Best Sharpening Stone Maintenance Tips
Two Common Mistakes That Will Drastically Reduce the Lifespan of your Sharpening Stones.
1) Sharpening at too low of an angle: When you sharpen at too low of an angle, you have to remove a lot more metal. The more metal you are removing, the faster the stone will wear. This can be the difference between taking just a few minutes to sharpen a knife, and 30 minutes. If you have been sharpening a long time and you are not getting an edge, you need to go to a higher angle or you need to thin the knife. If you are at 21 degrees thin at 15 degrees.
2) Sharpening very crude tools. Yes, the Edge Pro is capable of sharpening Axes, Machetes, and Lawn mower blades . . . But sometimes the bulk of the metal should be removed with a belt sander/ grinder, then finished with your Edge Pro. Remember the Edge Pro sharpening systems are designed for precision, and to remove as little metal as necessary. So if you sharpen something that requires a LOT of metal removal, you will wear down your stones faster.
Tips to Get the Most Life Out of Your Sharpening Stones:
1) Sharpen at the correct angle. If you don't know what angle to sharpen at, check the bevel with a felt tipped marker and match whatever angle is on the knife, or sharpen at a slightly higher angle than what is already on the knife. (There are exceptions to this but for the sake of this blog post I’m keeping it simple).
NOTE: We sharpen almost everything at 21 degrees. When you sharpen knives resting on the face of the blade you are always putting a lower angle on the knife than your setting. For example, we want 19 degrees on kitchen knives so we set the Edge Pro Knife Sharpener at a 21 degree sharpening angle. You only get the angle you are set at if you are resting on the flat of the blade. This is the same surface that the handle is attached to. (See our post on "New Recommendations for Angle Settings" for more details)
2) Level your stones. Lay a straight edge (like a ruler or the edge of another stone) across the cutting surface of your stone, and hold it up to a light. If you can see light between the straight edge and the stone then it needs to be leveled. Sharpening stones always tend to wear a little quicker in the center than they do on the ends. The wear in the center of the stone will begin to accelerate if not leveled in a timely manner. For the best method of leveling stones, take a look at our Stone Leveling Kit.
3) Flip your stone. Flip your stone end for end each time you load it in the stone arm. This method is often overlooked, but can easily add an extra 50 knives to the life of a stone. Most people have a tendency to lean a little heavy on one side of the stone. Leveling a stone will flatten the cutting surface of the stone, but it does not level all 3 dimensions of the stone. Flipping the stone end for end each time you sharpen will help the stone wear evenly on all 3 dimensions.