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Brushing up on the Tojiro DP

Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:20 pm

My first gyuto was this baby, the Tojiro DP 240mm. The knife had been a workhorse for about 2 years before other knives took over its day to day roll. Now it is my beater/take-to-the-in-laws knife.

Over the years though it got fairly beat up. My first magnetic knife rack had the metal rails on either side of the permanent magnets and the soft cladding got pretty scratched up. Being one of my first knives it was also subject to my worst abuses as a sharpener, so it got more scratched up :oops:. So, inspired by a Taz's description of polishing up some knives, I took a crack at cleaning this guy up a bit.

I used snadpaper and Scotch-Brite pads from the local hardware store. I used a progression of 100 grit sandpaper, 220 grit sandpaper, Maroon, Dark Grey, Light Gray, and White pads (http://academic.evergreen.edu/projects/ ... finish.pdf). While the manufacturer machining striations went height-wise on the blade I polished length-wise. I do not know if there is a "preferred" direction, but since I was doing this on a picnic bench, free handed I did what was easiest for me.

The cladding steel abraded very quickly. The printed logo on the blade was lost within a half dozen passes or so. Keeping the scratch pattern uniform in direction was difficult though I was not being exceptionally anal about it. I have since used a similar progression on some other knives and found that the Tojiro cladding is particularly soft. I also found that using some mineral oil helps keep the mess in one place. Though it ends up being a wet mess instead of a diffuse, dry mess.

I am pretty happy with the outcome. I like the look pretty well. I can discern shapes in the reflection though it is not mirrored. I think moving to a polishing compound next would be the next progression if mirrored were the goal. The finish smudges up a lot, that is my biggest disappointment. The slightest touch leaves a print. The biggest surprise was that the knife felt like it wedged less. It may be psychosomatic but it would make sense that if friction were reduced, the knife would slide in product better.



Re: Brushing up on the Tojiro DP

Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:04 pm

Looks great to me! Way to go cedar! I much prefer the scratches going lengthwise, myself.


Re: Brushing up on the Tojiro DP

Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:35 pm

When you do cosmetic work it always works better Cedar. There's some sort of formula for that somewhere. Great job as usual.

Re: Brushing up on the Tojiro DP

Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:42 am

Thanks for the post, Cedar! The first pic is, to be honest, a bit dark for me to be wowed, but the close-up looks fantastic to me. It immediately reminded me of my recent post about sharpening/polishing my beater knives, including my smaller Tojiros, and your very helpful responses. Hearing and seeing the specifics of your own work is even more helpful and inspiring. I was able to experiment with the upper-range pads, but not the finest ones yet (my local hardware store had its limits); your post encourages me to try a few notches higher, and perhaps a polishing compound, to get the original, mirror-polished finish of my masamoto back to something at least resembling "uniform" all around. (FYI, I too have noticed changes in cutting quality since its original finish has been scratched up/worn via travel and abuse, including "unique" sharpening methods while abroad...I think the mirror finish not only avoided sticking once it was washed a couple times, but also sliced more cleanly through wet ingredients. I'd like to get this back.)

I know what you mean about the metal being soft, too—be careful if you try this on any thinner Tojiros. I may not have a lot of experience, but I can tell you that I've done some permanent "damage" (cosmetic only...the knives perform better than ever) by thinning the blades on my pettys because the outer metal just dusted away at a rate much, much fast than I anticipated at upper regions of the small blades—much faster, in fact, than lower regions, perhaps because of the way the curve of such a short blade affected where my fingers were hitting. I'm not what you'd call a "brute" with my hands, either—I think almost anyone could make this mistake with these knives if the goal is to thin them out just a hair, or even polish them up just a bit after a few years of use!

If you have success with a particular polishing compound, I'd love to read more and see more pics. Great post!

Re: Brushing up on the Tojiro DP

Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:33 am


Sorry for the lighting. I was doing a number of pictures and had some extra lights in the kitchen, but when I got them on the desktop they were still darker than I had hoped. It is not a perfect finish, there are some "j-hooks" left, but it is a much cleaner look and feel than it was before.

I did have to check at several stores to find all the color pads that I got. Taz has a product he likes and recommends, it is a Norton product IIRC, you might do an internet search for those if you are having trouble finding any finer pads.

I was just thinning my Artifex in AEB-L, a mono-steel knife, on Friday. It was much more abrasion resistant, so while you can get similar results with harder steeled knives, it takes more effort. As you said, it also mean you screw up slower ;)

I have not tried any polishing compounds. I tend to be apprehensive about using chemicals I am not familiar with in kitchen applications, and I have simply not done the homework yet to determine what I am comfortable with. I know a lot of guys use Simichrome or Flitz which are both widely available, but I have not tried them.

Re: Brushing up on the Tojiro DP

Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:56 am

Thanks for the reply, Cedar. And please don't apologize for the lighting! I was merely trying to be honest in my reply, and not to critique your photos.

I was looking for Flitz at a local shop, but didn't see it, so I held off. I may just order it on amazon to give it a shot. Barkeepers works great for all of my other kitchen equipment, but it doesn't seem to have enough abrasion for actually polishing rather than just cleaning. I think trying the higher grit pads will help, too.

Because you mentioned it, I'm curious: how far up the edge were you thinning the Artifex? Given that it has a convex grind, I imagine you were just edging up a bit behind the edge and not really creating a rounded second bevel up the side. How many progressions up did you go on the stones to ensure a match between the thinned section and the finish on the rest of the blade? I'm not a stickler for things looking like new, but I do like them to be consistent from top to bottom. :)

If I work with the Flitz and/or any pads, I'll try to provide some before and after photos for you. The masamoto and tojiros have totally different metals and finishes, so maybe they will give you a sense as to whether the Flitz is worth it. Probably will be a couple weeks, though, before I get to it!

Re: Brushing up on the Tojiro DP

Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:38 pm


The Artifex is something of a sacrificial test subject. I am using a 1x30 Harbor Freight belt sander to try and basically put a zero grind on it. In essence the aim is a convex grind from spine to edge. I will add a bevel when I sharpen, but right now I am taking the thinning all the way to the edge. Since I am grinding/polishing the whole side of the blade, the finish, where ever I stop is going to be uniform. The bevel will look different, but the bevel usually has a different finish to it than the remainder of the blade.

This is a work in progress, I will try to remember to post the final product when I get there, but this is likely to become a somewhat more involved project. I am considering trying to convert it to a wa handle too.

As far as polishes, if you try something out, I would love to hear your opinion on the outcome. BTW, Barkeepers Friend basically removes oxidation by chemical means, it is not really an abrasive as I understand it.
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