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Raising a burr when sharpening.

Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:54 am

Hello Mark,

Thank you for the quick shipping and refunding some of the shipping. Your customer service is second to none.

One quick question. First, should I raise a burr with a 2K stone? I just used my green brick for the first time and love it. But no burr. These were normal kitchen knives.

I just thought that maybe I should use the sharpie trick since maybe I wasn't hitting the edge? Your thoughts?



Re: Raising a burr when sharpening.

Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:05 am

Hi Jim,

Raising a burr is a simple way to confirm that you are grinding an edge on one side. It happens basically because as you grind the steel the back side of the edge peels back away from the grinding surface. It's a tell tale but that's all it is. I don't want to get too esoteric on you but you can sharpen a knife without ever encountering a burr. Also on fine stones at or above about 4K I ofter can't feel a burr on my edge becuase the stone doesn't grind nearly as much metal on finer grit stones.

So two tips:

One: Let your results guide you. If you don't feel much or any burr and you are getting a blazing sharp knife you are good.

Two: If you are not getting a sharp knife as a result of your work I would use a sharpie as you suggest and sharpen on one side until you feel a burr. Using a lower grit stone will speed this process a great deal so if you are just using the green brick it may take you a while. If you have a 500 grit stone or similar the process will speed up. Also, some people have a hard time knowing what to feel and are unsure of what a burr feels like. Basically if you drag the pads of your finger tips on the side of the edge a burr will feel like you are dragging your finger tips across the edge on the opposite side of the edge you are sharpening. Another trick is to run the knife through a paper towel. A knife with a burr will fray the towel instead of slicing through it cleanly.

I hope that helps. Come back with more questions here if you have them.

Re: Raising a burr when sharpening.

Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:20 am

If you think that you have created a burr but cannot feel it with your fingers, try pulling the edge across a paper towel. It's easier to feel the burr grabbing the paper towel than it is to feel it with your fingers.

If you lay the paper towel in your hand and strop the paper towel like you'd normally strop a stone, it's pretty easy to pick up the feeling of the burr grabbing the paper towel. Light touch of course.

Re: Raising a burr when sharpening.

Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:28 pm

You will raise a burr if you are doing it right, but you won't likely be able to tell unless you do it too much. The goal is to build an even burr that is as small as possible.

Re: Raising a burr when sharpening.

Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:06 am

My mentors here will correct me if appliable but here is my thought on the Burr.

In regards to sharpening, the formation of a burr on both sides of the blade is the center of gravity. Once the burr is created with the first stone, on both sides and removed the knife is sharp. The road ahead from this point on is simply a matter of refining the bevels/edge and not to create additional burrs.

I used to think that you needed to raise a burr with each stone and the higher in grit you moved, the more difficult it became to raise/feel burrs. However, as long as you did this on the first stone, in my case usually a 500 grit stone, there is no reason to raise it again. In fact, the ultimate goal should be to refine the edge with the next stone and stop just before the burr is raised. That takes practice and a good feel but there is no requirement to raise additional burrs. That is removing metal needlessly. Having said that, I often feel a second burr with the next stone, the 1K and as long as it is removed, the knife edge will continue to be refined.
I realize I am stating the obvious here.

Re: Raising a burr when sharpening.

Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:48 am

The burr was always a bit of an enigma for me, but with attention to detail combined with the great advice from the folks on this forum, I've learned a few things that have significantly upped my game. I now consider my 150 as my grinder/bevel setter and anything above that as simply refinement. I find a burr from my 150 (which is generated extremely quickly w/my nubatama bamboo) and everything above that I visualize refining the edge, not looking for burr. I also found it extremely helpful to not remove any burr until my finishing/higher grit stones. I was making the mistake of attempting to remove burr too early on my 150 or 400 and I was destroying my bevel alignment. Now I find when I get to my 5K and above, I can simply strop my edge laterally across the stone, gently on both sides, followed by some normal stropping strokes, and the burr is removed (without the use of cork or felt). Probably the most helpful advice came from Jason B. when he advised me to learn to master the variation of pressure on the edge when progressing through my stones, which can obviously only be learned through trial and error. Learning to use just the right touch on my lower grit stones followed by lesser pressure on my finishing stones has made all the difference. - Josh

Re: Raising a burr when sharpening.

Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:57 am

Yes I recall that great advice from Jason as well, I've a learned a lot from him on this forum, and others of course. It took me a long time to stop going through the motions, needlessly removing metal without stopping to examine the edge and where I was.
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