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New to WE and need a little guidance on Chicago Cutlery Steak Knives and set up

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  • #55141
    Bill
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    New to the group and new to the WE sharpening system.  I am a newbie for sure.  Apologize in advance if I stumble on terminology or leave out details Tons of great info and helpful folks here.  I spent a few weeks researching sharpening systems and decided to bite the bullet and go WE Pro Pack III.  Just received it yesterday.  The knives I have to sharpen are mainly a variety of Kitchen knives (Chicago Cutlery, Wusthof and most recently Miyabi Black) and some foldables such as Benchmade Mini Grip and Infidel.  I do ok with table top stones, diamond and whetstones.  Havent tried the Miyabi yet as those were the drivers behind upgrading to this system.

    I have done a bit of reading and video watching on the system, tips, and techniques.  As recommended i am starting out learning and breaking in on the Chicago Cutlery.  I think the whole set was 100 bucks at walmart.

    I think I need a little guidance though.  I feel like I must be doing something wrong.  Using the sharpie method to find the existing angles I was surprised to find that the angle on the steak knives were ~13.5 deg (using digital angle device).  This almost needed to be achieved with the LAA due to low height of the knife.  Like I said, surprised that these knives would be at such a low angle and require the LAA.  I expect that out of my Wusthof Santoku or my Miyabi but not a cheap US steak knife.

    I was able to remove all the marker over the length by adjusting the clamp a bit further back from center and was able to achieve a burr both sides.  I stopped after this knife and the small CC Santoku for fear I am doing something wrong.  They might be my cheap practice knives but if I am practicing bad habits and incorrect form I accomplish nothing.  I did not see any of these knives in the database either.

    Thanks in advance

    Bill

    #55142
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 62
    • Replies: 2210

    Welcome to the W.E. forum, Bill.

    If the steak knives have never been sharpened before you’re left to believe the angle you found using the sharpie method is an indication of the original existing bevel angle.  Realize it may be difficult to see exactly where you’re removing the marker ink from the knife edge without a lighted magnified visual aid like a jeweler’s loupe or even better a USB microscope.  Without being able to clearly see that the ink was removed from the entire height of the bevel, you’re angle cube measurement might be off some from what it really may be.  I agree 13.5º seems narrow for that sort of knife in that price point.  (In my experience, 13.5º is narrow for most any knife).

    If you are removing the ink up and down the entire length of the knife edge and you’re also able to draw a burr, then it sounds like you have the right idea.  Keep at it with each subsequent finer grit and see where it goes.  It sounds like that set of inexpensive knives is a good starting place for your learning how to use the W.E. well.

    Remember it’ll take at least 8 or 10 knives worth of stone work to first start to break your sharpening stones in.  The lower number, coarser grit stones will take longer to break in then the higher number finer grit stones.  Especially when you don’t use every grit for the same amount of time and effort. Let your stones work for you.  Apply very light even pressure.  Your really only directing the stones up and down the guide rods.  The pressure applied is just to keep a flat even contact patch between the place on the stone’s face and the bevel place it’s contacting at that time.

    Re:Miyabi Black knife

    I own and use Japanese Chef’s knives made with similarly hard steels as your knife.  From practice and personal experience using and sharpening these, I now only use whetstones, (mounted on W.E. paddles), to sharpen my finer knives.  I do not use diamond sharpening stones on these steels any longer.  These premium super steels will not sharpen with the diamond stones.  Some of these super steels won’t sharpen well, others won’t sharpen at all.  Even though the steel is very hard and durable, I’ve learned it’s too brittle and chip prone to use the diamond stones.  These hard super steel knives did take lots of time, practice and experience till I learned how best to sharpen them, and the best technique for me to use with them.

    Save your knife for later.  When you’ll have the experience, the know how and the proper sharpening medium.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

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    #55144
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 1963

    I kinda doubt that Chicago Cutlery would sharpen any of their knives at less than about 17 degrees.  At least not on purpose.  They use stainless which is probably 440C or 420C or something similar.  When sharpening these stainless steels, you get the impression that they’re really tough, as the stones feel like they’re bouncing right off.  At very light pressure, you’ll wonder if you’re cutting any steel at all – I’ve never had the patience to work at very light pressures.  Once they’re cleanly profiled, with nice bevels, they seem to sharpen very nicely.

    Of course, if you had a six-knife set of steak knives and they all had the same bevel angle, I’d have to accept that it was likely intentional.  That said, I’d still sharpen them to about 20 dps (degrees per side).  (I have a set of Wuestoffs and I sharpen them to 20 dps.)  They’ll hold an edge longer and be easier to re-sharpen as there will be less steel to remove when you find chips and dings along the edge.  That’s one of the drawbacks of very low angles.  They’re really sharp, but they will suufer more serious edge damage in normal use and you have to remove a lot more steel to reestablish a new apex below a dent or chip which is only 0.01 inches deep – about 0.0023 inches deep, times all the area of the bevels.  Or you can pretend it’s a partially serrated knife. LOL

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    #55147
    Bill
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    Valid point MarcH.  I was not looking with a loop or digital scope.  Eyeballing in poor light.  I have ordered both and will likely hold off on sharpening any others till it arrives.  I am concerned about the Miyabi comment.  I had also read the diamond stones might chip them.  Does this go for the higher grits as well?  The main driving force behind buying the WE system was to have something to hold consistent angles vs by hand with Whetstones.  I see that there are ceramic and whetstone options for the WE the latter of which might be by another mfg. Would these be sufficient to stick with WE for sharpening those?  or should I say for touch up.  I dont ever plan on letting them get too dull but with regular use they will need touch up.  High grit stones and stropping is what i was thinking but there is very little out here on those.  I certainly wont tackle those for sometime.   Will even the higher grit diamond stones chip those? When i was deciding the WE customer service wrote me back with some guidance on what stones for those and the only one that didnt come in the set was the 1500/2200 diamond.

    Thanks tcmeyer.  appreciate the insight.  i see both you guys in a lot of threads.  I will target 20 for the CC knives.  It is likely i simply reprofiled that one steak knife.  It did seem to take a while.  Certainly am glad I am starting with these.  Hope i made the right choice in sharpening systems.  I dont ever see sharpening those Miyabis enough to get good enough to be comfortable with free handing them.  I would need to go back to practicing on the crappy knifes on the whetstones.  Maybe just different media is what I need for  those on the WE.

     

    Thanks again.  Really appreciate the guidance.  Excited to get back to practicing.

    #55148
    MarcH
    Moderator
    • Topics: 62
    • Replies: 2210

    My preference is to use whetstones (mounted on W.E. paddles) for any knives made from steels that are HRc 60 or harder.  That’s not to say you can’t use the diamond stones on some harder steels.  On some hard steels the diamonds may work. The issue is I found steels that I had edge failures using the diamond stones.  I don’t want to take that chance again trying to use diamond stones.  I have a complete set of whetstones.  I know I have been able to sharpen well any of these hard, brittle and chip prone steels, that I attempted.  I haven’t found any steels I couldn’t sharpen with the whetsones, yet.

    The problem I found with some of these Japanese super hard steels was that I’d needed to work very hard, that is, use a lot of effort with the diamond stones.  Then after a long time and a lot of effort working up through the grits to the finer stones, the apex simply fell off.  It just was there one second and gone the next.  After reliving this experience a few more times, I tried it again with whetstones.  I was able to sharpen the same steel, quicker, with less effort and without edge failure.   I was able to sharpen that same knife to progressively finer grits then I had used when the edge failed and I never had the edge failure I experienced with the diamond stones, again, once I used the whetstones.  Also I was succesful at a more acute edge profile with whetstones then I had attempted with the diamond stones and failed.

    It is quicker, easier and simpler to sharpen knives with the W.E. diamond stones.  I do use diamond stones whenever I know I can.  When I have no previous experience with a new steel that I’ve never sharpened before, I try my diamond stones first.  Now I can judge whether I should be using the whetstones by how coarse a diamond stone I need to use and how hard I’m needing to work to make use of that coarsest grit stone.

    The W.E. ceramics are a finishing stone or an edge refining stone in the sharpening progression.  They are not used as edge profiling stones where we’re needing to remove steel.  Some users enjoy using the ceramics and achieve enhanced sharpeness and polished edges.  I prefer to just use the finer W.E diamond stones.  The 1500, 2200 and the 3000 grit followed with strops.

    Bill, you’ll be able to sharpen your Miyabi Black on your W.E. with the proper medium, IMO, whetstones, when the time is right and you have the experience to do it.

    Give time time.

    Marc
    (MarcH's Rack-Its)

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #55178
    Bill
    Participant
    • Topics: 1
    • Replies: 2

    Thanks Marc  I was looking into the WE Whetstones and it looks like they just don’t carry them anymore but it looks like there are some from other manufacturers.  Do you have a preference or were you lucky enough to get the WE whetstones?  Any guidance is appreciated.  The knives are so sharp i hope it is logical to assume i can stick with some higher grit ones and “keep” them sharp.  I have no intention of reprofiling them.

    Thanks again for  the guidance.  The stones seemed pretty broken in after going through the full set of CC knives so i took a stab at my wusthof santoku and my EDG Benchmade mini grip.  Amazing results.  For fun i took them to a mirror finish with the 6 micron lapping film and 4 and 2 micron strop.  Had trouble with a fixed dagger blade.  There is no flat spot to clamp and it tended to slide around.

     

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