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Harder vs softer steel

Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:57 am

Most of my knifes are on the softer side for Japanese knives ie 59-61 hrc. As you move up in steel hardness is the sharpening technique the same and take longer or do you increase your pressure on the stones? Or is there a different technique all together?

Re: Harder vs softer steel

Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:22 pm

Same techniques, longer sessions? I want to say IMO the size (area) of the bevel you're cutting has more to do with how long it takes to sharpen a given knife (all things being equal) than hardness, though. And there's abrasion resistance to consider as well.

Re: Harder vs softer steel

Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:45 pm

I've really never found hardness of the blade to be an issue sharpening wise. The more wear resistant steels may take a bit more time but I never change technique per say. One may use different stones for different steels in some cases.

Re: Harder vs softer steel

Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:03 pm

Hardness and abrasion resistance are different notions. And some steels may take a little longer to get abraded, that doesn't make the sharpening particulary difficult. What makes sharpening hard IMHO is abrading a stubborn burr as with VG-10, which is neither particulary hard or abrasion resistant.

Re: Harder vs softer steel

Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:14 pm

+1 to all the comments.

"As you move up in steel hardness is the sharpening technique the same and take longer or do you increase your pressure on the stones?"

No...it's been exactly the opposite experience for me. My Japanese knives have such a fine edge and/or tiny microbevel....that the sharpening strokes
are very 'light' in pressure and few in number.

"Hardness and abrasion resistance are different notions" - Indeed.

Japanese knives are hardened to their extent...because the edge needs to be extremely acute for the type of food preparation they are accustomed to.
Hardness benefits acuteness (ie: Teruyasu white #1). Japanese carbon, is a non-tough, less-abrasion resistant metal...they're akin to razor edges. That's why they chip so easily...

Aogami knives (for example) will hold a better edge in terms of other carbon knives...but not in terms of stainless, powder, chromium, etc.
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