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Which Gets Sharper

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Participant
11/27/2017 at 6:04 pm.

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  • #41592

    Moderator

      I had vowed not to sharpen some Chef’s knives I have bought in the last year until they absolutely needed to be.  I wanted to continue to use these knives as ground and sharpened by the makers.  To get a feel for the edges as the maker had intended them to cut.  In the past I have bought kitchen knives and right out-of the-box without so much as testing the edge for sharpness with newspaper, I’d clamp them up on my WEPS and gone to town.  I realized I was judging knives by the edge I sharpened them with, not the edge the makers put on them.

      As my taste in knives and knowledge of knives has grown and hopefully improved over the years, I realized I was missing out and doing myself an injustice by not learning from the masters that made these knives, by using them and experiencing them as they were made and intended to be used.

      Today it was time to sharpen, for the first time, an 8″ Japanese Chef’s knife, a Gyuto, that’s made of Aogami Super Steel, a partially reactive steel, relatively high in carbon, but still very hard steel; rated HRc 63-64.  The beauty of this steel is it’s very easy to sharpen and it gets a very sharp edge.

      I had forgotten how easy it was to get cut sharpening a knife.  I literally just barely brushed the edge with the back of a finger and I could feel I got cut, while the knife was clamped in the WEPS .  Not badly, not deeply, just barely cut, but enough to draw blood.  Dang it’s was really sharp and I was not yet finished with my planned progression to be followed up with the leather strops.  When I’d finished, I’d  have to say its was truly one of the sharpest knives I’d put an edge on in a long time.

      My question I’d like to ask, does good steel, in your experience, get sharper than poorer quality steel when sharpened with the same technique and care?

      Marc

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    • #41593

      Participant

         

        In my experience I agree with you. I have 22 kitchen knives and 8 none-serrated Henckel 4 steak knives. The 22 are a mix of Henckel, Shun, Gerber, Aritsugu (new), Masakage Mizu (new). They are a mix of stainless and blue. Best I know is that the blue series (#1, #2 and Super (Aogami)) are all related with additional alloys to enhance edge retention (Vanadium in Super). I have also sharpened friends knives which were of much cheaper varieties (all stainless). I have taken them all through WEPS from full burr verification through 1500 diamonds (occasionally into films and strops). I would call my WEPS skill level 8.5 out of a 10 scale. I am also an amateur metallurgist (3 out of a 10 scale) — although I heavily stress amateur. I have read multiple Verhoeven works but surely would fail any structured knowledge test. Real knowledge of this stuff is at the Phd and beyond level. I think I have learned that the relationship of the sharpness of the edge after sharpening and the retention of the edge can be rather complicated.

        I think the most important aspects are: type of steel, quality of the steel, geometry, heat treating and final edge treatment (WEPS). Over the last 2 years I have found that the hands down winner in edge sharpness is my blue steel knives. My test is the ability to take scallops out of bent shiny magazine paper. After my normal progressions, the blue steels can do that with a silky sound and feel. My stainless will not. That being said, I will say that my magazine test can only be done after removing the blade from the WEPS. I suspect that my stainless would gets closer to passing IF I remounted the blade (the alignment guide is a god send) and continued with say double or triple the amount of strokes. I will be trying that in the future.

        I like to think of steel as a mixture of clay (martensite, et al.) and glass (various carbides). Some steels have harder, stronger, etc of each. Based on various SEM images I have seen the apex is a combination and somewhat random. When sharpening we are impacting both with the goal of getting the smallest edge width possible in the shortest amount of time. According to Verhoeven the edge widths of around 0.5 microns with smooth sides are achievable although I do not think he considered the diamond films down to 0.1 microns or less. What I am getting at is that the overall quality of the steel (through all steps of the supply chain) to me is a primary driver. It is not always true but the more expensive knives have a better chance of having better quality steel and a more homogenous structure to “allow” it to take a finer/sharper edge.

        Holding that edge over time (retention) is much more difficult to test and I use the word test lightly because of the complexities of appropriate test design and execution.

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      • #41594

        Participant

          My test is the ability to take scallops out of bent shiny magazine paper. After my normal progressions, the blue steels can do that with a silky sound and feel. My stainless will not. That being said, I will say that my magazine test can only be done after removing the blade from the WEPS.

          When I first read this I was thinking of the salt water clams that people eat rather than the curved-edge cuts. I had to read it three times before my brain figured it out. 🙂

           

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        • #41595

          Participant

            My experience is mostly on inexpensive knives. I have sharpened one set of Wusthof’s  and one of J.A. Henckels both were the classic models. These were very easy to sharpen and took a very good edge. As to the retention so far so good, both of them are being used and holding up well. The sharpest edges I think, so far at least, have been on knives made of high carbon steel, not stainless. Almost every knife I’ve done made of high carbon steel has taken a very fine edge and in my opinion are the best I’ve been able to do. I’ve run into some stainless steel from other countries that has been suspect to say the least! Chipping, falling apart to the point that the angle had to be taken out to 25 deg. in some cases just to hold together. On most other inexpensive stainless they’ve taken a good edge not great. A few have surprised me and taken very good edges as low as 15 deg. and held up well.

            To answer the questions MarcH, YES I do believe the steel can make a big difference in your edges especially when your working with angles at 17 deg. and lower. The “cheap” steels don’t like acute angles in my experience, at least for the most part.

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          • #41602

            Participant

              I’ll add that I had the privilege to attend a Bob Kramer sharpening class in NYC (great gift from my son), prior to owning WEPS. It was hand sharpening with our own knives. I had a shun SG2, he had a 52100 custom worth $5K. At the end, he let me hold it and “swing” it around LOL. It felt worth every penny and I swear it could cut the wind. As dumb as that sounds. It’s about supply chain QA and the fanatic attention to detail. Sort of like what WEPS strives for — thanks Clay, from NJ.

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            • #41603

              Participant

                Hey, my initial post may have been lost in the ether LOL. WTF ? I was on a roll !!

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              • #41611

                Participant

                  I found a copy of my original post (below), I think it got lost when I was trying to edit it via my phone:

                  In my experience I agree with you. I have 22 kitchen knives and 8 none-serrated Henckel 4 star steak knives. The 22 are a mix of Henckel, Shun, Gerber, Aritsugu (new), Masakage Mizu (new). They are a mix of stainless and blue. Best I know is that the blue series (#1, #2 and Super (Aogami)) are all related with additional alloys to enhance edge retention (Vanadium in Super). I have also sharpened friends knives which were of much cheaper varieties (all stainless). I have taken them all through WEPS from full burr verification through 1500 diamonds (occasionally into films and strops). I would call my WEPS skill level 8.5 out of a 10 scale. I am also an amateur metallurgist (3 out of a 10 scale) — although I heavily stress amateur. I have read multiple Verhoeven works but surely would fail any structured knowledge test. Real knowledge of this stuff is at the Phd and beyond level. I think I have learned that the relationship of the sharpness of the edge after sharpening and the retention of the edge can be rather complicated.

                  I think the most important aspects are: type of steel, quality of the steel, geometry, heat treating and final edge treatment (WEPS). Over the last 2 years I have found that the hands down winner in edge sharpness is my blue steel knives. My test is the ability to take scallops out of bent shiny magazine paper. After my normal progressions, the blue steels can do that with a silky sound and feel. My stainless will not. That being said, I will say that my magazine test can only be done after removing the blade from the WEPS. I suspect that my stainless would get closer to passing IF I remounted the blade (the alignment guide is a god send) and continued with say double or triple the amount of strokes. I will be trying that in the future.

                  I like to think of steel as a mixture of clay (martensite, et al.) and glass (various carbides). Some steels have harder, stronger, etc, of each. Based on various SEM images I have seen the apex is a combination and somewhat random. When sharpening we are impacting both with the goal of getting the smallest edge width possible in the shortest amount of time. According to Verhoeven the edge widths of around 0.5 microns with smooth sides are achievable although I do not think he considered the diamond films down to 0.1 microns or less. What I am getting at is that the overall quality of the steel (through all steps of the supply chain) to me is a primary driver. It is not always true but the more expensive knives have a better chance of having better quality steel and a more homogenous structure to “allow” it to take a finer/sharper edge.

                  Holding that edge over time (retention) is much more difficult to test and I use the word test lightly because of the complexities of appropriate test design and execution.

                   

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                • #41614

                  Participant

                    So is time the biggest variable ?  That is, given enough time on the WEPS through the same progressions (but maybe more time per progression) will 2 quality blades of different steels yield similar initial sharpness.

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                  • #41616

                    Moderator

                      So is time the biggest variable ? That is, given enough time on the WEPS through the same progressions (but maybe more time per progression) will 2 quality blades of different steels yield similar initial sharpness.

                      Redheads this led me to wonder, after reading what you posted in your first reply, I re-clamped a relatively inexpensive Stainless Steel Chef’s Knife I’m sharpening for a friend.  It was pretty sharp but no where as sharp as my Aogami Super Gyuto I sharpened recently, for myself.  I sharpened 3 different brand, inexpensive SS kitchen Knives for this friend, all three resulted with a different degree of sharpness. I sharpened all three objectively and chose different points to call them done.  Why did I choose that point?  Did I short change the friends knives and settle on what was sharp enough and not work at these knives long enough.  I’m going to give this one another try and spend more time with more care and more sharpening strokes to try to see if it will get sharper.

                      BTW, I don’t think this is the case,  “that all knives can reach the same level of sharpness with the proper amount of time and care”.  I do believe there’s a point of no return that we intuitively learn through our sharpening experiences.  Something we pick up along the way.  A feel in the feed back and a sound from the stones scratching.  It gets to that point we learned through doing it, that’s it, this is it, this is the sharpest edge I’m going to get.  Time to put the finishing strop on it.  I’m going to see.  Is that little quantifier “the word quality” you threw in, the limiting factor and what quantifies quality?

                       

                      Marc

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                    • #41617

                      Participant

                        I think it’s a pretty well established aspect of knife lore that carbon steel knives can be sharpened to higher degree than stainless steel knives. I don’t know if it has ever been scientifically evaluated, but I’ve seen and heard many people say that is the case.

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                      • #41618

                        Participant

                          I think the time question is specific to each person. For me the time it takes to produce a super refined and polished edge is not practical in most cases. I can spend hours doing this on one knife and what I’ve found is that the payoff is usually minimal at best and sometimes even detrimental, not usually worth the effort unless you have a knife that you want to “look” shiny. If the scratch pattern is uniform and even I like the looks of the bevel and the edge is usually very sharp. I love the shapton stones for that very reason. A lot of knives benefit from leaving teeth in the edge in varying degrees depending on it’s purpose. There are of course exceptions. I love that about what we do! There’s always something surprising to keep you on your toes so to speak.

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                        • #41620

                          Moderator

                            I re-clamped and touched up a chef’s knife I did yesterday with the intention to see if I could do a better job and get a sharper result.  I re-sharpened the knife with the same clamping and angle settings as I had logged from the initial sharpening.   I paid closer attention to my technique to ensure I maintained flatness on the bevels.  I did use a greater number of strokes and tested for sharpness then did more strokes, still, and tested again.  I continued this till I was sure I wasn’t getting any improvement.  I took more time and care with each stone before I moved on in my progression.  I employed and followed the exact same progression with the Diamond Paddles up through 1500 grit.  I finished the edge with 4µ, then 2µ cow leather strops with diamond emulsion spray.

                            The knife was better and sharper than the first try.  I brought out the best of this edge, this time.  I had short changed the first effort.  So the end result is if I spend more time and care I can develop a better sharper edge than doing a quicker less thorough job.  I plan on, in the future to take the time and effort to put the best edge I can on these knives.  It only takes just a little more effort and just a little more time and more attention to technique.

                            I don’t think this inexpensive SS kitchen knife warrants or would benefit from a 30k grit highly polished edge followed by a complete strop progression of 6 different grits.  The soft inexpensive SS can not sustain that thin narrow beveled apex that my more expensive better steel Chef’s knife will.  It would roll over, bend or dent.  As sharp as the inexpensive SS kitchen got, with the extra effort, it was still no where near as sharp as my better Chef’s knife, but it was sharp!

                             

                            Marc

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                          • #41621

                            Participant

                              Good stuff MarcH, thanks!

                            • #41624

                              Keymaster

                                I have quite a bit of experience with kitchen knives, but little with so-called “super steels”. I will try to resist my temptation to theorize about which factors influence sharpness is and to philosophize about what sharpness and how to test it 🙂 (we have another thread on that).

                                I don’t think this inexpensive SS kitchen knife warrants or would benefit from a 30k grit highly polished edge followed by a complete strop progression of 6 different grits.  The soft inexpensive SS can not sustain that thin narrow beveled apex that my more expensive better steel Chef’s knife will.  It would roll over, bend or dent.  As sharp as the inexpensive SS kitchen got, with the extra effort, it was still no where near as sharp as my better Chef’s knife, but it was sharp!

                                That’s exactly my experience. I cannot get crappy no-type steel as sharp as hard carbon Japanese steel (with aogami super and white steel being the ones that I can get the sharpest). The order, in general and in my experience, is the following:

                                • crappy no-type stainless steel
                                • soft German stainless steel
                                • better stainless steel like 12C27 (used a lot in French knives including Laguiole knives)
                                • best stainless steel (AEB-L a.k.a. 13C26 IMHO): at the same level as many carbon steels
                                • white steel and aogami super steel (carbon, too)

                                Molecule Polishing: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

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                              • #41633

                                Participant

                                  I agree completely, it seems better steels heat treated properly must have cleaner/better steel which enables them to take a finer edge. Not to belabor this but have any of you done this initial sharpening comparison with a high end stainless (AEB-L or better) and 52100 (or blue/white) ? In the 2 Verhoeven’s documents (in WEPS Knowledge Base) he talks about AEB-L and 52100 being very similar in the ability to take a fine edge (retention is another matter). For quick reference I parsed out the Appendix B “Stainless Steels for Knifemakers” from one of the documents.

                                  verhoeven3

                                  Attachments:
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                                • #41639

                                  Participant

                                    Well I was going to do a fresh WEPS on my Shun Blue (non stainless edge) and Kramer Essential (higher end stainless) and then compare the cut test on bent shiny ad paper scallops. Before starting I figured I would try the test and see what happens. Low and behold they both passed my test. They have previously been thru similar WEPS progressions and don’t get used a lot because I have too many knives – LOL. Without entering a Ramon Landes or Cliff Stamp type of exercise I figured I would share. See the pics and videos below. Bottom line is I can get blue steel and AEB-L to similar sharpness levels. Not sure about retention though. To me this follows what Verhoeven says.

                                    Kramer-and-Shun-Blue
                                    Shun-Blue
                                    Kramer-AEB-L

                                    Attachments:
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                                  • #41641

                                    Participant

                                      I guess 3.96 MB is the total file size (not individual) so here is the second video

                                      Shun-Blue

                                      Attachments:
                                    • #41643

                                      Participant

                                        Here is a pic of the two knives:

                                        Kramer-and-Shun-Blue

                                        Attachments:
                                      • #41648

                                        Participant

                                          I think you’d see more differentiation between the before and after cut tests if you move the knives slowly. If you swing them quickly at the paper they will have a much higher likelihood of cutting the paper than if they are moving slowly. In theory, you should be able to apply the same quantity of force with a slow cut and a fast one, but in practice it is not easy. If I’m doing that type of cut test I usually rest the knife edge on the paper and then slowly slide it down the curved surface of the paper. If the knife is truly sharp it will catch and cut cleanly. If it is not as sharp it may catch and cut, but not as cleanly or perhaps it won’t catch at all.

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                                        • #41649

                                          Moderator

                                            I’m also curious if the tests were performed both slowly as David says and with less stiff paper like news paper that will give under pressure?

                                            Marc

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                                          • #41651

                                            Participant

                                              Magazine paper is actually good for that particular test because it is glossy and your blade has to be pretty sharp to bite in. Phone book paper is tough to cut like that as well, but not quite as tough. I like to use wax paper (the stuff they sell in the baking aisle) because it is very thin and slippery.

                                               

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                                            • #41652

                                              Participant

                                                I find this test tougher than slicing newspaper. There is no before/after. My Henckels will not pass it.

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                                              • #41654

                                                Participant

                                                  I was really surprised when I tried the paper “chop” test.  It is much easier to cut with a rapid motion than with a very slow one.  I particularly like the slice on a folded piece of paper standing on edge.  Cuts really cleanly with a quick chop, but probably won’t cut at all with a slow slice.

                                                  Now, whenever I see a video of someone swinging their blade at a sheet of paper, I think:  Yeah, right.  Show me the slow cut.

                                                  That said, I’ve never tried to cut the folded (uncreased) sheet as in Redheads’ video.  Looks interesting.  Gonna have to try it.

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                                                • #41655

                                                  Keymaster

                                                    It is much easier to cut with a rapid motion than with a very slow one.

                                                    There is probably a pretty big difference in force between a chop and a slow cut.

                                                    -Clay

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                                                  • #41656

                                                    Keymaster

                                                      It is much easier to cut with a rapid motion than with a very slow one.

                                                      There is probably a pretty big difference in force between a chop and a slow cut.

                                                      -Clay

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                                                    • #41657

                                                      Participant

                                                        All you have said is true, however, this was a comparison of the sharpness between 2 knives (one high grade stainless and one high grade non-stainless). It was not meant in anyway to attempt how sharp they are (ie. can they whittle hair, etc). It does introduce a question though of how to determine “how sharp” with some amount of repeatability especially when still mounted in the WEPS. This is important because some steels and or profiles will require many more strokes to get the same level of sharpness (i.e. S110V, … ). The benefit will be minimized time and steel removal. WDYT ?

                                                        Also, I have not touched these 2 knives since yesterday and will try a few other comparison tests.

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                                                      • #41658

                                                        Participant

                                                          I like to push cut thin paper with the blade still mounted. It’s by no means a perfect test, but it does give me tactile feedback that can help me diagnose any trouble spots as well as provide me with a qualitative measure of how sharp the blade is. I posted in another thread about the inherent difficulties of quantifying sharpness, but I think a quantitative test is the only way your’re really going to be able to repeatably differentiate similarly refined edges on one knife against another. You could probably design a testing apparatus that would measure the force in grams to cut a membrane of cord of some kind with the knife mounted in the clamp by modifying a tree beam balance.

                                                          The bottom line for me is that a blade will either be sharp enough or not sharp enough to use it how I want to. If it feels smooth while push cutting phone book or magazine paper, I find that it will be plenty sharp for my needs so that qualitative test is sufficient. It is fun to push the limits and go after that truly effortless, smooth cutting ability (that’s why most of us are here), but if I’m honest I don’t need that level of performance from a knife. I’m not a world class chef or a surgeon or even a carpenter, I’m just a internet dweller who likes sharp things. Also, I find that the extra 10% of sharpness that takes an edge from sharp to SHARP is lost pretty quickly once you actually use the knife for more than cutting paper and hair. The good part is that every knife will eventually need to be sharpened again 🙂

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                                                        • #41660

                                                          Participant

                                                            I suppose a more detailed account log (incl # strokes per grit) would help me since I am sharpening the same knives over the long term. This will help me minimize time and steel removal.

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                                                          • #41665

                                                            Moderator

                                                              I don’t clamp a knife to sharpen with a game plan of how to sharpen it based on a past sharpening experience, or sharpening result.  I might have a planned stone progression, clamping position and a bevel angle that may have worked well in the past, that I’ll intend to follow.  I sharpen each knife objectively and give it the time, attention and strokes necessary to achieve the results I am satisfied with during this current sharpening session, and try to do nothing more.  What worked in the past and how many strokes has no bearing on this session because too many factors have influenced the condition of the edge.  Such as the length of time since the last sharpening, how much I used the knife during that period of time, how worn it feels and how severe the wear is.  The amount of metal I remove now correlates to this sharpening session and what amount of sharpening it requires to achieve the final results I’m satisfied with.  I may even put out a little extra effort to try to improve the edge over the last time I sharpened it.

                                                              That being said, the first time I sharpen a knife that I’m unfamiliar with, it may be hard to judge when I have achieved the best edge I can.  I may have to put extra time in, to finally reach that point of sharpness that I am satisfied is my sharpest effort.  I may after spending more time and effort than was necessary realize I haven’t improved the edge and should have stopped sooner.

                                                              I believe most of the metal loss or removal in the sharpening process is with the earlier coarser grits.  I use visual inspection of the evenness of the scratch pattern and removal of the previous grits scratch pattern as the cue it’s time to move on.  After I work up to the finer grits in the progression I believe I’m doing more finishing and refinement work and very little real metal removal. I don’t think that if I limited my strokes it would have any real bearing in the overall amount of metal removed.  I have found that these are the stages where extra strokes and extra effort does have the most bearing on the final knife edge sharpness.

                                                              When I sharpen the knife for the first time even if I’m able to match the existing bevel extremely closely it still is in essence a profiling process.  I am removing more metal then to even out the bevels to the exacting ability of the WEPS then I will the next time I sharpen that same knife.  I find it will be generally quicker and easier each subsequent time than the time before.  Unless the edge has been totally destroyed, I believe with each sharpening there still is a remaining shape and evenness of the profile from previous sharpening sessions.  Usually there is a time savings and an effort savings over the last time I sharpened it.  In general the desired results should be easier and quicker to achieve.  Of course these are generalities I have experienced while sharpening the same knives repeatedly, usually my own, and they don’t always hold true especially when sharpening knives for others.

                                                              Marc

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                                                            • #41666

                                                              Participant

                                                                Hey thanks for the advice. You must type fast. I redid my 2 knife sharp test on bent shiny paper scallops more slowly and found satisfying similar results. After the test I decided to take my shun blue into my new diamond films, however, I ran into an interesting issue which jives with your scenario description.

                                                                While doing the presharpen exam under my USB scope I noticed dips in the edge near the handle which I suspect is from my wife slicing hard baby carrots. I decided to fix the profile using the 200 grit as a file across the edge causing me to start from scratch. Good bye to the history on the blade like you say.

                                                                While reprofiling and examining under the scope I realized that it is not easy to do perfectly by free hand. Without a fixture you tend to follow the dips (chips are probably easier). Is there a good technique to use ?

                                                                Also, how much time does it take you to do a knife the way you describe above ?

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                                                              • #41667

                                                                Moderator

                                                                  how much time does it take you to do a knife the way you describe above ?

                                                                  To whom are you asking this question?  If it’s directed to me, MarcH, with no sarcasm intended, “as long as it takes”.  I am never under a time schedule or time crunch when sharpening.  I sometimes do it a while, get up, do something else, then come back to it.  If it’s a knife I’ve done over and over, and usually too frequently, I can knock it out pretty quickly, like in 30 minutes or less, because the edge is very well established and quick and easy to touch up.  Those knives usually never require a full progression.  Maybe, at most, a coarser grit on some bad area then a quick pass across the whole bevel to even it out.   My knives don’t get too hurt, I’m the only using them; no S.O.

                                                                  Like a lot of us, I sharpen because I enjoy it.  So I too, often will sharpen a knife sooner than it really needs it just because it’s fun to do.  Like you Redheads, I have more knives than I need, so it’s hard to use them all enough to put enough wear on them that they really need to be sharpened.  I am making an effort to spread the use out and enjoy the variety and not use my favorites so often.  I am trying to avoid sharpening the high dollar, super steels, (as I like to call it) until they need it just so I really have an opportunity to sharpen a knife that needs to be sharpened.  These knives came really sharp and have been surprisingly durable and I want to take my time and enjoy using them and have a worn edge that really needs a full progression so I have an opportunity to learn about the steel while I’m sharpening it, that first time.

                                                                  I sometimes find when I start to sharpen a knife that I’ve done many times I may try to change up my technique, to see if I get a different result then I had in the past.  Hopefully better, this time, though it’s hard to judge the difference between a sharp knife, and a sharp knife.  Just what this Thread is about.

                                                                   

                                                                  Marc

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                                                                • #41683

                                                                  Participant

                                                                    MarcH, I like your approach and pretty much do the same. The knives I sharpen the most are my 8 non-serrated steak knives since we use them on plates pretty much every day. I accept the dulling action because they are a pleasure to use. I’ve gotten pretty good with my Messermeister white hone rod to quickly straighten the edge. Every 1-2 months I like to put them in the WEPS and give them a solid touch up and I can do all 8 in about an hour if I start with the 400 grit and the alignment gauge. Its knives that show more wear that I need some advice on and I was wondering how you do the following:

                                                                    For knives with damaged with dips/bends in the edge due to misuse by my family what is the best technique for reprofiling the cutting edge. I would like to keep the original profile. The best I can think of is scrapping the top edge with the diamond handle using the longest part of the handle over the entire knife edge (heel to point) for each and every stroke. This can take a while yet would avoid (I think) following the dip and bring the rest of the knife to the same “level”. WDYT ?

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                                                                  • #41684

                                                                    Moderator

                                                                      Redheads, I too have used a coarse grit diamond paddle longitudinally across an apex to remove damaged steel and level it out and I have also used a “metal file” to remove metal at an obtuse angle , I wrote about this twice in this Forum in a different thread.  I believe it removes and wastes a lot of good usable steel especially if there are fairly deep divots or chips and you flatten the entire edge heel to tip, down to the level of the worse damage.  I really believe the better option is to just remove the amount of damaged edge in a manner that freshens the steel on a majority of the knifes length.  There may still be the remnants of the deepest damaged areas.  Then next time around I’d do it the same way with the hope that new bad chips like this were not created.  Eventually with subsequent sharpenings it will even out, or it may not.  In the mean time you will be able to still use the knife and each level, (so to speak) of steel, till it’s worn away with use, not wasted and discarded with a filing.  If you had removed all the bad steel down to the lowest level of the deepest damage you would have wasted the opportunity to use all the steel that wasn’t damaged.

                                                                      I know where you’re at; to sharpen a knife and not do the whole edge to a new pristine apex to best of your ability, every time is counter-intuitive.  It’s something I learned to accept.  That knife is there for this purpose of those who use it, to use it as they want and as they do.  They don’t know, and they don’t care that its chipped and rolled.  They only know it’s OK to use this knife.  The sacrificial knife.  “Let it go my friend”.  Better that one then one of your good ones.

                                                                      I see several situations, one is your family will continue to use and badly damage the knife as you described and you’ll continue to sharpen it as best you can and continue to piss yourself off because they abuse that poor knife and that knife will get too narrow and thick to sharpen very soon.  You’ll sharpen it as I suggested and juggle between the bad spots and saving metal. You might try to sharpen it at a wider bevel angle and maybe it’ll sustain less damage, be more durable and hold the edge longer.

                                                                      You might consider widening the bevel angle on your steak knives too.  Give it a try for a month or two.  As often as you sharpen them, they’ll be unsharpenable in not too long.

                                                                      Good Luck

                                                                      Marc

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                                                                      • #42295

                                                                        Member

                                                                          Hey Readheads, off-topic, but what angle do you use on your Kramer there? I am looking to get one, but I keep seeing differing info on the angle from the factory. Thanks!

                                                                      • #41685

                                                                        Participant

                                                                          Readheads:  Before taking the step of flattening the edge to the full depth of the worst dent or chip, I look at the damage from the side (either perpendicular to the blade axis or perpendicular to the bevel) to judge just how much steel I’d be losing.  A half-millimeter ding would mean removing 0.020″ along most of the edge.  Within a few years you’d notice that your knives are getting pretty narrow.  With steak knives, the user won’t notice the tiny little ding in comparison to the  sharpness of the remaining edge.  Skip the ding, pretend it isn’t there and extend the life of your knives.  Wait until you get more than one or two dings.

                                                                          On the same subject, I recently sharpened my sister’s Aritsugu and noticed a pretty good ding within a half-inch of the heel.  With 8-degree bevels (that’s as low as I can go) I would have had to remove a lot of steel.  I decided it wasn’t worth it, just to get a pristine edge.  With the ding so far back on the edge, it wasn’t likely to be a problem.  Saved me a lot of time and saved the knife from unnecessary edge loss.  At 16-degree included, this turned out to be easily the sharpest knife I’ve ever sharpened.

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                                                                        • #42323

                                                                          Participant

                                                                            Hey Readheads, off-topic, but what angle do you use on your Kramer there? I am looking to get one, but I keep seeing differing info on the angle from the factory. Thanks!

                                                                            I do a 17 dps. Alignment guide L3 (the tip is in the middle of the L3 box). Knife is low in the clamp, I call it “bottom” essentially resting on the 2 prong thing which holds the alignment guide in place. I find 17 dps plenty sharp and did not put a microbevel on it. I will see how it has held up next time it is in the WPS. I love using my 250x USB scope for that.

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