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

  1. #21
    Hi Taylor,

    I apologize for the late reply. Thank you very much for the time you spent to explain thinning!. Everything makes perfect sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Edge View Post
    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:

    Attachment 21102

    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...

  2. #22
    Good info in this thread.
    However, I think that in a normal home use it can take years to need a thinning, am I right ?

  3. #23
    Senior Member

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    Sep 2013
    Saint-Petersburg, Russia
    Quote Originally Posted by adicrst View Post
    Good info in this thread.
    However, I think that in a normal home use it can take years to need a thinning, am I right ?
    If the knife was already thin behind the edge then you could go away without thinning for a few sharpening sessions. Tanaka knives aren't the thinnest out there, but still pretty thin behind the edge. Let's imagine you'd sharpen your knives once in 2-3 months. That would means you'd do 4-6 sharpening sessions a year. So you could get away without thinning for a year or two. Or three. But each next sharpening session would make knife a little bit thicker behind the edge, which means with each session performance would deviate from optimal more and more.

    There was a good suggestion in this thread: thin a knife a little bit with every sharpening session. It doesn't take long a allows preserving optimal performance.

  4. #24
    Hi Adicrst,

    Having sharpened my Tanaka a few times, here are my thoughts:

    1) The knife I have isn't particularly thin behind the edge and the cladding is quite thick starting at the middle of the blade and going towards the spine.

    2) While there's pronounced convexity to the left face of the blade, the right face is almost flat ground. Because I'm right-handed, this means that food-release is quite poor.

    3) The lack a 'true' secondary bevel (i.e. a shinogi+lamination line) makes thinning more difficult--not in the sense of execution but in the notion of esthetics. Thinning the blade inevitably scratches the damascus. This is a shame as Shigeki makes beautiful knives.

    4) Besides sanding down the both blade faces w/600 grit wet/dry sandpaper, etching in FeCl3, and then buffing with micromesh pads, I'm not sure of any other way to make the damascus cladding look good after thinning.

    5) Thinning with each sharpening session is really the way to go if you wish to the maintain the blade's geometry.

    I hope a more experienced member can comment on how to thin convex blades w/o secondary bevels while still maintaining the finish.

    I sometimes wonder how folks like Dave Martell and John Broida do it...
    Maybe one of them can share their approach.

    Hope some of this helps...

    Quote Originally Posted by adicrst View Post
    Good info in this thread.
    However, I think that in a normal home use it can take years to need a thinning, am I right ?

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