When you sharpen a knife, the abrasives leave little grooves or striations in the metal. These create "teeth" at the edge. You can change the angle of these teeth to facilitate how the knife cuts. The Wicked Edge does a great job of doing this.
Most knives from the factory come with the striations 90 degrees to the edge, as they are often sharpened on a belt sander or other powered sharpener. You can see this by looking at the edge under magnification, or even under a bright light angled across the edge.
By changing how you move the stone on the Wicked Edge, you can alter this. For example, since many knives are often used in a slicing motion, typically by starting the cut near the heel and pulling toward the tip, having the teeth point towards the heel will facilitate the cut.
You can set the teeth by altering the stroke. You don't need to do this for every stone, the teeth can be set with the finest stone (and then strops if used). For example:
- Use an edge trailing stroke, starting at the tip and ending at the heel. This will point the teeth toward the heel. This will make the typical slice cut easier.
- Use an edge trailing stroke, starting at the heel toward the tip. This will point the teeth toward the tip, useful if a lot of your cuts start by pushing into the material being cut.
- Use an edge trailing stroke in small segments straight up, working down the blade in sections. This will set the teeth straight up, useful if most of your cuts are push cuts.
Even though you set the teeth to facilitate cutting in one direction, doesn't mean it won't cut well in all directions. Also, it doesn't have to be a coarse finish, even a very fine finish level will benefit from this.
Give it a try!