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Thread: Choil, Spine Easing and Rounding

  1. #1
    Senior Member goatgolfer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    42.598 N 83.213 W

    Choil, Spine Easing and Rounding

    Goat writes:

    After reviewing many of the contributions to removing/polishing/easing/rounding the choil and the spine, I didn’t find a summary by experienced folks to direct those trying it for the first time.
    This is my way of making a recipe and I hope you will constructively add your experienced contributions.

    Assumptions: a) Easing is a minimalist/beginning step to rounding, so go as far as your personal preference and stop early because you can always take more metal off. b) emery cloth, flexible sandpaper (wet-dry vs stiff backed wood sandpaper) is preferable because it lets you make it stiff with backing (Popsicle stick or wrapped on a file) and it also lets you do the shoeshine move c) If it's one of your first times, tape the knife up with duct tape on the parts you don't want to scratch unintentionally. d) It's really difficult to do without a vise.

    Start: 1.0 Tape up the knife 1.1 get something like wood to protect the knife from the vise 1.2 position the knife pointing down for the choil and high enough to get hand clearance from the bench and vise but not so high as to make it twang. 1.3 Clamp the knife

    2.0 Starting with abrasive (KKK GRIT) backed by something stiff - break the edges with a few strokes on both sides. Admire your bravery and decide how much further you want to go 2.1 assuming the choil edges are no longer sharp, move to shoeshine plan after reclamping the knife. 2.2 With (LLL GRIT) abrasive about (dimension MMM) wide make a few shoeshine moves and then move down the choil trying to keep the sides balanced. 2.3 Check it again for doneness to your liking.

    3.0 If you are satisfied with the amount removed, finish polishing the choil by using flexible abrasive of (NNN GRIT) assuming that this may be different than what you in steps 2.1 or 2.2

    4.0 Untape the knife and try it for a while to see if you like it.
    5.0 Rinse, lather and repeat as necessary.

    For spines clamp the knife horizontally and follow the above recipe.

    Now, folks that have done this to more than 8 knives please add the measurements for:
    KKK GRIT (edge breaking) =
    preferred backing for KKK when breaking the edges +
    - if edge breaking is best done with a file please add it as an alternative
    LLL GRIT (easing/rounding) =
    MMM Dimension (width of abrasive) =
    NNN GRIT (finishing) =

    IF you think the technique for the home player - choil easing - is significantly different for carbon vs stainless vs meteorite please start another thread with the different recipes and refer back to the other similar threads so we have a library.
    I probably missed good previous thread contributions and if you can link to them in your response we might have an updated summary of KKF experience.

    Always be yourself. Unless you can be BATMAN. Then always be Batman.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2012
    I just tape up the face of the blade, only exposing about 2mm (at most) of the spine. Make sure to cover the edge with tape as well. Gotta be careful. Then I just simply start with coarse sand paper and go to town. I don't use a vice as I like to constantly change the angle of the blade while sanding. Keep in mind though as you move up in grit that you are still removing a little bit of metal, and the more polished the spine becomes the more "round" it will feel.
    For the choil, I tape it up the same way but expose the choil by 2mm or so. I then take a small, thin metal file and wrap this with sand paper and have at it.
    I prefer the fully rounded spine/choil myself. I think it just looks cooler and feels more comfortable. But it does interfere with using the spine to scrape foods off your cutting board into a container. Always a trade off...

  3. #3
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    On the (frozen) water Maine
    Nice start. I'd say to maybe use a different tape than duct tape as it can leave a nasty residue.

    I use a round file for the choil and a flat one for the spine (though the round would work here as well). After the file, I wrap same file in coarse grit paper (maybe 180 or 220) and then go up to 400, can go as high as you like but I usually won't go past this. Size is whatever you like to wrap the file with usually no more than say 50mm wide.

    I also do it freehand rather than using a vice. Agree that it is something I don't mind doing myself though it is nice when a new knife doesn't "need" it.
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  4. #4
    Senior Member aboynamedsuita's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    I like the painter tape (I have blue on hand but have seen green too). So far I've only eased when needed (eg Misono Swedish steel) with PSA backed Mylar film on a dowel. I think perfectly polished/rounded/radiused is nice aesthetically, but in use I prefer a spine I can use to scrape the board (need to get custom Damascus board scraper). Same with the choil, I have some that are almost "too rounded" and I feel like the knife can slip off of the finger when maneuvering if not in a firm pinch grip
    "A dull knife means you're a ******* loser" – Matty Matheson

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