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A Few Questions on Sharpening a Tanaka Blue #2 Gyuto. - Page 2
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Thread: A Few Questions on Sharpening a Tanaka Blue #2 Gyuto.

  1. #11
    In a perfect world, you would thin every time you sharpened your knife. Realistically, this doesn't happen. Most of the knives we deal with here are so thin behind the edge, that the time to do so, (leaving the knife face in the condition we got it) would outweigh any of the benefit you got from doing it. The ITK is a perfect example of this. And for a reference, here's a shot of the choil:

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    In all reality, you can go quite a while before you would notice any performance degradation without thinning the knife. Just because it is so frickin' thin behind the edge. It's actually more efficient to just wait for a while before attempting to thin the knife with the amount of time you would spend on the stones to get the finish back to where it was. It does become somewhat of a guessing game once you wait that long, to thin it to the right angle. But I'll try to draw something up tomorrow to better illustrate that point. For now, I would suggest just touching up the edge when you need to, as this will help you get a feel for keeping a consistent angle. Once you start to thin, the feedback is a bit harder to gauge.

    The reason you don't see any scratches on the knives any of the pro's sharpen, is that they work through a full progression of stones, essentially re-polishing the knife as they've taken metal away at lower grits.

  2. #12
    I'd guess that the pros are more highly proficient at holding a consistent, low angle. It only takes a momentary lack of attention to go too low on the angle and scratch up the face a bit.

  3. #13
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    The point of thinning with each sharpening is so you don't have to scratch way up the blade face.

    If you sharpen at fifteen degrees; doing an initial bevel at ten, would be considered thinning. Blending the two together would leave you with a crisp, shiny new bevel, barely bigger than if you did 15 degrees exclusively.

    I think of it as knocking the shoulders off...essentially keeping the transition from blade face to bevel from looking like an ax.
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  4. #14
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     Exactly!
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  5. #15
    Hi All,

    Thank you very much for the great advice. It's been rely helpful! Here are pics of the blade. Do these images lend any additional info on the thinning, and sharpening, strategy for this knife?












  6. #16
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    You should use some sandpaper and round choil and spine of your knife, that would make pinch grip much more comfortable

  7. #17
    I apologize for the crappy pic, but it should help me explain my thoughts.

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    Let's say you sharpen the knife at the angle between AD and AE. As you remove more and more steel from each sharpening session, D and E keep getting further and further apart. Taking off the shoulders at D and E is thinning, and will help alleviate this problem in the short run. However, at some point you will need to remove metal between DB and EC to keep the knife performing at its best. The hard part is that these bevels are not often as straight forward as you would think. Sometimes you run into 3 or 4 blended bevels that aren't as obvious to the eye as in the picture.

    If you're new to sharpening, just touch up the edge. If you find it easy to do that, then feel free to knock off the shoulders at a lower angle, but don't feel you have to make huge leaps and bounds to keep the performance going strong. What's important is to feel somewhat comfortable when you put the knife to the stones, and to have an idea of what you are trying to achieve. Hope this helps.

  8. #18
    I'll do that next time I sharpen it.

    Quote Originally Posted by icanhaschzbrgr View Post
    You should use some sandpaper and round choil and spine of your knife, that would make pinch grip much more comfortable

  9. #19
    Great stuff! Thank you for the drawing and the explanation.

    I feel comfortable sharpening the primary bevel and knocking down the shoulder. I have spent a month practicing on beater German knives...

    What I can't figure is where to thin between DB and EC (when the time to do so comes).

    The secondary bevel on this knife is, just like you said, a blending of multiple bevels . I will grab a better picture under natural light later on today.

    Do we just select an arbitrary angle and transform the convex secondary into a flat-ground secondary when "serious" thinning is necessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Edge View Post
    I apologize for the crappy pic, but it should help me explain my thoughts.

    Name:  Sharpening.jpg
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    Let's say you sharpen the knife at the angle between AD and AE. As you remove more and more steel from each sharpening session, D and E keep getting further and further apart. Taking off the shoulders at D and E is thinning, and will help alleviate this problem in the short run. However, at some point you will need to remove metal between DB and EC to keep the knife performing at its best. The hard part is that these bevels are not often as straight forward as you would think. Sometimes you run into 3 or 4 blended bevels that aren't as obvious to the eye as in the picture.

    If you're new to sharpening, just touch up the edge. If you find it easy to do that, then feel free to knock off the shoulders at a lower angle, but don't feel you have to make huge leaps and bounds to keep the performance going strong. What's important is to feel somewhat comfortable when you put the knife to the stones, and to have an idea of what you are trying to achieve. Hope this helps.

  10. #20
    Since you have your German knives to practice on, I would suggest when you want to start practice thinning at that level to give it a go on them. The steel will remove slower than at the edge since there is more surface area to grind. This will mean it will take longer to do, and you'll need to be patient. Let's pretend you're going to thin the Tanaka, so you set it on the stones at BD and CE as such:

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    Once you make a few passes, you'll want to lift up the knife and check to see where the scratch pattern is actually forming. It will be easier at this point to see if you're hitting any high spots, or if you're flush with the bevel. Try to keep it flush, but you'll also want to eventually remove steel at B and C as well to knock off some of that shoulder. To remove the scratch pattern, you'll have to work your way up slowly to higher and higher grits to polish them out. The only time I tend to go through this process is when the knife really starts to wedge in potatoes. It becomes a slow process, and you'll be tempted to push the side of the knife into the stone as hard as you can and grind away for 5-10 minutes, but don't. Work it a little, wipe it off, slice something to see how it is progressing, and then go back to thinning. The more comfortable you get at thinning, and eventually you'll be able to grind away. Sharpening is an intimate thing, and it will bring you closer to your knife than you knew possible. It will also give you more respect for what these knife makers do.

    This is how I learned to do it, and I'm still learning something every time I put the knife to the stones. If anyone else has a different thought, please feel free to chime in...

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