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Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus Gyutou

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have info/experience with this knife line? I've been using my forschner 8" for about a year now as my everyday knife. Now i want to get a nicer, longer blade, around 10", and i like the idea of a flashy damascus Gyutou. I was thinking Shun Classic, because they look so nice, but I just saw the Togiharu Hammered Texture Damascus on Korin and i love the wood handle with the stunning foged-damascus look.

Is there any performance issues I should know about these knives or with Damascus blades in general? What about ease or difficulty of sharpening? I will be doing my own stone sharpening, but I'm a beginner--and will practice with different, old knives before attempting to sharpen the nice new flashy one, though.

Any other Damascus knives I should be looking at (sub $150)?
post #2 of 21
I actually own 4 knives from the Shun Classic line (first knife set I bought), and what I can tell you is that you may find you may have to spend a bit more time and effort to get them to be as sharp as you like. But once you do, their ability to retain and edge is absolutely insane.

The best way to put it is that not all knives are made from the same material (steel). Some have different additives (Vanadium, Tungsten, Molybdenum, etc) which influences the hardness of the overall steel. I'm sure you may have heard of something called the Rockwell Scale before, here is the fancy definition;

"The Rockwell scale is a hardness scale based on the
indentation hardness of a material. The Rockwell test determines the hardness by measuring the depth of penetration of an indenter under a large load compared to the penetration made by a preload. There are different scales, which are denoted by a single letter, that use different loads or indenters."

Most german knives average a rating of 53-57 on rockwell scale, japanese knives average 56-60 (though some go a high as 65). To be
a bit more exact; Global's go from 56-58 (depending on the line), Mac Professional series have a rating of 60, Shun Classic's rate at 61 and Shun Elite hit a wopping 63-64.

What this means in terms of us knife buffs, (in lamence terms) is the further up on the scale the steel is, the longer it will hold an edge, but the harder it is to get that edge back if you lose it. This is why constant honing is so important, honestly I steel my knives before every time I use them. This by no means "sharpens" them, as honing and sharpening are two different things.

BUT if you do regularly hone your knives, and treat them properly, in all honesty you won't have to sharpen the factory edge for a long expanse of time. It took a month and a 1/2 of 40-60 hour weeks of professional kitchen work before I had to to re-edge my 8" Shun Classic Chef's knife.

So in my experience, them being my first set of knives and my being a beginner with sharpening/stone use. If you feel you can properly care for your knives, hone them regularly, and in all honesty it sounds like you care/seems like you already have a good idea of what you're doing. So, if you can just take the time to do what it sounds like you're already used to doing, I can't see any reason for you not to purchase that sexy new knife.

EDIT: I just found a few links to the knife you're thinking of buying and the websites all advertise it as having a Rockwell rating of 58.
post #3 of 21
Cola -- Unfortunately, Rockwell hardness doesn't mean nearly as much as you read into it. I don't necessarily disagree with what you wrote, but the best I can give you is a "kinda sorta." However, it's not that important in the context of the knives under discussion.

The damascus layer on Shuns and the Togiharus in question is just a cosmetic layer. The decorative pattern is called "suminagashi" in Japanese, because it resembles the way a drop of ink makes tendrils and swirls in water. Most manufacturers purchase the three layer (san mai) suminagashi sandwich from the steel manufacturer -- rather than making their own. It is pretty, but not only does it not add to the performance, most modern stainless suminagashi (including Shun and Togiharu) is very easy to scratch, and the pattern fades quickly with use.

"Damascus" doesn't actually have a certain definition but the blade core itself isn't composed of the same metals nor folded like the outer layers. The core steel in Shun Classics is VG-10, in the Elites, it's a metallurgical powder steel known as SG2, and the Togiharus probably use something like VG-10 or Gin-3.

Togiharus haven't been around long, and their major existence may be as Korin's house brand. But they're getting a very good reputation.

FWIW, the hammered damascus line is close -- to the point of clone -- to a Sakai Takayuki line.

Hope this helps,
post #4 of 21
To add to BDL's statement about Rockwell hardness:

There are a few things you have to consider about Rc (abbreviation for Rockwell). Rockwell, is a industry benchmark scale but it isn't everything. Think about it, if you want the hardest knife you can find buy a ceramic. Does that make it the best on the market? Far from it.

The thing to consider is that every steel has it's own qualities unique to other steels. Some steels perform better at lower hardness, and others at high hardness. Shun kinda hit the mark with VG-10, that steel likes to be right around 60 Rc for it to perform it's best. If you were to harden that steel even further to something like 65-66, it'd be so brittle it would chip when you use it. However, take a steel like Cowry-X (a powdered metalurgical steel similar to SG-2 in the Shun Elite) it has a unique compositon that shines when it reaches 66-68 Rc.

The Rockwell scale will give you an idea of how the knife can handle, but it's just one statistic out of many that make up the overall performance of a knife.

Also, just so you don't damage your knives... Hone with EXTREME caution for anything harder than say 62 Rc. The harder the blade, the more chance you have to chip it. Shun classics can handle honing no problem, but if you were to get the Shun Elite for instance, I would advise against it.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

update and sharpening techniques

As an update: I went ahead and got the Togiharu Hammered 9.4 inch. And I must say I'm pretty disappointed.

Positives first: The edge is extremely sharp, no question there. The blade is very pretty, but i actually think it looks better in the picture than in real life. It was simply not love at first sight as I had expected. My main complaint is with the fit and finish. All three rivets on both sides of the handle are not flush with the wood, and in fact are dangerously sharp. Similarly, the tang extends slightly further than the wood handle all the way around, also with sharp edges. And finally, the straight-line taper from the "bolster" (the metal piece in between handle and the blade. Does it have a name on japanese knives?) to the blade is terribly uneaven on either side.

All in all, the lack of quality control on the handle just makes an otherwise great blade seem like a cheaply made knife. I plan on returning it to Korin and probably upgrading to either the misono UX10, which i really like the look of, or the Masamoto VG-10, which is slightly more bland, but the 9.4" is about $50 cheaper.

But on to a different topic..I also purchased the King 800/4000 combi stone to try my hand at sharpening. After watching as many youtube videos on techniques and reading up on korin's sharpening for beginners, i put my reasonably sharp (i'd say 7-8/10, 10 being factory edge) forschner down on the 800 grit to give it a whirl. Now, as someone who does lots of tinkering and musical instrument playing, i consider myself to have pretty steady hands. I feel that I held a "2 penny" angle quite well. However, I went up and down the blade, looking for that burr, but it never came! The first round I did probably 6 "forward and backs" (12 strokes) for each 2 inch segment of the knife, for a total of about 48 total strokes per side, as an estimate. I then moved on to the 4000 grit and finished off the edge--which looked great and shiny and even, but it was simply not sharp! Major disappointment.

I went back to the 800 grit and tried it again, but still no burr, and still no sharper.

I really want to be able to sharpen my own knives, so I ain't giving up. My best guess as to what went wrong is this: The factory edge was around 22 degrees and I tried putting on a 15 degree edge, which requires a coarser stone, or a LOT more effort on the 800 grit.

Also, a few questions on technique:

1) Is it imperative to maintain the same angle (not the "penny angle," I know to keep that one steady, the "knife rotation" angle relative to the stone) all the way through the sharpening session? In the case of the Forschner, it seems impossible since the bulky handle gets in the way near the butt of the blade, and you must rotate it to maintain the same "penny angle."
2) What exactly should the burr look like? From what I gather, you should keep sharpening one side until you have a slight line of "compressed metal," if you will, all the way up the blade on the opposite side you are sharpening on. Then you switch sides. Correct?
3) I have heard mixed things about the need for using water while sharpening and whether you just need to sprinkle the stone or soak it for 10 minutes, depending on if it's natural or ceramic or synthetic stone. Any opinions out there? I'm guessing my King stone is a synthetic water stone, right? Can't seem to find exact info on it...
4) If I go with either the Misono UX10 or Masamoto VG-10, I will probably not touch them on the stones until I get good results from the Forschner, but will the King 800/4000 combination stone be sufficient to maintain the edge, at least until the stones wear out and I upgrade?

Thanks! any info helps!
post #6 of 21
I'm no expert sharpener, but I can say that what you're doing here is going to require a great deal of work with a stone as fine as 800.

Think about it this way. If the original factory edge is a V, you are sharpening a taller, narrower V. So draw a wide V on a piece of paper, and then draw a line from the point up at a steeper angle. Draw another one of those lines so that it touches the upper-right point of the V. Now this second line is what your stone is actually touching when you start sharpening... and from the diagram you've just drawn, you can see that you aren't sharpening the edge at all.

What you have to do, then, is grind off everything between the two parallel steep lines. Start with quite a coarse stone, and grind until you get a burr. Then go up to a finer stone -- an 800 would work here, though it will take a bit of doing -- until you get a burr. It will happen.

My experience is also that even when you're just sharpening and not actually reprofiling (which is what you're doing here), a stainless knife is going to take more like 10 strokes, fore and back, to get a burr.

I'd recommend that you get a coarse stone -- get a fairly cheap "oilstone," but use water and not oil -- and do your reprofiling that way. You will learn a great deal -- and you will get a burr. Then go to your 800; it will probably take quite a bit to get another burr, but that's okay if you're willing to spend the time.

The usual system is to increase grit levels by factors of 2 at each stage. A coarse stone is about 200-odd, so the usual next step would be about 400-500, then 800-1000, then 2000, then 4000, and so on if you really want to go higher for some reason. You're jumping by factors of 4, and that means you're working harder than you need to --- but on the other hand you're not buying a lot of expensive stones, so you pay in time and sweat instead.

You may well not see it without a lens. Feel for it instead: run a thumb pad, or the tips of several fingers, across the flat of the side you're not sharpening on and continuing (gently!) off the edge. If it's there, you'll feel it: it's a little roll-up of very sharp metal.
As far as I know, King only makes synthetic water stones. Drop it into a deep bowl or something full of water, and let it sit until it stops sizzling, plus a bit more. I find that a stone around 1000 grit takes about 30 minutes. Don't store this stone in water, though: rinse well and stand it on end to dry very well, preferably overnight, before you put it away someplace dry and clean. These stones, if left in water, can actually melt into mud.
If you ask me, 4000 is awfully high for most purposes, but it's fine. You don't need anything else but a coarse stone for profiling and fixing chips and stuff.

Bear in mind that you're going to need a flattener one of these days: these stones wear down, because the sharpening medium is the grit of which they are made, and they don't wear evenly -- they "dish." You need the stone to be flat for it to work effectively. But BDL is going to weigh in shortly and tell you how to do that much more precisely and accurately than I could.
post #7 of 21
Chris is pretty much correct. Profiling a blade with an 800 grit stone is nearly impossible, or, how much time and strength do you have? You need something much more coarse like a Naniwa Omura 150 grit. You never did get the two bevels to meet and that is why a burr was not formed. Technically, if you're good, steel can be removed just short of burr formation but to simplify matters let me just say you need a burr. Like I said, "good". Experience is very important. Once you get the burr, remove it. Period. I've seen postings where others swear by moving up the grits and the burr will take care of itself. That may well be true, but if the burr from the last stone is still hanging on, how do you know if the present stone is reaching the edge? You don't, pure and simple, so remove the burr after each stone. I even do it after an 8k stone on the way to 10k.

After the coarse stone, you can get excellent edges with a 1k followed by a 2k and then using a leather strop loaded with chromium oxide. My personal recommendations for the two new stones are Shapton Glass Stones. I wouldn't trade mine for anything.

Stopping at 2k and stropping will yield a much better edge than most think. I've done some experimentation with this using several types of steels and the resulting sharpness testing gave outstanding results. If you want to go beyond 2k like some of us crazies than have at it, but it's totally unnecessary and will give you diminishing returns.
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #8 of 21
Sorry to hear about your bad experience. It sounds as though the handle shrunk since installation.

Korin has always been pretty good about replacing knives with F&F and other QC issues; and have also been pretty good about weeding out bad knives before shipping. You might want to call them and see if they have any good hammered Togiharus in stock before moving on to the next level.

The Misono and Masamoto are very different knives. I'm a big fan of Masamoto, and not particularly of Misono; but if the choice is between a Masamoto VG and a UX-10, the UX-10 is the better knife. The VG is just that little bit too flexible for my taste.

Forschner factory sharp is not a 10. Once you figure out sharpening, you'll be surprised at how sharp those Forschners get.

Learning to hold an angle is important. However, forget the "2 penny" stuff. Get yourself a protractor and a piece of paper. Measure and cut out a big 15* wedge that you can stand by your stone and look at while you sharpen.

Oy yoy yoy. If you did 12 strokes per segment, the knife got 12 full strokes. Which isn't a lot even for "sharpening." But you weren't sharpening, were you? You were profiling. I'm guessing it would take about 200 strokes per side for me to profile a Forschner from 22.5* to 15* on an 800# King. Maybe less, but not much.

I'll bet! Learning to not harm the edge as you move up to the polishing grits (like 4000#) takes most people awhile. But since you probably didn't have much of an edge to begin with, we don't know what happened -- which is fine.

Always a good thing to go back to a lower stone. Don't be discouraged by this particular experience. Dropping down to coarser grit should always be Plan A when you discover a problem. Chances are that's not only where it started, but it's also the only place successful resolution will be had.

You're right about this.

You should know a 15* edge on a Forschner is marginal and will require a fair amount of steeling once you've got it.

I'm going to answer as you asked, but it may be a little confusing. Let's plan on having an ongoing discussion 'til you get this clear. One of the confusing aspects is that Buzz, and I sharpen somewhat differently (I think Chris sharpens a lot like I do), but we both sharpen right. The "theory" of sharpening is very simple -- try to hold on to the idea that it's only rubbing a knife against a rock for comfort.

In a word, no. What you're calling the rotational angle is not important at all for most of blade except at the tip.

Not correct at all. First you won't "see" anything. Second, the metal doesn't get "compressed," it gets "fatigued."

If you were looking at a proper edge in cross section, it would look like a "V." An edge with a burr looks like a "y." However, you won't see the burr (also called a "wire"), you'll feel it instead. If you run your thumb or a couple of fingers from the spine up to the edge, you'll feel a little "hook" on the side you didn't sharpen.

You've become confuzzled by the sheer volume of information and misinformation. Briefly: Synthetic stones contain an abrasive material (usually ceramic) held in a binder which can be clay, crushed stone, or a variety of resins. Some binders work best with very little water. Clay binders want a lot of soaking. Most Kings (including yours) use clay binders. Yours wants plenty soaking -- about 1/2 an hour's worth before sharpening. When you dry the stone out before storage, it's important to dry both sides evenly

Yes, it will be sufficient to sharpen all your knives. It's also sufficient to profile your Forschners, but not without a lot of effort and some significant changes in your sharpening technique. Invest in a Norton IB-8 as a learning stone (but don't use oil!).

Enough bandwidth for now. If you want some advice on how to profile the Forschner, and/or improve your technique generally please ask.

Looking forward to continuing the discussion,
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help you three. I think I'm beginning to get the theory a bit more--i like understanding that part first or else i feel like I'm shooting in the dark.

I just went down to my local kitchen supply store and held the UX10 and loved the handle. The angled "bolster" reminded me of my Forschner handle, where I have grown quite comfortable resting my pointer finger while using. They also have Macs (which are possibly on my long term wish list, in addition to some sort of carbon steel blade...this stuff is addictive) and i compared the two, and despite people talking up the mac handles, I much preferred the bulkier handle of the Misono. The Mac handle was just too small for my taste, or hands.

I haven't touched the Masamoto yet, but I sense that I will agree with you on the flexiness.

I don't have an issue doing frequent steeling, I have a Kyocera ceramic steel which kept my Forschner quite sharp until I messed it up yesterday...But due to the relatively soft steel, it seems an 18-20 degree edge is more practical for this knife. Which brings me to my next question.

Since I've already taken at least some metal off at a 15 degree angle, and I decide now that I want to use a 20 degree angle, I will have some kind of a double bevel (or is that a single bevel?). Is this a good idea? or should I reprofile all that I had done yesterday while trying to make a 15 degree edge? I'm tempted to put a 15 degree edge on it first, before I put on the more permanent 18-20 edge, just to see how sharp I can get it. But I'll wait for advice.

Ok, that makes more sense to me. I'm a mechanical engineer, so I like terms like "fatigue"--and I like numbers. I stumbled upon this website comparing different grits numbers which was quite helpful sorting out the whole India and Arkansas business:

Abrasive grit sizes of belts, wheels and stones used in knifemaking, sharpening and woodworking

This may be obvious to me once I get my hands muddy, but how does one go about removing the burr before moving to the next stone? Once you have a burr on one side, then you switch sides, creating a second burr on the opposite side, wouldn't you just go back and forth removing burrs from either side? Or are you saying to remove the first (or second?) burr without creating a new one?

Indeed. I think the hardest part for a beginning sharpener is the fact that there are many correct techniques, but mixing and matching doesn' always work...

When I was out today, I was hoping to pick up the Coarse India by itself, but the kitchen store only had the combination coarse and fine. I thought the fine was around 1000 (but it's actually 320 JIS according to the website above), so I didn't want to double up with an 800 and 1000, and instead I got a Norton Coarse Crystalon oil stone. According to that website the Coarse Crystalon is 150 JIS.
1) Since the Crystalon is an oil stone, I should just sprinkle water on it, correct?
2) Is it a good idea to use this new 150 JIS to profile the blade, and then jump to the King 800? Am I creating a LOT of extra work by not using a 300 or 400 grit stone in between, as Chris suggests (I'm ok with a little bit of extra work)? I'm thinking I will pick up that Combi IB-8 soon, but I can't until later in the week.

That's it for now, I really appreciate the time you all have put in to helping a beginning sharpener. I think a lot of these basic questions will help others who are just starting out also. There is a lot of info already in these forums, but I feel like there should be an organization of threads within cooking knives. When searching for things like "sharpening" or "Misono" or "Mac" or whatever, it seems that the results bring you to every single post ever made in the knife forum since those words are thrown around in basically every thread. Although browsing aimlessly has actually been a lot of fun for me and very informative, it seems that this forum will grow to have an overwhelming amount of info for a beginner. Creating new categories like sharpening and knife selection etc. would be less intimidating (hint hint administrator). And I imagine BDL et al. will get tired of answering the same questions over and over again...if they haven't already!

time to go braise some pork butt!
post #10 of 21
Now that you've got a coarse Crystolon, going down to a 15* bevel won't be much of a problem. So try that first. If you find the edge collapses as a result of the amount of impact it takes, and you're steeling too often, you can add a more acute edge bevel. My Forschners have straight 15* bevels, but only a couple see any use, and those don't get any impact.

Also, when you read a specific angle, like "15*" in the context of free hand sharpening, remember these numbers approximate to the point of being metaphorical. You just try and get it close. I'm not sure if I could sharpen an 18* over a 15*. I'd profile a 15 (which I can get close to because of so much practice), then micro-bevel slightly more obtuse. How "slightly?" As little as I could and still be sure it was greater than 15*. That's not terribly exact.

Most of the numbers were supplied by Norton and are not entirely accurate. Ironically, the information regarding the Norton Arkansas stones is especially misleading. Still, numbers are reassuring.

There are a lot of good ways to deburr. In the beginning, you'll find it easiest and surest to lightly drag the edge of the knife through softwood endgrain (like a scrap of 1x1) or a wine cork. You're still misconceiving the burr. Remember the "V" and the "y." When you raise a wire and switch sides, you push the burr over. That is the angle of the y's tail changes. The junction of burr and edge (junction of the tail and v) continues to fatigue. As the burr and edge are thinned through abrasion, the junction progressively fatigues, and it becomes very easy to break the burr off at the edge -- leaving a clean edge. The process is akin to bending a credit card back and forth until it can break cleanly at the bend. If the bend is very fatigues, the break WILL be clean. If not, it will be jagged. This process is sometimes called "chasing the wire."

No not always, but sometimes. It's more confusing that way which makes the gods happy.

The combination coarse and fine stone is good -- but only if it's a Norton. The stone you saw probably was since "India" is a Norton proprietary for Aluminum Oxide. Indeed, it was probably an IB-8 or a very similar but slightly thinner culinary version.

When it comes to manmade oilstones at the low grits, most (but not quite) all of Norton's competitors produce comparatively junk.

Say hello to the misconceptions created by the chart. It's hard to describe the Norton fine India. Used clean and dry, the fine India cuts about as fast as a (slow) 500# JIS and finishes about as bright as 700#. It's a great stone to pull a wire (raise the burr). It's a very popular finished edge in the meat industry and in pro kitchens. It's an adequate butcher's edge, although a bit toothy. I prefer substantially more polish for kitchen knives. In the greater scheme of things it's a much better stone than the King 800#.

Going back to the lower grits, I prefer the Coarse India to the Coarse Crystolon even though the India is nominally slower. In fact, it's not much slower, doesn't leave near as much scratch, and like all Indias gives great feedback. Also, like the other Indias it's very difficult to dish.

Good, modern sharpeners use a little water or go dry. I go dry (usually), and you should too. It's faster and doesn't scratch as much. Before using the stone run it through the dishwasher (you can do it with dishes, no biggie), and run it through the dishwasher every time it starts to load up -- every couple of knives or so. The stone is so coarse it should only be used for repairs and profiling. If you haven't used it yet, consider exchanging it for a coarse India, a medium Crystolon, or that coarse/fine India combination. If you have used it, it's worth a place in your box for big jobs.

It's OK but not ideal. On the other hand, the more stones you put in the path the more opportunity for error you create. If you're anything like me, you'll never pass an opportunity. And by the way, the coarse Crystolon although nominally 150# JIS is nowhere near as fast or aggressive as the Naniwa Omura which is also nominally 150#. Screen size isn't everything.

Buzz (poor guy) is (even) more equipment oriented than I am; while I try not to overcomplicate, provide as much information as it takes, and have it all make sense. In the end you'll make your own decisions. He's good at knives, and great at stones. Give his opinion the substantial weight it deserves.

post #11 of 21
Here's another grit chart that I find useful.

Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #12 of 21
When you try to sharpen at an overly acute angle, this happens. I'm going to follow it up by putting the same monster back bevel on the other side and then add a micro bevel or bevels as stated. In any case, it is a good learning example of the capabilities or lack thereof in different steels.

Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #13 of 21
My impression is that you are not unlike me: you need to know the why and so on before you can do anything with a lot of confidence. Unfortunately, as often happens with people like us, you're emphasizing something that isn't going to matter much.

If you've decided that 18-20 degrees is right, go ahead and put it on, being sure to work your way up your stones, raising a wire each time, and so on. Now here's the thing. You're an engineer, so think it out: if you do this, having started but not completed profiling at 15 degrees, and with a preexisting bevel at 22.5 degrees, what will the knife look like when you are done work at 18.5 degrees?

Visualizing it, I'd say that everything from the 22.5 profiling will be gone. There will be a shoulder between the 18.5 edge and the knife face, but it's going to be very small. If you keep sharpening this knife fairly regularly, which I hope you will as it's the best way to really learn sharpening, that tiny shoulder is going to disappear in fairly short order.

So the reality is that you messing with 3 different sharpening angles on this knife is going to have no ultimate significance: within a couple of weeks of regular work (again, learning sharpening takes this work, and you seem interested to learn it), it will be as though the blade had never been anything but 18.5 degrees.

Besides, your precision with holding an angle is a lot less than you probably think. That's not a criticism: very, very few people can really hold an angle all that precisely. So the difference between 18.5 and 15 is more a matter of trying to "think big" than anything exact. I think of 20+ as a lot, 10-ish as very little, and 15 as sort of in between. Anything more exact than that and I would need a jig setup like an EdgePro or something.

Bottom line is, don't sweat it. Use the magic marker trick, look at the edge often as you go to avoid high and low spots, and it'll all come out fine. This is not rocket science.
post #14 of 21
Magic markers. Oh oh, more confusion. :confused: My son-in-law is an EE for Lockheed Martin and he really is into rocket science. I have given my daughter and him some nifty knives but neither knows anything about sharpening - yet. A year from now he'll be an expert. It's not that difficult, a bit of theory, a bit of practical knowledge, a few stones, and a lot of practice. That's all it takes.

Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
post #15 of 21
Hi everybody,

as a beginner sharpener, I thought I'd add my question here rather than start a new thread. I'm in a similar situation, as in I've got a new knife (togiharu moly, only decent knife I own), and a 1K/6K king's stone.
Anyway, the other day I tried to sharpen up a pretty blunt crappy kitchen knife I had, and I couldn't raise a burr either. I swiped it quite a few times (more than 10 ups and downs for sure), and nothing. Is a 1K too fine to sharpen (not reprofile) a blunt knife? Particularly as it's a bad knife, I guessed it should be soft enough to not be a problem. If that's the case, I imagine the problem was that I wasn't sharpening at the right angle (I thought I was steady enough, but who knows). What angles do standard kitchen knives have? (I want to practice on these before doing it on a good one!) I imagine the magic marker trick is the best way of knowing whether I'm sharpening at the right angle, but..what is a magic marker? Is it just a permanent marker? (will the mark come off from sharpening?)

Thanks for the help and patience (and hope I'm not hijacking the thread too much...)!
post #16 of 21
If the knife is really dull, I think 1k is rather fine, and if you're unsure of the angles you could be at it a long time if you guess wrong. I'd try a coarse stone first.

The magic marker trick: get a magic marker, wide felt-tip pen, etc. The sort of thing you write on boxes with. Permanent or otherwise doesn't matter much, I find, but maybe others have different experiences on this one? Now look very closely at the edge of the knife. You see how on both faces, there is a part very near the edge that is angled differently, from the face to the edge itself? This is the actual edge you're sharpening. Coat this with magic marker -- and going over a bit is intentional, so lay it right on there. Now place your knife on the stone in what you think is a bit shallower than the probable angle -- factory standard is likely in the vicinity of 25 degrees -- and -- then look closely at the edge. Lift the spine until the edge itself bites down into the stone just barely. Now at this angle, sharpen one part of the knife, about 2-3 strokes. Look at the marker.

Is the marker completely gone from the actual edge, and everything else is still coated? Brilliant -- that's ideal.

Is the marker gone from somewhat higher up the blade, and not down at the edge? You're sharpening too shallow and will have to lift the blade spine. If you keep doing what you're doing long enough, you will eventually reprofile the blade.

Is there very little indication that you've achieved any change at all? Either you're really not pushing hard enough (unlikely) or you're sharpening too steep: you're just taking off a bit of the edge itself and not the metal behind it.

Now that you have the angle, sharpen the whole knife in sections as necessary, holding this angle. Check your marker periodically, and renew it as needed. Ideally you want a section of shiny metal all along the blade edge that is exactly the same width at every point -- no high or low spots, which indicate unevenness in the sharpening.

Now if you have done all this, you know

1. The angle is right, and
2. The grinding is even.

If you still haven't raised a wire anywhere, you're using WAY too fine a stone. But I bet that you're both using a fine stone AND sharpening at the wrong angle.

Once you've ground the edge evenly to a wire on both sides, go up a level of grits, and do it all over again -- magic marker and all.

Once you've done all that, and have a pretty decent grasp of sharpening (and a sharper knife), go back to the coarse stone and put a shallower edge on; that is, reprofile the edge, around 15 degrees. That's going to take some work, and more magic marker. Once you've done it, and raised a wire and deburred, and gone up the stones raising and deburring every time, you have a sharp knife and a good sense of how to deal with the fancier knives you're planning on.

Okay BDL and Buzz, where did I go wrong? (They're the experts -- I just sing along.)
post #17 of 21
OK. I wish you had started a new thread though.


Every knife is different as is every edge. If I were sharpening a very dull knife on an inexpensive 1K waterstone, a wild guess would be about 20 or 30 "swipes" on the first side to raise a wire. No knowing til you've done it. However, I wouldn't "swipe" to raise a wire but either "w stroke" or "up and down section." Nor would I count strokes, I'd start on the "face side" and just continue until I raised a wire, then flip the knife and raise a wire on the other -- and (with your stone) once I had the wire on the second side, I'd switch to "swipe" strokes and keep going until I could flip the wire from one side to the other with a single stroke. Then, I'd deburr.

No. 1K is a little on the fine side for a first stone, but not horribly so.

You're rambling. Sometimes, "bad knives" can be quite difficult to sharpen. Newer Old Hickory's are notorious, so are old Gerbers. Even though the steel may be "soft," that doesn't mean it will abrade evenly or easily. Furthermore, "bad" steel sometimes holds big carbide crystals which are very hard indeed and make sharpening difficult for even the best sharpeners using very aggressive stones.

First: We don't know if "that's the case," or not. That said, European and American knives are generally delivered from the factory with edge angles of approximately 20*. Most hand sharpeners learn to approximate this by holding the knife at a 90* angle, halving that (by eye), and halving it again to an approximate 22.5*. Free hand sharpening is at best very approximate; and that old method is "close enough for government work" and has worked for generations of sharpeners.

Yes, a permanent marker. The mark comes off the blade when and where the blade receives significant abrasion. In fact, the point of the magic marker trick is for you to see when and were the blade gets abraded. The remaining marker can easily be wiped off the knife.

I'm intentionally not giving you all the information. Not because I want to hide the ball, but because I don't want to overwhelm you and because you'll learn best by asking questions in your own sequence.

Keep asking.

Hope this helps,
post #18 of 21

sorry about the delay replying (and not starting a new post in the first place!). I thought I'd leave it for a bit, so I didn't hijack the original poster's questions too much, and then I was away for a while. In any case, thanks very much for the replies, very useful as always, and the discussion on the cheaper knives was interesting. I guess I had a pretty simplistic view in my mind!

In any case, having read quite a few things in this forum, I think I have most of the info I need, I just need to put in the practice (particularly with a marker!). My only further question really is, when you specify 'swipe' strokes, I take it I must only do an up to down (and not viceversa) motion? Should I do this moving away from the blade, or towards the blade?

Thanks again for the help!

post #19 of 21
To answer your question.........I own the santoku version of the knife. I really like it. Easy to maintain, gets a nice edge and retains it for a good period of time. It's one of my more used knives. Photo below.

july+022.jpg (image)

恵守 世羽棲知安

恵守 世羽棲知安
post #20 of 21
Actually, you talked about "swiping" the blade, and I assumed you meant what people usually do when using the term. That is, a swipe stroke uses both the entire length of the stone and of the edge; and the edge is held at an angle to the stone and given a pressure consistent with "slicing" a decal off the stone.

In other words, start with the heel of the blade on one end of the stone, finish with the tip leaving the other end.

The magic marker trick is very revealing for what goes on both at the edge and at the bevel shoulder. The first will tell if you if the initial profiling was adequate and whether the angle at which the knife is held is sufficiently consistent to pull a wire; the second will reveal high spots (and consequent unevenness at the edge) very quickly.

post #21 of 21
Hello. First time post here.
Andrew: I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. Instead, I first bought two hammered damascus Togiharus, gyuto and petty. I found them so good that I completed the collection with a santoku and a nakiri. Very minor details in the handles were fixed with a little wet dry sandpaper work. They are my daily knives and after two months of use, i need no more than an occasional stropping. Geometry of this knives is nothing less that perfect.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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