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freehand vs ep

Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:20 pm

I'm completely new to sharpening and japanese knives, i'm still have to make my first knife purchase and have been eyeing the
Sakai Takayuki Damascus Wa-Sujihiki 240mm or the fujiwara fkm stainless with a wa handle whenever it arrives. I figured i'd purchase a sharpening set to practice on my old chinese cleavers that were given to me by my parents from the china town here in houston. I'm trying to decide if I should get the new knife sharpening complete set http://www.chefknivestogo.com/knshcoset.html or spend about $50 more and get the ep essential set with the 140 diamond stone flattener http://www.chefknivestogo.com/edproesset.html http://www.chefknivestogo.com/140grdistflp.html. thank you in advance for your help.

Re: freehand vs ep

Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:27 pm

Concerning the sharpening, after my research, I would suggest the Edge Pro as best way to go. However, I would also suggest learning to hand sharpen as well and have stones for that too.

For the Edge Pro, I would suggest this set - http://www.chefknivestogo.com/edproshglsts.html

It will pretty much give you the ideal set unless you add an accessory or 2.

Re: freehand vs ep

Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:40 pm

thanks for the suggestion corpfan1, but I was hoping to keep it around $250 for the sharpening set. My original budget was $250 for knife and sharpening set, but that has gone out the window lol.

Re: freehand vs ep

Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:51 pm

Look at the "Essential Set". Great value at $209, gets you going with top quality stones and leave room to grow later too.

Re: freehand vs ep

Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:28 am

Learn to freehand sharpen unless you have no interest in it at all. There are simply things you cannot do with an EdgePro that you can with your hands and a flat stone.

Re: freehand vs ep

Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:15 pm

I would love to be very good at free hand sharpening and respect anyone who is good at it. But, for plain simplicity and much faster very good results I think you should get the EP. Like has been mentioned go as cheap as you can to start with and upgrade or add stones later. I've recently gotten some Shapton glass stones for the EP. These are great stones and I'd get them if I were to want a set of bench stones. I've been using the EP for about 3 years and love it. I will say this though. I like to finish the edge with free hand stropping. Recently I have gotten some of the sprays available on CKTG and am using balsa wood in addition to leather now. Stropping is possible using the EP also. I like balsa and not leather on the EP because I get careless and cut the leather when using the EP. The EP will also sharpen recurve blades if you need that. It is pretty versatile. It's an easy tool to get good at using but you will improve your skill with it over time as well as your results. Just like any tool.

Re: freehand vs ep

Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:48 pm

watercrawl wrote: Learn to freehand sharpen unless you have no interest in it at all. There are simply things you cannot do with an EdgePro that you can with your hands and a flat stone.
It's scary to get started but it's fascinating once you do and gives you a good feeling of accomplishment! I'm still very new but am starting to get good results. I can't see where an EP could really save much time.

Re: freehand vs ep

Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:07 am

I have the EP Pro and love it, the system is exceptional and I recommend it.

Having said that, I echo what watercrawl says, learn to free hand sharpen.

I promise you that, if you interested in sharpening, if you have a passion for it, there is no greater satisfaction than taking a dull knife to water stones and making it extremely sharp. Despite what Jackknife has said, the EP is NOT faster than free handing.

I have a knife sharpening business, I bought the EP Pro with the idea that it would be necessary for me to handle what I had hoped would be a deluge of knives. That was almost 2 years ago and I have switched to free hand sharpening for the following reasons:
It is faster, it is more fun, I can do more things as watercrawl says on stones and I can actually make my knives sharper, I can handle more knives much more efficiently by free handing.
Also, in my case, I knew how to free hand before I got my EP, that knowledge made me a better EP user.

I recommend learning on full sized water stones, feel the magic, and then down the road get the EP. It is truly a great system and you will love it but there is something very special about free handing.
Knife sharpening is a journey and no one here has peaked, everyone is still learning, it's just that some folks are at different stages of that journey, perhaps places I will never reach but trying to get there using full sized Japanese Water Stones is for me, much more rewarding/satisfying.

To be clear, the EP is an excellent system, you'll love it, if it's something you have your heart set on, go for it.

Good Luck

Re: freehand vs ep

Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:46 am

I'm going to give freehand sharpening a try, the biggest worry I had was ruining a brand new knife trying to sharpen freehand. I've watched all of Mark's videos but I plan to go over them again before I try. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/knshcoset.html would that be a good starter set? Or do you guys have other suggestions? Also if I do go with that set should I ask mark to substitute the flattening plate for something better at an additional cost?

Re: freehand vs ep

Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:46 am

I could have only dreamed to have that kit when I first started, in my opinion it is perfectly fine as is, no substitutions required.

I think the fear of ruining a knife while learning is very common and a huge barrier for many who would otherwise like to take the plunge. It is difficult to ruin a knife by sharpening it, don't let that fear be the barrier that stops you from jumping in. Mark's video will guide you along and there are plenty of folks here to jump in and help you as you move forward. When you first start, after you have marked your edge with the sharpie, tread lightly with the 5k stone and see how you are doing removing that sharpie mark, get a feel for how to hold the knife. Then you can step down to a lower grit to get the job done. If you are off a little, the 5k stone will not scratch the bevel too much, it's a good way to "test the water" so to speak.

Practice on a knife that is inexpensive, get that sharp, build some layers of confidence before moving to the better knives.

Good luck
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