Kai Shun Classic and pull through sharpener challenge

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Jun 10, 2022
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Professional dumbass here: do not attempt dumb stuff like me.

A good friend of mine is a professional chef or at least he was for most of his career. He’s a head chef now and does more managing than cooking. Anyways, he’s got knives and I’ve got stones so you know the drill. Well I got 4 new stones in recently so I’ve been pestering him more than usual and he provided me a knife roll with about 10 knives in it. So I check the knives out when I get home and they’re all pretty sharp. I spot one of notable quality, what appears to be a Kai Shun scalloped Classic Chef knife. I figure this one will be good to start with.

So just doing my little assessment of the knife. The tip is beat up so that will be something to fix. The bevel seems short but the edge is sharp to the touch. Then I remembered that Mr. Chef bought a pretty expensive electric pull though sharpener recently. Hmmmm. This knife was too sharp to have gotten any significant use, he must have used it on this knife. Could a pull through sharpener cut arm hair, I thought. It turns out, yes, pretty well actually. I was impressed. Under magnification (cheap phone clip on magnifier) the bevel and cutting edge are well defined. In a commercial setting that electric sharpener is surprisingly good.

…… but I’m not a commercial setting. So the tip is fubarred, that’s one thing to fix, and I notice that the knife is pretty thick behind the bevel. Some thinning would do it good. I used it to cut something, forget what it was, and noticed that it cut well in slicing motions but push cuts had more resistance. It wasn’t a laser.

I ran through a diamond and stone progression and when I got to a polishing stone the area behind the bevel was still thick. I needed to spend a lot more time on a heavy cutter. Back down to the 150 diamond plate. This is a SK-11 150/600 grit double sided plate. It goes for about $32 at the local hardware stores. After what seemed like forever the 150 grit side was done and it was time for the 600 grit side.

From there i did a couple of edge leading swipes on a DMT fine then progressed to a Sigma Power 2K (picture with the pink stone). This is one of my favorite stones. Very hard, fast cutting, and produces excellent edges.

I tested it cutting some cucumbers and noted the effort was greatly reduced. Big difference with a thinner edge. Now it felt like a laser.

Not pictured was further work on a Sigma Power Select II 6000, then some very light alternating strokes on some finishing Arkansas, and then stropping on pasted balsa. The final product is sharp enough to pop hair. I think Mr. Chef will be quite pleased with this.


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