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View Full Version : Borosilicate Honing Rod.



shankster
10-25-2011, 08:12 PM
Borosilicate rods..who uses them and are they worth it?

tk59
10-25-2011, 10:16 PM
I have one that I use occasionally. I like to use them before I strop to align any part of my edge that might snag or otherwise cause undue wear on my strop or soft stone. You can go without but if mine broke, I'd probably buy another one.

mr drinky
10-26-2011, 12:37 AM
I have one and use it, but not that often. I tend to use it when I don't feel my leather loaded strop is working, and even then I only use it with certain knives. But I do like tk59's idea and might try that.

k.

ecchef
10-26-2011, 06:36 AM
I use it at work 'cause it's fast. I actually use the leather sheath as a strop more often though.

Benuser
10-26-2011, 06:49 AM
I use it to strop/deburr stainless knives I don't want to get too polished.

shankster
10-26-2011, 09:56 AM
So I'm better off spending $45. on a nice leather stropping pad vs $90. on a glass rod? I'll be using it mostly for work,so size and convienence is key.Which will give me better results?

DwarvenChef
10-26-2011, 10:18 AM
Mine is part of my travel kit. After a while the smooth steel rod gets heavy :p

Seb
10-26-2011, 05:37 PM
I quite like the HA Knife Mate which is a compact polished steel that fits in your pocket.

JohnnyChance
10-27-2011, 02:21 AM
Do you have a ceramic rod? I keep a Mac black ceramic rod in my work kit. No issues or worries of it getting damaged in my bag, no issues with carrying a possibly messy loaded strop.

ThEoRy
10-27-2011, 04:08 AM
The glass really only works well on really sharp knives. When my knives no longer respond well to the glass, I then use the black ceramic from mac.

Both have their place in my kit.

This is of course at work where its just more convenient than bringing in my strop base different leather and felt pads with compounds and such..

shankster
10-27-2011, 09:30 AM
"Do you have a ceramic rod"
I don't,I was under the impression that glass was superior to ceramic,for harder Japanese steels(hrc 60-65 ).

"This is of course at work where its just more convenient than bringing in my strop base different leather and felt pads with compounds and such.."
Agreed,space can get pretty tight at work so a full strop setup is out of the question.I actually get pretty decent results from a rolled up piece of cardboard but I know the glass or ceramic rod is the way to go..

shankster
10-27-2011, 09:48 AM
I quite like the HA Knife Mate which is a compact polished steel that fits in your pocket.

Very cool device,unfortunately the shipping and duty would cost more than the steel itself..

tk59
10-27-2011, 11:13 AM
Very cool device,unfortunately the shipping and duty would cost more than the steel itself..Sounds like a fallacy to me. If that's the tool you need, it shouldn't matter. Regardless, for pros, I would definitely recommend a ceramic rod and the MAC 2k is very attractive because of the durability.

shankster
10-27-2011, 12:09 PM
"Sounds like a fallacy to me"
$21.25 shipping + duty/tax(maybe) for a $40.00 device.No thanks(maybe if I could buy it locally), but thanks for the good advice on the MAC 2k..

Dave Martell
10-27-2011, 12:14 PM
The borosilicate rod used to have two sides to it, the smooth side for straightening out a relatively sharp(ish) edge and a rough side for scratching up a dying edge.

For those people concerned about cost there is a cheaper solution and that's to buy your own borosilicate rod online (very cheap) and rough it up with coarse sandpaper. It won't have a nice handle but it will fit in a knife roll better. Just search for glass blowing supplies - 10mm rod will be about perfect. You can also find it in laboratory glassware where the rods are used for mixing/stirring.

shankster
10-27-2011, 01:06 PM
Hmmm..very interesting indeed.I think I'll look into this.Thanks for the great tip Dave! :D
Let the hunt begin..

Dave Martell
10-27-2011, 01:34 PM
For reference, here you can see the scratches in a borosilicate rod....

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=2178&d=1319733206

wenus2
10-27-2011, 02:04 PM
FWIW: a cocktail muddler makes for a good cheap handle....

Seb
10-27-2011, 06:47 PM
"Sounds like a fallacy to me"
$21.25 shipping + duty/tax(maybe) for a $40.00 device.No thanks(maybe if I could buy it locally), but thanks for the good advice on the MAC 2k..

It's not all that heavy so you could save money by combining shipping with other items.

I got one of these to fool around with and I freaking love it! I use it on my EDC folders, parers/utilities, steak knives, carbon Chinese cleavers and carbon Sabatiers as well as on gyutos up to 60 hardness.

I hold the knife steady by the handle with my left hand and then gently stroke the edge with the Knife Mate with my right hand. There is a satin-polish side for cleaning up and a smooth-polished side for truing/honing.

I actually like it more than the boro rod for certain uses because the boro rod cuts more.

shankster
10-27-2011, 07:12 PM
"It's not all that heavy so you could save money by combining shipping with other items"

Very true,it's just that I'm trying to buy local(easier said than done) so I might ask my local purveyor if he's willing to bring some in.I'm sure most of the Chefs I know would be interested in a device like this..
I'm still gonna try Dave's idea about finding a plain boro rod from a glass blowing co and scratching it up myself.

aser
11-03-2011, 02:25 AM
"It's not all that heavy so you could save money by combining shipping with other items"

Very true,it's just that I'm trying to buy local(easier said than done) so I might ask my local purveyor if he's willing to bring some in.I'm sure most of the Chefs I know would be interested in a device like this..
I'm still gonna try Dave's idea about finding a plain boro rod from a glass blowing co and scratching it up myself.

I assume you're referring to Tosho & Knife. Tosho carries the rod, it's just that HA is really slow w/ delivery, they're always lagging on the rods. That's also why you often see this sold out at all the fine knife purveyors online.

Where do you work in Toronto btw?

shankster
12-23-2011, 07:21 AM
Hey aser..sorry I missed this.I know Tosho carries the HA rod,but like you said it's there one minute and gone the next.I was lucky to pick up their last Konosuke HD w/a rosewood octagonal handle.They just can't keep those things in stock either..
I work at "Yorkshire Pudding Catering" out in Etobicoke.

stopbarking
12-23-2011, 07:41 AM
I have one and love it. I use the crap out of all of my knives on crappy white poly boards at work. While I love sharpening, it does decrease the frequency I have to sharpen.

Depending on the knife and use, I sharpen to different angles for each knife. The Borosilicate rod works wonders as long as (in my experience) your knives are sharpened to at least 5k. My heavier Hattori Gyuto and my Global 8" (yeah I know) get the 5k treatment and last a good month without a stone touchup as long as they are both properly sharpened and deburred. These knives are sharpened at 10 and 15 degrees respectively. Adjust the honing and stropping on the leather sheath accordingly. My Dave thinned and etched Hiromoto AS Gyuto and my Togiharu Damascus VG10 Nakirki always get the 10K Chosera treatment and I can keep those up with the Borosilicate rod and leather strop for about a month of heavy use on white poly boards as well. These knives all get about the same amount of use.

Let it be noted I'm pretty anal about my edges. While I haven't jumped into the whole loaded strop thing yet, I'm sure I will eventually. If you have a good strop or loaded strop setup the Borosilicate rob is probably useless unless you are fine with the borosilicate edge. I love mine with every knife I own.

Between my knives and a couple of co workers knives I've dropped down to busting out the full stone set monthly as opposed to once a week or bi-monthly. The HA Borosilicate rod has been a definite blessing.

I don't purposefully beat the crap out of my knives but given the amount of daily prep at work and the cutting boards we have there I've noticed a HUGE difference in the length of time between "This could use a little touch up." and "Good GOD this knife is dull." My coworkers enjoy the Borosilicate treatment as well, as long as I stop them from using their metal rods out of habit.

Now if I could only get my chefs to do the same. My prep is WAY prettier than theirs. The sound of them slapping a dull blade against a vicious steel honing rod about 50 times before they break down fish is damaging to my ears.

Dusty
12-24-2011, 10:01 PM
I'm glad this thread got bumped. Since it first appeared I took Dave's advice and made my own out of a 16 mm rod from a lab company and a bed leg from a hardware store. At the moment it's smooth and I just use it for re-alignment, but I'm thinking I may rough it up with some of the 3m diamond sandpaper, that way I can control the depth of the scratches on the rod.

What I'm unsure of is this: if I rough up a glass rod with 5 micron sandpaper, is the abrasiveness of the rod going to be the equivalent of five microns?

Juicy Pirate
02-14-2013, 09:52 AM
Yeah mines not very well made, its not 10 inch when its set in the handle and the handle has been drilled way to far so it keeps sliding into it making it even shorter. Pulled it out the other day and its only held in by a bit of paper.
Yeah people are impressed by it but not worth the money. Top idea Dave just going to buy a decent longer rod and put it in

ThEoRy
02-14-2013, 08:04 PM
Yeah mines not very well made, its not 10 inch when its set in the handle and the handle has been drilled way to far so it keeps sliding into it making it even shorter. Pulled it out the other day and its only held in by a bit of paper.
Yeah people are impressed by it but not worth the money. Top idea Dave just going to buy a decent longer rod and put it in

Sounds like the perfect excuse for a custom wa handle if I ever heard one,..,.

vicv
02-14-2013, 08:57 PM
may not be a borosilicate rod but for those canadians on here
http://www.knifewear.com/sharpening-detail.asp?knife=1001crackresistantceramic0&family=1001
I'm still not sure how a glass rod is supposed to help. Are not the japanese knives too hard for the edge to be straightened?

ThEoRy
02-14-2013, 09:02 PM
may not be a borosilicate rod but for those canadians on here
http://www.knifewear.com/sharpening-detail.asp?knife=1001crackresistantceramic0&family=1001
I'm still not sure how a glass rod is supposed to help. Are not the japanese knives too hard for the edge to be straightened?

Borosilicate glass is about 91-92 on the hardness scale. Much harder than any Japanese steel.

vicv
02-14-2013, 09:13 PM
I understand that. What I meant was that i was under the assumption Japanese knives don't dull from their edges being bent as the steel is too hard and they dull either by abrasion or chipping.

Dave Martell
02-14-2013, 09:28 PM
I did a lot of testing with the borosilicate rod on Japanese knives and found that if it's smooth it did do something to bring back the edge (kind of) but where it really worked well is when the rod is roughened by putting scratches in the surface as this then scratched the knife edge making the edge coarser.

For softer German knives the smooth boro rod works very good but IMO a boro rod needs to be roughened with sandpaper to do anything significant to a hard Japanese edge.

What a roughened boro rod is doing to a Japanese knife is very similar to what a grooved steel does for a German knife - it tears at the edge to make it toothier.

vicv
02-14-2013, 10:05 PM
ok I see. I think I'd rather just resharpen it but each to their own and if you need a quick touchup I can see the appeal. Even for German knives I don't like honing rods. I just hit the stones. Sorry to take it OT

deanb
02-17-2013, 07:47 PM
I did a lot of testing with the borosilicate rod on Japanese knives and found that if it's smooth it did do something to bring back the edge (kind of) but where it really worked well is when the rod is roughened by putting scratches in the surface as this then scratched the knife edge making the edge coarser.

For softer German knives the smooth boro rod works very good but IMO a boro rod needs to be roughened with sandpaper to do anything significant to a hard Japanese edge.

What a roughened boro rod is doing to a Japanese knife is very similar to what a grooved steel does for a German knife - it tears at the edge to make it toothier.

Dave,
That's a great explanation of what the boro rod does at the actual edge. How is it that following a few swipes on the boro with a few swipes on on a loaded strop improves the edge so much? What is the strop doing at the edge. I've been toying with the idea of getting a good microscope to actually see it but you probably already know.

Dean

Dave Martell
02-18-2013, 12:09 AM
I did a lot of testing with the borosilicate rod on Japanese knives and found that if it's smooth it did do something to bring back the edge (kind of) but where it really worked well is when the rod is roughened by putting scratches in the surface as this then scratched the knife edge making the edge coarser.

For softer German knives the smooth boro rod works very good but IMO a boro rod needs to be roughened with sandpaper to do anything significant to a hard Japanese edge.

What a roughened boro rod is doing to a Japanese knife is very similar to what a grooved steel does for a German knife - it tears at the edge to make it toothier.


Dave,
That's a great explanation of what the boro rod does at the actual edge. How is it that following a few swipes on the boro with a few swipes on on a loaded strop improves the edge so much? What is the strop doing at the edge. I've been toying with the idea of getting a good microscope to actually see it but you probably already know.

Dean



Hi Dean,
Using a strop after the boro rod is just like using a strop after a stone, it's just further refinement.

bkdc
06-15-2013, 01:12 PM
Every time those borosilicate rods are in stock, they sell out fast. I've been using the massive F. Dick polished steel oval rod. Even though the hardness is about equivalent to the very hard steels, it is so massive that I don't think it will form any dings.

It seems to work fine in realigning my CarboNext which I have thinned so much that the edge rolls slightly after sessions. I really don't think the HA borosilicate can do any better.

Benuser
06-15-2013, 02:34 PM
Consider a single microbevel on your Carbonext.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?gl=NL&hl=en&client=mv-google&p=EBF55079F53216AB&v=xwnFrjiAA_8

tk59
06-15-2013, 03:32 PM
I haven't used any of my honing rods in a long time...

ThEoRy
06-15-2013, 03:39 PM
I haven't used any of my honing rods in a long time...

You don't work in a pro kitchen though.... That being said, I've strayed from honing rods as well.

bkdc
06-15-2013, 06:46 PM
why not just strop your blade on 8000 15000 or some other high grit stone?

Benuser
06-15-2013, 07:24 PM
why not just strop your blade on 8000 15000 or some other high grit stone?
I would rather suggest a 3k or 5k. A strop with Cr2O3 gets you in the 15k range I believe, but I'm not so sure that is really useful or very lasting with kitchen knives. Give the 15k stone a try and tell about the results.

stevenStefano
06-15-2013, 07:52 PM
You don't work in a pro kitchen though.... That being said, I've strayed from honing rods as well.

I wish I didn't use mine but sadly I have to. I remember the halcyon days when I'd never use the rod and started sharpening all my knives on my Bester 1200. Now it's the rod and I gotta start at 500 every time

slowtyper
06-16-2013, 12:12 AM
You don't work in a pro kitchen though.... That being said, I've strayed from honing rods as well.

Do you strop instead? What kind of strop do you like? I never used to hone. I have a leather strop with Chromium ox, but I don't really like it. I made it myself so maybe I made it poorly.

Re Mac Ceramic: Coworker recently brought in a black mac and I liked the results. Thinking about getting one...still on the fence. A "feature" of this is that half is smooth and half is grooved. I haven't used the grooved part and don't think I would....thats probably only needed if your edge is REALLLY bad right?

FWIW I sharpen up to an arashiyama 6K right now.

ThEoRy
06-16-2013, 12:52 AM
Do you strop instead? What kind of strop do you like? I never used to hone. I have a leather strop with Chromium ox, but I don't really like it. I made it myself so maybe I made it poorly.

Re Mac Ceramic: Coworker recently brought in a black mac and I liked the results. Thinking about getting one...still on the fence. A "feature" of this is that half is smooth and half is grooved. I haven't used the grooved part and don't think I would....thats probably only needed if your edge is REALLLY bad right?

FWIW I sharpen up to an arashiyama 6K right now.

I've started keeping a balsa wood 3 x 10 strop in my knife kit. Diamond on one side, chromium on the other. An elegant solution to bringing the leather pads and such for fear of damaging them.

slowtyper
06-16-2013, 12:55 AM
How does a touchup compare using your strop or mac ceramic?

ThEoRy
06-16-2013, 01:01 AM
Well the mac is quicker and more convenient but over time you have to use it more and more frequently. With the strop I think you can go a bit longer between uses. I think the rod weakens your edge over time as well. I still feel the rod is a necessary evil in most pro kitchens though.

slowtyper
06-16-2013, 01:21 AM
Thanks. I think I'll go with the Mac since I don't usually let it go too long before hitting the stones.