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Ryusen Blazen and sharpening advice.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm fairly new to sharpening and Japanese knives and would appreciate some advice. So far my sharpening has been limited to have a go with a Chroma #800 grit medium whetstone and using a minosharp pull through on some globals and Porsche 301's. After some fairly extensive online reading I've purchase a couple of Blazens as my first decent Japanese Knives (240 Gyuto and 150 petty). I don't really want to go down the route of freehand sharpening (although I've no objection to a few strokes on one if required) so I'm looking to purchase a sharpening system I can learn to use. I've narrowed this down to the EP Essentials kit on CKtG but would appreciate a few questions answering so as to set me on the right track.


I'm only a hobby cook so I guess sharpening will be fairly infrequent, but will I need a ceramic hone to use as part of finishing the sharpening process? Would a few light strokes on this be required to keep the edge between sharpening or should I just use the EP for this? Would a strop be better / of any use at all, or is the EP all I need to give me the sharpness I require for my usage?


I would appreciate if someone could confirm that Blazens are 50/50 with an approx 15 degree edge (asymmetrical) as I've read conflicting reports.


This knife and sharpening business can get pretty technical so I was just looking for a bit of simple advice as to the best way for me to keep the edge on them. My Blazens OfTB were scary sharp, shave hairs of the back of my hand with ease. Fit and finish top notch and I'm absolutely loving using them.




post #2 of 9

EP Essentials kit is a great start for your Blazen. 


The Blazen's PM alloy is hardened to the point where truing on a steel is probably not a good idea.  I'd suggest stropping or "touching up" on your polishing stone -- but you won't have a polishing stone. 


Best inexpensive solution:  Get some pieces of 12x3x3/4" MDF, glue some manilla folder cardboard to the surface, and strop on that.  Also an extremely good way to finish polishing out your knife after the 4K GS surface.



post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you BDL. I've read many of your posts with interest. So no ceramic hone needed, just that EP kit and a polishing stone or the cheap manila folder trick. Would you recommend a polishing stone from CKtG for finishing off the sharpening and touch ups? I'm guessing my Chroma #800 grit is too rough, so therefore redundant.


Were the specs right for the knife? 15 degree edge etc? I'll use the magic marker trick to make sure I'm doing it right.


Thank you in advance.

post #4 of 9

For price/performance, Kitayama and Naniwa Pure White are both great choices in finishing stones.  The Kitayama finish looks frosty, the Pure White looks shiny.  Both leave an ultra-fine and very slippery surface. If you were using the stones to polish as well as true, the Pure White would handle the jump from 4K faster.  But it's basically a coin toss.  FWIW, I've owned both. 


Still dangling is the question of whether someone who bought an EP presumably to avoid using bench stones really wants a bench stone at all. 


Just in terms of truing, any smooth strop will do as well as a stone.  But, be aware, that stropping is its own thing and has its own learning curve.  Also be aware that when you're using an ultra-fine stone to polish, to true, or both -- you can do by stropping; and further be aware that once you've established a good edge at the medium/fine level, you can polish it as effectively on strops as on stones. 


Is this getting clearer or am I making it worse?



post #5 of 9
Do you really think these very high grits do make any sense where kitchen knives are concerned?
post #6 of 9

i think somewhere in the 4-6k range makes more sense, but 8k isnt that far out of the question... much beyond that doesnt make sense to me personally in this case

post #7 of 9

You're really asking about useful a polish will be in terms of longevity since there's really no limit to how fine one can polish most good alloys.  Polishing beyond 4K JIS is good for some, but not all, kitchen knives.  It depends on the knife's scratch hardness and its use.  I take three of my gyuto and one of my sujis to at least 8K; sometimes stropping them to 1/4u diamond or CBN -- because I don't have any 1/2u charges, which would probably do just as well. 


I stop at a Surgical Black Arkansas or a 3K Chosera with my other knives, because anything finer wouldn't last much longer than a heartbeat.  


Stropping very strong, hard blades in order to true them is very slightly different.  For one thing, the fact that the alloys are too strong to true on a rod says something about their scratch hardness; and for similar reasons scuff weakens them and makes them chip prone.  So, when stropping to true, you can't get too fine.  Smooth, uncharged leather; newsprint; shirt-board; etc., are very good.  So is stropping on a very fine polishing stone.  So is stropping on a very fine polishing stone, charged with compound.


There are lots of good ways to do things.



post #8 of 9
Thank you both, guys!
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

BDL, it's getting clearer. Since reading your post I've been looking at stropping and it would seem it does have a learning curve of it's own! I think the EP will do me fine and the stropping will finish and maintain. Liking the idea of the manilla folder unless you can recommend one to buy and I might try it with some paste etc. At least with just the manilla on a piece of MDF I'm unlikely to knacker my knife!

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