EP rec for a total novice...

CKTG has a large amount of Edge Pro products so we've dedicated a forum to questions on Edge Pro sharpening systems, accessories and techniques.
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BigPapiDoesItAgain
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EP rec for a total novice...

Post by BigPapiDoesItAgain » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:04 pm

Hello, I am wanting to get into hand sharpening, and thought I might use an Edge Pro system as an avenue to this pursuit. I would be using it to sharpen kitchen blades - I have a hodgepodge of kitchen knives currently (MTH-80, a Kershaw Shun 6" utility, Wusthof Classic 6" chef, and numerous lesser quality blades of various sizes) as well as a number of hunting knives, carry knives, etc. I do not make my living with these kind of knives (though a scalpel is a tool of my real trade). I have a Work Sharp WKSTS-KO, which admittedly is all I really need from a practical standpoint to serve my purpose, but I want to actually enjoy this from a hobbyist perspective, so I'm looking to add a little nuance. I thought perhaps the Apex Shapton or Essential set they sell on CKTG might be a good starting point, but would like to hear recs from people who know the score with all of this. I would also say that I could be talked into the Edge Pro Professional if it is truly worth the extra money. I am certainly grateful for any advice and info provided and look forward to being a member of this forum. I plan on adding some interesting knives along the way as well, but of course that is a who other discussion.

Radar53
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by Radar53 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:17 pm

Hi there BigPapi and welcome to the forum.

Firstly I would steer clear of the "Edge Pro 1" through "Edge Pro 4" kits as these have the Edge Pro standard stones in them. While 20 years ago these standard stones were OK'ish, unfortunately things have moved on and with today's steels including VG10 and above they are pretty ineffective, compared to the third party offerings.

Having said that the other four kits ie the Essential, the Chosera, the Shapton Pro and the Shapton Glass kits will all serve your purpose well. What you order comes down to needs & personal preferences. If your current knives are in reasonable condition then you probably don't need to get stones under 1k. In this case it's worth considering the Essential kit as a starter. This covers your immediate needs and then lets you add different stones / brands as you fill in or add to your collection of stones.

However if you see really blunt & / or abused knives or thinning / reprofiling in your near future then consider kits with sub 1k grit stones to be something that you will need as well.

Personally, I have a decent collection of Shapton Glass stones and I really like these. Add to that a few Nubatama stones, which leave a different finish to the bevels / edges, but still cut well & perform strongly, plus a wide selection of 3M diamond films, along with a few odds & sods some good some not.

In terms of the Edge Pro Professional. I've used my Apex for close on 20 years now and it's a helluva piece of kit. It handles most things with ease, but does struggle a bit with the really aggressive angles that some Japanese knives and steels can handle. It will readily go down to say 10 degrees per side, but with top end steels there's a lot of jiggery / pokery involved in getting sub 10 deg edges and if you're looking for thinning angles at lower than that, it becomes a real pain.

I got an Edge Pro Professional for Christmas and it handles lower angles easily. I have just thinned a knife at 7 degrees no problems at all. It is also a bit more stable and has some other features that are nice to have in just making it more of a pleasure to use. If you see yourself getting this far down the rabbit hole, then it's worth considering the EP Pro now, but over time I've done a lot of sharpening on my Apex.

Hope this helps. Please come back with more questions if you have them.
Cheers Grant

Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not going to get you!!

5698k
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by 5698k » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:24 pm

I have an apex, and was seriously considering a pro. I have since seen a TS prof system, and have re considered the pro. First,it will use edge pro stones. Second, it appears to be a much more substantial device with all parts machined metal. It’s a clamp style system that allows you to rotate the knife 180°, giving much better consistency. I haven’t used the TS prof yet, but it looks like a heckuva system.

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Otaku19
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by Otaku19 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:52 pm

I have also thought about getting the TSProf. It looks like it is the best of both worlds and offers much more versatility than the Wicked Edge.

Radar53
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by Radar53 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:24 pm

Yes there are a number of similar, generally European or East European, type sharpeners available and they are generally more "solid" and made of various metals that are laser cut / cnc machined, which gives them a great build quality.

A couple of comments and yes I'm probably a bit biased.

I agree that it looks to be a more substantial device, but I have hammered my EP Apex for close on 20 years and it still produces mint repeatable edges. So it's also a quality and well proven piece of kit.

The clamp system that a number of these devices use has an upper and a lower clamping arm. The stone can only operate ABOVE this clamping arm and all of it's protrusions (cap screws, nuts, bolts etc). This will be the limiting factor for the lowest achievable angle that the device can sharpen to. Most of the units I have looked at in any detail have higher protrusions (above the edge-spine centreline of the knife) than the EP, meaning that they wont be able to achieve angles as low as the EP.

I would say that the EP, by design, allows for greater consistency, but this only achieved by developing and using more advanced techniques. An example here would be for any curved knife. Lock in a curved blade and the distance between the edge and the pivot shaft (vertical one at the back) changes and this changes the angle of the grind at the edge. Using the EP, there are techniques where that curvature can be adjusted for so that the angle of the grind is pretty much the same over the whole length of the edge. The downside here for the EP is that it is more fiddly and requires greater skills to get that greater consistency.

I would say that which you choose kindda depends on where you want to take your knife sharpening over time. If you just want the utility to get sharp, repeatable edges and get them easily, then a double clamp system has real advantages. For people who are OCD, well down the rabbit hole and who want to more deeply explore creating sharp edges, the EP, for me is more flexible I think.

There are other forum members here who have actually spent time and money on devices other then the EP and I hope that they can join in this conversation to provide other views so that you can make a more informed decision.

Hope this helps

PS. I see that Otaku19 has already joined the conversation and he was someone I was thinking about.
Cheers Grant

Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not going to get you!!

BigPapiDoesItAgain
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by BigPapiDoesItAgain » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:44 am

Wow, this is exactly the type of thread I was looking for...I am now poring over videos of the TS Prof ina addition to EP and WE systems, and I don't know that I've given up the idea of freehanding with stones either.

I tend to go down rabbit holes, my last one was getting back into vinyl records and it has been a lot of fun. I see this research is gonna help me pass the time between the end of football season and the start of baseball, lol! I enjoy folks that are knowledgeable in a given pursuit and willing to freely share info. Thanks so far to everyone.

Radar53
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by Radar53 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:44 pm

Another alternative is a maker called Hapstone. I have been quite impressed with what they offer and they have a number of different versions. You can find them here http://hapstone.pro/en/main/
Cheers Grant

Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not going to get you!!

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Otaku19
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by Otaku19 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:39 pm

I think that the TSProf and another brand, the Mad Edge which I have on order, ( I'll review here ) have a very nice advantage over the Wicked Edge. I do have a Hapstone V6 but found the price for their clamp a little pricey, especially compared to the Mad Edge. Mad Edge said on their YouTube channel that they have a patent for their clamp and that has made it difficult for Gritomatic to produce another version. My biggest gripe with the Wicked Edge is that there has been no forward progress toward sharpening slip joint knives, or other small knives in their system. There is waaaaaaaaaay too much flex from the Tormek small knife adapter. One of the dual clamps from the TSProf or Mad Edge can quite possibly solve this problem. You can clamp up against the frame and adjust the knife position to hit the sweet spot. I have sharpened recurves on the WE without any problems, you just use the corner of the stone like you would on the EP if you don't have the 1/2" stones. The blade flex on longer knives doesn't bother me much since you can reposition after finishing your progression. One item that will help Edge Pro users is the slide guide. Cody said that they are still prototyping this accessory but from what I have gathered, it may operate much like the 3 point guide on the Hapstone.
Last edited by Otaku19 on Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

snipes
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by snipes » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:58 am

Another happy long term EP fan here. No need to get the Professional unless you simply want to spend the extra coin. Like Radar I'd recommend staying away from the factory stones. That's where I started and when I switched over to Chocera and then Shapton I noticed a world of difference. I will diverge from Radar here though and recommend getting a sub 1k stone right up front. Even if you think your knives are in relatively decent shape edge wise, they most likely aren't. Spending 3 minutes on a 320 or even 500 grit(which I have) stone to reset the bevel and edge is well worth it when you have a pile full of unsharp knives.

As for Chosera or Shapton, I'll give you my story and unsure if it still holds true (I have an itch in the back of my head that it doesn't, but check with cktg before placing an order if needed). I upgraded to the Chosera stones, bought the full set from 500 to 8k with consistent double grit increases between each stone. Several cracked over the first couple of months, a replacement from cktg showed up cracked. At cktg's recommendation he switched me over to Shapton Glass and I'm sure took good care of me on it. The issue was with the thinness of the Chosera stones and cracking from temperature swings. This may or may not have been adjusted, but the good people here at cktg can answer with authority on that. Personally I like the Shapton Glass. They have never given me a bit of trouble.
I don't use all these new gadgets and add ons like the magnet, microadjustment screw or whatever it's called, etc. I own them all as they are not that much $$, but for me it's overkill. The one piece of kit I don't have and keep forgetting to order is the small blade insert. I noticed you mentioned you had several hunting / smaller blades. I'd consider adding that to your order. Also do get the Angle Cube, it's my most frequently used piece of gear.
The EP is a great system and I've been happy with it for a number of years.

Radar53
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by Radar53 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:54 pm

snipes wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:58 am
I don't use all these new gadgets and add ons like the magnet, microadjustment screw or whatever it's called, etc. I own them all as they are not that much $$, but for me it's overkill. The one piece of kit I don't have and keep forgetting to order is the small blade insert. I noticed you mentioned you had several hunting / smaller blades. I'd consider adding that to your order.
^^^^Definite +1 from me especially on the small knife attachment and the other addition I have is the scissor sharpener. I'm hoping to make a bit of pocket money, from sharpening things, when I retire and there is a far greater return from sharpening high end hairdressing shears than anything else, including top end Japanese knives.

About the only extras that I use are, loupé(s), a Sharpie and the spring and I wouldn't be overly fussed if I didn't have the spring. I use an app on my iPhone to get my initial angles. I also have the MadRookie / Sharpknives Mod Rods modifications, which are very good. Not sure if these are still available

Having said that everyone is different and you might find some value in the additions, and as Snipes says they're pretty cheap.
Cheers Grant

Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not going to get you!!

BigPapiDoesItAgain
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by BigPapiDoesItAgain » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:28 pm

Ok, so I ended up with a TS Prof K-03. I bought it from a distributor here in the US. I got it set up last night and I'm quite impressed with what I was able to do right out of the box with no experience using stones. I was able to put a beautiful 15 deg edge on a cheap ZH chef's knife that was butter knife dull using the progression of stones from 320 up to 1000 grit, then finishing on my paddle strop. Next up will be some Shapton Glass stones and the roo strop after talking with one of the guys at CKTG. No doubt there is much to learn and I'm looking forward to the process.

5698k
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by 5698k » Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:05 am

I recently got a ts prof also. I couldn’t be more impressed. I think the biggest advantage in this system is that it’s very easy to be consistent with your angle. By design, you set what ever angle you want, whether you’re matching the knifes current angle, or re setting it, once the unit is set, there’s no fluctuation. I was able to easily set a micro bevel on a knife.

I highly recommend this system for anyone looking.

David_R
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by David_R » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:04 am

Radar53 wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:24 pm
I would say that the EP, by design, allows for greater consistency, but this only achieved by developing and using more advanced techniques. An example here would be for any curved knife. Lock in a curved blade and the distance between the edge and the pivot shaft (vertical one at the back) changes and this changes the angle of the grind at the edge. Using the EP, there are techniques where that curvature can be adjusted for so that the angle of the grind is pretty much the same over the whole length of the edge. The downside here for the EP is that it is more fiddly and requires greater skills to get that greater consistency.
This is so critical and took me forever to figure out. On a straight edge the clamp systems are fine. On something like a drop point your angle changes significantly. The EP allows you to correct for this by pivoting the blade.

The EP always seems more challenging to use for me but has more flexibility. Trying to figure out the sharpening angle on the EP is also a pain compared to a clamped system where the blade is centered at 0 degrees relative to the stone. And hollow ground blades can be a major issue. In a perfect world EP would have a clamp as well as a table. They have different pros and cons.

Radar53
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by Radar53 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:35 pm

There are a number of different factors that play into maintaining an exact angle on pretty much all the jig options. Differences in stone thickness, differences in blade thickness, blade curvature, pivot point play, pivot point rotational movement, blade overhang (of the blade table) yada, yada, yada.

None of this matters a damn in terms of getting a knife really sharp. These little nuances come into play when you are trying to put an edge on a collectors type knife or maybe a show knife, but then you might just be like me totally OCD at times!!

So as I said previously you need to think about the end goal you are hoping to achieve.
Horses for courses & YMMV :twisted: :twisted:
Cheers Grant

Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not going to get you!!

David_R
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by David_R » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:53 pm

Radar53 wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:35 pm
None of this matters a damn in terms of getting a knife really sharp. These little nuances come into play when you are trying to put an edge on a collectors type knife or maybe a show knife, but then you might just be like me totally OCD at times!!
100% right and excellent point. I'll still get an excellent and sharp edge but I may not like the way it looks. At some point if you're going to be that picky (which I sometimes am) it may be work getting good with flat stones.

Jason H
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Re: EP rec for a total novice...

Post by Jason H » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:10 pm

Well here is my 2 cents for anyone starting out on any guided device...get diamond stones for the lowest grits. When learning to use the EP I wasted so much time, energy, stone, and steel, trying to put a bevel on thick Euro knives with SC stones. Diamond stones cut this down dramatically. After you have the bevel set, it only takes a few passes with each higher grit stone to get where you want to go.

Much of what you can see on the web is produced by folks who are into polishing blades to a degree that doesn't hold much value from a utilitarian sense. I don't mean to disparage anyone who does this, I have done it myself.

But what I have learned by sharpening knives for those working in the food industry- they can't tell the difference if I spent 10 minutes on a blade or 30 minutes on a blade. That being said, it is different in certain specialty applications like sushi.

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