Ok, so I can not, for the life of me, get my Buck 119 knife sharp. I'm using a Craftsman whetstone that has a coarse and a fine side. I've probably read every article and watched every video on how to use one of these darn stones but just plain can't get it. First i start on the coarse side and pull the blade towards me a few times, flip the blade, and repeat. Then I flip the stone and run the blade along the fine side. It just seems to never get sharp enough. Maybe my standards of a sharp knife are just too high? Any tips? Suggestions? d

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When you say pull the blade toward you, are you going edge first, or spine first? It shuold be edge first (as though you were shaving/cutting a thin layer of the stone). Keep the angle consistent, that matters more than what angle, but a lower angle will be sharper. Are you using the stone dry? or with a little honing oil? The pores on the stone could be clogged and it may not be cutting new metal on the blade. 

It could be the stone isn't very even or the grind may still be too coarse to really get a great edge. Or it could be the knife edge is too damaged and needs to be re-ground before it will take a good edge again. 

I pull the edge towards me. After dulling the blade I usually get my smiths quick sharpener and pull across the blade a few times and that sharpens it up, but I don't want to rely on that, I'd prefer to use the stone. I'm too afraid to put it on a grinder because I'm afraid I'll screw it up even more.

It is hard to know for sure without seeing the blade, stone and your technique. 

Technique is the mostly likely culprit, certainly. But there are a lot of complicating factors. Do you know what the grit levels of the whetstone are? And are you using a honing oil? 

Not using oil, just water. I'm not sure the grit levels of the stone, the package didn't say all it said was fine and coarse.

Logan,

The Craftsman stone should be adequate for your needs.  Here’s a technique that I use that literally gets the blade SHARP AS A RAZOR:

 

First, get yourself some cutting oil—put some on the stone (it’s messy.)  Then, with the edge of your blade at an 11 degree angle, pull the blade, spine first, (backwards) across the stone.  Flip the blade over and do the same on the other side.  Do not roll the edge of the blade over the stone but lift and then reverse sides.  When you put the blade down on the stone don’t slap it down—be gentle.  It will take some work to get the edge ground into the correct angle but once you’re there, it’s easy to touch up.  Next, use an Arkansas stone to fine grind the edge (This is where you’ll make the thing razor sharp.)  This also will take quite a bit of time.  Finally, when you think you couldn’t get your knife any sharper, get a leather strop with some jeweler’s rouge on it and strop the edge using the above technique.  You should literally be able to shave with your knife.  The only downside to this method is that you will quickly dull the blade trying to cut harder stuff like wood or cutting into bone or a cutting board.  Don't use a grinder-- it'll heat the blade up and you'll loose the knife's tempering.

1001 ways to sharpen a knife... I've only heard of spine first use on a stone if you are trying to create a convex edge, but that's a pretty specific thing. 

It sounds like this method would create a wire edge. Very sharp, but not durable at all. Great if you are cutting meats on a good board, but not good for general use. 

Liam,

Yes, actually a USDA inspector who worked in a meat packing plant showed me how to do this.  Apparently, most meat cutters use a similar method.  You don’t get a “wire” edge but you’re right, the edge will not hold up to prolonged heavy duty work.  These guys regularly give the knife a few licks across the Arkansas stone or a“steel” and then a couple of passes over a strop.  The edge is easily restored.

This tutorial is as simple as it comes and will see you right http://equipment.ludlowsurvivors.com/sharpningknie.html

Pushing the blade is for sharpening, pulling for stropping.

Read the directions that come with the knife. Many Buck knives have a  special contoured edge on them, from the factory. When it is time to resharpen the knife that special contour edge has to be removed and it takes a lot of work. You only need to remove that edge the first time you resharpen it. After that, the edge will have the correct contour and bevel.

At least this has been my experience with Buck knives. You may find the same info on their website FAQ or in one of the knife's instructions.

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