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 Post subject: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:55 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:29 pm
Posts: 47
Finally had my first sharpening session on Saturday after several months of preparation: Spent a few dozen hours watching all of Mark’s videos and other stuff online. Read the sharpening section here. Got the Shapton Pro 1000 and 5000 and Suehiro holder.

It wasn’t a total fiasco.

First I practiced a 15 degree angle with a sharpening rail on a cutting board. After awhile, I got pretty good at and took the rail off when I began to sharpen.

Up first was a old Mac Original Nakiri. Bad idea. The square geometry threw me off when trying to figure out how to angle the knife. Advice to other newbies: use a regular chefs knife.

My other mistake was being deadset on using a continuous motion instead of the section-by-section approach that Mark uses in his tutorials. I lost track of how much I was doing each side of the knife.

Third mistake: I was too mechanical. Do this X number of times, and that X number of times. Etc. I was supposed to be chasing the burr, but it kind of got lost in the process.

Fortunately I knew what a burr was. I have a Chef’s Choice Trizor Asian angle sharpener that actually does a fine job of creating burrs.

Once I realized my mistakes, I switched to a chef’s knife, adopted Mark’ section-by-section method and kept going until I developed a burr. Then I switched sides and repeated. I counted my strokes, worked my way down and lightened my touch. Ended with the 5000 finishing stone.

The Nakiri I started out with was no better or worse after I was done. So no harm done.

Yet the old Wustof 6-inch chefs knife and Wusthof Classic Santuko didn’t seem any sharper after I was done even though my process showed improvement. Again, the knives were not worse. They had more grip as one would expect. But that’s about it. (One reason may be that I had sharpened them on my Chef's Choice a few weeks earlier.)

The 5000 stone surprised me. At first I thought something was wrong because I saw so little metal. Tthe knives seem to glide over it. But from what I understand that was to be expected.

Finally, my fifth knife definitely showed more sharpness. A 10-inch Wusthof Classic with full bolster (that I eventually will grind away). Progress!

By and large, I found it easy to keep my hands steady at a 15 degree angle or so. What I struggled most with was where to start the knife and where to finish - the handle kept hitting the stone. I tried various methods but still am not sure how I will go about it.

The other thing I wonder about is how much improvement in sharpening can I expect from my older Wusthofs. I used the Chefs Choice to grind them to a 15 degree angle last year. And I stuck with a 15 degree angle.

The secondary bevel is not a problem. These knives don’t have to be thinned yet because they have not been sharpened much. But am I expecting too much from a Wusthof Classic on a Japanese stone?

I tried to sharpen the Mac Nakiri a second time and I thought I could get it sharper than the Wusthof. But no luck yet.

Should I be practicing on a different knife? I don’t have any other old ones and am considering buying an Artifex for that purpose.

I also have to figure out how to dull practice knives quickly. Most of my rather large collection is new and pretty sharp. I gave all my old stuff to family before I decided to learn how to freehand.

Thanks to all here for being a great source of info. Just bought Murray Carter's video and plan to watch soon.


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 Post subject: Re: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:23 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 3502
"Fortunately I knew what a burr was. I have a Chef’s Choice Trizor Asian angle sharpener that actually does a fine job of creating burrs."

:lol: A great use for the tool!


"The Nakiri I started out with was no better or worse after I was done. So no harm done."

YAY! Step one, check.


Wusthofs are not total cheese so they are not a complete waste of time to sharpen, but they don't reward sharpening past about a 2k edge, so I would skip the 5k on these, and they don't seem to get as keen as easily as some of the common Japanese steels (that is part of why we are partial to JKs). The MAC should be able to benefit from the more refined edge more.

You observations of the 5k stone are right on. It is a stone that knives feel like the skate across, it does leave a pretty nice edge though.

Sounds like you are on the right path. Keep practicing.


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 Post subject: Re: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:34 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:29 am
Posts: 884
I agree but, I would stop at the 1K unless your feeling confident with the 5K stone (my personal favorite). I practice with my German knives and keep them in my second block for the "tough work" that might involve bones or hard chopping.

Jack


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 Post subject: Re: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:29 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:29 pm
Posts: 47
Gotta defend Chefs Choice a little bit, Cedarwood. Bought one of the original models 15 or more years ago until upgrading last year to the Trizor. Kept me in good stead when my kids were young and my wife was traveling around the world. No way I had time to do it by hand back then.

My knives were always sharper than anyone I knew because of the Chefs Choice (still shocks me how bad most household knives are). Friends and family would often ask me to do it for them. That's one reason I bought the Trizor even though I knew I would soon be starting to learn how to hand sharpen on stones

In any case, the newer models are much, much better and ideally suit for the typical household. Nobody I know sharpens their knives and I live in a very upscale area now. A Chef's choice would be great for them.

As for me, I have given away about 20 or so of my old knives and replaced all of them with mostly Asian knives that have 15 degree angles or less. Even the few Euro knives I still have, a Wusthof Ikon, Wusthof Classic paring knives and a soon to be purchased Messermeister Meridian Elite chef's knife have 15 degree angles.

The old 10-inch Wusthof Classic I practiced sharpening on is the only one I have left that was 20 degrees to start. The Wusthof Santuko I also practiced on is 15 degrees.

Sounds like I should eventually get a 2000 stone for the Ikon, paring knives and Messermeister. But I will stick for now to learning the 1000 stone.


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 Post subject: Re: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:48 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:35 pm
Posts: 308
Location: Annapolis, MD
Should I be practicing on a different knife?

I would stick with the Wusthofs and the Mac. I would also stay on the 1000 grit stone until you can very smoothly slice phone book paper or newsprint with the edge you create on these knives. If it doesn't slice, you're not getting to what Ken calls the edge of the edge. If it slices well in some areas and not others, the edge is not even. If you can't develop a burr quickly with the 1K, then a coarser stone may be in order. I generally use a coarse stone to remove damage caused by pull-through sharpeners like the Chef's Choice (apologies -- I know that sounds harsh).

Use the sharpie trick to determine where you are sharpening. Look very closely at the scratch pattern to determine how you are sharpening.

Also, I strongly urge you to put your Chef's Choice on a shelf. Most of the damage I see on Wusthofs comes from similar units. The pull-through units don't take the bolster into account, and the metal of the heel just next to the bolster is slightly softer for some reason. Invariably the pull-through units quickly change the profile of the knife by adding a slight recurve near the bolster. This is not what you want.

Back to sharpening. It sounds to me that you are making good progress. It takes time to settle on a consistent stroke and develop the knack for sharpening an entire edge. If Mark's style works for you, that's great, but be aware that there are other ways to do it. You will discover your own style with practice, and it sounds like practice is all you need.



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 Post subject: Re: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:12 am 
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I have a whole series of sharpening videos on youtube. You can access them searching for 'kenneths123 nubatama' Or selecting a grit from among over 40 different stones in either of two series using 'kenneths123 Nubatama ume' or ''kenneths123 Nubatama bamboo' or more selectively ''kenneths123 Nubatama ume 1000" etc.

Even if you never buy a Nubatama stone, consider these videos as a sharpening course in disguise, teaching you about stones and solving specific sharpening problems using very coarse to very fine stones.

Try to approach sharpening by NOT comparing it to the results you got with your Chef's choice. It is easier to start off with a fresh slate than trying to incorporate it into your previous experiences.

Focus on your 1k stone. The 5k can be approached later. Your 1k edge should easily exceed what you were getting before.

'Master the 1k'

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Ken



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 Post subject: Re: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:29 pm
Posts: 47
Thanks for the advice, gentlemen.

Just to be clear, I am not making the case for Chef's Choice on this site! Served me well in the past and would be good for people who would otherwise never sharpen their knives.

I'll still use my newer Trizor for family and friends when I travel back home, but all my new stuff will get the stones from now on. I came to CKTG to acquire new knives - got a Kanehide PS60 and Takamura Migaki R2 for now - and to learn how to sharpen them the right way. I am all in. I even plan to get more experience by doing all the knives for my neighbors. Most have Wusthof or Henckels or no name knives that haven't been sharpened in years!

Greg, the Wusthof Classic 10-inch with full bolster already has that problem you mention near the bolster after years of sharpening on the older Chef's Choice. Researching the problem and how to address is actually what started me down the path that led to this forum. A 9-inch Messermeister will replace it for heavy-duty stuff.

Ken, I definitely don't plan to compare my hand sharpening efforts to the Chef's Choice results. A few of my older knives that i gave away really needed rethinning. Obviously that's a problem pull throughs create but cannot address.

BTW, I have gone back and read hundreds of your posts and watched some videos. But I couldn't seem to find a suitable progression? should I view them by lowest stone grid to highest?


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 Post subject: Re: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:44 pm 
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"BTW, I have gone back and read hundreds of your posts and watched some videos. But I couldn't seem to find a suitable progression? should I view them by lowest stone grid to highest?"

Focus on the 1000 grit stones - from 800 -1200. These are the first to master. For a set typically a 150/1200 combo stone plus 5k stone is a good place to start.

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Ken



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 Post subject: Re: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:33 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:29 pm
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Thanks, Ken. I know you are a proponent of focusing on one stone initially and it makes perfect sense. That's why I am putting off stropping for now (or maybe i will use the 5K Shapton Pro for that purpose).

Questions for anyone to answer:

I've been deluged a bit with knives after asking neighbors and co-workers if they would like them sharpened. Figured I would practice with their knives since my current ones are all very sharp, but response was bigger than I expected.

Most of the knives are German with 20 degree or higher angles. Cheaper Henkels and Wustofs. Some Oneidas, Dexter Russell, Chicago, Lamson, Cuisinart, Kitchenaid. A smattering are Asian made with narrower angles. Some of these knives have chips at the tips.

Figure I need to add a rough stone to go along with my Chapton 1K and 5K, at least to fix the chips. Plan to get the 320. Maybe a 2000 later on for German knives as I get better. (I told all my, ah, new clients I will get to each when I can).

Do I need a flattening plate like the Atoma 140 or DMT XXC even thought the Pros apparent don't dish much? Both plates are out of stock, so I was considering the generic $30 diamond plate on CKTG.

Seeing other people's knives was almost funny. I lve in DC and most of my neighbors and colleagues are lawyers, doctors, diplomats, lobbyists, journalists. And most have knives of average or poor quality. Even the few with good ones have never gotten them sharpened.

One colleague brought in a big knife block of Henkels. I figured they would be decent enough. But no. The cheapest Henckels you can find, all with micro-serrated blades and light plastic handles. He's had them since he got married - a wedding gift of course - and complete junk.

I gave him a few of my old Forchners.


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 Post subject: Re: My first go at sharpening - the results
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:20 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
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bart, I agree about the Chef's Choice. They are not very good but they are something. It really is amazing how even discriminating people will tolerate unbelievably dull kitchen knives.


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