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The use of non-traditional products.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
In some recent posts I've mentioned the use of automotive products as an adjunct to tradional sharpening. I believe it's an important point of view.

While 99% of most knives are some form of metal, most people believe that you must use "knife products." For example, if you need paste then you must call Keith for chromium oxide. You need a stone, then call Ben. My Japanese doctor sent his kitchen knives directly to Japan simply because they were Japanese knives.

(Assuming he didn't like my work, we have skilled togishi craftsmen here--right in Madison, Wisconsin.)

And because knives are metal, we should seek out superior products whenever available.

Case in point, I often mention 'glaziers glass' for polishing mounts. Clearly, a 'glazier' is the craftsman who makes glass, but what makes this type superior?

Well, there was a need for very clear and pure class from the end of our Civil War to about 1901. (You history buffs jump in here, this history is murky, at best). With poor lamps and entry level parabolic reflectors, faster trains and lighthouses needed to throw as bright a light as possible. One idea was crystal clear glass. Ben Dale found a broken lamp at his glazier, and we have cannibalized this item for flawless mounts.

As reported, I believe Mothers Billet Paste is superior to chromium oxide. Not only is it a finer grit size, but it's cleaner and readily available at automotive stores. It is designed to clean wheel mags, polished aluminum and chrome. Those items need products with a very fine abrasive to clean--but not scratch--certain types of metal. This paste is perfect for a fine Japanese laminate knife.

The list goes on. BugSlide. Micro-fiber cloths. Windex. Painters Tape. Nevr-Dull.

I even found a little bottle marked "Holy Water" in a catholic catalog that is perfect for squirting water onto waterstones.

If a tinker or craftsman uses a product to enhance sharpening and repair, then steal the idea! The point is to provide superior edges and lasting repairs. You don't have to limited to Hand America, Tandy or EP.

As stated, many in the knife world have branded me a heretic. But my knives are sharper.:lol:
post #2 of 5
I have had the same Forchner knives and gustav emil since the early 60s they are carbon steel. I use them almost daily and sharpen them on an oil stone using plain old salad oil. Never had all the bells and whistles that went with all these new knives on the market. These tools just cut and do their job. I have one 12 inch french knife that is now ground down like a boning knife, its great. I'll take mine any day.:bounce:
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Fair enough. I had thought of my comments of "non-traditional" more in line with the idea of not putting cutlery into such strict compartments in life. Let me provide an example.

My job is not restricted just to kitchen knives. As I contribute to this forum during the day, I might be unpacking a shipment of hunting knives, or sharpening a few pocketknives. Today's duties included sharpening an older carbon steel kitchen knife for a woman at my gym, and testing/sharpening a new folder I'm thinking about selling--the Boker Plus G4.

Seemingly different issues? Not really.

In the course of your day, you work, you correspond by e-mail and at meetings, you work on longer term projects and you eat. These tasks in most cases lead one to another in a more or less seamless cascade of mundane transitions.

As I sharpen, my thoughts are quite fluid. One idea segues into another, and today was no different. I did the kitchen knife, and then the Boker which is a wharnecliffe design. I pondered the idea of how this supposed EDC pocket folder would probably be quite functional for food preparation and consumption when on the road.

A wharnecliffe is a very useful design, and this model is a comprised of 440C, an alloy with a lot of chromium. Focusing on its possible use with food, I found myself polishing the edge with finer grit stones and finer polishing papers and pastes.

This rather inexpensive folder now could easily serve a chef at a campsite.

And that's my idea with "non-traditional" tools and knife designs. Tonight, a friend telephoned me on his attendance to a Scottish fest. During the evening meal, many of the men who appeared in traditional kilts set aside the substandard steak knives provided and produced their personal Skean Dhu's.

To my way of thinking we set up to many artificial barriers when discussing "food" knives. As a poor student in my early years just about any knife with an edge was a kitchen knife. And any tool or product that maintained sharpness was used for honing.

There is no doubt in my mind that this 13 dollar Boker, polished with automotive paste is sharper (and hence more useful) that +75% of the knives in most commercial kitchens.

We should be thinking outside the box.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
In for a penny, in for a pound. As long as I find diverse ways to get into trouble, I'd like to make an observation in keeeping with this thread.

As you know, I'd like to purchase a nice Honesuki style boning knife for my personal use.

Additionally, I just received a Boker Plus G4 folder which I polished to a mirror finish last night--for fun.

As I've been conversing with you folks this morning, I've been opening and closing this Boker like using a string of worry beads.

It dawned on me after over 36 hours--yeah, I know, I know--that this Boker's blade shape is a kissing cousin to a Honesuki.

Who knows, I might prepare a frying chicken tonight with this non-traditional, yet well designed, cutting tool.

(Sorry guys. We just got this new computer after a lightning strike. I don't know how to plug in my old digital camera into this new lap-top, or even where the downloading program is amongst the strange icons on the desktop. But pictures will follow. But you know my edges by now, and a Boker Plus G4 can be found on numerous knife sites.)
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Taking my last post into consideration, I'd like to expand on why this Boker subject is important.

As stated, the scope of my business is in Wisconsin. And despite our area hobbies, living here means the enjoyment of being outdoors.

Madison is an isthmus surrounded by lots of farm country, hiking and skiing trails, rivers, parks and several hunting opportunities. Not only does that mean I must be familiar with sporting, camping and sailors knives, but any item I provide is going to do double-duty in the preparation of food.

If I provide a client with a Myerchin for his boat during the peak of our boating season, that edge is going to be utilized for cheese and sausage went he is out on the lake. Hunters not only need sporting knives for camping and game, but they will no doubt use them for picnics and boning. A fish fillet knife gets used for everything, trust me!

If you stop and think of your schedules, you'll realize that 'eating' is attached to just about every pursuit you enjoy. Even my firends who carry a sharp knife to Sturgis for repairs and self defense wind up using that blade to cook at Buffalo Chip.

And just about every Interstate Highway from the eastern seaboard to points west goes through Madison, Wisconsin. My clients are truly global in nature.

Obscure as this observation might be, it was an AG Russell catalog that got my attention some years back. One of their advertised items was The Folding Hocho.

Before you dismiss the idea, I must report that this folder has a santoku-esque overall shape, the entire blade and handle are stainless steel, (the blade is VG-10) and this product gets spooky sharp. I sharpened one for a client.

It is my opinion that The Folding Hocho could run a small professional kitchen in a pinch, like some short-order places. While marketed as a 'picnic knife' this folder is better than some of the poorer quality kitchen knives that run some homes.

For me, the idea of 'non-traditional' is a very important working factor. These are the needs of my customer base. And the products aimed at their concerns and hobbies may be of benefit to you.
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