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 Post subject: Working to get the perfect edge
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 3:22 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:44 am
Posts: 161
Location: Northern Virginia
As a noob to sharpening, I'm really enjoying learning and wanted to get a conversation going around finding the perfect edge for kitchen knives.

Heres my opening bid.

So far based on what I've experimented with, read, and applying logic, here is what I am thinking.

First and foremost, the perfect edge is personal.
It will have a certain quality about it that will satisfy a very large range of internal criteria. I think I might not be able to identify all the variables, but I will know it when I feel it.

Additionally, of things I can know, I am thinking.

1) Subject : The perfect edge for veg is not the same as the perfect edge for meats.

2) Method : The perfect edge for slicing is not the same as the perfect edge for chopping.

3) Tool : The perfect edge for White #1 is not the same as the perfect edge for VG10 etc.

Thank god there are so many knives, steel types, and stones or I'd never find it :)

To close in on it, I can pick my favorite knife and experiment with edges to define the boundaries.

What are the boundaries?

I am thinking.....

1) Toothyness.
2) Toothyness refinement.

Toothyness.
From what I've experienced so far, there is definitely a point where I can have too much tooth and too little tooth. I know where the range is sort of, but haven't experimented enough to know I've found the optimal.

For me on a Richmond AS Laser...

Both the King 1K and Bestor 1.2K as finishing stones are too toothy for Veg and Meat.
The Rika 5K following the Bestor 1.2K feels better on Veg than the King ( with minimal mud ) 6K following the Bestor 1.2K.
The King 6K following the Bestor 1.2K feels better on Meat than the Rika ( with minimal mud ) 5K following the Bestor 1.2K.

Given this, I am thinking on this knife with my cutting style, to find the perfect edge for Veg, I need to look at stones that grade out between the Rika 5K ( which I'm told is more like a 3K, and only a 5K with mud ) and the King 6K. A start point would be to use the Rika with more mud and see how that goes.

And to find the perfect edge for Meat, I need to look north of the King 6K.

Toothyness refinement.
Another point I am considering is the refinement of the tooth. By this I am thinking the following.

When I go from a Bestor 1.2K to a Rika 5K, time and angle on the Rika will determine how much of the Bestors tooth remains as part of the edge.

The choices are to refine the Bestors tooth, or grind them away leaving just the Rikas tooth. Which is better? I don't know yet. I'll have to experiment. And if I find a difference, lets say I prefer the refined Bestor teeth to just the Rikas teeth, would that not mean I would need to try different lead in stones?

How did you find your perfect edge? What was your approach ? How can I improve mine?


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 Post subject: Re: Working to get the perfect edge
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 4:42 pm
Posts: 3368
Location: USA... mostly.
BRAN <> I think you're at a point where you should play around with a strop. Its much cheaper then stones, and many different refinements can be created from it. Not to mention, they are indispensable in refreshing your edges. This kit uses a diamond plate & stone holder to secure your stropping medium so it's a great value:

Furthermore, my thoughts that have been echoed quite often lately are online with what you're doing...

Rick wrote:"Not to mention that learning by actually doing, and seeing how your results work in the real world will make you a better sharpener, while following a "cookbook" approach will not.

And in the end, there is no "cookbook", as the answer is, "It depends". It's like the answer to the question, "When do you sharpen your knives?" The answer is, "When they are dull", but the definition of 'dull' varies according to the individual. The 'best' angle to put on a particular blade depends so much on the skills of the person that is to use it so as to make any answer expressed in degrees meaningless. If you can't push cut without torquing the blade, an angle of twenty degrees will chip, but if you know what you are doing, ten degrees may be the 'best'."



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 Post subject: Re: Working to get the perfect edge
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 7:34 pm 
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Posts: 1613
Location: Cape Town - South Africa
branwell wrote:As a noob to sharpening, I'm really enjoying learning and wanted to get a conversation going around finding the perfect edge for kitchen knives.

Heres my opening bid.

So far based on what I've experimented with, read, and applying logic, here is what I am thinking.

First and foremost, the perfect edge is personal.
It will have a certain quality about it that will satisfy a very large range of internal criteria. I think I might not be able to identify all the variables, but I will know it when I feel it.

Additionally, of things I can know, I am thinking.

1) Subject : The perfect edge for veg is not the same as the perfect edge for meats.

2) Method : The perfect edge for slicing is not the same as the perfect edge for chopping.

3) Tool : The perfect edge for White #1 is not the same as the perfect edge for VG10 etc.

Thank god there are so many knives, steel types, and stones or I'd never find it :)

To close in on it, I can pick my favorite knife and experiment with edges to define the boundaries.

What are the boundaries?

I am thinking.....

1) Toothyness.
2) Toothyness refinement.

Toothyness.
From what I've experienced so far, there is definitely a point where I can have too much tooth and too little tooth. I know where the range is sort of, but haven't experimented enough to know I've found the optimal.

For me on a Richmond AS Laser...

Both the King 1K and Bestor 1.2K as finishing stones are too toothy for Veg and Meat.
The Rika 5K following the Bestor 1.2K feels better on Veg than the King ( with minimal mud ) 6K following the Bestor 1.2K.
The King 6K following the Bestor 1.2K feels better on Meat than the Rika ( with minimal mud ) 5K following the Bestor 1.2K.

Given this, I am thinking on this knife with my cutting style, to find the perfect edge for Veg, I need to look at stones that grade out between the Rika 5K ( which I'm told is more like a 3K, and only a 5K with mud ) and the King 6K. A start point would be to use the Rika with more mud and see how that goes.

And to find the perfect edge for Meat, I need to look north of the King 6K.

Toothyness refinement.
Another point I am considering is the refinement of the tooth. By this I am thinking the following.

When I go from a Bestor 1.2K to a Rika 5K, time and angle on the Rika will determine how much of the Bestors tooth remains as part of the edge.

The choices are to refine the Bestors tooth, or grind them away leaving just the Rikas tooth. Which is better? I don't know yet. I'll have to experiment. And if I find a difference, lets say I prefer the refined Bestor teeth to just the Rikas teeth, would that not mean I would need to try different lead in stones?

How did you find your perfect edge? What was your approach ? How can I improve mine?


Find a balance between the slicer & the push cutter - or have specific knives grind to task.....expensive though......

I like a refined 2k edge.....

:)



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 Post subject: Re: Working to get the perfect edge
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 12:49 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:45 am
Posts: 1182
Your are about to embark on a long journey, so enjoy the ride as well as the destination.

If you have no sense of taste, you will find your answer quite easily. But you have already shown this is not the case, so you will find many more variables to contend with in your journey for a perfect edge. The answer will be knife user specific, task specific, knife sharpener specific and will change as you further refine your tastes and your concept of sharpness. It will even change as your knife gets used. And just when you think you have an understanding using synthetic stones, then you will advance to natural stones and be confounded with far more variables than just the degree of toothiness.

Even logic will take you just so far until you are confronted with things you cannot quantitatively measure, either because of the complexity or the very difficulty of a quantitative assessment when the parameters are not easily determined. You can't abandon logic, but it is only the first volley in your understanding.

The perfect edge for veggies for instance will be different if it is a ripe tomato or a hard squash. If your task is to make thin sheets of daikon raddish or carrots, your technique and preferred knife will be quite different than shredding a head of cabbage - or even cutting carrot slices. For the first task (sheets) an usuba will work well. For the second task (slices), it will work poorly. For shredding cabbage the usuba will be clearly the wrong tool.

More than finish is the edge geometry. And even within the realm of finish, how you compare a natural aoto finish to a 2k or even 4k finish is an interesting topic in itself as natural stones cannot be accurately assigned grit values. Comparing a 2k stone to an 8 micron CBN finish - both are 2k finishes but different. And different depending on the steel being sharpened.

---
Ken



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 Post subject: Re: Working to get the perfect edge
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 3:02 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:44 am
Posts: 161
Location: Northern Virginia
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the tips and suggestions.

So far I've been sticking with stropping on the stones to keep things simple until I understand what the stones can do and refine my technique a bit.... but ..... :)

Thanks again.


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