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Thinning a 240mm Artifex Gyuto

Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:58 am

There's been some discussion in the knife selection forum about the Artifex "needing" thinning. That thread is here: http://www.chefknivestogoforum.com/artifex-210-vs-tojiro-dp-210-gyuto-thinness-at-the-edge-t4612.html

Based on what some people there say, I think I might try thinning mine down to improve it's cutting performance. While I've sharpened many knives, I've never thinned one. I've reprofiled the edge bevels on knives before, but that's the bevel and not the body behind the bevel.

Murray Carter shows thinning as being done essentially every sharpening *and* essentially flat on the stone. For those of you that have thinned out a blade like the Artifex, or the Artifex itself, what would you recommend? Just basically flat on the stone? When I'm examining the grinding on the blade, how far up the body should I see the scratch pattern go? It kinda looks like maybe 1 to 2 inches when Murray shows it, but it's hard to see. I think he controls the areas that get ground by using his off hand fingers to put pressure near the edge, thus making most of the grinding happen down low. I use that technique when sharpening edge bevels, so I know that it concentrates the grinding *right* under the finger tips.

I've got the Nubatama 150, Ume 1k, and bamboo 5k. I'm tempted to use the 150 first to really thin it out, but I'm a little hesitant that I'll make deep ugly scratches and maybe go too far up the body of the blade for my first thinning job. Murray uses a 1k, but can it really remove enough metal in a timely fashion to make a difference in cutting performance?

Thanks for any help,


Re: Thinning a 240mm Artifex Gyuto

Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:11 pm

The first time I tried thinning I used a 1k just to get a feel for what I was doing and to see were I was removing metal without doing unintended damage.

If you inspect the scratch pattern(finish) of the Artifex closely you can see a secondary bevel that that is about 1/2" wide. The first time I thinned my Artifex all I did was take the shoulders down some and it helped. The second time I thinned this secondary bevel and then took the shoulders down even father. It's performance really starts to improve at this point.

Re: Thinning a 240mm Artifex Gyuto

Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:39 pm

I wouldn't recommend you start your thinning endeavor with the 150 grit stone. It can remove metal very fast and you can screw the knife up if you're not careful.

Start with the 1k....get the feel for it as Jeff said. Look at the scratch pattern you're making, know how the knife is laying. A 1k stone can remove metal fairly fast and you could do the hole thinning with just that stone.

Use a Sharpie if you'd like.....mark the entire bottom 1/4 of the blade. Grind a few passes, see what's left of the marking.

How much thinning you want and how much the knife can handle is paramount to what all you do. The Artifex can handle a pretty thin edge. But I wouldn't seriously thin a Wusthof Classic because it simply can't handle that thin of a section. So, with the Artifex, from edge to spine grinding is not out of the question. Perhaps, though, try just the shoulder for this session. Leave some of that Sharpie mark at the very edge. When you start grinding the edge, is when you can screw your knife up. If you grind the edge away.....you can leave a hollow in the edge. I hope that makes sense.

Re: Thinning a 240mm Artifex Gyuto

Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:00 pm

I would also suggest you start off slowly with thinning. You might just begin thinning behind the edge to see if that meets your performance needs, where you can be a bit more aggressive.

I would also be conservative about using stones for this task. You need to maintain the shape of the curvature of the knife, so you are in fact changing the profile of the blade by changing the radius of curvature of the blade . You don't want to wind up with the side of the blade having a bunch of little facets that need to be blended together.

Personally, because this can involve removing a lot of metal and reestablishing a level of finish, I'd suggest a belt grinder and/ or a buffer for the task.


Re: Thinning a 240mm Artifex Gyuto

Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:27 pm

Thanks for the thoughts guys. Now I have more to think about. Darn it! :)

Ken, I *think* I follow what you're saying, but I'm trying to see how that fits in with how Murray Carter does it, essentially thinning a blade every time he sharpens. I guess the question is, what is it that he does that maintains the blade shape in a way that's not a problem? You mention lots of facets, which I get; essentially I don't want to thin at several different angles over different sessions because then I'd have a funky stepped profile to the blade as it approaches the edge.

Thanks again,


Re: Thinning a 240mm Artifex Gyuto

Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:51 pm

As a home sharpener once you get a feel for what your doing stones work just fine and is what the majority of sharpeners use. You don't need a belt grinder to thin a knife and maintain it's geometry. If your planning on becoming a professional then get a belt grinder. But even many home sharpeners have never used a belt grinder and are as good or better as a lot of so called pros.
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