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Thread: My neighbor's cleaver just kicked my ass

  1. #1

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    My neighbor's cleaver just kicked my ass

    (Sharpening with whetstones for about 3 years now, I've improved a great deal but know I still have a LOT more to learn. I sharpen for myself/family/friends, and in the past year, for neighbors for extra cash now and then. In general, results have been good and everyone's happy.)

    So a neighbor just asked me to sharpen their set of Henckels kitchen knives. Most of them needed some thinning/re-profiling, my (newly arrived) chosera 400 was able to take care of that easily before a standard progression to 1k, 4k and 6k finish.
    No problem, they turned out beautifully.

    Then comes along their cleaver. Holy hell, FML.
    It was fairly dull and beaten up but looked totally serviceable; I haven't done many cleavers/choppers in the past, but got decent results on the few I've done.

    Each side approx a 30° angle (good, keeping that), generally flat but varied with some unevenness/micro valleys here and there. Some tiny micro-chipping along a few inches of the apex, some rough grind marks along the top ridge of the primary bevel from a previous sharpening. These grind marks are deep enough that when removed it would modify the flat grind into a bit more of a convex grind, I assume it'll be a little more work but should turn out nicely.

    About 15 minutes in starting on the chosera 400 (applying minimal force when edge leading, a little more force edge trailing), I was noticing almost no change whatsoever on the edge, except for a minor visual surface texture change. 30 minutes total pass, still no real change, so I increase my pressure a bit. 45 minutes total, no burr yet but I've swapped sides a few times since starting to try and keep things even. Sweat starting to drip, 1 hour total, the previous sharpener's grind marks are still there, and the freaking tiny micro edge chipping still hasn't smoothed off. What the hell!?

    @ 1hr 30min I finally got an extremely tiny burr, I've smoothed/evened out 90% of the edge surface and established a mostly even arc to the top of the primary bevel, removing some of the old grind marks, but not all. It's not as clean as I'd like, but at this point my chosera 400 is down a few millimeters too many, coughing up so much blood..I mean mud, I figure I've destroyed enough of the stone for today. I have an old worn down cheap budget corundum stone laying around (800grit), I give it some passes and you know what? It seems like its working better than the chosera 400 (maybe its just in my head).

    @ 2.5 hours, I say enough grinding. I give it some passes on my primary 1k stone, then some stropping on the 6k which does add a nice aesthetic surface polish. I'm not happy with the edge and overall the cleaver isn't to my service standards, but I call it quits. 3 hours total on one 6" g'damn cleaver, holy hell.
    This thing kicked my freaking ass.

    I don't know for sure, but I assume a few things:
    - My skill with cleavers needs a lot of improvement
    - The heat-treat / rockwell hardness was way too high for my specific coarse chosera stone
    - Maybe I needed a good coarse diamond plate for this
    - A hardcore belt grinder would have far better to start this on

    I regret subjecting my chosera 400 to that abuse... sigh
    This was cathartic for me, thx kitchen knife forums


  2. #2
    Senior Member zitangy's Avatar
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    really rounded cleavers.. 100 grit wld be a good start.. Usually i start with 200 grit

    Chosera 400 is not an aggresive stone at that grit..

    Its not a question of technique i wld say... just not a proper choice of grit for the job on hand... rgds Z


  3. #3
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    sounds like you were trying to thin instead of just sharpening which is why it took so long to remove enough metal to raise a tiny burr (meaning you finally reached the edge). chosera 400 isn't aggresive at all and i would say finer than 400 grit, you probably need a lower grit stone to do the major metal removal.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    If that cleaver was a Henckels as well, please be aware those European ones hardly have an edge and are very rounded to avoid splintering when going through bones. And soft stainless is very abrasion resistant. For thinning, think a coarse Shapton.
    IMHO it doesn't make much sense to look for a polished edge with soft stainless. I only sharpen them with said Chosera 400, and very lightly strop and deburr at 800. Split leather in between perhaps, or cardboard.

  5. #5
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    daveb's Avatar
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    Was the cleaver a Henks? That's a lot of metal to rework.

    I would not have spent time thinning, just get some edge to it with a 220ish stone. And that would prob take awhile. If they come around again next year suggest you move.
    Older and wider..

  6. #6
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    Others pretty much said it all but I'd add that it's likely not a very high hrc but more likely just as stated lower quality, abrasion resistant stainless steel.
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  7. #7

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb View Post
    If they come around again next year suggest you move.
    Made me smile and chuckle

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Martell View Post
    Sounds like my reoccurring nightmare.
    Glad I'm not the only one!

    Quote Originally Posted by chinacats View Post
    it's likely not a very high hrc but more likely just as stated lower quality, abrasion resistant stainless steel.
    The cleaver's steel was tougher than Rocky in part 4. As far as HRC/type of stainless steel, you're probably right.

    Anyway,THIS ISN'T IT, HOWEVER, the one I slaved over looks similar after I finished it. Similar blade shape, but it didn't have nice full tang handle like this one - it had a cheaper molded handle (maybe polypropylene) with a hidden partial tang.


    Quote Originally Posted by Benuser View Post
    For thinning, think a coarse Shapton.
    After this, I'm seriously considering the Shapton kuromaku(pro) 120, it's decently priced in the US (I live in Canada, but including conversion, I'll be paying about $16 more if I buy it here rather than ship it from USA), but I have 1 hesitation: It's relatively thin (only 15mm), and when you consider what very coarse stones in that range will be used for, would you really want a thin stone for those jobs? ..or is it super durable/long lasting for its size? I've been doing a lot of neighbor's knives this spring/summer (will probably continue through to the fall) and the chosera 400 is actually wearing a bit faster than I thought it would, even before it was subjected it to the dreaded cleaver.

    Quote Originally Posted by Benuser View Post
    IMHO it doesn't make much sense to look for a polished edge with soft stainless. I only sharpen them with said Chosera 400, and very lightly strop and deburr at 800.
    Yea, I would have also stopped around 800-1000 for final light strop/deburr if it was for my own use - I just put it on the 6k for a few minutes to make it look a little prettier for them (which of course is entirely subjective, but imo it did make an aesthetic improvement to have the nice 6k polish along the mostly smoothed out semi-convexed edge which I was able to finally achieve. The polished finish won't last long but it makes for a nice presentation when handing it back to them, know what I mean?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Barclid's Avatar
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    ****, Norton crystolon and call it a day from me. Something I can really bear into and eat some metal. I like to spend as little time as possible on ****** stainless. Spend some time cleaning the apex and you're good.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drayquan View Post
    The polished finish won't last long but it makes for a nice presentation when handing it back to them, know what I mean?
    Not just the polish won't stay, it weakens the edge.


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