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Thread: Having trouble sharpening yanagi

  1. #1

    Having trouble sharpening yanagi

    I have a yoshihiro yanagi (this one

    Since I am very new to knives I am just comparing what I have. So comparing what I own and use, I just cannot get this yanagi to approach the sharpness of my konosuke HD gyuto.

    I know the HD is much more expensive than this knife, but I have the feeling something just isn't right and I doubt I have reached the "limit" of this knife. Am I expecting too much out of this yanagi? I doubt it and think it is a problem with my technique, but I have been going at it a few times and doing it slowly but just not getting the results.

    I have a yoshihiro usuba which is very sharp.

    One thing...I do not have a nagura and notice I don't get much mud on my 6K. Does this make a big difference?

    I use 1200 bester, Arashiyama 6000, leather strop with Chromium Oxide.

    I've been following the instructions on Jon's youtube videos and I've tried to resharpen it multiple times.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Fort Duquense
    do you have a picture of the knife after you sharpened it?

    i also think mud is important. i do not have a problem raising mud with the arashiyama by just rubbing my knife on it but i do feel it sharpens better with mud... perhaps you are using too much water and diluting/washing off the mud?

  3. #3
    It could be a technique issue, have you looked up youtube for videos of yanagi sharpening?
    John (Jbroida) has video, Maksim has a video, and I am sure there are others too.
    here Maksim's vid

    John's vid:

  4. #4
    Senior Member euphorbioid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    I wonder how flat the blade road is and whether the entire edge is being sharpened. Have you flattened the back? On your coarsest stone is there a uniform scratch pattern across the length of the edge?

    I had this problem with a relatively inexpensive yanagiba that was my first traditional Japanese knife. It took a lot of work to get the edge or blade road flat. The entire bevel is still not flat Despite that, it is the sharpest knife I have.

    PM me for more info.


  5. #5
    Sounds to me that the blade road isnt flat and you arent hitting the true edge when sharpening. You'll need to flatten the blade road over time and until then add a small micro bevel to the edge. Try and out and see what happens..

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by euphorbioid View Post
    Have you flattened the back?

    This would be the first thing that I checked. Almost all single bevels knives don't have the backside edge properly flat. A polishing stone alone won't fix this. Check to see if this bevel is dead flat and reaching the cutting edge before you do anything else.

  7. #7
    i kind of disagree dave... if you develop a burr on the main bevel and then, in sharpening the ura on a finishing stone, remove said burr, that would work and it totally possible. I always tell people to use finishing stones because i dont want them to mess up the ura, but as sharpeners become more skilled, there is no reason they can not use a more coarse stone as long as they are careful.

    On the sharpening of the yanagiba, i would be happy to go over sharpening with you via skype if you would like... i'm pretty positive we can get your yanagiba sharp pretty easily... shoot me a PM if you're interested.

  8. #8
    I agree that using a coarser stone on the back isn't wise advice to give but I also know that sharpening only one side of a knife doesn't work well either. So as much as I dislike telling people to fix the back I find it's a necessary step to getting the knife not only sharp but staying sharp.

  9. #9
    i agree it is important to do the back side properly, i just would rather someone take a bit longer and not mess it up than rush it and make mistakes

  10. #10

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