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What is your sharpening regimen?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I thought I'd start a thread where everybody can share their regimen for sharpening their kitchen knives.

What type of equipment do you use and how do you use it? 

Feel free to add what type of knives are you using these for and a schedule, if any.

Any future improvements planned? 


Right now I have...

DMT Duosharp 600 (fine) and 1200 (x-fine). I mainly use the 600 (not fine IMO) for setting a bevel. I use the 1200 side more often but just for touching up a worn edge. 


Arashiyama 6000 as my fine stone. I really love this stone because it's so versatile. You can use it as a splash-and-go and it tends to act like a true 6000 grit like this. If I give it a 10 minute soak I can put a much better polish on the blade. If I soak it and then scrub it to build up a lot of mud it puts a really fine polish and is more like an 8000 grit. So, really I can use this 3 different ways. This stone really is a joy to use and I do most of my work on this and this only after the strop!


Idahone Ceramic Rod Hone. I use this just for a few touch ups every now and then. I tend to use this much less than I originally intended to use it. It's nice for a "quickie".  


Hand American Split Leather Strop loaded with Chromium Oxide. I use this just about every day to put a killer polish on my edges and to do quick touch up hones. After this final stage of mine, I can do all the "sharp tricks" you see guys doing on the internet, like cutting the top of a tomato off slowly without touching it. If you're not stropping, I highly suggest looking into it. 


In the future I'm planning on upping my stone collection and trying a few different strop compounds and leathers. I'm thinking I'll buy a Kitayama 8000 soon. I hear this will get me up to 12000 grit like edges. It sounds a lot like my beloved Arashiyama in the fact that it's multi useful like that. I'd also like to get a few more lower grit stones to replace the duosharp. The more I use that thing, the less I like it. 


Feel free to share what type of equipment you use. This is a chef forum, not a knife nut forum, so I'd like to hear all the various ways people are getting their edges. If you just use a chef's choice, or some machine, don't be embarrassed to share. If you use only the finest jnats, I'd love to hear about them too! Anything in between that, including rubbing your knife on a special rock in your backyard, share this too!


(When I lived in Brazil, the furnished apartment I rented came with a terrible knife. I used the ceramic kitchen counter top to sharpen it so I could actually use it!) 

post #2 of 26

Hey VC. My to go equipment used to be this:


Wet-dry sandpaper to flatten stones over a granite slab.

Local natural water stone about #400 (rarely used)

Local natural water stone about #900 (rarely used)

Bestone #500.

Bester #1200.

Shapton Glass stone #1000.

Naniwa SS #1000.

Naniwa SS #5000.

A chromium loaded leather on glass strop.


Suddenly i felt I was wasting a lot of time sharpening for no good so i changed my mind and now I'm more into cooking. This is what i actually use:


Bester #1200 (or Glass stone #1000 while traveling).

Eventually strop.

That's it.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
post #3 of 26

I use Spyderco Triangle sharp makers every time my knives need a touch up.  I use the white(fine) stick instead of a steel.  I believe they are 3000 grit or finer.  When I need ( very rare) more I use Western stones followed by the Spyderco

post #4 of 26
Here is my arsenal:
XXL DMT for Stone flat and havy tasks (just used on The stones though)
250 (just used on The otb knives to set up The bevel as I like) and 400 king;
Chosera 1k, 3k, 6k and 10k
Balsa strop on Cr oxide;
Bare leather strop.
post #5 of 26
So far I have used the Chef's Choice on my Victorinox Forschner 8" Chef's knife with good results, but it's a 20° bevel and that just won't do for the Japanese gyuto I recently bought which has a 15° bevel. By the way just as an aside, if you're in windows and want to make a degree symbol, hold down ALT while typing 248 on your numeric keypad.

Back to sharpening, while I could get a Chef's Choice with 15° bevel ability, I'd rather take a different path to sharpening this time. I'm thinking of getting this:

It's the AGPtek sharpener. You can pretty much select what angle you want and it will stay at that angle as you sharpen. Though the reviewers prefer to get some after market better sharpening stones for it. It's only $25 as compared to Edge Pro which does the same thing but costs about 10 times as much.

A review of the Edge Pro on YouTube so you get an idea of how it works:

Anyone ever use one of these types of sharpeners?
post #6 of 26

sharpening regimen:


on 800 grit waterstone

on 2000 grit naniwa waterstone

on 5000 grit waterstone.


since I started using a ceramic steel, don't need to sharpen as often as I used to...... even when using my knives in a pro setting.

post #7 of 26

If establishing a new edge or for profile tweaks I have a 250 J-stone.  If I need to just establish an edge I use a 400 Geshin or 500 Bester followed by a 1k.  After that for protein knives I stop at 3k for fish I go to 6k.  After that I strop on cardboard then newspaper - I also deburr in between each stone.  I use a Mac ceramic rod and a felt block for day to day alignment.

post #8 of 26
Severe repair, stock removal and shaping work goes to a 1x42 belt grinder, and lots of water. It's just faster. I'd love one of those circular stone systems!

A mix of Shapton, and Naniwa stones for all my hand work.
Naniwa green brick, yellow lobster, and white. Shapton anywhere from 220-15000 depending on what the requirements are

Finish on a strop loaded with something fun.

At work, it's either a double-sided strop & cork(one loaded with 15k diapaste, other bare. Chromium oxide and boron carbide are not work friendly but so nice) and my ceramic hone for toothy edges.
post #9 of 26

It depends what I think a knife needs.  My kit is a Spyderco Sharpmaker,  a heavily swarfed diamond stone, wet dry sandpaper, loaded leather strop.  


The Spyderco is a surprisingly versatile piece of kit that doesn't take much skill to use. Also handles scissors, needles, vegie peelers and other things you wouldn't think you could sharpen yourself. While the stone lovers here at Cheftalk often dismiss it, with a little practice and focus you can lay on a very good edge on most steels. Once you get into the 61ish range of hardness, you do need to look elsewhere as it will just take too long, though there are some cheats... I use this kit with my kids a lot as it helps you learn the common sharpening angles of 20 and 15 degrees. Also will do serrations as for good bread knives.   


Cook's Illustrated complained about how the Sharpmaker is slow though they did like the edge it produces.  I don't think they had much practice with it because I don't find it slow at all and you can put on a surpising edge for a crockstick kit. 


The diamond stone (fairly fine), i use because it's fast. But it doesn't lay on a particularly special edge. I leave the swarf to slow down how fast it cuts and to keep the edge less toothed. 


I do most of my serious sharpening on the wet dry sandpaper in pursuit of and support of a convex edge. This is only for the larger knives. Chef and petty. Parers, boning knives I stick with the sharpmaker or diamond stone and then some stropping on the leather. My slicer usually gets sharpened on the Sharpmaker.


The leather strop is mostly a finishing tool.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #10 of 26

I use the following based on the steel being sharpened:


1) chosera water stones progression: 400, 1k, 3k, 5k, 8k snow white, 10k, strop CrO, strop .25 micron diamond spray

2) shapton glass water stones on the edge pro progression: 500, 1k, 2k, 4k, 6k, 8k, 15k, 30k, strop .25 micron diamond spray (hoping to get finer grit emulsions soon)

3) spyderco ceramic bench stones progression: medium, fine, ultrafine, strop CrO

4) spyderco sharpmaker: fine, ultrafine, strop CrO


The choseras see only carbon steels mostly Aogami Super, the shaptons are reserved for SG2 and ZDP-189, and the spydercos get used on VG10 and CPM154.  The sharpmaker is for touchups if needed.

Edited by simar - 10/19/13 at 6:16pm
post #11 of 26

Beston 500
Bester 1200
Suehiro Rika 5000
Idahone ceramic rod
1.0 micron CBN slurry on balsa


I also find I don't use the ceramic rod as much as I thought I might, since usually I'll just strop for touch-ups. I permasoak the stones, and flatten with drywall screen. Steels my knives are made of include white #2 (Ashi Hamono cleaver), blue #2 (Tanaka petty), some sort of generic Chinese carbon (#3 cleaver), some sort of generic Chinese stainless (smaller cleaver my wife uses), AEBL (Artifex gyuto, for the moment), some sort of molybdenum vanadium stainless (Fujiwara FKM petty), and X45CrMo in a couple of German knives. I've also got some .5 micron CBN slurry, but I haven't busted it out yet.

post #12 of 26

Whether it's for a client or just for myself, I try to get to the edges before they get too dull.  When someone mentions that the edge is "serviceable" but lost that keenness, it's time to touch them up.  I think part of my job is to save metal.


I usually do the (main) knives of professional chefs once per month.  For caterers who do all-nighters before weddings it might be more often.  Some steel is very soft and you get calls often.


Some knives work just fine with an edge at 2000 grit.  Some yanagiba fish knives can be polished from 50,000 to 100,000 grit.  I try not to go that high with a nakiri because the edge is so thin, but some clients prefer it.


I just bought myself a Zero Tolerance 0121.  Traditionally that's a camp knife.  However, an EDC for me also means food preparation.  I have some Japanese 400 grit stones from my supplier that leave a matte' finish, like an old stainless refrigerator.  A tad toothy.  I can cook dinner, bone a chicken, make a sandwich and open a UPS box with this same edge.


Having said that I have a Mantis Tough Tony I use when my wife and go to B&N for coffee.  Sometimes she buys a sandwich there.  That little knife is buffed over 30,000 grit.  The blade blank is a full 1/4 inch wide, and it slides through any media better.  It makes a great folding paring knife.

post #13 of 26

what are you using for 50,000 and 100,000 grit?

post #14 of 26
Originally Posted by simar View Post

what are you using for 50,000 and 100,000 grit?


I get a special emulsion from my stone supplier.  If you send me a PM I can give you his contact info.

post #15 of 26

I've got 100, 50, and 25 nanometer emulsions from Ken that I use on roo, but I thought you were talking about stones or tapes of that grit.  The highest grit stone I have played with is the 30k shapton glass. 

post #16 of 26

Ahhh.  Yeah, Ken has me addicted to those, too.  LOL.  When he started me onto Alumina I couldn't believe my eyes.  I never thought I'd need to go higher in the grit range.  Then he's dangle a newer bottle, and then a newer bottle after that!


I'm having trouble loading  a picture, but I took a ESEE Number 5 (a fixed blade knife capable of batoning firewood) and it got it so shiny there isn't a hint of a smudge or whisker mark in the entire bevel.  I've seen sushi knives that weren't that sharp.


The problem is that every time I talk to him on the telephone it costs me!  Of course, my edges get even sharper...

post #17 of 26
Are you sure these extreme grits do make any sense where kitchen knives are concerned? I rarely use my 5k Chosera for anything other than deburring, and a piece of leather with Cr2O3 to make sure no burr remainings are being left.
Edited by Benuser - 10/22/13 at 3:37pm
post #18 of 26

depending on the steel, you might be able to take it to really refined levels.  If the steel is tough enough, then you may subscribe to the idea that the higher the progression, the longer it takes to dull in normal use.

post #19 of 26
I guess it's rather the scratch resistance which is involved, more than toughness, but I got the idea.
post #20 of 26

I have and use....


 Atoma plate, Beston 500, Chosera 1k, Chosera 3K, Sue Hiro Rika, and Chosera 10k,


I take my gyuto's to 5, yanagi/ slicers to 10, and petty's/ boning to 3k. 


I debur with cork & occasionally strop if I got the time....

post #21 of 26

I have to get some of Ken's new CBN emulsions.  Bark River is actually going to start selling them soon, too.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
post #22 of 26

As I don't intend to shave with my kitchen knives I just use a double-sided waterstone with about 800 and 2000 grit. I steel my knives when I detect a slight dullness, and grind a few strokes on a flat stone whenever I cannot easily cut a tomato. This in practice is needed about once every 1-3 months. I use my knives carefully and rinse and wipe them immediately after every use, and put them in a block. I have taught my family to do the same and never to cut on a hard surface; and I now very rarely need the 800 grit. Half a dozen strokes on each side will usually restore full sharpness. I am looking for a functional kitchen knife, not a work of polishing art.

post #23 of 26
Sure, but depending on the steel type, you may want a finer medium to make sure you removed all burrs and their debris.
post #24 of 26

Generic 250 flattening plate

Beston 500
Bester 1200
Suehiro Rika 5000


I like the last two better than the 1k and 4k shapton glass stones I had because they give better feedback. Don't know if they get the knives any sharper, though.

post #25 of 26


some fancy work going on here.


I have a $30 500\1000 wetstone. a 1000\4000 $48 same.  with a 600 grit Diamond oval steel and a worn out smoother diamond steel around 25yrs old or more.

(Smooth as)

and a 3 inch old army leather belt for stropping. had it for my cutthroat yrs ago

Plus near 50 yrs practice, on and off.  at keeping knives sharp in the paddocks as a shooter\Skinner and 5 yrs or so as a boner in meatworks..

The best blade steel I ever had for skinning knives was the 2inch blades from power hacksaws in workshops. Snap it to suit. grind to shape. Mould rubber handle on end and you can skin anything   Smooth as.

Now at 72. I'm starting on Japanese knives and have to learn all over again. Specially the angles...

post #26 of 26
Strop on .5 micron diamond until needing a touch up usually a month to three depending on use.

Gesshin 400, 2k, 4k, 8k

Then jnats like takashima, red aoto etc
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