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Thread: Problems sharpening white#2 steel?

  1. #1

    Problems sharpening white#2 steel?

    Hey folks,

    I was wondering if anybody has any advice on sharpening white #2. I have a Konosuke Fujiyama gyuto, and for some reason as can't seem to get it as sharp as my Moritaka petty (AS) or my Shun 8" (VG-10?). I fully understand that different alloys will sharpen differently, but as my sharpening abilities have advanced somehow my Konosuke's edge hasn't seemed to advance with me. I'm fine with their being differences, but the Kono was my first "real" Japanese knife, and somehow I feel all the mystique and love I have for that knife is being diminished when the freaking Shun seems to outperform it (which may be odd, since I know many KKF members own so many knives the love affair with ONE might not be that important).

    So you know, I generally start with a 400 grit "latte stone" (which I don't care for much) if I feel I have to reset the edge, then a Chosera 1000, Chosera 3000, and a King 6000, then a balsa loaded with diamond, followed by unloaded horse leather. I hone with an Idahone ceramic rod.

    Anyways, does White #2 just take a relatively poor edge? Is there something else I'm missing? I just can't help to feel I'm not getting the most out of this knife. Any advice would be appreciated!


  2. #2
    I just sharpened a cheap Tojiro ITK White #2 gyuto and it was one of the easiest steels to sharpen. It formed a burr immediately and was not difficult to remove. The blade was screaming sharp. I used a Gesshin 400 grit stone to repair some edge damage and then finished with the new Gesshin Jinzo Aoto.

    My guess is that you are not hitting the edge, make sure you feel a burr along the entire edge and then finally make sure you remove that burr. Also, be weary of the angle you are using on your leather strop as you can easily dull an edge with a leather strop if used improperly.

    Last but not least, go slow and make sure you focus on maintaining the same angle along the length of the blade.
    Twitter: @PeterDaEater

  3. #3
    Senior Member K-Fed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Palm City, FL
    I think Pete nailed it... It's something I've said before. White steel is redicilously easy to sharpen, but also just as easy to eff' it up. Before I knew better I rounded edges on my white steel blades on the strop on a regular enough basis to feel like there was something wrong with the knife when all it really was was over stropping with too much pressure. Try using the strop to simply de burr between stones and finish on your final stone with light stropping on the stone only. Might help.. Maybe.
    Don't touch my d!ck. Dont touch my knife. ~ Anthony Bourdain ~

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I've never met a white 2 blade that didn't take a fantastic edge. How's the edge at the end of each step in your progression? How do you decided when to stop? You should easily shave hair at the 1k level and more easily at each step after that. At 400 grit you can shave hair too you just have to watch the burr.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    The reality of the situation is that it is impossible to say. First, we are talking about different knives made from different steels. Second, 'sharpness' is something that happens within a context. Your white # 2 may be as sharp as you are going to get it in the present context of your knife. There could be other issues that are affecting the perceived sharpness of the knife. Maybe it is time for some thinning? If you don't have the experience to assess that for yourself I suggest that sending the knife to a professional sharpener (Dave Martell for example). Whatever can be done to improve the performance of the knife, you'll be sure to find out and with the advice given with the service you'll surely learn something. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    I think it is the stropping too.

    It might help to skip the 6000. I would try going from the 3000 to the balsa strop, two strops per side. That should be plenty to get that knife pretty scary.
    'I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying.' Woody Allen

  7. #7
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    My guess is that because of the other knives you sharpen that you may be using too much pressure. White steel is extremely easy to sharpen and since your other knives are stainless and AS I think you may be getting into bad habits. I agree with what's been said that you should be able to shave off of your 400 stone if you need to go that low which shouldn't be often at all.
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  8. #8
    Senior Member zitangy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    When I am off form when sharpening... after the stones...

    I will use the rod to refine or address the edge.

    a) Using teh rod is to smoothen any curls or burrs on the edge which is really thin.
    i) at a higher angle say 20 degrees with only the weight of the knife, use a cutting motion on a diamond rod of 1600 grit for 2 strokes per side adn then alternate sides
    ii) At a lower angle your desired finishing angle say 15 degrees, I will need a slightly heavier stroke ( say +1 pressure) and 5 strokes.

    this shld refine the edge and correct any "miscues" and if desired.. go to your stone or strop.

    b)Rarely do I use the 800 diamond grit rod .

    The 800 grit is primarily used for thinning behind the edge bevel from time to time so that it does not get thick.

    Finally, my thought is if you remove enough metal where it shld be and 2 angles meet and the edge is sufficiently thin... it will cut nicely. The rod will obviate any sharpening miscues and I regularly do it before the I go to the final stone ( that even a few strokes per side) I own a rod that has 3 grits.... 1600,800 and 200Grit.. The brand is Jewelstik.

    HAve fun.

  9. #9
    You guys are awesome! I knew there was a reason I joined this forum. Yeah, I think this is all good advice....My biggest confusion was how sharp I could get my other knives with the exception of the Kono, but I think chinacats might have the right idea. I won't use the 400, and I'll try to do some nice and light work to make sure I don't overgrind. Does anybody have any advice on thinning? If I've been going at it too hard, it must need it, right?

  10. #10
    You don't need to apply too much pressure because (with laminates) the outer laminate is soft, only the carbon steel core is hardened steel. It's all subjective, though, since light pressure to you or I could have two vastly different meanings. I would recommend constantly observing the secondary edge while thinning to determine if you're removing metal more quickly in certain areas and make a determination on the best course of action from there.

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