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!