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Dave Martell

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One of the things I hope to be able to do more of with this new forum is to answer sharpening questions that you may have. Please feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer.

I also would like to encourage seasoned sharpeners to help answer these questions too, it's great to have different views on things.

Dave
 

Darkhoek

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One of the things I hope to be able to do more of with this new forum is to answer sharpening questions that you may have. Please feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer.

I also would like to encourage seasoned sharpeners to help answer these questions too, it's great to have different views on things.

Dave
Well, I wouldn't describe myself as a seasoned sharpener, but I have done a lot of trial and error with JNATs and different steels and might be able to pass on some good advise for the newbies. For the more experienced, Dave and Maxim will be a far better source.

Hoek
 

Jim

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Here's one for you Dave, what's the skinny on stropping single bevel knives? any order to the proccess?
 

maxim

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Well, I wouldn't describe myself as a seasoned sharpener, but I have done a lot of trial and error with JNATs and different steels and might be able to pass on some good advise for the newbies. For the more experienced, Dave and Maxim will be a far better source.

Hoek
I am seasoned sharpener too, i do not do it professional like Dave :)
 

Vertigo

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One of the things I hope to be able to do more of with this new forum is to answer sharpening questions that you may have. Please feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer.

I also would like to encourage seasoned sharpeners to help answer these questions too, it's great to have different views on things.

Dave
Dave,

Why am I still a terrible sharpener after 6 months of practice?

Thanks,

Jack
 

stereo.pete

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Dave and experts,

When I wash my knife after use I use a scotch-brite dish sponge and I use the dark green coarse side. Could the extra coarse dark green side be causing my edges to go dull so quickly from very little use (home cooking)?

The sponges I use look like this... http://www.cleansweepsupply.com/pages/item-mmm74cc.html
 

steeley

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Dave awhile ago you were talking about sharpening the tip of a knife
that you taught in your classes .
Ive seen Jon vid I just wanted your take on it .
your method that is.
 

deanb

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Pete - Yeah, that green scrubber will dull your edge. Just use the sponge.
 

SpikeC

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I went to a less abrasive scrubber when I saw what those were doing to some of my cookware!
 

Dave Martell

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Here's one for you Dave, what's the skinny on stropping single bevel knives? any order to the proccess?
This is controversial for sure. Even I hate to tell people to do this because of edge rolling issues, many will do more harm then good. I think for the majority of people a really fine stone will yield better results.

OK that said, the safest way to go is hard felt or a leather with very little give. the felt is nice because you can lean on it and not round over the edge where leather you have to use a lighter touch.

As for the actual process it's the same as double bevels.
 

Dave Martell

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Dave and experts,

When I wash my knife after use I use a scotch-brite dish sponge and I use the dark green coarse side. Could the extra coarse dark green side be causing my edges to go dull so quickly from very little use (home cooking)?

The sponges I use look like this... http://www.cleansweepsupply.com/pages/item-mmm74cc.html

I can't say for sure that they're dulling your edges but I'm going to guess that it's probably not so good for them.
 

Dave Martell

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Dave awhile ago you were talking about sharpening the tip of a knife
that you taught in your classes .
Ive seen Jon vid I just wanted your take on it .
your method that is.

I had a big problem early on with sharpening tips. I did the usual method of lean harder which does nothing more than make a flat (or bird's beak) behind the tip. To conquer this I came up with the idea to stop (at the tip) when I see a black streak form on the stone - then (holding the angle/handle raised) I lift the knife off of the stone, raise the handle about 1-2 deg more, and then hit the stone again while pushing the tip down into the stone and flexing the knife. It sounds stupid but works very well for not only keeping correct angles and coverage but in making a super pointy tip. The day I first did this made tip sharpening problems disappear for me.
 

Cadillac J

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Why am I still a terrible sharpener after 6 months of practice?
Not sure if you were just being a bit funny or looking for a real answer here.

Can you narrow down what your main problem as been: consistent angle? wrong pressure? burr removal/wire edges, etc?
 

Vertigo

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Not sure if you were just being a bit funny or looking for a real answer here.
My problem is consistency from session to session, which breeds impatience and tempts me to buy a jig.

When starting out, I wanted to be much better at it than I was, so I learned some bad habits. I tried the magic marker trick a half a dozen times, but hated how it messed with the color of the swarf and gave up on it. Then I spent a good deal of time retraining myself, slowing down, paying more attention to the stones and the steel, and have gotten much better. Still, there are days when I sharpen my work knife and get ****** results, and other days when I sharpen it and get that spooky edge that makes your arm hair tremble in fear. Couldn't tell you what the difference is from day to day, but on the days that I'm "off," it's pretty damn annoying.

An example... after getting my CCK I spent quite some time trying to "open it up," and at the end of the session I had an edge just barely sharper than it was out of the box. Just couldn't get it right. But the next day after work, I was supposed to meet a friend at the bar for drinks and to loan him the cleaver. Since I'd beat it up at work that day and was already late, I gave the Bester 1200 a quick soak and then took the CCK to it. The burr popped up like nobody's business, I flipped it a few times, removed it, and then stropped a few times with chromium oxide for a bit of polish. 5-6 minutes tops I think? The edge sung when you thumbed it. It was stupidly sharp, off just a 1.2k.

I can't tell you why I did a better job when I was in a rush to meet someone for drinks than when I had all night. A skill this temperamental "doesn't compute."
 

Pensacola Tiger

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My problem is consistency from session to session, which breeds impatience and tempts me to buy a jig.

... I tried the magic marker trick a half a dozen times, but hated how it messed with the color of the swarf and gave up on it.
Jack,

The key to consistency is to know what it is that you're doing, and that's the reason for the "magic marker trick", it just makes it easier to see what's happening to the bevel you're working on, and allow you to correct the angle. The point is to get immediate feedback for what you're doing - this is how learning happens.

If you don't care for the color of the swarf when you use a magic marker (although I don't see what the swarf color has to do with sharpening), then try wiping vinegar along the edge of your CCK with a Q-tip to force some patina there. You are using a 10x or better loupe, right? The naked eye just won't cut it (pun intended) to see if you are hitting the correct angle.

Now the whole object of this exercise is to develop what is called "muscle memory", which is what is needed for consistency. As has been duly noted elsewhere in this thread, it's something that is gained over time, and six months is probably not sufficient, especially since you haven't been getting adequate and timely feedback.

Or, as you say, you could buy an Edge Pro. It won't get you any cred with the freehand folks, but you will get a sharp knife, every time.

Hope this makes sense.

Rick
 

steeley

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I had a big problem early on with sharpening tips. I did the usual method of lean harder which does nothing more than make a flat (or bird's beak) behind the tip. To conquer this I came up with the idea to stop (at the tip) when I see a black streak form on the stone - then (holding the angle/handle raised) I lift the knife off of the stone, raise the handle about 1-2 deg more, and then hit the stone again while pushing the tip down into the stone and flexing the knife. It sounds stupid but works very well for not only keeping correct angles and coverage but in making a super pointy tip. The day I first did this made tip sharpening problems disappear for me.
Thanks Dave
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I am going to ask a question, that I think many would benefit from the answer.

After sharpening free hand for a couple of years (with pretty good results) I still struggle a little bit with a tip on a gyuto, particularly, when I am trying to put a microbevel.

Dave, what do you think (as somebody who must have struggled with this yourself at one time) would be a good approach to deal with this problem?

Funny, I post this and see your response quoted. :)
M
 

Eamon Burke

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I've never had trouble with tips. The only time they've given me a hard time is when I am trying to maintain the bevel on someone's knife and it has a really wide(re: acute) tip bevel. I'm not sure what causes this phenomenon, but I've seen many knives from cheapo kitchen knives to a Buck Vantage pro that, after the belly, they just go haywire and the edge gets either very acute or very obtuse.

I have two methods. One is that I sharpen standing up most of the time, and when I am doing the tip, I pick up my right hip some. This might sound odd, but I sort of sharpen with my whole body--if I just move my arms my bevels will not stay flat.

The second(probably less crazy sounding) is that I do all of my sharpening by ear; that is, I know when I am hitting the edge or not, by the sound the steel makes on the stone. Perhaps there are stones that provide poor aural feedback, but none I've used do. Especially on Japanese soakers when you get a slurry going--they are very noisy, and I found it very helpful when I was new. Essentially I just maintain the same sound throughout.

I just realized that we might be talking about something entirely different. I sure hope not.
 

Cadillac J

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I also have never had problems with sharpening the tips, as I've just always pretended the knife was laying on an invisible plane that held the angle, so I would have to lift the handle up and twist my wrist a bit to keep it consistent.

Most of my problems that I've had were in the first 6 months of sharpening, but were usually related to burr removal, pressure allocation, inconsistent angles and lack of intuitiveness in sound/feel that is only learned through experience.

I remember having my frustrations back then and thought about getting an EP at the time, but decided to continue to keep at freehanding...and then everything just kind of 'clicking' one day. From there on out, the edges I could produce were better than anything I've ever seen and my results were consistently good, and continued to get even better each time. Now everything is just so natural and I can't remember the last time I had any type of real issues while sharpening.
 

spaceconvoy

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I also have never had problems with sharpening the tips, as I've just always pretended the knife was laying on an invisible plane that held the angle, so I would have to lift the handle up and twist my wrist a bit to keep it consistent.
That's what I do... also, I try to imagine the curved surface of the bevel by itself, detached from the knife. Just keep that parallel to the stone and don't even think about the face of the blade.

I've never thought tips were a problem, but a lot of people ask about them, and it makes me wonder whether I'm actually doing it right. I don't sharpen very often so it might be a year or two before I see a bird beak develop - I guess time will tell.
 

jaybett

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My problem is consistency from session to session, which breeds impatience and tempts me to buy a jig.

When starting out, I wanted to be much better at it than I was, so I learned some bad habits. I tried the magic marker trick a half a dozen times, but hated how it messed with the color of the swarf and gave up on it. Then I spent a good deal of time retraining myself, slowing down, paying more attention to the stones and the steel, and have gotten much better. Still, there are days when I sharpen my work knife and get ****** results, and other days when I sharpen it and get that spooky edge that makes your arm hair tremble in fear. Couldn't tell you what the difference is from day to day, but on the days that I'm "off," it's pretty damn annoying.

An example... after getting my CCK I spent quite some time trying to "open it up," and at the end of the session I had an edge just barely sharper than it was out of the box. Just couldn't get it right. But the next day after work, I was supposed to meet a friend at the bar for drinks and to loan him the cleaver. Since I'd beat it up at work that day and was already late, I gave the Bester 1200 a quick soak and then took the CCK to it. The burr popped up like nobody's business, I flipped it a few times, removed it, and then stropped a few times with chromium oxide for a bit of polish. 5-6 minutes tops I think? The edge sung when you thumbed it. It was stupidly sharp, off just a 1.2k.

I can't tell you why I did a better job when I was in a rush to meet someone for drinks than when I had all night. A skill this temperamental "doesn't compute."
I used to have a similar issue with my cleavers, they'd get sharp on the lower grit stones, and dull on the higher grit stones. Either I was multi-beveling the edge or rolling the edge. I think it was multi-beveling.

Learning to sharpen on your own, is a challenge. How does all that information on the internet and videos, translate into action? What feedback is important to pay attention to, and what can be ignored?

In my bumbling stumbling style of sharpening, I try as best as I can to identify an issue and then try to find an answer.

Watching a Curtis video, he mentioned that he counts down the number of strokes he does on each side the blade. I tried that, and found that I wasn't using my stones to their best advantage. Now I sharpen on a stone, until I can't tell if there is any improvement on the edge, before I move to the next stone.

Sharpening has been a series of baby steps. I'm either trying to solve a problem or try out an idea from the internet. Failure causes me to think of a new idea. Success means moving on to the next issue. To me an experienced sharpener is one who has solved all sorts of issues and tried a number of ideas.

Jay
 

Kim

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Broke out a 1/4 inch chunk on the blade. Can't post a picture. Any special care required to regrind the blade?
 

chinacats

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Welcome Kim! Someone will be along with help shortly...you have stones? What type knife?
 

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Where on the edge is it broken? Almost always if you chip off the tip you actually bring to top of the knife (non-cutting edge) down to the cutting edge, rather than sharpen the whole thing up
 

Dave Martell

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Don't bother answering this last question. The member asked to be removed from the list so he won't be here to follow up.
 

KeiOkay

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Hello Everyone,

Although "I've been sharpening for years" (more like 4), but I still feel like a beginner (especially compared to people here). Although I have many questions, first I'd like to ask everyone about something I've been curious about.

When I sharpened knives in the past, I would do a series of edge leading strokes on the stones that would do the entire edge in a single stroke. And save the edge trailing strokes when finishing/stropping. But I've also seen people do edge-leading and trailing strokes both the whole edge and sections at a time (like one inch or so at a time, working their way across the edge).

I recently picked up a yanagi and I'm not sure which style to use to sharpen it. I've looked at the single bevel sharpening thread by Dave and he doesn't give these specifics. So now my questions. Why do people do the different styles? I feel like using single strokes for a whole edge helps me make a more even edge, but what are other people's preferences?

Thanks!
 
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