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Re: Just not getting sharp

Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:16 pm

Good stuff Gents, that's what makes this forum so valuable. People that are willing to share knowledge, wrapped up with a little courtesy and class. CHRIS - come on back and let us know how you improve on your results. Happy Friday to all!

Josh

Re: Just not getting sharp

Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:03 am

What are you sharpening? Some knives (softer cheaper knives) may not have hard enough steel to hold a more refined edge. I had a horrible time trying to bring some german style knives up to a Rika 5K finish.

Re: Just not getting sharp

Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:58 am

I hope you all know by now how much respect I have for everyone here so if my advice below is a little different, it's just my way of thinking and doesn't mean I don't agree with others thoughts/advice.

On Saturday I gave a 2.5 hour knife sharpening lesson, a private lesson and prior to that I struggled with which stone to start with, a 400 Latte or 1K Ume, I thought about it for a long time and finally shaped the lesson as follows.

With a Henckels Chef knife he watched me use the 400 Latte and then I let him go at it with the same stone. While I am very aware of the potential hazard that it brings I chose this stone and I'll explain why, but first a good point for beginners. I cannot overstate the importance of the sharpie and painting the edge and then making sure that targeted area is being reached by constantly watching your work. The student would make a few strokes and adjust the angle if necessary and this worked very well for him. The 400 produced a burr quite quickly and that burr was easy to detect and then stopping and repeating the process on the other side worked quite nicely.

There are 3 stones we need to sucessfully and effeciently sharpen a knife, coarse medium fine and Jason explains beautifully what the first and subsequent stones do. So if I am going to teach someone to sharpen, that person will get comfortable and confident with all those stones, if he gains confidence with a coarse stone from the beginning and and has the discipline to monitor his/her progress and be aware that it is removing metal quickly than I recommend learning how to sharpen with all the necessary tools.

We started on low end Henckels, if my plan failed and he was unable to maintain an angle with the 400 and the worst case scenario happened, i.e. I go to get a coffee and he is making divots in the stone with the knife or something when I came back, then the 400 would have gone away. You will be aware of your capabilities.

I love coarse stones, they make the process efficient, you just need to be aware of what they're capable of and be gentle with them, let them do the work, light pressure and check your progress.

Re: Just not getting sharp

Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:20 am

Guys I can't thank you all enough for all the advice. I haven't had a chance to work on a knife again but I'm looking forward to giving it another go. The only part that is difficult to visualize is the amount of pressure that should be used. Is this something I will learn by trial and error? Anyone have suggestions to help me understand a little better

Re: Just not getting sharp

Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:26 pm

Hi, yes trial and error is an important tool to learn the ropes but keep in mind that less is better.

It's hard (for me) to tell you how much pressure to use other than saying "light pressure", however, if you think of the sharpie mark along the edge. How much pressure do you need to use to remove that sharpie, it is not much but you need some to let the stone do it's magic, so get a feel for that amount of pressure and use that as a starting point. On a pressure scale from 1-10, if you need #1 pressure to remove the sharpie. To remove a little metal with a 500 grit stone you need a #2 or #3 and with a 1K stone you need a number #3.

Trial and error and starting with a practice knife is the trick, after 20 knives you will know what pressure is required to achieve desired results with different stones AND different knives. You need to get to know the knives that you're sharpening and how the stones work on them and you need to get to know your stones. Have fun with it, it's just a knife, not like your tinkering with a stick of dynamite. Don't be disappointed if your not getting great results today............tomorrow is another day.

Re: Just not getting sharp

Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:08 pm

Chris, I've found the topic of pressure to be one of THE most important important factors in taking your game to the next level. I agree that trial and error is the only real way to find that perfect touch, but it's worth the effort. Let your stones do the work, you'll be surprised how little pressure is really necessary to produce optimum results. I've found one of the significant benefits of learning how to use a light touch is the ability to really FEEL the primary edge and the corresponding suction/feedback from the stone. Once you develop this feel, it will also aid in maintaining a consistent angle because you'll immediately know when your angle is off.

Josh

Re: Just not getting sharp

Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:26 pm

Well stated gentlemen!

Even after all the years I've been doing these kinds of tasks I still catch myself (forehead slap) and have to lighten up pressure wise. One can always increase pressure if need be. Its tough to recover from a bad start. Stay on the cautionary side pressure wise.

If things start to go not to your liking put whatever down and think it through.
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