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rookie sharpener what to get?

Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:41 pm

Hi,

First, for rookie sharpeners, do you recommend the Tojiro Pro or the Takeda hand held whetstone? The whetstone looks like more fun to work with, but how do you make sure you get the correct 15 degree angle when you apply the stone? Or, is the angle ground in the blade so you really mess it up as you sharpen the edge with the stone?

Second question. I can’t say I trust myself on the first time to sharpen my Moritaka Yanagi. Do I send it in with the original box to your in house guy?

One more thing, if you ever meet a doctor, ask him or her how fast the knives got dull in Gross Anatomy lab. It was amazing. Even now in surgery I always use disposable blades as the reusable ones are awful. Like I hear chefs say, the most dangerous thing in a kitchen is a dull blade. It applies to the Operating Room as well.

Thanks,

Dan

Re: rookie sharpener what to get?

Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:43 pm

Hi Dan,

Forget the Tojiro Pro. It's a toy.

Takeda's hand held stone works well and is easy to pick up. Give it a try. Just mark the edge with a sharpie an then grind off the entire mark to find the correct angle. It's fun to use and you can get your knives screaming sharp with a just a little practice.

Re: rookie sharpener what to get?

Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:49 pm

Yeah, the Takeda handheld is an actual good sharpener....definitely get it over the Tojiro.

Takeda will use that same thing to sharpen a knife at shows....I've seen video's of him doing it.

Re: rookie sharpener what to get?

Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:24 pm

You should be getting your Moritaka considerably sharper than your disposable scalpel blades with better edge retention too :)

---
Ken

Re: rookie sharpener what to get?

Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:50 pm

I'm a home user, not a professional chef, so take what I say as you will.

I don't know all that you are sharpening, but I much prefer bench/table/sink-top stones over hand-held ones. There is a technique to learn about keeping the angle consistent as you sharpen, and I don't have the skills of Takeda-san, by any stretch.

I personally think that starting on stones that are "less forgiving" than many of the entry-level kits provide allow you to learn a lot more quickly. I'm a fan of Shapton Glass Stones as well as the Nubatama stones. Something like the Nubatama set would be a killer set-up for most people. It's pricey though. "Natural" stones are on my list too, but opening that Pandora's Box can probably wait for most -- though I do really, really like the Meara for either "finishing" or second-to-last stone for kitchen knives -- It would be somewhere in the 2000-8000 range, but leaves a killer edge on everything I've tried it on; very sharp yet still nicely "toothy" in its feel.

You could also go with the Shapton Glass Stone set, adding a stone holder and a flattening plate (like the Atoma 140, or the DMT). I did quite well in the kitchen with a wide range of steels with Shapton Glass Stones in 2k and 6k. I am assuming the 1k and 4k would be another good pair to start with.

I have heard of some good results with some of the combo stones. I'm not a huge fan of the King, but others may have better input.

What do you get with other stones? A different "feel" when sharpening, subtly different edge characteristics, different longevity (stones wear), changes in the way the sharpened edge looks, different prep rituals ("Spash-and-go" is nice for many as you can just grab the stone and use it, without soaking it first), nothing huge.

On the yanagiba, while single-bevel knives look like they would be easy to sharpen, they can be deceiving. I would say that keeping an edge on one isn't too bad, but as soon as you have any edge defects, there is a lot of metal to remove to move the edge back even a tiny bit. If you do need to do repair work on a single-bevel knife, that would be a good time to consider sending it off to one of the professionals -- there is a list in the Sharpener's Corner section of these forums. Keep it away from bones and "sharpening steels" of any sort, and you probably can take care of it yourself.

Re: rookie sharpener what to get?

Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:51 am

The Moritaka's are 50/50 grind (even the Yanagi) so while Jeff's comments are spot on for a single bevel knife, your Moritaka is not one of them. Just practice on whatever setup you decide upon with beater knives until you develop the muscle memory to hold the correct angle on your better knives.

I agree that the glass set or the Nubatama set are a great place to start!

Re: rookie sharpener what to get?

Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:13 pm

Thanks for all of your comments guys!
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