Show your Paper Wheel edges

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  • This is my current set-up, complete with the prices i paid:

    Tormek T7 fitted with an SB-250 Black silicon stone instead of the standard SG-250 stone: +/- 500 Euro
    Creusen DS7500TS slow speed benchgrinder (1400-1700 r.p.m.): 150 Euro (auction website)
    My first standard set of Razor Sharp Paper Wheels: +/- 65 Euro
    4 x uncoated Paper Wheels for use with diamond compounds: +/- 85 Euro
    1 x Rubber Wheel (hard) grit 60 SiC: +/- 70,00 Euro
    1 x Rubber Wheel (hard) grit 180 SiC: 70,00 Euro
    1 x Rubber Wheel (soft) grit 60 SiC: free (gift from manufacturer)
    1 x Rubber Wheel (soft) grit 180 SiC: free (gift from manufacturer)
    A supply of +/- 900 Euro worth of various 3M diamond compounds: +/- 150 Euro

    These days the Tormek gets used mostly to set initial edge bevels or do reprofilings, but sometimes i also use a still experimental Rubber Wheel coated with 230 diamond powder for that.
    If you just want to sharpen knives a standard set of Paper Wheels will do just fine for most people.

  • If you just want to sharpen knives, a standard set of Paper Wheels will serve you cheaper, better, faster, and easier than a Tormek.
    The knife below is one of the first i did (after a short learning curve) with just my standard set of Paper Wheels when i bought them back in 2009, so with only the silicon carbide grit Wheel & the slotted Wheel that uses white aluminium oxide.

    The New Stainless Super Keen Cutting steel used in these vintage Puma's is basically just a simple stainless that had an extremely good heat treat (it holds an edge comparable to well hardened 154CM in my use)
    For steel types like this a basic set of Paper Wheels will do just fine.

    Only on modern high vanadium carbide steel types i would definitely recommend that you use diamonds (or CBN) for the refining steps, as both silicon carbide & aluminium oxide aren't hard enough to truly shape those carbides, they just get plowed with the matrix.
    Which is enough if you're after a sharp but coarse edge, but not if you're after the highest sharpness possible with steels like S30V, S60V, S90V, S110V, S125V, etc.
    (And then you get the specialty alloys & ceramics)

    This is my vintage Puma 6383 Buddy from 1972 as it was before sharpening.
    The factory edge it still had was very obtuse and couldn't cut anything well.


    Overall length: 9.6 inch (24,3 cm)
    Blade length: 4.8 inch (12,2 cm)
    Blade thickness: 3,1 mm
    Steel: New Stainless Super Keen Cutting Steel
    Hardness: 57-59 HRC
    Handle material: Sambar Stag

    This is the knife after sharpening on my set of Paper Wheels.
    On this edge burr removal & semi-polishing was still done with the use of white aluminium oxide.

  • Very impressive.

    "This is my rifle.There are many like it, but this one is mine"


    Sharpen it like you love it, use it like you hate it.

  • The factory edge of this Spyderco PM2 in S110V steel was barely shaving armhair on skinlevel, and according to my Tormek WM200 the edge angle was near 35 degrees inclusive.
    The old apex was removed by cutting several times straight into a silicon carbide stone, and then i used 4 different Paper Wheels coated with diamond compounds (15, 6, 3, and 1 micron) to create & refine the new edge.
    Normally i don't take high carbide steel types this far, but in this case i wanted to see how the S110V steel would do.

    The new & ever so slightly convex edge measures a hair below 30 degrees inclusive, and can easily whittle a normal chest hair towards the point along the entire edge.
    Thinner ones will sever immediately upon touching.
    My cheap camera is not really able to show full details, but at least it gives some impression.

  • A Belgian member of the Dutch forum who's also into sharpening sent me a USB-camera as a gift, and although i still have lots to learn about what it can do i managed to take a couple of pics of the current edge on the PM2 in S110V steel:

    So these look convex, yet the wheel would imply that they end up hollow. I'm guessing you have to make a lot of manual movements to have them end up convex?

    They look utterly amazing. Every time I see your edges I get a little closer to ordering up a Tormek.

  • So these look convex, yet the wheel would imply that they end up hollow. I'm guessing you have to make a lot of manual movements to have them end up convex?

    They look utterly amazing. Every time I see your edges I get a little closer to ordering up a Tormek.

    - but you see, this is what I cannot get my head around...

    The edge of where you've newly sharpened to the existing grind is so defined and utterly distinct - it's almost impossible for me to imagine doing this by hand without a little blurring of the two faces.....?


    Owning and riding a motorcycle is not a matter of life or death. It is more important than that.

  • For the edge on this PM2 i only used several Paper Wheels coated with a mixture of diamond paste & oil (so no Tormek involved), and since these have a tiny bit of "give" in their surfaces you will always get a bit of convexity in your edges, although you can influence this effect by varying the pressure with which you sharpen.
    And these extreme close-up pictures with light refections also make it seem more the case than it really is.
    Also because your hands are not jigs there will always be some deviation in the passes you make across the Wheel.
    I do make quite a lot of passes to to try to even out any "facets" that might be visible in the bevels, and to get bevels without any of those facets can indeed be challenging.

    Those defined bevel lines are the result of the cooling & lubricating agents on the Wheel surfaces; wax on a standard Paper Wheel with SiC grit, and dried oil on my modified Paper Wheels that use fine diamond paste.
    Besides a rather large chance of heat build up, a normal stone grinding wheel on your average bench grinder has a tendency to grab the blade and pull it up or down from where you intend it to be, making it very difficult to get nice and defined bevels.
    That is also why i use a detergent in the water trough of my Tormek T7; to negate the grabbing effect of the silicon carbide stone.
    But thanks to the lubricant on the Paper Wheels the grabbing effect is almost non-existent, thereby making it quite easy (with some practice i admit) to create very even bevels because you can keep the knife practically still while doing passes.

  • The edge on this PM2 took me about 2 hours, since the starting point was a fairly even factory edge.
    Most time goes into all the visual checks i do with a loupe under bright light in between passes over the Wheels.
    If it would have been nasty or well used it would have taken me a bit longer, can't say exactly how much.

    Sharpening time depends mostly on how much material needs to be removed on what types of steel in what kind of condition, and extra polishing steps obviously take extra time.
    What i call a standard edge on most normally blunted Spyderco's, Benchmades, Striders, and Sebenza's takes me anywhere from between 10 minutes up to around 20-30 minutes.

  • The Manix 2 lightweight in S110V is a superb knife, and it exemplifies Spyderco's motto "simplify and add lightness".
    The model only seems to have two possible disadvantages: it takes up quite a bit of real estate in your pocket, and some people can't seem to get over the fact that it has an ultra lightweight plastic handle, which to them makes the knife feel cheap and not worth the asking price.
    But after providing them with some links to real life tests with this knife some of them change their minds :-)

    I do hope however that the factory edges get some more attention in the future, as i already had to resharpen 5 pcs of this model that couldn't even slice copy paper.
    Upon inspection all these edges had visible burr remains and edge angles measured around 35 degrees inclusive.

    This is one of them with it's new bling & bite edge, as i call them: reprofiled to +/- 30 degrees inclusive with 230 grit diamond powder on a Rubber Wheel, refined with 15 micron diamond compound on a Paper Wheel, and deburred with 0,25 micron diamond compound on a second Paper Wheel.
    To me the shiny bevels are actually a side effect, as it's the clean cutting of the large amount of vanadium carbides that i'm after.

  • Since i started working with Paper Wheels back in 2009 i've experimented with quite a few regritting methods, and the recipe below is what has been working best & longest for me:

    1 - First remove all traces of the old wax layer.
    For this i use a steel wire brush on the spinning Wheel until most is gone, then i shut the machine down and remove the last remnants with an old rag & brake cleaner.

    2 - Then remove all traces of grit & glue until you get to the bare cardboard surface.
    For this i use an old coarse silicon carbide stone first and a semi-coarse diamond stone second, but coarse sandpaper on a piece of wood also works well.

    3 - Take a good quality water resistant wood glue and coat the bare cardboard surface evenly.
    I just use a clean finger while turning the Wheel with my other hand.
    Let dry at least overnight.

    4 - The next day apply a new and just a little thicker layer of the same glue, and immediately after coat the surface with the grit.
    For this i put a thick layer of grit in a small rectangle box or a deep plastic lid from a jar and gently push the surface of the wheel in it, evenly and all the way around.
    Put the wheel back on the machine and let dry at least overnight.

    5 - The next day run the machine with the wheel for just a few seconds so any loose grit particles fly off.
    I also hold my diamond stone shortly to the sides of the Wheel to remove grit particles that stick out there.
    Stop the wheel and coat the gritted surface with a very thin & even layer of the same wood glue, so thin you can still feel the grit under your fingertips when you're done.
    Let it dry at least overnight.

    6 - The next day run the machine and hold an old junk knife a few seconds to the wheel (still without the wax), as this will lay bare the highest points of the grit particles.
    Now you can put some wax on the surface (don't overdo it) and sharpen away.

    As you can see the process takes some time, but to me it's worth it.
    The triple layer of glue makes for a much stronger bond of the SiC grit to the cardboard surface compared to just one layer of glue, and each grit particle is also held better in the glue since it's almost completely encapsulated by it, while the glue itself will wear away easily during sharpening.
    This method provides me with a grit Wheel that works perfectly and also lasts longer between regrittings.