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Freehanding- alternate methods

Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:19 am


Recently I stumbled upon the video Mark has on his Sharpening Videos on CKtG where his friend Curtis Chung demonstrates an alternative method of sharpening and in his case, he is using Chosera's. His method is a very fluid, sweeping motion that is, as Marks says, very elegant and in the case of Curtis, one that yields very impressive results.

The sweeping motion used allows full contact of the entire length of the knife edge on the stones with each sweep , you are not sharpening in sections and therefore the result is a uniformly sharpened edge. I on the other hand, a person who sharpens the blade in sections could potentially not reach the same results due to an inability to complete the process in a uniform matter.

My problem is that in his method there is no stopping to check for a burr, you just keep going and the burr is removed but that visual check is not made, I don't think it has to be made in his method but it just feels strange not to do so.
Also, in his video he is sharpening a new knife, the 15 stroke count he uses would not be sufficient on a dull knife. Curtis is a very meticulous sharpener as seen in the video.


(Also, I have never felt that the edge I create is not sharpened evenly, with practice it is quite simple to ensure there is no gaps between the heel, belly and tip of the knife).

I find the "Curtis" method very easy to follow and to keep count of strokes. Does anyone here have any experience with the method that Curtis Chung uses and if so, how is it on dull knives, very dull knives that is. Is it just a matter of increasing the stroke count, i.e starting at 50 maybe and counting down from there?


Re: Freehanding- alternate methods

Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:40 am

Here's the video that Curtis did for us a couple years ago.

Re: Freehanding- alternate methods

Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:10 pm

Cuyrtis and I have had some great sharpening sessions together. I tend to also like to do full sweeps more then sectionals, but if there is a particular problem in one section of a knife, this can be modified. I tend to sweep with the stone perpendicular to the knife vs diagonal but this is really a style difference.

If you are working a duller knife or reprofiling, you start with a coarser stone.

The idea behind alternating sweeps is specifically to NOT generate a large burr but to abrade the burr rather then break it off. This is something I'm in complete agreement as an ideal to do. This certainly doesn't mean you can't check for burr along the way. Remember that this is a single video. A good sharpener adapts to each knife and it's condition.


Re: Freehanding- alternate methods

Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:38 pm

Hi Peter,

Curtis actually oversharpens the knife a little. By going 10/10, 9/9, 8/8 etc.. he's relying on the amount of grinding he's doing to grind the edge down so he's getting a burr but just not checking for one. Ideally you want to sharpen until you get a burr and then stop. More is just a waste of time and steel.

Kind Regards,
Mark Richmond
(608) 232-1137

Re: Freehanding- alternate methods

Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:08 pm

Well I am really glad that I asked the question. The fact that Curtis had "sharpening sessions" with Ken speaks volumes about Curtis in my opinion.

(Gees is must be nice to have sharpening sessions with someone)

Thank you so much for the replies, again I have learned something new today.


Re: Freehanding- alternate methods

Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:14 pm

I sharpen like this often! I do the sectional method, and then when I am close, I switch to this method to even everything out. I do it diagonally and when I get to the tip, I curve the tip so I am perpendicular at the tip. I don't count strikes, but I have an idea of where I am and how much I need to do. I check for not only a burr, but that the bevel is at the same, uniform grit, ie I didn't miss a spot somewhere and the previous grit is showing. I also make sure that when the burr is gone, the edge bevel isn't visible; sometimes at the coarser stones, when the burr breaks off, it leave a flat spot where the two edge bevels don't quite meet properly. This is why I try to wear off the burrs as opposed to stripping them off and then strop on a piece of Micarta (80-100 grit finish) to make sure I have the burr off completely.

Re: Freehanding- alternate methods

Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:45 pm

Recently I've been doing a hybrid of the two. I section my way throught the flat part of the blade and then I sweep the belly and tip.

Re: Freehanding- alternate methods

Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:04 am

The one problem I see with section sharpening is if you are going perfectly perpendicular to the stone you will be wearing small flat spots in the blade, so IMO it's best to throw a small slant in your stroke.... like a section/sweep. (I think some people just call this "scrubbing") The only time I do the section/sweep is for heavy metal removal, mostly at lower grits, and by the time I get to higher grits it's all sweeps.

Re: Freehanding- alternate methods

Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:31 pm

I agree with Shaun's point wholeheartedly. the higher angle it is and smaller radius of the curve, the bigger the problem with sectional sharpening.
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