or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › A new knife debate thread.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

A new knife debate thread.

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
As you know, we have probably hijacked several threads on our debates. And I'm sorry for this.

Chris came up with the idea of starting a new debate thread. And it's a good answer.

I have started this thread so it make take any direction it needs to go for the polite discussion on any phase of knives you wish to impart. I think it's going to be fun.
post #2 of 81
Okay, I'll shift this over here.
I'm with you until the last line, Chico.

A "better knife" is one that will hold a serviceable edge throughout the relevant type of shift. And it's one in the hands of and under the eyes of people who know what a serviceable edge is and how to maintain it.

For example, a Forschner or Dexter Russell.

Those knives are not garbage, and they don't cost "a few hundred bucks." They're perfectly serviceable for the vast majority of tasks.

That's why I dislike Shun and Global, and why I really intensely dislike Wusthof and Henckels: they sell products at vastly inflated costs by convincing the unsuspecting and uninformed that they are ultra-premium wonderfulness. I know of nothing that makes a Wusthof or Henckels superior to a Forschner, but it costs a lot more. I know of a lot of things that make a Shun or Global inferior to several major Sakai-based brands that cost a good deal less. But a huge number of people, pros and home cooks, consider it a known fact that Wusthof, Henckels, Shun, and Global rule the knife world and are the best of the best.

As to the knives that cost "a few hundred bucks," I think you're imposing an excessively large gap between bad knives badly maintained and badly used and good knives well maintained and well used. Anyone who makes a jump to high-end honyaki knives, in my opinion, fits one of the following categories: (a) collector with money, (b) idiot, (c) frightening expert who knows far more about knives, sharpening, and cutting than you and I put together.

The best cutters I know, several of whom fit into category (c), use honyaki blades sparingly or not at all. They generally buy knives that hang in the $250 region, give or take. And in the gap between these guys and the "newbies" you describe who don't know dull from sort of sharp, who don't know the first thing about knife maintenance -- in that gap lies almost every professional chef in the world.
post #3 of 81
I've spent hundreds of dollars on individual knives--which is why I know The Tourist from other knife forums. And most of them I've sold and prefer simpler designs and steels.

But in the kitchen I use a Forschner. It just works and is highly affordable. Sure I appreciate exotic steels like any other knife knut but they don't add to my cooking experience.

Appropriately, it's like a Swiss Army Knife. There are fancier tools out there with better steels, ergonomics and tougher. But a real SAK is a fine tool in its own right and will perform when used appropriately and treated with care and respect.

And Victorinox makes Forschner and SAKs.

Phil
post #4 of 81
Thread Starter 
I do try to stay with the overall theme of the forum, that is keeping the idea of "professional" in mind.

I see no problem with taking care of a home food hobbyist (BTW, I don't care for the epithet 'foodie') and getting the best edges on their Pampered Chef roll.

However, I do know a chef for a restaurant, and he has a side catering retirement business. Hours of cutting, time constraints, etc., and I sold him a deba--with an edge I might put on a sashimi knife.

Now before I further castigate myself as a heretic, I do believe that the client is always right. I just gave him better options. He's a big guy, a heavy knife is not a handicap and he will still have to make crisp slices. Win/win.

I would also provide a similar service for a woman who is considered "the best 'chef' in her neighborhood." There is still a 'presentation' factor. Obviously there will be few if any Hattori knives, but she might buy better quality at some point.

BTW, I still sharpen all makes and models.
post #5 of 81
I can't figure out what you're saying here. On the one hand, "the client is always right" suggests that you told him not to buy the knife. On the other hand, "I just gave him better options" suggests that you thought this knife a better choice than what he had. What would he want a deba for, of all knives?
post #6 of 81
For the heck of it, lets swing this in another direction:

The evilist evil of all the evils...



No, not class action lawyers, not even politicians. No I'm talking about....


Advertising.


It's why one brand of knife is "better" than others, why a Camero is better than a 'Stang (or is it vice versa? )

Shun, Global, Wusthof (a.k.a. "Driezack" in Deutschland) Henkels, various hoity-toity Japanese brands, they all promote heavily in cooking magazines and heavily in various cooking shows. And if it's expensive, well then it's gotta be good, right?

C'mon, face it, If one of them started to put laser guides to shine down the blade ensuring the user a precise cut, all the others would follow suit and they'd all have an excuse to charge even more. Maybe treat the blade with liquid helium and lock it into a diamond pyramid for 99 days to ensure maximum sharpness for the rest of it's natural life.

Look, I have about 7 Chef's style knives in my kit. Most of them are Victorinox. They get dull, I use a steel, when that doesn't work, I put them aside, and when I have 3 or 4 that need sharpening, I crack open a cold beverage and go to work on the water stones in the garage at home.

What's my minimum demand of a sharp edge?

That I can slice a taut-skined ripe tomato with no sawing or pushing.

For 22 years now I haven't been let down.

Do I slice fugu or raw ocotpus? No.

Last week I must have sliced up 50 lbs of fruit for fruit platters: Pineapples, melons, kiwis, papayas. Each slice clean and crisp. Today it was cutting butter ganache. To do this I heat up the knife blade either in the oven or with a blow torch, and cut down through the slab, melting through the chocolate layer, crunch down through the toasted nuts, and make 144 even squares. With a $5 Ikea paring knife (gasp) I plunk down an aluminum cake pan bottom on a sheet of parchment paper and trace around it, cutting out disc after disc of parchemt paper liners for sponge. True, if I ever drop the knife It'd shatter like a file. Good thing it's only 5 bucks, 'cause one of the girls will use it to chip ice out of the chest freezer next week. About 20 years go I learned never to bring my "good knives" to work.

Cutting boards?

Nylon. When they get dirty I toss them in the d/w. No 3-step sanitizing process here, the high-temp d/w does that for me. I want peace of mind and no screw ups. When they get scarred, I run them through my trusty Delta 12" thickness planer at home. Two brand spanking new surfaces devoid of any defects and a good 3/16" thinner. Amen. Tourist, this is a service you should offer your clients. Charge them, but offer it.

I cut just-baked quiche and hard dry biscotti loaves with.... A $9.99 B&D electric knife. Sacrilage, I know. It's also the best tool for the job. I can push the slices together and you can't even see the cuts.

I have a business to run, no time to obsses with sharp edges, I'd rather obsess with new whoelsale accounts.

A knife is just a hunk of steel with a sharp edge. The magic is in the user hands.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #7 of 81
A lot of things go into making a "good" knife. We all like to say the edge is the main thing, and it is, but it's not the only thing. For an example, let's just take a very good blade purchased without a handle, just the bare rat-tail tang. IIRC one of the really well regarded makers will knock off $5 for buying it that way (I should remember the one but I can't- Watanabe, perhaps?).

Okay, great blade, but not so easy to use with no handle. What should be do? Could just rip a 2x4, drill it and glue the blade in! But that wouldn't be very ergonomic, nor very sanitary. It would be impossible to sanitize, hard to hold and the balance would be terrible.

So we give it a 'real' handle- but what do we choose? Again, this is just a thought experiment...in real life the type of knife would help dictate the handle. It would fairly unusual to affix Western style scales to a yanagiba, for instance. But if we have a gyuto we could use a Wa handle of Ho or magnolia, we could use linen micarta, etc.

In a round-about way that brings me to the Forschners. While the Fibrox handle is functional few people would say it's elegant. The grip can be iffy when it's wet or a bit greasy (like fat from a rib roast). Compare that to a Wusthof- it balances better and handles better. The latter is also a bit slippery when wet but overall I find they fit the hand a little better. These things are not trifling matters to me; ergonomics are a very important part of a knife's usability.

I think Forschner makes good knives if you simply can't spend more than $35 on a single peice, but I'd rather have a Messermeister. Or better yet, a Tojiro or Shun (or of course something better still).

For all the talk about Shun being 'overpriced' so far no one has ever given me an example of something substantially better for the same or cheaper price. And I don't mean something you simply prefer that costs $10 less- I'm talking something that's demonstrably better. Ideally it would also rival or exceed the Kershaw offerings in the area of F'n'F and appearance, too. Sure, maybe if you live in Japan there are other choices but I can't think of a lot that are easily available here. Anyone who frequents this site probably already knows about and/or shops at JCK, Korin or ChefKnivesToGo. They have many great knives, but even allowing that I haven't tried some of the potential contenders many of them don't meet the price criterion. For example, Tojiro and Toghihura, two of the more recommended knives, cost virtually the same amount as the Shun. I got a really great deal on a Kanetsune that's definitely in the same class as the Shun but they've been out of stock for over a year, and all the other vendors are selling them for about what a Shun brings, too. JCK has some branded for them that look to be pretty competitive but not much cheaper than a Classic, generally about the same price. I have some Hattori's, and they're not a big step up from the Shun Classic yet they're even more expensive. At the cheaper end there are some knives made from a bit more garden-variety types of stainless as well as carbon, but I don't think the latter is an option for everyone.

Unless you guys are all buying your Shuns at SLT...that could explain the price disparity!;)
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #8 of 81
FWIW, I will concede on thing: for the chef's knife and that knife only you would probably have a valid point. The Shun simply has more belly that it should have, so any knife with a "true" gyuto/French shape would be preferable, all else being equal. But that doesn't apply to their other blade shapes. Their bread knife, for instance, is extremely nice.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #9 of 81
I prefer my older manufactured Sabatiers better than the old Forschners presently in my knife block. And as to knife threads, I feel that no other topic here at this forum has generated as much debate as the topic on knives. And I'm right, YOU'RE ALL WRONG! :crazy:

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #10 of 81
" I know of nothing that makes a Wusthof or Henckels superior to a Forschner"


I Don't know how others shop but when I buy a work knife I'm looking for a knife that balances well and feels good in my hand and will perform well. While I often suggest Forschner to cooks for many reasons I can think of several things that make Wusthof superior to Forschner. Just hold a Forschner fibrox in one hand and a Wusthof classic in the other. The weight, build quality etc. are immediately noticeable. The Wusthof is about $100 and the Forschner about $30. The Forschner is equal to Dexter, Sani-safe or most house knives. They work and they represent a great value but I definitely would rather work with a Wusthof in most cases. To me $70 is not a big difference in a work knife. To a new cook it often is.





"For all the talk about Shun being 'overpriced' so far no one has ever given me an example of something substantially better for the same or cheaper price."


I guess that really depends on what Shun line you want to compare. The Bob Kramer bread knife just might be a dandy but at $300+ it should be. The vast majority that buy Shuns are not buying their classic line but one of the several other lines. A lot of times that purchase is based on looks not performance. A Shun Classic bread knife is about $115. IMO the Mac is better as is the Viking that is made by Guede. Both are less expensive. Beyond that I don't assign caveats when I'm shopping like brand X Has to be "substantially better". If another brand is even a little bit better or has a better feel for the same price I'll go with that product. If it costs less then for most that's even better.

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #11 of 81
Do you folks actually have a shared lexicon when it comes to terms like "better"?

How are you gauging that? Is there a general score that you attribute to a knife based on the metal and construction quality?
post #12 of 81
To me it's all in the quality of the metal and that's why I prefer a knife made with older carbon steel that I think is commonly called 1095 carbon. And the debate continues on and on and on...

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #13 of 81
Thread Starter 
Actually, there's a longer back story. The deba was a "test mule" when I worked inside a Gander Mountain outlet. When the chef's son came in to have some sporting knives resharpened, this son saw the deba and asked about it. He liked the heft and told his dad.

I loaned him the knife and forgot about the issue.

The son returned, had the edge touched up and they bought the knife for the catering business. At no time did I make any sort of a sales pitch to the dad. I still believe the father liked the added weight.

However, the fact remains that a deba was sold, serviced and used as kind of a big boy's general purpose chef's knife. That's what the client wanted and obtained.
post #14 of 81
Thread Starter 
Alas, I do not own such a planer. As a boy I worked in the carpenters' shop at The Master Lock Company for one summer season. Not only does the ability to work with wood skip a generation, but so does the desire.

Besides, I'm a tinker, one of the clown princes of the serivice industry.;) We do a song, a dance, tell a few good yarns, a touch of eastern mysticism and a pinch of voodoo, and then we over-charge them.

It covers the cost of the new boards.
post #15 of 81
By way of information only, meaning no criticism, and not taking sides, old Sabs are a lot closer to 1070 than 1095. FWIW, 1050 is where "high carbon" starts.

Old Sabs are splendid knives, which as it happens comprise the overwhelming majority of my knife kit. However, in terms of weight, and edge holding they lag behind "better" Japaense knives.

BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #16 of 81
I'll take your word at the terms "1070...1050" since up to now "1095" is the only descriptive term I've encountered as to real carbon steel blades (read modern advertising). That's good information you provided concerning older stuff.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #17 of 81
I have no solid numbers but I'd guess that for every "other" Shun that Kershaw sells they sell ten Classics, but I could be wrong. I'd expect them to greatly outsell the Elites since the latter cost twice as much and aren't as widely available. That's probably doubly true for the "exclusive" and other special lines (eg SLT-only , Kramer, etc). That excludes other Kai products that while superficially similar aren't Shuns, like the Wasabi and Pure Komachi. Of course, few would call those lines overpriced.

The Mac may be a better bread knife, at least for some. It's a bit cheaper, although a bit softer. Probably won't stay sharp as long but the extra length can be handy. The Shun Stainless is actually cheaper than the Mac, at least at a couple places.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #18 of 81
Remind me to never mess with a chef. If a chef (or a tinker) asks me to give a hand and I don't, I might find my hand has left my arm without my even noticing it since the blade was that sharp and the action was that fast :crazy:
post #19 of 81
You could be right as well as I have no solid numbers either. Shun markets to home cooks and those who seem to focus on the visual aspects. In other forums I almost never see any one asking about a Shun classic. Then consider how many other lines Shun has;
Kramer
Kramer Meiji
Elite
Ken Onion
Pro
Pro2
Kaji
And a few others. I would doubt the they sell more classics than all of those combined. They don't seem to focus on classics that much in their advertising campaigns. Stores like Sur la Table and Williams Sonoma probably sell a ton of the higher end Shuns.
BTW After reading back through the thread it's interesting that the Mac Pro is almost the universal middle ground.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #20 of 81
Within the 10xx steels, the last two digits indicate the percentage of carbon. For instance steel becomes "high carbon steel" when the alloy includes a equal to or greater than 0.50%. In other words, 1050. A 1095 steel has 0.95% carbon while a 1070 would have 0.70. This is important because the carbon forms "carbides," which are much harder than the plain steel. Other minerals such as molybdenum and vanadium help "organize" the steel carbon/steel matrix and control the size of the carbide crystlas, as well as allowing the incorporation of more carbon.

BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #21 of 81
No worries. Very few "chefs" can actually sharpen a knife very well.

It's not a difficult skill to learn by any means. But it does take willigness to invest time in practice.

BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #22 of 81
What I find really nice concerning about the older and therefore softer Sabatiers is that the sharpening steel really restores the wire edge; it really brings it back into line - something achieved with far better results than with my high-end 12 inch Henkels purchased in 1976. While the latter is a true monster when it comes to slicing bacon off of the slab, it's sharpness runs slightly behind that of my old Sabatiers.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #23 of 81
koko,

I know you're interested in this stuff, and otherwise wouldn't bring it up for fear of creating the impression I'm nipping at your heels. You've got some facts and terminology mixed up.

The surface hardness (which is what the Rockwell "C" scale aka HrC measures) of old and modern carbon Sabs hasn't really changed much over the years. Although certain Sabatier brands are softer than others. What has changed is steel sourcing. Many, if not all, modern Sabs use "world steel," which includes a high proportion of recycled steels. The old Sabs were almost always single source.

A "wire edge" is not the term used to describe a sharp edge, or a fresh edge, or a newly sharpened, fresh, sharp edge. It's something else entirely. Rather it's a product of most types of sharpening when the edge bevel on one side, overlaps the bevel on the other side in the form of a very thin piece which bends very easily. The wire edge is also called a "burr," and is removed or "deburred" as a part of a proper sharpening process.

Not to digress too far, but the qualites of knife steel to which you want to refer are "toughess" and "strength." Toughness refers to the steel's resistance to breaking or tearing, while strength refers to its resistance to bending. Generally speaking, strong steels are hard steels and vice versa.

It's easy to contrast strength and toughness in that most alloys are more one than the other. So in the sense that a strong steel will break before it bends your reference to hardness contrasting with flexibility has some truth. But it's a very complicated and interdynamic, more so because the best modern alloys are both strong and tough.

Given a fairly symmetric bevel geometry, steeling can restore the edge geometry by straightening our rolling and waving. It cannot fix dulling caused by wear. No matter how strong (or hard) the knife, it's subject to rolling and waving; and with the right steel and skill set can be steeled to good effect.

Here comes the good part: Getting back to what you said about Sabatiers being particularly good candidates for steeling -- you're right. They are extremely tough, bend fairly easily and wear slowly. That said, you can really mess up a good edge by using too aggressive a steel.

BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #24 of 81
Somewhere at a Finnish knife forum (Brisa) I've read that burr removal requires that the blade be drawn backwards over the stone and ultimately the "burr or wire edge" will break off.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #25 of 81
Deburring not only breaks off the wire edge (aka burr), it exposes the fresh, "true" edge.

You may deburr in a number of ways. Here are some of the best:

Drawing the edge through the endgrain of a piece of wood. People often use the corners of their counter boards.

Drawing the wood through a piece of cork. Excellent method.

"Steeling." This is another excellent metod, but only suited to fairly symmetric sharpening bevels. Steel in the usual way with an extra fine or smooth steel and the burr will bend back and forth along a very straight line, then will eventually break off along that line very cleanly. In one way it's something like bending an old credit card back and forth so you can tear the material. In a slightly different way, it's like folding a piece of paper back and forth along the same crease so you can tear it along a straight line. All of these -- knife, credit card, paper -- work by way of fatiguing the material to be torn. Deburring on a steel works well only if the sharpener holds a good angle. The rounded edge of a steel exerts so much force at the point of contact.

Whether sharpening, simply honing, and by extension, honing, almost everyone you've ever seen steel a knife does it wrong. Holding the approriate angle through the entire length of the stroke is just as important on a steel as on a sharpening stone. In fact, medium steels, coarse steels, diamond, or any other steel rough enough to sharpen, can do a lot of damage to an edge as they remove material at all sorts of angles. Furthermore, the knife should never "clang" against the steel. Banging the knife agains the rod, bends the edge out of shape, at the point of contact. Steeling should be done with a light touch. The geometry of the rod magnifies the force quite a bit. You don't want to push the edge too far, it weakens the steel.

"Stropping" on a piece of cardboard or hard felt. The grabby nature of the material takes the wire off efficiently. Also an excellent method which doesn't require a precision strop stroke.

As you described, either strop stroking on the sharpening stone which developed the wire; or, strop stroking on the stone in your set which is one step finer. A common method which doesn't requre an extra surface.

A strop stroke is one in which the edge is set on the sharpening float at the sharpening angle, and is then pulled across the float in the direction of the spine while the angle is held. Holding the angle requires a little technique (e.g., don't pull it off the edge of the stone), and a lot of practice.

BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #26 of 81
Ahhhh, I noticed that drawing the blade thru a piece of cardboard really improves on the edge's sharpness and perhaps is akin to burr removal. Know all about stropping on leather and on leather coated with green chromium oxide.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #27 of 81
Thread Starter 
There is a shoe cobbler in my area that is about the last vestige of horsehide. I have strips cut and used for hanging strops. A touch of chrome paste about midway up the strop allows the bevel to receive a nice polish while removing small burs and wire edges.

In fact, sometimes I have "gremlins." That's a small area that drags or sticks and even a strong loupe' doesn't discern the problem. A horsehide strop not only leaves a slight mark where the gremlin lives, but most times polishes it off.
post #28 of 81
If I remember correctly, bare leather stropping preceeds drawing the edge across the chromium oxide. Is that correct?

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #29 of 81
You're confusing razors with kitchen knives. They don't sharpen or strop the same. There's no need to use bare leather when polishing a knife by stropping. You go right to the loaded strop from the stones.

As to razors, the sequence of loaded strop to plain strop or vice versa depends entirely on the sharpener -- with no right way or wrong way. There is, however, a correct sequence from canvas to leather.

Finally, to clear up a misconception from an earlier post -- you don't sharpen a knife or even deburr it by drawing it through cardboard. You can use cardboard as a hard strop, but cutting through it will inevitably dull a knife. If your knife seems sharper, it is because it is very dull to start with and the cardboard is scuffing the edge enough to create micro-serration which will "bite," for a little awhile, but aren't actually sharp in the sense of an extremely narrow edge cross-section.

BDL
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #30 of 81
Thread Starter 
Ahh, the debate continues. Here's my opinion. Both you guys are wrong.:lol:

First off, a knife pulled through cardboard or strips of leather might indeed be sharper than when it was dull or as it is fresh off the stone. And the answer is the same--the edge is of poor quality. Let me explain.

When we visualize an "edge," we imagine a perfectly formed interseaction of two planes. Fair enough. Imagining a dull knife is easily, those planes do not meet. And finding that area is rather easy, it reflects light.

However, a fresh edge is not that 'clear cut,' pardon the pun. Just because the knife, razor or scissors has visited a stone means nothing. The sharpener might be a rookie. The angle of attack might have never reached the bevel. Or, a major sized bur may have formed and never been properly polished away.

You see this condition a lot of times on 'chisel grind' knives, like an Emerson CQC-7. The sharpener spends all of his time on the single bevel, failing to realize he has changed the obverse side, as well.

Think of a bur as a 'bent edge.' And like the flat area of a dull knife, it reflects light. The knife does not present a sharp edge into the medium to be sliced.

When you make that first cut through cardboard or leather, you "knock off," or more correctly break off the bur. That edge is quite thin and knocks off quite easily. Technically, that edge is sharper. Broken, but sharper.

Now, for when a pumice application, like chromium oxide, is introduced it doesn't matter one whit. Grit is grit.

You sharpen and polish metal by removing sections, stripping off material to form that perfect edge. Japanese polishers use nagura on many different grit stones--I find it works the best on stones within the EP yellow 800 range.

I don't care for chromium oxide, it stains everything like molybdenum disulfide grease ('black moly').

If you don't have nagura, use a dab of whitening toothpaste.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cooking Knife Reviews
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › A new knife debate thread.