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I do not want to buy a knife

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

My interest in joining this community is in learning more about sharpening.

 

The Pussycat and I bought our first good kitchen knife, a carbon Sabatier chef’s knife, in 1972.  With it we bought a sharpener comprising two columns of overlapping metal disks.  Horrible thing.  It ripped at the metal of the knife, and fairly quickly formed a hollow spot in the edge of the knife, just in front of the finger-guard.

 

We replaced it with a Norton India combination stone, used with water rather than oil, which was much more satisfactory.  My definition of sharp was not very exacting—I was satisfied when a knife cut into a tomato when drawn across the surface under its own weight—and this has been achievable freehand (in theory every three months) on  Sabatier and subsequently Henckels and Global knives.

 

But I’m conscious that the edge left by a Norton India fine stone is both coarser and less sharp than is possible on the these knives.  And, now that we have bought our first hard steel Japanese knife—a Tojiro petty—we really need something better.

 

Question 1: Is this assessment correct?

 

As somebody who has spent 38 years not getting around to learning proper freehanding, I was delighted to find that really good jigs are now available to hold the knife at an accurate angle to the stone.  The most highly regarded seem to be the Edge Pro Apex and the Wicked Edge.  My imagination was caught by the Edge Pro Chocera kit from Mark Richmond at chefknivestogo.com, so that’s what I now have.

 

The first things I’ve learnt from using it are that Chocera stones generate a huge amount of mud compared with a Norton India, and that my freehand sharpening angle was a little over 20° ... varying somewhat from knife to knife.

 

Ben Dale’s instruction leaflet says a beginner should use 18° for all kitchen knives, so that’s what I’ll do.  This afternoon, I tried slimming down a Sabatier knife edge from 21° to 18°.  It took 60 there-and-back strokes on each side with a 400 grit stone before I raised a burr at the new angle.

 

Question 2: Is this about right?  Or am I pressing too hard or too softly?

 

Once I’ve got the hang of things at 18°, I plan to sharpen some of the knives at a more acute angle.

 

Question 3:  Am I right in thinking that the Sabatier, Global and Tojiro knives will take 15°, but that 18° is about the limit for a Henckels knife?

 

Question 4: Should I polish all knives up to the maximum 10,000 grit that came with the kit, or are some knives, or knives for some purposes, better left at 5000 or 3000?

 

And finally: Ben writes, “You should know that all forged knives will develop a hollow spot in front of the heel eventually, no matter what you use to sharpen them.”  Bother!

 

Question 5: Can I avoid this by grinding away the finger-guard at the heel—for example, by grinding the heel at 45° on an India coarse stone—or will this just take too long to be worth doing?

 

Later,

 

John

post #2 of 22

Big post, Dr. Owl, so I won't quote it all - But I can give you some input on your questions. . .

 

First, BladeForums has some cooking related stuff and a lot of sharpening advice; KnifeForums seems to be more tactical knife topics but I'm sure there are experts there as well.

So, not to redirect anyone from ChefTalk, but various sources of information make a better informed person, right?

 

1a. Jigs and Wedges - No. If you are going to get expensive stones and really use them properly - a jig or guide wedge is only an albatross. Ditch them/Don't get them.

    - The Apex, SpyderCo, Lansky - probably in that order, are "guided systems" but still better than a cheesy wedge.

    - A "real experienced" stone guy would balk at an apex or any other guided system. I would use one to "Set" a uniform profile, but your cool stones can maintain that profile.

           - Also - trying to reprofile a knife on a stone just eats the stone. Kind of like Bastard File is for heavy work and a Jeweler's file is for precision work. Use the right tool.

 

1b. 18-degrees is a suggestion. If you are a 100% stone guy, always match whatever the knife's angle is. If you want to set the angle different, fine, but there is no magic number.

      - I use 15-degrees (30-included bilateral) on all my knives because I use a SpyderCo SharpMaker and that's good enough for me.

      - I have stones and really only use them for small chip removal, sushi/single bevel knives and a few other things.

 

2. You want to put enough pressure on the blade to be "assertive" but not so hard that you are removing more stone particles than blade particles. Assertive, somewhat firm, never hard.

    - The higher-up in grit you go, the less pressure you will need at each stage.

 

3. You buy thin japanese knives to get super sharp angles and do super fine work. The Sabitier could take an acute angle, but why do it? Kind of a law of diminishing returns- To have a 15-degree angle on a knive that's almost 4mm wide - You will never get the cutting precision from the design itself to really support the need for that sharp of an angle.

 

You will also - always want a heavy knife for splitting chickens and other hard work. the Sab will take a 10-degree angle if you wanted to do it, but look at how far up the blade that angle would have to cut, and how much material you would have to remove. A knife width must be taken into consideration, not just the type of steel it's made from.

 

4. I think you started out wanting to do right by your cutlery and then you got the OCD bug when those stones arrived.

 

    I suggest you keep the Sabitier at a nice, toothy 1000 grit, and 18-20 degree angle, whatever you ended up at. And assign that knife the butcher and bone breaking jobs.

 

For your other knives - It can't hurt to polish a knife. But remember: If they sold 50-Million grit or 0.00000000000001 micron papaer - people would buy it.  What is reasonable? realistic?

 

5. I have done that with a lot of forged knives - a very ginger and precision effort - but worth it. I have seen a lot of new western knives hit the market with a half-bolster, just because of this.

    - I think it is more of a corporate synergy between Chef's Choice and other electro-sharpening companies and the knife companies - moreso than driven by consumers.

 

WARNING: Just make sure when you take the heel of that bolster off, you don't make the knife "slippery" at the heel as a result. You want a nice, clean "heel bite" on the board when the tip of the knife is off the board and the handle pommel is down on the board. Slippery heels cause injury - no matter what heel we're talking about - right? : )

 

This should cover the "Level-1 Basics" - Now the experts can just focus you on the advanced stuff.

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #3 of 22

1 and 4.  Norton Combi Coarse/Fine India; Grit Levels, etc.:

 

It's a great stone -- especially within the context of an oilstone set; and I'm glad to see you're using it without oil.  Some knives sharpen much better on oilstones, some on waterstones, and a few seem to do equally well on either.  Generally (but not always) Japanse made knives want waterstones and western made knives want oilstones.  More specifically, oilstones handle soft, tough alloys better than waterstones, while waterstones are much faster with hard, strong alloys.  Carbon Sabatiers are one of the few switch hitters. 

 

You mentioned Globals.  My experience with them is that they sharpen better on oilstones, despite their Japanese origin.  Henckels are better on oilstones as well.  Tojiros work much better on waterstones.  The Edge Pro tapes are very good with any of your knives.

If you're freehanding, you may want complete oilstone and waterstone sets.  Obviously, that's going to run into money.  You may want to sit down, take a deep breath and figure out how you're going to handle all of this.  In your case, and Edge Pro might actually make the most sense.

 

You're right that the fine India is coarser than is ideal for most kitchen purposes.  My kitchen oilstone set includes coarse and fine Indias, but also a Hall's Soft Arkansas and Hall's Surgical Black Arkansas.  I'm usually shy about recommending my own choices, but feel the particular combination is both as good as it gets for kitchen knives and the most bang for the buck. 

 

Whether oil or waterstone, I recommend a four stone set.  One coarse for profiling, two mediums for drawing a burr, chasing it, and deburring, and a final stone for polishing.  But, three surfaces work almost as well.

 

Edges which are used for meat work, or take a lot of abuse and/or get steeled a lot, are probably best finished at the 2000-3000# (JIS) or hard Arkansas level.  I like to take most of my edges to around 8000#, but 5000-6000# is really plenty good enough for any general kitchen work.  We can talk about specific stones and specific stone sets once you provide a little more information about what kinds of knives you own, plan on owning, and your budget.

 

Grit ratings are deceptive.  Ben Dale doesn't use the same standard as JIS or ANSI. 

 

2 and 3.  Raising a Burr; Angles; etc.:

 

It takes as long to raise a burr as it takes.  There are so many contingencies, I won't give an estimate on how many strokes it should take.  That you can recognize when you've actually raised one is a very good thing.... So, for the time being let's just leave it at that.

 

Your Sabatiers, Globals and Tojiros will work just fine with a 15* edge angle on each side.  Why are you waiting to take the SAbs down to 15*?  There's no benefit for you there.  Actually, you might even try something a tad steeper.

 

The Henckels will most likely collapse very quickly and need an inordinate amount of steeling if sharpened that acutely.  If you're using an Edge Pro it's easy enough to set the angles.  If you're freehanding, it's not that easy to differentiate between 15* and 18* angles. 

 

5.  Grinding Down the Finger Guard:

 

You can use the coarse India, but it will take forever -- trust me, it's how I usually do it.  Better to use a grinder if you have access to one.

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thank you both.  Yes it was quite a long question.  Thank you for taking the time to read, and answer, your way through it.

 

I have surfed the other forums, but am reluctant to post there because of the high level of adrenaline at which they operate.  I chose here because people disagree with each other rather than insult each other.

 

An example is the way you each reacted to the idea of an Edge Pro.  If I understand you correctly, you both think that probably the best way, certainly the most flexible way, is to use bench stones.  BDL thinks that an Edge Pro might well be an acceptable alternative; Trooper thinks it is a mistake.  It is something about which reasonable men may differ.  I shall have to think long and hard about the freehanding suggestions you make there (though hopefully not for another 38 years!)

 

If buying waterstones is the Right Thing, then I could certainly afford it.  Am I correct in thinking I would ideally need soft and black Arkansas oilstones, and something like 400, 1000, 3000 and 8000 grit waterstones, with some sort of flattener?

 

The Pussycat is the cook in our household; she likes sharp knives but doesn’t sharpen; and she is no longer willing to use carbon steel knives.  So the straight-edge knives she uses are

 

  • most of the time, a 20cm Henckels 4-star chef’s knife and a 10cm Tojiro Senkou petty;
  • quite often, a 10cm no-name paring knife that will take (but not keep) a sharp edge;
  • occasionally, a 15cm Henckels 4-star chef’s knife or
  • one of two 21cm slicers, a Global G-3 and a Prestige (inexpensive English make); and
  • only rarely, a 13cm Global GS-2 slicer.

 

Over the last months, I’ve been reading that most cooks used to adequately sharp knives, who are exposed to genuinely sharp knives, find them a revelation and do not want to go back.  I want to give the Pussycat the chance to experience genuinely sharp knives for herself.

 

The cheapest way to have 7 genuinely sharp knives instead of 7 adequately sharp knives is to improve my sharpening radically.  For the cost of a single Hattori FH gyuto, I can buy an Edge Pro which I hope will revolutionize the sharpness of our knives.

 

Obviously there is scope to upgrade the collection of knives: the 13cm and 15cm knives are too wide for their length, and replacing them with a 15cm petty would likely be an improvement; the 21cm slicers are too short, and a 27cm slicer would probably be better; and a 24cm chef’s knife would do more, provided it weighed no more than the 20cm Henckels.  When the time is right for any of these, I think we would in the market for one of “the best mass-produced stainless yo-gutos.”

 

For the moment, however, I shall improve our current stock.  I’ll practice by taking Sabatier, which the Pussycat no longer uses, down to 15°; then take Global back to its original 15°; and take Henckels down to 18° ...

 

... but I probably sha’n’t grind away the finger-guards.

 

Later,

 

John

post #5 of 22

HAHA - Funny about some of the flame stuff on other forums - It is like kicking an ant hill sometimes/ It seems to be more in the tactical knife threads than the cooking ones however.

 

I think BDL is skilled enough to do a clean, free-hand reprofile job without any sacrifice to uniformity. So for him to use an apex would be an impediment.

 

You're spot-on with the difference between sharp and razor sharp. My misses will look at me indignantly if her Furi even hesitates to slice a tomato.

When I met her she had a set of rust-spot infected, stamped-steel serrated wonder-turd kives from hampton forge, ginsu, chef tony, idk where, but they sucked.

 

I will admit I have a few knives that I cherish more than I actually use. And I suppose they deserve as fine and polished an edge as I can give them.

 

but the "Blue-Collar Knives" get the SpyderCo 15-degree White Stones as needed, and go right back to work again.

 

I'd like to send BDL my Suji and have him do a real sharpen on it. one place i would really enjoy a super-sharp blade is trimming meat. micro-sawtooth = bad news in that application.

 

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #6 of 22

OK. I know it's a big mistake for me to say these things here, among you knife pros, but I'll take my chances because I just ripped the bageebies out of President Reagan on another BB and I'm feeling good. 

 

I buy, trim-out, cook and serve up a lot of "hanger steak". To do it correctly the way I like, losing the least amount of meat, because I'm not interested in using the trim as "ground meat", is a little bit labor intensive. The best knife I have and use for this job is a $1.50 5" rubber grip utility/paring knife from IKEA. I use my Edgemaker sharpener for less than a minute, and go at it. In about 5 minutes I trim +/- 1 1/2#s out of 5#s and I'm good-to-go w/ 3 1/2#s of fantastic meat @ about $3/# net. 

 

I do love reading about you swordsmen and your blades though. (I DO NOT MEAN THAT IN ANY BAD WAY.) I do wish I had the scratch to buy the knives and join you. 

post #7 of 22

Much truth in your words, IceMan - I have a huge amount of respect and learned much from a sous named Mac, who was perfectly fine using a cheap little pairing knife, and a diamond flat steel to maintain it. (He also used a Japanese Suji, but this image is to validate your point on knives...)

 

I don't buy knives that look cool, or happen to be the flavor of the month - But I have also had to endure the use of crap knives that just didn't hold an edge or even take one without rolling.

Little-by-little, I upgrade my kit as needed. If I opted to work in the Lee-Lee Fish Market, I'd probably spend good cash on a deba, filet and cleaver. But I wouldn't just go get those items without a use first - and I would not stage at a fish monger's shoppe unless I had the gear to pull it off.

 

But I concur with your point. That's why I wouldn't waste money on an expensive utility knife - It is just a tool, and will be abused. A Cheap one will work fine. Not such a good plan with a chef's knife IMHO.

 

Macready.jpg

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #8 of 22

Hello, Dr Owl.  I just saw your post and would like to chime in with some of my thoughts.  I have an EP Professional and maybe 35 aftermarket stones, synthetic and natural.  I have nearly every stone that Jende & CKtG have offered, plus a couple cut for me to my specifications, so maybe my insights will be helpful.
 

 

As somebody who has spent 38 years not getting around to learning proper freehanding, I was delighted to find that really good jigs are now available to hold the knife at an accurate angle to the stone.  The most highly regarded seem to be the Edge Pro Apex and the Wicked Edge.  My imagination was caught by the Edge Pro Chocera kit from Mark Richmond at chefknivestogo.com, so that’s what I now have.

 

The Apex is a great tool and will do a stellar job.  The Chocera stones you purchased along with it are among the best synthetic stones in the world.  You know have the tools to get a good knife sharper than you'd ever thought possible.

 

The first things I’ve learnt from using it are that Chocera stones generate a huge amount of mud compared with a Norton India, and that my freehand sharpening angle was a little over 20° ... varying somewhat from knife to knife.

 

Yeah, they do generate a lot of mud.  I personally love that.  But not all of the Choceras are muddy.  Certainly the 400 & 1k are, though.  It's illuminating to use the EP to determine just what type of bevel angle you've been using- many people would be very surprised to learn how far off they are from where they think they are.

 

Ben Dale’s instruction leaflet says a beginner should use 18° for all kitchen knives, so that’s what I’ll do.  This afternoon, I tried slimming down a Sabatier knife edge from 21° to 18°.  It took 60 there-and-back strokes on each side with a 400 grit stone before I raised a burr at the new angle.

 

Ben knows the machine like no one else, but I don't get the impression that he deals with Japanese knives all that much.  I'd say 18° per side is a bit thick for most kitchen knives.  Even your average German can be safely taken down that far, perhaps a bit more if you add a micro-bevel.  For Japanese knives and some quality French carbons, 15° is about standard, and many knives can be taken much lower.


 

Question 2: Is this about right?  Or am I pressing too hard or too softly?

 

Once I’ve got the hang of things at 18°, I plan to sharpen some of the knives at a more acute angle.

 

That's about the norm.  I use a fairly light touch as a rule but when making significant changes to the bevel angle you do have to put a little elbow into it.  You may want to consider getting the 2x6" DMT XC or C mounted to an EP blank if you intend to do a lot of this type of work.  You can do this yourself if you like or it can be purchased from Jende Industries.  At any rate I think you have the right approach- start at a conservative level and do a little steeper and a little steeper.  When you go too thin and the edge fails, simply add a micro-bevel and back off a little in subsequent sharpenings.

 

Question 3:  Am I right in thinking that the Sabatier, Global and Tojiro knives will take 15°, but that 18° is about the limit for a Henckels knife?  

 

More or less.  You probably are wasting your time trying to take the Henckels much steeper than that.  Again, the J-knives can generally be taken thinner than that.  I've mentioned micro-bevels; if you're not familiar with the concept it means taking the knife down to a pretty low angle, then adding a slightly more obtuse cutting bevel right at the very, very edge.  

 

 

Question 4: Should I polish all knives up to the maximum 10,000 grit that came with the kit, or are some knives, or knives for some purposes, better left at 5000 or 3000?

 

Opinions vary widely there.  There are a lot of chefs that stop at 3k or 5k and find that's all they need on the line.  I take all my personal knives up to 10k on the Chocera, and some I take further.  Some find it makes no difference, but working in a professional kitchen I like how the extra polish treats stuff like herbs.  It all comes down to personal preference, and you'll just have to experiment to see how much polish you like.  But I will say that 5k is about the lowest I'd ever finish a Japanese knife.  Furthermore I think it's a way of time go any higher than 2k or so on a German (ie Wusthof, Henckels, Messermeister, etc).  German knives are generally too soft to hold a very high polish long enough to do anything with them.  I have a pretty specific routine for those knives.  If they're very dull I start off with a DMT XC mounted on a 2x6" plate for the EP.  I then move to a well-worn DMT C, also EP mounted.  Then I jump to a Naniwa 2k Aotoshi (aka "The Green Brick") that I had cut for my EP.  Note that all of these are now standard stones you can purchase from Jende, maybe also from CKtG.  The guy who cuts them has a partnership/association with Mark Richmond.  Incidentally he's also been chosen by Mark to sharpen and "open" all the Aritsugu A-types that CKtG will be selling going forward.

 

You may have picked up on the fact that I'm not overly fond of German knives.  I don't really think they're worth wasting the relatively expensive Chocera stones on.  YMMV, of course.  If you plan to do a lot of them you might find it well worth your time looking into some DMT's for the EP.

 

And finally: Ben writes, “You should know that all forged knives will develop a hollow spot in front of the heel eventually, no matter what you use to sharpen them.”  Bother!

 

Question 5: Can I avoid this by grinding away the finger-guard at the heel—for example, by grinding the heel at 45° on an India coarse stone—or will this just take too long to be worth doing?

 

Later,

 

John

 

The short answer is not only can you, you probably should.  It can take a bit of time to do, and certainly you shouldn't waste your Choceras on this!  The best option is a belt grinder, and next to that perhaps a Dremel tool.  A DMT or a very large Arato like the Pink Brick will also work well.  The nice thing is you really only need to reduce it once (for the most part), and you can even do it over several sessions.

 

Is it worth the time?  If you plan on using the knife for a long time it is.  In the modern era the full bolster serves no purpose- it's as handy as a screen door on a submarine.

 

If I may make a few more comments, let me say again you made a great choice in purchasing the EP Apex.  And as good as your edges are the first few times they'll get much better with practice.  There's a dedicated and innovative crowd of Edge Pro fanatics over at Knifeforums, both at the "In the Kitchen" section as well as the "Keeping Sharp" sub-forums.  You'd be surprised to see the techniques and modifications that have evolved for the tool, and the stone selection has really exploded lately.

 

Best of luck with the Apex.  If there's anything I can clarify or expand on don't hesitate to ask.

"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
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"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
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post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 



 


 

Originally Posted by Phaedrus.  Among many other things, he, or possibly she (*), wrote:

 

 You may want to consider getting the 2x6" DMT XC or C mounted to an EP blank if you intend to do a lot of this type of [reprofiling] work.  You can do this yourself if you like or it can be purchased from Jende Industries.

 

Thank you for all your comments, Phaedrus.  A DMT "stone" might very well be useful.  Thank you also for the reference to Jende.  I hadn't come across this before, nor had I realized how many after-market stones were available for the Edge Pro.

 

I've mentioned micro-bevels; if you're not familiar with the concept it means taking the knife down to a pretty low angle, then adding a slightly more obtuse cutting bevel right at the very, very edge.

 

I've read about micro-bevels, but have never tried to grind one.  You need to have two reliable grinding angles to do it, and, before the Edge Pro arrived, I had only one ... and that wasn't very reliable.  Once I've had a a bit of experience with the Edge Pro, micro-bevels should be readily possible.  Would any of the knives we have benefit from one?

 

The short answer is not only can you, you probably should [grind away the finger guard at the heel].  It can take a bit of time to do, and certainly you shouldn't waste your Choceras on this!  The best option is a belt grinder, and next to that perhaps a Dremel tool.  A DMT or a very large Arato like the Pink Brick will also work well.

 

I have no access to belt grinder or Dremel tool, so I'll have to investigate these coarse grinding stones.

 

There's a dedicated and innovative crowd of Edge Pro fanatics over at Knifeforums, both at the "In the Kitchen" section as well as the "Keeping Sharp" sub-forums.  You'd be surprised to see the techniques and modifications that have evolved for the tool, and the stone selection has really exploded lately.

 

Thank you for this pointer as well.  I have joined KF, so that I have access to the private "Precise Sharpening" sub-forum.

 

John

 

(*) But if Phaedrus was female, her name should really be Phaedra.



 

post #10 of 22
Pretty much any and every knife is a candidate for micro-beveling.  The advantage is that you can thin the knife quite a bit which reduces friction and improves cutting performance while keeping some strength to the edge.  For instance, you wouldn't necessarily take a Shun down to 10° but you could if you put a 15° micro-bevel on it.  It also makes re-sharpening a good bit faster.  Lastly it can really extend the useful life of the edge as well.  If you opt to thin the blade and put a very acute angle on it the more obtuse micro-bevel will last longer than it otherwise would.
"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 #11 of 22

BTW, I think there is a Phaedre registered either here or at KF...someone I know I saw a user by that name.   But it ain't me- I'd make one ugly female.lol.gif

"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 #12 of 22

to create the perfect edge on any knife each and everytime use the Edgemaker Pro and then the Golden Touch to keep the edge... It is simple to use and sharpens both sides of the blade at the same time at a 20 - 22 degrees...  Sharpens and Hone step with the Edgemaker Pro and Polishing with the Golden Touch to Keep a nice hard strait edge on you knives.... Even sharpens serrated blades!!!  I LOVE MY EDGEMAKER 

post #13 of 22

No offense, but other than for a cleaver, a dive knife, or something really cheap knife which can't hold anything more acute without collapsing, why would anyone want a 22* bevel angle?  Also, Edgemaker Pros, like most carbide sharpeners, are death on good knives.  They not only eat alloy very fast; they make for a very coarse edge.  Some people like that, some people don't.  It's pretty good for a tackle box knife sharpener, but not what I'd choose for high-end kitchen knives. 

 

I'm not familiar with the Golden Touch.  What would you compare it too in terms of polish?

 

BDL

post #14 of 22

I can't answer to you much BDL, but I've been using my Edgemaker for a long time. YES, I know that I don't use anything like the cutlery of your choice, but my knives still work. I've never had any problem cutting whatever I've had to cut. I'm curious BDL, have you ever used an Edgemaker, or at least had one in your hands? I sure do hope that our new member, mari5413, after making her first post will be a talkative poster and join us a lot more. 

pi_10_L.jpg

This is the EDGEMAKER GOLDEN TOUCH that has been spoken of. It uses smooth steel pins for finishing and polishing blades. 

<< I do not work for this company and I do not sell these products. I am not a shill. >>

I just thought I'd throw in that disclaimer. LOL. 

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

 Also, Edgemaker Pros, like most carbide sharpeners, are death on good knives.  They not only eat alloy very fast; they make for a very coarse edge.  Some people like that, some people don't.  It's pretty good for a tackle box knife sharpener, but not what I'd choose for high-end kitchen knives. 


BDL


I wonder if you're confusing the Edgemaker Pro with another sharpener?  I've used and recommended them for years and still find them to be the ideal tool in some circumstances.  In a world that didn't have Japanese knives nor any blade harder than the upper 50's RC, the EMP would be among my most used tools.  I've had the chance to see heavily used knives that have been sharpened with nothing but the EMP for at least 15 years with very little appreciable wear.  Unlike the carbide "rippers" like the Accu-Sharp the EMP is really not all that aggressive.  Sure, the Blue one is but it has almost no utility for knives; it's more for mower blades and garden tools.  A Wusthof or Henckels will respond very well to just the Yellow "Handy Honer".  If used diligently that will be about all you need, with perhaps a visit to the next coarser grit in rare circumstances.  And while I'd never suggest they'll get a knife as sharp as water stones will, I've routinely used them to take a truly dull knife to the point where it would de-laminate paper and shave hair.  I'd say that's pretty good for the average user, even the average professional chef.

 

That said, their forte will be knifes with the classic 22.5 degree per side bevel.  I've never really tried to use the EMP on harder thinner knives at all; perhaps it would work but I've just assumed it would chip the edges.  And it's still a better tool for maintaining an edge than creating one.  But the EMP is head and shoulders above the Accu-Sharp, and I'd choose it over any of the Chef's Choice sharpeners I've tried*

 

*Apparently the newer ones are better than the older ones, but I can't really speak to that.
"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
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"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
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post #16 of 22

Wow, IceMan- we posted that nearly simultaneously.  Thanks for the pic.  And I agree that it's really nice for bread knives.  It works wonders on the scalloped serrations such as those used on most of the Kershaw knives (Shun, Wasabi II, Pure Komachi, etc).  A few passes thru the "Handy Honer" generally brings my bread knives back to the point where they'll shave hair.

"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
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post #17 of 22

I was thinking that you guys were talking about the apex - but that yellow cross-carbide thing is not, It does indeed look exactly like what I have in my tackle box as well.

 

Every experience I have ever had with those crossed-carbide, crossed-ceramic, crossed-anything charpeners has been bad for me and the knife.

If all I had was a set of cheap Walmart knives, I guess that edgemaker would be worthy of a place in the drawer. In my kitchen, I would immediatly throw it away, for fear someone may choose to use it on one of my knives.

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper View Post

Every experience I have ever had with those crossed-carbide, crossed-ceramic, crossed-anything charpeners has been bad for me and the knife.

If all I had was a set of cheap Walmart knives, I guess that edgemaker would be worthy of a place in the drawer. In my kitchen, I would immediatly throw it away, for fear someone may choose to use it on one of my knives.


 

The Edgemaker Pro has been widely ripped off over the years.  None of the imitators come close to the real thing.  If all I owned was Wusthofs I'd be tempted to box up all my stones and just use the Edgemaker.  Or periodically use the stones and maintain 'em on the Yellow.

"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
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post #19 of 22

Dr. Owl,

 

If I understand correctly, you have an Apex EdgePro with the Chocera stones, and that list of knives you put with the bullet-points. Your wife does the cutting, you do the sharpening. And you're looking to figure out the fine details. Yes?

 

Okay. Main point: you are using what is arguably state-of-the art NASA equipment to fire off a bottle-rocket. An EdgePro basically contracts the learning-curve on bench sharpening dramatically, although there are those who believe that it also undermines certain fine details that come from freehanding. This is one of those debates that rapidly turns into a fight, so let's let it go. The question is simply where the limiting factor lies, and in your case it lies with the knives, not the sharpening equipment.

 

My principal question to you is whether you understand clearly, i.e. can currently conceptualize with some precision, what the difference is between a 1k and a 10k edge. I mean this both at the knife's edge and in the cut, which are not the same thing. I do not mean to imply that you don't know anything: I am genuinely asking whether this is something you grasp strongly.

 

If you do get this, I would ask why on earth anyone in his right mind would want to put a 10k edge on a knife whose edge will promptly bend and degrade. It's just wasted effort, nice perhaps for a cut or two, but otherwise pointless. If you're sort of OCD and enjoy it, go ahead, but I'd rather read a book, if you know what I mean.

 

But I suspect you don't get this. Why? Because if you did, you wouldn't ask whether you should grind up to 10k as the set permits. That suggests to me that you don't really quite understand what the polish is for, and you're genuinely wondering whether it is best to apply it regardless. So I will continue on this basis.

 

Your knives will, with little exception, hold very little polish. I am, for the purposes of the post, setting limits as follows: below 1k (<> 250 or so) is coarse shaping, well above 1k (=> 3k, give or take) is polish, and in between is sharpening. On that basis, you use shaping stones to set up a decent edge, but the edges produced by those stones are in themselves too coarse to be of good value in a kitchen -- they are effectively badly-designed serrated knives. You use sharpening stones to produce edges that will be of excellent service in the kitchen. And then you use polishing stones to refine the edges so produced, for specific purposes, with specific knives and steels.

 

In the present instance, the crucial question is what value arises with polish. The answer is fairly simple: if your knife is extremely hard and of fine-grained steel, a more polished edge will leave a cleaner result in the food. So where does this matter? Where a truly clean-cut edge is a matter of genuine concern. For instance, to give the obvious example, if you intend to slice raw fish and serve it directly, you want the cleanest possible cuts. If you are into very delicate beauties in vegetables that you don't intend to cook hard, it can matter there as well. With meat, not so much: as a rule, you cook meat after it's cut, and cooking will alter those perfect edges, so it doesn't matter; if you want perfectly beautiful slices of roast beef, however, yes, it does matter. Okay, so this is what polish is for.

 

Now in order to get the results you want from the polish, the steel has to stand up to it. This means two things: it must be fine-grained and it must be hard-tempered. If it is soft-tempered, it will roll and bend while you cut, and all that perfect polish will rapidly be for naught. If it is coarse-grained, the polish will not work well, because it will just expose coarse nodules in the steel, and these will mean that however polished the edge, it will still operate somewhat coarsely.

 

The knives you have are both soft and coarse. This is normal. If you are making knives, there is no reason to use expensive fine-grained steel if you do not intend to temper it very hard, and in fact there are reasons not to do so. Think about building a wall: there is no reason to make a fuss about getting every stone to have perfectly 90-degree angles and die-straight edges if it's not going to be under some kind of special strain -- in that case, probably visual as much as anything (which is true with knives too). Just so, if you want an edge that will be durable and forgiving, i.e. soft-tempered and easily honed back into place, you don't gain a lick from having the finest-grained steel, and arguably you'll actually lose something, so you don't use that kind of steel.

 

Your basic Henckels, Wusthof, Sabatier, and so on knives are tempered so that they do bend under use, which makes them durable. When they don't seem as sharp as they were, you run them on a hone (a "steel"), and they come back into line. Making a knife that way doesn't require super-fine-grained steel, so they don't use it. And what that all means, finally, is that polish is largely pointless. Get them up to about 1k, i.e. good and sharp, and they're happy and in their element. The rest is gilding the lily, and frankly pointless.

 

If you would like to see what the point of polish is, there are quite inexpensive Japanese carbon-steel knives that are both very hard and very fine-grained. Buy one, take it up to the ultimate level of sharpness, spending lots of time getting it perfect, and see what you think. I suspect, however, that you will think that you now have a very expensive hobby on your hands, because you will now think all your other knives are dreadful and useless. This is the beginning of an addiction, in fact. If your Pussycat doesn't have any interest, I suggest that you shouldn't either.

 

What you do need, however, is a good sharpening steel. I don't use them, because I'm long gone in my addiction to hard steel, but I believe the Idahone is held to be the best thing going. BDL, if he hasn't slid into a coma trying to slog through this long post, will soon tell you which model is best.

 

Regards from Academia, by the way. I hope you don't miss it!

post #20 of 22

To elaborate on a point Chris made, sharpening really does happen at the lower grits.  The rest if refining.  If your edge won't shave hair by 1k- hell, even off the 320 DMT DiaSharp- then you're wasting your time moving on to another stone.  Your have to go back to the beginning.  To be clear, your knive should be sharp enough to shave and push cut off of the coarsest stone.

"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 #21 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thank you Chris.  There's a lot of useful and apposite information there, which I have endeavoured to take on board.  Your post was long but clear.  Very much in the spirit of Pascal, when he wrote, "I'm sorry this letter is so long---I didn't have time to write a short one."

 

Originally Posted by ChrisLehrer View Post
 

If I understand correctly, you have an Apex EdgePro with the Chocera stones, and that list of knives you put with the bullet-points. Your wife does the cutting, you do the sharpening. And you're looking to figure out the fine details. Yes?

 

Exactly so.

 

Okay. Main point: you are using what is arguably state-of-the art NASA equipment to fire off a bottle-rocket.

 

Ah, hyperbole.  But fair enough.  It was the arrival, a few months ago, of the Tojiro---with a hagane of VG10, heat treated to HRC 62-ish---that sent me looking for sharpening jigs.

  

My principal question to you is whether you understand clearly, i.e. can currently conceptualize with some precision, what the difference is between a 1k and a 10k edge.

 

You're quite right.  I cannot.  All I knew from experience was that a fine-India finish (at what I now know to be 20+ degrees) was suboptimal for Henckels & Global, and inadequate for VG10.

 

For instance, to give the obvious example, if you intend to slice raw fish and serve it directly, you want the cleanest possible cuts.

 

[digression on]

 

You and I share an illness, Chris ... an affection for a foreign city where a lot of raw fish is eaten.  In my case this is Aarhus in Denmark, where I was an associate professor 30 years ago.  After leaving Aarhus, I spent the rest of my career with IBM.  I had to turn my mind to whatever management thought was important, but I was paid more than I would have been in the Grove of Academe.

 

[digression off]

  

Your basic Henckels, Wusthof, Sabatier, and so on knives are tempered so that they do bend under use, which makes them durable.

 

I am tempted to say that you undervalue mid-century carbon Sabatier, but my experience is limited.  Anyway the Pussycat won't use it any more.

 

If you would like to see what the point of polish is, there are quite inexpensive Japanese carbon-steel knives that are both very hard and very fine-grained. Buy one, take it up to the ultimate level of sharpness, spending lots of time getting it perfect, and see what you think.

 

At the risk of revealing my obsessional tendencies, I think that would be an interesting experiment.  Could you suggest an experimental slicer?

 

I suspect, however, that you will think that you now have a very expensive hobby on your hands, because you will now think all your other knives are dreadful and useless.

 

I assure you that---compared with a taste for grand cru Burgundy---it is not "very expensive".

 

What you do need, however, is a good sharpening steel. I don't use them, because I'm long gone in my addiction to hard steel, but I believe the Idahone is held to be the best thing going. BDL, if he hasn't slid into a coma trying to slog through this long [but worthwhile] post, will soon tell you which model is best.

 

A sharpening steel?  The only honing rod we have nowadays is smooth.  Idahone would have to be shipped to England from a North American retailer.  MAC black?

 

John



 

post #22 of 22

I'll be brief, oddly enough. (And I do get the Pascal reference -- almost made it myself.)

 

1. The Sabatier -- I don't undervalue it, not at all. But it won't gain much from a huge amount of polish. Ask BDL -- he loves Sabs.

 

2. I missed the point that you've got a Tojiro. Crank down the angle, get out all the stones, and polish to your heart's content. It's not God's gift, but it'll take that polish nicely.

 

3. Honing rod, yes. I didn't realize that you knew the term -- most people don't. Get BDL to advise you on a good one that doesn't have to be imported at double the price. I don't use knives that benefit from honing rods, I'm afraid.

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