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Thread: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

  1. #1
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    Default Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    As per TT's infinite wisdom: voila, a thread about knife sharpening.

    What do you all use? How often? Hits and misses along the way?

    Personally, my household keeps the knife game simple: 1 Shun Usuba, 1 Shun Duba, a New West Knifeworks Santoku and an Opinel paring knife. Minor redundancy but it's knife if you've got two people working.

    For sharpening, we exclusively use Japanese waterstones. We have two, one of which is double-sided. The first is an ara-to (estimated around 750 grit), while the second is a double-sided naka-to (!4000 grit) and shiage-to (~10000 grit). Every 3 months all of the knives get the full treatment. It takes about 15 minutes per knife, so I tend to throw on a good podcast or at least make sure someone is around for entertaining company, as it's quite repetitive work..

    In the past I've owned synthetic stones and an electric sharpener, and neither got the job done as well as waterstones. They're simple to use, hard to f* up and last ages. We've had ours for 3 years now (so, about 12 rounds of 4-5 knives...) and they're not even 10% worn.

    For in between the proper sharpening sessions, we keep a honing steel around that's used probably once a week per knife.
    "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."


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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Our knives are old school and reudndant. Mostly high carbon.
    Currently, I'm using a large two sided DMT diamond plate for shaping and a medium and soft Arkansas stone for finishing. I'm never 100% happy and have been leaning two faster cutting stones.
    Same deal for pocket knives except I do like how fast the DMT plate fixes pocket knives that are abused.

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Just (yesterday) received the Misen chef's knife and sharpening stone I Kickstartered some time ago. I've got a honing steel that sees use regularly and hopefully I'll be using the knife enough to warrant honing (haha) my skills on the stone

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Also using some very fine diamond plates for heavy work. Best discovery a number of years ago is a leather stropping belt on the low-speed belt sander. A touch of compound on the belt and it will put a mirror finished edge on anything in a minute or two.

    It is possible to make the edge so smooth that it isn't durable, but if it is good hard steel this is a revelation.

    1" X 3" Leather Belt | Klingspor's Woodworking Shop

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    My wife just unboxed a Chef's Choice 15 Trizor XV as we set up the new kitchen.

    She seemed pretty thrilled with the first sharpenings. No podcasts necessary.

    Chefs-Choice-Trizor-XV.jpg
    GO!

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    I use the back of a tea mug for my SAK's
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Quote Originally Posted by davids View Post
    My wife just unboxed a Chef's Choice 15 Trizor XV as we set up the new kitchen.

    She seemed pretty thrilled with the first sharpenings. No podcasts necessary.
    I've got something similar (tho much less expensive) coming in the mail this week, we went with this one: Amazon.com: Presto 881 Professional Electric Knife Sharpener: Kitchen & Dining

    We've got some Pamper Chef knives we got as a wedding gift 7yrs ago, they're all in bad need of sharpening, most have chipped edges on the blades. They've never been sharpened, so I'm looking forward to (hopefully) getting a good edge back on them.
    Dustin Gaddis
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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Been buying stones from Jon at Japaneseknifeimports for years. He's extremely knowledgeable and is happy to give advices based on what you will be sharpening, your experience, how in depth you want to go etc. highly recommended giving him a call.
    They also have a great YouTube channel with ton of sharpening videos
    DMT diamond plate for pocket knives
     

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    No idea what brand knives I use but I use Lansky kits on all my knives ( house, work and letter openers ;) )

    Professional Knife Sharpening System, Sharpening Kit | Lansky
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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    I have been happily using Victorinox knives for years. Not fancy but decent quality. I used a large two sided whetstone to sharpen them for years but was staying at a vacation rental one time which had frightful knives so i got an Accusharp at a local shop. It did so well on them that it came home with us and has done a fine job for me ever since.
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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Uh oh. I suppose a disclaimer that you don't *need* all this stuff and that a reasonably sharp knife is often good enough.

    Japanese waterstones will give a superior result but do take more patience. I have the 220 pink monster, and a blue 800 for fixing profiles and removing chips (when I sharpen sets for family or friends). But if your knives are in good condition you only need two stones, a medium and a finishing stone. I love my aoto 2000 which is a very muddy stone that seems to polish more as you build more mud while sharpening. Will totally remove scratches from the 800 stone if needed. I mop some of the mud up with a clean rag and use it for spot polishing and rust spot removal. My finishing stone is the kitayama 8000, which honestly feels finer and does a great job polishing large surfaces of my single bevel knives.

    I then have a leather strop prepped with green chromium powder to finish the edge. I also use it between sharpenings. I would recommend against any sort of steel or even ceramic rod between sharpenings. The strop will do a better job with less damage to the geometry of the edge.

    But if I need more... like for my razor, I have a real nakayama tomae that is used for honing (and sometimes my yanagi) which will then go to a strop prepped with white chromium powder. My razor strop is a kanyamara 80000.

    One of my favorite things about sharpening is how the knives change over time and truly become my own. The large bevels on Japanese double beveled knives are ground on the wheel, making them slightly hollow. They are then sand plasted for looks. As you sharpen, you have to move the shinogi line to maintain the geometry and start to flatten this bevel. A mirror finish creeps in from the kireha and the shinogi and the look of the knife slowly changes, a sign of proper use and proper care. I should see if I can get a picture.
     

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Eventually (many years from now) the whole surface from the shinogi to the hagane line will be mirror finished. But our time together is still young.

     

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    I use a leather belt on my belt sander. Works really well.

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    I've tried a number of options: oilstone, sandpaper scarysharp, waterstone. But a few years back, bought a Lansky system and it's the winner for me. Easy, quick. Perfect for shorter knives, though longer are a bit of a compromise.
    My name is David Moeny

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Tormek T-7 to ruin my edges quickly, diamond-coated steel when I have more time to ruin them, and 3000/8000 water stones if I have all day. And yet I manage to slice myself quite handily.
     

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    stones i have are
    220
    1000/3000
    6000
    12000

    i usually use the 1000/3000 stone then 6000 then strop with an old belt
    if the edge is chipped (put yr glasses on and look at the light reflect off the edge) heavily because i got lazy i might go down to the 220 stone...

    the king 6000 stone doesn't build much mud so i use my flattening stone on that one to get it going...

    the 12000 stone only has been used for my straight razor, kitchen knives don't need that thing.
    honestly i think most people would be fine with 1000/3000 stone and a smooth belt...
     

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    after years of using a Chefs Choice, I finally picked up an Edge Pro Apex. I always had an issue getting the tips sharp with the CC, and this system solves that issue. I've re-profiled a couple of my old blades that I had almost given up on to a razors edge. Highly recommended. I have stones from a 220 grit up to 3,000 and can put a mirror polish on a blade that make the edge seem to disappear :>).
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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    For those of us with no access to a belt sander, and limited funds to shell out on a big complete system.... Anyone got a favourite method/recommendations for basic equipment? We've got 2 decent chef's knives (my Wusthof, and my wife's Shun), and a smattering of smaller paring blades (and a few Benchmade camping blades), so a pretty small fleet, but I should really get on a better maintenance routine for them...
     

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Quote Originally Posted by jjmstang View Post
    No idea what brand knives I use but I use Lansky kits on all my knives ( house, work and letter openers ;) )

    Professional Knife Sharpening System, Sharpening Kit | Lansky
    Second the Lansky. Use it on everything, fillet, pocket and kitchen knives. I'm terrible about using it regularly. I have a steel that I hit the kitchen knives with before using. Before hunting season I normally sit down and do every knife in the house.
     

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    Default Re: Keeping sharps sharp - a foray into knife-sharpening

    Quote Originally Posted by mwynne
    Anyone got a favourite method/recommendations for basic equipment?
    How much are you willing to work at it?

    First off, I'm strongly of the opinion that steel on stone of some kind is the only acceptable way to care for a blade. The systems, like the apex pro and lansky, use stones but have additional hardware to keep a set angle. These are terrific if you're sharpening many different kinds of blades and want to have great results the first time. There are other blade guides out there, but they are often less adjustable. Still, if all you want is something to hold a chefs knife at a set angle the clip-on guides are like 10 bucks and work great (search knife sharpening guide... They're all about the same).

    If you want to do it by hand (or with a clip guide), which is both honorable and will give you flexibility down the road, then you need a medium stone and a fine stone. I personally don't like combo stones (different grits on different sides), but many do and they work fine. For the medium, the king 1000 is popular and around 25-30 bucks. The bester is 20 bucks more but would be my choice for someone starting out. For a combo, the imanishi 1000/6000 is great. For a fine stone I really love my kitayama 8000, but the king 6000 is good and my local shop swears by the takenoko 8000. You are unlikely to ever wear through a finishing stone. These are all Japanese synthetic waterstones, which is my preference. Equally good are the shapton ceramics, the DMT diamond stones (but damn be careful with these, they remove material fast) and traditional whetstones, although natural whetstones are becoming difficult to find in large sizes.

    Really, you only *need* the medium stone. Coarse stones are only for repair or reprofiling. The fine stone is just to remove scratches from the medium stone and can be used to touch up the edge between full sharpenings. As I mentioned above, a leather strop is massively better for blades than any steel/round hone for knocking off the burr and for touching up the edge. Be forewarned that shun stainless knives are the hardest knives I've ever encountered and take two to three times as long to sharpen as any other blade I've ever handled.
     

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