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Thread: Sharpening tips for a newbie

  1. #1

    Sharpening tips for a newbie

    Knife: konosuke HD 270 gyuto
    Stones: King1k, Arashiyama 6000K
    leather strop with 0.5 micron chromium oxide

    Out of the box, this was the sharpest knife I've had. Still, it wouldn't shave my arm hair very well

    Sharpened it for the first time today....I have mainly been using info from Jon's youtube videos (which are great, thanks Jon).

    I'm a bit uncertain about what I am doing, so I'm going to write about what I did and please feel free to critique and give any tips.

    Step 1: Magic marker to find edge angle on 1k stone. I found myself holding the knife quite high up compared to what I saw in the videos. Oh well.

    Step 2: Got a burr going along one edge with not too much trouble. Switched to the other side and flipped the burr to the other side. Didn't have too much trouble with this except for at the tip. I tried the trick as shown on Jon's video about the tip but I had some serious coordination problems....scuffed up the blade on the tip...

    Step 3: Switched to the strop...wasn't sure if I was supposed to do this now or only at the end. Anyways, stropped a bit until the burr was gone.

    Step 4: Started with the 6k stone. Felt very smooth, took me a long time and still didn't feel any burr. I was expecting an edge like on the 1k stone, but is the burr much less obvious on higher grits? After I thought about that, I looked closer and I did detect a slight burr, just very slight. Not sure if I really did or it was in my mind. Anyways, just continued both sides, then hit the strop again. Sliced into a wine cork a few times but didn't feel any difference before and after that.

    Final results, a bit scuffed up (mostly around the tip), but much sharper than it was brand new. Shaved off a nice patch of arm hair with a big grin while my gf watched and thought I had gone insane.

    Obligatory pic:

    The single bevels were not as sharp as the konosuke brand new. I will start with the yanagi and get the hang of that one first then try the usuba.

  2. #2
    I'm a newbie, too, and I'm still practicing on crappier knives. Try the tip sharpening again, but do it on a cheapo knife if you can so that you don't create a really strange bevel on your nice knives. I've been doing that just to get a hang of the motions necessary for following the curve properly and creating an even bevel, not necessarily to learn the sharpness. The ones I really scuffed up ones have been tough for me to put a clean new bevel on, so that's why I suggested you try it on a cheapo knife first. Other than that, I can't offer any tips. Good luck (wish me luck)

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Truth be told I have tried Jon's tip technique many times and lack the skill and coordination as well. I have no doubt that it works well, just beyond my abilty.

    Has any one effectively converted?

    I keep trying every once in a while, but for me its tricky. My tip technique is a little more like Salty's if you watch his sharpening videos.

  4. #4
    Wow, you have nice knives. I'm a newbie as well, have probably sharpened 30 times or so in the past few months, practicing on cheap knives, German knives, and then my old Global G-2. I've been too chicken to mess with my Suisin Inox Honyaki 270mm or Miyabi 7000mc 240mm, both of which arrived recently and still have sharp OOOTB edges. Will probably wait till they get dull before going to sharpen them. Look forward to hearing about and learning from your experiences.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    99Limited's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    LVW, Manchester, NJ
    I sharpen my tips using Jon's method. It's kind of like putting your arm into a rocking chair motion and then adding a twisting motion to your arm as you go through your stroke. The way I do it is to have the tip of the blade on the stone during the pull stroke and then as I go into the push stroke I rotate my arm, either to the left or right depending on which side is being sharpened. This raises the tip off the stone and you work the curve of the blade.

    It's kind of hard to put into words how to do it, but once you get the hang of it it's kind of fun. You can always practice the motions on your cutting board until you get comfortable with it. Sometimes I end up putting a polish on the whole tip because I'm laying the knife over too far. I don't worry about that since I know that with more practice that will become a thing of the past and I'll have nice even bevels from tip to heel.

  6. #6
    Senior Member NO ChoP!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Clayton, NC- surrounded by lots of trees
    slow and steady wins the race.....

    I found my HD OOTB edge to be not that great. And, truly, its not the easiest knife to sharpen, as its some seriously hard steel. It'll take some extra time on the 1k. So, if you've made an improvement you must be doing something right. Everyone initially tries to emulate others style, which isn't a bad thing; great way to learn; but you will find what works best for you through simple practice and repetition. I've been sharpening for about six years on waterstones, and am still a newbie....
    The difference between try and triumph is a little "umph"! NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cadillac J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by slowtyper View Post
    Step 2: Got a burr going along one edge with not too much trouble. Switched to the other side and flipped the burr to the other side.
    Did you abrade/work down the burr at all on your 1K, or just stop and go to the strop after just getting a burr raised on each side? From what you typed, it sounds like you need to spend abrading to make the burr smaller and easier to remove on your strop...and cutting into cork, felt or the like helps too.

    Not directing this towards you or saying in a negative way, but I think people need to get off of the "it shaves my arm hair". All of my knives will shave hair easily, but each edge is so different from one another that it really isn't a good indicator of sharpness IMO. Cut food items that the knife will be used for to test sharpness instead, as it will give you much more feedback and information about your results. Also remember, you can shave hair with a burr, but that edge won't last at all when put into the paces of its actual use.

  8. #8
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    The last part is a great point, Caddy!
    It can act as a false confirmation of a good edge. Really make sure you have gotten rid of the burr before going to the next grit or final stropping.
    I've heard some say deburring between stones is a waste of time, but I do not agree. If you don't, you might be rushing the whole process, and leaving too much left undone for the next stone.

    Take a look around at:

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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Cadillac J View Post

    Not directing this towards you or saying in a negative way, but I think people need to get off of the "it shaves my arm hair".
    heck, I can run a piece of mdf through a good table saw and shave arm hair (or take a HUGE slice out of my thumb (done it more than once)) with the 90deg edge if it's clean enough

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Cadillac J View Post
    ....but I think people need to get off of the "it shaves my arm hair"....
    That's only useful when you're eating arm hair, and why do that when you can have thumb tip?

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