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Borosilicate Honing Rod.

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shankster

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Borosilicate rods..who uses them and are they worth it?
 

tk59

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I have one that I use occasionally. I like to use them before I strop to align any part of my edge that might snag or otherwise cause undue wear on my strop or soft stone. You can go without but if mine broke, I'd probably buy another one.
 

mr drinky

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I have one and use it, but not that often. I tend to use it when I don't feel my leather loaded strop is working, and even then I only use it with certain knives. But I do like tk59's idea and might try that.

k.
 

ecchef

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I use it at work 'cause it's fast. I actually use the leather sheath as a strop more often though.
 

Benuser

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I use it to strop/deburr stainless knives I don't want to get too polished.
 

shankster

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So I'm better off spending $45. on a nice leather stropping pad vs $90. on a glass rod? I'll be using it mostly for work,so size and convienence is key.Which will give me better results?
 

DwarvenChef

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Mine is part of my travel kit. After a while the smooth steel rod gets heavy :p
 

Seb

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I quite like the HA Knife Mate which is a compact polished steel that fits in your pocket.
 

JohnnyChance

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Do you have a ceramic rod? I keep a Mac black ceramic rod in my work kit. No issues or worries of it getting damaged in my bag, no issues with carrying a possibly messy loaded strop.
 

ThEoRy

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The glass really only works well on really sharp knives. When my knives no longer respond well to the glass, I then use the black ceramic from mac.

Both have their place in my kit.

This is of course at work where its just more convenient than bringing in my strop base different leather and felt pads with compounds and such..
 

shankster

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"Do you have a ceramic rod"
I don't,I was under the impression that glass was superior to ceramic,for harder Japanese steels(hrc 60-65 ).

"This is of course at work where its just more convenient than bringing in my strop base different leather and felt pads with compounds and such.."
Agreed,space can get pretty tight at work so a full strop setup is out of the question.I actually get pretty decent results from a rolled up piece of cardboard but I know the glass or ceramic rod is the way to go..
 

shankster

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I quite like the HA Knife Mate which is a compact polished steel that fits in your pocket.
Very cool device,unfortunately the shipping and duty would cost more than the steel itself..
 

tk59

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Very cool device,unfortunately the shipping and duty would cost more than the steel itself..
Sounds like a fallacy to me. If that's the tool you need, it shouldn't matter. Regardless, for pros, I would definitely recommend a ceramic rod and the MAC 2k is very attractive because of the durability.
 

shankster

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"Sounds like a fallacy to me"
$21.25 shipping + duty/tax(maybe) for a $40.00 device.No thanks(maybe if I could buy it locally), but thanks for the good advice on the MAC 2k..
 

Dave Martell

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The borosilicate rod used to have two sides to it, the smooth side for straightening out a relatively sharp(ish) edge and a rough side for scratching up a dying edge.

For those people concerned about cost there is a cheaper solution and that's to buy your own borosilicate rod online (very cheap) and rough it up with coarse sandpaper. It won't have a nice handle but it will fit in a knife roll better. Just search for glass blowing supplies - 10mm rod will be about perfect. You can also find it in laboratory glassware where the rods are used for mixing/stirring.
 

shankster

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Hmmm..very interesting indeed.I think I'll look into this.Thanks for the great tip Dave! :D
Let the hunt begin..
 

wenus2

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FWIW: a cocktail muddler makes for a good cheap handle....
 

Seb

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"Sounds like a fallacy to me"
$21.25 shipping + duty/tax(maybe) for a $40.00 device.No thanks(maybe if I could buy it locally), but thanks for the good advice on the MAC 2k..
It's not all that heavy so you could save money by combining shipping with other items.

I got one of these to fool around with and I freaking love it! I use it on my EDC folders, parers/utilities, steak knives, carbon Chinese cleavers and carbon Sabatiers as well as on gyutos up to 60 hardness.

I hold the knife steady by the handle with my left hand and then gently stroke the edge with the Knife Mate with my right hand. There is a satin-polish side for cleaning up and a smooth-polished side for truing/honing.

I actually like it more than the boro rod for certain uses because the boro rod cuts more.
 

shankster

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"It's not all that heavy so you could save money by combining shipping with other items"

Very true,it's just that I'm trying to buy local(easier said than done) so I might ask my local purveyor if he's willing to bring some in.I'm sure most of the Chefs I know would be interested in a device like this..
I'm still gonna try Dave's idea about finding a plain boro rod from a glass blowing co and scratching it up myself.
 

aser

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"It's not all that heavy so you could save money by combining shipping with other items"

Very true,it's just that I'm trying to buy local(easier said than done) so I might ask my local purveyor if he's willing to bring some in.I'm sure most of the Chefs I know would be interested in a device like this..
I'm still gonna try Dave's idea about finding a plain boro rod from a glass blowing co and scratching it up myself.
I assume you're referring to Tosho & Knife. Tosho carries the rod, it's just that HA is really slow w/ delivery, they're always lagging on the rods. That's also why you often see this sold out at all the fine knife purveyors online.

Where do you work in Toronto btw?
 

shankster

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Hey aser..sorry I missed this.I know Tosho carries the HA rod,but like you said it's there one minute and gone the next.I was lucky to pick up their last Konosuke HD w/a rosewood octagonal handle.They just can't keep those things in stock either..
I work at "Yorkshire Pudding Catering" out in Etobicoke.
 

stopbarking

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I have one and love it. I use the crap out of all of my knives on crappy white poly boards at work. While I love sharpening, it does decrease the frequency I have to sharpen.

Depending on the knife and use, I sharpen to different angles for each knife. The Borosilicate rod works wonders as long as (in my experience) your knives are sharpened to at least 5k. My heavier Hattori Gyuto and my Global 8" (yeah I know) get the 5k treatment and last a good month without a stone touchup as long as they are both properly sharpened and deburred. These knives are sharpened at 10 and 15 degrees respectively. Adjust the honing and stropping on the leather sheath accordingly. My Dave thinned and etched Hiromoto AS Gyuto and my Togiharu Damascus VG10 Nakirki always get the 10K Chosera treatment and I can keep those up with the Borosilicate rod and leather strop for about a month of heavy use on white poly boards as well. These knives all get about the same amount of use.

Let it be noted I'm pretty anal about my edges. While I haven't jumped into the whole loaded strop thing yet, I'm sure I will eventually. If you have a good strop or loaded strop setup the Borosilicate rob is probably useless unless you are fine with the borosilicate edge. I love mine with every knife I own.

Between my knives and a couple of co workers knives I've dropped down to busting out the full stone set monthly as opposed to once a week or bi-monthly. The HA Borosilicate rod has been a definite blessing.

I don't purposefully beat the crap out of my knives but given the amount of daily prep at work and the cutting boards we have there I've noticed a HUGE difference in the length of time between "This could use a little touch up." and "Good GOD this knife is dull." My coworkers enjoy the Borosilicate treatment as well, as long as I stop them from using their metal rods out of habit.

Now if I could only get my chefs to do the same. My prep is WAY prettier than theirs. The sound of them slapping a dull blade against a vicious steel honing rod about 50 times before they break down fish is damaging to my ears.
 

Dusty

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I'm glad this thread got bumped. Since it first appeared I took Dave's advice and made my own out of a 16 mm rod from a lab company and a bed leg from a hardware store. At the moment it's smooth and I just use it for re-alignment, but I'm thinking I may rough it up with some of the 3m diamond sandpaper, that way I can control the depth of the scratches on the rod.

What I'm unsure of is this: if I rough up a glass rod with 5 micron sandpaper, is the abrasiveness of the rod going to be the equivalent of five microns?
 

Juicy Pirate

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Yeah mines not very well made, its not 10 inch when its set in the handle and the handle has been drilled way to far so it keeps sliding into it making it even shorter. Pulled it out the other day and its only held in by a bit of paper.
Yeah people are impressed by it but not worth the money. Top idea Dave just going to buy a decent longer rod and put it in
 

ThEoRy

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Yeah mines not very well made, its not 10 inch when its set in the handle and the handle has been drilled way to far so it keeps sliding into it making it even shorter. Pulled it out the other day and its only held in by a bit of paper.
Yeah people are impressed by it but not worth the money. Top idea Dave just going to buy a decent longer rod and put it in
Sounds like the perfect excuse for a custom wa handle if I ever heard one,..,.
 

vicv

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I understand that. What I meant was that i was under the assumption Japanese knives don't dull from their edges being bent as the steel is too hard and they dull either by abrasion or chipping.
 

Dave Martell

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I did a lot of testing with the borosilicate rod on Japanese knives and found that if it's smooth it did do something to bring back the edge (kind of) but where it really worked well is when the rod is roughened by putting scratches in the surface as this then scratched the knife edge making the edge coarser.

For softer German knives the smooth boro rod works very good but IMO a boro rod needs to be roughened with sandpaper to do anything significant to a hard Japanese edge.

What a roughened boro rod is doing to a Japanese knife is very similar to what a grooved steel does for a German knife - it tears at the edge to make it toothier.
 
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