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Sharpening Steels

Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:44 am

Having some issues with maintaining edges via a honing rod on a couple of my knives..here's some background information...

-all Japanese based knives. a number of vg-10 tojiros and comparable hardnesses on others.
-stone progression: 1000, 2000, 5000, 8000, followed by horse strop
-steels being used: black mac ceramic, hand american borosilicate rod. generally used in that order.

i find that on knives i'm using for sweeping, slicing, pairing based work the edges will last a long time with minimal honing. i think in particular i'm having difficulty with my tojiro nakiri and tojiro western deba, or knives that i'm doing a lot of chopping motions where the edge is hitting the cutting board forcefully/frequently i.e. butchering/breaking down chicken/gourds with the western deba and quick chopping mire poix with the nakiri. i guess the main question is what would be a better solution for honing the rods or stone progression (or other suggestions) to make the edges last when the knife is being used in a fashion that the edge will be flipping more consistently/need honing from the chopping style usage? if i'm polishing on an 8000 or finer grit stone and then going back and honing with something that's 1200 grit in terms of a honing rod, am i just shooting myself in the foot the more i use the rod? would anyone suggest just polishing more on stones after/before a prep shift? trying to find a better way to get through a longer/higher amount of shifts without having to consistently go back to the stones.


Re: Sharpening Steels

Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:25 am

Tim - yes, if you're spending all the time to take a knife to 8K, then horse strop, by using the MAC hone, you've just dropped the edge grit by a large margin.

I would suggest stopping at 4K, then horse strop. Use the Borosilicate rod exclusively for touch ups and see how that works for you. Another option is to just try stropping on the horse leather to see what effect that has on bringing back your edges.

If the edge is not helped by the HA rod, then you might need some stropping on your 5K stone to bring back the edge.

Re: Sharpening Steels

Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:23 pm

You might also try deburring with a synthetic cork between stones. You may have a residual burr which would fail much quicker than a clean edge.

Re: Sharpening Steels

Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:35 pm

Great point Cedar. I know Tim Johnson strops on leather between each stone to help deburr the edge. You could try the horse strop, then cork between each stone to take a bigger whack at removing the burr (if that's an issue at all).

Re: Sharpening Steels

Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:34 am

After I realized that steeling even with a ceramic rod drops the grit by thousands I've gone to stropping. I use the tormek honing compound from Amazon which is 3 micron on balsa, then 1 micron diamond on balsa. Its probably not necessary to strop twice, just pick a compound between 3 and 1 micron and you should be fine. I also have 0.5 and 0.25 micron diamond pastes and find that I prefer the 1 micron to the finer diamond grits so no need to go below 1 micron.

Re: Sharpening Steels

Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:14 am

I only use my rod when I feel a decline in action. If I use the rod and it feels like the rod is rougher than the knife, I wait.

Lately I've been stropping on balsa with .5 diamond spray. Liking the results so far!
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