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Another beginner searching for a good knife - Page 2

post #31 of 50
Thread Starter 

Well I'm back from my trip, and quite a bit poorer for it (worth it!).  After thinking about it for awhile, and getting past my initial hype, I think I'm going to go with the Artifex 210, the diamond plate flattener, idahone rod, and a decent combo stone that's somewhat low cost.  If the combo stone wears out or isn't sufficient for my needs, I can buy some better stones later on.  Like I said, right now I'm using bodyweight to slice an onion (I had to use a bread knife at a hostel to slice an onion on my trip, and it worked better than my home knife...), so I think a combo stone will be a pretty significant improvement over that.

 

Any recommendations on a good combo stone?  I don't see the Oishi one Luis mentioned in his first reply on CKTG, and I'd rather get it all in an order from one place if possible.

 

Thanks everyone

post #32 of 50

Since Chef Knives to Go is the only Artifex seller, you're limiting the possibilities for one stop shopping considerably.  That said, the Imanishi at CKtG ($55) is probably the best, reasonably priced, combi-stone on the market.  IMO, you'd be better off spending an additional twenty-one to thirty-six bucks on 10mm Naniwa 1K ($36) and either a 3K ($40) or 5K ($55) Naniwa SS -- with the 3K probably the better choice for you.  But you know your needs and budget better than I.

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 11/27/12 at 9:28am
post #33 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Since Chef Knives to Go is the only Artifex seller, you're limiting the possibilities for one stop shopping considerably.  That said, the Imanishi at CKtG ($55) is probably the best, reasonably priced, combi-stone on the market.  IMO, you'd be better off spending an additional twenty-one to thirty-six bucks on 10mm Naniwa 1K ($36) and either a 3K ($40) or 5K ($55) Naniwa SS -- with the 3K probably the better choice for you.  But you know your needs and budget better than I.

 

BDL


Cool, thanks. It looks like the combo is out of stock, but the two stone set seems like it'd be all right, I can handle an extra $20. I'd prefer to order it all from one place, but it won't be the end of the world if I have to order from two places.  I may look around at some other sites to order a combo from.

 

Why would the 3k be a better option than the 5k?  Ease of sharpening? Cost?


Edited by goodell - 11/27/12 at 11:56am
post #34 of 50

Good information in this thread.

 

In terms of priority, what should someone buy first, stones or a honing rod? 

post #35 of 50
Thread Starter 

700

biggrin.gif

 

Thanks for all of the help guys, I'll let you know once it comes in and I get started slicing and dicing!

post #36 of 50

Hi goodell, nice to know that you're back home and that you had good time in your vacation.

 

Congratulations on your new set, I'm sure that you'll enjoy it big time and that you'll become addicted to this cool hobby.

 

Best regards.

Luis

post #37 of 50

I say a honing rod presuming you are investing in a GOOD knife..

 

I very rarely need to use my stones...

 

Oh one thing I forgot to add in an above comment I made regarding care.. NEVER put in the dishwasher or leave 'soaking' in the sink.
 

post #38 of 50
Thread Starter 

Got my stuff in today!  The knife came a bit sharper than the one I have, but not by a lot, so I decided to give the stones a go.  Gave it a 30 minute soak, and went to work based on the vids at cktg.  It turned out... okay...  I'm not sure if I made it much sharper than when it arrived, but I did manage to even out the sides quite a bit (one side seemed to be almost not ground at all), and got a bit of practice in.  It still takes some work to go through an onion, although it's a little easier than my old setup.  Peppers are significantly better though, maybe I just buy hard onions?  In any case, it's nowhere near what I see on cooking shows with people flying through onions, so I assume there's some improvement to be made.

 

I did the sharpie trick, which helped some, but the one side being so uneven threw me through a bit of a loop.  I basically ground about twice as many strokes on that side until they looked moderately even.  I'm still struggling with how to figure out if I'm going at the correct angle, how did you guys deal with that when you first started?  It's tough to simultaneously prop up a protractor while holding the knife and looking at it from the side.  The tip of the knife was significantly more difficult than the base at first, but I think it's because instead of doing the same number of strokes for every tiny section of the tip, I tended to spread the strokes out (ie. 10 strokes on the base, then 2 strokes on each of 5 positions on the tip).  I guess I just naturally thought of the tip as one piece.  Once I realized what I was doing it got quite a bit better though.

 

The whole burr thing was a bit difficult as well.  I tried feeling the edge, but I didn't seem to feel much.  Occasionally I thought I did, but I couldn't tell if that's just because my brain was expecting to feel something on that side.  I probably need to work on keeping the angle accurate and consistent though.

 

Any beginner sharpening advice would be appreciated!  I'm starting up again tomorrow!

 

Edit:  After thinking about it, the onion was probably tougher than the pepper because it mostly uses the tip to cut, which was the worst part of my sharpening. In any case, just watched the cktg "5 common beginner mistakes" video, and think I've got some ideas, I'll be ready to roll tomorrow.


Edited by goodell - 12/1/12 at 9:00pm
post #39 of 50

Hi Goodell, nice to know that you got your equipment. Try to read a bit more on the dreaded "Burr" and watch the JKI vids. At first I started sharpening counting the strokes, not bad results but it took longer to get the knife as sharp as I wanted.

 

After that I finally grasped the burr concept that BDL suggested me and I could get the knife sharp faster and now it wasn't a matter of luck if the knife was going to be sharp or not... And finally by watching the vids from Jon Broida, I learned that to sharpen both sides of the knife it wasn't necessary to change from left hand to right hand when sharpening (I was wearing down the knife more on one side than on the other and given uneven edges) you just switch the sides grasping the handle with the same hand, wich sounds logic, but I was doing it wrong.

 

The tips of the knives are always tricky at first, and truth to be told it's still my weak point, now the tip gets as sharp as the rest but I have to pay attention and sometimes retouch it several times.

 

Practice amigo...That's the only secret! A mistake that I was doing at first, was not to put enough pressure while stroking the knife, and by doing that, I was puzzled by not getting the mythical burr. At some point I tought that finding an unicorn was easier than to raise a burr, for me the burr was more of an urban legend than a real possibility ,  but the first time I started adding a good amount of pressure on the first side of the knife, I passed my thumb and it got almost stucked... By the burr eek.gif...I felt it ! , it was there and it was loud and clear biggrin.gif...The burr is like an "O"... You know that you got one! You can feel it!!... You don't feel it ? , or do you feel "some sort" of it? ...Man...You did it wrong! Try harder and you'll eventually get there. 

 

I'm sure that you'll find better advice and you'll develop your own style soon. You have great tools to start with, have fun and experiment!

 

And if you don't feel like you're getting a lot of feedback from the finer side of the stone... Don't worry, it cuts too, and soon you'll develop more sensitivity on your hands to notice that the stone is cutting. Also, look how the water starts to get dark and muddy on the surface, that's metal from the edge.

 

Take care and keep us updated!

Luis

post #40 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luis J View Post

Hi Goodell, nice to know that you got your equipment. Try to read a bit more on the dreaded "Burr" and watch the JKI vids. At first I started sharpening counting the strokes, not bad results but it took longer to get the knife as sharp as I wanted.

 

After that I finally grasped the burr concept that BDL suggested me and I could get the knife sharp faster and now it wasn't a matter of luck if the knife was going to be sharp or not... And finally by watching the vids from Jon Broida, I learned that to sharpen both sides of the knife it wasn't necessary to change from left hand to right hand when sharpening (I was wearing down the knife more on one side than on the other and given uneven edges) you just switch the sides grasping the handle with the same hand, wich sounds logic, but I was doing it wrong.

 

The tips of the knives are always tricky at first, and truth to be told it's still my weak point, now the tip gets as sharp as the rest but I have to pay attention and sometimes retouch it several times.

 

Practice amigo...That's the only secret! A mistake that I was doing at first, was not to put enough pressure while stroking the knife, and by doing that, I was puzzled by not getting the mythical burr. At some point I tought that finding an unicorn was easier than to raise a burr, for me the burr was more of an urban legend than a real possibility ,  but the first time I started adding a good amount of pressure on the first side of the knife, I passed my thumb and it got almost stucked... By the burr eek.gif...I felt it ! , it was there and it was loud and clear biggrin.gif...The burr is like an "O"... You know that you got one! You can feel it!!... You don't feel it ? , or do you feel "some sort" of it? ...Man...You did it wrong! Try harder and you'll eventually get there. 

 

I'm sure that you'll find better advice and you'll develop your own style soon. You have great tools to start with, have fun and experiment!

 

And if you don't feel like you're getting a lot of feedback from the finer side of the stone... Don't worry, it cuts too, and soon you'll develop more sensitivity on your hands to notice that the stone is cutting. Also, look how the water starts to get dark and muddy on the surface, that's metal from the edge.

 

Take care and keep us updated!

Luis

 

Good to know the darkness is metal, hadn't thought of that.  Although in my case a lot of it is probably sharpie :P.

 

Semi-unrelated topic, I was watching some of the videos by Mark in his sharpening for noobies series, and happened upon the one where he talks about different techniques.  After this first attempt didn't go perfectly, I was starting to think I would need to invest another $100 or so to get a sharp knife (strops and diamond powders and all that)...  He talked about a contest he had for pro sharpeners, and mentioned two techniques.  First he talks about the second place guy, Curtis' strategy.  He uses like 5 stones from 400-10k, a fancy strop, and some diamond type dust.  My dread of spending more $ started increasing... the more experienced people on the site have a lot of stones, this guy has em too, and this stropping stuff, here goes my next few paychecks...  

 

Then he starts talking about the winner, a guy named Murray Carter.  He used a 1k stone, a 6k stone, some newspaper, and that's it.  "Hallelujah!"  I went and checked out a few vids of Murray, and boy am I relieved.  It seems like practice is the #1 thing in this skill, at least once you get basic supplies (although he did have a vid of sharpening a knife on a cinderblock and some cardboard) and technique down.  It was also kind of cool that my combo is 1k/6k (although I know those aren't necessarily comparable to whatever he uses), and I damn sure have some newspaper around!  Granted I think he's sharpened a few thousand knives in his day, but its good to see a lot of equipment isn't really that necessary.

 

I'll keep the tips in mind Luis, pressure was one other thing I didn't really know how to gauge.  Luckily it's a big knife, so I've got a decent amount of room for screw ups.  I may just try some extremes in angle and pressure until I go a little too far, just to see what the limits are.  As usual, I've been trying to take the engineering approach of getting a perfect formula from someone else on how to do it where I have zero possibility of screwing up, when it's gonna come down to a lot of trial and error in practice.  I did the same thing with piano, and more recently cooking.  They're both the same, the times you do things wrong teach you at least as much as the times you do things right.  Very obvious advice that I always hear, yet I never seem to listen.

 

I'll let you guys know how it goes tomorrow, can't imagine I've got anywhere to go but up from here.

post #41 of 50
Thread Starter 

Well, round two was significantly more successful.  I went with the JKI method of holding as you recommended Luis, and it seemed to be quite a bit easier.  Separating the tasks of the hands into "this one is for pressure and speed, this one is for angle" made it a easier to stay consistent.  I also applied more pressure, and avoided the sharpie so I could see if there was metal coming off.  I still think it might have been in my head, but I thought I could feel a bit of a burr this time, I think that's gonna take some practice though.  Unfortunately I used my last onion yesterday, so the onion test will have to wait, but now I've got a few sliced peppers I need to use!  Hair isn't coming off the arm yet, that's the next goal.

 

One other question though, am I supposed to be applying equal pressure during the back and forth motion, or a bit more when I'm pushing toward the blade side?  It seems like if you put equal pressure you're basically stropping every other stroke, right?  None of the videos I've seen seem to touch on that.


Edited by goodell - 12/2/12 at 7:32am
post #42 of 50

I'm pretty damn ambidextrous and sharpen one-handed as well.  One handed is, I think, more natural, and my own technique is a product of not being taught to sharpen two handed; in fact of not really being taught to sharpen but forced to discover how to do it on my own.  But enough rumination about the miracle which is me.  In any case, one handed and two handed both work.  I suggest doing whichever is most comfortable until you start sharpening fairly well, and then begin the process which is known in the scientific community as "screwing around." 

 

Keep using the sharpie, it will tell you if and where there's "metal coming off" far better than your naked eye.  If it doesn't you're using it wrong.

  • "Paint" the entire edge with ink, from tip to heel, and about 1/2" up the bevel.  Sharpen one side of the knife as you'd normally do (or think you should do), for long enough and with enough pressure that you think a burr might be forming, and remove from knife from the stone;
  • Look at the edge; and 
  • Any part of the edge which is still covered is not being sharpened, and that means your sharpening is either too acute, or at least more acute than the angle which was previously sharpened;
  • If parts of edge are exposed "higher" or "lower" than you're developing high and low spots because you're holding the angle inconsistently.  You want to "section" the low spots and sharpen them until they're more or less even with the bulk of the knife.  Save the high spots for another time; and
  • Add new ink to the edge every time you take the knife off the stone, until you have developed a burr along its length AND eliminated the low spots.

 

Feeling the burr is not subtle.  There's no "I think maybe" about it.  Whatever else anyone told you, do it this way: 

  • Sharpen until you believe there may be a burr along the entire edge.  At the risk of repetition that means don't bother until you've AT LEAST got the ink from the Magic Marker trick off the edge;
  • The burr curls away from the side which has been sharpened.  Hold the knife by the handle, edge up, with the side you DID NOT sharpen facing you;
  • Put the pad of your thumb (hand not holding the knife handle) on the knife near the spine with gentle pressure;
  • Push it up along the face of the knife towards and past the edge.  If the edge feels like it hooks your thumb, there's a burr; 
  • If you're not sure, turn the knife over and feel for a burr on the other side of the knife at the same spot.  If the first side felt significantly rougher, there's a burr;
  • Otherwise no burr.  Go back to sharpening the side you were working on.

 

Once you've developed a burr, you have to chase the burr.  That means getting the burr to flip sides.  The burr isn't well chased until it flips sides with a single pass on the stone with fairly light pressure.

 

I believe both Jon and Mark cover this in their videos, but when you approach the tip of the knife you want a slightly more acute angle.  That means lifting the handle slightly when the only part of the knife on the stone is the belly. 

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

post #43 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

I'm pretty damn ambidextrous and sharpen one-handed as well.  One handed is, I think, more natural, and my own technique is a product of not being taught to sharpen two handed; in fact of not really being taught to sharpen but forced to discover how to do it on my own.  But enough rumination about the miracle which is me.  In any case, one handed and two handed both work.  I suggest doing whichever is most comfortable until you start sharpening fairly well, and then begin the process which is known in the scientific community as "screwing around." 

 

Keep using the sharpie, it will tell you if and where there's "metal coming off" far better than your naked eye.  If it doesn't you're using it wrong.

  • "Paint" the entire edge with ink, from tip to heel, and about 1/2" up the bevel.  Sharpen one side of the knife as you'd normally do (or think you should do), for long enough and with enough pressure that you think a burr might be forming, and remove from knife from the stone;
  • Look at the edge; and 
  • Any part of the edge which is still covered is not being sharpened, and that means your sharpening is either too acute, or at least more acute than the angle which was previously sharpened;
  • If parts of edge are exposed "higher" or "lower" than you're developing high and low spots because you're holding the angle inconsistently.  You want to "section" the low spots and sharpen them until they're more or less even with the bulk of the knife.  Save the high spots for another time; and
  • Add new ink to the edge every time you take the knife off the stone, until you have developed a burr along its length AND eliminated the low spots.

 

Feeling the burr is not subtle.  There's no "I think maybe" about it.  Whatever else anyone told you, do it this way: 

  • Sharpen until you believe there may be a burr along the entire edge.  At the risk of repetition that means don't bother until you've AT LEAST got the ink from the Magic Marker trick off the edge;
  • The burr curls away from the side which has been sharpened.  Hold the knife by the handle, edge up, with the side you DID NOT sharpen facing you;
  • Put the pad of your thumb (hand not holding the knife handle) on the knife near the spine with gentle pressure;
  • Push it up along the face of the knife towards and past the edge.  If the edge feels like it hooks your thumb, there's a burr; 
  • If you're not sure, turn the knife over and feel for a burr on the other side of the knife at the same spot.  If the first side felt significantly rougher, there's a burr;
  • Otherwise no burr.  Go back to sharpening the side you were working on.

 

Once you've developed a burr, you have to chase the burr.  That means getting the burr to flip sides.  The burr isn't well chased until it flips sides with a single pass on the stone with fairly light pressure.

 

I believe both Jon and Mark cover this in their videos, but when you approach the tip of the knife you want a slightly more acute angle.  That means lifting the handle slightly when the only part of the knife on the stone is the belly. 

 

Hope this helps,

BDL

Cool, yeah I guess I was only painting the main edge of the knife (the sharp part) with the sharpie, that's a good idea to go further back to see if you're going too acute, because I was suspicious of doing that a few times.  

 

One other question though, am I supposed to be applying equal pressure during both the back and forth motion, or a bit more when I'm pushing toward the blade side?  It seems like if you put equal pressure you're basically stropping every other stroke, right?  None of the videos I've seen seem to touch on that.

post #44 of 50

for now just use equal pressure on both the push and pull

post #45 of 50

Hi Goodell...

 

Nice to know that you had a second attempt and things went better! And is great to see that you realized that you don't need to spend more money for a good edge, a 6000 edge properly sharpened is very very sharp, maybe more than enough, is just that some of us like to get things to an extreme, it will be up to you if you want to get into the "high polish" zone in the future.

 

As for the question that you asked me... Jon Broida just answered it. Equal pressure on both, the push and pull... And he added "for now" that means that there must be something else... But that is also unknown for me,  I'm still on the equal pressure on both sides zone.

 

Best regards!

post #46 of 50

sharpening can be infinitely complex, but its much more important in the beginning to focus on the basics and build a good base skill set before diving in the deep end

post #47 of 50

A great discussion.  FWLIW, this is what led me to get the Edge Pro jig (Apex 3 kit).  It gets the angle right so I can concentrate on even strokes.  I can also experiment easily with changing bevels, different levels of finish, and so forth.

 

I have a couple of cheap old utility knives -- the brands are long worn off but we're talking stamped blade, plastic handle, no bolster.  And when they're fully sharpened they glide through an onion almost as easily as the Konosuke and Richmond knives I got thanks to this forum.  It's impressive what a difference sharpening makes.

post #48 of 50

Gooddell,

 

I just have to say that I'm really happy that you're undergoing this project before I am.  I'm learning a lot from your experience in trial and error during sharpening!  Thank you so much for posting your experiences thus far and your progress.  These are great things for me to keep in mind as I start sharpening as well!  We'll have to compare notes down the road.

 

And a big thank you to everyone else for all the excellent advice!  I've bookmarked this thread!  biggrin.gif

post #49 of 50

Like BDL I'm pretty ambidextrous, and also used to sharpen one-handed, well actually, knife in one hand stone sort of balanced on 3 fingers in the other.  The stone hand has to be careful where ALL of its fingers are though or you can slice off a tip.  It actually took many decades for me to learn this, and that's when I decided to use 2 hands and leave the stone on the counter, mostly.  I tried using the technique Carter describes of using a stropping motion on the stones until the burr becomes so thin and weak it easily comes off.  This did not create the scary-sharp edge for me though.  My current stone is a Wusthof combi 1/6K and very soft, that might be the problem.  So I am still using the technique that has been described already.  After convexly profiling the edge close to my final angle, I then sharpen at final angle on one side till I'm close to raising a burr, flip it and raise a burr, flip it and bend the burr to the opposite with a light stropping motion and slightly raised angle, flip and lightly grind away in typical edge-leading direction.  I also like using a slightly more accute angle finishing angle with the roughing stone.

 

A little sharpening pointer you might find additionally useful along with all the other advice:  You need to have an idea what angle you're sharpening at, and the best free-hand way I have found is to cut the angle wedge and use it to prop the knife right on the stone.  This gives you the best visual.  And unless you sharpen ambidextrously you need to see how the knife sits both ways, edge towards and away.  Using your protractor and an xacto you can cut a wedge from poster-board, then coat with superglue to waterproof and stabilize it. Cut the thin tip off and touch it up with a sanding block and straight edge.  You'll still have trouble near the knife tip were the body is just to narrow to gauge with the wedge, but you'll know if the edge is too steep or shallow depending on whether the edge bends on you, or just doesn't cut well enough.  Once I establish an edge it usually easy for me to find it because my ears are sensitive to pitch/tone-change and the knife "typically" makes a more grating sound when the edge makes contacts.  There are occasionally exceptions depending on certain factors, but you also have your visual to help differentiate.

 

You've got an adequate edge on the Artifex, so practice on your cheap knives till you think you can do much better.  Like Colin said, even a cheap knife can get pretty sharp [and will actually stay that way through a few shaved carrots or until it hits the cutting board].  Have fun.

 

Rick


Edited by Rick Alan - 9/7/14 at 10:21am
post #50 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Alan View Post

Like BDL I'm pretty ambidextrous, and also used to sharpen one-handed, well actually, knife in one hand stone sort of balanced on 3 fingers in the other.  The stone hand has to be careful where ALL of its fingers are though or you can slice off a tip.  It actually took many decades for me to learn this, and that's when I decided to use 2 hands and leave the stone on the counter, mostly.  I tried using the technique Carter describes of using a stropping motion on the stones until the burr becomes so thin and weak it easily comes off.  This did not create the scary-sharp edge for me though.  My current stone is a Wusthof combi 1/6K and very soft, that might be the problem.  So I am still using the technique that has been described already.  After convexly profiling the edge close to my final angle, I then sharpen at final angle on one side till I'm close to raising a burr, flip it and raise a burr, flip it and bend the burr to the opposite with a light stropping motion and slightly raised angle, flip and lightly grind away in typical edge-leading direction.  I also like using a slightly more obtuse angle finishing angle with the roughing stone.

 

A little sharpening pointer you might find additionally useful along with all the other advice:  You need to have an idea what angle you're sharpening at, and the best free-hand way I have found is to cut the angle wedge and use it to prop the knife right on the stone.  This gives you the best visual.  And unless you sharpen ambidextrously you need to see how the knife sits both ways, edge towards and away.  Using your protractor and an xacto you can cut a wedge from poster-board, then coat with superglue to waterproof and stabilize it. Cut the thin tip off and touch it up with a sanding block and straight edge.  You'll still have trouble near the knife tip were the body is just to narrow to gauge with the wedge, but you'll know if the edge is too steep or shallow depending on whether the edge bends on you, or just doesn't cut well enough.  Once I establish an edge it usually easy for me to find it because my ears are sensitive to pitch/tone-change and the knife "typically" makes a more grating sound when the edge makes contacts.  There are occasionally exceptions depending on certain factors, but you also have your visual to help differentiate.

 

You've got an adequate edge on the Artifex, so practice on your cheap knives till you think you can do much better.  Like Colin said, even a cheap knife can get pretty sharp [and will actually stay that way through a few shaved carrots or until it hits the cutting board].  Have fun.

 

Rick

Solid idea on the angle wedge.  I may give my old crappy knife a sharpening one of these days when I've got some spare time, I wasn't sure if it would damage the stone or not though (I mean, it is a piece of stone I guess, how damaged can it get :P?).  Thanks for the tips!

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