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Spouse friendly sharpner system.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Greetings Ya'll!

 

First let me say that these forums has been a great source of information on my quest to become a technically correct cook. Thank you!

 

I made the plunge into the world of "good" knives by purchasing several Victorinox Fibrox knives (10inch chef's, 6inch chef's, and a couple paring knives). While I understand that these knives can be made much sharper, the experience of using a "sharp" knife, even ootb, was an eye opener! I knew that I needed a good fine hone to go with the knives so I bought a what I though was a fine honing steel at Target (Henckels International). Big mistake. While it is indeed much finer than my old Faber-ware Pro Steel it destroyed the edge on my 10incher.

 

My question is this: what sharping system should I buy? Having been bitten by the knife bug I will be moving up to a MAC Professional Mighty Chef Knife (MBK-95/110) after I have saved up the necessary funds. I also want to learn the art of hand sharping my knives but for now I want a easy(er) to use system like the Edge Pro or a Chef's Choice electric.

 

I have heard the the Chef's Choice does a good job (nice double bevel edge), but how good? How does it compare to the Edge Pro? Is there another system that I should consider? As the title suggests I want to buy something that my wife would feel comfortable using.

 

Thank you for taking the time to help this newbie!

post #2 of 9

Forschners take a nice fine edge, but they don't have enough "scratch hardness" to hold much polish.  A MAC Pro, or similar, can take a lot of polish.  Polish doesn't translate into sharpness exactly, but it makes the knife feel as if it's gliding through the cut, and can make a fair bit of difference for certain kind of cutting. 

 

Polish is one of the things (but only one of them) that makes Japanese knives so good.

 

Chef's Choice machines don't really compare to an Edge Pro, because while they sharpen pretty well (at least when they're clean), they cannot polish as fine.  On the other hand, they are far more convenient.  One of the great thing about a CC is that they're so convienient, knives get sharpened often enough.

 

Chef's Choice does make several models suitable for Asian knives.  Only one of them does any polishing, and if you're buying for a MAC, it's probably the best choice.  You can use it to regrind your Forschners to 15*, which actually works out pretty well for most people, but some people think the acute angle collapses too easily (you can fix it by steeling or running it through the CC). 

 

Not a bad choice at all.

 

EPs are expensive -- you won't get away for too much less than $200, and may even end up closer to $300.  (You'll probably want Kit 4, $230.)  They're not convenient, either.  It's not like you're going to impulsively sharpen in the same way you'd use a CC. 

 

However, once you master the fairly shallow learning curve, they are much, much better sharpeners and polishers than a CC -- and, for most knives, as good as a good freehander using a good set of stones.  You'll get significantly more from your MAC (or whatever) with an EP than a CC. 

 

As a practical matter, you can't really do much better on a knife/sharpener combination than a knife in the same class as MAC Pro and an EP, no matter how much you want to spend.  It's worth considering that an EP will do a great job on your Forschners too.

 

If you've been looking at CT for knife advice, you've probably read some of my posts and know I recommend MACs and EPs a lot -- even though I don't use either one.  Moral of the story: There are a lot of ways to skin these particular cats.  But from what you've said about the two of you, MAC/EP may very well be the right way to go.

 

By the way, you'll need a rod hone with the EP, but that's not much of a problem.  A couple of the Apex kits even come with a pretty good one; or, you can get a really good rod (e.g., Idahone fine 12", or DMT CS2) for under $30. 

 

BDL

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the Info boar_d_laze!

 

I assume that the Chefs Choice Sharpener that you are referring to is the Chef's Choice Model m15xv. Having done some on-line sleuthing It seems that the consciences is that it will take your Japanese knives to 95% of there potential. Does anybody agree/disagree with this? I am currently leaning toward the Edge Pro as I don't want to spend $150 dollars on a electric sharpener that won't do as good of a job. My wife however likes the idea of the electric sharpener and if it does as good as of job as people say... For comparisons sake would the difference in sharpness (between the edge pro and chef's choice) be as major as the difference between my Victorinox ootb and a Wally world special ootb? Also how big of jump is it from my Victorinox to the Mac Pro?

 

Thanks!

post #4 of 9

I assume that the Chefs Choice Sharpener that you are referring to is the Chef's Choice Model m15xv.

 

Yes. 

 

Having done some on-line sleuthing It seems that the consciences is that it will take your Japanese knives to 95% of there potential. Does anybody agree/disagree with this?

 

One hates to niggle, but yes.  It depends what you're trying to do and how much trouble you're willing to go to in order to achieve it.  A Chef's Choice will create a perfectly acceptable edge, and will allow you to fool around with asymmetry.  What it won't do is put on a fine polish or allow you any choice of angles.

 

If you're looking for a 15* edge angle, and don't mind not being able to go past the equivalent of 2500# JIS or so, a CC with clean, fresh stones is as good as any other method. 

 

I am currently leaning toward the Edge Pro as I don't want to spend $150 dollars on a electric sharpener that won't do as good of a job. My wife however likes the idea of the electric sharpener and if it does as good as of job as people say... For comparisons sake would the difference in sharpness (between the edge pro and chef's choice) be as major as the difference between my Victorinox ootb and a Wally world special ootb?

 

No.  Not a good comparison at all.  An EP allows more choices and more lattitude with them than a CC, and you can do more with a knife that will allow for the advantages an EP brings.  I'm not sure you can do much better with an EP or anything else on a Forschner than you can with a clean CC.

 

OK.  So what's the deal with clean?  The CC uses diamond stones for the sharpening stage, and just like any other stone they load up and need to be cleaned.  Also, just like any other stone, they wear down and need to be replaced.  The CC doesn't need as much maintenance or r&r as many other sharpening systems, but it does need some.

 

An EP is an excellent choice in and of itself, and better still if you're looking for benchstone quality sharpness without the learning curve associated with freehand sharpening.  There are a couple of other tool and jig systems out there, but nothing as good. 

 

FWIW, I sharpen freehand on stones.

 

The way my wife and I share sharpening duties is that I do it before she notices the knives aren't very sharp or I hear about it.  Amazing what a connoiseur of sharpness she's become.     

 

Also how big of jump is it from my Victorinox to the Mac Pro?

 

They are very different knives.  A MAC Pro isn't going to jump out of the car and open your wife's door, or make it so you can suddenly break a bell pepper down into brunoise as well as someone with excellent knife skills -- but it has a much better profile, gets sharper, takes a much better polish, and holds its edge much better.  It won't change the way you cook by much, but it will allow you a little more range to develop your skills and will make prepping easier and more fun. 

 

Worth the money?  Not to some people.  To me, yes.

 

Don't throw out your Victorinox.  It will handle the heavy duty stuff better and won't worry you that it's going to chip the next time you split a chicken down the back.

 

I consider the MAC Pro to be one of the few, very best stainless knives at the price, and the best knife for most westerner making their first jump to a good Japanese made "gyuto."  It's got all of the good points, including an excellent profile, but is made from a non-demanding allloy (VG-5, I think), and somehow manages to be reasonably thin without beiing nearly as flexible. 

 

The MAC also has an outstanding handle, which (a) everyone loves; and (b) especially benefits anyone without a stellar grip.  Note that while everyone who pinches thinks he has a great grip, few actually do.

 

If you're thinking about a MAC Pro, the EP is a better choice than the CC, not only because it allows you a better polish (Kit 3, is probably the best choice), but because the MAC seems to work best with a double bevel of 15*/10*.  You can't do that with a CC.

 

In the same price range, there are quite a few other good, stainless choices besides the MAC.  None are quite as western friendly though.  And, many have some idiosyncratic trade offs -- For instance the Kakayagi VG-10 and Togiharu G-1 both offer a great blade alloy at a great price, but short, skinny handles.  Understand that the distinctions aren't major, or I wouldn't be grouping the knives with a MAC.   

 

There are even more options if you two are the sort of people who can live with carbon (non-stainless) steels. 

 

BDL

post #5 of 9

Sorry to hijack this thread with an unrelated comment, but I just wanted to thank you, BDL, for the ever-flowing wealth of knowledge you bring to the party.  Over the last few weeks of reading this site, you've taught me quite a bit.

 

Again, sorry.  Carry on!

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CookinMT View Post

Sorry to hijack this thread with an unrelated comment, but I just wanted to thank you, BDL, for the ever-flowing wealth of knowledge you bring to the party.  Over the last few weeks of reading this site, you've taught me quite a bit.

 

Again, sorry.  Carry on!


Very True and well said. I am very grateful for all the advice that BDL has given me and for the info I have poached from comments on other threads. 

 

I am very curious about carbon steel blades and would like to try one at some point in the future. Their ability to hold an edge longer, sharpen easier, superior honing attributes and well as overall edge taking characteristics interest me. However at this point in my (young) life I'm afraid about how a carbon steel blade would hold up to the abuse that it would befall . I have two young children (2 years and 5 months) and there are times I KNOW my wife (or I) will neglect to wash it off and dry it before running off to the next crises my daughter or son have gotten themselves into. 

 

Concerning an Edge Pro System, should I buy kit 3 or 4? If I'm understand right, the kit 3 would be fine for my Victorinox but a Mac Pro could take considerably more polish than a kit 3 could provide. I plan on buying a 24cm Mac Pro (or should I go 27cm?), probably around Thanksgiving/ Christmas. How high a degree of polish can the Mac take? I have been reading conflicting statements about how much polish one wants on a kitchen knife. Some say, like Ben Dale,  that one doesn't want/need to polish the edge above a 1000 grit stone (JIS ?). Others, like BDL, say to polish the edge using a 5000 grit stone or higher.  Could some one explain to me why the difference in option? 

 

Thanks!

post #7 of 9

Vance,

 

Sorry about the long delay between your question and this response.

 

Figuring out the right level of finish for a kitchen knive can involve a few considerations.  Knives which are used primarily for rough work and butchering benefit from a little bit of bite.  Ordinary vegetable prep and fish portioning can make use of a lot of polish.  Some knives because of limited "scratch hardness," will only take so much polish; some because of a combination of scratch hardness and use will lose a polish too quickly to make it worthwhile. 

 

Generally, it's a good idea to put as much polish on your chef's knife as it will hold.   

 

Scratch hardness is not quite the same thing as "indentation hardness," which is what the Rockwell "C" scale actually measures.  However, they're sufficiently related that the RCH measurement is a darn good guide.   

 

The MAC Pro is (probably) VG-5 stainless, hardened to just under 60.  That means it will take a fair bit of polish.

 

Edge Pro pricing can be a little odd what with sales and all.  At the moment, the best plan might be to buy a Kit 3 and an a pack of 3000 tape.  You'll actually pay about 10% less than you would for Kit 4.  FWIW, you don't need the 2000 to bridge between the 1000 and 3000 -- those are close enough.

 

BDL

post #8 of 9

BDL,

 

How does one determine how good a "grip" they have?

post #9 of 9

Milton,

 

Good question.  Take a look at this, and see if it doesn't help.

 

BDL

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