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Thread: limited by knife quality or skill?

  1. #1

    limited by knife quality or skill?


    I've got a 250, 1k and 4k set of king waterstones.

    I tried freehand sharpening with the 250 and 1k. I sharpened a real cheep supermarket knife that was warn down past almost all of the bevel. This took some serious time as it was a 8in chef knife. After I was done I tried it out and was pretty pleased with the result. It would cut cleanly through paper and card, though was a little difficult to start the cut from the edge of the paper.

    I had another go with the 3in utility knife, again, just as warn. This time I finished it off with the 4k stone, and the edge was about the same, apart from it would cut from the edges silightly easier.

    Running the same test with my newish 8.5in victorinox chef knife, with a factory edge, the edge on the victorinox is better than the edge I was able to put on my cheep knifes.

    Should I keep practicing on my cheap knives, trying the match the edge on the victorinox, or do you think I've reached the limit of what can be achived with the crap steel, and its time I tried seeing if I can improve the edge on the victorinox? (or atleast not make it worse lol)


  2. #2

    Probably skill.

  3. #3
    Fair enough. not overly sure the video is relevent... Though its pretty cool none the less. I wanted to know how far low quality steel could go, not what can be done with a ghetto sharpening solution. will be glad I watched that if a zombie apocalypse happens though.

    I may have a go with the 4k stone again later tonight, and see if I can refine the finish a bit.

    I wasnt really sure how much time to spend on the 4k stone. I did it until I made a burr on both sides of the blade with the 250g and 1000g, should I be aiming for the same with the 4k stone? I just went for a couple mins each side to polish up the edge a bit, presumed a burr wasnt going to happen on the finer grits, though I've based that on nothing...

  4. #4
    I'm still yet to see a video of a substandard knife being made really sharp (as opposed to using substandard sharpening materials).
    There's one where Murray Carter sharpens a spoon to the point he can shave with it. But again, it is a "white steel" spoon
    made my Mr. Carter himself.

    And to comment on the topic per se, I feel we are in the same boat, PO. There are people who would start learning to sharpen
    with attempts to change geometry of high-end handmade knives. And then there are us preparing for a year before we dare
    to touch as much as Victorinox. There are arguments on both sides of the idea of starting with cheap stainless. You might find
    some comments in this thread relevant to your question:
    But. Since I got my first (and so far only) J-knife, all cheap SS ones went to the deep drawer. Why? There are no fun. To use.
    To sharpen. To take care of. To hold. And the J-knife ($30 incl ship from ebay)? I sharpen it every day. Sometimes twice if
    I have time. Because it is fun, and when in doubt, I can be always sure it is me and my technique which needs to be improved,
    not the steel or the stones. I'm a beginner, like you, so FWIW, and good luck.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Amstelveen, The Netherlands
    Don't waste your time and stones with poor stainless steel. Get a simple basic carbon steel blade -- Old Hickory, Opinel, simple Robert Herder, K-Sabatier. And have fun.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    washington dc
    4k stone on crap knife is going to make it dull, not refine it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    See how all these crap knives glide through A4 paper like butter. The 2$ Santoku drops through by only the weight. The other 2 thin looking knives were once serrated for cutting steaks, I removed all the serrations and gave them razor edge.

  8. #8
    Senior Member osakajoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Osaka, Japan
    Don't bother with cheap steel. You won't get a great edge.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Seriously, in my life, I have made 3 people cut their own fingers with the crap "Made in China/Thailand" knives that I sharpen for them. Sometimes, people just need to hurt themselves to know how to treat a knife with respect and care. Those "Ouch that's sharp!" experience.

    That also shows how sharp any kinds of knives can get. Have some confidence and perseverance in yourself please, and please, don't use these luxurious waterstones for crap knives, just use SILICON CARBIDE(carborundum) or DIAMOND plates, + Oil Stone for finishing. Cheap stones for cheap knives, that simple. And use try to give your knives a microbevel, that's very crucial.

    You don't have to listen to Mr.cabarete_cub, I bet he will never achieve that level to sharpen any kinds of steel. No offense but, "a bad carpenter always blames his tools".

    The only difference between crap knives and good knives is the edge retention and the level of sharpness they can reach. Cheap knives has a sharpness limit, but that's more than enough for ordinary kitchen use, enough to draw blood easily by careless users.

  10. #10
    Interesting. A bit of a conflict of opinions in the thread.

    the little knife is sharp enough to be usful now, so I'll leave that. I will try the other couple of bigger knives from the cheap set, and see if I can put a better edge onto them than my last effort.

    Your video of your paper test certainly shows that your cheap knives are sharper than mine, so there is probably more to be achived with mine.

    I can gently run my finger over the edge without getting cut. I will not rest untill blood is shed lol.

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