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How sharp knife do I need

Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:36 am

I can do a quick sharpening with in the following way:
1.Make burr on both sides with my shapton 1000
2.Edge trailing strokes on my king 1000 to remove burr.

With that I got an edge which hangs on my nail, and working very to most of my kitchen work.
But the knife is not hair cutting sharp/hanging paper sharp.
In order to achieve that I normally have to spend more time on my 6000#.

1.Do the edge has to be hair shaving sharp?
2.Should I be able to achieve a hair shaving sharp knife on my Shapton 1000 stone. My experience is that I have to spent some time on my 6000# in order to do that?

Re: How sharp knife do I need

Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:01 am

NORWAY <> You need a knife that's as sharp as you like for whatever you're doing...

#1. An edge does not have to be hair shaving sharp to use... but it helps. ;)

#2. A 1k stone can cut hair off your arm hair, but it's still a very toothy edge w/a bite.

Re: How sharp knife do I need

Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:24 am

Okay. So I have to practice more in order to get a hair shaving 1000# grit edge. Much more to learn...

Re: How sharp knife do I need

Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:32 am

I wouldn't be as concerned about shaving hair off of a 1k. If your knife sticks to your fingernail at 1k and cleanly cuts paper I wouldn't worry about anything else. Being able to shave hair with a 1k edge is all about finesse and just playing around with the stone. I think your progression of 1k to 6k is just fine if it is working for you.

If we simply want to get into "how sharp should a kitchen knife ever be?"... I can safely say, for most purposes in the kitchen, you will never need more than 6k or 8k refinement. But, as Melampus stated, you can shave off of a 1k. You just need to reduce pressure towards the end and make sure you hit both bevels very cleanly. Make sure all the burr is off and do very gently strokes. If you make a 1k hair shaving edge when go to the 6k you will notice a big improvement. The 6k will then be popping hairs with ease.

A couple of quick tips: 1) Make sure you are keeping the same angle while sharpening. It doesn't matter what angle you use on each side, they don't have to be the same, you just need to be consistent. and 2) To increase the performance of the edge, remember you need to lower the angle. Keeping a low angle with a consistent stroke is key to getting scary sharp knives.

The type of steel you are sharpening can be part of the equation as well.

Re: How sharp knife do I need

Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:02 am

Just a little side note peoples hair can be much different. My arm hair is very very fine. And i have never once got a 1k edge to shave it. Leg hair no problem.

2k With some time i can get to shave my armhair but its not as refined as i like.

In regards to the OPs question. The answer is as sharp as you want it. 1k , 10k , 100k ,640k, whatever you want to invest in a knife.

Re: How sharp knife do I need

Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:10 pm

Hearing men talk about shaving their legs is....... hmmmmm...... troubling ;)

Re: How sharp knife do I need

Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:14 pm

knives are as sharp as you need them to be. it's mostly a matter of preference. so long as it cuts the things you cut well, everything else doesn't matter.

Re: How sharp knife do I need

Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:54 am

Is there a typo in the original post? Do you mean you have a King 6k?

What I would suggest in addition to practice is getting a 2k stone as the most obvious solution. Twice as fine as 1k. The jump from 1k to 6k puts more work on the 6k that is done more efficiently with a stone inbetween. The 6k King is a lower density abrasive content so it is a slow 6k. Consider a 2k Shapton Pro or glass if you like the feel of your Shapton or a 2k Chocera or 2k Nubatama Ume or 'Green Brick' as an intermediate stone if you like a more soft stone.


Re: How sharp knife do I need

Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:02 am

Regarding the expectations of the edge off your 1K stone, out of a dozen different steels if I do my job right on the 1K I am able to slice phone book paper smoothly and shave some hair (although obviously a toothy edge). Don't sell yourself short on the 1K and expect to compensate on your higher grit stones. IMO this is one of the biggest mistakes people fall into when learning the craft. Make sure you have as close to a perfect edge as possible on your 1K which will allow you to maximize the results coming off your finishing stones, and with much less effort.


Re: How sharp knife do I need

Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:17 pm

I can shave arm hair off my Shapton 220 glass stone or my DMT XC plate (coarsest stones I have). It takes all of about 5 minutes. You can find a video on YouTube of Cliff Stamp shaving arm hair off of a 60 grit nubatama. The ability to cut hair, it seems, is just a matter of having a cleanly apexed bevel and not really about the finish (comfortably shaving your face, if course, is a different matter!).

Just a datapoint. My armhair is pretty coarse, but the edge also melts newsprint like its nothing.
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