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Freshening kitchen knife edges. . . .

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  • #55112
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 47
    • Replies: 339

    I’ve asked this here myself in the past as to what stones and progression users use to freshen an already profiled and sharpened knife.

    Since I’m home cooking more than ever since past March I found 6 of my 15 various knives on my rack have lost their sharpness.  When they can’t pass the “sticky thumbnail test” I know its time to re-sharpen them.

    What really worked well for me was to use my notes of the angle I originally used on a particular knife and mount it in the WE.  I then started with the 400 grit using the normal heel to tip strokes I did 30 strokes on each side.  Wiped the edge with a paper towel and did 30 strokes with the 600.

    Then I switched to the 800 for 30 strokes and then the 1,000.  And thats it.  I stopped right there.  Even though I have more grits and strops I’ve found with kitchen knives stopping at 1,000 leaves you with a super sharp somewhat toothy edge thats ideal for cutting and slicing.  It was nice to finish each so quickly.  Now they are all back to passing the sticky thumbnail test again where you lightly rest the blades edge on your thumbnail and move it towards the tip of you thumb.  If it slips when doing this test on 3 different areas of the blade tip, middle and towards the heel then it’s time to re-sharpen.  If it sticks then it’s still plenty sharp for your average kitchen needs.

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    #55115
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 2016

    Coincidently, today I sharpened a half-dozen of my Grizzly knives and two of my kitchen knives.  One of the knives needed for me to start out with my 400 grit stones, but the rest all were good with the 800’s.  Now that I have the 2200-grit stones, I’ve been ending with them.  Most are very short blades, so 15 strokes is enough, even where the edge is a bit wonky.  And even with the extra two stones, it doesn’t take long to run thru the 800 /1000/ 1500 / 2200 sequence. With 2″ blades, 10 strokes each were all that’s needed, so it goes pretty quickly.

    I also sharpened a skeletonized Walther knife that I’ve had for quite a few years.  There’s not much steel left behind the edge, so it’s relegated to opening envelopes.

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    #55120
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 47
    • Replies: 339

    Two of the kitchen knives were from the 3 knife Shun starter set I bought last year.  They have lifetime free sharpening and I already sent them back 6 months ago as a tiny tip on the mid sized one had broken off.  They sharpened all 3 and repaired the tip.  I’m not surprised that a tip broke as they use VG-Max steel and it seems very brittle as this is the second time a tiny piece of tip broke off and both times I don’t remember how I possibly snapped it off? Takes at least 3 weeks round trip plus shipping, so I figured I’m done with sending them back and I finally work up the courage to sharpen them myself.

    A google showed Shun uses a 16 degree angle, so I profiled them at 16 starting with the 400’s.  Surprisingly I raised a burr in a short period of time.  I was expecting hard steel to take a lot longer.  Brought them up to the 1,000 grit and stopped.  These knives at 16 degrees don’t show much of a bevel, so it did not take me very long including the re-profiling as compared to sharpening my collection of Chris Reeve CPM S35VN folders or Benchmade, Spiderco etc.

    #55121
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 2016

    In my experience, the difference between quality kitchen knives and their lower cost competition lies in the thickness of the blades and thin blades really need to be made of high cost steels.

    Small (narrow) bevels, especially at low angles, are sure evidence of a blade that is very thin at the shoulders.  Very thin blades are a pleasure to use in the kitchen.  They also sharpen easily as there’s very little steel to be removed as compared to thicker blades.  Unfortunately, where the steel is very hard, it can also be quite brittle, tending to chip rather than dent when subjected to high forces.  “High forces” can be applied by pressing too hard to an edge on a cutting board.  If the force applied shifts to one side or the other, bits of the edge can be made to break away.

     

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    #55166
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 47
    • Replies: 339

    Exactly.  Well said TC.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #55973
    Joe
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 27

    ightly rest the blades edge on your thumbnail and move it towards the

    Quick question, am I correct in saying that when it’s time to touch up a dull knife, you need to create a burr again? Assuming with a high grit stone though maybe 800, or lower if that doesn’t create a burr?

    #55976
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 63
    • Replies: 2439

    A burr is the physical indicator that your scratch pattern has apexed the knife edge.  You can draw a burr or with experience and a trained eye and a visual magnifying aid you can apex the edge without drawing a burr.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #55977
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 253

    ightly rest the blades edge on your thumbnail and move it towards the

    Quick question, am I correct in saying that when it’s time to touch up a dull knife, you need to create a burr again? Assuming with a high grit stone though maybe 800, or lower if that doesn’t create a burr?

    Yes.

    #55979
    Joe
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 27

    ightly rest the blades edge on your thumbnail and move it towards the

    Quick question, am I correct in saying that when it’s time to touch up a dull knife, you need to create a burr again? Assuming with a high grit stone though maybe 800, or lower if that doesn’t create a burr?

    Yes.

    Awesome, I’ve been reading forum posts all day preparing myself for my first attempt at sharpening a junk knife on my WE. I am surprised I haven’t seen anyone mention breaking in diamond stones with something like a sacrificial chisel from home depot, learned that from a buddy, works great, I pre broke in all of WE stones, they feel much smoother.

    #55982
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 63
    • Replies: 2439

    While breaking in your stones, on knives, you are also learning how to use the W.E and to sharpen knives, also.  It takes about the same time to break in your stones well as it takes to learn how to sharpen knives.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    2 users thanked author for this post.
    #55986
    000Robert
    Participant
    • Topics: 6
    • Replies: 253

    Awesome, I’ve been reading forum posts all day preparing myself for my first attempt at sharpening a junk knife on my WE. I am surprised I haven’t seen anyone mention breaking in diamond stones with something like a sacrificial chisel from home depot, learned that from a buddy, works great, I pre broke in all of WE stones, they feel much smoother.

    I agree with Marc. It’s better to break-in the stones while you gain experience sharpening knives.

    #56054
    Richard
    Participant
    • Topics: 13
    • Replies: 170

    I tend to agree. I usually start at 800 grit and go from there. If I’m not seeing consistent scratch patterns the entire length of the blade, I drop it to maybe 600 to dig in a little deeper and go from there.

    #56078
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 2016

    I’ll concur, taking exception where a user whose skills are well developed wants to break in a new set of stones.  I use a piece of plate glass, begged from a local glass shop.  It’s about 6 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1/4″ thick.  I think it speeds up the break in process about ten-fold.  This is what I use, but I don’t necessarily recommend it.  Overdoing it could shorten a stone’s life significantly.  I apply only the same pressure I’d use on a blade.  On the other hand, I’d rather be a diamond than a piece of glass.

    The roots of this began when I had a pair of 800 stones which should have been well-broken-in, and they just destroyed the edge on my ZDP-189 Delica.  Chips up the gazumpstump.  I examined the stones with my ‘scope and found a couple of diamond clusters which were oriented longitudinally.  Normal use wouldn’t knock the clusters off, so I took a few strokes on the glass plate and bingo! the clusters were gone.

     

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