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1st post and a question for the sharpening experts

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello all, my first post here after quite a while enjoying the wealth of info and helpful people on this board. I've been a user of Japanese blades for over 10 years now although with a relatively small sampling of brands and steels compared to a lot of you. My sharpening kit consists of a DMT D8C and Shapton Glass 1k & 4k.

I decided to give a Wa-handled gyuto a try despite my preference for slightly heavier gyutos and bought a Richmond Addict 2 based on the positive reviews and slightly lower price than some comparable knives. I like the thinness and profile (if a little less flat than I'm used to) and am slowly getting used to the lightness.

My question applies to the edge geometry and specifically, how to maximize edge retention??? I put a new bevel on it with the DMT plate right away followed by refining the edge with the 1k then polishing it nicely on the 4k, deburring with cork and trailing strokes after each stone. I ended up with a slightly thinned and nicely polished edge that would easily shave arm hair and pushcut copier paper along the entire length of the blade.

My problem is that it won't seem to hold that properly sharp edge more than about a day of work! I'm a culinary school instructor so I don't do anywhere near the volume of knife work I used to and I really expected this knife to hold up based on what I read from other users. For reference my 8 year old Masahiro MVB will seemingly hold onto it's edge fresh off the stone for a couple days at least and my Mac Nakiri longer than that.

Hopefully someone can let me know if there's something specific I should be doing differently when sharpening the powdered steel compared to the molybdenum alloys. Or is it true that the powdered steels lose that ultimate sharpness quickly? The knife still cuts and is sharp enough to get things done, but doesn't hold that keenness that allows for effortless precision that I look for.

Thanks for putting up with my longwinded ramblings and I look forward to any advice I can get. I want to like this knife, but haven't been impressed so far. Maybe BDL or Phaedrus can help steer me towards a solution.
Thanks in advance.
Edited by chefdog - 1/15/12 at 7:40am
post #2 of 11

Phaedrus knows a zillion times more about the Addict than I do.  If he doesn't show up in the next couple of days, PM him. 

 

But since you asked, and ignorance is never shy, here are some sharpening strategies which might take care of your problem: 

 

The first thing I'd do is strop and glimmer test.  More about that later.

 

Assuming you're sharpening to something more acute than 15* (you did thin, afterall), try a more obtuse micro-bevel.  Something around 20* ish.  Obviously, angles are going to be approximate.  In any case, something a little more obtuse than your current final angle -- and just a few strokes on your 1K and 4K.  No need to go back to the DMT for a long time. 

 

If that doesn't work, time to troubleshoot.  You may have sharpened in some high/low spots which are giving you trouble and allowing the knife to ding out of true too easily.   And, in spite of your deburring (sounds like you did it right, but you may not have chased the wire enough) you may be working with a wire edge -- which is even more  susceptible to getting out of true.  A wire edge is my first guess.

 

Do you know what the "glimmer test" is?  If so, what does your edge look like after stropping on un-loaded news print or shirt-board?  After a shift? How does your knife respond to steeling? 

 

All this stuff is solvable.  Once you figure out the knife, these problems will fade like a bad dream. 

 

BDL

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
BDL,
Thanks for the response. I thought that I'd done a pretty good job working up a burr and then effectively removing it, but after hearing your reply I'm beginning to think that it does indeed sound like I might still have a slight wire edge. I felt like the cpm154 was a little tougher than my other knives but I didn't think it was as resistant as Ive heard it described. And that leads me to believe that I probably didn't work it as much as I need to.

I haven't put it to a steel at all yet (debating on what to replace my F. D Multicut with). But it did come back nicely with just a few heel to tip swipes across the 4k stone, does that indicate anything to you?

As far as the "glimmer test," I'm all ears. Ive been putting a lot more effort and thought into sharpening lately to try and refine my technique to get the most out of my knives. But I haven't yet moved onto stropping, although I have a couple pieces of balsa sitting in my kit waiting for their day in the sun.

Id guess I sharpened at roughly 10* (didn't really thin very much, maybe 1/4 inch up the blade from the edge, like a mini shinogi line), but haven't attempted a micro bevel yet. That should alleviate any residual wire edge, right?

Your advice is much appreciated, I look forward to the next diagnosis!
Thanks again.
post #4 of 11

It's always a pleasure to talk to someone as sophisticated as you about some of the fine points. 

 

Speaking of sophistication, I erroneously wrote "glimmer test" when I should have written "glint test."  So here goes. 

 

Glint Testing: 

Stand or sit in good light.  Put the back of the knife's handle against your cheekbone, so the blade runs straight away from the center of your eye, with the edge at eye level and straight up.  Wiggle the knife a little by rotating it.  If there are high and low spots, or the knife is out of true, you'll see glints here and there along the edge bevel.  If the bevel is flat and the edge true, the edge will illuminate evenly along both sides. 

 

Sometimes it helps to sit inside or in the dark and look into the shade.

 

Chasing the Burr as a Test: 

If you steel your knife -- keeping it down to a swipe or two on each side -- and detect a burr, you've got a wire.  I like to steel many (but not all) knives as a part of the deburring process, especially when sharpening at medium grit levels.  The "more harm than good" question rears its head if you're sharpening very acute angles, or dealing with an extremely hard alloy -- I think your Addict2 is marginal in both respects.  If you have a very fine steel, it's worth a try.  But be gentle.  At this stage you only want to bend the wire enough to see if its there.

 

Yet another test for a burr, is to make a couple of gentle passes on one side of the knife on your 4K stone and (again) feel for a burr.  The same with stropping on newsprint -- a couple of gentle passes on one side, then feel.  What you're trying to do is see if there's enough very thin excess metal at the edge to bend easily.  If so, you'll want to chase it until you can deburr it easily. 

 

When we talk about deburring, I know we get absorbed in dissolving burrs, using corks, felt blocks and so on; but the meat of deburring is chasing the burr (or wire) until it's sufficiently fatigued to come off easily.  Think of bending an old credit card back and forth until you can tear it.

 

Thumb Drag Test:

I can usually detect a wire with a thumb drag without steeling, but am unsure how to describe the feeling.  If you continually thumb drag during the various processes which make up sharpening, you'll most likely sensitize yourself to making some subtle diagnostics with nothing more than a touch. 

 

BDL

 

 

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
BDL,
Thanks, but i hardly feel sophisticated dealing with this knife. Actually i feel like a complete idiot trying to get this thing set up properly. I guess I've been sharpening the same knives for so long that I take some of the basics for granted, which is proving to be problematic with a new and much tougher steel.

I will invest some time tomorrow and put a new edge on and then go through your tests and see where I stand. I'm going to really try to make sure I go long enough to get that edge to the point that it'll peel right off. The glass stones make such short work of the softer molybdenum alloys (and a couple suisin carbon blades) that I think I really underestimated the toughness of the CPM154.

Thanks again for you guidance!! I'll let you know how it goes.
Edited by chefdog - 1/15/12 at 3:46pm
post #6 of 11
Quote:
actually I feel like a complete idiot

And I thought that was part of the process wink.gif

I think getting a lil stumped here and there is good as it keeps us alert and thinking etc. I know I have had to take break and slow down to think out a problem more than once and when working different steels it has seemed to happen more often.

I have been sharpening for many years and have found that there is one thing that has not changed and that is how it will continue to challenge me. Be it chasing burrs for what seems forever on soft German steel that I sharpened too acutely or finding just how different the Japanese steels are to sharpen etc it is somehow always new.

Although I had never put a name to it before I like the "glint test", but when I got into the better steels I also added a 30x loupe to my kit so I could see what I was feeling and seeing with the naked eye. It was very helpful and since I had added a finer stone to accompany my newer Knives and it was a little more difficult to feel the thinner wire etc it was really helpful. Plus it was under $10 on eBay lol.

Sounds like you have plenty of experience so just keep at it and I am sure you will figure it out.

Also I do agree that it does sound like a wire and I went through a similar trial and error that ended being just that.

 

"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

 

"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 #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well LennyD, it must be a large part of the process because I now feel like a big, ham-fisted idiot!

Spent over an hour today working up a burr and chasing that SOB around the 1k until I could flip it back with only a few strokes. Hit the cork, a couple trailing strokes and moved up to the 4k. I started with just some light heel to tip swipes ASSuming I'd finally done it right. What did I get? There was that pesky little wire again smiling at me after a couple strokes. So I raised the angle a bit and attempted a microbevel to get rid of it. I THINK I got it. Tried the glint test, and although I'm not 100% positive, it appears to be a nice smooth edge.

I'll tell you what, that CPM154 is some tough steel. I generally enjoy sharpening, but this knife was testing my patience. I'm used to spending maybe 10 minutes a knife not half of the afternoon. I'm certainly not giving up anytime soon, but this has made me think about my new lust for the newest, toughest, hardest super steel.

We'll see how it holds up after dinner. Once again, any advice, criticism, or wild speculation on how to get this thing properly sharpened without wearing out my stones is greatly appreciated.
post #8 of 11

Sure it can be frustrating at times, but I guess the whole challenging part of it is sort of a motivator, and also adds to the accomplishment when you do get the result your looking for.

 

Another thought I had while re reading some was you may want to find something a little harder than the cork you have been using. I know many people (and some much better at this than I am too) swear by running the edge through a cork, and I do so as well, but more than once I have used a normal everyday 2x4. I have one handy when sharpening as I used a cut piece to make up a non slip stand for the stones until I break down and buy a normal stone holder, but the areas that are not covered in rubber seem to remove a burr really well wink.gif

 

I wish I knew more about that steel so I could offer more specific advice etc, but when you think about it 10 min sounds like too little but all afternoon sounds like to much and I am one of those who tends to take their time with this, and typically doing 5-10 knives at a time.

 

Were you able to feel the burr with your thumbnail like BDL described, or was it too fine etc?

 

Any chance you have access to some kind of magnifier to try and see what your actually up against? I am sort of repeating myself but I found it helpful even though it really is tough to see more than a small sample at a time with higher magnification. Well guess it could be due to avoiding an eye exam in some twisted attempt to believe I still can see as well as 20 years ago biggrin.gif

 

Either way do not let it get the best of you, and post up your findings.

 

 

 

"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

 

"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 #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
LennyD,
Good to hear that I'm not the only one who's jury-rigged a stone holder! I used a 1x3, sprayed it with polyurethane to waterproof it, then put a couple strips of heavy-duty velco on it as well as the back of my stones to keep then secure. Some small rubber strips glued to the bottom and I've got a nonslip stone base that works well for about $15. I've got some leftover 1x3 so I'll cut a piece and try it instead of cork next time I put the Addict on the stones.

Back to the knife: It looks like the micro bevel did the job. I made dinner using the Addict for all cutting tasks on Monday, including slicing a nice crusty beef roast. Used it a little at work during the week, although it wasn't much in the scheme of things. And I just got through cleaning a piece of chuck and a pile of onions, peppers etc for a batch of enchiladas tOnight along with a head of cabbage that I chopped with a little excessive force just to test the edge. Went on to finely chop some onion, tomato and chiles for some guac which it did easily (although the tall, and slightly short tip are a bit awkward for fine tasks).

So, it's done a little work this week and hasn't touched a steel or stone, and I just shredded a piece of copier paper from heel to tip without any obvious degradation of the edge. I must say I'm pretty impressed with the steel so far. I'm going to just keep using it and see how long it'll go. Although, as much as I enjoy the process of sharpening I might end up being somehow disappointed if it ends up taking a month to lose it's edge, and then pissed again when it takes a couple hours to get it back! We'll see, you can't win 'em all.
post #10 of 11
I will post more when I can get to a PC etc but it can be easier to set up a home made rigging etc than to be able to grade ones sharpening results

As an example I had been sharpening for years before getting into J knives and believe I was at least decent at it etc but since the steels used and thickness of these knives being so superior to most all I had done previously it did take a while to learn that much of what made them feel so sharp was the mentioned differences and that they could be made even sharper.

I will try to explain more clearly later.

 

"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

 

"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 #11 of 11

I have a small steel steam table insert as a pond/stone storage, 2X4 section as a bridge, and thick shelf liner to hold them steady. Cheap and effective. smile.gif

 

Jim

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