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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening question
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:33 am 
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Yeah, I agree with Tim, .25 is way too fine for a prep edge. 1 micron (aka 16,000 grit) seems to be the limit for losing bite on an edge IMO. My personal favorite for home use is an 8,000 grit edge. All that being said, a Shun steel is going to be more coarse than an Idahone, so the Idahone would already be a small step up for you. If you are trying to keep that "surgical sharp" 8k or 16k edge, then the HA borosilicate rod is the answer: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/boghorod12.html but good luck getting your hands on one! ;)

I would love to see some feedback on smooth steels, because you may benefit from one, but I have no personal experience with these;
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fdipahost.html

as well as this one which seems to get great reviews. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fdidi12posto.html

Also, if you want to go the stropping route, I'd say go with some Balsa or split-leather with 1 micron diamond. That should get you where you wanna be most of the time.



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Shaun Fernandez

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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening question
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:21 pm 
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The Shun Classic rod is very fine grooved steel.

Fine grooved steels are useful for honing edges which not only need truing, but can use a little bit of scuff (aka scratching). Scuff adds micro-serration, which can compensate to some extent for dulling caused by wear. Eventually though, edges get too worn to be refreshed by the amount of scuff you can get by (properly) using a fine grooved steel.

This is true regardless of whether your knives are carbon or stainless. However strength/toughness do play a roll; and given that fairly high hardness carbon alloys tend to be tougher than fairly high hardness stainless alloys it's easy to generalize that carbon will hold up to a rod better.

The principle purpose of steeling is not to scuff up the edge, but to true edges which have developed impact burrs. Although all knives will deform from impact, not all knives profit from truing on a rod hone. Very hard knives and very asymmetrically sharpened knives are usually not good candidates because their edges are relatively fragile and can easily break from the pressure a rod's small contact patch develops.

Stropping on a flat surface is another method of truing an edge. It's somewhat gentler than a rod hone, and less likely to chip very hard and/or asymmetric edges. It's less efficient than using a rod in the senses that it takes more time, not to mention more setup. Another problem with stropping is its tendency to pull a wire.

Whether stropping or using a rod hone, it helps to know what to watch for. And, bottom line, steeling is quicker, more convenient, and just as good at truing as stropping for your Artifex.

If a knife's performance doesn't noticeably improve after honing, it's an inappropriate steel; it's the wrong kind of knife; you're using the steel improperly; the knives are too dull to benefit; or some combination. Since the Artifex steels well, and the Shun Classic is plenty good enough for it, reading between the lines, I'd guess a combination of steeling technique and a too-worn edge.

Extremely high hardness is never a bad thing for a rod, but isn't necessarily important. Honing rods do almost of their work with geometry, and the rod's hardness isn't usually much of a factor unless the hone is very soft. A good hone doesn't even need to be harder than the knife. Hardness plays its most important role is in the need for a hone that's free from nicks and gouges, that's because hard knives can nick soft hones.

Ceramic and glass aren't inherently better than metal. The great thing about ceramic hones is that you can get very high quality, appropriately textured hones for a decent price. The Idahone fine (aka "1200") isn't any better than a bunch of other hones, but it is as good as anything else out there, and a helluva a lot less expensive than anything which performs at its level. But, unless there's something visibly wrong with your Shun, there's no pressing need to replace it.

0.25u diamond is far too fine as the first step in sharpening a dull knife. On the other hand, a strop loaded with 0.25u is pretty good for a final polishing of a kitchen knife as long as the knife has enough "scratch hardness" to hold the polish long enough to make the trouble worthwhile. Your knife is marginal.

Compared to other stropping compounds, diamond gives an edge the most "bite." Knives polished out with 0.25u diamond actually have more of a toothy feel than knives polished with 1u boron carbide. One of the nice things about using diamond compound is that there's nothing subtle about the knife's feel as the polish fades -- when it loses that bite, it's lost the polish.

0.25u is an extremely fine grit. It's too fine to polish out a knife which isn't already fairly well polished. Just like with ordinary water stones you don't want to make your grit-level jumps too large. So, there's really not a lot of point to using 0.25u diamond (or 0.25u anything else) unless you're already at least very close to the 1u level.

I fool around with 0.25u diamond not because I think it's really worth the extra trouble, but because I can, and because I enjoy screwing around with knives. When I'm sharpening for best performance, I stop stropping at 1u boron carbide or -- lately -- 1u CBN.

Getting down to cases, you should take your knives back to the stones, and go through whatever your kit is until you get to a good 5K - 6K edge; then see if you can't maintain that edge with your current steel. Take a look at Steeling Away and see if that doesn't help you with your technique.

These are fairly complex subjects, and I've barely scratched their surfaces. If you want to go deeper, or if you (or anyone else) disagrees and wants to discuss it further, I'd love to.

BDL


Last edited by boar_d_laze on Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening question
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:53 pm 
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I would love to see some feedback on smooth steels, because you may benefit from one, but I have no personal experience with these: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fdipahost.html; as well as this one which seems to get great reviews: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/fdidi12posto.html.

A packer's steel is "polished," that is, it has no texture at all. It's most effective with edges which are actually fairly toothy already, when the teeth need realignment; and most butchers use fairly coarse edges. The packer's steel tends to preserve the teeth left from finishing with a medium/coarse or medium stone, rather than break them off because a packer's steel won't further scratch an already weak place.

No rod hone, no matter how fine, will preserve a real polish. FWIW, the best hone I've ever used in that respect is the HA micro-grooved borosilicate. Good luck finding one.

The best way to true a polished edge without scuffing it is to strop on something very smooth like uncharged leather, or a manila folder. Really though, if you've used a knife enough to ding it out of true, you're kidding yourself about it having a polsih worth babying.

No question about it, F. Dick's Dickorons are top of the line steels. they're beautifully made, perfectly finished, as good as you can buy, and are to be desired. However, they're also quite expensive, more expensive than other steels which are also as good as you can buy.

Horses for courses. Not everyone has the same needs, tastes, or priorities. If you're the kind of person who wants a block set of Wusthof Ikons, a Dickoron might perfectly suit.

BDL


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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening question
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:27 pm 
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Mr. BDL, I really enjoy reading your posts. :D



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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening question
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:21 am 
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Mr. BDL, I really enjoy reading your posts.

Thank you Shaun. I'm really enjoying the 52100 Ultimatum you crowned and sharpened for me even if you think you did it for Mark. The quality of the crowning of the spine and back were as good as any I've ever seen; and the quality of the OOTB edge was also outstanding.

And lets face it. Your posts are pretty damn good, too.

Please call me "Boar," if you like my screen name; or Rich if you prefer the real thing.

BDL


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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening question
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:43 am 
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Sweet! I'll go with Rich since you're kind enough to offer it, although will likely refer to you however feels most respectful at the time. :)

Your presence here has been like a breath of fresh air, along with my own increased participation as of late. For a while I just skimmed posts here and moderated, killed spam, banning people (which I love doing by the way, for spam :twisted: ) and trying to get better at my craft... but never took the time to 'really' get involved.

Let's face it, after some of the abrasive personalities you run into in the knife world (ahemmmmm), you get a little jaded and aggravated with someone who hangs up on your every move. This last year I've grown a lot, and just appreciate the attention for what it is. :D Moreover, I think making some new friends, but most importantly, helping someone make a purchase they'll love, is worth it. The personal aspect of getting to know people and their personalities just makes the experience that much richer. From the looks of things, around you I'll be shutting up and listening mostly!

After having used so many knives, it can be easy to take for granted just what you are holding sometimes. After having ground blades by hand, a great knife gets me fired up when I think of the attention that someone payed, the labor, the sweat, effort.... and someone is dumping a couple hundred bucks on their first real blade, it may be their only blade... I guess finally hitting 30 (yeah I'm young) learning to respect people more, and wanting to get to know other people's story. Been around the block enough times, time to stop and talk to a few people.

Yes, this post is a little off topic, just needed to get this off my chest I guess. The feeling of growing as a person lately, overcoming hurdles, the calmness, and removal of inhibition... like really good green tea I suppose ;) speaking of which..... ha-HAAAAaaa!!



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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening question
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:51 am 
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Location: Peoples Republic of Massachusetts
Best post ever :)

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening question
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:28 pm
Posts: 497
Folks, please note as you read this that is coming from a person who has been absolutely fascinated with knife sharpening for over 30 years. (That doesn't me a good knife sharpener, it's a focus point, it's my center of gravity)

I'm completely overwhelmed by the knowledge that people who post on this forum have. I don't know BDL at all (maybe) but I know I admire him as I do many here. It is important to note that these threads that you create are not taken for granted. They are invaluable sources of information that get locked away and for me they build layers of confidence/enthusiasm and respect. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to come and read these gems of information and take it away. I feel guilty for not contributing but in time that may come.
So I guess what I am saying is thank you. I have my own sharpening business that is doing well, that would be not be the case if I was not here and within easy reach of so much valuable information.

Now that I have accumulated some nice waterstones........it seems obvious that the next step is a new knife, now that is going to be exciting.

Keep up the great work my learned friends.


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