free hand wetstone vs. rotating wetstone

Discussion in 'Sharpening Station' started by Knivskarp, Mar 15, 2019 at 5:31 PM.

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  1. Mar 15, 2019 at 5:31 PM #1

    Knivskarp

    Knivskarp

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    So i'm wondering what this forums view on rotating wetstone, like the tormek, versus a proper free hand sharpening?
    I'm thinking pros and cons on japanese and western style knifes.
    I've tried searching the forum for this topic without any luck.
    Hope to get some proper in depth answers, let me know if you're missing info :)

    Cheers
     
  2. Mar 16, 2019 at 1:44 PM #2

    bennypapa

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    Have you seen the other style of powered rotary grinders? Think pottery wheel. The wheels axis/shaft is vertical and you grind on the flat face of the wheel which is horizontal. I haven't seen one for sale in the US but for the cost of a Tormek I'd rather have a water cooled 2x72 belt sander/grinder.
     
  3. Mar 16, 2019 at 4:29 PM #3

    Knivskarp

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    Actually i'm not considering a Tormek. I'm trying to find arguments why people should pay like 3 times more to get their knife professionally sharpened on a normal water stone, compared to the price the professional sharpeners charge for sharpening on the rotating water stones.
     
  4. Mar 16, 2019 at 4:47 PM #4

    bennypapa

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    What kinda prices are you seeing for stone sharpening? I've never priced sharpening.

    First argument I can see against a tormek type sharpening is geometry. I'm not sure you can get the same kind of geometry on your knife from a 10" wheel that you can from a flat stone.
     
  5. Mar 16, 2019 at 5:02 PM #5

    Knivskarp

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    In Denmark you can get machined sharpened at approx 4 euro. I've seen 2 places who are doing sharpening by hand and they charge like 35-40 euro.
     
  6. Mar 16, 2019 at 5:05 PM #6

    bennypapa

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    Wow. 10x the price. That's a big difference but...
    I think it is still a bad comparison. Like apples to oranges.
     
  7. Mar 16, 2019 at 5:48 PM #7

    HRC_64

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    just ask your actual question in a new thread, because nobody here uses tormek
     
  8. Mar 16, 2019 at 5:50 PM #8

    HRC_64

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    This is why you just buy a waterstone for $40 and do it yourself...
     
  9. Mar 16, 2019 at 6:08 PM #9

    Knivskarp

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    So i get the geometry is different. And i do own a few stones myself, hence the question.
    If i have to convince people to pay 11 euro to get their knife sharpened on a flat stone, instead of paying 3,5 euro to get their knife sharpened on rotating water stone, by a person who is not me ;). Which arguments would you suggest i use?
     
  10. Mar 16, 2019 at 6:41 PM #10

    HRC_64

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    $4 vs $12 is the same thing as taking the bus vs a taxi...

    its just basic economics with all the same explanations
    time vs money and luxry vs sweat etc.

    the rest of the explanation I don't think matters...
    ie if you are dismissing issues of geometry etc
     
  11. Mar 16, 2019 at 6:47 PM #11

    Knivskarp

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    Can you explain the difference in the geometry? im guessing the rotating stone will kinda make a hollow bevel.. or am i wrong?
    I'm looking for arguments that can persuade potential customers to choose a the $12 over the $4
     
  12. Mar 16, 2019 at 7:09 PM #12

    Ivan Hersh

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    I feel many Chefs could just use three good water stones, #400 #800 #2000 and be getting back to doing their work.

    Then they might just need two good stones, #800 #2000.
    It all depends on the knifes steel and how much sharping is needed.

    I am just referring to a chef who wish's to spend around 75 Euro to 90 Euro depending on the quality of stones and number of stones they care to use.
     
  13. Mar 16, 2019 at 7:12 PM #13

    Knivskarp

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    i've got a 600, 2000 and 8000 myself. But only use the 8k for like 62+hrc. So totally agree with you
     
  14. Mar 16, 2019 at 7:47 PM #14
    With the caveat that I never used a Tormek: these machines are only used to grind (sharpen) the edge. For most knives (especially non-kitchen knives) that is enough. However to make a more controlled thinnig (either just behind the edge or higher up the blade) would be pretty hard to make without creating low spots. Here the horizontal water wheel (somebody please name the tool properly, the name escapes me now) would allow you to do that as it gives you a flat sharpening surface. Professional sharpeners (like Jon) use one with a very coarse stone to do the bulk if the thinning (when necessary) and to establish new edge geometry and then switch to water stones (and possibly buffers and such to clean up the blade)
     
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  15. Mar 16, 2019 at 9:23 PM #15

    Nemo

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    I supect that you are also paying for the sharpeners' skill, care and time. Powered implements can remove a lot of steel in short order. If the sharpener doesn't know (or care) what they are doing, they could not only significantly change the knife's geometry but also shorten the knife's life.

    I certainly see that with powered chainsaw sharpeners. When I first used one, I burned through a chain in 3 or 4 sharpenings but with a light touch, I can get well over 20 sharpenings out of a chain.

    I don't know how one deburrs on a water wheel. With a powered chsinsaw sharpener once I have formed an edge, I use a progressively lighter touch which does reduce the burr a lot but doesn't eliminate it like I can with aprogressively lighter strokes with a knife on a water stone. If this translates to powered knife sharpening, you will be getting a better edge with flat stone sharpening.
     
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  16. Mar 16, 2019 at 10:08 PM #16

    refcast

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    A powered sharpener, like has been said, is good for removing material to reshape the grind or restore a completely blunt edge.

    Hand whetstone sharpening can create a sharper, thinner, and longer-lasting edge (assuming its not so thin as to chip). With skill, it usually removes less material than strictly powered sharpening, though it all depends on who is sharpening. That's the advantage.

    And note the different types of sharpening. Bulk grinding to reprofile or remove ships is very different than finish sharpening when the edge is already there.
     
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  17. Mar 16, 2019 at 11:31 PM #17

    Foltest

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    This. Assuming the sharpener knows what he is doing. As someone who sharpens on whetstones, I would say the main benefits are precision and selection of finish which suits the knife most (selections of stones, naguras etc). Also surface finish is different, depends on what do you want. Machinery is always good for mass material removal, I wouldnt sharpen my gyuto with angle grinder, however for setting bevel on axe or reparing chipped point that is totally fine.
     
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  18. Mar 17, 2019 at 12:19 AM #18

    Nemo

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    As long as you are careful not to heat the steel up to tempering temperatures, especially near the tip or the edge (where the steel is thin). This is a not unimportant benefit of wet grinding.
     
  19. Mar 17, 2019 at 3:54 PM #19

    milkbaby

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    I never used a Tormek, but it appears to be used in an edge trailing manner. It may be easy to leave a big burr or wire edge? A skilled sharpener can probably reduce pressure from cycle to cycle of sharpening then deburring to minimize the burr, but that may not be the level of service received for only 4€?

    Powered sharpening has the possibility of removing more steel, shortening the life of the knife. Obviously that could be an issue with freehand sharpening on stones as well but only in the case of a bad sharpener.

    Another consideration is proper sharpening of the tip. This thread discusses the issues on a Tormek and one user's modifications: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/the-one-change-you-should-make-to-the-tormek.1537100/

    You could argue that freehand sharpening on waterstones better allows you to provide more customized sharpening with the selection of stones you have available tailoring choice of stones used to the type of steel and knife. It may be less likely in the case of Tormek sharpening.

    And in general, you have to pay more for services that require more education, skill, and time to complete.
     
  20. Mar 17, 2019 at 4:48 PM #20

    Foltest

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    I usually have my fingers dangerously close to the sharpened area (without gloves) and I cool the blade when it becomes uncomfortable to hold. Definitely not safe, works great tho :D
     
  21. Mar 17, 2019 at 8:09 PM #21

    Nemo

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    This is pretty similar to what I have seen knifemakers do when grinding with power equipment. I don't know whether you get this level of commitment for 4 Euros though.
     
  22. Mar 17, 2019 at 9:00 PM #22

    Foltest

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    I dont know either, but if I look at commercial sharpening services in my area, I certainly would not use word commitment :D
     
  23. Mar 17, 2019 at 9:57 PM #23

    Benuser

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    Neither would I, and prices are around €6.
     
  24. Mar 17, 2019 at 10:06 PM #24

    stringer

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    There's definitely a huge difference in quality available for different prices wherever you are or at least where you can ship to. The cheapest is a butcher/restaurant grinding service. They are horrible and are probably the ones charging minimal prices. So on one end you have a guy with a belt grinder in a van who's used to dealing with crummy house knives. You can't touch these prices unless you got mad volume.
    In the middle, you might be able to find a decent kitchen store that sharpens knives, which is probably fine for European stuff. And you will have a tough time beating their prices too without some kind of machine.
    Serious Japanese knife collectors and professionals will pay a premium price for whetstone sharpening if they don't have the time or ability to do it for themselves. They understand that this is time consuming skilled labor. That's a much smaller audience segment to shoot for so you probably want a mechanized option to capture some of the cheaper business too until you can get established.
     
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  25. Mar 18, 2019 at 5:39 AM #25

    Knivskarp

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    Thanks for all the great replies everyone
     
  26. Mar 18, 2019 at 12:36 PM #26

    Ivan Hersh

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    With some watching Japanese knife wet stone sharping videos on line, and reading about the stones used one can obtain what is needed to do their own sharping.
    The basic's are only two or three stones, trust me it's not really hard or costly.
     
  27. Mar 18, 2019 at 1:18 PM #27

    stringer

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    I have been sharpening knives for many years. This guy wants to sharpen knives for money. My point is that there are several different levels of sharpeners that are trying to reach different types of customers. Knife nuts will spend lots of money to have someone who knows what they are doing work on their edges. A housewife or a fry cook would be happy with something much more quick and dirty.
     
  28. Mar 18, 2019 at 1:32 PM #28

    limpet

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    Not exactly the original topic maybe, but the standard sharpening companies using belt grinders will remove metal fast. These guys made an interesting test, sending the same Global knife to be sharpened 8 times at different sharpening companies in Sweden. Here it is compared to another identical knife sharpened 8 times by hand on the stones. They made some sort of ”wear down” on the blades between sharpening.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Benpm_AlxBz/
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BfEV0jBluxP/
     
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  29. Mar 18, 2019 at 1:54 PM #29

    limpet

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    Less standard is the rotating, horozontal waterstone imported from Japan. I know Cleancut uses one (see link) before using the regular stones. I think this is very unusual for western companies, but I could be wrong. This is still very much a slow process compared to belt grinders. On a Swedish forum, a pro sharpener using belt grinders told us he had to sharpen approx 200 knives per day. Yup.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BNexKImAL81/
     
  30. Mar 18, 2019 at 2:01 PM #30

    stringer

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    I buy $15 knives for people on my crew. Just a very cheap stainless made in China sort of thing. They all use the guy on the van. Here's the handiwork.

    15529172636423567760132710014242.jpg
    This particular example was bought two years ago. It's been sharpened approximately twice a month. I had a control that I kept and used and sharpened on a shapton 500 and deburred and slightly polished on a naniwa ss 2000. At the end of two years my Cook's knife lost 2 inches in length and 3/4" in height. The control had no meaningful reduction in length and less than a mm of height.
     
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