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How to sharpen a Mac

Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:46 pm

I ordered some MAC knives from you yesterday. I was wondering what sort of edge is on the knives? I assume it is a 50/50 edge? What angle is the blade sharpened at? What is the recommended method of sharpening the blades and how often? Can you use one of the handheld sharpeners? Is hand sharpening with a wet stone preferred?

I'm also interested in the Honosuke HD2 Gyoto. I had the same questions about that knife. Is it a 50/50 edge? What angle is the blade sharpened at? What is the recommended method of sharpening the blades and how often? Can you use one of the handheld sharpeners? Is hand sharpening with a wet stone preferred? Also as it is semi-stainless do you need to use any oil on it to keep it from tarnishing?

Re: How to sharpen a Mac

Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:47 pm

I ordered some MAC knives from you yesterday.

I was wondering what sort of edge is on the knives? V edge
I assume it is a 50/50 edge? Yes, approximately even.
What angle is the blade sharpened at? Approximately 15 degrees each side.
What is the recommended method of sharpening the blades and how often? Japanese waterstones
Can you use one of the handheld sharpeners? Yes but you won't get the same results
Is hand sharpening with a wet stone preferred? Yes

I'm also interested in the Honosuke HD2 Gyoto. I had the same questions about that knife.
Is it a 50/50 edge? Yes
What angle is the blade sharpened at? 15 degrees +-
What is the recommended method of sharpening the blades and how often? Japanese water stones when dull. You can use a fine ceramic rod for touch ups or a strop
Can you use one of the handheld sharpeners? Not a great idea but yes
Is hand sharpening with a wet stone preferred? Yes
Also as it is semi-stainless do you need to use any oil on it to keep it from tarnishing? Nah, just use, wash and wipe dry and it will be fine.

Re: How to sharpen a Mac

Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:16 pm

I can take a stab at some of these. I do not know about the edge symmetry or bevel angle on these knives in particular (but I see Mark posted that information above). I know that you will find a lot knives anywhere between 50/50 and 70/30, and it doesn't really matter in a technical sense. You may prefer it one way or another, but it isn't worth paying a lot of attention to unless you are interested in experimenting.

Basically, whatever the edge symmetry to start, you can just sharpen equally on both sides and get fine results. The angle is best to determine yourself, because even if they did quote an angle not all blades will quite match. The best way to do this is to paint the edge with black sharpie, set your device (whether that is a sharpening jig or your own two hands) to take the sharpie off everywhere along the bevel, and you'll know you have the right angle.

The recommended method would definitely be sharpening stones, specifically waterstones. You could use a handheld ceramic roller sharpener, but I wouldn't. Sharpening is fun to learn and it is not difficult to get usable results. If you need stone recommendations, just ask.

In terms of how often? When the edge is no longer cutting as you would hope. There is no hard and fast rule because it depends a lot on your use. I touch up lightly with a strop or a high-grit stone almost every time I use the knife, but don't need to do a full sharpening more than once a month if that. I rotate through several knives, so your results may differ. But just use it and when you start to feel it is getting dull, sharpen. It is as simple as that. Having a strop is useful for edge maintenance, so if you are interested in that we can also provide recommendations.

Semi-stainless is pretty close to stainless in terms of treatment: I haven't heard about it rusting. It will patina, but I don't think it is necessary to oil it. Just wipe it down if you are going to leave it for a while, and dry it off by hand after you wash it. If it develops staining you don't like you can polish it off, but oil won't really help. It is unlikely to stain while it is just sitting there in a box or block, which is the only place oil would protect it.

Re: How to sharpen a Mac

Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:08 pm

Thanks Mark. That's helpful. Do you recommend the 50/50 edge? I know that many people set the knife to 70/30. Is there a noticeable advantage to that? I also bought a Edge Pro kit from you. Can that be used to re-profile the blade? I probably won't if it is difficult to do and/or there isn't much advantage to it.

Yes I recommend 50/50.

Yes you can reprofile and thin knives using the edge pro. I free hand almost exclusively now but many guys use the edge pro for most of their sharpening. If you're doing alot of metal removal I suggest an atoma plate for the machine or a good low grit stone. I'm guessing you're not going to be doing too much of this.
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