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 Post subject: Help me improve my technique
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 7:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
Posts: 7778
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Hi Mark,

I have been a frequent lurker on the CKTG boards, as I recently became interested in sharpening my own knives for about a year now (mostly Henckel). I have been practicing on a King 1000/6000 and am still new to it, as my own knives only seem sharper when I start with a super dull one!

I decided to try an inexpensive Japanese high carbon, so purchased from you a Torijo shirogami petty 120mm. It was very sharp OOB, but after a week decided that I wanted it to be even sharper--scary!!--, as this is what all the posters seem to say makes J-knife ownership so rewarding. Well, after taking it to my stones, I have now made it noticably dull : (
Not awful, as it still cuts better than most, but the tomato test is pathetic.

Obviously you are not here to observe my technique on the stones. I guess my main question is how many minutes does it take to increase sharpness on a knife that in theory was already quite sharp? If I go over the stones for say 5 minutes per side, is this adequate? It seems to me it should be, and if it is not, it must mean I am not holding at correct angle and just ruining the edge instead. I am watching your videos, I feel for a burr but can't say that I have raised one on this knife.

I don't have a strop but could use a leather belt, but I have no sprays or paste to apply on it.

Also, do most people remove the label on this knife's handle? I think it looks kind of cool, but I also want to sand the handle as the wood has little fuzzies sticking up. If this label will fall off in a few weeks of normal use anyway, I will just pull off now so I can sand and maybe stain the handle. If the adhesive is made to really hold, then I will sand opposite for now and forget about staining until down the road.

I guess I am just looking for encouragement and guidance at this point. I had purchased in the recent past a Yaxell Zen gyoto and also a Kanetsune petty. Both again seemed sharp but not sharp enough to really cut paper as seen on video, so I briefly tried to sharpen but stopped when it seemed like I was just dulling the blades. I gave away both knives as gifts.

Advice? Thank you so much!




Leslie



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Mark Richmond
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 Post subject: Re: Help me improve my technique
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:18 pm
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Location: Madison Wisconsin
It's hard to tell what exactly is happening but here is tip #1 that is the most important I think for new sharpeners.

Don't sharpen by time or strokes. Sharpen to feel a burr. This is the easiest way to know you have put a bevel on the knife that extends down to the edge. learn to feel for it (it should scratch your skin).

With easy to sharpen carbon steel and a rough stone, I can get a burr fast. Really fast. If you are not generating a burr you are either wobbling or you are going too steep and essentially thinning the knife and missing the edge.

I'll let the other guys jump in and help you with some more tips. Don't give up! You're close to sharp knives forever!! :)



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 Post subject: Re: Help me improve my technique
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 7:48 pm 
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Use a Sharpie to paint the edge bevel along the entire blade on both sides. You absolutely need to SEE if you're hitting the edge of the edge and how your technique is influencing where you're removing or not removing metal at the edge. It should not take long at all on a 1K to get a burr along the entire blade with that knife.

Don't move past the 1K until you get a really sharp edge. Higher grit stones are used to refine good edges created on lower grit stones in a sharpening progression.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me improve my technique
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 9:06 pm 
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One of the main problems that I have noticed with new sharpeners is that they tend to raise their wrist at the end of a forward stroke rounding the edge and making the knife duller. Work slowly and pay attention to holding a consistent angle. Speed will come as your technique improves.
I also agree with Mark, learn to feel for a burr, it's the easiest way to start out.



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 Post subject: Re: Help me improve my technique
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 9:25 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
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Another possibility is failure to remove the burr. As the other guys have said, raising a burr gives you tactile confirmation that your "grinding" has reached the edge, but a burr is a sharp but fragile flake of steel and will either not be cut true or will break off with light usage leaving a jagged edge.


You will grind one side until you can feel a burr along the entire edge, then you will grind the opposite side roughly the same amount of passes. You should confirm that the burr is now on the other side.

Then using alternating strokes and slowly decreasing pressure you will abrade the burr off.

A final few passes on your belt should leave you with a good edge.

Partly to help with the learning curve and partly just a good practice is to go through this process with each stone, a 1k edge is as sharp as most knives come from the factory. If your 1k edge does not feel sharp then your next finer stone won't help.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me improve my technique
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 11:47 pm 
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Location: Philly
Other strop alternatives wet newspaper and cardboard loaded with compound. I have even seen people use metal polishes if they didn't have compound.

Once you raise a burr on one side fully then raise it on the other side on your 1k you could just strop the burr off on the 1k then test for sharpness. Move to 6k and do it again. Alternatively once sharpness is achieved with 1k you could just use stropping motions on the 6k.

I started a year ago not only did the sharpie help but I went with 2 different color sharpies. One for edge and one for the blade path to see where I was hitting bad when my technique got sloppy.


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