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Sharpening solution

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for some advice on sharpening tools. I have a 9.5in Mac pro and was very impressed with the sharpness oob. Im looking for a sharpening solution that will keep it percformingatleast as well as the original edge. I don't think hand sharpening is something I can devote the time to rightt now so I'm looking at the the following options

1) minosharp 3
2) edge pro with the shapton stones
3) chefs choice 315s/1520/15tvx I think that's the model number

I'm looking for
Ross and cons of each

I don't mind spending a little bit of extr time to get a nice edge. Sharpness Is important to me. Your input is appreciated
post #2 of 10

I have Edge Pro with Shapton Glass stones and Chef Choice Sharpener.  I also hand sharpen my knives.


Here's my $0.02...


Minosharp 3 is least desirable choice.  It will keep a rough angle edge and it is easy.  It will not keep a precise angle.  Its performance will degrade rapidly, because the metal will load the stone quickly and you will have to replace the wheel.  It will work for your Mac, having a symmetrically sharpened edge.  using it on some knife with asymmetrically sharpen knife will take the asymmetry right out.  It can be use to quickly to put on a edge between having your knife sharpened professionally or by other methods.


The Edge Pro will put on a precise edge on your knife.  With practice, it will give you the best edge out of the three methods.  It is a little more expensive.  It take the longest to set up and to clean up.  For most, It takes a few knives before you will get a consistent result.


Right out of the box, Chef Choice will give you good consistent edge. It is most convenient.  You can leave it on your countertop and run you blade through their third stage a couple of time every other day and you will have a decent edge all the time.  Despite what it say on the box, it will take most metal out of your knife.  It will wear down your knife fast than  Edge Pro, Minosharp or Hand Sharpening.  It has tendency to leave a rounded tip.  Though this doesn't apply to your Mac, it has problem with knives that has finger guard that extend to the heel.


Edge Pro and Chef Choice will get you edge nicer than your Mac OOTB edge.  


All 3 choices above have the same problem of not able to properly thin the blade.  As you sharpen your blade, over time, the geometry changes and it get thicker as you work your way up the blade.  Eventually, it will affect your knifes' performance  Being sharp doesn't necessarily mean it will cut well.


Though hand sharpening does have a bit of a learning curve, It doesn't take longer than Edge Pro or Chefs Choice.  It is more flexible.  It is easy to set up and clean up (easier than Edge pro...and if you have a routine and use splash and go stones, about as easy as a Chef Chice.). You can get a better edge than the three choices you have listed.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. A couple of additional questions with some info. My wife and I cook about 7-10 meals a week for a family of 5. We also have some additional knives that don't get a lot of use. They are all non Japanese knives and to my knowledge are sharpened to 20 deg.

1. How often is a knife likely to need thinning with my type of use

2. What are the major differences with the various chef choice machines. I know the angle difference between them, other than this pros and cons
3. What type of maintenance does cc need and is it something that can be done by myself

It's not that I'm against freehand, I just think for the amount of sharpening I will be doing and time I have to learn it would be a long time before I was proficient. Thanks again
post #4 of 10
Originally Posted by Chrismit View Post

1. How often is a knife likely to need thinning with my type of use

Thinning becomes necessary after repeated sharpenings over time and not from cutting. The edge gets moved back into thicker metal over time and that will begin to affect the cutting performance.


If you use an aggressive sharpener that removes a lot of metal it will happen faster.



post #5 of 10
1. Like Jim said, more you sharpen quicker you will need to thin the blade to keep the performance the same.

2. I find their old (discontinued?) model 120 (20 deg,) a more aggressive sharpener than their model 15 (15 deg.).

3. For your Mac, between sharpening, you can buy a steel and steel it occasionally. You also can just strop you blade on leather, denim, newspaper, et al. If you get the Chef Choice, you can just run the blade through their 3rd stage (finest) a couple of time before use. (The wheel on their finest stage is the only thing that really wear out eventually. It would take years but it will eventually get too thin and break... You then have to get them install a new one or get a new machine.)
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
So no matter what system I were to use none will be able to thin the knife. If I'm understanding the only way to thin the knife is to freehand?
post #7 of 10

pretty much, except for the freehand part. but the freehand is much more satisfying. you can thin a knife with a belt grinder, which is what pros use. but it's not advisable for inexperienced folks since it will definitely ruin your knife much faster than freehand will if you don't know what you're doing.

post #8 of 10

Thinning is just "sharpening" at a more acute angle but not going all the way to create a new edge. You are just removing steel behind the edge.


Watch Jon's, of Japanese Knife Imports, lecture and demonstration.

You could probably replicate the concept using an EP



post #9 of 10
Essential in the thinning method Jon Broida shows is the pressure to determine where the steel has to be abraded. This way of thinning is very fast and avoids faceting. I've never used a guided system, but wonder how this could be performed with the EdgePRO.
post #10 of 10

Minosharp Plus3:

Fast, convenient, adequate sharpening.  If you don't want to sharpen 50/50, not a great choice. 


CCs -- various models:

Fast, convenient, adequate sharpening.  CC sharpeners eventually load up just like the Minosharp Plus3 and are equally difficult to clean. 

  • The model 15XV has a sufficiently aggressive first stage to reprofile 20* knives to 15*.  Some 20* knives handle the change to 15* very well, others not so much.  The "trizor" edge it establishes is extremely long wearing, but acts (and is) somewhat thicker than a true 15* edge.
  • The models 315S and 316 are two stage flat-bevel 15* only sharpeners, each of which which runs around $80. 
  • The model 1520 sharpens at both 15* and 20*.  You use of it's two coarse stages, one 15* and the other 20*, then follow with a flexible wheel which polishes but doesn't take enough metal to change the angles much. 


EP Apex:

A rod-guided tool and jig which sharpens extremely well.  It's not quite as versatile as bench stones, but it's a lot easier to learn.  I don't know the Shapton kits at all but have owned a bunch of Shapton Pros and tried the Shapton GS in their bench stone incarnations.  Shaptons have issues, but I'm told they work very well in the EP by people I trust.  I have and recommend the Chosera kit.  In your case, the "Essentials" kit is probably as good a fit as either the Choseras or the Shaptons.  


The water stones included with the EP kts are water stones like any other.  You'll need something to flatten and dress them before getting started.  I strongly urge that you get a full size flattener.  Either use the inexpensive, 8" long, diamond plate CKtG sells (for around $25), or use drywall screen (about $12 a pack, which should last forever, pretty much); the plate is faster and easier.  After your stones start to wear, you'll to add an angle finder (like the angle cube CKtG offers) and the "drill bit "collar (aka collet).    


Yes You Absolutely Can Thin with an EP:

Use the Magic Marker trick on both sides of the knife.  Set the EP's sharpening angle to whatever angle you desire for "behind the edge," load a fast, coarse stone, and just sharpen away until the ink is removed from the edge, and the bevel shoulder is an even straight line.  Turn the knife over and repeat the process.  Then, mark the knife again, and use a medium stone to polish out the coarse scratches one side after the other until the ink is removed.  If the bevel isn't an even width along the knife's entire length (or at least up to the belly), go back to your coarse stone and fix it. 


During the thinning/profiling process you're not actually creating an edge so you don't need to create a burr.  But you do need to "sharpen" all the way to the edge in order get an even bevel -- which is critical. 


You can polish the thinned section with a fine and even follow that with an ultra-fine stone if you like -- be aware though that you're doing more to improve shine than sharp.


Then create a new edge by setting the EP angle to your desired edge angle, and sharpen with a medium stone each until you've created an even burr along the entire length of the knife, with the desired asymmetry.  Then, chase the burr until it flips easily and deburr.  Repeat the burr-deburr process with a fine stone.  If you like, you can polish the edge out with an ultra-fine. 


The Magic Marker trick is helpful, but not necessary during the sharpening (as opposed to thinning/profiling) process, IF you know how to feel for a burr AND can see the bevel shoulder well enough to make sure there aren't any egregious high or low spots.  People new to the EP should ALWAYS use the Magic Marker Trick and practice feeling for the burr as well.  EP burrs tend to be more difficult to spot than those created on bench stones.


Even though you're moving a fair amount of metal, the tricks to thinning the blade and then establishing a fresh edge with the EP are, AS ALWAYS, (a) Very light pressure and (b) Frequent tactile and visual inspections. 


Hope this helps,


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