Beginner Questions

Discussion in 'Sharpening Station' started by Dragon_Stone, Jul 13, 2019.

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums by donating:

  1. Jul 13, 2019 #1

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    Let me give you some history. Back 20 years ago I bought a 3 piece set of Wusthof knives. Since I've owned them they've never been sharpened. Recently I bought a set of inexpensive Chicago Cutlery steak knives (non serrated). That's when I realized how dull my Wusthofs had become. They still have a good edge because I've always taken care of them but anything delicate they're not so great. I'm using my steak knives for now because I can't go back to using dull blades.

    So I began researching how to sharpen my Wusthofs and maintain my steak knives, that's when I stumbled upon Ryky Youtube Channel Burrfection. Man I love that guy, I've been binge watching all his videos, learning all about hand sharpening. Now I'm getting ready to buy some stones and I've narrowed it down to a few but have some questions before I pull the trigger.

    Stones I'm Considering:

    1. My first choice: Chosera 800 & 3000
    Ryky and most everyone rave about Chosera. The main things I like it's great quality, excellent feedback, and the convenience of splash and go. There are two downsides: first they're expensive and the second more troubling I've seen many complaints about them cracking. I've read the thread here that soaking or uneven drying causes cracking. It's simple not to soak them but the drying part seems more tricky. I live in area that has extremes, hot humid summers and dry cold winters that I'd imagine could cause drying issues. Some people say turn them on their side, others say seal the sides, other people say they still cracked. It's hard to tell how prevalent the cracking issues really is. I would hate to invest all that money on a fussy stone that's likely to crack. The other thing I'd have to decided is whether to get the one that has the plastic base. Less expensive but not as compact for storage.

    2. My second choice: Suehiro Cerax 1000 & Rika 5000
    This also is a highly regarded combo, inexpensive (half the price of the Chosera) with no cracking complains. Only minor downside is it needs to be soaked for 20 minutes. I think that's a minor complaint.

    Other alternatives: Shapton Glass. As a beginner I'm more inclined to get a stone that has better tactile feel but I've read many people here swear by them. And there is the King 1k/6k seems to be the gold standard value pick. As a beginner I probably should get this but I could see myself second guessing not getting the other ones.

    Questions:

    1. Are polishing stones necessary? Should I start out with only a sharpening stone like a 1k? I've seen Ryky sharpen and hone on a 1k. My only concern is if I touch up my knives on a regular basis I'll wear them down using a 1k.

    2. Is it difficult to build and maintain your skill? I'm aware that even though I use my knives every day they're only for personal use. I can imagine after I become competent and sharpen my knives my stones won't get much use except for an occasion touch up. Even though I like the idea of owning high quality stones like the Chosera and I can afford them, I get the feeling that they're going to get very little use and it's a little crazy spending $160... I also understand while I'm obsessing over what stones to get, results are mostly due to skill.

    Can anyone talk me out of spending a lot money on stones?
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  2. Jul 13, 2019 #2

    Elliot

    Elliot

    Elliot

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2019
    Messages:
    602
    Location:
    Washington
    Hi there.

    Couple things. Some people will agree with and some people wont.

    1. Regarding Ryky. Though I don't dislike him as much as many of the member's of this forum do, I would recommend taking anything he says with a grain of salt. He is by no means an expert. Nor am I -- just to get that out of the way.

    2. Chosera is fantastic. My first two stones were a Chosera 800 and a Chosera 3000. Though I didn't receive this advice from Ryky (or forum members), it was a great decision in my book. I, to this day, consider the Chosera 800 an A+ stone and I still use it quite a bit, despite having dozens of other stones, both synthetic and natural.

    3. As to the question about polishing stones, the answer is that it is absolutely not necessary. Will it help? Yes. Necessary? No. The thing to remember if you have a one-stone sharpening routine is that you're going to need to work at de-burring. I would recommend you watch the videos Jon Broida from Japanese Knife Imports has out on YouTube as it relates to sharpening skill and technique in general. Countless of us learned from him.

    Other quick hits.

    - I use zero soaking stones. Nothing against them. Just not my jam.
    - NEVER had an issue of cracking with the Chosera 3k. You could get the Morihei 4k as an alternative in a similar grit range. I can vouch for both those stones as absolutely excellent.
    - Shapton glass are good stones. Nothing bad to say. Not a lot of stone provided for cost, but I have a few of them and have found all the ones 500 and up to be quite good.
    - You do not need to spend a lot of money. Two stones and something to flatten the stones with is enough to keep your knives sharp for years and years and years. Less than $200 invested.
    - There are cheaper options (combo stones) if you really want to save some cash. I never had any so will leave it to others to comment.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
    Benuser, M1k3 and Michi like this.
  3. Jul 13, 2019 #3

    Michi

    Michi

    Michi

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2019
    Messages:
    1,252
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    For the soft steel used in Wüsthof knives, there is no point in going finer than 1000, in my opinion. The steel is so soft that the more refined apex you get from higher-grit stones will last for only a few cuts. (I've stopped using higher grits on my Wüsthofs for that reason. They all end up at the same level of sharpness very quickly, whether I finish them on a 1000 or a 5000 stone.)

    If you want a good budget splash and go, a Shapton Pro 1000 is all you'll ever need for those knives. Shapton Glass 1000 is nice, too—take whichever appeals to you more. If you feel you really must have a higher grit (or you want to add Japanese knives to your set), a Shapton Glass 3000 or 4000, or a Shapton Pro 4000 will make a nice addition. I find a 3000 stone perfect for doing quick touch-ups on my Japanese knives. For the Wüsthofs, I just use a honing steel until the edge won't come back again, and then go back to the 1000. It'll take a long time before you will wear down your knives that way, so I wouldn't worry about this.

    I wouldn't agonise over the brand of stone too much. The Naniwa Chosera/Pro stones have an excellent reputation, but they won't magically change the quality of your edge. (That's determined by your technique, not the stone.) And they are expensive.

    The Suehiros are very nice too but, as you say, you have to soak them for 10–15 minutes first.

    To me, the biggest bang for the buck for German knives is a Shapton Pro 1000. Quick and easy, and it will last forever. And it really is the only stone you need for soft steel knives, unless you have something that is ultra-blunt or has chips. In that case, a 320 stone will get them restored quicker. But, once you have used the 320, unless you damage the knives again or neglect them, that stone will just sit on a shelf and accumulate dust…

    One thing that I find useful (and cheap) is a strop with green chromium oxide compound. It works well to bring a slightly dull edge back to razor sharp, and you can use it for both German and Japanese knives. (A steel honing rod is too soft for Japanese knives.) Or strop on cardboard or newspaper at zero cost.

    For very good sharpening videos, check out Jon Broida's videos at japaneseknifeimports.com, and Peter Nowlan's videos at knifeplanet.com.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  4. Jul 13, 2019 #4

    slickmamba

    slickmamba

    slickmamba

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2018
    Messages:
    319
    I own the choseras and shapton pros do just as well for almost half the cost. There are more recommendations beyond ryky, all of his recommendations are "sponsored" so I'd take anything he says with a grain of salt, I posted about it a while ago. I haven't had any cracking issues with the 3000, but a few people have. Most of the cracking i see is from the 5000 and 10000. Any stone will sharpen a knife, most of it is preference on if you want a softer stone or a harder stone, and a s&g or soaker.

    You will learn alot about sharpening and maintaining stones on a king, and it will sharpen basically all.

    I'd skip the cerax and rika 5k if you don't want soakers, I only tried the rika and it was pretty good. Some stones can be permasoaked, so its not a big deal tbh.

    edit: Forgot to talk about your knives. Your whustoffs will do fine with just a medium grit stone(800-2000ish) will be more than enough. Shapton pro 1000 would be a great fit, super hard, splash and go, easy sharpening and cleanup.
     
    M1k3 and Michi like this.
  5. Jul 13, 2019 #5

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2019
    Messages:
    758
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    + 1 on Shapton PRO # 1000 for your needs. Not too expensive, easy to use, pretty fast and gives a nice working edge on softer steels.
     
    Michi likes this.
  6. Jul 14, 2019 #6

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    3,663
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Yes you do not need to spend a lot on a couple stones. Getting a knife upgrade is some more coin. At least one good Japanese gyuto. You can use your Wusthof knives for beater duties & use a Ferrari for most of your cutting. San Mai carbon core stainless clad knives give the advantages of quality carbon steel with out the upkeep.

    Agree the shapton pro is a good choice. Very wear resistant, splash & go. I like the gesshin soakers for my carbon knives, keep them perma soaked in a snap lid plastic container. The soakers have more feedback when sharpening, however the shapton pro will get your knives sharp that's what counts.
     
  7. Jul 14, 2019 #7

    Prgcook

    Prgcook

    Prgcook

    Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Columbia, MO
    I like either a shap glass 500 or an iminishi latte 400 for low grit then the big Green brick nwania to finish up I wouldn't go above 2 to 3 k on whustofs
     
  8. Jul 14, 2019 #8

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    Thx for the heads up. There are always conflicts on all forums or for that matter in any group setting . My impression of Ryky (just from watching his videos). He strikes me as likeable, genuine, but also dedicated and business savvy. I suspected he had sponsors, but you don't build a successful Youtube channel like that without commercial ties. A product that is sponsored can also be a good but I agree that it muddies the water.

    case in point

    I'll have to check him out
    Reading what others said too I'd agree. One 1k stone would be best. I'll take a look at Shapton. Thanks for your advice
     
  9. Jul 14, 2019 #9

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    I didn't realize that Wusthof was considered "soft" steel but I never really researched it, I bought them because of the quality name. But yes I agree 1k stone makes sense. I just assumed that sharpening worked like wood working ie gradually work you way up in grit.

    To everyone else who replied thanks for sharing your knowledge. Much appreciated.
     
  10. Jul 14, 2019 #10
    I like the results I get on German and Vnox genre knives with a progression of Shapton Pro 1000 then finish on the 2000. The 2K adds a refinement and is at the upper limit of what I would use on soft steel.

    As to Rikky Ticky, the kid knows little of what he is doing and has absolutely no, none, nada, credibility with me. Time watching his "show" is time that could be spent learning from someone that does know something. Dislike is too strong a word - he's just noise.
     
    Benuser, osakajoe and M1k3 like this.
  11. Jul 14, 2019 #11

    Michi

    Michi

    Michi

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2019
    Messages:
    1,252
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    German knives typically have a hardness around 57 on the Rockwell C scale. Japanese knives are typically at 62 HRC and higher. Some powdered metallurgy steels, such as HAP-40, can get insanely hard, up to HRC 68.

    The softer German steel is great for rougher work because it can take a lot of punishment without chipping. It deforms rather than pieces of it breaking off. The harder Japanese steels can take a more acute edge and retain that edge for longer, but you have to be more careful with them because, under too much pressure or sideways torque, little chips (or big ones) break off the edge. Also, a German knife will typically survive getting dropped onto a hard floor, whereas, if that happens with a Japanese one, you may end up being seriously disappointed. Both kinds of steel have their uses and disadvantages—pick your poison.

    Myself, I'm not about to throw out my German knives just because they are made from softer steel than my Japanese ones…
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
    Kirk Stonick, Keith Sinclair and M1k3 like this.
  12. Jul 14, 2019 #12

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    I understand now. Yes I'd agree after 20 years I only have 2 small nicks

    Btw, I'm going to get the Shapton Pro 1000, $34. Good price and does everything I need.
     
    Marek07 and M1k3 like this.
  13. Jul 14, 2019 #13

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2019
    Messages:
    758
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I’ll echo Michi: softer steels have their advantages, and there is (absolutely) no reason to throw them out (or even, IMO, to replace them). I enjoy using my German and French knives. That is what is important.
     
    M1k3 likes this.
  14. Jul 14, 2019 #14

    M1k3

    M1k3

    M1k3

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2018
    Messages:
    472
    I own both Japanese and German and sharpen co-workers knives. Wusthof I'd stop at 2k. Shapton Pro/Kuromaku 1k or 2k would be a great, not expensive option. Splash and go, slow to dish, slow to load, if at all. Chosera 800 would be good option to stop at also. Or any other millions of suggestions.
     
    slickmamba and Carl Kotte like this.
  15. Jul 15, 2019 #15

    gman

    gman

    gman

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    156
    800 or 1k is a good place to start for general maintenance, if they haven't been sharpened in 20 years, then the first time on the stones is going to be a lot of work, so you might consider either getting a 400 or sending them off to a pro sharpener the first time, then maintaining them yourself after that.
     
    Kippington, M1k3 and Carl Kotte like this.
  16. Jul 15, 2019 #16

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    So I place the order for the 1k, it should be fine even though they are old, they have been well taken care of, and I've used a honing rod on them too. Funny I was tempted to get the 1,500 stone because I've read the 1k performs like a 800. I uploaded pictures
     
    Carl Kotte likes this.
  17. Jul 15, 2019 #17

    gman

    gman

    gman

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    156
    good luck dealing with that bolster
     
  18. Jul 15, 2019 #18

    playero

    playero

    playero

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Messages:
    206
    Check for knicks since it has been a long time. You need a lower number since the 400 will do the job faster than the 800. That’s without any hard pressure. Will use a 2000-3000 and leather strap. After this maybe every two weeks or so use a ceramic rod and leather strap. I do that with mine. You will enjoy the wustoff for a long time.
     
  19. Jul 16, 2019 #19

    MarkC

    MarkC

    MarkC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2019
    Messages:
    116
    Couple of comments. The 1000 and finish with a 2000 is very good advice. You will want to take your time and I might even suggest picking up an inexpensive Henkel or something similar to practice your angles and learn to create a burr. It will also help you avoid scratching the finish on your main knives if that matters to you as you learn. Finally why you don't need it, I would at some point get a higher grit stone just so you can feel the difference a more polished edge feel like. The Rika actually is an inexpensive one and the materials that come with it say to only soak it for 5 minutes which you can easily do why you are working your progression.
     
  20. Jul 16, 2019 #20

    osakajoe

    osakajoe

    osakajoe

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2014
    Messages:
    535
    Ignore this. Going from 1,000 just up to 2,000 is too close and not worth purchasing two of basically the same medium stone.

    Go with what others have said to on sharpening a cheaper Henkel or wustof knife. Finish and maintain on a 1,000 because Michi summed it up well. If you need to repair or thin also pair it with a rougher stone like a 400 grit.
     
    Xenif, Carl Kotte and Michi like this.
  21. Jul 16, 2019 #21

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    3,663
    Location:
    Hawaii
    I've sharpened quite a few Wusthof chef knives. I find Victorinox blades easier to sharpen. If you learn to put a decent edge on a Wusthof you can sharpen a quality blade with ease. You have just used a rod for 20 yrs. would be surprised if they cut at all. Those blunt edges will need some thinning. Hang around this forum some more, people are more than willing to help.

    If you think your steak knives are better until you sharpen your Wusthof you need to think about getting a better blade. As said you can still use your Wussy's. I'm not talking down to you, many think full bolster German stainless means quality. Why else would they sell them in culinary stores & Macy's. They are mostly sold for home use. Do not see many full bolstered blades in commercial kitchens. Victorinox is used, but you see more cooks using Japanese knives these days.

    You can get a carbon core stainless clad quality Japanese blade for around 100.00. I like the idea of introducing carbon steel to let someone experience ease of sharpening & razor edges. One of my favorite bang for the buck knives is Blue Moon 210mm blue#2 carbon core with stainless nashiji cladding. 98.00 for the 210mm.( Japanese Chef Knives) tho he may be out of stock last I looked.
     
  22. Jul 16, 2019 #22

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Keith Sinclair

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    3,663
    Location:
    Hawaii
    I just looked he restocked the 210mm & raised the price a little to 112.00 still a steal for that knife.
     
  23. Jul 16, 2019 #23

    MarkC

    MarkC

    MarkC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2019
    Messages:
    116
    This is really good advice. If you only have worked with German steel or inexpensive stainless knives, you will be amazed at the difference working with carbon steel knives. It is easier to feel a burr and get to a sharper edge. Lots of good advice here.
     
  24. Jul 17, 2019 #24

    MrHiggins

    MrHiggins

    MrHiggins

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Messages:
    450
    Location:
    Barefoot and in the kitchen
    I don't necessarily want to pile on here, but the difference between a 20 year old, never sharpened German knife, and a new Japanese-style knife will be like upgrading your 1998 Toyota Camry for a 2019 BMW M3.

    I've loved cooking for my entire adult life and thought I knew what a sharp knife was (I had a Global gyuto for 15 years that I touched up on a steel), until I bought a Japanese knife (sukenari HAP40) about 2 years ago. Welcome to an entirely new world. It's totally different.

    While Western knives have their place, you should treat yourself to a Japanese knife (if you can drop $100-$200). You'll thank yourself over and over. I did, anyway.

    And also watch Jon Broida's videos.

    You've already bought the only stone you'll ever really need, even for Japanese knives. I love the edge a 1000 grit stone leaves on even my fanciest knives, although you can go higher if you want.
     
  25. Jul 17, 2019 #25

    krx927

    krx927

    krx927

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2014
    Messages:
    823

    I like you analogy to M3! Just love this car!
     
  26. Jul 17, 2019 #26

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    I never knew what a bolster was and that my Wusthofs had them until now. I can see what you mean it makes it harder to sharpen that end. I can’t complain too much because it has kept my fingers safe all these years.

    As far as the steak knives, I like them for two reasons.

    I realize I enjoy their smaller size and thinner blade. I find most of my food prep is small amounts of delicate fruits and vegetables. I find my 8” chef knife on the big/ heavy side.

    Second I’ve noticed the steak knives edge is sharper and toothier which seems to help cut smooth skin fruits and veggies like tomatoes.

    All that being said it be crazy to abandon my Wusthofs for steak knives. It is interesting when you get a new knife you re-evaluate what you like. Getting a Japanese knife would be intriguing. Not really essential but fun and the art of it.

    A lot of good advice here. My game plan is practice hand sharpening on an inexpensive knife, move up to my Wusthofs, then who knows a Japanese knife and I’ll officially become a knife geek. I’d love to get a Hattori Hanzō :p

    My stone will be coming in on the 26th. Seems like a life time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    Carl Kotte likes this.
  27. Jul 18, 2019 #27

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    I watched a few of Peter Nolan videos. I can see what people were saying about Ryke he’s more a showman and businessman while these other people really teach and do it for pleasure not money or fame.
     
    Marek07, M1k3 and Carl Kotte like this.
  28. Jul 18, 2019 #28

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

    Carl Kotte

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2019
    Messages:
    758
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Burrfection has received enough criticism on KKF (in my opinion it’s started to get tiresome and old), so - with focus on the Knife planet vids - one thing I really like about the Nowlan vids is how well he describes finger positioning on the blade, and the importance of pressure. Following his advice I really improved my technique and decreased my overall sharpening time to a third of what I did previously (and with better results).
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    M1k3 likes this.
  29. Jul 18, 2019 #29

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Dragon_Stone

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2019
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    I agree he achieves the burr in fewer passes than I’ve seen by others and I like his description of his use of pressure with his fingers.
     
    Carl Kotte likes this.
  30. Jul 18, 2019 #30

    inferno

    inferno

    inferno

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    1,135
    Hi I'd like to start with saying that a 1k may not be the only thing you need. as opposed to what most people here say. Personally I never stop at 1k. 2k and 3k yes but 1k to me feels like a fine saw. and i have 6 different 1k stones.

    the 1k is the baseline stone. if you dont work with chipped blades or need to do thinning operations, you dont need a lower grit than 1k.
    and if you need to work on chipped blades or do serious thinning you want to lowest grit/fastest stones you can buy because this can take several hours with a 1k.
    then you wanna look into maybe a 220 or so.

    as to whether a 1k and 2k is a good combo? yes it is imo. I have the shapton pro1k and 2k glued together, because this makes a good combo on low price knives (lets say under 100€$£), the 1k is coarse like 7-800 grit, and the 2k is the finishing stone. it makes the edge at least twice as sharp. very good combo imo. actually my best combo for cheap knives.

    if you want good beginner combo i think either the 500glass, 1k glass, 1k pro combined with the 3k glass is hard to beat. But personally I think one needs everything between 500 and 4k for different steels.
     

Share This Page