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Thread: How do you decide that you've reached the ultimate sharpness a particular blade can attain?

  1. #11
    Senior Member Tristan's Avatar
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    I'm so very far from that... I only take my edges up to 5K being a novice. Was really stoked when my carbonext came off the 5k with an edge that scared me a little! But after just a week of home use, it seems so dull.

    Must have just left a weak wire edge on the side that Dave keeps mentioning. Sigh. Was feeling quite ****** when I realised how crap I was compared to you guys. Back to the stones again this weekend.

  2. #12

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    I have only been sharpening seriously for a couple of years and haven't been passionate about it the majority of that time. When working a lot it was more of a chore than a fun or relaxing exercise. And only recently have I been getting more and more equipment (stones, strops, compounds, etc). So for me, every time I sharpen a knife (that I take my time on, not just a quick touch up before work) it is the best edge I have put on a knife. I am still learning, and get a little better each time, raising the bar, even if only slightly.

    Tinh, are you a regular at the sushi bar? Maybe to gain his trust you could bring in one of your knives for him to try so he knows you aren't taking it to a Chef's Choice. Also, are you equally skilled with single bevel sharpening?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tristan View Post
    I'm so very far from that... I only take my edges up to 5K being a novice.
    You don't need anything more than a 5k. I used a couple of high grit stones mainly because I had some cool knives for a one shot deal and I wanted to try some different stones that wouldn't grind a lot of Salty's precious metal off. The other reason is high grit stones will remove your burr/wire edge if you are careful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tristan View Post
    Must have just left a weak wire edge on the side that Dave keeps mentioning. Sigh. Was feeling quite ****** when I realised how crap I was compared to you guys. Back to the stones again this weekend.
    Easiest way to rapidly improve your edge is to finish with a handful of VERY light strokes on both sides of your edge and get a cheap leather strop, load it with chromium oxide or diamond and abrade that wire edge off. Finish with light strokes and listen to the sound. It shouldn't sound like it's slipping across the leather. You should hear a very faint scraping. If you pick up your knife and there's a bunch of leather "dust" on your blade, the scraping isn't faint enough. If you don't want to get a leather strop, almost anything will work but it will take longer. If it still doesn't work, you can raise your angle some to work off the burr. You'll get a microbevel but at least it'll be a stronger edge...
    It seems like yesterday that I was in your exact shoes except I learned to sharpen on a crystolon oil stone (yuck) and then went to a 3kSS single water stone solution. That was tough. Lots of gouging for a while.

  4. #14
    Senior Member mattrud's Avatar
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    Regardless of steel most of my knives are very close in their level of sharpness due to the angles not the steel itself, the ease of sharpening and the feel of the edge may be different, the only times I may have a knife be sharper than most of the others are the knives I have very large bevels on (i.e. lower angle of sharpening) but at the same time edge retention can come into question depending on steel. I rarely use large bevels and sharpen at super fine angles. I need edge retention in the kitchen and my mind set is more that the edge is coming to a finite point and not just focusing on how low of an angle i am sharpening at.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadillac J View Post
    TK, I feel like we have the exact same outlook and passion for sharpening(although I don't take anything past a 10K SS). After two years and hundreds of knives sharpened, I still get excited to do so each and every time.

    I've never agreed with comments like "white gets much sharper than blue", etc. Each knife is different and I think it is hard to talk in general terms like that, as I'm sure my Takeda could make someone re-think that white#2 can get 'the sharpest'. My aogami super, white#2, 19c27, semi-stainless knives all have amazing edges on them, and although different from one another, I consider them to be a similar league as far as performance is concerned.

    Not sure if I reached the ultimate edge, but I know that I'm really happy with the edges I produce...they make cutting/cooking so much fun.
    It's nice to know I'm not alone. I mostly finish on 8k Kit, SS, 12k SS or belgian coticule and then either chromium oxide or diamond loaded strop. The 20k is usually just my shaving stone. I haven't shaved with anything other than a knife in a few months now. I'm looking forward to getting a nice straight razor at some point.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyChance View Post
    ...Tinh, are you a regular at the sushi bar? Maybe to gain his trust you could bring in one of your knives for him to try so he knows you aren't taking it to a Chef's Choice. Also, are you equally skilled with single bevel sharpening?
    Okay, what actually happened is I showed up and noticed that he had some chipping issues. So I'm staring at this guy's knife trying to figure out what the problem is while he's using it and he's working behind a glass shield so I must have looked a little suspect. I finally decided he was grinding his convex edge too flat with no micro. I basically told him just that and offered to help him with it. That's when he gave me the "are you crazy" look. After some more sharpening talk, I guess he decided it was okay to let me have a go at it. I have to say I wasn't expecting that response and I've never sharpened a large single bevel knife before so I'm a little uptight about it. Luckily, I have some knowledgable back-up.

  7. #17
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    Okay, what actually happened is I showed up and noticed that he had some chipping issues. So I'm staring at this guy's knife trying to figure out what the problem is while he's using it and he's working behind a glass shield so I must have looked a little suspect. I finally decided he was grinding his convex edge too flat with no micro. I basically told him just that and offered to help him with it. That's when he gave me the "are you crazy" look. After some more sharpening talk, I guess he decided it was okay to let me have a go at it. I have to say I wasn't expecting that response and I've never sharpened a large single bevel knife before so I'm a little uptight about it. Luckily, I have some knowledgable back-up.
    My story isn't quite related, but yours really reminded me of last weekend, when I was at a Korean/Japanese restaurant (man, can they make food!).
    I was watching the chef for a few minutes and finally I asked him about his knife. His response was "not like your knives. This is made in Japan". I tried to explain my situation and the fact that I actually understand knives, shapes, etc. I finally got out of him "Doi", and "95/5". It didn't look like a Doi, and it sure didn't look 95/5 (on a yanagi??), unless it was a kiritsuke, and he added a back bevel. Either way, he wasn't letting me get anywhere near his knife...I was still to far away to tell. Dang!
    I find it funny that more chefs don't trust the knowledge of patrons who are asking specifically about their knives. I realize there are those who go and ask because they "ain't never seen a knife like that", but it would have been nice to get a real look at this guy's kit. His skills are likely the best I've seen around here and I would have loved to do a little shop talk.
    Oh well.
    At least the food was AMAZING!
    09/06

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  8. #18
    Senior Member Cadillac J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    I mostly finish on 8k Kit, SS, 12k SS or belgian coticule and then either chromium oxide or diamond loaded strop.
    90% of the time my finishing is just on my 5K SS followed by stropping on felt/diamond and leather/chromium...this is quick and easy, and the 5K finish is really a perfect middle ground for polish and bite.

    But I do take my carbon steels up to the 10K once in a while, depending on my mood.

    How did the Gesshin compare to the Naniwa SS or other stones you've used?

  9. #19
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk59 View Post
    Okay, what actually happened is I showed up and noticed that he had some chipping issues. So I'm staring at this guy's knife trying to figure out what the problem is while he's using it and he's working behind a glass shield so I must have looked a little suspect. I finally decided he was grinding his convex edge too flat with no micro. I basically told him just that and offered to help him with it. That's when he gave me the "are you crazy" look. After some more sharpening talk, I guess he decided it was okay to let me have a go at it. I have to say I wasn't expecting that response and I've never sharpened a large single bevel knife before so I'm a little uptight about it. Luckily, I have some knowledgable back-up.
    i lent my Yanagi and Usuba to a sushi chef at a restaurant a friend of mine is a hostess at. both knives were very well received, which made me feel really good. i don't speak Japanese, so i'm just going by what my friend, who does, said, but both knives had been pretty obviously used heavily. i've had knife conversations at several restaurants, both Western and Asian. at New Years Eve, last year, our waiter even went back and brought out one of the knives used in the kitchen, after service was finished. this was at a really good French restaurant. it was a Misono 210 Molybdenum gyuto. i hadn't gone out of my way to get into a knife conversation, he was just very attentive and overheard me wondering aloud at my girlfriend about their cutlery. after he and i started talking about knives, i noticed the we got more service than the tables immediately around us.

    anyway, i've been finishing on the Kitayama and then .5 CrO and then .25 diamond (both on balsa) for a few months, now. i had stopped at 6k for a couple years before that, and i had been happy with the 6k finish. it was only when i wondered how much sharper i could get my edges that i bought my first strop, and then bought the Kitayama (and then another strop, and then started making me own strops). i've come to the conclusion that 90% of the keenness of a given edge is determined by how even of a scratch pattern is put down by the medium stones used. you can create a nice sharp knife even when the coarse bevel is sloppy, by fixing it with the medium stones, but it's really hard to fix a knife with finishing stones when the medium stage has been done poorly. i'm planning on getting a Takashima from Jon soon (hopefully next month), but it's more because i want to start trying natural stones than it is because i'm unhappy with the performance i'm getting off the Kitayama.

  10. #20
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    Great knife, that chef was using!
    09/06

    Take a look around at: www.sharpandshinyshop.com

    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

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