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Thread: Cheap way to practice sharpening on single bevel knives?

  1. #1

    Cheap way to practice sharpening on single bevel knives?

    Just like the title says, that's what I'm looking for. I usually like to pick up one really nice thing and then stop (at least when it comes to blades), but I can see how this might be a problem with something like yanagis, since they have a learning curve with regards to sharpening and use. Is there a really cheap yanagi that I can buy just to practice the basics of sharpening these knives (hamaguri edge, perhaps flattening the bevel, kasumi finish, etc.)? I don't know if the super cheap (30-70 USD) yanagis are even clad in the traditional way, so they might just not work for me. If possible, I'd rather get something on the cheaper end and then move on to one nice one I'll stick with (like a Shigefusa or something like that) instead of buying three mid-range blades to practice on. I would hope there would be such an option. Am I dreaming? What would some of you guys do?

    Examples of mid-range yanagis I've seen are the Tojiro and Tanaka (blue steel) ones. If a Yoshihiro actually popped up for auction, I'd probably pick up a 300mm one, since the price wouldn't be too bad. With regards to the other two, I just don't know if I really want to spend 200 bucks for a knife that I'd be likely to mess up since I'd be learning basics on it.

  2. #2
    I used to sell a real inexpensive mini-yanagi for just this purpose. Try hitting ebay and searching for something similar.

  3. #3
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    If it's purely for practicing the method/technique, you could try a local Asian market.
    The one by me has $20 Chinese made yanagis....
    09/06

    Take a look around at: www.sharpandshinyshop.com

    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Martell View Post
    I used to sell a real inexpensive mini-yanagi for just this purpose. Try hitting ebay and searching for something similar.
    Dave, these cheaper ones were still clad? I want to practice making a kasumi finish, so that's one thing I'd want in a cheap practice knife. The reason I'm asking this so specifically is that I've seen some knives that were frosted to look clad (faux-clad).

  5. #5
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Japanese-YAMAWAK...#ht_5666wt_905

    How about a 270mm for $82? I have a 180mm version, it's not bad. The very end of the tip (1mm or less) was broken off during shipping due to poor packaging. I think he offers an upgrade to better shipping, which would also get it there faster than the 6 weeks or so it took me to get mine.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by heirkb View Post
    Dave, these cheaper ones were still clad? I want to practice making a kasumi finish, so that's one thing I'd want in a cheap practice knife. The reason I'm asking this so specifically is that I've seen some knives that were frosted to look clad (faux-clad).

    Yeah clad and pretty much with all the usual problems too but fixable and great for learning the kasumi finish thing too.
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  7. #7
    Thanks for the replies guys. I'll look at some stores near me to see if I can pick up a super cheapy to learn on, since it seems to be possible to get clad ones. Maybe I'll even get two so that I can get a lot of practice.

  8. #8
    My local Asian super market "A Dong" usually just carries cleavers, but every now and then they have yanagis and some other styles as well.

  9. #9
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Japanese-SAKAI-C...#ht_2967wt_907

    I'm considering that one right there. A 240 is not particularly useful for a yanagi, though, right? I mean that in terms of learning to cut with them as well as learning to sharpen them. That would mean that 240 would be mostly useful for learning to sharpen a yanagi.
    I also found the one Dave had pictures of. 330mate sells them for 25 bucks, but I figured that those might be so small that I don't get a real feel for sharpening the bigger ones.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by heirkb View Post
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Japanese-SAKAI-C...#ht_2967wt_907

    I'm considering that one right there. A 240 is not particularly useful for a yanagi, though, right? I mean that in terms of learning to cut with them as well as learning to sharpen them. That would mean that 240 would be mostly useful for learning to sharpen a yanagi.
    I also found the one Dave had pictures of. 330mate sells them for 25 bucks, but I figured that those might be so small that I don't get a real feel for sharpening the bigger ones.
    All depends on what you are cutting. Generally you see yanagibas in 300 and 330mm because when slicing fish you want to make an entire cut in 1 slice, so there is no sawing motion to disturb the structure of the sliced piece. If you are slicing smaller pieces, or do not have the room on your counter to be maneuvering a 12" blade, a 240mm could work for you.

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