Question about edge sharpness
Would you say getting the "sharpest kitchen knife" money can buy is more about how the knife was sharpened and to what degree than it is about the type of steel used (e.g. blue #1 vs white #1 or white #1 vs white #2...etc.)? What factor or factors in the end would give one the kitchen knife with "the sharpest" edge?
all things aside, the "sharpest" edge would come from the finest grained steel, with high enough hardness to hold the most acute angle, as thin behind the edge as possible, and sharpened to the highest grit possible. In reality, sharpness is only part of getting a good kitchen knife. There will always be a need for balance... balance in edge retention relative to ease of sharpening... balance of hardness relative to brittleness... balance of need for "bite" on the edge relative to the need for a smooth cut. When it comes to steel types, you need to figure out what is important to you. If you like ease of sharpening and a really keen edge, look at something like the white steels. If you prefer a bit more edge retention at the cost of ease of sharpening and maximum potential sharpness, pick something like the blue steels. If the ultimate in edge retention is important to you, pick something like blue super (but understand there will be costs... it tends to be more brittle, more difficult to sharpen, and doesnt have as fine of a grain structure).
(*i only covered carbon steel in my statements, but the gist of it is figure out more about what you value and then pick a steel/makers heat treatment to match)
With regard to sharpening, you will need to asses how much bite you like relative to how smooth of a cutting feel you like. Also, you will need to pick a bevel angle that is sharp enough for you, but still holds up to the kind of abuse you expect to put it through. Likewise, you can decide if you want a convex edge, microbevel, compound edge, hollow grind, etc.
Anyways, the main point is that searching for the "sharpest" edge isnt that important when trying to find a good knife. Look for a good balance of the qualities/values that are important to you (and, yes, there will always be a need for balance as opposed to extremes)
Don't you ever sleep, Jon?
misis is away, I heard
Nana-nana-nana- nana, nana-nana- nana-nana (batman melody)...
Nice post Jon! You should have that on a plaque in you store and saved in a text file on your utility belt, ready to copy and paste.
To add a comment to the original question I would say that I've seen very few knives come out of the box with an edge that really showed the best possible performance of the steel. Understand that a really good edge takes time and skill and adds to cost.
The best "out of the box" edges that Ive seen have come from rather high-end knives like Carter, Shigefusa, and Martell.
Its been a long time since i purchased one so standards may have changed, but Shun and Blazen both did a very good job with their sg2 steel lines.
I havent bought enough knifes from Jon, but id imagine that most of what he sells will have good edges, and you can always have him sharpen them too.
Any particular OTB edge standouts that spring to mind for you Jon?
What's funny is this is exactly WHY I say steel is overrated. I just don't get buying a bar of steel and hoping it makes a good knife. Buy a knife.
Originally Posted by JBroida
When I "call" Jon (I never call, always have emailed back and forth) I tell him "I'm looking for a knife that does this this and this, what would you recommend?" And he will recommend one or two knives to meet my needs. I did the same thing today on the phone with a knife maker. "I want stainless or tool steel, edge retention is most important to me, to be used in a professional kitchen on ploy boards. I don't care about stains, water marks, or patina but I don't want carbon steel. You pick what steel you work with best to fulfill those needs."
Maybe we're saying the same thing. But to me it's all about application, not material.
Good advice Jon.
I thought having "bite" and being able to draw a knife easily through meat for example would be the same thing. If the knife has "bite" it might not slice easily?
If we can't have both then I guess I'd want a knife that can cut as effortlessly as possible. How easy it is to sharpen might not play into it as I don't know how much time I want to (if at all) invest in learning to sharpen my knives myself using whetstones. So perhaps a blue steel blade with the highest HRC rating would be for me? As I don't see myself abusing the knife in a home environment.
Any knife recommendations in the sub-$400 range for a Gyuto? If you need to know more of my needs that I've left out...let me know.
Very true. I guess OTB sharpness shouldn't be that much a consideration.
Originally Posted by Justin0505
I'll Google Shigefusa. I don't need custom knives for home use.
And I too would like to hear which knives Jon thinks/knows do have decent OTB sharpness.