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Reddit discussion: sharpening a cheap knife with whetstones

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  • #44200
    cjb80202
    Participant
    • Topics: 5
    • Replies: 33

    A guy in Japan bought a $1 knife and sharpened it with whetstones, and posted the video; a subreddit discussion ensued…

    For those not familiar with reddit, it’s a great place to find incredibly specific discussions on almost any topic; it’s encouraging to see so much interest there in knife sharpening.

    Sharpening a $ 1 knife with $ 300 Whetstone from videos

    I continue to be interested in the topic of sharpening really cheap knives. I guess others are too. I just bought a $2.40 knife from walmart.com (via google express, which included a 20% discount), Oster Werrington 8 Inch Stainless Steel Chef’s Knife.

    I’m going to sharpen the heck out of it with my WE100. And then I’m going ask my daughter to use it, instead of my good carving knife, when she cuts candy canes to make peppermint bark…

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    #44215
    Organic
    Participant
    • Topics: 17
    • Replies: 929

    Did it take him over 8 hours of sharpening to get that result? That’s quite the investment considering that the blade steel on a knife that cheap probably will probably roll when it is used on anything harder than the tomato in the video. Also, it’s kind of sad that the blade didn’t even get sharp enough to cut the tomato in one pass. Perhaps the geometry of the blade is more to blame than the sharpening job. It sure does look fantastic.

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    #44239
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 37
    • Replies: 2031

    It looked to me to be a “chisel” grind, meaning that only one side was beveled, with the other side flat.  This means that a 20 dps bevel results in a 20 degree total included angle, which will appear to be a very, very sharp knife, but is subject to easily being damaged in routine use.  In any case, it’s an impressive video.

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    #44257
    sksharp
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
    • Replies: 397

    The steel in “some” of the “cheap” knives might surprise you, both good and bad! For me that is the major issue with inexpensive knives. It’s very difficult to know what you are working with. Some are quite good, other are terrible but most fall some where in between and that for me is the major issue with these and cheap is what I see the most.

    That looks like a chisel grind and like most that sharpen by hand he did away with the second bevel and turned it into a chisel/V grind, convex as well. I see this on all most every hand sharpened knife I’ve done.

    The gentleman achieved a good result but it’s nice to know that most any of us could do the same thing or better in way less time and do it with out convex or eliminating the second bevel. I agree that the angle he wound up with won’t have great retention (between 15 and 20 deg. inclusive I’m guessing) but it is very difficult to achieve a real sharp feeling 40 deg inclusive knife edge doing it by hand. Not hard to do that at all though with the Wicked Edge, given a little time and experience.

    Enjoyed the video Tom, thanks.

     

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    #44666
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 37

    The steel in “some” of the “cheap” knives might surprise you, both good and bad!

    Steel is like magic. While pocket knife people are putting M390 as the holy grail of steel, the longer fixed blades and kitchen knives really benefit from lower carbide steel, especially vanadium carbide. The harder the steel, the harder it would be to repair the edge. It’s really about getting the right balance. There are so many VG10 chef knives out there because they do the job well at a fair price.

    Last week I did a speed sharpening to a cheap Victorinox santoku: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQRxCjPKjQ4

    The steel is hopefully the mysterious Inox. Side note, I really enjoy using the X50 german steel as they really take an edge easily and are quite easy to repair. They also roll rather than chip, allowing the non sharpening people use the rod to keep going on for some time.

    But all in all I believe it’s about presentation than anything. Cheap knives are easy to work on, take an edge easily, and lose it easily. Just slam it against the wooden board and the edge would dull. The Daiso knife, if lucky, would be 8Cr steel, but 3Cr or something like that is possible as well. But aside from showmanship I really don’t think there is a good reason to give this knife that much care.

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    #44701
    sksharp
    Participant
    • Topics: 9
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    Cheap knives are easy to work on, take an edge easily, and lose it easily.

    Could not disagree more! Absolutely the hardest knives to sharpen have been the cheap knives in my experience. Some of them do sharpen easily but for the most part they drive me nuts. These are the knives that I have sharpened for most of the people I know. A lot of them 20+ years old or older, Chinese made for the most part, and the older knives were wildly inconsistent. This means it’s difficult to even know where to start with them.  Most of the newer Chinese knives are much better than the older one’s were however, consistency wise and quality as well so if the new one’s are the ones you are referring to then maybe I can see that.

    When I talk cheap I mean a set of kitchen knives that sold for less than $50. A hunting knife that you can buy new and cost less than $20. These are what I’ve had to prove myself on and then the better knives started coming my way. My Mother has a set of the hardest knives that I’ve seen and were absolutely the most difficult knives that I’ve sharpened, Chinese in the neighborhood of 30 years old. Could not sharpen those knives less than 18/20 deg. without them chipping like crazy and even at 20 deg. was not easy to get an edge on. I’m not sure anything but diamond stones would touch those. Once sharpened they’ve held up very well with very little maintenance though. I’ve seen some so soft that they had no business in a knife.  I have a set of MSE Chinese made kitchen knives, 25 years old and they sharpen very easily, hold up very well comparing them to wusthof or henckels and are nice to use.

    My point with inexpensive knives is that the one thing that is absolutely sure is … NOTHING IS FOR SURE with them and that makes it difficult to have anything that works for any one in particular at any one time. A huge crap shoot with some of those and as I stated earlier both good and bad!

    That’s my perspective on inexpensive knives.

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    #44705
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    • Topics: 2
    • Replies: 37

    NOTHING IS FOR SURE with them and that makes it difficult to have anything that works for any one in particular at any one time. A huge crap shoot with some of those and as I stated earlier both good and bad! That’s my perspective on inexpensive knives.

    Very interesting experience indeed! I am fortunate enough to have only sharpened decent knife then 🙂 !!!

    I have just bought a Damascus VG10 from Ikea today just for the laugh, will be reprofiling it soon. I do have a Daiso shop around and another one near my friend, I shall seek out that knife and see what’s about it. What a blessing today that we have usable dollar knife now.

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