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Observations on D2 steel
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After 6 months or so with my first D2 knife, I have some observations. You guys let me know if I am missing something, and whether this is typical.

First, I am comparing with my experiences using AUS-8, 440C, and non-stainless knife steels from O-1 to 1095. All these I can get push shaving sharp and have them hold that edge pretty well.

D2 is befuddling me. This is the Cabela's exclusive Benchmade Griptillian with D-2. I can't get a really good fine edge and the edge I get doesn't last for crap. I increase the edge angle (making it thicker sooner) and it works MUCH better. Okay, maybe that's the larger grain I have read about...???

Secondly, and of more concern, is the cutting 'feel'. I'm used to push cutting most things, and having a knife sharp enough for it. this D-2 never pushed through anything! The dangerous side is that when you put a lot of pressure trying to push through, and the blade begins to slide/slice at all, it cuts FAST, as in slip through and try to impale the holder fast!

Is this just life with D-2, or is there something I should try...like an even larger angle of edge when sharpening, a Moran edge, or ???

Thanks in advance!


Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
 
Posts: 1780 | Location: South Texas, U. S. A. | Registered: 22 January 2004Reply With Quote
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D2 is generally known as a steel that will hold a "decent" edge forever.

That means it won't really get scary sharp, but it should be relatively abrasion resistant and thus hold that edge for a while.

If your knife isn't living up to that description it has probably not been properly heat treated as you indicate it will not hold an edge. The shape of the edge will control how sharp the edge feels to some degree but won't have a huge impact on how long it will stay sharp ... as long as the edge is not being over stressed.

I suspect from your description that you actually have both problems. Shape is not giving you an edge that feels or acts sharp, and the HT is not holding the edge you can get on the blade.


Mike

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DRSS, Womper's Club, NRA Life Member/Charter Member NRA Golden Eagles ...
Knifemaker, http://www.mstarling.com
 
Posts: 6199 | Location: Charleston, WV | Registered: 31 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Maybe your D-2 Knife isn't properly heat treated.
D-2 will indeed take an edge that is "Scary Sharp", a properly sharpened D-2 Knife will shave letters off of newsprint, shave fingernails, slice a free hanging hair and any other test of keeness I've been able to devise. If your knife isn't cutting better than your 440c or AUS-8 knives there is either something wrong with your particular knife or the way it's being sharpened.
If you'd like PM me and I'll arrange to have it sharpened for you.....................DJ


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Believe it or not ... D2 is known for taking a decent edge, not a scary sharp one. Try an S60V blade of good design and HT if you want the sensation of scary sharp.

A decent edge will always shave fingernails, etc. You can feel the difference with better steels.

This is based on real experience with these steels and the equipment it takes to properly heat treat them to the manufacturer's recommendations.


Mike

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Knifemaker, http://www.mstarling.com
 
Posts: 6199 | Location: Charleston, WV | Registered: 31 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the offer DJ. I have been able to get any knfe I own plenty sharp...even to your descriptions of 'scary sharp' and the attendant parlor tricks...but they won't KEEP that edge for crap in everyday use. Wink I'm using this thing for everything from opening cardboard boxes, slicing my apple/tomato/etc. for lunch, to occasionally cutting copper wire

I have an S30V folder that I got to try out this deer season, and after 3 feral pigs and 2 WT deer it'll still push shave my arm.

I can't get that kind of performance from this D2 knife. With a thicker edge than I normally sharpen too, the 'decent' edge will last okay, but it's still only a 'decent' shaving edge. It will slice notebook paper and shave my arm, but only with higher pressure and some skin irritation... My other blades will push through arm hair and leave clean smooth, non-irritated skin below. You know...good straight razor kind of work.

This D2 blade just doesn't want to perform...maybe I'm too picky and expected more from the reputation I read about. Smiler


Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
 
Posts: 1780 | Location: South Texas, U. S. A. | Registered: 22 January 2004Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by mstarling:
Believe it or not ... D2 is known for taking a decent edge, not a scary sharp one. Try an S60V blade of good design and HT if you want the sensation of scary sharp.



I'm not a knife maker but I do own and have used a number of knives and I tend to be the guy who ends up sharpening all of his buddies knives. I have several sets of high end Stones that do a really nice job of sharpening.
I've tried knives of D-2, A-2, 440A, 440C, 440V (S-60V), 1095, Hitachi White Steel and Blue Steel, S-30V, S-90V, VG-10, Laminated VG-10, ZDP-189, Sandvik 12C??, ATS-34, BG-42, etc. etc.. I wouldn't necessarily say that D-2 is the best of all but I consider it one of the better all around steels out there. I do also like S-60V for keeness and edge retention but it occasionally seems a little chippier than D-2. The new ZDP-189 shows great promise, but so far I only have 1 small knife and don't know how it will compare in a larger blade.
I've got several Bob Dozier Knives in D-2 as well as a Gene Ingrahm and Benchmades and have never had any complaints about their performance. I suspect that they might be somewhat better heat treated than CDH-s Griptillian but maybe not.
I've been experimenting for years on what is the best way to sharpen a knife. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what is the best polish level etc.. The "Parlor tricks" are just ways that I've tried to come up with to see how the different sharpening methods compare to one another. I'm always interested to hear better ways of how to judge an edges performance, any ideas you might give are appreciated.................DJ


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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I also have the Cabela's exclusive Benchmade Griptillian with D-2. It is a great knife. I can easily get mine scary sharp. I use a gatco diamond sharpener and a 19 degree angle. I use this knife daily for everything. I used it on three deer field dressing and skinning and it was still shaving sharp. I use this knife hard and it shows but it will take an edge quick and hold it. I can easily go a couple three weeks between sharpening with daily use. Even then it is still sharp. But I like my knifes scary sharp. So about once a week I take ten minutes to clean up the edge.
 
Posts: 448 | Registered: 27 September 2005Reply With Quote
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I'm not making fun of your testing methods DJ, I've just found that the edges that give me the best 'hair splittin' edge are not the best for what I put most of my knives through. The edge is too thin and either folds or chips. It's kind of like the picture I saw of a guy with a 2 blade axe...and he was shaving with it. Great trick, but try using it for an axe!!! Wink

Now I'm having to use an even thicker edge than normal (and dealing with the attendant tradeoffs of that) with this, my first D2 knife...so it sounds like mine is HT'ed less than optimum. I expected more from Benchmade Knives! I really like it otherwise, and it is still quite servicable, but not as good as I expected.


Hmmmmm...I wonder if I am good enough to grind out a replacement blade from S30v...??? Big Grin


Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
 
Posts: 1780 | Location: South Texas, U. S. A. | Registered: 22 January 2004Reply With Quote
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I have a custom drop point made by Jay Fisher from D-2. And it takes one heck of an edge and holds it extremely well. When I was talking with Jay we discussed several steels and their characteristics. After explaining what I expected from my knife he reccomended D2. D2 has an "orange peel" structure due to the large chromium carbides that are formed in it the heat treat process. This gives it great edge holding abilities but also makes it a very nasty bugger to sharpen. My blade is hardened to Rockwell hardness of 62. I could not get any kind of a decent edge until I started using a diamond sharpener.

But from your description I would have to agree with the others and that your blade is not properly heat treated.

Here is a pic of my D2 knife.


William Berger

True courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway. - John Wayne

The courageous may not live forever, but the timid do not live at all.
 
Posts: 3153 | Location: Rigby, ID | Registered: 20 March 2004Reply With Quote
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Guys,

I think we're operating with different definitions of "scary sharp."

Shaving sharp isn't scary sharp. Hair poppin' sharp is close ... that's when individual hairs audibly pop as the blade crosses them. "Scary sharp" is when you hesitate to shave your arm with the blade because it's one or two steps beyond hair poppin' and the slightest misangling of the blade or slightest slip takes skin and you don't even feel it for a while.

Using those definitions I cannot get D2 scary sharp ... and I have about every mechanism to sharpen blades that has any chance of doing it right ... including india, washita (sp?), hard arkansas, black arkansas, diamond, 2x72" micron belts, cork belts with very fine polishing compounds and strops. We do know how to do it, as we routinely get better steels to scary sharp and easily pass the ABA's cutting and durability tests.


D2 really is a moderately durable steel that holds a decent edge a relatively long time. If you want sharp there are a number of better steels. If you want near the pinnacle of sharp and wear resistant try CPM's CruWear ... the Carpenter equivalent of VascoWear. Given a cryo after HT it routinely comes out C63 to 65 and will hold an edge a very long time. Is even moderately corrosion resistant. Is so hard and wear resistant that all work on the blade should be done before HT if at all possible.


Mike

--------------
DRSS, Womper's Club, NRA Life Member/Charter Member NRA Golden Eagles ...
Knifemaker, http://www.mstarling.com
 
Posts: 6199 | Location: Charleston, WV | Registered: 31 August 2002Reply With Quote
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MS, I'm not sure I have any idea of what "scary Sharp" means. I think that it means something different to each person that says the word.
What are the ABA tests like? I'm always looking for better ways to evaluate how sharp something really is.
I use a few different brands of waterstones and haven't had any problem at all sharpening D-2...............DJ


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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The practical for the ABA Journeyman's test for a 10" maximum length blade includes 1) shaving sharp, 2) 2x4 cut twice at full speed, 3) cut hanging 1" hemp rope in one sweep, and 4 shaving sharp. Any edge chipping or deformation is grounds for failure. The blade is then bent to approximately 90 degrees. If the the blade fractures the test is failed.

We do L6 to bainite and like the blade to return almost straight with no cracking at all and no chipping of the edge.

That's about as good a field knife as you can get. The Bainite crystal structure is the key to bending without cracking. It is achievable only under the kind of control allowed in molten salt bath heat treating.

At cutting contests you'll see a number of other tests ... cutting a card, cutting a soda can, silk scarf cut when falling over the edge, etc, etc. All are a bitch and all are subject to some skill. (Usually blinding fast motions where motion is required.) The mind of men can dream up some really bizaar stuff ;>Wink


Mike

--------------
DRSS, Womper's Club, NRA Life Member/Charter Member NRA Golden Eagles ...
Knifemaker, http://www.mstarling.com
 
Posts: 6199 | Location: Charleston, WV | Registered: 31 August 2002Reply With Quote
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MS, What is "Bainite". It is one of the stages of Crytal structure or what?
The ABA tests might be hard to accomplish with a 3" blade. I saw an article where some company had a test fixture that used a special paper to slice at a certain pressure and counted the sheets etc.. But I still haven't found a completely satisfactory test of keeness that's easy to to. I guess if it cuts what you need to when you need to thats good enough, but I still want to keep searching for that impossible "perfect" edge............DJ


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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There are various crystal structures in steel; ferrite ,austenite,cementite [carbides] .Then there is pearlite , a combination of layers of ferrite and cementite.Bainite is also a combination of ferrite and cementite but a different structure from pearlite.Normally in a hardened blade you have martensite ,hard strong, wear resistant.Bainite in the same steel is a bit less hard than martensite but a bit tougher. L-6 steel is very tough to start and made tougher when heat treated to bainite.....I never worry about getting a knife that is 'scarey sharp' since I will sharpen it to my liking anyway ......The best maker of D2 knives is said to be Bob Dozier. Remember it's not just the steel but how it's heat treated.
 
Posts: 7636 | Registered: 10 October 2002Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by mete:
The best maker of D2 knives is said to be Bob Dozier. Remember it's not just the steel but how it's heat treated.


Gene Ingrahm makes a awfully nice knife too. Heres a few reasons why I like D-2:



They all seem to get real sharp, "scary" or not... Smiler...........DJ


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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I have several knives from different folks--manufacturers, all get sharp easily and stay that way plenty long. I tend to think the other folks who suggest improper heat treat are onto something.

DJ, those are nice. I have gone Ingram crazy myself, have several in a couple of different steels. Interesting that you had the sharpening choil left out on all of yours... it took me a few before I requested Gene to leave it off of mine. I'll try and post a pic later, he did a memorial Knife for our gangs Kansas hunt this year in spalted maple-- due to time constraints it has the choil--but still sweet.

Regards--Don

PS--nice photo per ususal!
 
Posts: 3563 | Location: GA, USA | Registered: 02 August 2004Reply With Quote
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Fish, Why don't you like the sharpening Choil? I'm about ready to grind one into my Doziers..... Smiler.....DJ


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Fish, you never saw an improperly heat treated knife ? Maybe just a few but they are out there. There was one on one of the knife forums - he dropped the knife and the blade broke in two ! I've been advising custom blade makers and most know little about metallurgy !!
 
Posts: 7636 | Registered: 10 October 2002Reply With Quote
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DJ, I have found when field dressing animals that I will often cut all the way to the hilt, just me I suppose, but then the choil snags a bit and I just dislike that. I also just prefer the looks without.

Mete, yeah I've seen several blades with poor or non-existant even, heat treating! That' why I agreed with some of the other posters, saying I thought 'they were on to something' I have had good luck with D-2, so I think it is somewhat of an anamoly for CDH to be having such a tough time with his.

Don
 
Posts: 3563 | Location: GA, USA | Registered: 02 August 2004Reply With Quote
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Fish, one of my buddies that I hunt with likes knifes the same way - being able to cut all the way to the hilt. Maybe as a gain more field dressing experience I'll come to the same conclusion. The same buddy does however let me sharpen his knives............DJ


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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DJ, smart friend you have. I am still trying to get my sharpening skills honed--pun intended!

I usually can get a blade shaving sharp--will shave hair off my arm--maybe even the proverbial scary sharp level--but occasionally I run into one I can't get to come on in to that last fine level......I don't really have a set method, and I never did buy that Tormek.

Any reading or tips you might suggest??

Take Care--Don
 
Posts: 3563 | Location: GA, USA | Registered: 02 August 2004Reply With Quote
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Fish, what kind of stones do you use?............DJ


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Every winter I used to go to one of the Outdoor Sports shows and every winter Mr. Dunn used to come and sell his knives (this was before he sold the company) I know he used D2 Steel. Anyway, I had one of his knives, and his deal was that if you bought one from him he would sharpen it for free.

What was interesting is that he sharpened knives by basically polishing them on a wheel with a couple of different polishing grits.

Scary sharp? Well, like DJ, I don't know what Scary Sharp really means. But I can tell you that when Mr. Dunn got done sharpening a knife it was Damn sharp.

I think Dunn's still sells their sharpening system, either as a whole kit, or just the wheels and the grits.

Scary sharp to me means dull. You fight to use a dull knife, and in so doing you get frustrated and don't pay as much attention to what you are doing. And that is when accidents happen.
 
Posts: 7090 | Registered: 11 January 2005Reply With Quote
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DJ, I have some waterstones, bought 'em from a woodworking outfit you mentioned once upon a time...several different grits. Also have a selection of Arkansas stones, a few diferent diamond hones, as well as a Lansky kit with a couple of different DMT hones--the really coarse and medium ones, and the 4 basic lansky stones--includes the white or 'moon' stone hone.

I don't like to use the Lansky much, but it works OK when I do I guess..... just like to freehand it--maybe that's my problem-- I don't typically use a guide. I also have several sets of Crocksticks, with 2 types of rods, pretty fine kind of a browninsh color, and really finely finished white rods. These are what I usually have my best results with, but they are'nt good for me when a knife is really dull, or need to get a new angle going.

Thanks--Don
 
Posts: 3563 | Location: GA, USA | Registered: 02 August 2004Reply With Quote
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Don, I'm a little surprised you didn't like the waterstones better, I had hoped you would. They cut so much faster and finer I've had much better luck with them than any other type of stone. I hope I didn't help you waste too much money.............DJ


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by djpaintles:
Don, I'm a little surprised you didn't like the waterstones better, I had hoped you would. They cut so much faster and finer I've had much better luck with them than any other type of stone. I hope I didn't help you waste too much money.............DJ


Where do you get your waterstones? I must have missed the post.

Thanks.
 
Posts: 8773 | Location: Republic of Texas | Registered: 24 April 2004Reply With Quote
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DJ, didn't say I didn't like 'em, I do! Was just listing the types of stones etc. I had. I do like the way the waterstones cut, for sure--just every once in a while I get a blade that I just can't seem to get to that final level of sharpness--with anything---I have been wondering, maybe I should just go back to the coarsest stone and start over again on those that give me fits--I'm open to any tips....

Charles, I don't remember where I got my first few--an outfit DJ buys some woodworking stuff from, but I rounded out my collection from Grizzly Industrial

They do cost a few $ by the way....

Take Care--Don
 
Posts: 3563 | Location: GA, USA | Registered: 02 August 2004Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Fish30114:

Charles, I don't remember where I got my first few--an outfit DJ buys some woodworking stuff from, but I rounded out my collection from Grizzly Industrial

They do cost a few $ by the way....

Take Care--Don


Thanks.
 
Posts: 8773 | Location: Republic of Texas | Registered: 24 April 2004Reply With Quote
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My personal favorites are the Shapton Ceramic waterstones. You can get them from Shaptonstones.com, TheJapanWoodworker, or ToolsforWorkingWood.com. I've also used the less expensive King series with good results.
Some knives just take a while to find the edge, or at least how it needs to get where it needs to be..................DJ

Whew, Don I'm glad you like them OK. I hate reccommending something people don't like!


....Remember that this is all supposed to be for fun!..................
 
Posts: 3976 | Location: Oklahoma,USA | Registered: 27 February 2004Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by djpaintles:
My personal favorites are the Shapton Ceramic waterstones. You can get them from Shaptonstones.com, TheJapanWoodworker, or ToolsforWorkingWood.com. I've also used the less expensive King series with good results.
Some knives just take a while to find the edge, or at least how it needs to get where it needs to be..................DJ


Thanks.
 
Posts: 8773 | Location: Republic of Texas | Registered: 24 April 2004Reply With Quote
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D2 steel is old school Cool and I like it very much. Smiler

This is my Jimmy Lile "Misfit" with a 6.5" blade of D2 steel, 3/16" stock, double guard and stag handle.

Cheers,

André



Always always use enough... GUN & KNIFE

 
Posts: 2293 | Location: The Kingdom of Denmark | Registered: 13 January 2004Reply With Quote
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Andre, that photo reminds me - in the American Civil War some of the rifles , Sharps IIRC, had coffee grinders in the butt stock !! I wondered if you have a coffee grinder in your 500 Jeffrey ???
 
Posts: 7636 | Registered: 10 October 2002Reply With Quote
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Thought you might be interested in this thread from www.bladeforums.com (http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=389740)

If it doesn't show up, it's :
www.bladeforums.com (have to register)
general>>toolshed>> help sharpening D2 steel.

I posted the thread, since I too was having trouble with sharpening a D2 blade (Queen cutlery Premium Hunter 4180).

I needed to use a much finer/lower angle (15 degrees) to make a primary/relief edge, then use a X-stick ceramic set up to put a micro-bevel on it. It's not shaving sharp, but it is definitely going in the right direction. Will continue to work on it.

Take your time. I was able to apply a fair amount of pressure to the Gatco coarse diamond stone for the first part of the sharpening. I then used light strokes of the coarse diamond stone to avoid deflecting the clamping system ( to get a more uniform edge-see the comment about placing the clamping device on a 2x4). The second reason was to not bend or roll the edge over with pressure. Light strokes with coarse diamond near the end definitely helped to make a nice uniform flat bevel.

The medium daimond stone was the big difference that got the edge to "almost scary sharp." The fine stone is almost too fine-which there was something in between.

Use a course diamond stone to establish the main bevel, and remove material. The magic marker indicator was a good tidbit to tell me how I was progressing (good to do for free hand sharpening on a bench stone, but imagine it may choke a very fine water stone).

I like the idea of the Spydeco Sharpmaker (with its two grit levels of ceramic triangular sticks. I just may have to get one of those things.

Good luck.
 
Posts: 304 | Registered: 20 February 2005Reply With Quote
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