Burrs and stroping; questioning if I’m doing it correctly

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I’m new to Japanese knives, have been sharpening Wusthof and pocket knives for decades, and hardly thinking about it. I’m trying to get good at this, and trying imagine what is happening with the edge that I can’t see… particularly with regard to the burr.

So I’m using Cerax stones, 1000 and 6000. Knives are aogami super and white #2 (Kinaro and Miura Idataki). I sharpen at 14 degrees using a guide to set the angle initially, then just trying to be as consistent as possible. I do several passes on the first side until I can feel a burr, then maybe a few more to be certain. Then flip it over and repeat. I probably do 10 passes on each side, typically. Then a few edge trailing strokes at a slightly elevated angle, alternating sides each stroke to remove the burr. Then I switch to the 6000 stone and repeat using a bit less pressure, lessening pressure as I go. Finally, a bunch of light, edge trailing strokes on the 6000 until it feels kinda sharp. But here’s where I’m wondering what I have… shouldn’t it feel super sharp at this point? It doesn’t seem sharp enough to scare me to run my finger along the edge, but it would cut a tomato okay.

Then I strop it on newspaper a dozen or so strokes and it starts to feel scary sharp. Another dozen and it’s scary-scary-sharp (I know these aren’t quantifiable terms). It will do thin slices on a tomato without holding it, shave arm hair, cut newspaper, etc.

What I’m wondering is, is that stroping standing up a burr such that it seems sharp, or is this the apex? And why is the knife not feeling sharp-sharp straight off the 6000 stone? After using it to prep a meal (a few onions, carrots, celery, peppers) it will be noticeably less sharp (finger check) but stroping brings it back pretty close. At this point wouldn’t any burr be gone?

I know my consistency holding the angle can always improve, but what else might I be doing that would not give a sharper edge pre-stroping? How do I take it to the next level?
 
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I am more or less pro-stropping. Sure, I like my edges as sharp and clean as possible off the stone but I more often than not still strop on something else as well. Others don't.

Are you happy with your edge retention? If you're just raising a slight burr during stropping it will only last a couple cuts at best and be gone and you'll notice the difference.

If you like your edges and the performance of your knives, you're good.

Now, when I read things like "14 degrees" and "10 passes" what I start thinking about more than your stone vs. stropping edges is are you feeling what you're doing or trying to system your way into sharpness? Relax and let the knife talk to you. Don't get hung up on angles and strokes and such. You can tell when the feedback feels right and the results support it. If not, adjust and observe.

While there are wrong ways, there is no right way. No absolute way. Take it all as advice and find what works for you. I don't always get the edges I'd like off the stone. I mean, the foundation is there but maybe just not quite as crisp as I'd like. No worries, a little stropping and bang, there it is.

The end result and performance matter a lot more than how you got there.
 
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Now, when I read things like "14 degrees" and "10 passes" what I start thinking about more than your stone vs. stropping edges is are you feeling what you're doing or trying to system your way into sharpness? Relax and let the knife talk to you.
Gotcha! I don’t actually count strokes or worry about the exact angle too much. I use the angle guide to make sure I’m starting close and then try to be consistent. And I will start focusing more on feedback and feeling.

What I’m learning here is that a few edge-leading strokes will effectively deal with the burr. I do suspect that I’ve been leaving a bit of burr because of how the edge seems less sharp after minimal use and then is restored so easily with just a little stropping. Then after a couple of use/strop cycles it seems to stabilize. We’ll soon see. Thank you!
 
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Sounds like you need to work on your burr removal, you should work on the 1000 til you are happy with the end result
Are you saying to skip the 6000 altogether, or to get a good edge on the 1000 first? I’ve wondered if perhaps the 6000 is a lot finer than I need for a general use kitchen knife since some amount of toothiness is desirable. I read a thread on this where people were suggesting finishing stones, and nobody was saying to go that fine.
 
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Are you saying to skip the 6000 altogether, or to get a good edge on the 1000 first? I’ve wondered if perhaps the 6000 is a lot finer than I need for a general use kitchen knife since some amount of toothiness is desirable. I read a thread on this where people were suggesting finishing stones, and nobody was saying to go that fine.
For your Wusthoff and it’s fairly soft steel, the 6000 is a little on the fine side. Get it sharp on the 1000, make sure you are fully deburred, and give that a shot. You might like that edge.
 

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For your Wusthoff and it’s fairly soft steel, the 6000 is a little on the fine side. Get it sharp on the 1000, make sure you are fully deburred, and give that a shot. You might like that edge.
Yup, 1k is high enough. My naniwa 800 is enough. 14 degrees might even be too acute for those soft steel knives.
 
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Yup, 1k is high enough. My naniwa 800 is enough. 14 degrees might even be too acute for those soft steel knives.
The Wusthof is sidelined now. I have three carbon knives that I’m currently using, and what my questions are concerning… Yoshimi Echizen (Kintaro) blue super, Miura Idataki white #2, and a zKramer 52100.

What would be a good finishing stone for these steels and general kitchen knife use? I’m not opposed to buying another stone, (although not looking to drop a bundle on exotic stuff). What I have now are King 320, 1000, and Cerax 1000/6000, Would Shapton 3000 be a good choice, or… ?
 

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The Wusthof is sidelined now. I have three carbon knives that I’m currently using, and what my questions are concerning… Yoshimi Echizen (Kintaro) blue super, Miura Idataki white #2, and a zKramer 52100.

What would be a good finishing stone for these steels and general kitchen knife use? I’m not opposed to buying another stone, (although not looking to drop a bundle on exotic stuff). What I have now are King 320, 1000, and Cerax 1000/6000, Would Shapton 3000 be a good choice, or… ?
The 1000+6000 will give a nice aggressive edge. If you want something in between, I highly recommend something like a shapton sp 2k, or one of my favorites is also the synthetic red aoto from Japanese Natural Stones
 

M1k3

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Shapton Pro 2k would be a good all around stone for all your knives. I'm a big fan of the Shapton Glass 4k for carbon steels.

I'm also a big fan of the Venev diamond stones for everything.
 

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I think you'll have to be a little more specific on your ask for a finishing stone: Splash and go or soaker, synth or natural, edge only or edge and polishing? There was just a thread for a midgrit recommendation which I believe will be helpful since it seems to be addressing that area between your Cerax 1k and 6k:

 

Benuser

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There are a few factors that may explain the poor results. Stropping at the end may help but is often hiding poor work before. If we want to find out where it's going wrong we better eliminate the final stropping, for the time being. First I would like to know whether you really reach the very edge. A burr isn't very reliable to determine if that's the case. Burrs do appear before the very edge got reached. Better use the sharpie trick and check with a loupe to make sure you're not accumulating debris on top of the old edge. Work on one bevel before starting with the other one. Once both bevels meet the edge should be scary sharp. From that point on there are only burr remnants to get removed. I would abandon edge trailing motions. They certainly abrade a burr, but not without creating a new one. Very light, edge leading strokes, in sections, at exactly the sharpening angle may abrade the burr without waste of material and raising a new burr. It isn't forbidden to use the sharpie and loupe here again. After some time you will feel the angle at which you may catch the burr. As the use of a sharpie will learn, elegant swiping strokes as seen on a lot of YouTube films are literally beside the question, I mean the edge. Deburring is a question of careful work, in a quite environment, taking your time. Some steels react slowly: a unexpected burr appearing after half an hour, while you thought you were done. At 1k the edge should be perfect. Don't expect flaws to get corrected with a finer stone. It is perfectly normal to use almost all your time with the first stone. As long as you aren't fine with the result with the first stone you better don't use any other gear, stone or strop.
 
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First I would like to know whether you really reach the very edge. A burr isn't very reliable to determine if that's the case. Burrs do appear before the very edge got reached. Better use the sharpie trick and check with a loupe to make sure you're not accumulating debris on top of the old edge.
Very helpful info. I was assuming that raising a burr equals reaching the edge, and not wanting to waste steel I have been switching sides or moving to the next stone as soon as I had a burr I could feel (not just imagine). In fact, I’ll bet that this combined with not using edge-leading strokes to remove the burr is 98 percent of the problem.

I reworked the W#2 today, before I read this, concentrating on feeling the blade, getting sharp on the 1000 stone, and using edge-leading strokes to finish. I did take it beyond where I had previously, but perhaps I could’ve gone further. It felt sharper but still not scary sharp until I stropped. I think I’ll work on it again tomorrow and try for scary sharp on the 1000, no stropping.

I really appreciate everyone’s help. I feel confident that this will result in a big improvement. Need to get a loupe too.
 

Benuser

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On a side note: the traditional way of sharpening expects us to stay with the same stone until we can't reduce the burr's size any further, and it only flips, even with the lightest touch. There shouldn't be much left with a 1k, especially not with the concerned carbons.
 

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What I’m learning here is that a few edge-leading strokes will effectively deal with the burr.
I'll push back a little on this.

Some feather light edge leading strokes can ASSIST in deburring (and I definitely do use them) but they aren't going to clean up a heavy burr very effectively.

You should first focus on reducing the burr on your finest stone by gradual pressure reduction on the coarsest stone that you will use in a progression. Have alook at Pete Nowlan's (@Sailor) sharpening school on knifeplanet.net. IIRC, the pressure control video was the third one.

Note that any subsequent stones should be to polish the edge with very light pressure only.

This means that around 80-90% of the sharpening work is done on the coarsest stone in your progression. Around a half of the effort is in burr control on this stone.

I would advocate using a circa 500 grit stone on Western stainless, with a circa 1000 used only for deburring. I use Chosera 400 then 1k. The issue is that any finer an abrasive will get in between the hard carbides and preferentially abrade the quite soft steel matrix in these knives, leaveng the carbides intact and standing proud.
 
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Some feather light edge leading strokes can ASSIST in deburring but they aren't going to clean up a heavy burr very effectively.

You should first focus on reducing the burr on your finest stone by gradual pressure reduction on the coarsest stone that you will use in a progression. Have alook at Pete Nowlan's (@Sailor) sharpening school on knifeplanet.net. IIRC, the pressure control video was the third on
This works for me, I use a few light edge leading strokes but sparingly. Peter's video did help me allot.
 
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I’m new to Japanese knives, have been sharpening Wusthof and pocket knives for decades, and hardly thinking about it. I’m trying to get good at this, and trying imagine what is happening with the edge that I can’t see… particularly with regard to the burr.

So I’m using Cerax stones, 1000 and 6000. Knives are aogami super and white #2 (Kinaro and Miura Idataki). I sharpen at 14 degrees using a guide to set the angle initially, then just trying to be as consistent as possible. I do several passes on the first side until I can feel a burr, then maybe a few more to be certain. Then flip it over and repeat. I probably do 10 passes on each side, typically. Then a few edge trailing strokes at a slightly elevated angle, alternating sides each stroke to remove the burr. Then I switch to the 6000 stone and repeat using a bit less pressure, lessening pressure as I go. Finally, a bunch of light, edge trailing strokes on the 6000 until it feels kinda sharp. But here’s where I’m wondering what I have… shouldn’t it feel super sharp at this point? It doesn’t seem sharp enough to scare me to run my finger along the edge, but it would cut a tomato okay.

Then I strop it on newspaper a dozen or so strokes and it starts to feel scary sharp. Another dozen and it’s scary-scary-sharp (I know these aren’t quantifiable terms). It will do thin slices on a tomato without holding it, shave arm hair, cut newspaper, etc.

What I’m wondering is, is that stroping standing up a burr such that it seems sharp, or is this the apex? And why is the knife not feeling sharp-sharp straight off the 6000 stone? After using it to prep a meal (a few onions, carrots, celery, peppers) it will be noticeably less sharp (finger check) but stroping brings it back pretty close. At this point wouldn’t any burr be gone?

I know my consistency holding the angle can always improve, but what else might I be doing that would not give a sharper edge pre-stroping? How do I take it to the next level?
You can stop at 3000 grit for kitchen knife to cut vegetables. You need a toothy edge for vegetables and 6000 grit is too fine IMO
 

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I agree with removing as much as burr before actually start deburring edge leading style.

If you simply sharpen side A till you have a burr, then flip and do side B untill you feel a burr, and then start deburring with light pressure edge leading strokes, you will need a lot of time.
Instead, when both sides have had their burr, continue sharpening, but use fewer strokes per side. Im not saying do 30-25-20-19-18....3-2-1 per side like some videos suggest, but it helps me greatly reducing the burr by finishing the sharpening progress by doing 3-5 strokes a side when 'im done'. You still end up with a burr, but way smaller then when you stop after the full progress.

And then deburr by only using leading strokes
 

Kawa

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Also, that really 100% fresh of the stone (or of the strop) sharpness will be gone after your first meal.

The sharpness it has after the first meal (90-95%?) should remain a whole lot longer before it degrades further.
 
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You should first focus on reducing the burr on your finest stone by gradual pressure reduction on the coarsest stone that you will use in a progression. Have alook at Pete Nowlan's (@Sailor) sharpening school on knifeplanet.net. IIRC, the pressure control video was the third one.
Watched the pressure reduction video and the others as well.

I’m absorbing a lot of good new information and need to do another session this weekend to consolidate it. I really appreciate all of your responses. So valuable, learning everything anew almost from the ground up. Before this I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Thinking I’ll go for a SG2000 (which is effectively more like 1k if I understand correctly) since I’m working with carbon, and maybe something 3k for finishing. I flattened my 1k Cerax yesterday for the first time. Thank you all again.
 
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Watched the pressure reduction video and the others as well.

I’m absorbing a lot of good new information and need to do another session this weekend to consolidate it. I really appreciate all of your responses. So valuable, learning everything anew almost from the ground up. Before this I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Thinking I’ll go for a SG2000 (which is effectively more like 1k if I understand correctly) since I’m working with carbon, and maybe something 3k for finishing. I flattened my 1k Cerax yesterday for the first time. Thank you all again.

Remember, this is often best played as a long game. Good results and consistency can and usually does take time so incremental learnings and improvements are wins. :) Just always be honest with what you're observing and keep focusing on the feel and understanding of what is happening.
 
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