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Bevels in different JP knives

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Can any one tell me the bevel used in Shun knives? I thought they were 50/50. Some one in another forum told me they were 90/10. Then I saw 80/20. Which is it? 

 

I hope it is 50/50 which I assume is easier for a novice to learn to sharpen. Never thought of  using stones. But now that I'm thinking of buying some JP knives... (not expensive...$50-200 range...per knife...some one recommended Tojiro Shirogami...white #2 steel knives for around $60 US each)...I figure i might start learning...

 

What if you have a 70/30 edge on a JP knife? What does that mean? Just that there is more cutting surface on one side of the cutting edge? Does such a knife still have 2 15 degree angles? (doesn't seem so)

 

And briefly how does one sharpen a knife without a 50/50 bevel? 


Edited by RobSingh - 7/4/12 at 3:38pm
post #2 of 18

OK. I'm not giving you any end-all answers, but don't get a Shun. Here, I'm gonna suggest two(2) knives, one(1) for $70, the other for for $90 that are really nice. Yeah sure, I could be wrong, and I'm sure some guys after me will say if I am. I hope at least BDL lets me know if I'm wrong. 

 

 

Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto   $70

chefknivestogo_2217_7262359

Richmond Artifex 240mm Gyuto   $90

chefknivestogo_2218_44558749


Edited by IceMan - 7/5/12 at 12:46am

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post #3 of 18

I don't own one, so someone should confirm this for me. I believe Shuns ship with a 50/50 bevel. Every Shun that I've picked up is always sharpened 50/50, and I find it hard to believe that it is because the owners were symmetrical bevel lovers.

 

Having asymmetric bevels on a knife (70/30, 90/10, etc.) will mean that more grinding/sharpening happened on one side than the other. Generally the bevels are ground at the same angle as each other, but individual sharpeners may for one reason or another choose to make one steeper. If the angles are the same, but it is an asymmetrically sharpened edge, you will see more bevel on one side of the knife than the other. Imagine taking a cross section of the edge of the knife. Only the part where it has been sharpened. The cross-section of a symmetrical knife will be an isosceles triangle where the equivalent sides are the bevels, and the vertex between them is the edge. If you began to sharpen that same knife asymmetrically, that vertex of the triangle would shift horizontally towards one side or the other.

 

Since the angle between the bevels should remain the same between both styles of sharpening, your knife should technically be equally as sharp. Practically, many people find an asymmetric knife to feel sharper than a symmetric one. Also, the more asymmetric a blade is, the more difficult it will be to steel without rolling the edge. Much of this stuff comes down to personal preference, so you really have to just try both and see which one you like.

 

Sharpening a knife that has asymmetric bevels will be the same as sharpening one with symmetric bevels. It's also pretty easy to go from one or the other. Assuming you are already familiar with sharpening (are you?), sharpening a blade asymmetrically would entail sharpening more on one side than the other. Let's say you have a 50/50 knife and you normally sharpen with ten strokes on each side before flipping the knife over. If you wanted to make the blade asymmetric, you would just do more strokes one one side. For instance, you might do fourteen strokes, flip, then do six on the others side, flip, do fourteen more strokes, repeat. You may also just grind all on ones side and not at all on the other, except of course to deburr. This would naturally move the edge much faster.

 

About your knife selection, Tojiro knives represent a great value. That is, you get a lot of knife for the money. The white #2 knives that were recommended to you are not stainless, so if you go that route, make sure you know the kind of care necessary for such knives. They also have a line that is done in VG-10, which is a stainless breed. The Richmond knives recommended above are also great values. Personally, I would choose either of those two brands before Shun. You should be able to learn to sharpen on any of them that you end up choosing.

 

I recommend you search around here for more on sharpening and sharpening tools. There should be an adequate amount of information on the forums to help give you an idea of what direction to head in. Good luck.

 

 

PS: You may find this thread helpful.

post #4 of 18

Nicholas' discussion on what symmetry/asymmetry is pretty good.  If you want more, ask; and I'll jump in.

 

Whether or not asymmetric edges are actually sharper than completely symmetric edges largely depends on how you define sharpness.  We can get into that later if you like, but it isn't particularly important here.  What is important is that, everything else being equal, asymmetric edges act sharper under most circumstances. 

 

There are drawbacks though.  Asymmetric edges tend to be less durable, and they're not as suitable for both "handed" users.  Unsurprisingly "righty" is better for righties, and "lefty" is better for lefty.  The biggest problem is that a knife held in the wrong hand with a very strong grip (which is what most people use) will tend to "steer" by pronating away from the wider bevel.  However, a sharp edge, good knife skills and a good grip minimize the tendency.  

 

Worth noting also that asymmetric bevels on very thin knives (thinner than the ones we're talking about so far) tend to make less difference than on "normal" knives -- at least until you get to extreme asymmetry.

 

As a practical matter, asymmetry is usually measured by an eyeball comparison of bevel widths.  Some ratios, like 7:3, aren't what you'd call "readily apparent," consequently given ratios like 70/30 are misleading. The way you judge asymmetry is by comparing the bevel widths.  80/20 righty, means that the bevel on the right side (knife held edge down, tip away) will be four times as wide as the bevel on the left side.   "2:1" is about as close to 70/30 as you're going to get.

 

An asymmetric approach to sharpening isn't particularly Japanese, nor is it particularly suited to Japanese knives.  Because it does create a weaker profile -- that is, with a greater tendency to go out of true with impact -- higher degrees of asymmetry (like 90/10 and chisel edges) should be saved for harder knives. 

 

I find that 2:1 -- the real "70/30" -- is a great compromise for most knives in households where both cooks use the same hand.  As it happens my wife is righty with average skills, and I'm a lefty with good skills.  I sharpen the knives we both use to 2:1 righty, because it helps her a lot, and doesn't bother me at all.

 

It's true, I'm not a big fan of Shun -- especially there chef's knives and generically recommend against.  That doesn't mean they aren't a great choice for some people.  I've never tried a Tojiro Shirogami, but from what I understand... great blade material, fairly good blade, and everything else is very crude.  And shirogami is prone to stain and rust compared to other carbons.  If you're looking for that "first good knife," probably not a good first choice.

 

If you want to get a really good picture of what will work out for you, we need to break down what you want from your sharpening and knife kits, whether you want to start "entry level" or higher, and you're going to have to take a very hard look at your budget.  If you don't already have a sharpening kit, that first good knife is going to end up costing significantly more than you think.  But, there's no point in spending money on a knife which will stay dull.  It doesn't matter how wonderful it was when you bought it, any dull knife is a dull knife.

 

Hope this helps,

BDL    

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post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

 

If you want to get a really good picture of what will work out for you, we need to break down what you want from your sharpening and knife kits, whether you want to start "entry level" or higher, and you're going to have to take a very hard look at your budget.  If you don't already have a sharpening kit, that first good knife is going to end up costing significantly more than you think.  But, there's no point in spending money on a knife which will stay dull.  It doesn't matter how wonderful it was when you bought it, any dull knife is a dull knife.

 

Hope this helps,

BDL    

 

Great information guys. But why not Shun? I've read already how people in the food industry don't like Shuns for some reason. I'd just like to know why? There's obviously something you guys know that home cooks won't see looking at brochures or YouTube videos. 

 

What do I want from my sharpening?? Do you mean whether I want an edge with bite or an edge that slides through what is being sliced? 

 

What do you mean by "knife kits"? 

 

Sharpening kit? Nope none. Thought I would start with a 3 stone kit with a DMT stone flattener plate. And will probably make a leather strop.

 

Knife budget? Well, I'd prefer not to spend over $200 per knife. Less than $150 even better. Since i'm going to learn how to sharpen using these knives. Which was why the Tojiro Shirogami series looked appealing to me. Respectable brand, white #2 steel and very affordable ($60 US for a gyuto). If I ended up destroying the knife sharping/honing it wouldn't have hurt. But since you said it's prone to staining and rusting....maybe I should look at Tojiro's DP series (VG10 with stainless on either side...or similar knives), MAC, Kasumi.... Recommendations? Something with SG2 steel? Or would knives with SG2 steel be too difficult to sharpen for a novice (I'm assuming they would just take longer for me?). 

 

Watched a few David Blaine YouTube clips. He mentioned that you need the right sharpening material (he was referring to steels) for the right kind of knife steel. What 3 grits should I buy if sharpening VG10 steel? (400/1000/5000?...or should the first stone be less coarse?) What if it were a SG2 steel knife?

post #6 of 18

Setting aside some personal issues which probably don't apply to you, a lot of good knife technicians don't like Shun chef knives because most of them have a German profile AND a very high tip.  For a lot of us, that means a lot of "rocking" to get the back of the blade down to the board, and bringing the handle high to get the tip down -- taken together the knife needs too much pumping.  French profiles, which are significantly flatter and more agile, reward sharp edges and good technique.  German profiles bring power to the party, which is more helpful for dull knives.  At the end of the day, even with professionals there's no vast majority, it comes down to taste.  If as a home cook, you really want to improve your technique, I think a French profile will serve you better.

 

What do you want from sharpening?  Glad you asked.  How much time, effort and money are you willing to put in?  Is "sharp enough" sharp enough?  Or will you only settle for "extremely sharp?"  Do you really want to climb the learning curve associated with bench stones when there are some very good gags, much easier to use?  Are you willing to spend the money on EP?  Toothy edges can be the product of a poor choice, or knowing how to control your kit.

 

Tojiro DP is a good, but unspectacular entry-level knife.  It's "san-mai" (Japanese name for a particular sort of triple-layer laminate) which I don't like because san-mai knives (including Shun) feel numb and unresponsive to me.  A friend compares the feeling to wearing a condom -- which is a fair description if a bit overstated.  We're not alone in our judgement, but it's definitely a minority opinion.  Because of your relative lack of experience, it's not something you're likely to notice.  A lot of people don't care for the Tojiro DP handle, because it was boxy and poorly finished.  But the current handles seem to be better, and it doesn't seem to be much of an issue anymore.

 

There are other very good, inexpensive knife choices for what amounts to the "decent Japanese knife" class.  The Fujiwara FKM and Artifex (made in the USA) are both excellent choices -- each, actually less expensive than the Tojiro DP.

 

At the next level up, I like the MAC Pro and the Masamoto VG quite a bit; and there are lots of other good choices.  A lot of people like the Kagayaki CarboNext (semi-stainless) but it had a history of coming very dull -- which is not a good thing for a new sharpener.  The Kikuichi ITK (also semi-stainless) is good.  If you're ready for a "laser" you might want to think about the new Konosuke stainless. 

 

You'll spend more for an SG2 knife than you would for something made from a more normal alloy; plus the advantages of a super hard metallurgic powder (such as SG2) tend to overstated by people who overvalue hardness.  There are always trade-offs. 

 

I generally don't recommend VG-10 knives.  With the exception of Hattori, the Tojiro DP, and (perhaps) the Kagayaki they tend to be chippy -- at least until they're sharpened a few times.

 

You can do an excellent job of sharpening almost all of the alloys commonly used by Japanese (and Japanese "type" makers), with ordinary, synthetic water stones of reasonably good quality.  

 

There are cheaper ways to get started, but the three stone kit from CKtG including the Beston 500, Bester 1200 and Suehiro Rika (3K to 5K, depending on how you use it), is an excellent choice for beginners who want to start with a high-quality kit.  I have the Beston 500 and Bester 1200 in my kit -- along with a Chosera 3K and a Gesshin 8K.  If I were doing it again from scratch, I'd go all Gesshin:  400, 2K and 8K, but that kit is probably a great deal more than you want to spend.

 

If you're going to buy a DMT plate for flattening buy the XXC, it's more expensive but much faster than the XC.  Atomas are better still, more expensive initially, and cheaper in the longer run. There are cheaper ways to flatten than using a diamond plate, but they're much messier.  I use a DMT XXC. 

 

Keep asking questions,

BDL

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post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the information and advice BDL. Question..are you English? Curious.

 

Konosuke product lines are available to me at the local JP knife specialty shop. As are Kikuichi, Masamoto (not sure which line), MAC (not sure if they have the PRO line...just the "Chef's line" and another I don't recall the name of). Tojiro DP (and Flash) I would have to order. 

 

Regarding the Shun's...the fact that you would have to raise the handle higher being an issue will not matter much to a home cook IMO vs some one using the knife to make a living. So for this reason I don't think I'll write off Shun knives yet. That said, if i were to look at a French knife which brands would you recommend?

 

Sharpening stones combos...should I include a 400 grit? I've heard others say start with a 1000 grit unless your knife is exceedingly dull. 

 

A 400/2000/8000 would be okay for VG10 and SG2 steels? Richard Blaine recommended 3 DMT diamond stones (325/600/1200) for SG2 steel knives.

 

And how much time do I plan to spend sharpening? Least possible. :) So I'm guessing I will start with 3 stones and stick with 3. Won't have a collection of 20 plus like most of you. 

 

Money spent on sharpening...not really that much of an issue as long as I get more than "factory sharp" and am able to keep a consistent angle (my only concern sharpening freehand). I'm sure most knives come reasonably sharp already (for the home cook). Don't think most home cooks need "extreme sharp". Whatever that means. As long as my chef's knife can pass through a tomato or onion with relative ease. 

 

And, just out of curiosity how do you (and every one else) feel about electric sharpeners like those from Chef's Choice? (e.g. 2-stage Asian model). For a home cook. Would you adamantly advise against any one buying one? I mean, if I could get my knives sharp enough for my needs quickly (no setup and clean up) I'd probably prefer this route. As long as my "cheap" knives aren't damaged. 


Edited by RobSingh - 7/5/12 at 1:52pm
post #8 of 18

For French knives, your effective choices are Sabatier and Sabatier.  That is Thiers Issard Sabatier (sold at www.thebestthings.com in the US) and K-Sabatier (www.sabatier-shop.com).  IMHO, the best of these are the carbon steel knives. The Thiers Issard Nogent line is neat and historical.  I have a petty from that line that I like.  The stainless steel models are similar to German knives in terms of the steel used and construction quality, although the profile is obviously very different.  If you want stainless, I think you can do better with J knives.

 

Nothing particularly wrong with a Chef's Choice if you aren't inclined to learn to sharpen by hand and don't want to go the Edge Pro route.  They do an adequate job and that is still much better than a dull knife.

 

If you decide to use water stones, this is a very decent three stone set at a good price:

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html

 

You won't need the Beston 500 initially until you need to reprofile or repair a knife.  The Bester 1200 and the Suehiro Rika 5000 are very nice stones and will take care of your ordinary needs (I have both).
 

You will also need a rod hone or "steel".  For J knives, you would be best served by getting a ceramic rod - like a Idahone 12" or a Mac.

 

Konosuke, Masamoto and Kikuichi all make great knives.  Hard to go wrong there.  Any of them would be better than the Tojiro DP (I have one and like it, but it ain't a Masamoto or a Konosuke).  The Mac Chef is OK, but decidedly a step or two below the Masamoto, Konosuke and Kikuichi (I have a Masamoto HC, as well as a Mac Pro and a couple Mac Chef knives). The Mac Chef and the Tojiro are kind of a toss up, with the edge going to the Tojiro IMHO.  Since many of these are available to you, you should go and play with them and see if any call to you.

 

Be warned though, KAS (Knife Acquisition Syndrome) is incurable, chronic and progressive.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pohaku View Post

For French knives, your effective choices are Sabatier and Sabatier.  That is Thiers Issard Sabatier (sold at www.thebestthings.com in the US) and K-Sabatier (www.sabatier-shop.com).  IMHO, the best of these are the carbon steel knives. The Thiers Issard Nogent line is neat and historical.  I have a petty from that line that I like.  The stainless steel models are similar to German knives in terms of the steel used and construction quality, although the profile is obviously very different.  If you want stainless, I think you can do better with J knives.

 

Nothing particularly wrong with a Chef's Choice if you aren't inclined to learn to sharpen by hand and don't want to go the Edge Pro route.  They do an adequate job and that is still much better than a dull knife.

 

If you decide to use water stones, this is a very decent three stone set at a good price:

 

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html

 

You won't need the Beston 500 initially until you need to reprofile or repair a knife.  The Bester 1200 and the Suehiro Rika 5000 are very nice stones and will take care of your ordinary needs (I have both).
 

You will also need a rod hone or "steel".  For J knives, you would be best served by getting a ceramic rod - like a Idahone 12" or a Mac.

 

Konosuke, Masamoto and Kikuichi all make great knives.  Hard to go wrong there.  Any of them would be better than the Tojiro DP (I have one and like it, but it ain't a Masamoto or a Konosuke).  The Mac Chef is OK, but decidedly a step or two below the Masamoto, Konosuke and Kikuichi (I have a Masamoto HC, as well as a Mac Pro and a couple Mac Chef knives). The Mac Chef and the Tojiro are kind of a toss up, with the edge going to the Tojiro IMHO.  Since many of these are available to you, you should go and play with them and see if any call to you.

 

Be warned though, KAS (Knife Acquisition Syndrome) is incurable, chronic and progressive.

K-Sabatier. Will look into them. Are there not many choices? :) Or are they considered THE brand as far as French knives are concerned?

 

I can get a Masamoto VG series knives locally. Why do you think Masamoto's are a step above a few of the other brands (e.g. MAC, Tojiro DP)?

 

I just wondered what people here thought of the Chef's Choice...I have an idea what they are going to say and I'm pretty sure most people here use stones. Just want to hear from them (you). I would assume it would "work' for most knives without asymetrical grinds. Like the Tojiro's, Shun's....with 50/50 bevels. I'll likely buy 3 stones to start with (like the set you recommended...which I knew about...good starter set...has all one needs...except a DMT stone flattening stone).

post #10 of 18

The Mac Chef line and the Tojiro DP line are on the order of entry level J Knives.  No bolster in the case of the Mac, rudimentary fit and finish.  The Tojiro handle is a bit blocky - that puts some people off (I personally don't care).  The Tojiro is also of san mai clad construction with softer steel over VG-10.  Not everyone likes that (doesn't matter to me).  No question that they are a very good value for the money, but not everyone wants that kind of knife, although they may be a fine place to start.  I have both.  I use the Mac in my camping and traveling knife kit (time shares and rented cabins usually have teriible knives) and my duaghter now uses the Tojiro for restaurant prep work that she does as a spare time job.  You may or may not like the profiles of those knives.  The Mac Pro, Konosuke, Masamoto and Kikuichi are all a step up in fit and finish.  They also use different and generally better steels than the Tojiro and the Mac Chef (I'm not sure what Mac uses in its knives, they actually don't specifically say).  Keep in mind that each of those brands has different models using different steels and has differing profiles.  The Masamoto I have is a carbon steel HD.  I've not used the VG which is stainless.  While I think they have the same profile, the steels would behave and sharpen differently.  I personally like the Masamoto profile better than the the Mac Chef and Tojiro.  Choice of profile is a personal preference and there is no one "right" profile.

 

I'm sure that there are other French made knives than Sabatier.  Sabatier is, however, certainly the most well known and most available French "brand" in the US.  Keep in mind that the two Sabatier companies I mentioned are different companies that produce high quality knives and that the name "Sabatier" is actually a  maker's mark applied to a variety of knives and is not a registered brand name.  I think BDL has a thread here that explains the confusion over Sabatier knives in some detail.  Be aware that there are some cheap and not very good knives using the Sabatier name out there.

 

I use a variety of water stones and an Edge Pro to sharpen.  But not everyone is so inclined or wants to make that investment in time and money.  A Minosharp or a Chef's Choice are very reasonable alternatives if you don't want to bother with sharpening by hand.

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

Don't know why I thought the Masamoto VG was high carbon. Surprised I missed that. :)

 

Is your daughter training to be a chef? 

 

Any how the researching continues...though I am narrowing down my choices in JP knvies...

 

Sharpening? Naniwa stones/DMT flatening plate most likely. An "Edge Pro Apex"? Dunno...but if it can get me consistent angles...I might try that first. You use both? I guess you're happy with the Edge Pro or you wouldn't still be using it. 

post #12 of 18

No, my daughter is doing theatre and pre med.  Her side job, as she puts it, is scullery maid at our local wine bar and coffee shop.  She does prep for the cooks and does deserts.  I figure it will stand her in good stead if she needs to support herself while trying out for theatre parts.  Becoming a doctor is her fall back position.

 

I picked up the EP recently.  I've been sharpening free hand with water stones for awhile.  Both are good.  I'm teaching my daughter to sharpen using the EP.  We'll see if she wants learn to do it free hand or not.  The EP really is quite nice and it certainly helps maintain a consistent angle.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pohaku View Post

No, my daughter is doing theatre and pre med.  Her side job, as she puts it, is scullery maid at our local wine bar and coffee shop.  She does prep for the cooks and does deserts.  I figure it will stand her in good stead if she needs to support herself while trying out for theatre parts.  Becoming a doctor is her fall back position.

 

I picked up the EP recently.  I've been sharpening free hand with water stones for awhile.  Both are good.  I'm teaching my daughter to sharpen using the EP.  We'll see if she wants learn to do it free hand or not.  The EP really is quite nice and it certainly helps maintain a consistent angle.

Interesting approach to life. Medicine as the "fall back".

 

I looked into K-Sabatiers. Nice price. They do have a high carbon line. But the steel is German soft. I think the HRC is 55-57. I'm looking for knives with at least 60-63. With a 50/50 bevel. I figure they would be easier for me to sharpen being that I am new to using stones. Plus if I do get lazy and buy a Chef's Choice I think they are only used for knives with a 50/50 bevel. 

 

As for getting an EP...Maybe. Have you tried sharpening 70/30 bevel knives with your EP? That or stones with an angle guide to help me keep my angles consistent.


Edited by RobSingh - 7/6/12 at 5:55pm
post #14 of 18

I look"ed into K-Sabatiers. Nice price. They do have a high carbon line.

 

You mean "carbon," not "high carbon" and by "carbon" you mean as opposed to stainless.  Steel is an alloy consisting of iron, carbon and sometimes some other things..  By definition any steel with a minimum of 0.5% carbon is "high carbon" -- except in Germany where 0.45% is high carbon as well.

 

But the steel is German soft. I think the HRC is 55-57. I'm looking for knives with at least 60-63.

55 RCH is probably closer than 57.  I don't think you're quite getting the hardness thing.

 

With a 50/50 bevel. I figure they would be easier for me to sharpen being that I am new to using stones.


Not really.  There's nothing difficult about asymmetry once you understand what it is.

 

Plus if I do get lazy and buy a Chef's Choice I think they are only used for knives with a 50/50 bevel.

No.  You can sharpen just about any asymmetry with a CC electric.

 

As for getting an EP...Maybe. Have you tried sharpening 70/30 bevel knives with your EP?

Sure.  No problem.  But add the proviso that "70/30" expresses an unachievable level of accuracy. 

 

That or stones with an angle guide to help me keep my angles consistent.

Some people love angle guides, but not me -- at least not for kitchen or other long knives. 

 

BDL

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post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobSingh View Post

Interesting approach to life. Medicine as the "fall back".

 

One of the interesting things about the US, as opposed to some other countries, is that if you work at it, you can pretty much do and become what you want.  I'm an accidental attorney and my wife is an accidental physician.  Not what we started out to do.  We both have graduate degrees in other fields and worked there for awhile.  Second careers for both of us.  Fairly serendipitous - just seemed like a good idea at the time.  So at least in our family's funny non-linear approach to life, shooting for a career in theatre with medicine as an alternate seems workable and makes sense.

 

I have a college friend who was an English major, got his MFA and PhD, was on tenure track at a major east coast university teaching writing and was a published author.  Decided he really did want to be a physician after all (we both started college pre-med before we got sidetracked - it was the early 70s after all).  Quit his job and took a couple years of premed courses, got himself into medical school, finished his residency and is now in practice. I think he is also an adjunct professor at his medical school.  And he just published a nicely reviewed book of short stories.  Stranger things have been known to happen.  I think BDL has a similar story, so we are not anomalous.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

 

You mean "carbon," not "high carbon" and by "carbon" you mean as opposed to stainless.  Steel is an alloy consisting of iron, carbon and sometimes some other things..  By definition any steel with a minimum of 0.5% carbon is "high carbon" -- except in Germany where 0.45% is high carbon as well.

 

55 RCH is probably closer than 57.  I don't think you're quite getting the hardness thing.

 


Not really.  There's nothing difficult about asymmetry once you understand what it is.

 

No.  You can sharpen just about any asymmetry with a CC electric.

 

Sure.  No problem.  But add the proviso that "70/30" expresses an unachievable level of accuracy. 

 

Some people love angle guides, but not me -- at least not for kitchen or other long knives. 

 

BDL

 

 

About the French knives...The K-Sabatier "Au Carbone" knives actually have "high carbon'" etched on the knives. And are described as hgih carbon knives. That's what I was going by.

 

And regarding HRC...Not sure what you meant by "55 RCH is ...closer than 57". If the knife has a HRC rating of 60-63 is it not "harder" than one rated at 55-57? Higher the number the harder the steel. Correct? :)

 

Regarding asymmetrical grinds I think I get it now. Why sharpening/polishing one shouldn't be any more difficult than a symmetrical ground blade. What threw me off was the diagram I saw on a YouTube video done by Richard Blaine. The cross-section looked more like a 0/100 than a 70/30 or 80/20. The "back" of the blade looked flat. Couldn't picture it based on that diagram. :)


Edited by RobSingh - 7/7/12 at 12:15am
post #17 of 18

K-Sab au carbones are "high carbon," but so is every other decent knife.  There's nothing special about their carbon content or hardness -- but they are special.  Besides being comfortable in the hand, handling well, etc., they get very sharp very easily, and the edge wears a looooooooooooooooong time (if you don't count them going out of true frequently and requiring lots of steeling).  You not knowing what "high carbon" means isn't a flaw in your personality.  It's something I've explained to hundreds of people (thousands if you count lurkers), and many of them are quite nice. 

 

Yes, higher numbers mean "harder" knives; but the whole Rockwell hardness thing is (a) not very accurate under the best of circumstances; (b) manufacturer's numbers tend to be very optimistic; (c) misleading for people who aren't (yet) savvy and (d) not always a great predictor of performance -- partly because Rockwell C hardness measures "indentation hardness" which isn't directly at issue with knives (as opposed to scratch and impact hardness).  Harder is as harder does, and harder doesn't always mean better.

 

Knife blades which have been hardened correctly and to the right point will always out perform knife blades which haven't -- but notice, I'm not specifying a hardness number or range.  I'd certainly rather use a carbon Sabatier at ~56 than a Shun Classic at ~60.  For what it's worth, you're looking for "edge properties."  To the extent that Rockwell numbers help you figure those out, they're a good thing.  Otherwise, they're just propaganda.

 

Assuming that a knife has been properly hardened -- everything else being equal (which it never is) --  a harder knife will stay true longer, and I'm not sure if you can generalize further.  What you're really seeking are a good balance of "strength" and "toughness," and good edge taking and good edge holding properties.  If you sharpen on bench stones, you'll also want your knives to  "feel good on the stones. " 

 

More FWIW, good, modern stainless knives' hardness is clustered around 60-61RCH; and your knife choices will probably come from that group.  But there are plenty of very good knives at 59-60RCH, and the good PM (metallurgical powder stainless) knives usually start at 64RCH and go up slightly from there.  Note that I use the abbreviation "RCH" instead of HCR, which should tell you what I think about it.

 

Western sharpeners call "100/0" asymmetry "chisel edge."  It's very common on traditional Japanese style knives, like deba and usuba, but not something we usually do with western style knives -- even those made in Japan.  We usually sharpen western knives with a "V" edge or a multi-bevel variant.  Symmetric or asymmetric most sharpeners prefer to sharpen each side of the "V" to the same angle(s).  There are exceptions to everything. 

 

The Edge Pro system is very efficient, and doesn't have a high learning curve.  You'll be sharpening very well without much practice, but it does take some.  It's not perfect.  It's not as flexible as stones when it comes to odd shapes; doesn't offer nearly as many stone choices (although the current choices are good enough); and it's expensive.  Figure $300ish for a kit you'll probably want.

 

BDL

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post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

That's a relief. BDL doesn't think I have a character flaw. LOL!! :)

 

Thanks for the other information BDL. I assumed HRC was a good gauge of knife "hardness". Didn't dawn on me for some reason that some makers might exaggerate their numbers a little. 

 

How much harder would it be to sharpen a SG2 steel knife versus one made of VG10? I mean would it just require more passes on the stones? Is there something about sharpening SG2 steel knives which would make it not a good choice for some one with no experience with stones? I'm just wondering if it wouldn't be worth it for me to spend a little more money for a little more edge retention time. Even for a "home cook". 

 

I know of the Shun Reserves (SG2, $350 US for a gyuto), the Takamura Suminagashi (http://knifewear.com/knife-detail.asp?knife=41gyuto210&family=41...bit expensive for me at almost $600...probably wouldn't be a good choice to learn/practice sharpening/polishing on heh!)....Are all powdered steel knives roughly double that of a VG10? Are there some costing less than the Shun Reserve?

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