Fujiwara regrind service from District Cutlery

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Jeff

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We all know District Cutlery’s reputation for excellent work. And we have all read stories about the variance in Fujiwara thickness behind the edge.

Has anyone had experience with D.C.’s thinning service on a Fujiwara? It sounds like an interesting option in some
cases.
 

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JASinIL2006

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I had mine thinned by Ryan at District Cutlery (upon recommendation from @Brian Weekley ), but at that time, it was just their normal 'thinning' service for $40. I am extremely happy with his work; he made a really nice knife into a superb knife. My knife is much thinner behind the edge and it is not as wedgy as it was out of the box. I thought the service was a steal at $40, so I'm not too surprised he's instituted special pricing for TFs.
 
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I know that TF’s can vary somewhat in blade thickness behind the edge. I’m also no stranger to thinning blades. On stones, thinning takes a good hand, time, patience and perseverance to get professional results. I have often thought that a belt grinder would be a better choice for thinning a blade, but never felt that I had the skills on a belt to guarantee good results. I then had occasion to watch this clip.



Ryan Swanson, the head sharpener at District Cutlery, is clearly (IMO) a savant on the belt grinder. I call him a “knife whisperer”. As part of my TF Chronicles work, I needed to buy and use a TF Nakiri. District Cutlery had a 195mm Maboroshi Nakiri for sale so I bought it and paid Ryan to thin it for me before shipment.

Here are some pictures of the results of Ryan’s work.

ED4CFF18-72D8-4B6E-B0B8-F734D0E6555D.jpeg


The top knife is a TF that I thinned. The second knife is the nakiri that Ryan thinned. The third (bottom) knife is a knife that another qualified person thinned. They all cut just fine with little wedging.

This pic is a profile of the blade on the nakiri after Ryan finished thinning it.

C4FC988B-F362-44E6-9A5D-AAEE3CDB2750.jpeg


I don’t have a picture of the pre-thinning profile, but I think most would agree that the post thinning profile is spot on.

The last pic is of the mag strip that holds most of my TF Chronicles knives. Two have been thinned by Ryan Swanson. Three are un-thinned as purchased. The rest have been thinned by others. Can you pick them out?

39623E69-F24C-47AF-B17C-8E37B7E8D98D.jpeg


All are excellent knives, but faced with the time and effort required to “tune” these knives myself, I’ll choose Ryan a hundred times out of a hundred.
 
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I know that TF’s can vary somewhat in blade thickness behind the edge. I’m also no stranger to thinning blades. On stones, thinning takes a good hand, time, patience and perseverance to get professional results. I have often thought that a belt grinder would be a better choice for thinning a blade, but never felt that I had the skills on a belt to guarantee good results. I then had occasion to watch this clip.



Ryan Swanson, the head sharpener at District Cutlery, is clearly (IMO) a savant on the belt grinder. I call him a “knife whisperer”. As part of my TF Chronicles work, I needed to buy and use a TF Nakiri. District Cutlery had a 195mm Maboroshi Nakiri for sale so I bought it and paid Ryan to thin it for me before shipment.

Here are some pictures of the results of Ryan’s work.

View attachment 175531

The top knife is a TF that I thinned. The second knife is the nakiri that Ryan thinned. The third (bottom) knife is a knife that another qualified person thinned. They all cut just fine with little wedging.

This pic is a profile of the blade on the nakiri after Ryan finished thinning it.

View attachment 175532

I don’t have a picture of the pre-thinning profile, but I think most would agree that the post thinning profile is spot on.

The last pic is of the mag strip that holds most of my TF Chronicles knives. Two have been thinned by Ryan Swanson. Three are un-thinned as purchased. The rest have been thinned by others. Can you pick them out?

View attachment 175533

All are excellent knives, but faced with the time and effort required to “tune” these knives myself, I’ll choose Ryan a hundred times out of a hundred.

Your tf collection never ceases to amaze me!
 

Pie

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I’ve only heard good things, but I’d suggest you to give it whirl first, if that’s the sort of thing your consider to be fun. I do wish I didn’t learn so much in the process ($800 project knife??), but it was an excellent experience.

As hard as his AS is, it’s not bad on stones when doing geometry work. His stainless cladding is also pretty soft and relatively easy to work with. However if you don’t want to deal with the insanity that is (some) TF bevels, the DC option seems pretty good!
 
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I’ve only heard good things, but I’d suggest you to give it whirl first, if that’s the sort of thing your consider to be fun. I do wish I didn’t learn so much in the process ($800 project knife??), but it was an excellent experience.

As hard as his AS is, it’s not bad on stones when doing geometry work. His stainless cladding is also pretty soft and relatively easy to work with. However if you don’t want to deal with the insanity that is (some) TF bevels, the DC option seems pretty good!

I agree with you completely. The three Denka’s that I purchased required no thinning IMO, to be completely satisfactory with minimal wedging. The stainless cladding on the TF’s is easy? to work with but my arthritic hands have lost the desire to spend whatever sharpening days they have left working stainless cladding. It’s a selfish point on my part. With the big Mab nakiri I figured that if any TF was going to need thinning the 195 would be the one. Here is a spine comparison pic between the 165 and 195 TF nakiri’s.

A35FE097-E29B-49E9-968F-8BDDB5B73603.jpeg
A35FE097-E29B-49E9-968F-8BDDB5B73603.jpeg


As a final point I wanted to try Ryan’s tuning and as a round trip for a knife over the border and back can cost over $200, I just told Ryan to use his judgement and thin as he thought necessary. I’m completely satisfied with his work and I believe my pics show that he delivers quality service.
 

tostadas

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Having thinned a few TF by hand, I don't find the stainless easy by any means. It's a fair price to pay for the work if you ask me.
 

Jeff

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I’ve only heard good things, but I’d suggest you to give it whirl first, if that’s the sort of thing your consider to be fun. I do wish I didn’t learn so much in the process ($800 project knife??), but it was an excellent experience.

As hard as his AS is, it’s not bad on stones when doing geometry work. His stainless cladding is also pretty soft and relatively easy to work with. However if you don’t want to deal with the insanity that is (some) TF bevels, the DC option seems pretty good!

I am afraid I would be impatient hand thinning and end up with some really bad result.

I have access to several sharpening systems which might help the process.

EdgePro Apex -
WickedEdge -
TSProf K03 -
TORMEK T8 -

I like the idea of the power Tormek offers, but I am very unsure of thinning on a round wheel. It seems like it would not be easy (impossible)

I like the District Cutlery option for a quality knife.

Just to learn, ‘m thinking of buying a belt sander and trying my hand on a lesser blade … Iust for the experience.

$80 seems reasonable and there is no doubt about the quality of the work and tje improvement. Nonetheless, there is something about learning and doing it myself that appeals to me.

Now to choose a belt sander and a selection of belts! … But that is another thread !!!
 

Jeff

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I agree with you completely. The three Denka’s that I purchased required no thinning IMO, to be completely satisfactory with minimal wedging. The stainless cladding on the TF’s is easy? to work with but my arthritic hands have lost the desire to spend whatever sharpening days they have left working stainless cladding. It’s a selfish point on my part. With the big Mab nakiri I figured that if any TF was going to need thinning the 195 would be the one. Here is a spine comparison pic between the 165 and 195 TF nakiri’s.

View attachment 175588 View attachment 175588

As a final point I wanted to try Ryan’s tuning and as a round trip for a knife over the border and back can cost over $200, I just told Ryan to use his judgement and thin as he thought necessary. I’m completely satisfied with his work and I believe my pics show that he delivers quality service.


If I in any way created the impression that I was questioning Ryan’s work, the cost, or the integrity of District Cutlery, I AM TRULY SORRY!!!!

O was just wondering if TFs need thinning, how much they benefit, and if it is something I might wNt to try on a softer & less expensive knife. After all,generally speaking, it wouldn’t make much sense to spend $80 to thin a $100 knife.
 
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I am afraid I would be impatient hand thinning and end up with some really bad result.
I like the idea of the power Tormek offers, but I am very unsure of thinning on a round wheel. It seems like it would not be easy (impossible)

My experience thinning is that any significant thinning is a different animal to sharpening or putting an edge on a blade. It requires consistent attention, perseverance and consistency. The object is to move the Shinogi line upwards and reduce the amount of cladding equally on both sides to obtain the desired blade geometry. It’s not (or shouldn’t be) a process of grinding away inconsistently and haphazardly in search of what I don’t know. With my own blades I ”thin as I go” … regularly working above the edge to maintain a consistent shinogi line along the blade. Done as part of sharpening it’s a much more (IMO) manageable process. I’m less comfortable with the idea that this should be done as part of “re-engineering” the blade geometry. Perhaps this is the greatest criticism of TF’s … that it should be necessary to thin a stock blade at all. Maybe it just isn’t necessary at all!

I own a Tormek T8 and use it generally to sharpen knives made from German steel. I wouldn’t put any Japanese or western artisan craft blade on the Tormek. It is an amplified power system. It has a learning curve and because of the power that it can apply can be dangerous. Sharpening (or thinning) a 9” blade is a much different process to renewing the edge on a 3/4” wood chisel (where the Tormek excels). With practise, a steady hand and patience satisfactory results can be had with the Tormek, no question. I’ve never thinned a quality knife with mine. I would worry about the ease with which a valuable knife could be damaged. It’s much harder to put steel back on a blade (as in impossible) than it is to overgrind or damage a portion of the blade through lack of attention.

Ditto for most any powered belt sharpener. Lots of risk of damage … heat generation at the blade edge is an issue, even water cooled. That’s why I personally will leave it to the maker of the knife or an expert like Ryan Swanson. We are playing with hundreds to thousands of dollars.

One thing about working on the stones … it’s much harder to do really serious damage to a blade. Progress is too slow.

As with all of my posts this is just my opinion and I readily admit I may be wrong. It’s just my .02.
 

Philip Yu

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I really believe Mr. Swanson set the service at $80 because he wanted people to think about it. Most of the knives that have that request usually had a note saying, "I dont care what you do, just thin it everybody else does." And as a knife advocate I think he also believe that prople in the know will do their own mostly.
 

blokey

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The more I hear about TF’s weird wabisabi the more I want to try one out, is this Stockholm syndrome?
 

McMan

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The more I hear about TF’s weird wabisabi the more I want to try one out, is this Stockholm syndrome?
It's only Stockholm Syndrome once you already own one...
Before that, it's just plain old optimism.
 

tostadas

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The more I hear about TF’s weird wabisabi the more I want to try one out, is this Stockholm syndrome?
I've had I think every size TF from 150mm thru 240mm. They were all different, but I enjoyed each one. One consistent thing across them all was the steel is super hard. I'd recommend trying one or two and see if you like em. If not, they tend to hold their value quite well.

They also make a cleaver... one of these days I'll get one to play with.
 

Pie

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I agree with you completely. The three Denka’s that I purchased required no thinning IMO, to be completely satisfactory with minimal wedging. The stainless cladding on the TF’s is easy? to work with but my arthritic hands have lost the desire to spend whatever sharpening days they have left working stainless cladding. It’s a selfish point on my part. With the big Mab nakiri I figured that if any TF was going to need thinning the 195 would be the one. Here is a spine comparison pic between the 165 and 195 TF nakiri’s.

View attachment 175588 View attachment 175588

As a final point I wanted to try Ryan’s tuning and as a round trip for a knife over the border and back can cost over $200, I just told Ryan to use his judgement and thin as he thought necessary. I’m completely satisfied with his work and I believe my pics show that he delivers quality service.

I mean, it’s just not quite as bad as I thought it would be.. maybe not iron easy, but manageable, no? Yes, it did take forever but I did usually see some progress in between stone flattenings 🤣. I do love the tinkering process so it might just be my own craziness.

Either way, I went through huge amounts of time and stress doing it, and my geometry sure isn’t going to win any awards. Boy does it ever cut stuff tho. At my skill levels, you’d definitely get a better product sending it out to a professional.
 
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Jeff

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My experience thinning is that any significant thinning is a different animal to sharpening or putting an edge on a blade. It requires consistent attention, perseverance and consistency. The object is to move the Shinogi line upwards and reduce the amount of cladding equally on both sides to obtain the desired blade geometry. It’s not (or shouldn’t be) a process of grinding away inconsistently and haphazardly in search of what I don’t know. With my own blades I ”thin as I go” … regularly working above the edge to maintain a consistent shinogi line along the blade. Done as part of sharpening it’s a much more (IMO) manageable process. I’m less comfortable with the idea that this should be done as part of “re-engineering” the blade geometry. Perhaps this is the greatest criticism of TF’s … that it should be necessary to thin a stock blade at all. Maybe it just isn’t necessary at all!

I own a Tormek T8 and use it generally to sharpen knives made from German steel. I wouldn’t put any Japanese or western artisan craft blade on the Tormek. It is an amplified power system. It has a learning curve and because of the power that it can apply can be dangerous. Sharpening (or thinning) a 9” blade is a much different process to renewing the edge on a 3/4” wood chisel (where the Tormek excels). With practise, a steady hand and patience satisfactory results can be had with the Tormek, no question. I’ve never thinned a quality knife with mine. I would worry about the ease with which a valuable knife could be damaged. It’s much harder to put steel back on a blade (as in impossible) than it is to overgrind or damage a portion of the blade through lack of attention.

Ditto for most any powered belt sharpener. Lots of risk of damage … heat generation at the blade edge is an issue, even water cooled. That’s why I personally will leave it to the maker of the knife or an expert like Ryan Swanson. We are playing with hundreds to thousands of dollars.

One thing about working on the stones … it’s much harder to do really serious damage to a blade. Progress is too slow.

As with all of my posts this is just my opinion and I readily admit I may be wrong. It’s just my .02.

I absolutely agree with your well stated and well reasoned insights.

As for Tormek, I always envisioned it as a starting
point for sharpening or resetting an edge … the power to remove steel and the water to preserve the temper of the steel.

I saw TSProf as a finishing system. Wicked edge too, but for me, the motion of sharpening on WEPS always felt a little unnatural and awkward so I would tire quickly and shortcut the sharpening process on that system.
 

Jeff

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I really believe Mr. Swanson set the service at $80 because he wanted people to think about it. Most of the knives that have that request usually had a note saying, "I dont care what you do, just thin it everybody else does." And as a knife advocate I think he also believe that prople in the know will do their own mostly.

I think my personal teat on whether a blade “needs” thinning is wedging on carrot or butternut squash.

… just my thought.
 

JASinIL2006

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My sharpening skills are so rudimentary, I simply could not imagine going at a $500+ knife to remove enough material without causing some damage. On mine, the shinogi line after sharpening was noticeably higher on the blade, but the profile of the blade remained unchanged. No way I could have done that myself. (Not to mention the fact that the kurouchi finish would no doubt have taken some damage!) Pics below are before and after I sent the knife to Ryan at District Cutlery for thinning.

Before:
before.jpg



After:

after.jpg
 
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My sharpening skills are so rudimentary, I simply could not imagine going at a $500+ knife to remove enough material without causing some damage. On mine, the shinogi line after sharpening was noticeably higher on the blade, but the profile of the blade remained unchanged. No way I could have done that myself. (Not to mention the fact that the kurouchi finish would no doubt have taken some damage!) Pics below are before and after I sent the knife to Ryan at District Cutlery for thinning.

Before:
View attachment 175640


After:

View attachment 175641


My point exactly!

Further to that the fact that someone is capable of putting a KILLER edge on a knife DOES NOT (IMO) qualify that person as being capable of properly thinning the same knife.

Skills are acquired through practice. Watch Ryan’s video. In my opinion there is NO WAY even a skilled “home” sharpener can match Ryan’s abilities thinning given the thousands of knives he has handled and thinned. Ditto the maker who ground hundreds of pounds of steel to dust before producing a blade he could sell to anybody other than his parents. There are KKF members who professionally sharpen, thin and repair blades. What they all have in common (IMO) is developing their abilities through thousands of blades.

The home SHARPENER isn’t in the same league when it comes to thinning a blade. It’s like asking an ultra light pilot to take the controls of a jumbo jet and fly it from LAX to Heathrow. I have a knife currently in my posession … the maker is one of the guys that show up in WTB with the words “I know I have no chance of getting one of his knives but …”. I sold it as part of my fifty for one sale. Overwhelmed with the stupidity of what I did, I begged and bought it back. When it was enroute to me I was told “oh yeah … the knife was thinned, but still needs a bit of work”. I won’t go on but suffice to say I was sick when I opened the package and saw the knife. Sure … it was scary sharp but the geometry of the blade behind the edge to the now “wavy” shinogi line was ruined. Can I fix it … sort of … but it will never be exactly the same as the maker originally intended. I put it away and can’t bring myself to even look at it. Some day I’ll take on the restoration.

IMO … just because you can sharpen doesn’t mean you can thin … and if you can’t sharpen to professional standards you certainly can’t thin to professional standards. There is a lot more to thinning a blade than wailing away at it on a 160 grit stone. My advice … leave that job to the maker or a serious professional like Ryan Swanson.
 

Philip Yu

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I think my personal teat on whether a blade “needs” thinning is wedging on carrot or butternut squash.

… just my thought.
Im in the same boat. Im just seeing this service from Mr Swansons point of view. He did once say he received a lot of Fujiwaras in his career of doing this that he believes were brand new, only taken out of the box for pics. Or he would contact a client on how they perfered their knife thinned. Most answers were "IDK, my friend got it your way, I want that."
 
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I wonder if the F&F issues and internet reputation has led to people being overly critical of TFs and looking for flaws. Then again, I have seen a lot of ****ed up TFs, but it could still be that people are more perceptive of more minor flaws.

TBH, I'm not sure how I would feel about raising the shinogi so much. Seems like it would change the feel a bit (but I'm just speculating). It's not like the shinogi is super low like a Heiji or Takeda.

Anyway, I'm definitely going to get to know my Denka well when it comes before thinking about doing any thinning/using a service.
 

Philip Yu

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I wonder if the F&F issues and internet reputation has led to people being overly critical of TFs and looking for flaws. Then again, I have seen a lot of ****ed up TFs, but it could still be that people are more perceptive of more minor flaws.

TBH, I'm not sure how I would feel about raising the shinogi so much. Seems like it would change the feel a bit (but I'm just speculating). It's not like the shinogi is super low like a Heiji or Takeda.

Anyway, I'm definitely going to get to know my Denka well when it comes before thinking about doing any thinning/using a service.
This is why Id perfer that he calls it a tuning service. Thinning makes sound like hes in the lab taking chunks off. Tuning would mean taking what the client likes about the knife and bringing it out more would be more accurate IMO.
 
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While i dont have one specifically done by district cutlery i have a few and can say that they are phenomenal knives! All but one came off this forum and the other came from facebook so the wabi sabi was already a known factor, i vote buy one and if you hate it somebody will happily take it off your hands!
39A95505-5FC3-406E-BC6E-A6EE8D4CE2C3.jpeg
 

Jeff

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I wonder if the F&F issues and internet reputation has led to people being overly critical of TFs and looking for flaws. Then again, I have seen a lot of ****ed up TFs, but it could still be that people are more perceptive of more minor flaws.

TBH, I'm not sure how I would feel about raising the shinogi so much. Seems like it would change the feel a bit (but I'm just speculating). It's not like the shinogi is super low like a Heiji or Takeda.

Anyway, I'm definitely going to get to know my Denka well when it comes before thinking about doing any thinning/using a service.


I agree on knowing your knife before sending it in for thinning (otherwise how would you judge the improvement???)

IMHO - wedging is the issue. If it handles hard root veggies w/o wedging then it is performing well. If it splits a carrot, squash, etc., then thinning may be in order.

Currently I have a great super thin nakiri knife that never wedges. So that is my root veggie go-to knife.

I have had it a long tome and I have no idea about brand etc. I think I will post a photo and ask for assistance reading the kanji.

I also have a TAKAMURA MIGAKI SG2 210mm guyto and a 6”, 8”, and 10” Kramer carbon steel chefs which pass the root veggie test, although product does tend to stick to the blade.
 
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I agree with you completely. The three Denka’s that I purchased required no thinning IMO, to be completely satisfactory with minimal wedging. The stainless cladding on the TF’s is easy? to work with but my arthritic hands have lost the desire to spend whatever sharpening days they have left working stainless cladding. It’s a selfish point on my part. With the big Mab nakiri I figured that if any TF was going to need thinning the 195 would be the one. Here is a spine comparison pic between the 165 and 195 TF nakiri’s.

View attachment 175588 View attachment 175588

As a final point I wanted to try Ryan’s tuning and as a round trip for a knife over the border and back can cost over $200, I just told Ryan to use his judgement and thin as he thought necessary. I’m completely satisfied with his work and I believe my pics show that he delivers quality service.
You mentioned that some of your tfs have been thinned by other people, i was wondering if you had some one you used on our side of the border?
 
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I do have a couple that have been nicely thinned but none were done north of the border. I won’t even do significant thinning on my own knives any more. I honestly don’t know of anybody that I have direct experience with. Sorry.
 
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I do have a couple that have been nicely thinned but none were done north of the border. I won’t even do significant thinning on my own knives any more. I honestly don’t know of anybody that I have direct experience with. Sorry.
No worries! Ive never sent something back and forth to be worked on, is it typical to get hit with duties on the value of the knife going each way?
 

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I had Ryan thin two Takeda gyutos for me and he did a fantastic job. I would use them only selectively because they were such poor performers on dense stuff and onions, but they're so much better now. And in addition to the grind adjustment, he got them nicely polished and stupid sharp. If I ever get a TF that needs work, I know where I'll send it. And If I ever want to buy one new and not have to worry about the TF lottery.
 
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