Hi. This is my first post here. Home chef. I've been really impressed with the information that is available here- it is really amazing how much knowledge you folks have and share.
I'm interested in upgrading my sharpening system, and then at some point my knives. I'm left-handed. I'm a vegetarian, so none my knives need to be able to deal with bones. I cut on an end-grain wooden cutting board.
I've been using a stainless steel Chinese cleaver (the thinner type designed for vegetables) for over fifteen years as my main knife. Asian wooden handle, 175mm length blade, 2mm thick constant, something under $20 at an Asian grocery. Other knives include a Henckels win Four Star paring knife, a Henckels Twin Four Star 6” chef's knife, a no-name and dull Chinese-made forged stainless bread knife, and a couple of Henckels Twin Four Star 6” serrated knives that don't see very much use.
I use a dual stage crock stick and/or a DMT v-sharpener. The crocks stick, as near as I can determine, has 15 degree angles for “thinning” and 20 degree angles for the sharpening. I'm not currently using a steel, but I keep the things handy for doing frequent light touch-ups.
I'm not getting things as sharp as I'd like. That point was hit him when I brought home a new (used) carbon steel cleaver from a thrift store. Although in very dodgy shape, and also quite a bit thicker than the other cleaver at 3 mm or more, it sharpened up very easily to at least as sharp as the stainless cleaver, and probably a little sharper. The handle is a little short for my tastes, however.
After doing a little research around here and elsewhere, I find there are much better ways of sharpening than what I have been doing.
So, my plan is to get some stones and learn to freehand sharpen. I'm sort of done with gizmos, and I don't need anything else cluttering up the counter, so although I could get an EdgePro or whatnot, I figure learning to freehand would be the most flexible and cost-effective in the long run.
Then, down the road, I'm looking at getting some new knives. Probably a K-Sabatier carbon paring knife, and then either a CCK “small” cleaver or a K-Sabatier 10” chef's knife. Or possibly a Japanse wa-Gyoto in carbon of some sort. I've got no problem with the care of carbon, and I like the way it seems to sharpen up easily, even on my cheap set-up. Anyway, that's down the road. I just mention it to indicate what will at some point be sharpened.
One option with the stones is to get the three waterstone kit from Chef's Knives to Go.
which would give me:
Suehiro Rika 5K
And I'd also pick up a 12” Idahone in the 1200 grit that CKTG sells. And I'd get some drywall screens (what grit?) to flatten the stones.
I like the sound of the waterstones, but I'm not too crazy on having to buy other products to flatten them.
Anyway, anything I might add, change or delete? Would this sharpening set up be a good one to use with both the cheap stainless cleaver, the Henckels stuff, AND the upcoming Sabatier(s) and carbon steel cleaver? How would an Arkansas stone sharpening setup be different than this? Any benefits there? Is there a less expensive Norton or other sort of stone that might be used in place of either the course or the fine stones in the CKTG package? I'm just think the Bester 1200 might be the most used stone, so what might be the options for the other stones. And finally, it looks like there are lots of good sharpening tutorials on the web. How about info on getting a point sharp again? After years on the Crock Stick, my points are what they could be, for sure.