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 Post subject: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 10:50 pm 

Joined: Mon May 20, 2013 1:29 pm
Posts: 13
Hi there,

I'm looking at picking up two knives from your website:

1. Takeda Kiritsuke 240mm
2. Takeda Nakiri 165mm

I am looking for some recommendations regarding the right sharpening stones and any "care products" (e.g. oils) I might need for these types of knives?

All Japanese knives I have so far are stainless steel, so any other recommendations/advice regarding the purchase of those two knives is very welcome.

Thanks!
Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 11:09 pm 
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Takeda makes some very nice knives and proper sharpening will considerably enhance both the functional sharpness and beauty of the knife. I personally prefer to use natural stones and Nubatama synthetic stones for these carbon steel knives. These stone can bring out the contrast between the cladding and core blue steel rather than giving just a shiny bevel with no contrast as you see with most other synthetic stones.

Depending on your budget, and assuming that you are not repairing any damage, you could start with a 1k stone. I would suggest the 1200 Bamboo, the 3k Bamboo and then a Yaginoshima Asagi as a real nice sequence. Alternatively you could start a bit early with a natural stone like the Meara instead of the 3k Bamboo. Instead of the 1200 Bamboo, you could use an Aoto and have a full natural stone sequence. This would be a significant improvement and a very pleasurable experience, introducing you to the pleasure of sharpening with natural stones on carbon steel and cutting with natural stone edges.

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Ken



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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 11:14 pm 
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Depending on the humidity where you live and how often you use your knife, I would suggest that you thoroughly dry your knife after use with one of those yellow towels that people use to get the water spots off of their car when washing their car. Gets a knife EXTRA DRY. For regular use that's enough. Then if you aren't using your knife for a while, put a bit of oil on the blade - mineral oil works fine, not oils that can turn rancid (olive, corn, peanut, etc).

Welcome to the Forum!

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Ken



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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 1:19 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:56 am
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Location: Austin, TX
+1 on the mineral oil . . . get it cheap in the laxative section at the grocery store. It is great for wood conditioning (you cutting board and handles) as well.

Funny story . . . got my boss a nice end grain, walnut cutting board as a gift. Put a gift box together with cotton patches and mineral oil to treat her new board. She read the mineral oil bottle, looked at me, and said, "That is the first anyone has ever given me laxative as a gift!" It continues to be an ongoing joke between us . . .



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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 4:03 am 
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I sharpened up a few Takeda's when I did some saya's for them. I don't know if the customer had already flattened the bevel out or not, but most that I have seen seem to have very nice blade roads on them and work pretty well on stones. Other knives have somewhat wavy grinds that take a while to fully flatten out the blade road. The Takeda's seem to have much cleaner grinds. I used a harder Aoto J Nat that is supposed to be 3-5K and then the Shobu San, which is around 8K or so and leaves a very nice edge. IIRC, I used a Bester 1200 to get the chips out before the San Aoto or an Amakusa J nat, can't remember which at this point. I sharpened with the blade road flat on the stone and then a small microbevel with the Shobu when I was done to help with the chipping.


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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 1:09 pm 
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Get the 5 piece set:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/3pcstoneset.html

and some camelia oil:

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tsoilst1.html

The camelia oil won't turn rancid like olive oil and other such oils. Apply lightly if you either live in a very humid location, or plan to leave the knife for extended periods of time without using.

The 5 piece set will be all you need to get a knife very sharp and has some of my all time favorite stones in it.

Other than that, a sink bridge or stone holder is nice to have and get a Sharpie to mark the edge with. Don't know if you currently sharpen your knives or not, so I won't go into a dissertation on sharpening practices unless you ask. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 12:57 am 

Joined: Mon May 20, 2013 1:29 pm
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Guys - appreciate all the great inputs ...

RE: Adam - yes, I do sharpen my current knives on Combo stone from Zwilling - picked that up back in Germany. It's 3k and 8k. I think it's more of a finishing stone though and I should most likely be getting a 1k one to complement it. I've not been super successful in bringing my Tojiro knives up to out of the box sharpness. Perhaps you might wanna share a bit of that dissertation you mentioned?! : -)

RE: Ken - can you shed some more light on what the advantages of the "natural stone sharpening" are? I'd definitely be willing to invest if it makes sense for these types of knives ... perhaps $200-$250 for a good set of stones.

Appreciate everybody's eager responses!

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 7:40 pm 
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"RE: Ken - can you shed some more light on what the advantages of the "natural stone sharpening" are? I'd definitely be willing to invest if it makes sense for these types of knives ... perhaps $200-$250 for a good set of stones."

I mention natural stones in that I really like them used on carbon steel knives. Of course not everyone will feel the same way about this and I certainly don't want to give the impression that I've stopped using synthetics either.

So let's divide the topic in half - aesthetics (looks) and performance.

Some like blondes, some brunettes, etc. Synthetic stones, with some exceptions will give you a shiny finish - a bright mirror finish. It will treat the softer cladding of your takeda the same as the harder core steel - the aogami super - the same way. You get a bright finish. This is attractive in it's own way. A natural stone will treat the two steel components of your knife differently, contrasting the two. Having achieved this finish, you will begin to appreciate subtle aspects in the steel that get brought out. You will develop the sense of appreciation that sword polishers have in that they are optimizing or bringing out the work of the bladesmith in an optimal manner, displaying the subtle characteristics of the blade. This is true for clad blades and differentially hardened blades. Here the separation in a differentially hardened blade is marked by a line of demarcation between the two - a hamon line. If you look closely at the line, you will appreciate interesting detail - niori, showing various structures that modern metallurgists recognize as martensitic and pearlitic structures formed during the tempering process. It is not unlike what metallurgists view in their prepared specimens. This is part of the art of the swordsmith revealed by the sword polisher. With synthetic abrasives it is all a whiteout - just a shiny surface with no detail - similar in photography to an overexposed picture. Admittedly this high contrast is an acquired taste and even among sword polishers of various schools of thought over various periods of time, the degree of contrast considered optimal varies and there are 'arguments' about this topic. Various natural stones will provide varying levels of contrast. At some point after sharpening many knives, you will wish to go beyond 'merely' sharp and begin to consider the beauty of the knife as a part of your task of optimizing your knife. Now the fun begins as you go from house painter to portrait painter :) You will modulate the contrast. You will look at the core steel mirror finish and see that the natural stone finish will impart a subtle black haze like an antique mirror - a kurobakari finish.

As an example, I recently worked on a Tojiro white steel petty. The original finish had a sandblasted high contrast finish. Very fake looking, but most won't notice it. Very uniform. I redid it with natural stones. A completely different look, revealing an uneven bevel and a false line of demarcation between the cladding and core steel (jigane and hagane, respectively). It took more work to even out the bevel which was masked by the fake sand blast look, but it revealed a beauty hidden under the original finish. This is not something you can accomplish with almost all synthetic stones (some Nubatamas being a notable exception). Personally bringing this level of beauty and uniqueness in the blade 'out' for viewing is more interesting to me than a beautiful handle. Of course both is even better. You tend to find that just a bright mirror over the whole edge seems like looking at an overexposed photograph with all the detail obscured. Here the argument for doing your knife is overwhelmingly in favor of naturals.

Before leaving the aesthetics, let's talk about the aesthetics of the sharpening process itself. Sharpening can be viewed as a mundane task. Rub rub rub -> sharp edge. Done. Now go cut something. Or it can be viewed as an engaging experience to delight the senses and appreciate with the senses the smell of a wet rock, the subtly of developing a fine mud with skill, looking at the beauty of the stone and so on. A sensual passionate meeting of steel and stone like paint meeting canvas. Here, naturals vs synthetics aren't even a fair contest. And my description just begins to describe this understanding of the sharpener / honer /polisher with the stone and the knife / razor / sword being worked on. All three change the other.

Although this could be considered performance, I believe that meeting the levels of perfection with a natural stone finish is more challenging in that it reveals the imperfections of your technique and the blade more fully [than with synthetics] so you work harder to perfect your final result. Scratch patterns are less hidden. Surface irregularities are brought out, etc etc. Using naturals forces you to evaluate your work more critically, hence a higher level of performance is brought out of the sharpener.

Performance. This is a more subtle argument. I have seen the argument that natural stone polishing increases the Rockwell (HRC) hardness. I don't buy this.

Let's talk about edge retention and the style of cutting edge produced. In my next post. I need a break ...

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Ken



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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 10:41 pm 

Joined: Mon May 20, 2013 1:29 pm
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Wow. really exciting to read this. Appreciate you having taken the time to write this ...

So I'm thinking if I'm willing to invest in an aogami super blade, I should best pair it with a natural stone ...

I'm thinking of getting a Ohira Tomae High Quality Red for finishing, but not sure about what to pair it with, perhaps a Ohira Tomae Medium or Chosera - perhaps 1 or 2k...

Any suggestions and inputs are welcome.... Also I'd also love to hear about edge retention and style of cutting edge!

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Sharpening stones and blue steel care products
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 9:32 am 
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Mike, send me a PM with contact info and I'll give you a call. But be warned - I talk even more than I write :) If my message box is full email at ksskss @ earthlink.net .


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