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Thread: First Sharpening Experience

  1. #1

    First Sharpening Experience

    I just updated my blog, but I thought it might be easier for some of you to read it here. Here you go

    I sharpened a knife for the first time in my life (I don't count the other 3 times that lasted only for 3 minutes due to my impatience).

    I have to say not too bad... Yes, as many of you expected, I had some "moments" with Jon, but other than that, everything went well. It seemed to me that having a good idea/image of what I'm supposed to do helped a lot, even though it was really the first time for me to take a serious step to learn about sharpening. There were some problems that I struggled with - they were the tip adjustment and feeling for the burr.

    First of all, I had to take off all of my cute little things - no watch, no bracelet, and no ring!


    Yes, you want to take them off too when you are sharpening a knife. Jewelry can be scratched while sharpening... So yes, it was hard, but it was just a temporary bye-bye.

    So sharpening... here we go.

    I initially thought I wouldn't even need Jon to guide me through every process. WRONG. I didn't know which side of the knife I have to start sharpening. And there was no way I could shoot a video at the same time; hence this photo with a sad face (I was setting a stone btw, not crying in the corner).

    As a beginner, I had to use a magnum Sharpie so I could have a visual guide, and see if I was actually reaching the edge and also holding the knife steady at a good angle.

    Jon forced me to have my right leg stepped back so I have a better range of motion, and wouldn't be punching in my stomach every time I swing my arms.

    Yes, I naturally had my left hand fingers on the center of stone while pressing the knife (where sharpening was taking place). Fingers that press a knife always look funny to me. I have this irresistible urge to have a smiley mark in between the middle and index finger so it looks like running or doing the side-to-side steps.

    Jon was impressed (or he might made it up so I would be happy/patient enough to continue with the sharpening at 9PM).

    Really though, the tip part was kind of tough. But it took me just 5? maybe 10 minutes to understand what I was supposed to do. Lifting up a knife a little bit and avoid over-rotating when doing a tip, and bring down the knife as I pull the knife closer to me. And yes, I had nice line along the entire edge (thanks to the Sharpie, it was visible).

    The one thing I struggled with more was to feel for a burr. I really couldn't feel for one for a long time. It felt like a week till I developed a good sense in feeling them. Jon told me "this place is weak, this part is strong, and blah blah blah". Yes, I got very frustrated.

    But my first time sharpening was, all in all, not as difficult as I thought it would be. I was able to hold the knife at a fairly consistent angle (no wobbling etc). Some difficulties with a tip area did not bring me down! I know a lot of people, including professional chefs and cooks in Japan or else where, have difficult time with it. I need some more practice, and that's all.

    Okay, I think some of you might be angry with me for not sharpening my first two knives (Gesshin Ginga Wa-Gyuto and Wa-Petty). It wasn't me, but Jon got cold feet. He thought it was a bad idea to start my first sharpening with the knives I loved so much. You will see the full report on that sharpening session too when I sharpen my Gesshin Ginga lovely knives.

    .... I must admit that I only sharpened one side of the knife.

    I will resume my "first" time sharpening later this week. Hopefully I will have better muscle memory and ideas about what I'm supposed to do.

    A lot of our friends encouraged me to give sharpening a shot. Thank you so much for the moral support ! I will continue my sharpening journey, and will give you a full report!


  2. #2
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    I like your attitude Sara.

    Keep it up!

  3. #3
    Way to go, Sara!

  4. #4
    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Great job!
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Honolulu, HI
    looks like a great first sharpening! better than my first attempt.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Crothcipt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    wyoming, closer to nowhere than somewhere.
    You are having the same fears that everyone has when first sharpening. You are doing very well. Btw keep practicing on cheaper knives.

    You can do it. I have faith in you.
    Chewie's the man.

  7. #7
    Thank you

    I will continue to learn about sharpening. I look forward to the day I can teach Jon about sharpening!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Newport Beach

    Looks great! Did Jon even break out a brand new practice knife for you?!?


  9. #9
    Congrats!!! Good call on using a practice knife! Even after sharpening for years, I will sometimes still slip and scratch a blade. The bevel looks nice and even. The burr can be a pain to feel, especially as you get into the higher grit stones. I can usually feel it on my fingernail.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by chuck239 View Post

    Looks great! Did Jon even break out a brand new practice knife for you?!?

    He might have... He said that the knife was similar to mine geometry wise. But it looked pretty new, definitely not the old beater knife...

    Soon enough I'll sharpen your Honyaki knives!

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