My clients call this “The Solar Method”. In some ways it is different than what others teach about the Wicked Edge. I also clarify some tricks of the trade to ensure success.
Step #1 take a black sharpie pen and blacken all of the existing edge bevel, both sides and all the way to what should be the cutting edge. From the handle end (ricasso) of the edge to the very tip of the blade, I want all of it black.
Step #2 Using the 100 grit stone on the left side, scrub the stone up and down, from the base of the edge bevel to the tip of the blade. Cover approximately 2″ per up and down scrubbing motion. Cover the length of the cutting edge 5 times.
Step #3 Check to see (a) if all the black ink is gone all the way to the cutting edge and (b) using your fingernail tip scan the right side of the bevel up from the blade over the edge. Can you feel the wire edge curled over? At this point, it will be obvious if it exists. Yes or no go to step #4
Step #4 Repeat step #3 on the right side of the blade, checking the left side of the bevel with your fingernail. Yes? go to Step #5
No? Repeat steps #3 & #4. Repeat until you get a wire edge rolled over the entire length of the blade on the opposite of each sides after that side is worked.
Step #5 Repeat steps #3 & #4 with the next finer grit. 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000
Caution: Be certain to use the same number of passes on the left and right sides of the blade. This keeps the edge centered on the blade.
Signs of success:
A) all of the ink is removed all the way from the ricasso to the blade tip along the edge bevel to the very cutting edge.
B) wire edge is curled over for the entire length of the blade. If the edge bevel is not curling over the entire length of the blade work on the areas that are not curling over. You are still too thick there. The wire edge is easily felt at 100 grit. As you progress the curled over portion of the edge will be finer and finer. It will take some experience to feel it at 1000 grit.
C) using a bright lamp look for reflections of light at the very point of the cutting edge. You should see none. If you see some shine where the cutting edge should be, work on that area until it is gone.
Tricks of the trade:
The sharpie is trick number one. Very useful to visualize the black ink. If you see it your not done. It must all go away for the edge to be formed.
Use a loupe or visor magnifier to better see the edge detail.
At very fine grit steps, you can put a cotton ball under your fingertip and rub it upwards towards the edge. If there is a wire edge the cotton fibers will catch on the curled over portion of the edge.
Use a piece of leather or suede on blades that have a full flat grind geometry. Because the blade is triangular without flats for the parallel vice jaws to grip we can use the leather/suede to fill the gaps and get a terrific purchase on the blade.
Take your time. Visualize that the edge is completed the full length of the blade and you can feel the wire edge on both sides before moving on in grits. Start rough, get the blade roughed in, then methodically go step by step through the finer grit stones until you have achieved the fineness of edge you desire. I like mine 3 micron or better. You might like 1000 grit or 0.5 micron. This depends on your needs, the function of the blade and your own special desires.