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Sharpening a Sujihiki
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Thread: Sharpening a Sujihiki

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    Senior Member Yoni Lang's Avatar
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    Sharpening a Sujihiki

    I've been searching for a while for a good source on this, but haven't quite found anything here, and nowhere else that I seem to trust. I have a few questions that maybe someone can help clear up for me.

    A little background: The first sujihiki I bought a few years back was a Kikuichi Elite Carbon 240mm. I basically didn't know much about the asymmetry of sujihiki's, and was told by numerous sushi chefs that I worked with at the time, that Western Suji's were just 50/50.. Fortunately I didn't spend a fortune on the knife as I was just beginning, so it was a good lesson learned.. So I invested in some stones and have been learning about sharpening ever since. I got a new job at a restaurant in Austin and relocated from Baton Rouge. Everyone here has knives with edges I didn't know were possible to get. So that inspired me to learn even more.

    I have some old ontario carbon double beveled kitchen knives that ARE 50/50 that I've sharpened to practice (and also so the girlfriend has some halfway decent knives to use). I dont have any problem putting an edge on those that I can shave with. That includes thinning out the blades, and then putting a micro edge on it.

    That being said, when it comes to most sujihiki's I've seen (including the kikuichi's), the factory edge is so small. Barely anything at all really. From what I understand, it's best to sharpen the bevel as close to the asymmetry of the blade as possible. How exactly do you do this with a bevel that's so small? Will it always be this small? Here's an example:


    Even this has been sharpened and is actually a good bit deeper than it comes stock. On top of that, both sides are practically identical in how deep that edge grind is, which doesn't seem consistent with the 70/30, 60/40 that suji's are. I was under the impression that the grind on the right side of a right handed Suji would have a deeper shinogi line than on the left side, since you're grinding the assymetry and the spine of the blade would be closer to the stone when sharpening the right side. I'm guessing all factory edges aren't almost identical like this?

    1. Would the best way to go about that be to just follow that thin grind? And 2. if it's that thin, does that mean that putting a secondary edge (micro bevel) on it would be pretty much impossible? And thirdly, how would you thin this type of blade out once it was to that point? would you basically have to lie the face completely flat on the stone and thin it that way?

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    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    This is the way I would do it, assuming you're fine with the existing geometry. Start with the right side at the lowest angle you can hold. You will abrade far above the very edge. Verify with a loupe and see that scratch pattern. Raise the spine a little, increasing the angle and go down to the edge. At some moment the scratch pattern is even from where you started till the very edge. This was the thinning behind the edge part. Go on and raise a burr. Deburr the left side, by edge trailing strokes, beginning with the same angle you ended with on the right side. Increase till you removed the burr, and add a few edge leading strokes. You should immediately have raised a burr on the right side. Deburr and repeat with a finer stone.
    Would you use the sujihiki for general purposes you may add a single 30 degree microbevel. See Jon Broida's videos.

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    OP a secondary ede is not what a microbevel is.
    A secondary edge is above primary edge, in this case it is above bevel and on the right hand side, goes to somewhere about halfway up

    1. What do you mean by thin grind?
    2. Yes thinning of a blade requires user to put the blades side flat on the stone and apply pressure on the secondary bevel while removing metal.

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    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    Don't get too caught up on trying to match the factory edge. I haven't used the suji, but I thinned and played with the angles on my Kikuichi TKC gyuto quite a bit. The "sharpie trick" (coloring in the primary bevel and the area right above it with a sharpie marker) is a good way to get very quick feedback as to where your stone is contacting the blade at a given angle. You can use that both as a way of measuring the existing angle as well as a guild in planning your attack and monitoring your progress.

    I guess the biggest thing to remember is just to have fun. And as long as you are paying attention and learning as you go, and making incremental changes, you probably won't mess things up too badly... (and if you do there are a few professional sharpeners hanging around this site that need to make a living too!)
    "I gotta tell ya, this is pretty terrific. Ha hahaha, YEAH!" - Moe (w/ 2 knives). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVt4U...layer_embedded

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    Senior Member Yoni Lang's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help guys.. took your advice and suji is sharper than ever.. shaved easily and cut through proteins and veggies with ease.. celebrated by cutting myself on the first order of the night... greeeeat success

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    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    What are you sharpening on and stropping with?
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
    Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/

  7. #7
    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    "I gotta tell ya, this is pretty terrific. Ha hahaha, YEAH!" - Moe (w/ 2 knives). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVt4U...layer_embedded

  8. #8
    Senior Member Yoni Lang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin0505 View Post
    +1 haha

    Quote Originally Posted by ThEoRy View Post
    What are you sharpening on and stropping with?
    start on a 1200 and then to a 3000. what i've started doing is thinning the blade, putting a microbevel on it, then i'll (depending on if i was going to polish it up) go back to (or stay on) the 1200 and strop on the actual stone a few times on each side, deburr on a soft piece of wood, strop a couple more times to hone it, then go up to the 3000 and repeat. seems to always get a nice edge on it as long as it's regularly thinned out and maintained. i'd like to get a 6000 stone of my own but not sure if thats absolutely necessary. is there really any huge benefit to going up to anything over a 5000? a few coworkers also strop their blades but from what i've read/seen, having something too insanely polished can be counterproductive depending on what youre cutting

  9. #9
    Senior Member Yoni Lang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bieniek View Post
    OP a secondary ede is not what a microbevel is.
    A secondary edge is above primary edge, in this case it is above bevel and on the right hand side, goes to somewhere about halfway up

    1. What do you mean by thin grind?
    2. Yes thinning of a blade requires user to put the blades side flat on the stone and apply pressure on the secondary bevel while removing metal.
    sorry i meant the primary edge!

    thin grind was just referring to the cutting edge.. was a bit unclear if that was the only edge that was supposed to be sharpened since there's no obvious secondary edge

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