When I get a new knife with a factory edge they seem to stay sharp a whole bunch longer than when I sharpen them afterward. I use a Spider Co Sharpsmaker and I can get them where they shave hair, but the edge just doesn't last as long. S30v mostly.
Touchups on a truck window seem to last better.
WTF am I missing?
I hear guys talk about breaking down 3-4 animals in the season without touchups and I'm skinning a pig thinking "pass the Havalon!"
I remember EHG would send Gene Ingram knives at the end of the season, might just do that if he'd still service them.
Sounds like you are dealing with the classic wire edge.
There are only two problems with knife or tool sharpening. You either don't completely apex the edge or you don't remove the burrs that are inevitably created in that process and are working with a "false edge". If you are getting an edge that shaves you are most likely doing okay with the apexing but are probably lacking with your burr removal if the edges don't last.
You are creating a burr with your Sharpmaker rods. It does not matter whether you use the most expensive well marketed "system" or a file or a rock, you are going to create burrs if you apex the edge, and if you don't apex the edge, the knife is still dull. Most likely the burr you are creating is so small you can't see it or feel it. So how the heck to you know its there?
See if your edge will shave only on one side of the bevel or feels "sharper" on one side. If that is the case, you are shaving with the burr or feeling the burr that is folded to one side. When you cut something its going to snap off eventually and you have a short lived edge. Another issue is that the burr can be straight in line with the edge so it shaves on both sides so the next trick is to try and slice newspaper. If your edge has a burr it won't cleanly slice the newspaper but will catch and tear it.
If you get your edges cleaned up to the point that they shave on both sides and cleanly slice (with a coarse edge) or push cut (with a fine edge) newspaper, your edges should be at least as good as factory, probably better.