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Looking for a Japanese Knife - Page 2

post #31 of 33
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Understand that I'm not picking on anyone here...


Aww, shoot! I was hoping to get personally picked on! wink.gif


Thanks BDL, I appreciate the additional clarification that you were able to add to my (very) brief suggestion! I guess I'm happy to know that my inexperienced approach to sharpening has yeilded such positive results for me since I started hand sharpening only three years ago. Like most things in life, there's always lots to learn along the way! Maybe I use a lot less pressure when I sharpen - who knows? I can say that I had very minimal dishing after a half dozen sharpening sessions (3 knives each session) when I finally got my flattener. I'll admit that my experience is limited to my equipment only. By extension, my references to grit sizes are based on the grits I own.


For clarification, the "1000 Suehiro" from Mike's Tools is actually a Splex stone, so it's the same manufacturer (& 'level of quality') for both that one & the 1200 grit. Sorry I forgot to mention that! No, they're not 'top-of-the-line' stones; probably comparable to King stones & a few dollars less expensive. But they're half the cost of Besters (from CKtG), & if you're not sure you'll want to keep at this sharpening-by-hand thing... The 6000 Suehiro seems like a great deal to me, but I'm sure there may be comparable deals out there that I don't know about.


I should add to my earlier response by saying that my point of view is usually geared towards seeing if someone is committed to the new (to them) world of hand sharpening. Lord knows I've spent far too much money on new hobbies, only to find out that I wasn't really as interested as I thought 'd be. I certainly don't want to become a knife user with a collection of expensive sharpening equipment that I no longer like or use! So when I got started, I chose the path of least expense. It's worked out very well for me, as my meager collection of mismatched stones allows me to put a nice edge on everything from my 440A Cutco santoku (don't judge me - it was a gift!) to my VG-10 Kanetsune gyuto, to my friend's 40 yr old carbon Sabatier chef's knife. Because of my (personal) success with this approach, I sorta cringe any time I hear someone getting ready to plunk down gobs of cash when all they really need to get a good edge is a single, affordable stone.


So, to give everyone a better idea of where I'm coming from, here's what I own for hand sharpening equipment:

1) Splex 1000

2) Ohishi 3000

3) Suehiro 6000

4) Sidewalk chalk

5) Nagura

6) Spyderco Medium ceramic

7) Spyderco Fine ceramic

8) Arkansas 'surgical black'

9) Large deerhide strop (6"x22") on oak, CrO waxed

10) Small deerhide strop (3"x22") on oak, nekkid

11) Hard felt 'furniture' pad

12) Wine corks

13) Norton flattener

14) Eye loupe


Typically, the harder VG-10 knives (Kanetsune & Shun) get sharpened on the water stones, while the softer knives (Cutco, Forschner, Foshan) see the Spyderco ceramic bench stones. Just my way....  Also, I rarely strop the softer knives on the small strop. I never use the 'surgical black' any more (same finish as the Spyderco Fine ceramic, but way slower), & since I now have a 'real' nagura chalk stone I no longer use the sidewalk chalk for making mud.


Thanks for listening.... cool.gif

post #32 of 33
Originally Posted by bhwtt View Post

BDL, you seem knowledgeable on the subject of sharpening/stones . . .


What an understatement!  Ha!


A 500 grit stone is used for major reshaping or repair, so isn't something you'll necessarily need starting out.  Also, the coarser the stone, the more metal is removed, so there is more potential for damage in a short time.  Best to start off on some beater knives and at a higher grit.

post #33 of 33

Posted by bhwtt View Post

BDL, you seem knowledgeable on the subject of sharpening/stones, so do I need a 500 grit stone? Some, as you probably have read here, don't recommend starting with anything lower than a 1000 grit stone. Any thoughts on this? Just to clarify my situation, all my knives at the moment are German, some of my which are pretty dull and at least one, the paring knife, has some damage to the tip. 



Generally speaking, if you use your knives frequently and sharpen them as often as they should be sharpened, the edge angles will be become increasingly obtuse and require thinning (aka re-profiling) -- assuming, that is, the factory angles were good ones and the knives didn't require thinning from the beginning. 


More specifically, YOU need something fast and coarse enough to "thin" (aka re-profile) your old knives.  And that means something 500# or coarser.  The joker in that deck is that coarse stones have consequences.  Screw ups will show, be difficult to correct and possibly effect the performance of your knife.  That means you should already be a fairly competent sharpener before putting a good knife on a coarse stone.  


As a rule, it's a good thing if you both understand the sharpening process and can hold an angle well enough to sharpen a knife on a medium coarse stone (around 1K#), and create a fine, fresh-metal edge; AND then follow it with a fairly fine stone (3K# or finer) and actually improve that edge.  Unfortunately, it's not automatic and requires some practice.  Fortunately, it won't take you years.  We're talking in the neighborhood of 6 to 10 edges for most people to develop that degree of basic competence.  


As it happens, I have a lot of stones (not to mention other sharpening junk) including oil stones, and would choose a Norton coarse India to do that work.  Also, if you were going to use nothing but your old European knives, I'd recommend buying an all oil stone sharpening kit. 


"India" is a trade name, not a generic description.  Norton India stones are well made, inexpensive, synthetic, aluminum-oxide stones.  They are not the best of the type on the market (probably Razor Edge), but they are well priced.  I don't recommend that anyone purchase all three India stones.  Neither the coarse nor fine does anything that much better than the medium.  Rather I suggest that if you're going to build an oil stone kit using Indias, you get the coarse and fine, or the 1" combination stone (IB-8).  For what it's worth, I follow my India stones with Arkansas stones because (a) even the fine India is far too coarse, and (b) India edges tend to dull quite a bit more quickly than Arkansas edges. 


However, if you're going ahead with your plan to upgrade to knives made with stronger, harder alloys than those used in your Euros' and will only purchase one sharpening set (like sane people do) I think you're better off going with water stones.  You'll eventually need at least three:  coarse, medium and fine.  And you might as well buy them all now.  As it happens, coarse stones tend to be inexpensive.  The identities of all three particular stones in your water stone set depends more on your budget than anything else. 


For right now, see if you can't find an inexpensive sharpening service to re-establish the edges on your most used knives and to regrind the broken tip.  There's nothing so special about them that they can't be sharpened by machine -- which is how services sharpen -- until you're ready to start learning.



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