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Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:49 pm

Hi Mark. I've had my knives for a while now and have mixed results getting decent edges on some of the knives. After watching your videos for a refresher, I went back at it with mixed results. I'm using Sharpton 1000 and 4000 glass stones and have an ATOMA dishing plate to make sure they are level. My problem(s) are:

I can't seem to get a decent edge on the MAC paring knife not matter what I do. I'm kind of regretting having bought one.
When using the 4000 after the 1000, I somehow manage to dull the nice edge I've gotten with the 1000. Obviously I'm doing something wrong with that stone.
The Misono 440's seem to be tough to put an edge on with either stone, but I can get a good edge on them with the 1000. I then use the 4000 which again seems to dull the edge.

By comparison, the Konosuke (I think it's a Konosuke) 240 mm Gyuto sharpens up much more easily than the Misono's and I can get a great edge on it using both stones.

Any idea(s) what I'm doing wrong, especially with the 4000?



Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:52 pm

Hi Ken,

Any chance you can sharpen and record your session on your phone and upload it to youtube?

If not I have a few simple tips. But if I watch what you're doing I would be able to really hone in on what your doing with specific advice. Excuse the pun.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:55 pm

Also, if the video thing is not going to happen please take me through the steps you follow when sharpening your knife, from flattening to testing the edge after you are done. Don't leave out anything.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:18 pm

Might not be removing the burr from the 4k.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:00 pm

Here's what I do:
1. Flatten and rinse stones.
2. Lightly wet stones (per video).
3. Start w/ 1000. Using thumb to hold angle constant, run 10/8/6/4/2 passes, alternating sides after each set (e.g. 10-10, 8-8, 6-6, etc.).
4. Visually inspect edge for inconsistencies (a decent light source shined on bevels works well for me).
5. Dry and deburr by running edge lightly across top of a cork, or run through edge of hard felt pad.

These steps usually get me a good edge (great edge w/ the Konosuke knife). The next step is where it goes south:
6. Repeat all of above steps w/ 4000 stone, but do 8/6/4/2 passes.

Sometimes they come out great, sometimes not. The Misono 440's don't take an edge as readily as the Konosuke. The MAC paring knife has NEVER taken a decent edge with either stone and I'm just about ready to toss it. I have also thinned all the knives per the instructional video and that has helped, but the 4000 is still my nemesis.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:15 pm

Sounds like you could be raising your angle higher on the 4K stone than the initial bevel angle you've established on your 1K. I've found it very helpful to develop your feel for stone feedback by starting lower than the 1K bevel angle and gently and gradually increase the angle as your working on your finishing stone until you can actually FEEL and HEAR the stone transition from the secondary edge to the bevel itself (you can hear the difference and feel the suction from the bevel), then I maintain that angle to finish the edge. I also find this approach helpful in cutting performance because it creates more of a convex style geometry verses triangular. You could be having completely different issues, but this approach works for me.


Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:17 pm

You should toss the mac paring knife my way. :mrgreen:

Have you tried simply using stropping passes on the 4k instead of grinding? Also, have you thought about just stopping at the 1k? I will admit that I have a couple macs and the steel can be kinda hard to get a good edge on, but this doesn't negate the fact that it could be purely your technique. I am by no means an expert, just trying to give the point of view of someone relatively new to sharpening. Also what method of sharpening are you using, i.e. sectional, Curtis Chung method, some variation of your own?

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:33 pm

Jwesly1 said exactly what I was thinking.

Get it sharp with the 1K
Strop on 4K

This is how Murray Carter teaches sharpening and it will leave you with a toothy edge that is refined. You also avoid the risk of messing up your 1K edge.

Also, on your petty.

It's more difficult to sharpen pettys. Wobbling is magnified on small short knives. Make sure you are sharpening at the correct angle and concentrate on a nice steady stroke when you sharpen. If you have trouble with it send it to me and I'll sharpen the damn thing for you for free.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:39 pm

So, without being by your side to watch there are several things that could be going wrong. I'll try and discuss a couple and we can go from there.

First, the Konosuke (this is an educated guess) has the best steel of the bunch. Any steel I've ever seen Konosuke use is better than either the Misono's or Mac's steel. That you are getting better results with it is not surprising.

However, you should still be able to get them very sharp with what you have.

Can you feel a burr after the first set of 8 on the 4k? Try pulling a dry edge across a dry paper towel to feel for a tiny burr. You should be able to feel it this way. If you're not creating a burr, you're not getting to the edge.

If you can feel a burr, on both sides, you're doing a good job.

Now, we got to make sure it's completely removed. Try to remove it, then strop a few passes on the 4k again.....did the burr come back really easily? If so, you didn't fully remove it. Continue until you remove it.

The other concern, with a newbie and these really hard stones, is that any wobble on the 4k will completely ruin the edge you created on the 1k. GS's are very hard and very unforgiving. You have to maintain a consistent angle between stones. Like Josh said, if you're unsure, start with a shallower angle and work up to the edge. You'll learn to feel when you're there, on the bevel.....it feels different and sounds different.

Try a few stropping passes on the 4k after the 1k.

Be more tenacious at removing the burr.

Use a sharpie to make sure you've hit the entire edge all the way.

I don't even know what all I've said.....I'll cease my rambling now.

Re: Mixed results how can I improve.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:51 pm

Thanks all. I did try a shallower angle on the 4000 and it helped. A couple of the Misono's came out REALLY sharp (so I know I'm close!), the Konosuke is amazing and the MAC is hopeless. The Misono Petty, with its shorter blade, came out very sharp, but the MAC paring knife has such a short blade I find it difficult to get across the stone with any consistency. I'll keep trying and work on technique more with the 4000 since I get good edges with the 1000.
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