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Regular knife maintenance question

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Last year my wife purchased some shun knives and I've been learning how to sharpen them recently. I purchased some wet stones and have been able to get them sharp, albeit not as sharp as when the professional sharpener did it. I'm not very interested in maintaining the blade.


I do have a honer that makes a huge difference but in terms of using the whetstone, would it make sense to sharpen with a 6k stone when I feel the blade is dulling? I figured the 6k VS using 1k and 6k would save more metal on the blade. I've also found that using the 6k stone makes the knife much sharper than just the 1k - is this expected or just that my technique isn't great?


I also recently purchased a sharpening guide rail to help me out - are these things useful?

post #2 of 13

You don't need to hone.  In fact you are likely to chip your knife with a rod.


Strop on 6k for maintenance.    When that stops working go down to 1k and back to 6k.


You are either going to follow the angle already on your bevel or you are going to set your own angle.  In either case a set angle guide does not help you at all.

post #3 of 13
If you do use a honing rod, best for that kind of knife is ceramic or glass or smooth steel. And gentle use... None of the fast slapping of e blade on the steel like is too often demonstrated by television chefs.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

I bought a shun honer just a few days ago because I read somewhere that it would guarantee that I wouldn't be buying the wrong kind of honer. It's made of steel. Actually the knife/whetstone/honer selection where I live is very limited, I think I'm going to start ordering things online from the states.


Regarding honing, I'm pretty slow in honing. My technique has been to set the angle then slice, and re-do 3-5 times on each side. I've actually noticed a huge difference after honing - from being unable to cut through tomatoes to being to easily cut through tomatoes.

post #5 of 13

The Shun honing rod has some pretty noticeable grooves...tears up a clean knife edge and just leaves it cutting by virtue of teeth. It'll be okay for tasks like tomatoes (for a while)

post #6 of 13
It's probably a wire edge, accumulated debris on top of the edge. It will fail very soon.
post #7 of 13

Much as Benuser said.  Yes back in the days of ignorance I bought the Shun waterstone/steel package.  Both are low grade items. Grooved steels aren't made for hard alloys especially to begin with, the Shun steel is a little crappy on top of that.  Their stone is not much better, a cheap mud-binder and mine was full of impurities. The 6K side is really more equivalent to a 4K.  Aluminum oxide powders get more expensive as the grit size goes up, so no surprise here considering Shun.  The $100 was more than double what it should have sold for.  Do not attempt to take advantage of their sharpening service, they will remove about 3mm from the edge and otherwise damage your knife, it is a gaf, like their warranty.

post #8 of 13

I do double bevel.   You use the medium at the most acute angle that does not just skim. then on FINE you do your less acute 'working edge"  I'd then use a good Steel BUT....I see few who do it right.  Many  do iot one hand and  fail to maintain angle or even stroke the full blade. Result? you round the edge (bad) and you grind the middle half until it is concave. VERY bad.  I do FULL stroke, hilt to tip, with EACH hand.. none of that back and forth.  When I do a knife it's SHARP.   Every kitchen I worked.. I was the Knife guy.


A VERY important aspect..... maintain a constant angle.  Stone or steel.. it's the KEY.  If you are talking FANCY knife..... know what Rockwell Hardness is about......if you have a EXPENSIVE not leave it where the busboy can steal it.   Anyhow......I can sharpen up a midrange kife to be...damn good.   A guy who buys a knife at $150 and can't sharpen it right....wasted $.  


I worked with a guy who THOUGHT his  Knife game was great.  I  challenged him.   I dropped a cherry tomato and in mid air.. cleanly cut it in half.  It dropped neatly on the counter. He TRIED that... and  hit his tomato across the room. Game over.  My regular test?   I had the blade edge up, on the counter and dropped a black olive on it from about 12".  If I had it right the olive is impaled on the blade and about 50% severed.  I had Olives handy..always about the it was like a gauge.   I seen guys "shave arm hair" but.... that  is a weak standard.   The Olive test .. i could see  the difference between okay and very good.

post #9 of 13

3-5 swipes is minimum. You then do a soft backstroke to de-burr.   the ANGLE is important as is a FULL blade stroke.  MANY cooks do a hasty swipe/flip that only does  half the edge and fails to keep angle....often they think the STEEL is how you sharp a knife.. not the stone.  I worked a few kitchens that had a good Norton Triple Stone.. but...the cooks had gunked it up with SALAD OIL.....DO NOT do that.  I'd give it 2-3 dishwasher cycles and then just use some Water. A not PRIMO but it's good if  you use it right.   You NEVER gunk up the stone with the wrong oil  ..   NEVER.   I'd rather do water or dry.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

How do you get the knife so sharp? Is it all due to technique, or because you use a higher grit stone, or what? I tried the test where you slice a tomato horizontally and I failed the test. How do people get their knives so sharp?

post #11 of 13

There are at least a few factors that would affect passing the horizontal tomato cut test. Among them are achieving a clean and well-aligned edge, fairly acute angle (this can be ideal or not depending on your overall cutting and prep usage), and also it's easier with a thinner knife/knife that is at least moderately thin behind the edge. 

post #12 of 13

must be the age

post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by Viktri View Post

How do you get the knife so sharp? Is it all due to technique, or because you use a higher grit stone, or what? I tried the test where you slice a tomato horizontally and I failed the test. How do people get their knives so sharp?
It's all about proper deburring, from the first stone on. That's the main difficulty in sharpening VG-10. With basic carbon steel you may weaken the burr and it will detach at some moment. Not so with stainless with big carbides. If it were to come off -- as does Krupp's 1.4116 -- it would leave behind a damaged, blunt edge.
You really have to abrade the burr with very light, basically longitudinal strokes, moving only a very little. When you can't get it smaller it's time to go to the next stone. An intermediate stone is helpful.
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