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Couple knife/sharpening questions.....

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

Been lurking here for a while and I'm amazed at the knowledge and help here. I have a couple easy questions for you and am hoping you could steer me down the right path.

 

Quick history of me. Old line cook. Prep, Sous, yadda, yadda. Outdoorsman who loves a nice blade. Can't sharpen for crap. Pretty decent knife skills, but nothing to brag about. Haven't worked on a line in ages though.Just a happy home cook now.

 

I'm just starting to buy some better kitchen knives as many have done here. I am replacing some old Henckels. Just some crappy lower end versions that I really don't like. Internationals. Bolstered. Well....I do like the boning knife. I'm keeping that one.

 

I do have an old 4 star I bought almost 15 years ago that is as dull as it gets. Convex edge. Hard as nails and won't take an edge on the steel anymore.

 

 I have settled on MAC pro knives and just picked my 1st one from CKTG. 8" Chef knife. Love it. Can't say enough good things about it in fact. Wife loves it too. It's become HER knife in fact. lol.gif

 

The issue is going to be sharpening for me. I have watched all the videos on CKTG and I picked up a 1000 grit stone to practice on with some no-name Japanese Santoku I have. I'm "getting" there, but I need a lot more time on the stone. I know I need a higher grit too, but I thought a start is a start.

 

Here's the issue. I love knives too much and I KNOW I am going to end up buying another Convex blade at some point.

 

So....since I have decided to be all over the place and not own one knife of any kind, I will not only need stones, but also strops correct?

 

I am having trouble getting solid info on what kind of strop would be a good start. Paddle or Bench? Bench would require me putting it in the garage, which can be really cold or really hot at time since I live in Massachusetts. 

 

Do you guys think it's even worth going with those Convex edges? I'm assuming on the JCK site, the knives that read 50/50 are Convex? Could I be wrong on that? 

 

I plan on buying a few knives. Some will be more MAC Pro's for my wife and I and everyday use, but some will be just for fun. Maybe a cool Petty, or another Chef type knife I want. Depends. 

 

I do need a strop regardless for a Trailmaster camp knife I own that has a Convex edge, but again...I have no idea what strop may work best. 

 

 

 

 

Wow....look at all that text up there, lol.  I'll leave it. Ramblings of a new poster. Knives. So fun. 

 

To re-cap....

 

1) Convex edges? Yay or Nay?

 

2) Bench or Paddle Strop?

 

3) I am far too poor for this addiction. 

post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 

Wow....couple more searches led me to more answers here. You guys can probably ignore this thread, but hi anyways. peace.gif

 

Maybe you can tell me if a Paddle strop is silly?

post #3 of 6
I like convex edges. I don't want a convex grind though in the kitchen as the wedging would be pretty bad. And the finer the use of the knife, the less likely I am to convex the edge.

A strop is never silly in my book though they seem to be not as popular among the kitchen knife users. In fact a few strops you can load with different compounds is a nice thing. I lean to paddle over a bench strop.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 6

What's your take on the balance between convexing a knife to reduce sticking vs having it dead flat to minimize wedging?  Seems some of the nicest knives I've had my hands on had a nice convex grind.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

I like convex edges. I don't want a convex grind though in the kitchen as the wedging would be pretty bad. And the finer the use of the knife, the less likely I am to convex the edge.
A strop is never silly in my book though they seem to be not as popular among the kitchen knife users. In fact a few strops you can load with different compounds is a nice thing. I lean to paddle over a bench strop.


 

post #5 of 6
It depends on the knife and the intended use, your sharpening practice and such.

The wider chord the knife has, the more prone I am to convex the edge vs the thicker the blade the less likely I am to convex the edge. So a chef's knife I usually convex. Particularly so with knives like the Forschners that are very thin and on the soft side. of things. The convex edge gives me more edge holding in that steel.

However, my Forschner's Chinese Chef with a very wide chord and thin I don't convex intentionally though it probably picks some up from my freehand technique.The blade edge is quite fine on that knife and doesn't benefit from convexing. There's not enough steel and it tends to lead a more protected life for it's cutting chores. As it wears in more over the years, I might change my mind as the knife changes somewhat.

I convex my Forschner Utility blade but not my New West Petty's that are thicker and not as wide.

Paring knives I don't convex as you usually need a fine cut with as little wedge as possible.

If you sharpen as BDL does, with intense care for stone flatness and angles, then shooting for a convex edge is at cross purposes. You might approximate some of the convex behavior with a double edge bevel and such.

Stropping tends to add convexity to edges, though technique and equipment enter into it again. Strops with the give of the leather surface tend to add or keep the existing convexity of the edge. Steeling tends not to be as effective with convex edges. Convex edges should be stropped instead of steeled. I've seen lots of terrible steeling technique that would also contribute to convexity, though not consistently or desirably. And the angles are different. Convex stropping strokes are about half the angle you would use to sharpen it conventionally.

If you want to convex on conventional equipment, you have to learn a rolling technique in the sharpening stroke. It's a terrible pain to figure out. Stropping on leather or other surfaces with a little give is much simpler.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #6 of 6

Most freehand sharpeners end up with some convexity as the inevitable result of imperfect angle holding.   I don't think it's really worth the trouble to go out of your way to do it on purpose.  But there's no reason not to try it out and see what you think by using the "mouse pad" trick, or just by pulling your knife off the end of the strop or stone using a strop stroke.

 

A lot of guys use strops for kitchen knives.  Loaded strops are especially useful if you want a serious polish, and plain strops are pretty effective at truing knives that are too hard, too thin, or too asymmetric to steel.  I have an HA strop holder, and use balsa wood loaded with one stropping compound or another for polishing, and plain horsehide for finishing or truing.  I really like the combination of sharp, shine and bite I get with 0.25u diamond, but it's an edge that doesn't last very long on any of my knives.  I like screwing around with strops and compounds, but if I'm trying to do the best job in the least time I use stones and not strops. 

 

Some people like a paddle strop; there's no reason you shouldn't try one.  Cut a piece of MDF and glue a piece of leather to it, and see what you think.  Don't spend real money unless and until you know you that you like it.

 

Mark posted something about a friend of his who uses a variation of "scary sharp" stropping.  Mark seemed impressed with the low costs.  Personally, I think it's great for woodworking tools but not so good for kitchen knives, especially for longer blades or blades with a lot of curve.  I'm not alone, most of the kitchen knife sharpeners I know (or read) who've tried it, moved on pretty quickly.

 

Important to remember:  Deburring is critical when you strop.  The method tends to pull some serious wires.  It's possible to dissolve burrs and/or deburr on a strop. Lots of people talk about it, but few seem to do an adequate job of it.  It's just a personal take on the people who talk about deburring using strop strokes -- much less on a strop -- but a big percentage seem full of crap.  In any case, it's a good idea to use the usual methods of chasing the burr and deburring rather than relying on the strop to do the work all by itself.  Make sure you've completely deburred the edge before going to your final strop.  Polish, then check very carefully for a burr or wire (thumb and glint test), and if necessary deburr as gently as possible.  If necessary you can finish with a very few, very gentle passes on your finest strop to bring back the polish.   

 

BDL

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