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Thread: Old Knives - New Sharpener - Help!

  1. #1
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    Old Knives - New Sharpener - Help!

    I have the following 20+ year-old set of Four Stars, supposedly high carbon stainless steel.

    10" Chef Model 31071-260
    8" Chef Model 31071-200
    8" Serrated Model 31076-200
    6" Utility Model 31070-160 VIER SRTERE ICE HARDENED
    7" Utility Model 31070-180
    9" Utility Model 31070- 230
    4" Parer Model 31071-100
    3" Parer/Utility Model 31070-080 VIER SRTERE ICE HARDENED
    5 1/2" Flexible Boning Model 31086-140
    6" Cleaver Model 31095-150

    Printed on all of them: ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS NO STAIN FRIODUR SOLINGEN GERMANY.
    Only two of them say, "VIER SRTERE ice hardened".
    What does this mean and does it change how I should sharpen those?

    Please don't shoot me but for the last 20 or so years I have been "sharpening" them with a Chef's Choice "Sharpener" with those 3 spinning wheels at with the magnet at different angles to help hold the blade in place as you slowly pull it through.
    The edges suck very soon after "sharpening".

    I've read Dave Martell's thread here about freehand vs. jig and I've decided to get an EdgePro Pro model, Anglecube and Choseras/Shaptons and I have questions.

    Should I even care what the original angles were so I can copy them?
    I suspect the edges are supposed to be at different angles, especially that thick cleaver vs. that flexible thin boning knife.

    What should the angles be for the above knives?
    Would you put on one angle, or two or three? (I'd rather get it right the first time even if it takes a long time)
    Are these called bevels?

    Does anyone make a curved stone that fits on the EP for serrated knives?
    Are the stones for the EP Apex and the Pro models the same width?
    I hear the Choceras from Jende are twice as thick as those from other vendors. True?

    I read here that some vendors are better to support with our dollars than others, ethics and all.
    From where should I buy my Choceras and Shaptons?
    Is Ben Dale's EdgePro website still the only place to buy the Pro model?

    I plan to get the scissor attachment since I need to sharpen chisels too.

    Considering my needs (no J-Knives) which grit progression (Shapton and Chocera) do you recommend?
    For reflatening the stones should I get the DMT XX coarse plate? or Dale's round glass thingie with the Silicon Carbide powder or something else?

    Which of the above knives should a noob start on?

    What have I not thought of?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgy Guy View Post
    Which of the above knives should a noob start on?

    What have I not thought of?
    20+ degrees for those knives. I sharpen my 5* somewhere at 15ish and it didn't hold up.. gotta go all the way to 20+ degrees. Those numbers are estimates as I don exactly measure the angles..

    Start on the shortest knife

    Ever thought of just getting a king's combo 1000/6000???

  3. #3
    For your knives I would recommend the stock EP stones and not to polish too highly.

  4. #4
    THAT is a lot of questions!

    Welcome!

    First off, "Vier Srtere" means 'four star', and 'ice hardened' means that when they were heat treating the blade, they assisted the cooling by dunking it in ice. This does not mean much of anything.

    You had a lot of questions, but most of them do not apply to you, thankfully! You do not need to worry about factory angles, and over 20 degrees is good for your knives. You also do NOT NOT NOT need to drop the cash on polishing stones, it will cause the blade to "run", or skid across some foods before biting in. The thing is, your knives are fairly soft steel, and thickly designed, so giving them the straight-razor spa treatment will not only be a waste, it will perform worse.

    You do not need thick stones, you will never wear out a shapton or chosera sharpening just your Henckels set. But you don't need a Shapton or Chosera! Whatever the EP comes with will do great.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Seb's Avatar
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    If you've been sharpening them for 20 years with a glorified electric can-opener, how much steel is left in those knives??

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Martell View Post
    For your knives I would recommend the stock EP stones and not to polish too highly.

    I'd maybe also add in a diamond plate option of some kind to do the rough work to fix whatever damage needs fixing.

  7. #7
    My internet died before I could add this, but you really only need the Apex 1. It comes with a 120 grit and 320 grit stone, which are US grit. 320 grit US being used on a quality jig like that is more than enough refinement for your knives.

    I would actually disagree with getting a diamond stone, because you really won't wear out that 120 grit stone by setting the bevels one time(which is all that is needed), and if anything needs repair, and you want it done soon, send it off to someone who knows what they are doing for a little TLC.

    Don't forget to deburr!! Jigs are notorious for wire edges, because of their precise nature, so I'd keep a few corks around to slice into after both stones.


    The Pro model is great for versatility, and it's very stable, and has a few features that make it easier to manipulate. You really only need 2 stones here, coarse, and medium, so you won't be fiddling with it much. It also comes with a honing rod, which will be better than the one that came with your Henckels.

  8. #8
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    I sure hope that those who accuse this group of elitism read the responses to this fellows questions! No one is berating him for his kit or his needs, just good practical advise appropriate for his situation!
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  9. #9
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    Thanks everyone for the eye-opening input.
    I'm surprised, disappointed but educated.
    I should not have bought what I bought.
    Live and learn.

    I've seen videos of knives so sharp they slice a tomato into one-molecule thick slices with almost no effort.
    Clearly my knives won't get me there.
    Once I become aware of a ultra-high quality level I want it, as long as it's not a yacht or luxury car.

    Now I want a Japanese knife or two but don't know where to start.
    I have been reading here for days and it is overwhelming reading through all these posts with all these Japanese terms.
    The selection of J-knives is overwhelming.

    It would be nice if KKF had a video introducing us to the basics of blade shapes, alloys, handle shapes.
    I'm not talking about sushi-chef advanced level or for those who are considering their 15th J-Knife - just an intro to make a well-informed first (and hopefully last) purchase.

    I'm thinking of an 8" chef, and a paring knife.
    I'd like to select them with the intention of them being the only knives I will buy because I notice those are 90% of what I've used in the past.
    I am certainly no gourmet sushi chef.
    I just want to have an orgasm cutting a paper a tomato into tissue paper-thin slices with no force and minimum movement - just by placing the knife near the tomato.

    I don't want to pay for anything custom or a prestigious name or any expensive handle material or design.
    How beautiful, cool or impressive the blade looks means nothing to me. (at least NOW I say that! )
    I just want superb function, as in a fine sharp blade forged from fine steel, that will stay sharp as long as possible.
    I understand they are susceptibility to rust and, even though I'm accustomed to stainless steel knives, I'm willing to care for a high-carbon hard steel knife properly, obsessively even.
    I'd be happy to buy a used knife from one of you if it was well cared for - but I'd need help selecting it.

    I am totally ignorant about all those shapes of japanese blades and handles.
    What are the pluses and minuses of the blades that are beveled only on one side?
    I see some 8" chefs that have a curve to the blade like I'm used to and others are straight.
    Many handles on even expensive Japanese knives look very non-ergonomic - and just like an uncomfortable straight cylinder.
    I don't want to buy one knife and learn I should have bought another.
    I also don't want to just buy something similar to what I'm used to; I want to have an open mind.
    Do you know of any Youtube tutorials on using these knives or an overview of shapes and types of Japanese knives?

  10. #10
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    I realize I just committed the mortal forum sin, expecting others to do my research for me and answer a question they've been asked a thousand times.
    Sorry.

    I will search, read and learn - and I'm certainly not informed enough to buy anything used.

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