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Thread: Is it me, or is it the usuba?

  1. #1

    Is it me, or is it the usuba?

    I'm getting really frustrated with my econo-usuba. Yeah, I know the usual advice about not buying lower-priced usubas, but I got this thing really early on before I knew any better.

    About 2 weeks ago, I figured I'd give the thing a proper sharpening - something I hadn't done on it before. Sometime towards the end of my routine, I decided to check on the edge itself and lo and behold it was like the McDonald's Golden Arches. I had an M-shaped edge profile going on with three points of contact and two slightly arched indents. No freakin' wonder I kept getting accordions with this knife when I used it before! I kept thinking it was just because I was using an older board that might not have been totally flat.

    I spent a fair bit of time on some coarse stones thinking I could just work it out. No such luck. Even with a fair bit of metal and stone abraded away, it was still Golden Arches City.

    That was 2 weeks ago. Tonight, I figured I'd try fixing the darned edge if I could. This time, I touched up the uraoshi a bit (because I'd worn enough metal away before that there was practically just a hair's breadth left) and then stood the knife on its edge. With the edge right on the Beston 500, I just flattened out the edge that way. Then I proceeded to put on a new, sharp edge on the knife.

    At first, I kept checking the edge straightness, and it was a-ok all through my time on the Beston. Then I just continued as usual through the rest of my progression. Finally, after the finishing stone, I checked the edge again... and freakin' hell, I got the M-shape again.

    Was it me? Was it the knife?

    To try to put my mind at ease, I put a mioroshi deba through the whole sharpening routine. It was a second-hand knife and it had a few nicks in the edge that I wanted to take out. I went through from coarse up to finishing and everything was a-ok. Edge profile maintained, and it's nice and sharp.

    What gives with the usuba then? Why is that the only knife that I can't sharpen properly? Is it me or is it the econo-usuba?

  2. #2

    ecchef's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    In the Village.
    Gotta be the blade. Something wacky there.
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  3. #3
    Your blade road isn't even. You probably have two major overgrinds in the bevel that will need flattening out. Such is the hazard of the cheap usuba.

  4. #4
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Cincinnati, Oh
    the blade road not being even is my guess, too.

  5. #5
    actually under and overgrinds arent the most likely problem... having a not straight blade is... i would say about 75% of the time people think the problem with their usuba is a grind issue, its actually a blade straightness issue

  6. #6
    Would blade straightness produce the three points of contact as described? I suppose I'm assuming the ura is flat in this case, which made me assume a grind issue.

  7. #7
    Hmm... I didn't notice any lateral waviness when looking down the edge from tip to heel. I also didn't see Abu obvious high-low zones in the blade road based on color and tone.

    I'll take a deliberate look for lateral unevenness when I get home later.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by dmccurtis View Post
    Would blade straightness produce the three points of contact as described? I suppose I'm assuming the ura is flat in this case, which made me assume a grind issue.
    it very well could

  9. #9
    I was gonna say your stones aren't flat, but if the deba does ok, sounds like a poorly made knife.

  10. #10
    Hopefully I am wrong but it could be your sharpening style too, I messed up an usuba and a muki learning how to sharpen the straight edge knives and a change of pressure or lack of even attention to on spot on the knife leaves those damn M shaped grinds. I used to get one about an inch from the tip and another one about an inch down from the middle, after a while I noticed I would spend significantly more attention on those two spots and very little at the heel producing the M shape. This problem was WAY more noticeable on straight edges. After checking my gyutos they to had an M shape that was very slight and didn't really produce a negative effect, but definitely a problem with what used to be my sharpening style.

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