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Sharpening Problems - Not the tip...but the heel
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Thread: Sharpening Problems - Not the tip...but the heel

  1. #1
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    Sharpening Problems - Not the tip...but the heel

    So I haven't seen a post like this in a while and I haven't entirely seen one dealing with my question...but here goes...and at the risk of public humiliation...

    I have a problem with sharpening the heels of my blades. I can keep it nice and even the length of the blade about a 3mm in front of the heel all the way to tip but at the last 3mm-4mm I end up rounding off the edge. In other words I end up with an edge that is straight from the tip to the last 4mm but then curves downwards creating a sort of frown or new belly...make sense. If you set the knife's edge flat on a flat surface the last 3mm curves upwards away from the board.

    I will post pics later tonight if it doesn't make sense...

    I didn't use to have this problem when I sharpened ala CDawg with the sweeping motion but my edges didn't last very long and weren't entirely even so I started watching Jon's videos and started sharpening like him. I got much much more even edges except at the heel.

    I use a lot of pressure so seeing threads that said not to do that at the heel and tip I stopped but it is worse now. My heji now has the virus too and it kills me. Anybody else experience this?

    Thanks for any input.

  2. #2

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    I'm not an expert but I would suggest that you lighten your pressure and see what happens. I use the sweeping motion myself - absolutely no problems what so ever - especially compared to other styles of sharpening.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Benuser's Avatar
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    Are you sure your stones are flat??

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    Senior Member The Edge's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like you are pushing the heel of your knife into the stones at the start and end of you motion. Try going a little slower and not sharpening the heel specifically. Think of the last couple of inches of the blade as one piece and keep it at a consistent angle. You won't need to put a lot of pressure on the heel to get it sharp. Also, come to a complete stop at the start and end of your motion to see where the blade ends up, should help you figure out what's going on.
    Taylor

  5. #5

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    lighter pressure will be very important... what kind of angle of approach changes are you making near the heel? What does your bevel look like there? Maybe some pics would help.

    If you want to give me a call to talk more about this over the phone or via skype, let me know.

    -Jon

  6. #6

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    If I understand correctly, you should maybe check the grind above the heel? If the metal got thicker there, also the bevel will look thicker. Examin the heel closely but look above the edge.

    Is that happening in every knife?

  7. #7
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    Sounds mainly like you need to slow down, use the marker trick and see where you're grinding. There is no magic. You just need to evaluate where you are grinding and adjust accordingly.

  8. #8
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    Guys -

    First off I want to say thanks so much (two months later!!) for your comments on this. They have helped my sharpening in general.

    Second I wanted to follow up. I am still having this issue though it is not as bad as it used to be. So now that I have a little time on my hands I wanted to post pictures and then probably a video tomorrow of how I sharpen so that I can get some critiques and figure out what the hell I'm doing wrong.

    I also would really like to get this sorted out before my custom Devin Thomas line knife gets here sometime later this summer and I've got a new Zakuri petty from Jon coming soon too.

    So first some pics. I have screwed with the contrast and sharpness on these because natural light sucks in my apartment and I can't find my camera right now, so these are iPhone pics and I wanted you guys to really be able to make out the line of the edge.

    First up is a Moritaka 150 petty I have had for a year and have really beat the hell out of. I actually tried to hamaguri this and ended up putting a left handed bias on it by accident. Fixing that has been a long slow process. (as in flat on the outside face, hamaguri on the inside face.) I have since almost got it totally flattened out on the inside face but not quite.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    You can see the line the edge makes has become one subtle and long smile. About 4mm from the heel the edge doesn't keep going straight instead it curves towards the heel making a belly that leaves the back part of the heel moving up away from the cutting board.

    Second is my Heiji 240 gyuto. It is much more subtle but it is there. I have only been sharpening this knife for about 6months.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Same issue just not as severe...yet...:bash head:

    Finally a little bit about my sharpening style. With the Heiji I do not actually sharpen a primary bevel I only use the long and wide bevel Heiji has already ground into the blade as the only bevel I sharpen. Thus I place the knife on the stone, Push down on that bevel and begin my motions. One thing I have noticed that Jon does in his videos that last night I realized I don't do is, whatever part of the knife he is sharpening is on the stone and to some degree whatever part he is not is off the stone. Sometimes, on longer knives, I leave the heel on the stone but my pressure is somewhere else on the blade. Could it still be cutting and perhaps because of my motion (which is just like Jon's) be cutting a belly into the knife?

    I sharpen the moritaka the same way. I used to think the issue was the backside of the knife when I sharpened (i'm a righty) because i couldn't get a nice even polish on the blade. I was sharpening like Jon shows in his videos where you start out horizontal on the stone and work your way to a 45 degree angle quickly. And so perhaps it was something I was doing there. I have since switched to actually holding the knife in my left hand to polish and sharpen the back side and I get WAY BETTER results...and the rounding effect isn't as bad but its still there.

    I have taken almost all of everyone's advice (haven't done the sharpie trick yet) and less pressure has helped. On both of these knives you can see that the polish behind the edge follows the belly I am creating so it is clearly some motion I am making when sharpening (like Bieniek stated).

    I will make a video tomorrow to show you guys how I sharpen I gotta work all day today.


    Questions are:
    Any more thoughts?
    Once I solve the problem what is the best way to get my edge even again?

    Thanks for your time.

  9. #9
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    It's all about the sharpie, dude. It tells you exactly where you are cutting steel at any point. Apply it NOW all over your bevel and make a couple of normal passes and see where you are scratching.

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    I would like to see that video.

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