How frequently do you destress your edges?

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So an interesting video popped up on Reddit, an old cliffstamp video showing a method of sharpening without purposefully creating a burr.

He starts off by destressing the fatigued metal with a few light perpendicular cuts into the stone to remove the existing apex (like everyone’s favorite burrfection). It’s not something I’ve ever thought of doing, since all of my sharpening has been about chasing burrs and trying to prevent wire edges.

It makes some sense to me, since the very tip of the apex is where most of the stress of cutting would be occurring. I don’t feel like breaking out calculations to figure out roughly how much force the apex is seeing during cutting, but it wouldn’t be hard to convince me that board impact would cause enough stress to be above the fatigue limit for steel.

I do know that cliff did some prior testing comparing edge retention of touching up with ceramic stones vs sharpening steels, and he mentioned at the time he believed the reason why the ceramic material outperformed the steel over repeated sessions was due to the stone removing fatigued metal instead of moving it back into place.

But I’m an idiot with rocks who only ever has to sharpen for his own, low volume usage, so I’m interested in ya’lls experiences with the topic.

Have you noticed fatiguing/reduced edge retention from certain sharpening mediums or methods? Is destressing the edge before sharpening something you do?
 
I never do it. A number of folks do, especially after Cliff's videos but I just never have.

Not necessarily saying there isn't something to it but I don't find my edges die all that fast anyway.
 
I never do, but if my edge shows deflections or micro chips those will get sharpened out at some point (once enough build up to convince me they should be taken care of).

I suppose the deflections and chips become more likely as the edge gets fatigued, and sharpening them out removes the fatigued metal. So basically I’m just waiting for the fatigue to build up enough to be a problem, then dealing with it at that point.
 
I've done it a few times. I reserve it for trouble shooting. If there's a knife that seems to lose it's edge to quickly in use, I'll do it hoping it's just fatigued metal.
 
Interesting to read all! I figured standard sharpening and chasing burrs would remove fatigued metal for sure, so it makes sense that it may not be as big of an issue as I thought.

Curious to see if anyone has used a steel frequently for touch ups, as it’d be interesting to see if they noticed any issues with that method or if it’s completely overblown as a concern
 
Generally if I want to flatten an apex I will do it by pounding the knife into the board driving it through vegetables. That's generally why I find the knife needs to be sharpened actually. If the apex wasn't beat to hell then it would still be sharp.
If you are chopping with your knife you might want to change the sharpening angle to a higher degree. Why fatigue the steel. You are only wasting away your knife.
 
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Never. I consider burr formation and removal to serve the same purpose - taking off the weak/damaged metal, just in a different order.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have the confidence in judging when the apex is good without the burr (or lack thereof), but that’s my own personal limitation.
 
Never. I consider burr formation and removal to serve the same purpose - taking off the weak/damaged metal, just in a different order.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have the confidence in judging when the apex is good without the burr (or lack thereof), but that’s my own personal limitation.
I agree. Fatigued steel gets removed by raising a burr. Quite often though a burr appears before the very edge has been reached, as may be verified with the sharpie trick. A loupe helps.
 
Yeah if I want to distress a knife I use Stringer’s method, and then an SP1k burr takes care of the de-stressing.
 
Interesting to read all! I figured standard sharpening and chasing burrs would remove fatigued metal for sure, so it makes sense that it may not be as big of an issue as I thought.

Curious to see if anyone has used a steel frequently for touch ups, as it’d be interesting to see if they noticed any issues with that method or if it’s completely overblown as a concern
There is a problem if you maintain an edge only by honing with a fine steel rod. I somehow believe it is more a problem with some stainless than with carbons. Fatigued steel isn't being removed. At some moment you will notice that steeling doesn't work any longer, nor touching up with a very fine stone. Time for a full sharpening. I start by 320. Thin behind the edge to compensate for the lost width. The feedback should tell whether you've reached fresh steel. When in doubt: sharpie + loupe.
 
There is a problem if you maintain an edge only by honing with a fine steel rod. I somehow believe it is more a problem with some stainless than with carbons. Fatigued steel isn't being removed. At some moment you will notice that steeling doesn't work any longer, nor touching up with a very fine stone. Time for a full sharpening. I start by 320. Thin behind the edge to compensate for the lost width. The feedback should tell whether you've reached fresh steel. When in doubt: sharpie + loupe.
I am sure I understand what you are saying with honing as carbon steel is very soft compared to stainless steel unless you are talking super steels. Is it not a problem with carbon steel honing because it will remove the steel whereas with stainless steel it is more folding it back in place?

It is why carbon steel sharpens so easily.
 
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There is a problem if you maintain an edge only by honing with a fine steel rod. I somehow believe it is more a problem with some stainless than with carbons. Fatigued steel isn't being removed. At some moment you will notice that steeling doesn't work any longer, nor touching up with a very fine stone. Time for a full sharpening. I start by 320. Thin behind the edge to compensate for the lost width. The feedback should tell whether you've reached fresh steel. When in doubt: sharpie + loupe.

That definitely lines up with my own limited experience. Growing up my mom had an unknown brand stainless knife she got second hand, she’s only ever used a steel to maintain it. I’m not sure if that thing has ever maintained a nail biting edge past a single session and the edge has turned into a piece of bacon. Kinda amazing it hasn’t started started chipping out, and it’s mostly maintained it’s height despite multiple sterling’s a week, but that’s the power of soft stainless I suppose
 
Soft stainless is both tough and very abrasion resistant.
Yes, I agree that it is abrasion resistant, and it is why it is hard to sharpen. Carbon steel like 1095 steel is tough and that is why it bends rather than breaks.

I have a lot of old carbon steel knives both folding and stick knives probably 50 or more years old.
 
I am sure I understand what you are saying with honing as carbon steel is very soft compared to stainless steel unless you are talking super steels. Is it not a problem with carbon steel honing because it will remove the steel whereas with stainless steel it is more folding it back in place?

It is why carbon steel sharpens so easily.
The main problem with soft stainless as Krupp's 4116 is in the lack of edge stability, with its relatively large hard chromium carbides in a soft environment, the matrix. Fine stones don't abrade the chromium carbides but do remove some of the matrix, making the carbides breaking out more likely to happen. This is why highly polished edges don't hold with this steel. It has nothing to do with the steel being soft as such: soft carbons do take and hold highly polished edges.
 
Krupps 4116 is a definition of a steel for German knives. I have owned several German stainless knives that behave differently to each other. I have owned several German stainless knives. The steel is not all the same. I even owned a cheaper Henckels knife. I had to sharpen it a lot more often than my Henckels 4 or 5 star knives. I even owned a Swedish knife that was not as good. So,I don't think you can lump everything into just being a Krupps 4116 steel.

There lots of stainless steels all the way until you get too non-magnetic. Non-magnetic probably would be terrible for blades but great for sailboats.
 
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Nothing cuts through the stressed and fatigued apex like a nice deep double rock chop edge massage.

Then all ready to sharpen again.


Never seen that one before. I would not have known what a "double rock chop" was, without the video.

Is there a reason to do it that way, rather than just cut fine to begin with, or are you just having fun?
 
That’s how I was taught to mince herbs, if not quite that fast. Once done, it’s important to speak words of encouragement to the edge, especially if bought in the last few years.
 
Never seen that one before. I would not have known what a "double rock chop" was, without the video.

Is there a reason to do it that way, rather than just cut fine to begin with, or are you just having fun?

Need to watch old Jacque Pepin videos. He was the master at that stuff. Well, not even that old. He would still do it pretty regularly up until a few years ago. I haven't seen him do it for awhile.
 
Never seen that one before. I would not have known what a "double rock chop" was, without the video.

Is there a reason to do it that way, rather than just cut fine to begin with, or are you just having fun?
One reason is that you are much less likely to chip a knife that way. With the single rock you are inevitably rotating the knife while the edge is in contact with the board.
 
Krupps 4116 is a definition of a steel for German knives. I have owned several German stainless knives that behave differently to each other. I have owned several German stainless knives. The steel is not all the same. I even owned a cheaper Henckels knife. I had to sharpen it a lot more often than my Henckels 4 or 5 star knives. I even owned a Swedish knife that was not as good. So,I don't think you can lump everything into just being a Krupps 4116.
Wüsthof, Zwilling, Victotinox, Burgvogel do actually use Krupp's 4116. Properties may differ according to the given HT. Haven't seen any 4116 where the lack of edge stability didn't apply, though.
 
Never seen that one before. I would not have known what a "double rock chop" was, without the video.

Is there a reason to do it that way, rather than just cut fine to begin with, or are you just having fun?
I do it that way because it is fast. The only faster way to do it is a food processor and that will bruise the garlic much more. It actually isn't very hard on edges either because the knife is just bouncing/tapping on the board. The key is to not have the edge digging into the board as you turn the blade by only using the weight of the blade to cut the ingredients, no extra force.
 
I agree. Fatigued steel gets removed by raising a burr. Quite often though a burr appears before the very edge has been reached, as may be verified with the sharpie trick. A loupe helps.

While this may appear to be true, Cliff argued that anytime you introduce a burr you are in fact weakening the metal BEHIND the burr. He would use an example of bending a coat hanger made of metal where it's very obvious to see that the metal behind the bend was also damaged.
 
Nothing cuts through the stressed and fatigued apex like a nice deep double rock chop edge massage.

Then all ready to sharpen again.



Cliff would likely not agree with this method actually detressing the edge as it means taking an abrasive to the edge with a controlled grinding motion at 90 degree angle. Cutting boards in general are not very abrasive and I would expect the force involved here would have the opposite effect of destressing the edge. This may succeed in the second reason for detressing, which is to put a light flat on the apex so that light will reflect along the length of the edge. This helps in grinding only to the point of seeing the light stop reflecting so that you know it's ready to switch to apexing on a finishing stone.
 
Cliff would likely not agree with this method actually detressing the edge as it means taking an abrasive to the edge with a controlled grinding motion at 90 degree angle. Cutting boards in general are not very abrasive and I would expect the force involved here would have the opposite effect of destressing the edge. This may succeed in the second reason for detressing, which is to put a light flat on the apex so that light will reflect along the length of the edge. This helps in grinding only to the point of seeing the light stop reflecting so that you know it's ready to switch to apexing on a finishing stone.
My point is that I am not going to cut anything at a 90 degree angle to the edge but food. Waste of metal.
 
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