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Am I sharpening my knives too much?

Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:19 pm


I bought a few knives and some stones from your site and I had a question. My primary knife is the kikuichi warikoma 210mm and I find myself taking it to my stones once or twice a month. I start on either a 500 or 1000 grit stone depending on how much work I think it needs. Should I be concerned at all about how often I sharpen or how aggressive I am with my lower grit stones? also, I just read a little bit about thinning a knife and I was wondering how often I should be thinning my knife and any tips that you might have on that would be appreciated. I am preparing to make another purchase and am hoping to have a better idea of how to care for my knives before I buy any new ones. Thank you for your help!


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Re: Am I sharpening my knives too much?

Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:25 pm

Hi Steve,

They're your knives and stones so do what pleases you.

If you want to lessen the amount of sharpening you are doing I would suggest:

Cut mindfully
Cut on a forgiving board (wood boards are usually easy on edges)
Strop your knives
When stropping stops working, use a fine ceramic rod
Only when the rod stops working do you take out the stones

Re: Am I sharpening my knives too much?

Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:51 pm

I think Mark hit all the points. You might consider starting on higher grit stones and seeing if that will get you the performance you want.

As far as thinning the knife, I have seen Mark and others recommend thinning a little at each sharpening session. Alternatively, thin when you notice the shoulder of the edge is beginning to wedge in food. At the point you notice, it has probably already gotten pretty bad and thinning may take some time, but on the plus side, it'll feel like a new knife.

As far as sharpening frequency, I use a number of knives in a home setting, so my sharpening frequency is not very helpful. But if I were to guess, if I were to use only one knife at a time, I would likely sharpen about once a month. So what your doing does not sound excessive.

If these are some of your first Japanese knives, and you are newish to sharpening, it is likely that your standards have changed, and you expect and maintain your knives at a higher level than you may have imagined before. All that means is you are crazy like the rest of us :D

Re: Am I sharpening my knives too much?

Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:52 pm

my guess is, that due to the thinness of the particular knife, the edge is probably rolling a bit on you from use. Double that with the fact that you are only using a 1k edge, it probably feels dull before it actually is. For me I find that my laser knives do not hold up nearly as long as the rest of the pack, I however work in a pro environment. I have actually put less steep bevels on them now, and find they hold up better and with no decrease in performance. Now back the the thinness of your knife, I would guess that even a few stroping strokes on each side will probably bring u back to where you want to be without the need to go down to 500 grit every time. If you can add a strop into your routine I think you'll find it very rewarding, ( a 1micron paste is plenty fine for a medium) and if not even stropping on newsprint will help.

Re: Am I sharpening my knives too much?

Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:01 am

When I was working in a professional kitchen I would sharpen down to 1000 twice a month, other than that it was just a touch up on a 2k. I only pulled out my 500 when there was a chip to work out. I also thin as part of my sharpening routine and do it every time I do the 1k drop.

Now that I am a home cook, I usually hit the 1k every other month and just maintain on a 2k and 5k with light pressure and a small burr.

Re: Am I sharpening my knives too much?

Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:03 pm

As far as sharpening to much that depends on how much your using the knife and on what. Lightly stropping on a high grit stone once a week or so will usually bring an edge back very well and keep the knife from needing a full sharpening as often. It needs to be sharpened when your not happy with it, regardless of frequency.
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