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How to sharpen a knife in 10 steps

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

For a more detailed explanation have a look at http://www.knifemanual.com :)

 

1. Place the sharpening stone on a damp tea towel on your bench or counter top with the coarser side facing up. We are going to grind off the shoulder of the knife that was cut incorrectly from the factory then we will be cutting the 20 degree edge.

2. Grab your knife and either place it in a sharpening guide or use a freehand 15 degree angle while holding either end with the other hand to keep it stable.

3. A With slight pressure slide the blade forward from tip to heel across the stone trying to use the whole length of the knife edge and keeping it at a constant angle.

4. Keep doing this until the knife forms a burr. We want both sides of the knife to match and not have one side being mismatched. To keep them similar you should grind one side for about two minutes and then swap over to the over side of the knife.



5. Keep grinding until the burr runs across the whole length of the knife and then turn the knife over and repeat. Once repeated you should use a finer grit to polish the knife edge up a little.

6. Once you have a burr along the whole length of the knife you need to grind it off so that a clean edge remains. Grinding between 5-15 times on each side depending on the grit should remove the burr completely.

7. Now for the 20 degree angle. Hold the knife at a 20 degree angle and start grinding the primary edge. Create a burr at the primary edge by using the previous method. But this time we are trying to create a 20 degree edge (about 1 mm or so wide) on the 15 degree back bevel that we have created.

8. Once a burr has been created start grinding it off but with more care this time as this is what will determine how sharp it will become. The technique you need to use is to run it from the tip of the knife to the heel changing the sides of the knife with each movement. Try not to form another burr and use a lighter touch as well as a smaller grit to finish off the knife.

9. At this point there should be no burr on the edge of the knife and it should be super sharp.

10. To maintain this sharpness you should use a fine steel to regularly keep the knife at its maximum sharpness. When the steel fails to make a difference any more it is time to use a sharpening stone again. Only this time you don't have to sharpen the back bevel as this is set at the correct angle now.

 

 

http://www.knifemanual.com

post #2 of 7
Large parts of the complete version seem to have been largely inspired by Chad Ward's An Edge in the Kitchen. Get the original - Ward's style is unique.
post #3 of 7

It's pretty good as far as it goes (wait for it), but...

 

The knifemanual.com method seems to come from either Steve Bottorf who -- by and large -- teaches the same method as John Jurantich, or directly from John Juranitch.  Whether directly or indirectly, Chris Ward seems to have been almost as strongly influenced by Juranitch as Bottorf. So Ben could be right that the knifemanual.com guy cribbed from Chad. 

 

If you've got the time, it's worthwhile to read Juranitch, Bottorf, AND Ward.  But if you want to cut to the chase, just read Ward.   That's especially true if your interest in sharpening knives made from the sort of modern, hard alloys typical of Japanese knives.

 

While A Knife in the Kitchen is an excellent resource and well worth owning, you can get the same sharpening advice and techniques for free from Chad Ward's FAQ at egullet.

 

There are three big problems that I see with the knifemanual.com method as described here and in the full length tutorial on their site.  It:

  1. Doesn't delve deeply enough into the "why" of the burr method to help those who learn through understanding, rather than simply following instructions or repeating someone's movements caught on video;
  2. Fails to do a good job of teaching the various methods of detecting a burr; and
  3. Doesn't teach "chasing the burr" and "deburring," which are both easier to learn than "grinding away the burr," and more effective for achieving an ultimate edge.

 

I strongly recommending reading the Ward FAQ, watching the instructional sharpening videos at CKtG and JKI, and asking lots of questions from people who sharpen using a similar style. 

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 4/27/13 at 5:42pm
post #4 of 7

I've been sharpening knives for a little while now, but I have never understood the idea of burr. 

I don't seem to ever raise a burr, nor am I able to feel it.  The knife is obviously sharper and

is quite sharp by the end of it, but I have yet to use any method that says much regarding burr. 

 

If anyone could give me info as to why that'd be appreciated.

I am a beginner in the world of cooking.  If you have any tips, feel free to send them my way.  Advice is always appreciated.

 
 
Reply
I am a beginner in the world of cooking.  If you have any tips, feel free to send them my way.  Advice is always appreciated.

 
 
Reply
post #5 of 7
It's quite possible one does achieve good results without a full burr being created. It does need a lot of experience and sensitivity, though, to notice and interprete correctly the pre-burr signs and switch sides accordingly.
In general, the burr proves both sides meet as far as possible. And the burr creation and abrasion allows to get rid of the sharpening debris, avoiding the rise of a wire edge on top.
Edited by Benuser - 5/1/13 at 9:28pm
post #6 of 7

Unless you are using a lower angle than the actual edge you should be able to raise a burr in a short period of time (unless you switch sides all the time), so I'm not sure is you are working on the edge or if you wobble and you work randomly in different parts.

Have you used a market to see which parts of the edge you work on?

 

Alex

post #7 of 7

Ben raises some interesting points.  Our differences are more spin than disagreement.  

 

It's quite possible one does achieve good results without a full burr being created. It does need a lot of experience and sensitivity, though, to notice and interprete correctly the pre-burr signs and switch sides accordingly.

The actual dynamics of sharpening involve several different and simultaneous processes and can be difficult to present and understand.  I don't think you can get a fine, fresh metal edge without at least creating a deposit burr (per Verhoeven). 

 

However, I'm not about to argue that there are tons of great methods for sharpening, and that not all of them depend on using the burr perspective.  But of all the sharpening methods of which I'm aware, the "burr method" is easy to understand, easy to teach, easy to learn, easy to perform, and easy to build on. 

 

In general, the burr proves both sides meet as far as possible.

That's one of those truisms of sharpening that isn't quite true and can be somewhat misleading.  A burr can prove a lot of things. 

 

One of those many things is that a very thin burr shows that the respective bevels from each side almost meet at some sort of apex.  Frustratingly though, another thing a burr shows is that the bevels do not actually meet

 

Bending burrs can also form when the bevels on each side are not at all close to meeting -- either through impact (hitting the knife on the board, for instance), or from pressure (e.g., as a by product of too much force when sharpening).  

 

As a practical matter, getting "both sides [to] meet as [nearly] as possible is a part of the sharpening process and usually involves successful iterations of drawing a burr, chasing it, and deburring. 

 

And the burr creation and abrasion allows to get rid of the sharpening debris, avoiding the rise of a wire edge on top.

A wire edge is a sort of burr and vice versa.   That is, they're both excess metal extending from the point where the actual edge should be.  The only difference between them is that a wire edge extends straight out, while a burr curls.   A powerful way of understanding their identity is to think about truing an impact burr with a steel.  As long as the bent metal is only straightened and not removed, truing creates a wire. 

 

On page 3 of Experiments On Sharpening (highly recommended), Verhoeven specifically equates burrs (which he calls burs) with wires. 

 

In my opinion, the most efficient and surest way to form the finest possible, fresh-metal edge, is to create a very fine burr, chase it even finer, and deburr.  That is, it is removing the burr which creates the edge.  Pulling the burr and chasing it are preliminaries. 

 

BDL

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