View Full Version : how jaded are you?
05-12-2011, 08:50 PM
tk59s thread about ultimate sharpness got me thinking: how jaded are you regarding sharp knives? i love my knew Shigefusa. thin behind the edge, super keen, just great. it doesn't feel as sharp as my first Shun did, 5 years ago. i had used poorly sharpened (by me) German knives up until that 5.5 inch Shun santoku (bought it because it was the cheapest "full size" Shun Sur La Table sold), and Shun just felt like a light saber, out of the box.
my Shigefusa, and my Mizuno, and my Konosuke, and my Yoshihiro usuba, and my yanagi, and every J-knife i've bought in the last two years have been way sharper (well, right after i started with water stones maybe not quite as sharp, but i got a lot better pretty quick!), but they just don't feel sharp, anymore. have i just gotten as sharp as it's likely to get, and i've gotten used to it? i feel jaded. anybody else feel that?
05-12-2011, 09:14 PM
Use someone else's knives to make yourself feel better ;) Some people see it as a philosophical thing. "The race for perfection has no finish line-so technically, It's more like a death march." It also has to be said that when you get into high end J-knives, your perception of what is sharp changes incredibly quickly. The first time I ever sharpened a knife with sandpaper, the edge seemed to last for ages, but looking back I now know that it didn't, because my perception of a sharp edge was so low then
05-12-2011, 09:16 PM
I hate to admit it, but I do a little bit too. And this is the guy who admits ultimate sharpness isn't my goal!
I find I almost look down on peoples' "dull" knives. I'm not judging them, or their knives, but rather their knives' performance.
Now I feel like an a-hole! Haha
05-12-2011, 10:30 PM
I've come to the realization that sharp is not #1 for kitchen cutlery. #1 is Durable. As long as it isn't dull, the focus is not on making it as screaming sharp as possible, but on building a strong edge that will take serious abuse. Sharpness is only #1 when you are talking scalpels, it's tied for #1(with smoothness) for Straights, and that's about it.
05-12-2011, 10:38 PM
Did you copy and paste my post from the other thread?? :D
05-12-2011, 10:48 PM
I feel the same way about my first experience with a Mac knife (about a decade and a half ago). Prior to that, I was all about German blades and tri-stones. This cat broke out a Mac and shaved a patch of his arm hair. He proceeded to let me cut a tomato.... I was sold; I purchased three Mac knives the very next day, and many more since. (Obviously I have moved to other Jknives as well, but still love the Mac's). Every knife I have since purchased, has been compared in my head, to my first Mac's; which as many know are ridiculously sharp OOTB. I have been chasing that edge forever.
05-12-2011, 11:31 PM
in my experience, the hyper sharp edge doesn't last past a couple touches of the cutting board, but the sharper the knife, the longer it will stay sharp, even if less sharp than it was.
05-13-2011, 12:00 AM
Sounds like it's time to do some thinning.... :thumbsup:
05-13-2011, 12:19 AM
Sounds like it's time to do some thinning.... :thumbsup:
thinning more wouldn't increase usable cutting ability for any of my knives except my Hattori FH, and i haven't thinned it because it's my beater.
05-13-2011, 08:07 AM
I have one word for you: Fingerstones
05-13-2011, 10:08 AM
I will admit that I'm a bit jaded as my definition of sharp has changed to new levels over the years, but I still get that awesome feeling when making the first few cuts with a freshly sharpened edge.
My passion for rubbing steel to rocks will never go away I don't think, but I no longer feel I'm trying to chase some mythical 'perfect' edge--I know what I like, and I sharpen to meet these needs. I would estimate all my versatile double-beveled knives are between 8-12 degrees per side, and they hold up well with my cutting style in my environment...maybe not for everyone, but seem perfect for me.
Sharpness is all relative as we all know...a Forschner might of been the sharpest knife you used years ago, but now it might not meet your standards at all. The whole reason I got into Japanese knives and whetstones is because I wasn't happy with the performance of European and other knives, so I was searching for something on a new level. It all seems to boil down to if you are completely satisfied with your present edges/skills/etc.
whoops, went off on a bit of a tangent
05-13-2011, 11:35 AM
all this is true for anyone attempting the progression of the pursuit of a perfect edge and technique. while i agree there is no end for people like us, there is an end for most of the people who work in the professional industry and more so for the millions of home cooks that are attracted to those flash looking shun knives at sur la table and williams sonoma. the problem is i do find myself judging people by their knives and their edges. i cannot help it and although im not a judging person in any other part of my life, knives are a different story. when i see my sous chef pushing his way through an onion with his dull 7" shun santoku, i cringe inside. nowadays i am able to not say anything out loud but most of my fellow cooks know what im thinking and can feel me looking at them. most of the time they laugh but i wish they wouldn't. i really do wish that they would take it more seriously and learn how to sharpen their knives.
as far as feeling that scary edge, i think its all in our head. i remember feeling a wusthof sharpened on a tri-stone back in culinary school thinking about how much sharper that wusthof was than my grand prix II's i bought for class. my first real japanese knife was a hiromoto (like most of us) a few years ago and i remember thinking it was sharp but not quite what i had built up in my head as "scary sharp". the same went for every knife i have gotten since.
its a different story when i am able to put them on the stones. getting my konosukes razor sharp and them staying that way for a few days work gives me so much pleasure. i just wish that i could bestow my attitude towards the respect i have for my knives along with my passion for achieving a great edge and to pursue that "perfect" edge.
05-13-2011, 12:58 PM
I have one word for you: Fingerstones
they work great on my yanagi.
05-14-2011, 12:11 AM
There is nothing more for you to learn young padawan. May i suggest Latte Art?
05-14-2011, 01:42 AM
there is always more to learn. i think i have all the basics down pretty well, though. i actually get impatient with finger stones and end up using micro-mesh after about 20 minutes. does the same job in about 1/100th the time. ;)
05-14-2011, 04:08 AM
Yahh, That is heavy feeling in your head, when somewhere on the back this little thought is whispering "this could be better". And doesnt matter how hard one would try and how good an edge achieved...I guess it will always be like chasing the rabbit. Always better then grabbing it.
But maybe that is what motivates you? Therefore you get better in skill, your perception and respect of the knife grows, makes you better chef as well. Everything you do around kitchen does.
05-14-2011, 09:38 AM
that's how i like to look at it, bieniek.
05-14-2011, 10:19 AM
I guess I am just the opposite..... I am not jaded.Every time I sharpen a blade I am amazed at how freaking sharp it is,from 140$ to 1400$ blade I am always happy.
05-14-2011, 06:26 PM
Judgement is meted most quickly and most harshly by those with newly gained knowledge and minimal experience. I sharpen to make cutting easier. I humbly hope that both endeavors continue to improve indefinitely.
05-15-2011, 10:54 AM
These days I find that sharpening my little trove of kitchen knives is more a matter of meditation, which brings a sort of peace.
I click on a Chris Botti album on my Ipod, set up my stones
on the patio deck in the swamp, and begin my "knife mantra," a kind of a
"swish...swish." I think I actually begin to bond with my knives as I calm my inner self from the goings and comings of the "madding crowd."
And, in the end, the knife has sharpened itself.
So, for me, sharpening a knife is much more than....sharpening a knife!
05-15-2011, 10:56 AM
:thumbsup:I know exactly what you mean!!
05-15-2011, 11:09 AM
As I read through these posts and think about it a bit more, I'm realizing that I'm not jaded, but rather my standards of sharp have been raised - substantially.
However, it's not as though every time I sharpen I get the exact edge I'm after, or eve close enough to be pleased.
For fun, a few months back, I took my 210 moly gyuto to the stones and paper to see how close I could get to the "tomato trick". I didn't quite get it, but I was damned close! The end result (other than the wounds) was fantastic! I had a nice, slightly toothy edge that cut through any food stuffs I threw in it's way. The best part...I'm still riding that edge out. I've only touched it up. In over a month...on a moly knife. For me, that is my standard for a kitchen knife, for now.
After all, we are using these tools to prepare food.
I'm STILL learning, even though I can get stupid sharp edges. Just recently, I found my parer technique. I'm working on getting the same quality edge on small knives as I can on bigger knives. It's close...very close!
So, jaded? Nope...I change my answer to motivated and captivated.
05-15-2011, 02:20 PM
same same, but different.
Doesnt matter what name you call it, getting edge freaking scary makes you feel good, if not this, then cutting. And cutting as you like it youre getting through sharpening.
Plus you write that you experiment, means you think of how to make it better.
05-16-2011, 09:03 PM
For me, I think I've realized that a $1400 blade, isn't necessarily any sharper than a $140 blade. Money may buy you better quality, customization, etc..., but is a $8,000 Kramer 100x's sharper than a Mac? Nope....
I love the feel of that edge, fresh from the stones, where you can almost feel the sharpness like static electricity, without barely touching the metal...
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