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Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:57 pm

Hello
I tried yesterday to sharpen some knives for a friend. They are no named 10 $ knives.
Found it extremly difficult to get a good egde. I managed to get them sharper, but not so sharp that I usually get my
japanese knives.
Is it me or are some cheap steel types more difficult to sharpen.

Re: Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:58 pm

Some cheap Chinese made stainless knives are nearly impossible to sharpen without a grinder.

Re: Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:54 pm

That's why we pay tens or hundreds of dollars US for German and Japanese knives. Cheap steel that's inconsistently shaped and heat treated gives a cheap and inconsistent knife.

Re: Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:30 pm

It is like that I never get the edge very sharp. I do get an burr on both side, but I find it almost impossible to get rid of it. I tried for like 20 minuts but it felt like it always was some residuel burr.
I have no problem to get my victorinox knife sharp. That is my cheapest knife.

I also has to add that I used a king 1000/6000# combination stone which I use to sharpen knives for friends.

At home i have Bamboo 1200 and 4000. Is it only me or I find it more easy to sharpen on these stone than my combination stone even if the grit is the same.

Re: Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:07 pm

Yup...nearly impossible. Once you get a burr the soft steel folds onto itself. Sure there is an edge but the only way to get them to cut at all is to leave a fat burr and wire...the wire breaks knife is dull...again and again. This is why we see the cooks scraping the hell out of the knife on a sharpening steel. It gets a little burr and wire it cuts for 30 seconds and then it's dull again.

Re: Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:53 pm

I would not waste any time trying to sharpen cheap stainless knives on waterstones.
I either use a belt sander with belts ranging from 140 up to 1000 grit
OR
I use a paper wheel system, one wheel has grit on it, the other is the stropping wheel, loaded with white compound.
What seems to work best is the thin the knife above the edge, then sharpen it, then strop it, and make sure you remove any burr from the opposite side.
No matter what you do, they won't stay sharp for long.
As far as I am concerned, they should go in the recycle bin.

Re: Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:59 pm

It isn't you, it's the knife. Sometimes starting with a diamond plate helps, but just a toothy coarse edge is about all you can expect to be useful. There is a limit on how much good practicing on REAL cheap knives can teach you other than to get a better knife.

---
Ken

Re: Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:59 am

Thanks Ken...I need to hear that...I got my Atoma 140 the other day and thought...if I could just thin this knife and give it some bevel it might be useable...Nope the burr just flops. Cheap knives suffer rockwell hardness dysfunction and viagra doesn't work :)

Re: Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:10 am

The only thing these cheap knives teach me is to hold a constant angle.

Re: Sharpen cheap knives=difficult

Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:13 am

Norway, I am in a similar position. I currently have a set of OXO stainless knives that I bought on the cheap while I was in grad school. They have pretty nice, functional handles, but that is basically their only redeeming quality. I'm just learning how to sharpen, so I posted a similar thread and Ken suggested using a diamond plate to raise a burr.

I followed Ken's advice and it made a world of difference. My only two surfaces are the entry-level diamond plate and the Naniwa 2k Green Brick, so that is the progression I'm using for now. I was getting nowhere with the Green Brick by itself because the edges were so poorly defined. I think that is going to be true of most cheap knives. So I would follow Ken's advice and use a diamond plate or a very coarse stone (150-250 grit) to cut a clean bevel before working toward anything finer.

And like you, I'm starting to realize there is a limit to what one can learn from sharpening very cheap knives. I just ordered some Victorinox knives for a very reasonable price, and I think the ceiling will be much higher in terms of the edge they are capable of taking, and how much novice sharpeners can learn from working with them.
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