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Awakening a new Deba and Usuba--How would you do it?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Just received my Deba (Sakai Blue #2 195) and Karmagata-Usuba (Sakai Blue #2 210). Hon Kasumi. Sold from BluewayJapan--Keiichi Omay San. I only had time to unwrap them and have not cut anything yet. However, I did try to shave arm hair and it did not shave. I realize that this is common with traditional Japanese knives.

Question: How would you open these blades up given I use the edge pro? I know some of you are cringing. Sorry.

I was thinking about:
1.) Finding the front bevel angle and using mothers polish on belt leather, stroping the blade a few times.
2.) Then doing the same with the back on untreated roo leather. Then running it over the felt block.

this has given me good results with my Yanigiba.

What would you do given my variables? Thanks for your help.

 

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post #2 of 5

Did you decide to give your stones a try or are you going with the edge pro? I've been looking at Debas from Keiichi after we talked about your Grouper trip. I thought you were going for a different handle on the Deba?

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #3 of 5

Frequently, opening traditional Japanese blades requires moving a lot more metal than you can do with strops loaded with rouge. 

 

Polishing on a strop is all well and good, but you're proposed stropping methods ARE POLISHING (and perhaps truing), but NOT SHARPENING.  From your description of the blades' condition, they need actual sharpening and perhaps profiling.  

 

I've never used an Edge Pro, or any other tool and jig setup for that sort of chisel edged profiling.  I've heard some people say "yes" about the EP and others say "no."  Given that the EP is your go to sharpening method, I'd certainly give it a try -- sharpening the front bevel at the factory set (if there is one), or at about 10* if there isn't.  If you're using an Apex instead of a Pro you'll have to block the knife up in order to get an appropriately acute angle.  I'd sharpen the back bevel just enough to chase the front bevel's burr. 

 

FWIW, I don't think I'd take the deba past 3K; and as far as I'm concerned polishing it to Mother's is just a time waster; all looks and no action.  It's probably overkill for the usuba too, but what the heck the usuba occupies a very different niche.

 

If you can't establish good edges with your EP you're going to have to move to stones. But there's no reason you have to be the one who opens the knives to the appropriate angles.  This is one of those times you might think about sending your blades out to someone who really knows the drill for those sorts of edges; and perhaps send the Yanagiba along as well.  Who you choose might have something to do with your location... or not.  If opening isn't something you're going to do often, it might not be worth the investment in time, seeking advice, and equipment.  Your call.

 

More FWIW:  Shaving arm hair is a lousy standard.  Even thumb-dragging is a better test.

 

BDL

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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

BDL, Thanks for chiming in with your thoughtful feedback. I have always found your wisdom insightful and non-judgemental. Plus your posts always make me laugh.

 

I think i'm going to send these knives out to Dave M. for proper set-up. But you mentioned that hair shaving was not a good test for sharpness. that is curious to me. I always use the three finger test but that test yields a similar feel to the edge whether I strop or not. But when shaving (with the hair) yield different results from a non-stropped blade to a stropped blade. I do like the dropped grape tomato but I don't always have them on hand. How do you tell is your knives are sharp sharp?
 

post #5 of 5
Meal,

Usually I thumbdrag to check the feel and evenness of the edge. Then I cut something. Nothing reveals shoddy sharpening like work.

BDL
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