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Japanese Edge Retention

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi guys. I have a question for you all out there who are using japanese knives, particularly any of you using knives made from Blue steel. How often do you strope your knive with or without a polishing compound. I've been polishing my new 7in Takeda fukuyami everyday before my shift and the edge is lost by the end of the day (mind you, I prefer a razor edge). I've also been polishing it on a 8000x grit ceramic stone once a week. Is this normal frequency for a knife that is made of hard japanese steel getting heavy daily use in a professional setting?
post #2 of 22

It depends on a lot of things, including how you initially sharpened it, what you're cutting and how much cutting you're doing.  No matter what steel the knife is made of that FOtS (Fresh Off the Stone) sharpness is fairly fleeting, I'm afraid.  It should still cut well though.  Hard to say how long it will stay "sharp" since that's subjective.  But a Takeda should get through a few services without a honing...for most of us anyways.

 

Do you have a honing rod? IMO you need a fine ceramic at a minimum, and better still a glass honing rod.  A few very light licks periodically will wonders for you edge.  In a working kitchen I think a ceramic rod is a bit more practical than a strop.  YMMV.

"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
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"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
Reply
post #3 of 22
Depend, but pretty normal for me. With my masamoto Virgin carbon steel and jck carbon I can go for 2 day easily, with ceramic rod in between if necessary . Mind you the angle of my knives are very small, can't cut hard stuff. . My kanetsugu pro-j with convec only last 1 night, pro-m for MEP, my victorinox done after 1/2 bag of green onion. But again depend how much and what u cut, and how dull u think before you say your knife is done.
post #4 of 22

I'd have to agree with the other guys. It's not just a matter of "Blue2" although we're happy you at least let us know. But also we don't know how well it was tempered and annealed. And different boards are going to affect your retention as well as what you're cutting and how long you're cutting a day.

 In general I can go longer, about 2 weeks with my superA core knives doing most common food items on a poly board. I am not using any honyaki Japanese now.
I find it a bit impractical to stop all the time. Like the other guys, I think a good ceramic rod is nice and quick. I'm using a 1.3 K Taidea ceramic rod at 65 rockwell to hone in between sharpenings. The black ceramic rod by MAC is about 1.6K at 68 Rockwell. I've never used glass (borosilicate) so I can't give good info on them


Edited by harrisonh - 11/3/15 at 5:53pm
post #5 of 22
Speaking of blue steel #2, now I remember 5-6 years ago a local store lent me one (forget the brand) it was $700. Used it for 3 days, cut vegi, filet fish etc, still razor sharp no honing but was too brittle, chipped everywhere.
I don't know how u guys able to use expensive knife for daily use
post #6 of 22

The heat treat is way more important than the type of steel.  Let's examine this with an analogy; are hamburgers good?  What do we mean by hamburgers!  If you take the same hunk of meat and divide it into three pieces and take one to McDonald's, one to Five Guys and one to Heston Blumenthal each will deliver something very different to the plate.  Likewise Blue #2 in the hands of one smith will result in a very different edge than Blue #2 in the hands of another.  The heat treat is to steel what cooking is to a steak- it's everything.  Or at least it's a lot.

 

A charged strop is very good for maintaining and edge but not super practical in a working kitchen IMO.  You need somewhere to store it that it will stay clean and not get compound on everything.  If your setup allows for that then a leather/balsa-wood/kangaroo strop will work well. But for most of us a honing rod is more practical.

"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #7 of 22

How do you debur?  What type of cutting board are you using?  Are you rocking, chopping, or slicing?  Sounds like you might benefit from a micro bevel.  

post #8 of 22
In addition only: factory edges tend to be quite weak. Start a full sharpening with a coarse stone. When you keep the blade thin behind the edge you may put a rather conservative edge on it -- say 30-35 degree inclusive -- without losing performance.
post #9 of 22

yes, Phadreus is correct in the talent and intuition of the knife maker has a lot to do with the final outcome. Blue IS easier for a less experienced knifemaker, but many of the Japanese and one infamous American with Japanese training actually prefer white2 to blue but that it is much harder for the craftsman to get perfection with white. I used to have one of those, but sold it at a profit. Hoping that I'll get another for Christmas.

post #10 of 22
I've been using takamura migaki r2, now edge retention is brilliant, I'll take it to my 6k stone after service just for a quick touch up , nothing major, as for rods I always heard that it's a huge no no , with Japanese steel.

I also had my first few chips in the migaki, my chef got a hold of it ( heavy handed) , I had my back turned on grill look back and chips , I've finally got the chips out took a couple of sharpening sessions but I feel since that has happened , the edge retention has got a little worse . Is that a possibility ?
post #11 of 22
And also , is there any thing on the market to buff out the odd scratches from my stones on my knifes?
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pricey View Post

I've been using takamura migaki r2, now edge retention is brilliant, I'll take it to my 6k stone after service just for a quick touch up , nothing major, as for rods I always heard that it's a huge no no , with Japanese steel.

I also had my first few chips in the migaki, my chef got a hold of it ( heavy handed) , I had my back turned on grill look back and chips , I've finally got the chips out took a couple of sharpening sessions but I feel since that has happened , the edge retention has got a little worse . Is that a possibility ?
Resharpen it and start fairly behind the edge with a relatively coarse stone, just to make sure you renew all the steel and have it properly thinned. End with a very conservative edge -- say a 35 degree inclusive.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pricey View Post

And also , is there any thing on the market to buff out the odd scratches from my stones on my knifes?
Use automotive sand"paper" with a linen backing, and start with the grid that corresponds to your scratches.
post #14 of 22
Can't go wrong using Japanese water stones. Once blade has the proper edge it is easy to keep sharp. A few strokes on a thousand grit a few strokes on a twelve hundred grit then to a polishing stone . Fifteen minutes every few days Admittedly a touch messy but you can't go wrong. Stones are sold in upscale woodworking stores or on the net used or new. Japanese knives use a harder cutting edge than European style knives. The harder the steel the more the edge will hold a razor sharp edge. Down side the harder the steel the more brittle, easier to chip.
post #15 of 22
The numbers are a bit confusing. Fifteen minutes is the time you need for perhaps a complete sharpening, not for regular touch-ups. I wouldn't start with a 1k, and what sense does it make to have it followed by a 1.2k??
Perform instead a few edge very light trailing strokes on your finest stone. Just a few. If that isn't enough, do the same with second finest one, and so on, until you have restored your edge.
post #16 of 22


For me it seems the more expensive the knife the more fragile it is.. And I find myself using it for certain things and not others, that's a bad thing.   I don't chop rosemary with a 500 dollar knife. The sharpest knives seems to be the thinnest and weakest.  I bought a Mr.Ito custom abalone handle santoku for almost 500 dollars. Beautiful ! l The most beautiful knife by far that I have ever seen.  After buying it and holding on to it ....( waiting till not working in a commercial kitchen)   for almost a year and finally bit the bullet doing private work and actually used it for real work,  The first day the knife was so sharp I was using a wooden cutting board and the tip got a slight bent tip cutting basic cuts,  literally cutting in to the cutting board.  Maybe bent 1 mm but enough for me to notice on a perfect Japanese knife  Tried to straiten it out on a wet stone and it snapped.  After that it was still a cool knife but I could literally feel little chips coming off the knife chopping and thing with resistance and would hold it up and see the minuscule chips ,  Can't ever remember on the mainstream high end knives actually feeling the knife chip and examining the blade with a naked eye seeing the chips.. Had my B knife shun 7" santoku,  Its a nice hard blade that sharpens well on a wet stone.  So expensive knifes are good but knowing how to sharpen medium expense knives well and spend 4 times less seems to be more realistic for me.  For me its not about being razor sharp as holding a good edge, throw it on the stone, a steel and have a sharp knife.  Although its nice to have some eye candy on the shelf

post #17 of 22
The time I was talking about includes the stone prep. It takes a few minutes to fully wet the stones. The Klein up takes a few minutes also. Like anything else prep and clean up take more time than the doing.
I just explained how I do it. This has worked for me with knives and Japanese cutting tools for years. I prefer German and American knife design. Japanese design is great for slicing. I and I stress I ,find it way too brittle for any type of rough tasks. You can break down fish frames with a good western style knife that would ding up the harder Japanese steel.
post #18 of 22
Brittleness has often to do with a weak factory edge, and disappears after a few sharpenings. Start with a coarse stone behind the edge, thin a bit and put a rather conservative final edge on it.
post #19 of 22
Well I have the takamura migaki and today it chipped, now I only sharpened it last night. thinned it behind the wedge and sharpened.all day been fine 6 hours in chipped on some pumpkin.. YES!

Obviously some work when I get home but no big deal.
I'm going to assume it's the knifed step being too thin compared to my pumpkins hard skin so it's my own fault, when I sharpen it I get it around 12 on the left side 15 ish on the right, something wrong with my angles maybe?
post #20 of 22

How big is the chip?  If it's small, just do your normal sharpening until the chips sharpen out.

 

After you take it all the way up your stone progression as normal, then do a microbevel on the right side only, using your finishing stone (ex. 6000 grit stone) at 30-45 degrees.  I think you'll notice a big difference in chippiness

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwnFrjiAA_8

 

Technique wise ,  you want to push forward and down, not just straight down ( i think it is more likely to torque the blade and that's bad on harder steels).  That's why it's important to have a long enough knife.

post #21 of 22

First: why would you thin such a thin blade?

Second: you don't do pumpinks with lasers. A minimum torque and voilà.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #22 of 22
If you want to restore a previous configuration you thin a bit every time perform a full sharpening, just to compensate for the taper.
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