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View Full Version : How long do you spend on sharpening?



Eamon Burke
09-21-2012, 04:02 AM
I just sharpened some new Artifexes and, for the first time EVER, I timed myself. I've never, ever timed myself. I don't even have any clocks in my house, or watches.

For all intents and purposes, they were unsharpened. So I set a new bevel, took it up to where they should be(sensationless shaving sharp, with bite!). It sharpens up so easily for stainless and takes a piss ripper of an edge, so its basically carbon steel. I spend more time on wear resistant stainlesses like CPM 154.

Anywho, it came out to 7:50 minutes per knife! I did 16 in a little over 2 hours, and used a lap timer to check my averages.

I was surprised it was so little time. It feels like longer. It went like this:
140 - 2:10
1k - 1:20
5k - 2:00
10k - 1:30
Strop - 0:50

Times include deburring.

What about you guys?

Cutty Sharp
09-21-2012, 04:58 AM
Less than 10 mins sounds about right. Me too.

stevenStefano
09-21-2012, 06:39 AM
Probably about 15 mins per knife but I go pretty slow and usually spend an eternity on deburring. First time I ever sharpened a knife it was a Global and I used the mousepad/sandpaper method, must have taken me about 10 hours

JBroida
09-21-2012, 07:48 AM
depends on the knife, but i timed myself also one day and averaged about 5 minutes for normal sharpening (from basically no edge)... however, i would say the majority of my sharpening now days are major repairs. Those can take between 10 minutes and a couple of hours.

andur
09-21-2012, 08:15 AM
Obviously it depends on the knife. Just today I spent an hour making a new bevel on a Yanagiba and it's still not done. I guess I don't have a coarse enough stone for the job but typically setting a new bevel or getting rid of a shallow spot will take a long time. I'm not sure how long I spend sharpening when the knife just needs touching up, I'd have to time it.

andur
09-21-2012, 08:32 AM
Are there coarse japanese naturals? I just got a red Binsui stone that feels somewhere around 600 grit. But are there natural stones that are good for removing a lot of metal?

knyfeknerd
09-21-2012, 08:58 AM
Depends on the knife. Sometimes I start out with a "warm-up" knife, to get me in the right frame of mind-If you know what I mean. Depends on the steel as well. I've found myself omitting the higher grit stones because I lose the level of sharpness so quickly at work. Esp. on my gyuto(s).

ajhuff
09-21-2012, 09:46 AM
As little as possible. :D

-AJ

kalaeb
09-21-2012, 10:37 AM
I am probably 15 min/knife, but I know I move slow.

echerub
09-21-2012, 10:53 AM
Man, I'm slow. If I'm moving through 400/500, 1k, 5k, 8k/natural for a gyuto, I think that'd take me about 20 min. Been a while since I've had to do that so I don't know the exact timing, but it's definitely not 5-10 minutes for me :)

TB_London
09-21-2012, 02:42 PM
The times are interesting for the proportion on each stone, which stones do you use? I go 400,1k ,5k chosera and spend less time on the 1k than the 400 and less time on the 5k than the 1k. Is you're 1k a particularly fast stone?

Birnando
09-21-2012, 02:48 PM
I'd say I use about 12-15 mins on average on kitchen knives.
The grunt of the work is done on the lower grits, but I can sometimes get completely hung up on finishing a single bevel properly, and then time sure flies:)

Sarge
09-21-2012, 04:15 PM
Depends on whether or not I'm using a course stone that day or not but between 10 and 20 minutes is about the average for me. If I'm doing a full work up on the whole kit it can run into an hour depending on if I'm really really really OCD that day

Dave Martell
09-21-2012, 04:20 PM
I've often said that if you're getting sharpening done fast then you're shorting out on something. Probably either sharpening at too obtuse of an angle or deburring is being skimped on.

That said, I'm pretty fast and I don't skimp so sometimes it's less than 15 mins (rare) and other times (fortunately not often) it's 3/4 of a work day. If we're talking factory edges on new knives then it's obviously on the lower end, it's the repairs that blow times out of the water.

Andrew H
09-21-2012, 04:38 PM
Are we including thinning in this? If so it's well over 8 minutes for me, probably closer to 20. If I'm just putting a new edge on a knife without thinning it takes maybe 10 minutes.

If I neglect thinning for a long time it could be awhile. Maybe 30-40 minutes, but I'm careful with thinning. I still use sandpaper to repolish knives, not stones, so that can be time consuming as well.

Eamon Burke
09-21-2012, 04:51 PM
Not thinning/repairs, or minor touchups. Just cut in a new bevel on a dull knife and sharpen it.


The times are interesting for the proportion on each stone, which stones do you use? I go 400,1k ,5k chosera and spend less time on the 1k than the 400 and less time on the 5k than the 1k. Is you're 1k a particularly fast stone?

Yeah, I was using a Shapton Pro 1k. The progression this time was Atoma 140, Shapton Pro 1k, Suehiro Rika, Sigma Select II 10k, and a leather strop with 1 micron diamond spray. I think I spend so much time on the Rika just because I like it. I threw off the averages because I zoned out on like three knives, just sort of lost in thought and hypnotized. I ended up spending like 5 minutes on a few of them. The times include deburring, because deburring on the 140 and 1k took 30 seconds and 20 seconds on average, respectively.

Eamon Burke
09-21-2012, 04:54 PM
Longest times I've spent sharpening a knife that didn't require refurbishment:
I remember doing that Monosteel giveaway knife(whatever it was) and that thing took me most of an afternoon. Also, Brad Stallsmith's CPM 154 on an old run of Addicts took 6 hours for 5 of them, but I was being really cautious back then, and trying to re-set the bevels on a 1,000 grit stone.

Mike9
09-21-2012, 05:24 PM
I did a major refurb today. I ordered a Tojiro 210 ITK Gyuto for a friend's upcoming birthday. While I was looking it over I dropped it. 5mm off the tip and a 1.5mm chip on the blade an inch below that. I didn't bother stewing so first thing this morning I ordered her a fresh one. Then I put my stones in to soak, went to my shop, sharpied the least amount of removal and put it to my variable speed grinder. Cleaned the profile up with 180 sand paper on my jointer bed then put it to the stones. 500, 1k, 6k then strops - I also started thinning the blade and ended up with a super nice edge. Total time probably hour and a half start to finish. Looks like I'm keeping "shorty" for a while as it cuts really nice now. I might use it for a first re-handle project then give it to another friend. I love these knives for the price point they are hard to beat.

While the stones were wet I put a fresh edge on my Lamson Chinese cleaver - I forgot what a nice knife it is when it's sharp - :headbang:

keithsaltydog
09-21-2012, 05:42 PM
I seem to get alot of Shuns they have a good distribution network out here.Just sharpened a girls 10" Shun Premier,very dull.Start wt. 600 Atoma careful not to scratch the Damascus wt. my back bevel.remove burr,polish out backbevel wt.1200 bester,deburr,polish out backbevel again wt.5K Rika.(polishing the backbevel each step creates less drag cutting food)Raise the spine & cut in final bevel on the Rika,you can hear the bevel being cut in on the polishing stone.deburr.Because no damage to repair my guess is about 10 minutes tho I never time myself,could be longer.

Dull stainless knives I like to start wt. Atoma 140,it's also good for repair.I got the 140 first,liked it so much bought the 600,since then my low grit stones collecting dust.1000 up I like the stones.

JBroida
09-21-2012, 07:12 PM
Are there coarse japanese naturals? I just got a red Binsui stone that feels somewhere around 600 grit. But are there natural stones that are good for removing a lot of metal?

synthetics are generally faster cutting... especially on the coarse side and especially with stainless and pm steels

Andrew H
09-22-2012, 01:58 PM
...trying to re-set the bevels on a 1,000 grit stone.

Yup, I've been there.


I seem to get alot of Shuns they have a good distribution network out here.Just sharpened a girls 10" Shun Premier,very dull.Start wt. 600 Atoma careful not to scratch the Damascus wt. my back bevel.remove burr,polish out backbevel wt.1200 bester,deburr,polish out backbevel again wt.5K Rika.(polishing the backbevel each step creates less drag cutting food)Raise the spine & cut in final bevel on the Rika,you can hear the bevel being cut in on the polishing stone.deburr.Because no damage to repair my guess is about 10 minutes tho I never time myself,could be longer.

Dull stainless knives I like to start wt. Atoma 140,it's also good for repair.I got the 140 first,liked it so much bought the 600,since then my low grit stones collecting dust.1000 up I like the stones.

That's a cool method, Keith. Are you saying you put a microbevel on with the 5k or is it more substantial than that?

James
09-22-2012, 03:44 PM
20min at least depending on how much work needs to be done. I have mostly stainless so deburring is a PITA.

keithsaltydog
09-22-2012, 04:31 PM
Andrew you can do both bevels on your medium stone,I like to do final bevel on polishing.I think of a micro-bevel haveing more edge angle at the top of the shinoge line(it's only language)this is more of a blended bevel,you can only get wt. free hand sharpening.It works because the whole area is polished,the blend makes a convex edge that glides through food.

It is a matter of experiment & observation how high you raise the spine for yor final bevel,depends what I'm cutting,for fruits & vegetables I only raise it a little(thin carbon gyuto's).For say splitting Lobsters wt. a small cleaver,raise the spine higher.For bone cleavers even higher,it's still a convex edge that wt. a slight foward chop cut glides through chix. bones.You are not hammering the cleaver straight down,this can splinter the bone.

It's the same principle wt. a Samurai sword,thicker convex edge can glide through green bamboo in one sweep.Try that with most swords,Axes etc,they will hardly dent the bamboo.It's a combination of tech(slicing action)great steel,& a convex edge.

Lately I have been experimenting wt Jon's tech of blending bevel on just right side wt. my Konosuki wt. steel,it seems to work well.

tk59
09-22-2012, 05:07 PM
I used to spend a lot more time sharpening. Probably in the 10-15 min range. I still do it slow when I'm testing things but for a typical gyuto sharpening these days, assuming the stones are prepped goes something like:
400/500 1:00 (or until edge is reestablished)
1k <1:00 (just a little refinement and weakening of the burr)
4-6k 1:00 (or until the edge is more or less clean)
strop 0:30
I deburr once after the 4-6k stone, if necessary. It typically takes a couple of seconds.

Andrew H
09-22-2012, 05:22 PM
Andrew you can do both bevels on your medium stone,I like to do final bevel on polishing.I think of a micro-bevel haveing more edge angle at the top of the shinoge line(it's only language)this is more of a blended bevel,you can only get wt. free hand sharpening.It works because the whole area is polished,the blend makes a convex edge that glides through food.

It is a matter of experiment & observation how high you raise the spine for yor final bevel,depends what I'm cutting,for fruits & vegetables I only raise it a little(thin carbon gyuto's).For say splitting Lobsters wt. a small cleaver,raise the spine higher.For bone cleavers even higher,it's still a convex edge that wt. a slight foward chop cut glides through chix. bones.You are not hammering the cleaver straight down,this can splinter the bone.

It's the same principle wt. a Samurai sword,thicker convex edge can glide through green bamboo in one sweep.Try that with most swords,Axes etc,they will hardly dent the bamboo.It's a combination of tech(slicing action)great steel,& a convex edge.

Lately I have been experimenting wt Jon's tech of blending bevel on just right side wt. my Konosuki wt. steel,it seems to work well.

Yeah, that explanation makes more sense. Thanks!

Cutty Sharp
09-22-2012, 06:05 PM
depends on the knife, but i timed myself also one day and averaged about 5 minutes for normal sharpening (from basically no edge)... however, i would say the majority of my sharpening now days are major repairs. Those can take between 10 minutes and a couple of hours.

Seeing Jon on the twitterstream, yes, the man's a machine. Likewise, I've seen the same with real pros in Japan, including in a workshop (Tadatsuna). Me, I try and be quick too and I don't get really better results for routine stuff if I take longer, though sometimes that's what you're in the mood for too.