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Thread: Edge Retention Vs Ease of Sharpening

  1. #1
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Edge Retention Vs Ease of Sharpening

    I decided to post it here, as it is pretty relevant to most folks on the forum, pros and home cooks.

    There is an inverse relationship between edge retention (or steel's wear resistance) and ease of sharpening. More wear resistance in a knife is likely to result in a more time on stones and perhaps even in a new set of stones that are more suitable for such a task (Shapton, Sigma, diamond plates, etc).

    For pros time is money, so exceptional edge retention might be way to go, but for home cooks, I am not sure, particularly if it comes at a cost and not with an immediate benefit.

    Curios what other think about this.

    M

    PS: Just realized I am over 1000 posts.


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    Senior Member stevenStefano's Avatar
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    If I had a choice I'd go for edge retention every time. I have knives that are seen as easy to sharpen and some that are seen as harder to sharpen. To me it doesn't seem to take much longer for the harder to sharpen knives, maybe half an hour which means little to me. I'd rather spend a little more time on the stones for a knife that holds an edge longer

  3. #3
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    So, I probably should ask what is the average edge retention on most knives for home cooks (with stropping, but not touching up on stones or rods)?
    A week, two weeks, a month?

    M


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    Honestly, even at home, I prefer a steel that is a bastard to sharpen and stays faithful for a long time. For work, I would say a long time is 2 weeks, cheapo knives like Forschners don't make it through 3 days. VG-10 lasts about 5 days, it *might* make it through the week.

    I've also sharpened some knives, notably a recent Wusthof, that was a huge pain to sharpen--took forever to work out tiny chips in the edge, which I was doing on a 120grit stone, because they were so small I figured it'd be real quick. It took about 25 minutes to get them out, and I really doubt that it would stay sharp for very long, judging by it's price and construction quality. Not sure why it was such a pain to sharpen, but it got me thinking.

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    Edge Retention
    L6 anyone?

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    Senior Member Cadillac J's Avatar
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    Maybe I am the odd man out, but I've not had a knife/steel in regular sharpening(not thinning/reprofiling) that I found was significantly harder to sharpen than others. Of course steels like white#2 have a smoother and more refined feel on the stones and are easier to deburr, but some of my best retention knives in AS and semi-stainless tool steels really sharpen as easy as anything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadillac J View Post
    Maybe I am the odd man out, but I've not had a knife/steel in regular sharpening(not thinning/reprofiling) that I found was significantly harder to sharpen than others. Of course steels like white#2 have a smoother and more refined feel on the stones and are easier to deburr, but some of my best retention knives in AS and semi-stainless tool steels really sharpen as easy as anything else.
    Aren't your knives exclusively <13% Chromium? There are a few stainless steels that I've sharpened that make you work MUUUUCH harder to get the same edge out of them, though once it's there, it performs well.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cadillac J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marko Tsourkan View Post
    So, I probably should ask what is the average edge retention on most knives for home cooks (with stropping, but not touching up on stones or rods)?
    A week, two weeks, a month?
    As a home cook, my edges are immaculate at all times. I have a sick need for that fresh edge, so I strop pretty much after every use and probably put to a high grit stone each month, even though the blade is still cutting really well. I'd imagine my edges could go a few months easily with just stropping...but I'd miss that ultimate feeling.

  9. #9
    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Alloys in a steel, manipulation during heat treatment, final hardness of over 60RC combined can result in an edge that is very difficult to sharpen. I am sure it won't feel like it on diamond plates, but on regular aluminum oxide stones, it will require a lot of time and sweating, as I discovered yesterday, to get a knife relatively sharp (nothing like 52100 sharp though!).

    Very interesting, keep the discussion going.

    M


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  10. #10
    Senior Member/ Internet Hooligan
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    I honestly prefer knives that are a breeze to sharpen, nothing in the world irritates me more than fussy steel and burrs that won't give up. If that means having to sharpen a little more often, I don't mind--at least it's quick and painless to do. I cut a ton of acidic foods at work, something like 6-8 gallons of salsa fresca a day plus heaps of citrus and onions, and it turns my carbon edges to mush in no time at all. Rather deal with that, though, than have to sit there begging and pleading with a chunk of VG-10 that refuses to cooperate.

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