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Thread: Improving Edge Retention

  1. #1
    Senior Member JanusInTheGarden's Avatar
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    Improving Edge Retention

    Greetings everyone! So I'm looking for some advice on how to (go figure, reading the title) improve edge retention on my carbon steel knives. I purchased a masamoto hc 240 gyuto a few months back and at first I was really happy with it. It gets wicked sharp and performs very well. Unfortunately, it simply does not stand up in the professional kitchen setting as well as even my Tojiro does in terms of edge retention.

    To make matters even more irritating, the proposed intentions of this specific knife was to be my dual purpose knife. I had originally been using a two knife system for my gyutos; one for prep (kono hd 27) and one for service (tojiro dp nakiri, then 210 gyuto). What I wanted to do was get a 240, in carbon because I was totally jealous of all those sweet patinas, that would bridge the size gap and function for both uses. Unfortunately, I dont want to sharpen EVERY SINGLE DAY on more than just my highest grit stone (takenoko). If i touched it up on the takenoko, it wasnt enough. I could go down to the suehiro rika and finish on takenoko...which would work for a few days. It still seemed like a lot of touching up to do every day (full lineup sharpening every three) and even then it wouldn't be thrillingly sharp by the end of service every day. Tried resorting to the black mac...hated it. Too scratchy and the edges sucked by comparison. Just not the kind of finish I wanted. Too used to the sleakness of a nicely sharpened konosuke hd I guess. Plus even when I use the kono or the tojiro as the dual purpose knife, the edges last a good deal longer than the masamoto.

    My two knife system had me going down to the 500 or 1k only once a week--if that; not every three days and so I ended up reverting back to it. My newly bought masamoto hc is now sitting in the knife block and making me go between feeling lazy and regretting the purchase. So--is there anything else I could be doing to get those sharp edges back and be able to use my masamoto hc as my dual purpose knife like I intended...or am I doomed to the dismay that its edges simply don't last as long as my other knives?

    To make matters worse, a friend of mine recently picked up a white steel knife and let me sharpen it. Holy hand grenades that steel is SICK! But I've heard it has even worse edge retention. Ugh, any thoughts? Am I doing something wrong in the sharpening process (my setup is 500 beston, 1k minosharp, 5k suehiro rika, 6 or 8k w/e takenoko, finish on strop...deburr on block and hard felt pad between each stone)? Should I do some serious thinning then add a micro bevel?

    Thanks so much for any opinions or advice!

    Sincerely,
    Wannabe Carbon Lover
    It is our human duty to enjoy life. We’ve got to be greedy about living. We learned that greed is a vice, but that’s old. Greed is a virtue. Especially this greediness for life.

  2. #2
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    Thining and a micro bevel is what came to my mind. It might feel sharper longer. Also, I read alot of conflicting opinions on whether a high geit finish or slightly courser finish lasts longer. Since youre finishing at high grit already, try doing a big jump, like 1k to 8k no strop. Or try finishing on just the rika. Maybe youll find a combo that works.

  3. #3
    I think it has something to do with the SUehiro stone.
    Personally i think the edge out of it is beasty, but dies in a snap.

    But as mentioned, microbevel is maybe a way to go, try experimenting with different edges, check how long edge stays sharp if you end sharpenig on minosharp. Then, just add takenoko and observe again.

    Dont get is as rude, but are you shure you can hold a constant angle, especially at the last stone?
    How is the sharpness to begin with?

  4. #4
    Senior Member JanusInTheGarden's Avatar
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    The sharpness fresh off the stones is quite good, and I don't take it as rude at all. I would prefer every avenue be explored--if its my technique than its an easy fix and it means that I didn't waste $200.

    So thus far we have the option that playing with my stones may help and that I should try thinning and putting on a microbevel. I would love it if I could just touch this bad boy up every other day (including the takenoko, though that would be quite tolerable). As it stands currently (two knife system), I only have to touch it up every other day on the takenoko and I love that. I was imagining that the steel type and the fact that I'm splitting their duties in half was allowing for that long time between touchups. I would like to see if there was a way I could accomplish that with just one knife. I suppose that means I'm essentially asking it to last twice as long as the hd, in a sense?
    It is our human duty to enjoy life. We’ve got to be greedy about living. We learned that greed is a vice, but that’s old. Greed is a virtue. Especially this greediness for life.

  5. #5
    Senior Member stevenStefano's Avatar
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    How symmetric are your edges? Maybe make them a little more symmetric to see if that improves edge retention

  6. #6
    Senior Member euphorbioid's Avatar
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    Could this be a wire edge? Very sharp right off the stones but dulls very quickly. Maybe more aggressive deburring?
    jan

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cadillac J's Avatar
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    You can try messing around with microbevels, slightly more obtuse angles, rougher grit finishes, etc. and see how that works....I would also try sharpening longer with your coarse stones to make sure you are removing all of the fatigued metal--I'll bet this is an issue for more people than they realize.

    Here are some other techniques that can help: after your knife would normally be finished (5K or above), drop back down to a medium grit and go through your progression again. Another is when you are on your finishing stone and feel your edge is finished, try stropping at a 30-45 degree angle or more on each side back and forth several times....then go back to your regular angle and re-refine the edge (this should help if you are having a wire issue too)

    Experiment!

  8. #8
    Senior Member/ Internet Hooligan
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    Am I on crazy pills? It's not your edge. You're using one carbon knife to do a job you used to split between two stainless knives (well, a stainless and a semi-stainless). You're gonna have to sharpen way more often than you did before.

    I fully encourage you to experiment with different edges and angles and whatever else you need to, but c'mon now. It's carbon. In a pro kitchen. You're gonna have to give it a lot of love to keep it as sharp as you want it.

  9. #9
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    Could you send me some of you crazy pills?
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  10. #10
    For maximum edge retention, I find that jumping from 500-700grit (I use diamond plates) to 5-6K finishing stone gives you an aggressive edge that will outlast an edge derived from a normal progression of stones, say, 500->1K-5K.

    If your edge forms burr or wire edge over 1K (or if you are jumping from low grit to finishing stone), put a micro-bevel on the edge, as your wire edge might be rolling, thus degrading a cutting ability of your knife.

    Try strop on a diamond loaded felt. It doesn't seem to work for white steel, but might work for HC.

    These are quick fixes, but don't expect a dramatic improvement. Judging by a mediocre edge retention, the steel on your HC doesn't have alloys that contribute to wear resistance (edge retention), and short of getting a knife in a better steel with a good heat treatment, there is not much that can be done.

    M


    "If there’s something worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” - An US saying.

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