I have never considered myself a great sharpener, I do well and I have a pretty consistently sharp edge on my knives. I have never tried to push cut paper or anything like that, I don't do the the three finger test or use a strop, hard felt or any of those oxides or diamond sprays. I pretty much use a king 1000 and my jadeite stone , I used to use a king 1000/6000 combo until my guys managed to destroy the 6000 side. I always wonder when you guys sharpen and talk about using 10k or 30k stones if the edge is that much better then mine.
Well, I don't have to worry if my edges are sharp enough anymore. The other day I was at the Restaurant show with Jon, Sara, Theory and his chef friend Kevin. I was showing Jon my Forgecrafts 10" and nakiri I had Mike Henry convert for me. I had been using them all this month. I sharpened them up a couple of days before the show because, I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of the guys.. While we were talking a little elderly Japanese fellow was talking to Sara and asking her questions, she in turn asked me if I would like this gentleman to sharpen my knives, at first I wasn't sure because, I didn't quite understand what he was asking me and Jon says he wants to know if he can sharpen your knife. I said, what do you think? Jon says, uh, well he is a certified master craftsman sharpener. I say's to myself ,oh crap and well hell yeah! Turns out the very soft spoken little Japanese guy was Master Shigehiro Kasahara.
Shigehiro Kasahara is a professional kitchen knife craftsman, who is certified as a Master of Japanese Traditional Crafts (dentoukougeishi) for blade grinding and sharpening by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. He has participated in competitions and has won several awards including All Japan Knife Show in 1993, Sakai Blades International Design Competition in 1996, Kinki/Chugoku/Shikoku Traditional Craft Fair in 2006.
Master Kasahara really was intrigued by the forgecraft wanted to know if it was Japanese. I told him no it was a 60 year old American carbon knife. I think he was very surprised. He looked at the edge, tested it and then placed it on top of his head and dragged it gently against his hair and says to me I don't think I can do any better than what you have done here. You have done a great job sharpening it and it has a perfect micro bevel. I cant sharpen it any better. He went ahead and tried and when he handed it to me I couldn't tell the difference, our edges were the same. I held it up to my ear and listened to the edge and it sings the way mine does. You see I sharpen by sound and I know when my edges are right when I hold them to my ear and the whole length makes the same sound. I handed him the nakiri because, I never felt like I could bring it to its full potential and I got the same response from Master Kasahara. He was impressed and a little surprised. He asked me what stone I used and I told him a king 1000 and my Jadeite. He sharpened my knives with a king 1000 and a 4000 yellow stone. I don't know who the maker is.
What I do know is I now have some bragging rights because a master Craftsman told me my edges were as good as his.