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Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:01 pm

"Whichever way I go, please just tell me I can't kill a knife!"

It is very hard to kill a knife. Most problems can be repaired. Just off the top of my head, some ways to kill a knife: break it in half; heat it to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, hold blade on a belt sander until over heats, some bent blades, some can be bent back, other can't. Things that can be fixed: bad bevel geometry; chips in the edge or broken tips (though deep ones can result in a very different blade profile); cracked, broken, warped, or just nasty handles; scratches in the blade. Point is, without wanton disregard for a blade, you will not be left without a functional piece of cutlery with some effort.

Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Mon May 12, 2014 4:09 pm

First, all my thanks to everyone who chimed in. This is such a generous forum.

For the last month I have been reading everything, clutching my credit card, and moving things endlessly into and out of the shopping cart as I think about sharpening. (In the process of researching I succumbed and bought a knife--another story). I'm nearly ready to jump and would love help spending my money. I know you all do this so well!

I am going to start with stones rather than the EP system. Can't afford both systems (especially if I keep buying knives!). I am not particularly skilled and will never achieve Zen levels of sharpening or a state of oneness with my knives and stones, but heck--it's not rocket science, right? I chop and slice happily every day of my life and it's time to take care of my things rather than farming the sharpening out.

Here is my list. Please know that I am a complete sharpening beginner. I do not want to overbuy, but I would like to start with a reasonable set of well-reviewed stones that I can grow with. They should work with the old knives that I have bought over years (the Shuns and Wusthofs that I got for a song because I sold them where I worked) and the JKs that I will certainly be adding thanks to the lure of this addictive site.

I would love to get thoughts on what to add and what to delete. BTW, thanks to Cedarhouse--you can tell the list is heavily influenced by his ideas.

Shapton Glass 1000
Nubatama Ume 2000--the most costly in the bunch, and I admit I am concerned a little about the price. Would I be just as happy with the Green Brick of Joy (same grit)?
Suehiro Rika 5000 or Arashiyama 6000--which would be better??? I need something in this range.
Universal stone holder
20x Loupe--necessary for my no-longer-young eyes
Angle Cube--is this a good idea?

In the next credit card billing cycle I would consider the Atoma 140, some kind of kit for stropping, and a lower grit stone. The Latte 400 is on order, and I would consider a substitute. Ideas about the best stropping setup?

As an aside, I have also discovered the forum specials. Note to the administrator about qualifying--can I access these deals if I have 10 posts and 90 purchases???

Thanks to everyone.

Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Mon May 12, 2014 6:56 pm

My suggestion is a basic set of three stones, a loupe and debarring block, sold as a set at a good discount.

Beston 500
Bester 1.2K
Suhiro Rika 5K
20X Pocket Magnifier
Rock Hard Deburring Block


Add an Atoma 140 for stone flattening and you're good to go.

If you want, you can get a stone holder but it's not necessary. Cut a 2 x 4 to fit your sink and put a wet towel on it to keep the stone from moving around.

The angle cube is a good accessory if you are using an Edge Pro, but is virtually worthless for freehand sharpening.

Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Mon May 12, 2014 7:12 pm

Thanks for the help, Rick. The angle cube will exit the shopping cart.

How do people like the 2 x 4-over-the-sink idea compared to a holder? BTW--I'm a girl without a saw, but that's what Lowes is for, right?

Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Mon May 12, 2014 7:28 pm

...your welcome, hope my ideas work out for you ;)

Your list would be great. Let me go one item at a time...

1) I just got the Shapton Glass stone myself in the last few weeks, it is a really nice stone, you would be very hard pressed to get a better stone. You might also consider the Shapton Pro 1500, I do not have it but I have been reading good things about it recently and as you will see below it might help lean up your initial purchase. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/shaptonpro1.html.

2) Green Brick is very soft by comparison, I don't think they are exact replacements for one another, though they fall in the same grit range. I definitely prefer the Nubatama over the Green Brick. What you might consider (someone chime in if I am wrong) the Suhiro Rika is said to cut well for a 5k, coming off a 1500 Shapton Pro should not be to big a jump. You could delete the 2k stone in the short term and add it later based on what you learn what your preferences are.

3) I do not have the Suhiro Rika, but from what I have read that should be an great stone to work with. I do have the Arashiyama and like it very well but would not go to war on its behalf over the Rika. If you delete the 2k stone the 5k should be an easier jump.

4) I do not use a stone holder. People like them for giving knuckle clearance and providing for non-slip on your counters, but I just use some shelf liner on the side of my sink so the mess is easy to clean up and my dominant hand is over the sink basin so no knuckle problems. If you think it would be helpful, go for it, but it is not necessary.

5) Loupes are nice...and I have good eyes.

6) I have never used an angle cube. I think this is a "how do YOU learn" sort of a question. The "sharpie trick" is a great skill to duplicate an existing bevel angle so you don't need a cube here. If you are establishing a new bevel you do not need to feel constrained by a specific angle so the cube is not necessary here. Ultimately, which angle is less important that holding a consistent angle. So get the cube if you NEED to know what angle you are working at, but know YOU still have to hold it steady and the angle will work itself out.

7) I use a DMT plate for flattening, if you have the means, spring for the Atoma, most reviewers believe it to be worth it.

8) Lastly, this: "As an aside, I have also discovered the forum specials. Note to the administrator about qualifying--can I access these deals if I have 10 posts and 90 purchases???" :lol:

Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Mon May 12, 2014 7:34 pm

My eyes totally missed Rick's post....my bad.

No real experience with the Beston/Bester, Rick is certainly not alone in recommending them.

I just recently started doing the 2x4 thing. I use shelf liner on either side so it does not move, then another patch under the stone. It works very well for me. Only two drawbacks so far, neither a big deal. First, I end up storing a 2x4 in my kitchen. Second, because it is rough lumber, I can clean it up and dry it so it has to kinda air dry. But it was practically free...so WIN!

Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Mon May 12, 2014 7:36 pm

If you have even passable knife skills, sharpening is simply an extension. They develop as you practice and you'll find yourself seeing benefits almost immediately. Freehand sharpening has a romantic air to it that makes it subtly fulfilling for me. I sharpen friend's knives often just because I like to.

I think there is good reason to consider the Shapton Glass and maybe a Nubatama even as a beginner. So many of the most accomplished sharpeners here have time and again said they wish they had gone right to the best stuff. Splash and go is the future. That said, the Green Brick is quite wonderful at the 2k range and I know for a fact it leads comfortably into the Rika and even Snow White.

I don't use a stone holder at all. I sharpen on top of a damp towel. If I did use a holder, you bet I would go to Lowes for 2x4 and have one cut to fit a large bucket that I could sharpen over.

My penultimate possible suggestion, however, is to consider going a bit slower. Feel it out with one or two stones, don't dump half a grand into a project you're just undertaking. This even lets you determine how you like certain properties to make good purchasing decisions in the future.

Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Mon May 12, 2014 8:14 pm

Lepus and cedarhouse--I can't thank you both enough. Happy to see the consensus on the Shapton and the Nubatama--I was very attracted to both, though the fairly minor 1k jump between them may mean they do not stay together on the "initial purchase" list.

Lepus--my knife skills are not wildly stunning, but good. This is going to be an exciting path for me--I just don't know why I never took the plunge sooner.

Oh--and my list was up there for editing. I appreciate the "go slow" advice from Lempus, though I did have to chuckle when he warned me away from a "half a grand" shopping basket. This forum has lured me away from my beloved purse forum. You gentlemen have NO idea how much I am saving by transitioning from handbags to knives.

Again, thanks to you both.

Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Mon May 12, 2014 10:07 pm

"You gentlemen have NO idea how much I am saving by transitioning from handbags to knives."

I suddenly feel a bit better about my vices :mrgreen:

Re: Sharpening edge pro or free hand?

Mon May 12, 2014 10:13 pm

I bought my fiancée 3 George, Gina & Lucy purses for Christmas. I wish to get her a good orange wallet for her birthday. Any suggestions under $250?

Better reply via PM or we're gonna make some enemies. :lol:


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