View Full Version : Out of the Box

01-02-2013, 04:23 PM
I want to get some clarification on out of the box sharpening. Let's use the Glestain Gyutou 210 mm 70/30 ground as an example. To maintain the traditional angles and grind, I would use a 2 penny angle on the right side of the knife for appx. 7 strokes per side, to achieve a burr. Then flipping the knife and using a 3 penny angle, remove the burr using 3 strokes, per 7 used on the front.

My question, really, is that I've received different information from different folks at Korin about the correct angles for the front and back sides of my knives.

What happens if I grind the right side at 3 pennies, instead of 2? What happens if I grind the back side at the same angle, but maintain the correct ration of strokes, 7:3? Etc.

So, while details might change, can we establish a GENERIC procedure for achieving razor sharpness out of the box for MOST western style japanese gyutou blades? How does this generic procedure change for a honesuki OOTB or a wa-deba? How bout a petty knife?

01-02-2013, 04:35 PM
Stroke counting, angles? EdgePRO user, perhaps?

01-02-2013, 04:38 PM
No, no...
There's just nothing I've found that provides the basics for the freehand sharpener. I've seen lots of posts debunking hard and fast rules, which is great. But without knowing the basics for different grinds and angles out of the box, how does the AVERAGE freehand sharpener approach the stone out of the box for different styles of western modified Japanese blades...

NO ChoP!
01-02-2013, 04:44 PM
Use the force.....

Part of freehand sharpening is the intuitive feel. You may look at it with such precision, if you wish, but to apply exacting standards to something so fluid may prove difficult. Use your knowledge ad a guide line maybe, but I say just go at it.

01-02-2013, 04:51 PM
Let me clarify the OP--

This is how I tend to sharpen a gyutou:
Right side; 7 strokes per section, appx 16 degrees or 2 pennies. Work the whole right side of the knife, pressure on the upstroke. Get a burr.

Flip the knife. Using the 3 strokes per seven on the first side ratio, grind at 3 penny angle, presure on the down stroke.

Again, to my mind, the actual angle is not as important, since consistency over time will essentially regrind the factory angle to whichever is most comfortable and efficient to the end user.

I think that where the confusion lies for me is <i>how does changing angles for each side affect the blade</i>? Theoretically, if you're thinning steel at a 20 degree angle for x number of strokes on the front side, and then a higher angle for less strokes on the back side, aren't you basically taking off the same amount of metal in the end? So what does changing the angle and the time spent grinding the back accomplish?

01-02-2013, 04:54 PM
There are some excellent videos by Jon Broida:

http://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEBF55079F53216AB&feature=plcp&desktop_uri=%2Fplaylist%3Flist%3DPLEBF55079F53216A B%26feature%3Dplcp

I would say it's very hard to formulate hard rules: sharpen at this angle, make 25 strokes, change face, etc
Every knife and every user are different. Usually I start somewhere above the very edge to thin a little, go down to the very edge until a burr is raised, and than change face, deburr, add a few strokes perhaps, deburr the right side.
All this can be done without any stroke counting, and even ignoring the precise angle. All you need to know is where you're actually abrading steel. With carbon the patina shows it, otherwise use the Magic Marker Trick, or see the scratch pattern.

Dave Martell
01-02-2013, 05:12 PM
Here's my take on this...


01-02-2013, 05:13 PM
Don't even blindly count strokes.. If you raise the burr at 4 strokes, why continue to 7? You're just needlessly wasting your knife away, not to mention time.

01-02-2013, 05:14 PM
The penny or coin thing really depends on the size of your knife. I think it is a fallacy to try to stack two pennies or whatever for any knife, you will only find yourself going back and forth trying to put your knife on some coins and it will just ruin your flow, frustrate you and not give you any real feedback.

Place your knife on the stone and your fingers toward the edge, lift the knife until the edge makes contact with the stone and this is your factory bevel. To decrease the angle, slightly lower your blade. You can hit the edge with a sharpy to see where you are hitting. Go on the one side until you raise a burr, then flip it and repeat. Everyone sharpens differently so you are never going to get an absolute answer. But trying to find tricks to perfect angles as opposed to feeling it will just drive you nuts.

01-02-2013, 05:22 PM
Great; I actually found Dave's "take on this," which seems to address most of my questions. The biggest thing that I come back to, as mentioned when I tried to "clarify" things--

If you go to Korin, they'll tell you sharpen at a shallow angle on the front for about seven strokes, before sharpening at a steeper angle on the back for 3 strokes...

Doesn't that result in the same amount of metal coming off the blade? BC even though you're sharpening for less time, you're taking off more metal?

That being said, as a matter of course, I always sharpen until a burr forms, regardless of my angle of approach and time spent per side. I just want to clarify the recommended angles/time, because for me, it doesn't add up.

01-02-2013, 07:18 PM
It isn't a bad thing some indications are being given, to avoid crazy expectations ("treat VG-10 as you would carbon steel") or underperforming ("put a symmetric 15 degree on all J-blades"),
One has to deal with a very heterogeneous population, and have to stay on the safe side. An experienced sharpener, home cook, will enjoy a gyuto sharpened at some 20-25 degree inclusive. The same knife used in a pro environment will perhaps need a 35 degree inclusive angle.

01-02-2013, 09:37 PM
One thing to add is that some knives require more 'strokes' to raise a burr than others--due to steel, ht, etc.

Another is that everyone uses different amounts of pressure so my 5 strokes may be 2 of yours...I agree with others, pick an angle and raise a burr, flip and deburr, inspect. Test your edge.

Good luck--and stop counting:razz: