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Sharpen a Yanagiba

Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:34 am

Just bought an old yanagiba on ebay. It is new but not very sharp so I have to take it some rounds on my water stone.

I have seen a lot of video's about yanagiba sharpening, but I not fully understand which short of profile I should put on this knife:

This is what I have found out:
1.Sharpen the shinogi line by pushing the fingers on the line and sharpen.
2.Sharpen the egde by pusing the finger on the egde and sharpen.

But my question is:
1.Should there be an equal bevel from the shinogi line to the egde?
2.Or should I raise the knife 1-2 deg when sharpening the egde.

Many of the video's says something about blending the egde. If that should be possible there have to be different angel on the edge and shinogi line?

Sorry for my english:) My norwegian is much better but then I probably not will get any answers:)

Re: Sharpen a Yanagiba

Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:56 am

Because your have two different hardness steels on the front its best if you sharpen each as its own section. Raising a degree or two from flat will accomplish this. The "blending" is sometimes needed because this slight change in grinding angle will cause a distorted grind on the bevel that needs to be cleaned up.

Once the bevel has been set and polished to a respectable level I typically apply a microbevel to strengthen the edge. Without one they don't tend to hold a edge too well.

Lastly, don't neglect the backside. Try to just use fine stones unless the edge needs chip removal and even then don't go below 1k for the backside. Don't just deburr on the back but sharpen it from time to time throughout the process.

Re: Sharpen a Yanagiba

Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:15 am

Listen to Jason!! He sharpens a lot more yanagi than I do.

However, I will add that I've employed both methods. Flat from shinogi to edge and like Jason describes and both cut. My point isn't to argue with Jason by any means, just to point out that it isn't rocket science....both methods will work so if you get stuck with one method, don't give up....try the other.

Re: Sharpen a Yanagiba

Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:30 pm


Your English is better than most Americans!

And I'm in the same boat as you, looking at a yanagiba and deciding how to attack it. The flat bevel from the shinogi line down is easiest and ultimately has the highest potential for sharpness. The microbevel trades some sharpness for durability. But before you take it to the stones research hamaguri (clam shell) sharpening. This should confuse you to the point where you just shrug your shoulders and put the yanagi in the back of a drawer, never to be seen again.



Re: Sharpen a Yanagiba

Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:41 pm

The clam shell or convex grind is actually not wanted because it will thicken the cutting edge too much. By keeping the grind flatter and using a microbevel you end up with a better slicing edge and one that is much easier to maintain.

Re: Sharpen a Yanagiba

Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:22 pm

What is most critical is personalizing the edge to your needs for the steel's qualities. If the steel is capable of going with a completely flat grind by all means do it. But if the steel won't handle it or you are a bit heavy handed, then increase the angle of the edge by giving it a slightly convex grind. Now whether you blend the convex grind or use a microbevel is up to you but gradually approach making the angle more obtuse since it's much harder to bring it back to a more acute angle. You want to match the angle of the 'edge of the edge' to how you use the knife you have. Cheaper knife -> less acute angle.

You want the shinogi line to stay precise and crisp, so don't apply much pressure at all to the shinogi line but more towards the area close to and immediately behind the edge - which is the hardest steel.

Minimally grind the back of the blade with finer stones just to remove burr with light pressure and lateral strokes so as to minimize flipping the burr back and forth but to abrade it in place. I also try not to put a microbevel here either, but if the edge fails you may have to.

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