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Edge holding please advise

Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:07 pm

Hello everybody,

This is my first post. I'm Mariano from Tahiti. I love cooking, especially chinese and japanese food. I'm the proud owner of a beautiful yanagiba.

I'm here because it seems either my beloved yanagi has trouble holding an edge, either i'm doing something wrong...

I don't want to blame the blade and put bad reputation on the smith so I simply won't name him.

Here are the specs of the blade :
- suminagashi shirogami #1
- 63-64 Rockwell
- yanagiba
- worth about $300

The problem : there are very small (like a tenth of a millimeter) chips on the edge after use. To be sure, I freshly sharpened it resulting in a beautiful perfectly flat edge. (#1000 king, #4000 shapton glass, #8000 shapton classic). Then I cooked a delicious meat and vegetable sauté. All slicing or very gently push cuts. And I mean REALLY gentle.

Afterwards : http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/5026/p1000532j.jpg

You should be able to see the tiny chips... This makes me kinda sad. It still is capable of shaving and precise cutting. But I can already feel burrs when slicing paper.

I have never changed the bevel angle. This knife is my first high class knife and I treasure it. Everytime I see a video about knives like gyutos and usubas I see chopping. I don't even do that...

So i'm wondering...
Is the metal not that good ?
Is the angle too aggressive ?
As it is a yanagi is that all intentional and should I use it only to slice meats ?
Am I just bad ?

Re: Edge holding please advise

Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:49 pm

Yanagiba are made with single purpose, cutting soft fish/seafood with a steady pull cut. It really doesn't do anything else well.

The others here knows metal better than I do, but i would expect shirogami#1, treated to 63-64, to be a little chippy. The pic you included does seem pretty bad.

You might want to put on a micro bevel with slightly great angle, so you would a sturdier edge.

Re: Edge holding please advise

Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:41 am

Is the knife burr and wire edge free after you sharpened it? If it's not, that could be what you're seeing. You could have perfectly aligned the burr and/or wire edge and when you use it, the burr and/or wire edge rears it's ugly head.

Barring that, in order of how likely in my opinion:

You're not using it for it's intended purpose and chipping the edge. The edge on a yanagi is very fragile and is not intended for meal prep unless meal prep only consists of cutting raw fish. No contact with a cutting board, no rough stuff.

Angle is too steep

Metal (HT) is bad.

The last two are not very likely.

Re: Edge holding please advise

Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:04 am

Oh....did you do the Uraoshi sharpening, i. e. lightly sharpening with the back sitting flat on your fine stone?

Skipping the Uraoshi will leave the edge weaker and leave you with wire edge or burr that Adam mentioned.

Re: Edge holding please advise

Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:00 pm

I watched hundreds of videos and sharpened nearly every knife in the house. So I *think* I'm deburring it properly. (Light back strokes, corkscrew). But since I learned alone I might not be doing it properly after all... I don't know the technique you refer to mckemaus. I will try to find some video about it.

One thing is certain now, I will only use it when doing sashimi!

How can i check if that's the chipped burr I'm seeing ?

Re: Edge holding please advise

Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:12 pm

You can force the wire edge and/or burr to show itself by scraping your fingers across the edge forcefully.

A burr is easier to see than a wire edge.
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