Wesson Extreme Ops

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Sharpening a small field knife.?

I recently discovered that a Smith and Wesson Extreme Ops knife was nearly essential to my new job, and it preforms beautifully. however, I wish to sharpen it as much as I can. I have a decent quality 1000 grit japanese waterstone in my home, and I was wondering if this was enough to get my knife sharp, and how long I should be making passes on it. Any answers would be appreciated! P.S this is not a kitchen knife of any sort, and I usually have it at about a 125 degree angle when I sharpen it.

Single stone, especially 1000 grit is not sufficient to keep any knife sharp, unless it is a quite soft steel.
1000 grit is too high, or too fine if you will, to grind the new bevel when you need it, and eventually you will have to do it. Touching up the edge with finer grits makes it thicker and eventually you need to sharpen a new bevels.
The same 1000 grit is too coarse for most of the utility work and coarse edges last less time compared to polished ones, due to micro and macro chipping.

So, I'd say you need at least one more sharpener around 220-500 grit and another above 2000 grit to have more refined edges.

If you don't want to invest in new sharpening stones then you can get by with something as simple as an old mousepad and sandpaper.
Details are here, including few tips on how to hold the consistent edge - http://zknives.com/knives/articles/sandpapermousepad.shtml
Simplest set for you would be 220 grit and 2000.

As for the general sharpening techniques, in short you need to raise a burr on each side of the edge before switching to higher grits and more importantly hold the consistent edge. Once you raise the burr along all the edge do the same for the other side.
It sounds simpler than it is, and if you use 1000 grit stone to grind a new bevel you will have ot sharpen a lot longer compared to 220 grit and hence make more errors and more chances to botch the sharpening job.

If you choose to buy sharpening stones, I'd recommend synthetic Japanese whetstones. They're more reasonably priced compared to natural ones. Here are a few reviews - http://zknives.com/knives/sharpening/stones/idxsynthetic.shtml

15 degree angle isn't universal, it does depend on the type of work you do with your knife and the steel, hardness and all that. 440C steel S&W uses in their knives is rather old, but still a decent knife steel when heat treated properly. Even at their 58HRC it's still ok I guess. At least for light, utility cutting.

Also, if you really want to prolong knife edge and knife lifetime, you need a good strop or a butcher's steel. Steeling and stropping do the same thing, realign the deformed edge and that, while not actually sharpening the edge does improve cutting ability and prolongs edge life. More on steeling here - http://zknives.com/knives/sharpening/steeling.shtml

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