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Miyabi Birchwood Chef’s Knife Sharpening Tips for Newbie???

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  • #56574
    Andrei
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 3

    Hi Guys,

    I’m new to this forum, and I’ve been searching specifically for videos and the forums on sharpening Japanese knives using WE.  I’m looking for advice, so I don’t ruin the chef’s knife when it comes time to sharpen it.

    Current WE equipment:

    Gen 3 Pro

    Diamond Stones – 100/200, 400/600, 800/1000, 1500/2200, 3000/ blank (3 micron diamond lapping film) , 5/3.5 diamond micron leather strops

    Low Angle Adapter

    Digital Angle Gauge

    Extra Shelf

    12” Guide Rods

    From what I’ve been reading, most people are recommending using wet stones on the Miyabi.  The knife is supposed to have a bevel of 9-12 degrees.  What I’m concerned about is using the current stones on the Miyabi.  I’m considering ordering the Shapton Pro Kuromaku stones designed for the WE @ 320/1000, 1500/2000, 5000/8000.

    What’s everyone experience with Miyabi knives if any of you have them, should I get the Shapton or attempt with what I have?

     

     

    #56575
    Dwight Glass
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 81

    It dose not matter what your good, valuable or important knife is.

    Make your honest learning mistakes with knives that have low value.

    I was sharpening a long time before I got my first “Wicked Edge” sharpener.

    I did not learn any of this fast and I might still be doing some things the hard way.

    Some people think we should sharpen 10 or 20 “Junk” knives before try to sharpen A good knife.

    All the abrasives will effect the metal on the blade. give your self some time be patient with your self and do not wreck your good Knife.

    good luck Andrei

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #56576
    NotSharpEnuff
    Participant
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 112

    Andrei,

    See the posts in the thread below.  Still visible on the “Recent” posts 03/25/21.

    MarcH has a lot of experience with expensive Japanese knives.

    Japanese High Carbon

    Cooking

    Ed K.

     

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #56578
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    Andrei, welcome to the Wicked Edge Forum.  I was in your shoes maybe 5 years ago when I purchased a collection of Miyabi Birchwood knives after reading them touted as “the world’s sharpest knives” on the internet and YouTube.  I learned this lesson, then, that you are wondering about, now.

    I thought I’d done my practicing and learning as Dwight suggested in his response above using my W.E. diamond stones and all the rest of the mediums they had available at that time.  I was ready to venture forward with “better, harder, more expensive, Japanese Steels.”  That pinnacle I wanted to reach.

    I did ruin those Miyabi Birchwwod knives!  I destroyed the thin edges through repeated sharpening and repeated edge failure as I tried to figure out how to go about sharpening that steel.  I watched the edges get better and better as I went through the grits then simply fall away viewing it wth my USB microscope.  One second the apex was there and I was making good progress and the next moment the apex was gone.  Like it just fell off!  Eventually I was able to trade those Miyabi knives in on a new, different collection of knives offered to me by Zwilling.

    I learned the tough, difficult lesson, that many of the harder, supposedly better, super Japanese Steels cannot be sharpened well with the W.E diamond stone medium.  That drove me to invest in my first full set of Shapton (Kuromaku) Pro Stones at that time.  There were just the Shapton Pros stones and the Naniwa Choseras stones cut and mounted on Wicked Edge paddles available to choose between at that time.  I chose the Shapton brand because of their “splash and go” character.  I though it would be easier and less messy to use this type of whetstones with the W.E. compared with the whetstones requiring soaking and a muddy surface slurry to do their cutting.  The Shapton Pro stones worked well for me.

    That was just a part of the sharpening adventure that I entered into with these “super steels”.  I developed through practice, trial and error, the sharpening technique or method that worked well for me with these steels.  I increased the variety of knife brands and knife styles along with the variety of steels these knives are made with, in my chef’s knife collection.  I apply my mostly perpendicular direction, edge leading stroke method I have come to put into practice for all these steels and varieties.  I’m still using this method today with every knife I sharpen.

    I have gone on to make various custom modifications to my W.E. set-ups and employ various accessories to help me to sharpen these thin narrow bevel knife apexes while using my whetstones.

    I am currently in the process of expanding my whetstone medium collection to include more brands, and types of whetstones.  I’m looking to learn which mediums work best on which steels as I continue this adventure down the “rabbit hole” of knife sharpening with the Wicked Edge.

    I will add…. at this point in my whetstone experiences my favorite whetstones are the Shapton Glass Stones.  I recently found a source for these coveted stones and a man who can cut and mount these stones for W.E.   I have acquired more new brands of whetstones some of which I have yet to even use.  I don’t know yet what the future lessons will hold.  I enjoy the process.

    I’m sorry I sacrificed the Miyabi Birchwood knives for the sharpening lessons I learned back then.  They were truly beautiful knives.  I do have the whetstones now and the effective methods I learned to use to sharpen those steels correctly and well, today.

     

     

     

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56579
    Andrei
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 3

    Thank you gents for the responses, the main concern was the Diamond Stones ruining the Miyabi knife.  I have plenty of other knives that are everyday work horses that I’ll be able to use the diamond stones on.  It just reaffirmed the notion that I’ll need to invest in wet stones.

    I will be checking out the thread link that I didn’t see about the other Japanese’s knives.  Lastly what grits would you recommend if it’s not in that forum thread for the Miyabi.  The knife is still brand new, this is my first premium knife.  I’m used to using Costco’s Cangshan S1 as my everyday knives.  58 hardness German steel but Chinese made so not sure how they’ll hold up on the WE system.  But I didn’t pay a lot for them so won’t mind if I don’t get perfect results with them either.  I believe I got those on a Black Friday discount for an entire block set for $150.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Andrei.
    #56581
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    Any knife that you can clamp secure and stabile in a position accessible to the sharpening medium on the guide rods, can be sharpened well on the W.E.  It’s not the WE. sharpener the knives have to “hold up to”, it’s the knife sharpener themselves, the one who’s operating the W.E. System, and the sharpening method and sharpening medium employed, that the knives have to hold up to.

    The W.E. is simply a very secure bench vise with precision adjustable angle jigs on the sides.  Those of us, the W.E. sharpening system operators, do the sharpening.  Any issues are operator issues and the results of the sharpening methods, techniques and sharpening mediums we employ.

    No knives, IMO, are “not good enough” or “too good” to be sharpened with a W.E. system.  If clamped properly and sharpened with an appropriate method and medium for that steel you will achieve the best edge possible out of any knife.  That is, once you learn the right methods and sharpening technique to use with that knife and it’s steel.

    If you’re going to invest in whetstones I think a full set, a complete progression compliment from coarse to very fine is needed.  That way you have on hand whatever stone(s) you may find you need to use.  I will say I have some very fine whetstones like 15K and 30K extra-fine grits that I seldom find the need to use.  These grits are more for producing very polished finishes and less necessary for a working edge.

    I have also learned that even though the diamond stone set can be used to sharpen a particular steel, effectively.  The whetstones may do the job better.  Being a man made composite stone whetstones are more consistent in their scratch patterns and seem to sharpen while removing less steel.  It becomes all about your experience, technique and prefererence.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56582
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    Andrei, here’s a forum post I submitted a few years ago when I first was getting started using Japanese knives and sharpening the steels.  It may be helpful for you. My experiences and perspective has surely changed as I’ve gained sharpening experiences with many different knife brands and varieties of steel over the years, since then.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56590
    Andrei
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 3

    Thank you all for the responses, I had the chance to review all the post and links.  Some god reading for sure.  I also finally broke in my WE system today with my everyday kitchen knives, OMG I’ve been missing out on having knives that work.  I’m seriously impressed, I took it to the 3.5 micron strop on the kitchen knives and they to me have a mirror shine.  Also insanely sharp, I’d say sharper then I remember them being from the factory.

    only thing I noticed is the blade edge has some small microscopic imperfections.  I’m guessing that’s probably due to my technic. I’m sharpening all the knives slowly, not sure if that affects it.

    #56591
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    Andrei, new (or newer) diamond stones, that haven’t become fully broken-in yet will yield rougher results then you can expect after they are well broken in, and  until you gain more sharpening experience, also.  It generally takes about 10 knives minimum for the stones to begin to come around.  That’s just about the same amount of sharpening experience needed by a new W.E. user to start to figure it out and to produce better and more consistent sharpening results.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56592
    Andrei
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 3

    Yep, read from other posts that I’ll get microchips at first.  Still amazing results, even though I have the microchips.  I bought a magnifier up to 1000X as well to look at the results and figure out if I have an apex.  That’s been the biggest challenge actually.  Figuring out once I’m sharpening the apex, is when the burr will grind off.  Assuming as soon as I start sharpening both sides.

    #56632
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 64
    • Replies: 2469

    I use alternating sides, left-right-left-right, edge leading strokes.  That is down and onto or down and against the edge first, as my very last strokes with each grit I use in my sharpening progression.  These edge leading strokes are done with light hand pressure to remove any burr remnants before I move on to my next finer grit in my sharpening progression.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    #56756
    jhonnichole
    Participant
    • Topics: 0
    • Replies: 4

    Hi Guys, I’m new to this forum, and I’ve been searching specifically for videos and the forums on sharpening Japanese knives using WE. I’m looking for advice, so I don’t ruin the chef’s knife when it comes time to sharpen it. Current WE equipment: Gen 3 Pro Diamond Stones – 100/200, 400/600, 800/1000, 1500/2200, 3000/ blank (3 micron diamond lapping film) , 5/3.5 diamond micron leather strops Low Angle Adapter Digital Angle Gauge Extra Shelf 12” Guide Rods From what I’ve been reading, most people are recommending using wet stones on the Miyabi. The knife is supposed to have a bevel of 9-12 degrees. What I’m concerned about is using the current stones on the Miyabi. I’m considering ordering the Shapton Pro Kuromaku stones designed for the WE @ 320/1000, 1500/2000, 5000/8000. What’s everyone experience with Miyabi knives if any of you have them, should I get the Shapton or attempt with what I have?

    just use whetstones for sharpening Japanese knives it will help you to sharpen your knives

    #56770
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 2026

    I have an aritsugu that came directly from the shops in Kyoto.  Initial  impressions were that the knife was extremely sharp, at about 6 dps.  The edge was full of what we would defects, appearing to be more like a foil edge.  You can see a video of my first inspection with a handheld microscope here.  Another video shows the edge after one year of light use.  I was unable to get down to the original grind angle with my Gen 3 Pro, even with my Low Angle Adapter,  With the LAA and a 3/4″ spacer under the vise, I was able to reach 10 dps, which is as low as I dared to go, as the edge was easily damaged at the factory angle.

    My sister has a twin to this knife, which I mount with my LAA in my Gen 1 rig.    On this rig, I can reach 8 dps.  After four or five sharpenings, it seems to be quite workable at 8 dps.

    The main thing I’ve learned is to not apply more than a nominal amount of pressure to the spine while the edge is in contact with anything firm.  Cutting through the crust on artisonal bread seemed to expose the edge to fracturing when it crashed into the cutting board surface.

    I’ve never had a problem working my Japanese knives with diamonds, but with an edge so fine, I restrict my use of diamonds to 800 and up when working the edge directly.

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