View Full Version : The paper test and the right angle

05-21-2012, 08:01 PM
So...I got my stone 1000/6000 and have been watching about 10,000 videos on sharpening:justkidding: but still felt a little intimidated so, I bought some guides to put on the knives and off I went. I have sharpened my Global's and my Shun but I don't seem to be getting the results I expected. I try to be really methodical and slow but have trouble finding the burr. Some people on the forum had mentioned that global's can be hard to get a burr so I keep trying. When I do the paper cutting test, the knife dosent seem to do it as easy as I see on the videos, any suggestions. How long will it take before I can dump the guides and how important is maintaining the angle during the stroke?

Thanks everyone

05-21-2012, 08:09 PM
have you tried using sharpie to see what's going on with your bevels? Also, with a burr, you might just need to keep going for a bit until you're really sure its there.

With regard to angle consistency in mid-stroke, its pretty important. It will never be 100% perfect (unless you use a mechanical device, which i happen to be against for a variety of reasons, to maintain the angle and even then there are other problems), but thats ok. Just get as close as you can.

05-21-2012, 08:13 PM
Extremely important. It's one of the most important aspects. I would say dump the guides. Not sure if you can build up muscle memory with them on. I never used them and I learned just fine. Sure I made mistakes along the way but that's exactly how you learn. Once you take the guide off you have to learn how to sharpen without them anyway. It's almost like you have to learn to sharpen twice.

Pensacola Tiger
05-21-2012, 08:15 PM

Maintaining the angle during the sharpening stroke is the key to freehand sharpening. Use the guides as you develop muscle memory for holding the angle constant.

Disregard the burr for the moment. What is the Magic Marker "trick" telling you? You won't get a burr until you are going all the way to the edge, and until you do, you aren't sharpening at all.

How is the knife performing when cutting actual food, not paper? Part of it is technique, but a sharp knife should be able to cut millimeter thick slices of carrot without any problems.


05-21-2012, 08:18 PM
The thing with the guides is that you have to hold the knife as if it wasn't there if you want to develop the right muscle memory. It is too easy to use the guide as a crutch instead of a guide.

05-21-2012, 08:31 PM
I've always been a fan of the guides for some one starting out. Any tool that is dirt cheap and makes learning easier is a bonus. They should never be a crutch or a permanent solution but they do help some get a feel for holding the knife at a consistent angle.


05-21-2012, 08:54 PM
I just saw some examples of a murry carter dvd on sharpening, looks quite good........any comments?

05-21-2012, 08:57 PM
Now thats sharp....


05-22-2012, 09:41 AM
This video is actually what inspired me to delve into sharpness. Mr Kramer makes it look so easy.


NO ChoP!
05-22-2012, 09:56 AM
I think pressure is as important, but not mentioned nearly as much as consistent angle. Are you backing off the amount of pressure as you progress? I usually end with feather light back stropping only; makes a big difference...

Cadillac J
05-22-2012, 09:59 AM
Learning to sharpen, and then being great at it, is a process...we've all been in your shoes before (it's actually funny to think back to those times now, as they seem so distant) but you will continue to have progress.

You will go through the regular trials and tribulations, but keep at it.

Not sure the last time your GLobal/Shuns were sharpened...but if it has been over a year with regular use, it is going to take a while to get a burr with a 1K stone for a noobie, especially depending on how low of an angle you are trying to sharpen at.

05-22-2012, 11:12 AM
On a 1k stone and hard steel it'll take longer to raise a burr, also like Jon mentioned just keep going until you are sure it there and even along the entire edge.

As many mentioned the guides won't help once you start free hand sharpening anyways the sharpie really helped me. Also make sure your putting enough pressure once te burr is formed lightly pressure gradually until burr is removed.

05-22-2012, 12:10 PM

05-22-2012, 12:22 PM
When I first started out sharpening all I had to go by were videos (Dave Martell, Salty and much later Jon from JKI). Hell I didn't even know what a burr was supposed to feel like until eventually after reading enough posts and watching videos over and over I figured out what the burr was and then how to finally make sure everything was removed. For a long time I was having to resharpen my daily driver knife (Fuji FKH Gyuto) every couple of weeks but that was because I never fully removed the burr and had a wire edge. Keep in mind I am a home cook and use my knife once a day on average so there was no reason I should of had to resharpen that often.

Long story short and as Jarrod (Cadillac J) mentioned above, it takes time to learn and get good at sharpening just like any other task that requires muscle memory. Keep practicing and try to learn as much as you can from the people on this board and the videos available out there.

05-22-2012, 03:41 PM
and practice practicee practice. The more you sharpen, the better you get.

I think when I started I underestimated finger position when pressing the blade to the stone. Make sure your fingertips are almost in contact with the stone. And they will sometimes make that contact, and you will sometimes see blood :)