Hand Tools Archive

Re: Spyderco—you got my attention

From the spyderco literature:

"Spyderco stones are made by combining a ceramic bonding agent with alumina particles (synthetic sapphires 15 to 25 microns in size). The ceramic matrix is shaped into triangles or other forms, then kiln-fired at temperatures exceeding 3000 degrees F (1649°C). The stones' hardness gradient is measured on the Mohs hardness scale with alumina ceramic measuring 9 (out of 10)."

I use the fine a lot for some stuff. The main downsides are that it showed up pretty not flat and needs a diamond plate to flatten it (I expected this so wasn't super disappointed but it does take more work than I'd anticipated to grind it flat), and its not the fastest stone ever. On the plus sides it wears very slowly (for better or worse I suppose), cuts pretty much any steel well, is super hard, and puts on a pretty decent edge that a little chromium compound takes to plenty good enough in my book pretty quickly. IMHO where this stone really shines is for sharpening small detail carving tools as they're just easy to work on it. I'd be less excited with it for larger plane blades. It doesn't have the "texture" that a nice washita has, but for some stuff I like the smoother feel. ymmv of course. I also bought the UF just to try but wouldn't waste the money again, the edge isn't meaningfully different than the F and needed about as much work to get usable (at which point maybe it lots the UF character? not sure.. wouldn't bother again anyway). I never tried the medium because it overlapped with enough other crap I had there wasn't.a compelling reason to try it. If it glazes to badly a couple minutes with a diamond plate brings back up a fresh surface although as David noted it works in some so the edge is a bit more brash for the first bit after that (could be desired or not - more not in my usage), usually a scrub under water is more than enough to clean it. I also tried one with oil instead of water+detergent while sharpening (because why not heh) and that also worked quite well to remove the swarf in use.

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