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airplay355
12-30-2012, 10:32 PM
Hi Guys,

I recently bought a Kikuichi Elite Carbon chef knife. I know it's not the best knife for the money or made of the best steel but...

I got some Henkels for Xmas (a 3 knife set) and didn't need them so a mom and pop shop was nice enough to let me return them for a $100 credit towards a knife. I wanted a carbon knife and the only knife they had that fit the bill was the Kikuichi. Unfortunately, the only one they had left was the display model. It was already a little rusted and not very sharp.

Since it's my first carbon knife my plan is to use it to learn to care for carbon knives so I can one day get a much nicer one. Really, it only cost me $48 so I'm not too worried about using it as a learning knife.

1)I would really like to polish it so it's nice and shiny again. I'm not sure about the process to go about this though. Do I just need progressively higher grits of sandpaper?
2)After polishing the rust off it, I'd really like to force a patina with blood. I already tried blood from chicken livers but it did nothing except slightly stain the knife; it mostly looks like water marks. I've stalked the "my favorite color is blue" thread an that's exactly what I'm looking for :D
3)I've sharpened it on a king 800/6000 stone I bought. It will cut through paper now but I'm not sure if this is as sharp as it will get or if I can do better. I've never sharpened a knife before. How do you know you're done?

Any suggestions? :hungry:

tk59
12-30-2012, 10:50 PM
1. Yes, but it's not worth it, imo. Just get rid of the rust and then let the patina form.
2. Patina is oxidation. It takes time. If you want to speed it up, cut a nice warm roast or something.
3. You're done when it cuts the way you want it to cut. Edge preference is very personal. You'll eventually prioritize edge retention, aggresiveness, refinement, etc. If you want a benchmark, send it out for a professional sharpening (JKI or JKS).

Have fun!

Vertigo
12-30-2012, 11:42 PM
Just splashing some cold blood on the knife isn't going to do a lot; like TK said, it's oxidation and it takes time.

When I want to start a new patina on a carbon, I usually:

1. Open a pack of tri-trip, drain the blood and heat it in a sauce pan;
2. Season and roast the tri-tip to medium rare, let it rest, then thin slice it using the entirety of the blade. Go slow, wipe the knife off every few slices.
3. Collect the hot beef juice off the board into a pan or something, add just a splash of acidity (small squeeze of lime), add the blood from the sauce pan;
4. Wipe the knife clean, drizzle blood onto one side of the knife, gently lay plastic wrap on knife and wiggle it around so the gunk is evenly dispersed against the blade;
5. Flip the blade and repeat, then walk away from it for 30-45 minutes.

Results:

http://www.souppilgrim.com/orglif/masasale1.jpg

Different carbon will respond differently, so YMMV. That's just one man's technique.

airplay355
12-30-2012, 11:56 PM
Thanks guys!

Has anyone tried peroxide to oxidize carbon? I was thinking of mixing 30% H2O2 into glycerol so it's thick enough to paint on. Does strong oxidation just turn the knife black?

turbochef422
12-31-2012, 12:08 AM
I've found the best looking patina is just from constant use. The colors I get from using a knife every day and for a while I've never been able to replicate. And it just keeps looking better as time goes on

Jmadams13
12-31-2012, 12:31 AM
^ +1. I've played with forced patinas, but find the best comes from use, more use, then some more, and then even more.

A good worked patina is a thing of pride in my eyes. Unless your forcing to help lower reactivity, but then again, I've seen the best patina for reactivity is a working one as well, but that may just be my knives. Most of mine are white, unknown carbon, or vintage.

andygraybeal
12-31-2012, 11:11 AM
i have a Hiromoto AS gyuto and when tomato season roles around, we'll cut up a case or so and it turns it black and i love it ;) until then though it's a nice blue haze. I recommend tomatoes :) but again, I don't know a thing and I don't cut meat at the restaurant.

stevenStefano
12-31-2012, 11:17 AM
I used to spend ages trying out different forced patinas but in the end I felt it was a waste of time because the things I cut made their own patina. Just use the knife

kalaeb
12-31-2012, 11:48 AM
I used to spend ages trying out different forced patinas but in the end I felt it was a waste of time because the things I cut made their own patina. Just use the knife

+1,

Not sure why you would think the Kikuichi is a lesser knife, I loved mine, it got stupid sharp and retention was pretty good. It may take some tuning up, but the knife should give you years of great service.

keithsaltydog
12-31-2012, 12:58 PM
Sounds like you got a good carbon blade for cheap.If you want to take down the rust that was on it,you can use some Bar keepers friend,then as said just use it to cut everything.Fruits ,vegitables,meats,after a while a patina will start forming.At first make sure to keep the blade dry.After use immediately wash wt. warm water & dry completely,even a little oil when not using does not hurt.After the patina starts forming rust protection increases.Carbon knives work best when used alot.

Miles
12-31-2012, 01:26 PM
I think the advice you've gotten is pretty sound. Don't worry about forcing a patina. It will come as you use it. That's one of the fun things about carbon knives. Each one has it's own character.
I'm with Kaleb on the Kikuichi. It's a fine blade. It's not as refined as some, but with a little work, it's just as good as if not better than a lot of the "better knives". I kept one in my kit for three years as my primary. I never found it to be lacking in any way. It was and is a really good blade.

keithsaltydog
12-31-2012, 02:41 PM
Also since you have fine Japan carbon blade now you can pick up some freehand tech.Your King 800/6000 is a good combo stone entirely capable of putting a sharp edge on your Kikuichi.

A good start is to go to Japanese Knife Imports,and go to the youtube site.Jon talks about carbon knives,creating burrs,alot of good information for free.You are in good company on that site read about knife care & other info. he provides.

Another option is Dave Martells knife sharpening DVD.

airplay355
12-31-2012, 03:42 PM
I'm glad to hear its not a bad knife! I was under the impression the sk4 steel it's made of is low/mid grade. I figured there might be better knives at that price point but I really wanted a carbon knife and this was the only choice under $200.

I'm going to go watch the sharpening videos now. I have seen enough to put an edge on the knife without ruining it but I imagine its still dull compared to the standards here. I can cut paper and veg easy enough but it won't fall through a tomato under its own weight.

A slight patina did form from the blood and it is pretty so I'm at least happy the knife can turn blue/purple and won't be solid black :)

Miles
01-01-2013, 04:00 AM
I'm glad to hear its not a bad knife! I was under the impression the sk4 steel it's made of is low/mid grade. I figured there might be better knives at that price point but I really wanted a carbon knife and this was the only choice under $200.

I'm going to go watch the sharpening videos now. I have seen enough to put an edge on the knife without ruining it but I imagine its still dull compared to the standards here. I can cut paper and veg easy enough but it won't fall through a tomato under its own weight.

A slight patina did form from the blood and it is pretty so I'm at least happy the knife can turn blue/purple and won't be solid black :)

The ultimate test is whether it does the task for which it's intended. If it takes care of business, then you're doing well. If not, then a bit of refinement is required. The nice thing is that it's a forgiving process. You don't have to have the best technique to produce a decent edge. It helps, of course, but with a bit of commitment and focus, as you gain more knowledge and skill, you will develop better technique and better edges.

For the record, unless they've changed things, they use SK-5 steel. When I inquired a few years back, that was the answer that I was given. Although it has a bit less carbon than SK-4, it's a bit more heavily alloyed and a bit harder which seems to produce better performance than when compared to my other knives which are made of SK-4. Either way, it's not a knife which is super sexy in terms of materials or finish, but a knife which is meant for function. I think it does well in that regard and I think it's a fine blade as an entree into Japanese steel. It can offer a lot of knowledge as you engage with it if you are open to what it has to offer.

airplay355
01-01-2013, 10:07 PM
You're definitely right about sharpening being forgiving! I was surprised by how sharp I could get the knife even though this was the first time I had used stones. I'm positive that it's not as sharp as you guys could get it but it definitely cuts veggies with ease. I'm going to keep learning with it so I can get the feel for what works and what doesn't. That way I won't end up messing up a really nice knife :D

The only reason I thought it was SK4 was because http://kikuichi.net/gyutoallpurposeknife21cm80highcarbonsteel.aspx but maybe this is outdated. Still, not the nicest of steels but I think it will be a perfect knife to learn on and it fit my price point quite nicely :D

Dusty
01-02-2013, 12:48 AM
The variety of steel that a knife is made of is one thing that new users can overly fixate on. A knife's performance will be dictated much more by the quality of the grind and the heat treatment of the steel. SK steels (any of them) are good simple carbon steels, and if heat treated properly, I think very few beginner users would be able to tell the difference between, say SK4 and white number 2

Kikuichi are a reputable maker if they are using SK steels, you can probably rest assured that they nail the heat treatment.

It's great to see a new user jumping in with two feet regarding sharpening!

tk59
01-02-2013, 01:57 AM
...Kikuichi are a reputable maker...It's hard to tell who makes what these days. That said, these knives have been around a long time and have a rep for being solid performers.

Dusty
01-02-2013, 08:09 AM
It's hard to tell who makes what these days.

Yep, fair enough.