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Thinning behind the edge

Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:07 pm

I am an ambitious but amateur sharpener trying to see if some of the more experienced sharpeners here might be able to help me with some advice on technique. Let me start by saying that I use the technique that Curtis Chung demonstrates in this video.

http://www.chefknivestogo.com/nach10supowa.html

The video is about halfway down the page. Anyway, I can't sharpen sectionally; I have tried but I am just no good at it and I feel Curtis's technique lends to more consistent sharpening for me anyway.

I have never tried to thin behind the edge before but I know it is necessary as I lose metal from sharpening. My question is can I thin behind the edge using stropping passes, as I am very comfortable with this technique, rather than using my traditional sharpening method?

I ask this because I feel like I will get better and cleaner results with the stropping passes than my sharpening method. My only issue is I feel the stropping pass will not remove much metal leaving me with poor results. Can anyone comment on my quandary or leave me with their preferred method? Thanks in advance for any advice.

Re: Thinning behind the edge

Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:49 pm

Sure you can, it just might take you a long time to do it. Stropping is a gentle way to remove metal so it's normally reserved for fine polishing of the edge. You could consider using a diamond plate so you are getting aggressive cutting with a light backward stroke. That might work for you but I've never tried it.

Re: Thinning behind the edge

Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:35 pm

You could, sure.

But:

With thinning, you're going to be removing a good amount of metal. As Mark said, it will take a long time...but that wouldn't be my biggest worry. My worry would be consistency. Using a back and forth motion repeatedly develops a pattern. Stropping, picking up the knife, placing it back down, and stropping again invites a change of angles.

When you strop at very high grits, it's typically a few passes....not dozens as would be needed with a thinning project. A few times picking up the knife and putting it back down you could reasonably try to keep the same angle. Doing it dozens of times would let fatigue and annoyance set it and you're likely to get sloppy.

Re: Thinning behind the edge

Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:03 pm

Adam Marr wrote:Stropping, picking up the knife, placing it back down, and stropping again invites a change of angles.


I hear you there sir. My concern is that when I try to work the blade sectionally I already get a large amount of inconsistent angles. For example, the last time I tried to sharpen a knife sectionally I saw a couple places on the blade with obvious changes in the bevel. I know you are probably thinking if I am that bad then how could I be any good with my current method, it is the fact that a large amount of the blade is contacting the stone adding stability and my hands don't have to change positions so I start with an angle and I stick with it. Maybe I should just try my current sharpening method at an extremely low angle on a crappy knife and see what kind of results I get, I just feel like my stropping passes are very solid and it would produce good results minus the slow speed.

Also, just to ensure that I am wrapping my head around this concept properly, my goal is to technically grind just behind the edge so that the knife is thinner and has less of a wedging effect on food. Sorry for my noobishness, I just dove into this whole thing real fast.

Re: Thinning behind the edge

Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:32 am

Give it a shot and let us know how it goes. You are correct that you just fiind the edge and then drop the spine down a little and you will be thinning. Keep grinding at that lower angle and you will eventually thin it down until you hit the edge again. Then you will have thinned the edge.

Re: Thinning behind the edge

Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:57 am

chefknivestogo wrote:Keep grinding at that lower angle and you will eventually thin it down until you hit the edge again. Then you will have thinned the edge.


Aaaahh, it now makes sense to me. Thanks guys!!!

Re: Thinning behind the edge

Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:27 am

You can thin in sections.

Thin it, but don't thin all the way to the edge. Leave a bit to remove with the 1,000 Grit stone and use this to even out the bevel.

Re: Thinning behind the edge

Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:16 pm

Gotcha Adam, this makes good sense to me. I am gonna go ahead and give it a shot later today.

Re: Thinning behind the edge

Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:58 pm

Well I successfully thinned the edge on two knives last night and if I had to say I did a pretty decent job. To be cautious I did the deed on my new 1k speckled nubatama ume stone which I got to use for the first time and I absolutely love it. It was a bit slow going and I did scuff up the side of one of my knives but I am kind of over worrying about this because they are for my job and they get roughed up at work anyway. Also, I forgot to mention I didn't use strop passes, I simply used the Curtis Chung sharpening method at a very low angle until I met the edge. Don't know why I was so worried about trying this, either way thanks a lot guys!!! I feel like you guys are right there sharpening with me sometimes.

Re: Thinning behind the edge

Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:43 pm

Awesome....glad it worked out.
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