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Thread: Which way to go....Chinese or Japanese?

  1. #11
    I decided to go with the CCk full sized cleaver, I know it's big but i like the look of it and it's carbon. Now can any of you recommend a sharpening system? I want to learn to sharpen on a whetstone setup.

  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Portland, Oregon
    A set of sharpening stones includes: A coarse stone 120-500 grit. A 1000-2000 grit stones, which are also considered coarse. A 3000-5000 grit stone. A finishing polishing stone of 8000-10000 grit. On top of that, something to flatten stones is needed. The DMT XXC is a popular choice. Then some type of material is needed deburr, i.e. felt, cork, pencil erasers. To finish sharpening, some people will strop on leather or paper.

    Murray Carter, who is a well regarded knife maker and sharpener, takes a minimalist approach, and uses only two stones the King 800 and 6000.

    Dave Martell the owner of this site, through experience with his sharpening company, came up with series of stones, that perform very well. These are the stones that I use.

    Jon Broida the owner of Japanese Knife Imports, along with his wife, have been leading the way recently in introducing new stones to the market, with the Geshin line.

    There are two types of stones, which are known as soakers or splash and go. Soakers, as the name implies, need to be soaked usually for 30 minutes, before they are ready to be used. Splash and go stones, need a little water poured over them, and they are ready.

    In my very limited experience, Soakers are softer stones and give positive feedback. Which is needed, when learning how to sharpen. The downside is waiting 30 minutes for them to be ready, and they can take hours if not days to be totally dry. Splash and go stones, while easier to prep are harder stones and lack the feed back of soakers. Cooks in restaurants prefer them, especially since soakers are not an option in the kitchen.

    I'd recommend soakers, since they have good feedback. For the money, I don't know if Dave's line up, can be beat. If you wanted to talk to a pro, and get his advice, then Jon Broida, with Japanese Knife Imports is a great resource.

    Sharpening cleavers present their own challenges. The flat edge makes them more straight forward to sharpen then a gyuto. The challenge is the height and weight of the blade make it hard to hold a cleaver steadily over stones.

    The typical way to sharpen is have the stone perpendicular to yourself. Holding the knife at a 45 degree angle, the blade is run over the stone.

    Dave Martell posted a method a few years ago, he uses for cleavers and nakiris. Instead of holding the knife at a 45 degree angle, it's held at a 90 degree angle. You concentrate on following the edge of the knife as it moves back and forth over the middle of the stone. Lifting the handle as you get to the tip, and lowering it as you move towards the heel.


  3. #13
    Thanks for the reply Jeybett, you rock! I'll research everything you mentioned and let you know what I end up with. Thanks again!

  4. #14
    hey what have you all heard about the Apex Sharpening System? Are those things any good? Is it better to just learn the old fashioned way?

  5. #15
    Aww man...the cleaver arrived with the blade broken. And now that I've had a chance to hold if for a few minutes I think I want a bit smaller one with a bit nicer fit and finish. Has anyone tried the Sugimoto #30 cleaver? It is at around $130 and looks like a step up in craftsmanship , but I don't quite understand what the blade is made of... http://www.**************.com/sugimoto-cleaver.html

    I says "This particular cleaver is made with Chromium and Molybdenum and takes a very sharp edge." I looked it up but can't discern if it's a stainless blend or what...

    Any thoughts anyone for a well built cleaver in the $100-$150 range?

  6. #16

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