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Questions on first J-knife sharpening w/ Sharpmaker & grind angles

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
So, long story short: my 30th birthday is comming up and when asked what I wanted, I knew right away to say 'kitchen knife'. I went to my Amazon wishlist and found a Shun Classic I bookmarked awhile back. It seemed perfect until I decided to Google about the Shun hype and I quickly came upon a BDL post talking some knowledge on the matter.

More BDL research gets me this list of his recommended starter knives and comparing them all to wants/budget I have decided on the Masamoto VG.

My concern though is with it's sharpening. I am setup with Spyderco Sharpmaker which I have gained decent skill with on my folding knives and I was hoping to use this on my new kitchen knife but I am reading the Masa comes with a 70/30 grind. I sharpmaker would only do 50/50. I don't want to learn how to reprofile on my new $200 birthday present...

Am I doing myself a disservice by getting a knife who's factory grind I cannot maintain? How important is it to have an un-even grind on this knife to enhance its performance?

I heard the MAC Pro is more 'westernized' and comes with a 50/50 grind. If this is my better option I will take it but something about the Masamoto is calling to me...

Aside: I am no professional and would use the knife only a couple times a week on family dinners. I want a knife I can grow into and is fun, durable, versatile, and in-stock.
Edited by chrickso - 7/24/13 at 6:04am
post #2 of 3

To the extent the Sharpmaker sharpens at all, it can sharpen 70/30.  You just sharpen the right side of the edge with roughly twice as many strokes as the left.  However, in the greater scheme of good sharpening tools the Sharpmaker is very close to the bottom.  That's an issue you may want to address -- if only by talking it out -- first. 


The 60/40 - 70/30 range of asymmetry is very useful but it's not a make or break consideration; and neither is it permanent.  A Masamaoto VG can easily be converted to 50/50 or even 70/30 lefty without affecting the knife's "perceived sharpness" by much. 


In terms of overall usability, edge taking properties, etc., there's not a lot to choose between when it comes to MAC Pro and Masamoto VG.  The Masamoto is slightly thinner, and has a better profile.  The MAC is significantly stiffer, has better quality control, and a better handle.  MAC also has better factory support but there's so much good post-sales dealer support these days, that as long as you buy from a good dealer that shouldn't be much of an issue during the first few months.  If something happens a couple of years from now, then we're back talking about MAC's wonderful factory support.  


Because of its stiffness, and because most people shopping for that first, really good knife aren't addicted to a particular blade profile, I recommend the MAC Pro more often than the Masamoto -- but I'm certainly not trying to talk you out of the Masa.  As you know, I like them a great deal too.



post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
thanks for the reply.

could you explain the appeal of a 'stiff' knife? why is it better or not for beginners? wouldn't i reach a skill point where it would be advantageous to have the not-so-stiff one and then i'd be wanting to upgrade? masa seems more like a long term partner than a good 'get me started and then move on' type like the MAC. I really don't know but that's how I see it.

as for the sharpmaker, it will just have to do for now. i live in a small apartment with my wife and son so space for stones is limited. the 'sink rack' idea is intriguing but, again, not looking to learn freehand on a $200 Masamoto. some day though...i would like to learn
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