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Need a little advice on Sharpening.

Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:13 pm

I just got my first Japanese Knife and it's a Sakai Takayuki Damascus Hammered Santoku I picked up at a store when I was passing threw a City on a road trip and got it for 89.99 and I have a Fujiwara Nashiji 180mm Santoku coming any day now from Mark at Chef knives to go.

What I was wondering what angle would be a good angle to sharpen these knives at,I have a KME sharpener and there Chosera stones as well as their gold series diamonds and ceramic stones.
I have been using my KME for a while to sharpen my Zero Tolerance pocket knives and can do a really good job with them and I also use a Digital Angle finder to make sure I'm always sharpening at the same angle every time I go to touch up or re-sharpen a knife,but as far as what angle to sharpen a Japanese kitchen knife I have no idea,I do know that there are variable's like the thickness of blade and other factors.

Re: Need a little advice on Sharpening.

Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:19 pm

This also somewhat depends on you, and everyone else who uses the knife. If you toss it about willy-nilly, you need a stronger edge. If you're a delicate freak like me, the knife will allow a thinner edge.

That said, I'd probably start somewhere in the 12 to 15 degree per side range for the Fujiwara and perhaps a little steeper for the Sakai. If it holds up well, lower the angle the next time and the next time until it doesn't hold any longer.....then go back up a smidge and that's your angle.

Re: Need a little advice on Sharpening.

Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:26 pm

For the fujiwara sharpen at less than 15 dps, any more obtuse and your not taking advantage of the extra hardness. A good 3k-5k finish does nice.

For the other a 1200 and strop with compound is how I used to finish them.

Re: Need a little advice on Sharpening.

Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:32 pm

Ok I'll try starting around he 15 degree mark.

Thanks for the help guy's.

Re: Need a little advice on Sharpening.

Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:56 pm

Hi Jason B -- would you say a good angle for a Richmond Laser in Aogami Super is 12 degrees per side? It's supposed to be HRC 63. Or could you even go to 10 degrees? I'm a home cook, using a face grain (or maybe edge grain… dunno how to tell the difference, actually) beech cutting board (from Ikea) so the knife doesn't see hard use.

Re: Need a little advice on Sharpening.

Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:26 pm

Mark,

FWIW, the product you linked to is an edge grain cutting board. This is an end grain cutting board: http://www.lonestarartisans.com/end-grain-cherry-e2/.

If you picture sticks stacked together as the fibers of wood, then cutting into the side of the fibers is a. harder on the edge of your knife, and b. severs the fibers leaving a permanent cut in the board surface. The advantage of end grain is when the edge makes contact with the board the edge slips between the fibers stopping more gently and because you are pushing into the bundled ends of wood fibers, the cut will kind of squish back together. For these reasons end grain wood cutting boards are though of as "self-healing" and edge friendly.

Edge grain wood boards are generally regarded as second place as they are better than plastic boards, much better than bamboo, and banish the thought of stone or glass...they are simply NOT cutting boards. ;)

Re: Need a little advice on Sharpening.

Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:30 pm

12 degrees per side is a good starting point for a Richmond AS Laser.

To add to Cedar's thoughts.....typically an edge grain board consists of several small "blocks" of wood glued together. Edge grain boards typically are like planks running the width or length of the board.

Re: Need a little advice on Sharpening.

Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:11 pm

Mark H. wrote:Hi Jason B -- would you say a good angle for a Richmond Laser in Aogami Super is 12 degrees per side? It's supposed to be HRC 63. Or could you even go to 10 degrees? I'm a home cook, using a face grain (or maybe edge grain… dunno how to tell the difference, actually) beech cutting board (from Ikea) so the knife doesn't see hard use.


In my experience Aogami super can do well at low angles, Takeda knives with there Scandi like grind is a good example of this. Because it is a carbon alloy I also feel that it performs better with a coarser edge as compared to Shirogami which is a pure carbon and is more suited for a very fine edge.

You will know when the steel is very hard because even the best stones seem slow to sharpen it. It will also take precision to finish the edge to a fine level, it's not a forgiving steel when very hard and it will let you know.
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