supposed to take that cotton and press it onto the wound and squeeze the kid's leg as tightly as I could. I did as I was told.

He removed the axe and I applied pressure and the handfuls of cotton to his leg as hard as I could squeeze. Blood continued to seep out but slowly. The doctor drove to the nearest hospital which was about 15 miles away. When we got there they were ready for the kid and loaded him onto a gurney and wheeled him into the emergency room.

That left me sitting in the back seat of the car covered in blood from my thighs down to my moccasins. I was wearing Scout shorts and moccasins. I decided to get out of the car and walk into the waiting room. When I walked in a nurse saw me and ran to me because she thought I had been hurt. With every step I was squishing blood out of my moccasins. Once the nurse determined that I was not hurt she took me into a treatment bay and helped me clean up. I was able to rinse the blood out of my moccasins and squish about the emergency room with water coming out rather than blood.

That is all I have to say about that. I learned that the kid was taking Totin' Chip class and the counselor turned his back for a second and the kid swung at an overhead limb, missed, and the axe ended up stuck in his calf. It missed the bone thank goodness. I thought teaching archery was dangerous.

I have never seen so much blood....
It was the Totin' Chip
I took the class and even got a merit badge for it. I still carry knives and axes the way I was taught in that I remember driving pieces of branches in the ground to enable you top set a hatchet across them and sharpening the hatchet with a bastard file. The pieces of wood held the hatchet in place...;)
I never took any classes or was in boy scouts. In my job I learned a lot about cutting tool used in metal manufacturing. There was a lot of good information to be had. Sharpening knives, chisels planer blades, jointer blades all came for places like hoardes of magazines, you tube, forums and friends. Being exposed to cutting edges in manufacturing really helps a lot.
I was never a boy scout, but did play at being a scout master when my son was in the scouts...good thing I had lots of help since I didn't know much about the scouting program... only volunteered because no one else would step up... I attended many meeting in a 3 piece suit and took a briefing of what the program was as I walked down the aisle to the podium... my work hours were such that sometimes I just barely made the meeting.

I did learn about handling an axe safely growing up... part of my chores as a pre-teen and early teen was to keep wood pile and wood box full. And on cold mornings, Dad would call from his bed for me to go light the fireplace before he got up.
So, Here's my wustoff, fresh off of a 'Chefs Choice' electric sharpener (Don't judge me cause I'm lazy)
You can see where it had a certain profile at one time but the electric sharpener just kind has a different angle. you can also see it's a little uneven and has some knicks out of the edge here and there.

Here's the same knife after about 10 minutes on the wicked edge.
Much different angle on the 'scratches, but the edge is really pretty smooth. I started with a 100 grit stone to get back to a single profile. This is at a 20 degree angle.
I Could probably spend a little more time on each grit to remove the previous scratches and get it to more of a mirror finish. It actually shines pretty good in the light.

Here's the new brodark, I haven't touched the blade at all.
I think this has a steeper angle than what the wicked edge has. Not sure this picture does it justice, but the edge does appear to be a little rougher?

Here's the little microscope I'm using for the pictures
(I also attacked my little paring knife with the wicked edge. Probably going to hit everything up with it over the next day or so, lol)

So what say you, knife experts, How does the old wustof look? Wish I had a soft tomato to sacrifice for some testing.

Should I fire up the wicked edge on the Brodark?
So comparing those two edges is an interesting example of the problem of trying to compare these things :rolleyes::LOL:

I think the Bodark and the Wustoff have fairly different "kinds" of edge. The wicked edge result is about as I'd expect with diamonds, very crisp with well defined (albeit small) valleys. The bodark is a "smoother" edge where they probably used a rounder kind of grit for honing it. Which is "sharper" or "better".. *waves hands* nominally a smooth edge lasts longer but it depends on a lot of factors.

I would bet that if you took. ..IDK.. 15-25 good passed on green compound on the Wustoff it would look a bit more like the Bodark.. although you're starting with a "straighter" edge so might not have as many little waves (or maybe it would.. I don't think so but am very willing to be wrong here).

It would also be interesting to do the same microscope check before with just the wicked edge, and with green compound and then again after using them for a bit in regular kitchen use and see how the edge fails.

This is better microscope detail than I've ever done personally, that rig does a great job!
Yeah, for a cheap little 2mp gadget, it doesn't do half bad.
What I do like about the wicked edge is that maintaing the angle is kind of built in, but there's a lot of other technique.

I suspect starting with the 100 grit put some deep gouges in there that would take a bit longer to work out to get a mirror finish edge.

They both do a fine job of shaving paper and the hairs off my arms, lol.
Seeing those edges under the microscope is really cool and informative. I would love to see what the edges look like that I am getting off the Work Sharp. As I said before I have been stopping at 2500 and then stoning the edge with ceramic rods. I could go to 6000 but it hardly seems to make a difference.

I really enjoy these long-winded discussions about the nuances of a subject like sharpening. I always learn so much from hearing about how things can be improved in such an esoteric endeavor. Most people don't worry about the things we are talking about.

The first time I really cared about sharpness to the extent that we are talking about was when I started using hand planes. I loved using a razor sharp hand plane. I loved being able to plane a piece of wood and get wispy shavings that you could see through. I loved trimming a miter and getting a glassy smooth surface. And to get a really good edge on a hand plane you need some specialized equipment and stones. Or do you? Our forefathers in the craft did not have access to some of the technology we are using but somehow they were able to create magnificent pieces of furniture, moldings, window sashes....etc. etc. etc.

This has been great fun. Now you see what a wood nerd I really am. :D:giggle:
Brent - do you have a link to your micsoscope

What we had at work was similar to that, but several thousand dollars
I used to use it all the time.

I recieved the Strop I ordered with green compound
So I took my Henckles Santoku knife and looked unde the magnifyer light and under the 10x Mitutoyo loop.

I could see that using the guide was a game changer for me.
I guess my hand sharpening skills are not as goof as I thought, though I could never get razor sharp.
The sharpened angle with the guide was nice and flat and even all the way through the entire edge.
My hand sharpening was uneven and rounded,
I could cut a tomato easily, but never shave.

I took the guide sharpened Henckles Santoku and stroped it with the green compound.
Under the 10x loop there was a noticable difference and it shaved cleaner. My arm is going to be clean shaved soon.

I am quite accustomed to the microscope and it is now on my wish list, thanks to Brent.

Mike - same here. I don't know if any of you ever knew Limey, but he showed me how to Fettle my Stanley No. 3 have plane to perform "almost" as good as a Lehigh hand plane that I was drooling over. Part of that was how to sharpen the blade. That is when he gave me the King 1200 water stone. Maybe 20 years ago???
Ordered this unit which seems similar to Brent's. Flimsy, but for a cheap 2mp unit it does OK. It claims real-time connectivity to a PC, however my windows 10 PC would not recognize it as a camera. It does charge via USB. Still playing with it.
View attachment 123359.
Reading reviews and the Q&A sections for a bunch of these USB microscopes on Amazon a few nights ago, I saw someone mention that you have to go into the Windows 10 setting to disable your computer's built-in camera to get the USB camera to work. Not sure if that's what's causing the issue you're seeing. I added this one to my Amazon Wishlist for future reference.
Reading reviews and the Q&A sections for a bunch of these USB microscopes on Amazon a few nights ago, I saw someone mention that you have to go into the Windows 10 setting to disable your computer's built-in camera to get the USB camera to work. Not sure if that's what's causing the issue you're seeing. I added this one to my Amazon Wishlist for future reference.
I'll give that a shot. Thanks!
If y'all are jonesing for some higher res imagery and perhaps a tad bit of interpretation.. this is a fun couple hours of reading

Hist commentary on how honing works is a bit contrary to my expectations and some of his results are a smidge counterintuitive as well but worth pondering.
I love that stuff.

In the last company I was retired from we made Dial Indicators, and all sorts of measuring instruments. The company used to be called Federal Products. The FP indicators are collectable items now. They still make the indicators, but they have the Mahr logo on them.

Across the street they also made the vision systems
This is one such item, but they made more

When I needed to see something REALLY close up, I took a walk across the street.

Ryan, Yes I will be reading that article.

I remember in college, one of the students polished a piece of steel to a mirror finish. No scratches were visible by eye.
I would love to see that under an electronic vision system at 10k or more.

In one of the medical companies I had some components examined under an electron microscope - you can see chemical deposits.

There is some rediculously cool technologies out there.

Talk about a slippery slope.