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Knife sharpening with Bob Kramer

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 



I received a newsletter from "sur la table" and they are having a sharpening class in several of their stores, since I'm 2000 Miles from the closest location, I'll not be able to asist, but in case that you want to go, here's the info:


Best regards from México.thumb.gif


post #2 of 8

Make sure to check out the Bob Kramer sharpening equipment at SLT before deciding on the class, one way or the other.  



post #3 of 8

Awwww nothing in the midwest!!!  ARGH!!!!  I'd love to go to this class.  It'd easily be wroth $200 or whatever they charge for the class.

post #4 of 8

Nothing against Kramer, but he's selling (vastly overpriced but pretty) sharpening equipment as well as his new line of semi-custom (i.e., Bob didn't make them with his own dainty hands) "Carbons" through SLT, so you can expect at least some sales propaganda; the class will include a lot of people who aren't ready for it, and are either beyond it, or wish to prove they're beyond it, unfortunately all three of those mean a lot of time wasting; and is unlikely to be worth the price of admission.


For $285, you can buy an EP Apex Chosera kit and forget about freehanding for awhile.  Or, another knife.  Another knife.  Yeah, that's the ticket. 


Or, if you want to spend too much money -- but significantly less too much money -- pick up Dave Martell's or Murray Carter's sharpening CDs.  They're an excellent  steps along the road to freehand sharpening. 


Try to remember though, that although there are a lot of things to learn and remember when you first start sharpening, they're all (or nearly all) very simple things.  Sharpening is mostly practice and doesn't take much depth of knowledge or knowledge at all.  It's rubbing a knife on the right rock at the right angle, and that's all there is to it. 


FWIW you'll probably adapt your techniques and equipment over time, anyway. 


How about a Ray Lampe barbecue class?



Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/13/11 at 8:46am
post #5 of 8

Well said. It's really all about putting the time in and learning by repetition.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

I agree, it's a bit overpriced. I like Bob's knives but they are not what I would buy, asuming that I have that kind of money to throw on a knife. I think that his sharpening kit is also expensive, but sometimes when you go to those kind of seminars, despite that we already know 99% of what they teach, most of the times there is at least one valuable pearl of wisdom that makes it worth.


And since it's something more "hands on", it's going to accelerate the learning curve, I'm sure that the actual feeling of a burr when somebody is teaching you in person, and letting you touch that blade with the burr, and making you feel that same blade once deburred is the kind of lesson that you can grasp in minutes when you're being taught personally, and sometimes when you're a newbie and learning from reading or watching on a screen you don't know if you're doing it right at first.


I think that along my career, I've "spoiled" at least a dozen of knives (Sharpening in such way that I made the blades uneven and when dicing a tomato or a bell pepper the pieces remain together because the skin wasn't cutted) I pulled wires (I didn't know what it was, since we don't even have a word for that), I scratched knives in a horrible way (Thinking that almost a 0 angle was going to give me razor blade edge), I "rounded" the tip of several knives, I got edges that when cutting, the knife was getting an angle, as if the knife had it's own will, and it was impossible to get thin slices or julienne anything.


If I've had the chance of getting a lesson like the one that now is being offered by Sur la table a few years ago, believe me, I would have taken it... If you ask me know on spending that money for sharpening lessons... I totally agree with you... I better buy a great knife or a couple of great stones. And specially in my geographical circumstances, If I had the money and time to fly to any SLT store... I better buy a plane ticket to Monrovia CA and invite you a thick steak, medium rare with potatoes and a beer and while enjoying the meal I'll ask you several questions on sharpening. drinkbeer.gifSomething along the lines of : "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About knife sharpening: But Were Afraid to Ask"thumb.gif


Best regards amigo!

post #7 of 8

Oh yeah, no doubt it's all overpriced.

But I still think meeting Bob Kramer would be cool.  Especially if you can ask him a few questions on things like knife design, which I'm sure I would :). 

I pay for overpriced concert tickets or tickets to athletic events, etc... all the time.  To me this would be a similar justification.  Entertainment more than anything else really.

post #8 of 8

That makes all the difference.  I've taken barbecue, baking, CLE classes, schlepped to astronomy and physics lectures, etc., etc., knowing their price and/or the degree of difficulty getting there wasn't worth the actual education.  Sometimes it's the opportunity to rub elbows with my betters, sometimes it's the drinks afterwards, ideally it's both and a great class. 


There are a lot of good ways to sharpen, and not all of them apply to all people or all knives.  At this stage, I think you should be learning "burr method" (my name for it) sharpening of one sort or another.  It's always been my preferred method for sharpening on stones, for a long time and my preferred recommendation for people who ask my about sharpening. 


Lately, I've come to realize that more than a few people who think they're good sharpeners are actually sharpening and using a "wire edge," mistaking it for sharp.  I probably shouldn't be surprised as a wire edge is among the most common mistakes.  Learning to detect and remove a wire is a basic part of  the burr method, if only because pulling a wire is one of the first steps in creating a good edge.   Fortunately, none of this stuff is complicated and any good teacher -- even if there are style, jargon and equipment variances you won't stay with -- will be helpful. 


There's a sort of mid-western "school of sharpening" with guys like Steve Bottorff, Mike Meder (both of whom are in Ohio) and others.  If you want to take classes, you could do worse than either contacting Steve or spending some time on Teh Google and finding people in Wisconsin.   You should very much contact Dave Richmond at CKtG who isn't that far away from you.


Of course, Bob Kramer won't be there to answer your Bob Kramer questions.  What price glory?




Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/19/11 at 7:24am
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