Always start at 500 to get to 5000

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Feb 28, 2011
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I have a new (to me) Tojiro Gyuto DP 240 mm. It seems about 80% of factory after a couple of months. I have been using the ceramic rod for touch up but today no improvement. If I am going to sharpen it with stones ( I have 500,1000 and 5000) from Dave do I need/want to start at 500? My concern is that this is the first time I am learning the bevel and don't want to change it due to inexperience. If I change it and can't find the sweetspot I won't have time to send it to Dave for a retool. I also have the felt strop with the baby blue spray.

I am doing an Italian stage next week and want this cow sword to be my go to weapon. Suggestions?
500 is a tricky grit. It can be a gentle 500, as in a Shapton GlassStone, or it can be a real grinder, such as a Beston 500.

If you're inexperienced with an arato, I'd stick with the 1K. It may take quite some time to bring up a burr if the edge is pretty far gone, but you're less likely to do any real damage. Once you're proficient, it's always a good idea to start coarse and work your way up- much faster overall.
Tough call. If we say to try the 5k you may end doing the same thing and it may not cut so great here too.
What to start with depends on the status of your edge. As long as I don't need to remove serious chips and nicks I rarely go lower than my 1500 White Aluminum oxide (WA) stone. That is so agressive that it will do most regular base work, so I would think that #1000 will do just fine in most cases for you as well.

Every time I read about someone using a rod of any kind on a Japanese edge it seems to be in relation to trouble getting an edge. The purpose of the rod is to align an edge that is no longer straight, which happens with softer steel. With the harder steel at the edge of a J knife it just makes the edge more ragged, as the hard steel does not "fold" like soft steel can. An abrasive rod has no purpose that I can see.
Does this make sense?

Best, Spike
@Spike: Thanks for the comments. I use the ceramic rod as a hone and normally get some edge truing > better cutting > that's no longer true
@DarkHoek: No chips or edge damage - after confirming I have a Bester 1200, Beston 500 and Beston 5000.
@Dave: Thanks for reminding me that I should be in the cutting(metal) mindset. I am going in with the 1200 to reshape some metal and then the 5000 to complete the edge form and then Mr. Strop in case I have been lucky enough to get the wire edge ( I am looking for him).
Will advise. - Don't you love this forum. Informed and polite responses in just a few hours. How cool is that.
I always try to emphasize the point of taking your time and looking at what you're doing as being two key things when using a coarse stone. The trouble happens when you attack for 15 min and then stop to see how it's going - it's never good. :)

If you want to be even safer mark the edge bevel with permanent marker and then make a pass on a fine stone first. Look at where the marker has been removed from the bevel and then adjust accordingly so that you are working from the top of the bevel down to the cutting edge. Now that you have a feeling for where to hold the angle you can transfer over to the coarse stone and get to it. Just remember to stop and flip the knife over and out the eyeballs on the situation and you'll likely do OK.
I do it like DH. One thing though, all edges get damaged. The question is how much and what kind. For example, if the damage is deformation (due to board strikes, twisting, etc) and you use some sort of rod to realign, you won't notice damage as much unless you magnify. Repeated deformation is just as bad as a chip and that metal should be removed.
No need to go so low. Unless you are fixing chips, setting a new bevel, thinning or anything that requires a lot of steel removal.
- after confirming I have a Bester 1200, Beston 500 and Beston 5000.
Modification to stone list: Bester 1200 but Suehiro Rika 5000

Put the stones in water overnight. I think that may have been a mistake for the Suehiro Rika (very-very soft today) but I will wait for comments. All new stones so DMT XXC for flattening and knocking off the edges and set it up in the Tojiro sink stone holder and off we go.

Boy, Am I glad that Dave reminded me about the Sharpie techinique (I have and have seen the video but foolishly didn't review beforehand) and removing the ink was fascinating starting with the 1200 on and old LamsonSharp carbon 10" knife. The knife is at least 50 y/o and it was amazing the pitting and defects on the working edge (very isightful DH). About 8 mins at 1200 and paper cutting was much improved. ~50 strokes each side on SR 5000 and grey mud all over. I suppose softer stones cut softer but it was almost pudding time. Removing the ink especially near the front was very enlightening.

On to Mr. Chicago Cutlery (30 y/o) and much more careful application of Sharpie. Same process and he was much happier as well.

Mr. Tojiro Gyuto DP 240 got a very precise application of Sharpie. Very interesting which areas followed easily and front of the belly not so much. About 10 mins on Tojiro at 1200 and then ~50 strokes on the SR 5000. I didn't get a wire edge but I did get the edges to meet up (under 10x loupe) and paper cutting was very good along the whole length. After the stage I am going to give the Global knife a workout to improve technique but visit the purple fairy wire edge.

Thanks for the advice. I enjoyed the process a lot and ultimately the sharpie comment got me past my insecurity and it worked out and ready to go next week. Thank you forum and Dave.
Really, I guess.

Did not realize the Goat had been annoying people so long. :justkidding::justkidding::justkidding:
Even a blunt blade in good steel will sharpen up quickly on the Bester 1200, it's a great stone. I only use coarser stones when doing repairs like removing rounded edges and severe wear from plane blades. The only knives I've used coarse stones on were very low quality stainless, and I should not have bothered, that's what they make belt sanders for.

A Tojiro should not be touched up with a ceramic rod unless you can both hold a very accurate angle and use very light pressure, the edge doesn't deform much on the VG-10 at RC 60 plus. The edge you get is less than desirable as well. Use a high grit stone dry as a strop, or black print newspaper. A few stropping strokes will do as much as anything to restore the edge, and when that doesn't work a few minutes on a Bester 1200 and Suehiro Rika will.

I started with an aggressive 3000/8000, even did a few angle changes with it before getting coarser ones :) takes long, and tends to give you somewhat of an involuntary convex (not necessarily bad depending on the knife), but works - and builds muscle memory....
It happens. The spamming for 50 posters usually get called out by the members and/or the moderators. Some have gone away mad.

Don't think I've ever seen someone go to the graveyard quite the way the former KFC guy is doing. 4 year old posts?

Much easier for everyone to pay the supporting membership fee and have the post count waived.