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Sharpening and Angels dancing on the head of a pin

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Background: Merely a home cook but have many years experience as a professional gear reviewer of high-end products in other areas. So I get the subtleties of quality/tuning/tweaking for optimal performance. But I also know that it can get obsessive to the point of absurdity *cough-anal*cough-compulsive*

 

I got into J knives a year ago and have sold off nearly all my Wust/ckels. Currently have a Kikuichi TKC 240 gyuto, Sakai Yusuke 270 gyuto, and Misono Swedish 270 suji...among others. Pretty sure most of you will agree, good knives. Notice I haven't gone for damascus or fancy handles. BTW I don't buy the BS that home cooks shouldn't bother with longer blades--there are no disadvantages.

 

So here's the thing, against all the conventional knife fetish wisdom, I bought a Chef's Choice 15 Trizor electric sharpener. Gasp! And it seems to work with flying colors. Every knife in the quiver, even the re-profiled Wustie chef and el-cheapo Chinese cleaver, passes the paper test with ease. Soft tomatoes yield mercifully too. They shave hairs with a bit of drag. I seldom do more than run the most used knives through the last honing stage. 

 

But I can't help thinking about the next level of performance. I can afford an EdgePro Chosera kit and borosilcate honing rod so this isn't really a price question. It's more a matter of whether an amateur would truly discern a performance difference by spending the time on EPing my blades versus what I have now. Besides vanity, why should I pull the trigger?

post #2 of 5

My opinion will probably go against some/most of the ones you'll get after mine.  With that said, I have the trizor 15 and I currently sharpen on stones (Beston 500, Bester 1200, Suehiro Rika 5k).

 

Personally, I don't find a huge difference from a freshly sharpened edge from either.  Visually, there's a noticeable difference, the CC will have much, much more noticable "scratches".  But when I put the knife to an onion, a chicken breast, a tomato, etc... the difference isn't big.  IMO a fresh edge off the CC is pretty darn "sharp".  Just not very polished.

 

From my experience here's a few reasons to use stones:

1) Polish.  I've heard it said that the CC with the stropping discs might give you something in the neighborhood of a 1k polish.  I have no idea how accurate that is but from my experience the CC trizor 15 leaves quite a few scratch marks on the cutting edge.  It's a noticeable difference visually between that and my Suehiro Rika 5k stone which many say leaves more of a 3k finish.

 

2) Other scratches.  My CC was scratching my knives a little bit.  Like long horizontal scratches running parallel to the cutting edge.

 

3) Flexibility.  The CC is 15* degrees.  You can't go lower, you can't go higher.  If you want to "thin" a knife, you can't really do that.  Many knife nuts will remove a little metal behind the cutting edge to make the knife feel thinner.

 

The main reason I use the stones nowadays is 3 fold:  a) I was getting some scratches from my CC trizor machine (long scratches parallel to the edge and it was really bugging me to have new knives a little messed up),  b) I wanted more polish, I wanted to clean up the scratches that the CC was leaving behind, and c) I enjoy the knife "hobby".  I enjoy tinkering and trying different things like double bevels, thinning, micro bevels, etc...  I actually enjoy getting the stones out and messing around for 20-30 minutes, whereas I felt I could grab the CC out of my lazy susan and literally have a fresh new edge in... 2 minutes.

post #3 of 5

The HA borosilicate rod is another issue, as it's not really about sharpening but about maintaining.  It's an "in addition to," not an "instead of."  Even in a hone set, it's not a stand alone.  If you're really into steeling, and you want to hold on to the polish on well polished knives -- it's about as good as it gets. 

 

That over, let's move on to CC vs EP Chosera:  Yes.  You'd "discern" the difference.  Is the difference enough to make the purchase a good one?  You already know what that I'm going to say, "it depends."  However, given the implied self description of your adventures in Better Knife Land, my guess is that you'll find it worthwhile. 

 

The EP is wonderful and all -- especially for people who don't want to get involved with stones, or want to take a vacation from stones' complications -- however, if you're more into the journey than the destination you may want to start with stones rather than an EP.  

 

I have a lot of sharpening gear, including complete oil stone, water stone, and loaded strop kits, as well as an EP Chosera, and since I get rid of everything I don't like, you can conclude I like what I have.  In other words, nothing against the EP. 

 

Something further to ponder ("Pinky, are you pondering what I'm what I'm pondering?") is that a soup to nuts, high-end, water stone kit is going to cost pretty much the same thing as an CKtG's EP/Chosera kit.  

 

BDL

post #4 of 5

 

Quote:
I get the subtleties of quality/tuning/tweaking for optimal performance. But I also know that it can get obsessive to the point of absurdity *cough-anal*cough-compulsive*

Very good point or observation indeed :)

 

I don't believe I have ever started the thread I keep wanting to about just how much polish on an edge is enough, how much is too much, and where the real advantages are to each etc, but I do know there are plenty of opinions out there already, and much as I have not found an absolute answer I truly have learned from and enjoyed the reading.

 

Now I do not have an opinion on the newer sharpeners in general and that includes the one you are using, and the system your considering beyond they must be better than the ones I had used on occasion years back because the old ones were not all that impressive, and many now have high opinions on the current ones so they must work well enough when used and set up properly.

 

That said I find a small dose of "compulsive" or "absurdity" can be a good thing, and I think that would apply to what your considering as well as freehand sharpening as well.

 

From experience I can say that there is a noticeable difference when cutting from the higher grit stones (I currently stop at a 6K stone, and freehand sharpen so I can not advise on higher grit finishes) then the rougher more coarse edge produced by the lower grits, but what is best for you depends on many factors, and intended use of the knife is a very important one.

 

Judging by your post I would believe you have read a few threads on the net already, and there are plenty that discuss the benefits of both a more polished and also rougher more toothy edge.

 

I do not know if it is compulsive or not, but taking the time to create a certain edge or level of polish seems well worth the effort when you consider the time and money you have already put into sharpening and that goes for either end of the polish spectrum.

 

 

 

"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

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"love my country" but "fear my government"  Something is just wrong with this

 

 

 

Looking for info on entry level J-knives? Need help on finding the most bang for your buck? Hope you enjoy learning from the info here, I know I did!

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/63213/tojiro-dp-f-809-240mm-g...

Reply
post #5 of 5

If the CC puts an edge on a knife that's in the same galaxy as the EP, then the newest versions must be greatly improved!  I will say the EP will remove less metal insuring longer life.  It's also a lot more flexible; it allows you to set an angle appropriate to an axe (around 45 degrees) or down to just single digits.  It will also be more useful for repairs (although aftermarket stones are almost mandatory for that).

 

I'm a well known EP junkie, so there's that.  I endorse it in the strongest possible terms.  The only competition is has is freehand sharpening on water stones and for some applications a belt grinder.  The EP uses water stones, and you can get nearly anything you'd want cut & mounted for it.  The learning curve is relatively short but YMMV.  Certainly freehand sharpening has the virtue of flexibility, but be advised it's a bit lit learning to play an instrument; some people will pick it up pretty easily while others struggle for years, even lifetimes, without ever becoming competent.  As BDL says, go thought route is you like the journey and look at it as an interesting craft.  Pick the EP if you just want sharp knives.  Freehand sharpening is like bow hunting where the EP is like using a scoped rifle.

"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
Reply
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