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  1. #1

    Question Knife Sharpening Questions

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Jon and I'm new to KKF. I have a question about knife sharpening. There are so many videos regarding how to properly sharpen knives. The one that I seem to agree with most are the ones posted by Curtis Chung on Youtube. Now I was wondering, between counting strokes and burr formation, which do you generally go for? I find that if I try to get a burr to form, it takes many strokes on one side and I eventually forget how many strokes I performed. I end up sharpening one side more than the other and feel like the edge starts to get wavy and not flat against the cutting board. Also, when I do the western stroke method, the belly seems to get a burr faster than the tip and the heel. Sorry if this sounds confusing. Please ask if you need clarification. Any help regarding sharpening is GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Frater_Decus's Avatar
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    Rather than directly answer your question about counting versus burr, I'd instead go for the Magic Marker Trick. Mr Broida from Japanse Knife Imports has videos showing you how to do this, and it facilitates even bevel sharpening.
    Vestigia nulla retrorsum.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Geo87's Avatar
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    There are many ways to go about it. But a lot of people would say burr formation is essential. Sharpening is also not a mathematical process. So with this in mind, sharpen one side for as long as it takes to get a even consistent burr( yes the tip & heel may take longer and more close attention. then replicate this as close as possible on the second side( assuming your knife is symmetrically ground . You will feel the burr on the second side before you have worked it enough to match the strokes, so because of this going by burr only is a bad idea. Strokes should be counted to some extent but by no means does it need to be exact.
    May I also suggest an alternative to the magic marker trick and stop after a few strokes and just look very closely at the edge, different stone grits have different scratch patterns so you should be able to see pretty well where you've sharpened if you train your eye. Although the magic marker trick will make it Easier to see.

    Also please note equally as important as burr formation is burr removal or burr abrasion . How do you currently "remove" the burr?? Also note some steel types need extra care on this step, as burr removal on some stainless is rather painful.

    So to summarise,for me... it's about creating a burr with as many strokes as it takes, replicating on the other side ( for 50/50 grinds) and then working the higher grit stones to "remove" the burr.

    Also, there are many many ways to go about sharpening, but the end result is the same, a consistent , clean , burr free edge of fresh metal.

    Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    Heels and tips can be tricky for new sharpeners. Inspect the heel to see if there is an upsweep. If so, you will have to lower the handle very slightly or apply more pressure to hit the spot. Tips are the same thing basically. I bring the handle in almost parallel with the stone and lift up the handle with a slight torque. Again , with direct pressure over the spot you are trying to hit.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
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  6. #6
    Sorry for taking a while to get back to this topic. I have heard of the magic marker trick and for me it seems a little messy having to apply and reapply sharpie especially when wet. I did notice that once I was able to get a burr on the first side of the knife, the second burr would form quite easily and I would stop. In my mind, I feel like I had created a 60/40 or 70/30 bevel. Also during burr formation, the burr would be a lot more pronounced on the belly than the tip and heel. When this happens should I focus on only the tip and heel? I feel that this would create an uneven edge. I'm pretty set on using the western stroke, and with that do you all reccommend that the stroke is edge trailing or edge leading? And as for removing the burr, I would primarily sharpen for a burr on my 500, 700, and 2000 grit stones and polish on my 6000, and 16000 grit stone. I would thn run the knife lightly on a piece of 2x4 and cork. Whew. Sorry for the long post.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Geo87's Avatar
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    Your not actually forming a second burr. Your just flipping the burr over to the other side , this is why you feel the burr faster on the second side.

    If your knife is ground 50/50 and you want your edge 50/50 , then you must keep things as consistent as possible. Asymmetric edges are more for japanese knives that are ground asymmetrically , but that is another thing entirely and as you are learning I would recommend learning to sharpen symmetrically first.

    I think you need to experiment with different strokes and techniques , and find what works for you... I'm sure the western stroke method works for some people but I see flaws in it. The main one being your left hand is not applying pressure correctly, so you can't focus on all the different parts of the edge. This means the heel and tip get neglected. It sounds like this is your problem, your not actually hitting the heel or tip correctly and that's why you only feel a burr on the belly. Like theory stated, apply pressure over the spot you are trying to hit. You can't do that very well with a big sweeping stroke.

    I can highly recomend Jon's videos from JKI, they are brilliant.

    Please note that you need to feel a consistent burr from heel to tip, that is the goal. if the belly feels different to the tip and heel your sharpening isn't consistent. You need to do whatever works for you in order to make the burr feel the same, heel tip
    I hope this is making sense.

    Also I believe, depending on who you talk to, edge leading strokes are for "sharpening" and edge trailing are for polishing/stropping/ deburring the point of a edge trailing stroke is so your not pushing the edge into the mud but pulling it away from it running over the mud making a cleaner edge. This is useful for the polishing stones

  8. #8
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jojo33 View Post
    Sorry for taking a while to get back to this topic. I have heard of the magic marker trick and for me it seems a little messy having to apply and reapply sharpie especially when wet. I did notice that once I was able to get a burr on the first side of the knife, the second burr would form quite easily and I would stop. In my mind, I feel like I had created a 60/40 or 70/30 bevel. Also during burr formation, the burr would be a lot more pronounced on the belly than the tip and heel. When this happens should I focus on only the tip and heel? I feel that this would create an uneven edge. I'm pretty set on using the western stroke, and with that do you all reccommend that the stroke is edge trailing or edge leading? And as for removing the burr, I would primarily sharpen for a burr on my 500, 700, and 2000 grit stones and polish on my 6000, and 16000 grit stone. I would thn run the knife lightly on a piece of 2x4 and cork. Whew. Sorry for the long post.
    You already have an uneven edge, that's why you feel the burr is larger on certain parts. Focus on the other parts to even things out before flipping. Also, why do you sharpen to such a high grit stone?
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
    Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/

  9. #9
    Thanks everyone for all the tips so far. So I tried sharpening again last night, using the Japanese, sectional approach. I noticed that for this particular technique, I prefer the edge-trailing method. Again, when pulling the knife against the stone, and the edge facing away, I find that this side of the knife doesn't remove as much metal even when a prominent burr results on the other side. Should I practice using the pushing motion, edge facing towards me, using the left (non-dominant) hand holding the knife? I've seen only a couple of these videos, whereas a majority keeps the knife if their dominant (usually right) hand. And Theory, I like the above video, and it got me thinking, when do I use specific grits? I have cheap-ish knives that can cut relatively well, but being me, I like to practice on these knives anyway, so I start with the 500 and move my way up. Also I am a little confused as to what you mean by sharpening to such a high grit stone.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mucho Bocho's Avatar
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    JOJO, a 16000 grit stone is crazy high grit, probably more suited for Razors than kitchen knives. There are no absolutes. This is what i do if:

    Kinves that are somewhat sharp:
    Try stropping on a high grit stone (8000 range), then with loaded leather follwed by untreated leather. I like horse leather. Maybe three passes on each side on each

    Knives that are dull (can run them over your hand without cutting it)
    Because the primary bevel is so rounded, you'll have to remove that fatigued metal. This is where you'll want to go to you lower grit stones, sub 1000. Form a burr and work up the stack.

    Other more knowledgeable members will be able to add more.
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