Looking for some advice

Discussion in 'Sharpening Station' started by Scarfmace, Feb 25, 2019.

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  1. Feb 25, 2019 #1

    Scarfmace

    Scarfmace

    Scarfmace

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    Hey Everybody,

    Here I am again with some info request:

    A couple weeks ago I've bough my first couple of "real" knives:
    Miyabi 4000FC Guyoth
    Miyabi 4000FC Shotoh
    F-Dick Boning knife

    When I was reading trough previous posts and requests, I've noticed that one basic stone kept popping up and that was the Shapton Pro 1000, so I bough that one as well.
    Now for the time being, the knives mentioned above are still plenty sharp, but my other basic X50CrMoV15 kitchen knives could use a touchup so I educated my self trough YouTube and had a go at it.

    It didn't take long before I got a decent edge and was able to cut paper again. But after that, nothing notable changed. I did about 20 on each side to get to get to the paper cutting, then did 20 more, and 20 more, no improvements.

    Now I also own a Lansky sharpening system and I can get a razor sharp edge with the 1000 stone.


    - Is this about as sharp as I can expect from the Shapton stone?

    - Looking at the knives I have above, Is this a good basic stone or should I go with a different one?

    - Anything I'm missing?
     
  2. Feb 25, 2019 #2

    Michi

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    Difficult to say what is going wrong without being able to actually see the sharpening :)

    You should get an extremely sharp edge on your X50CrMoV15 knives with just that one stone. At a guess, it may be that you are pressing too hard during burr removal, essentially crushing the edge that you established earlier.

    Be careful with YouTube sharpening videos if you are new to this. There are many more absolutely terrible videos out there than good ones,.

    For a really good introduction to the basics, I recommend this:


    Once you have watched that, take the next step. @Sailor and @JBroida have put together a really good series on sharpening. You can find those videos at

    https://www.knifeplanet.net

    If you are still having problems after practising that, I'd suggest that you put a camera near your whetstone and video yourself sharpening one of your knives and post a link to the video. With that, there'll be plenty of people here who can advise you as to what you might improve.

    Cheers,

    Michi.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  3. Feb 25, 2019 #3

    Nemo

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    It's also worth looking at Jon Broida's JKI knife sharpening series.
     
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  4. Feb 25, 2019 #4

    Michi

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    Yes. That's the next stop, to get the advanced stuff, such as single-bevel knives, thinning, and a ton of other things. You can find Jon's videos here:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpgJbCAVxzDHKaKYeuGYyOA

    The Korin "How to sharpen" series of videos is also very good:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsSxXLQSZIe__A5THcrFGto9_PSkXWiN6

    If you watch all those recommendations, you will have seen the bulk of the high-quality sharpening videos out there, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  5. Feb 25, 2019 #5

    Nemo

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    I think that the way that Jon teaches many of the basics is pretty good too. Especially the best way to hold the knife while sharpening to minimise wobble. Wobble could well be responsible for the difference between your results with guided sharpening and freehand sharpening.

    As Michi has said, it is also possible that you are applying too much pressure in the later stages of sharpening, which will often induce a large burr or wire edge. As @Sailor demonstrates in his videos, after you have raised a burr, you should gradually reduce pressure until you are eventually sharpening with barely the weight of the knife.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  6. Feb 25, 2019 #6

    Knife2meatu

    Knife2meatu

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    A few thoughts:
    • The Shapton Pro/Ha No Kuromaku 1k is on the rougher end of the spectrum of Japanese 1k stones I've tried.
    • The biggest challenge with getting a sharper edge free hand is usually holding a consistent angle; the Lansky takes care of that.
    • If the sharpening angle is already consistent, the next step in getting a sharper edge will be gradual lightening of pressure until the blade is barely touching the stone.
    • "Cutting paper" is a really crude test. Slicing printer paper is quite doable off a #100-#200 grit stone, just as long as the edge is burr-free; push-cutting cigarette rolling paper across the grain at 90-90-90 can be a challenge even with a 4k or 8k stone, if technique isn't there.
     
  7. Feb 25, 2019 #7

    Michi

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    Not wanting to be a contrarian here, but I'm getting increasingly disillusioned with the paper cut tests. I don't eat paper, so why would I want to cut it? Besides, even if the knife cuts paper, that doesn't mean it'll cut food.

    To me, the test is whether the knife will effortlessly cut through a ripe tomato, a bell pepper, or the waxy skin on various chillies. To me, if it does, it's a knife that's fit to prepare a meal. If it doesn't, no go, try again.

    And, yes, I've had a few knives by now that will cut paper beautifully, but will fail the tomato test. Go figure…
     
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  8. Feb 25, 2019 #8

    Knife2meatu

    Knife2meatu

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    I'd love to only test on ripe tomatoes, but they don't keep nearly as well as a stack of newsprint or an old phone book. Besides, I'd feel much worse about tossing a pile of tomato scraps into the waste bin than a pile of shredded bits of paper.

    I've yet to see a knife which exhibits good slicing aggression on newsprint not be perfectly usable for slicing foodstuff. And as I've gotten more used to using consistent motions to draw knives through test media, and made a better effort to use consistent material to test with, I've been able to get more accurate impressions of edge quality from not just "if" a blade cuts -- but sound, and tactile feedback. And that's just from slicing.
     
  9. Feb 25, 2019 #9

    Michi

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    I generally eat the results of my test cuts. A bit of salt and pepper, and maybe a slice of bread, and I have a meal fit for a king ;)
    I'm still baffled by the paper test thing. I've said elsewhere that, after finishing a knife on my 5000 stone, I have something that cuts both paper and tomato really well. Then I strop on chromium oxide (suede side of the leather) and with black Solingen paste (smooth side of the leather). Once I've done that, the knife clearly cuts paper better than it did before stropping. Smoother cut surface, glides through the paper with even less effort, and makes less noise. And it's worse at cutting tomato…

    Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I don't know. I tried again just yesterday, with a ZDP-189 knife. Before stropping, it cut paper well, and it cut tomato well. After stropping (very, very lightly, five strokes on each side), it cut paper even better. But not tomato.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  10. Feb 25, 2019 #10

    Knife2meatu

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    Unfortunately, there are moments when I want to get a feeling for how I've done sharpening, but don't particularly want to cook anything. I suppose I could wait until later, but impatience is a demanding mistress.
    I suppose that if what you want to do after a 5k stone is cut tomato, the best result with a paper test isn't "glides through paper with even less effort, and makes less noise" but rather slightly more effort, and more noise -- both of which you can ascertain with the paper cut test. And I guess you have your result: no stropping on CrOx after a 5k stone. On the other hand, when I'm done sharpening my kitchen knife on my fine Crystolon, I feel that a few laps on CrOx only improves the edge. And I've found that there's a detectable difference pre and post stropping when test cutting newsprint.

    I suppose I agree with you that cutting paper is meaningless per se; but where I feel that it is useful, is that I can infer probable performance from paper test results for a particular sharpening process, based on prior experience of how that sharpening process performed in real world usage.
     
  11. Feb 25, 2019 #11

    Michi

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    I'm not trying to suggest that the paper test is useless. Clearly, if a knife won't cut paper, chances are that it won't cut anything else either.

    Maybe it's just me being disillusioned. I lovingly prepared my strops and very carefully stropped my knives, and was delighted when I discovered how much better they cut paper after stropping. And then went to cook dinner and found that, after all, those tomatoes wouldn't budge unless I deliberately pushed or pulled to get the cut started.

    I honestly don't know whether it's just me. For now, I'm holding the stropping at arms length. I'll continue to use the strops. But not without trying on a real tomato before and after, so at least I get to learn something.

    I've heard other people say that stropping is great for razors, and not so great for kitchen knives. I'm planning to find out for myself…
     
  12. Feb 25, 2019 #12

    Knife2meatu

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    I can't remember if I've ever gone to such refinement -- I know that I've tried go up to 8k or 12k on stones with a kitchen knife before, and I know that I've tried using strops after low grits. But I don't recall ever giving the whole straight razor treatment to a knife.

    Have you checked if the stropped edge had improved the knife's chopping performance? If I'm using the term correctly -- I'm rather unaware of cooking terminology -- and chopping is straight up-and-down, basically push-cutting food against the board; then besides being mostly a test of blade geometry, it should correlate with edge polish and keenness and thus also with paper push-cutting. Or so I would imagine.
     
  13. Feb 25, 2019 #13

    Michi

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    To be clear, my highest-grit stone is a Rika 5000, so what I mentioned relates to stropping after finishing with that stone. I've heard lots of people say that there is no point in going beyond 5000 or 6000 for kitchen knives. Seeing that they are far more experienced than me, I'm taking their word for it.
    Yes, I'm referring to chopping when I say that the knife cuts paper better, and cuts tomato worse after stropping. (Mind you, that is chopping with light pressure, not hacking down.)

    Before stropping, it takes very little effort to get a straight-down cut started on a tomato. After stropping, it takes more effort. And, even if I saw back and forth a little (with light pressure), the knife edge tends to to just glide on the skin, until I apply enough pressure to break the skin. Thereafter, obviously, the knife just falls through the tomato.

    I'm thinking that the famed toothy-ness might have something to do with it. After stropping, the knife edge is cleaner, and looking at the bevel with a 20x loupe confirms that the stropping has a burnishing effect. I suspect that the edge has become smoother (both across and along the axis of the knife) and "lost its teeth", so it won't break the skin of a tomato as well, even though it cuts paper much better.
     
  14. Feb 25, 2019 #14

    Knife2meatu

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    Man, you're really making me wish I had a bunch of ripe tomatoes right now.
     
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  15. Feb 25, 2019 #15

    Michi

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    Looking back at the beginning of this thread, I now feel sorry for @Scarfmace… Mate, don't mind all the obsessive people in this discussion. For now, just enjoy learning how to use your 1000 Shapton Pro.

    And enjoy it while it lasts. Because chances are that, six months from now, you'll sound just like the rest of us ;)
     
  16. Feb 25, 2019 #16

    Uncle Mike

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    I don’t usually have tons of Zig Zag lying around anymore.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Feb 25, 2019 #17

    Knife2meatu

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    I believe a more standard test sample is Rizla Green.
     
  18. Feb 25, 2019 #18

    PappaG

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    To the OP: You have a great starting stone. Nothing wrong with it.

    However, its nearly impossible for any of us to judge the quality of your edge over the internet. You can try posting pictures and a video, and it still might be hard. What more do you want out of your edge?
    Its very easy for us to recommend all sorts of stones (because this is a sub forum dedicated to sharpening), but what do you find missing from your edge or its performance? I would suggest you give us some more information to help. Having said that, I think you could further refine and enjoy sharpening on a shapton pro 2000 and/or the Rika 5000. Two very good stones. Maybe we need a sub-sub forum dedicated to stones people do not recommend and why. there are so many good stones out there...
     
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  19. Feb 25, 2019 #19

    WildBoar

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    This issue with cutting tomatoes is pretty well known. An edge sharpened much above 1000 can often struggle to cut through the skin. If you will be doing a lot of tomato prep it is often useful to use a knife that has not been taken to 5000+
     
  20. Feb 25, 2019 #20

    CoteRotie

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    LOL no doubt! And six months after that he'll be shopping for the perfect Jnat :)
     
  21. Feb 25, 2019 #21

    inferno

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    The pro 1k will not get that sharp imo. I'd say try a 3k glass or so after you learned to use the 1k to its full potential.

    I cut some bell peppers with a yoshikane skd11 santoku that I had taken up to 12k on a shapton pro. It just swished right through the peppers like they weren't even there.
     
  22. Feb 25, 2019 #22

    gman

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    as far as paper cutting tests go, i still like bob kramer's. take a page of high gloss magazine paper, bend/roll it into a gentle tube or tent shape, then slice across the curve in the center of the page (not from the edge). it takes a really sharp knife to not skid across the surface. basically a next level from the fingernail skid test. and if it can do this, it can cut tough skinned veg without crushing.
     
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  23. Feb 25, 2019 #23

    galvaude

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    Although I agree that cutting paper may seem stupid and irrelevant when you cut food but not everyone has food ready to be cut when sharpening, some people do it away from a kitchen or in a shop and this is where paper cutting can provide consistent feedback on the job boing done.

    For testing I cut paper towel or tissue paper as it shows right away any imperfection on the edge or any residual burr. Push cutting phonebook or newspaper perpendicular to the grain will tell a lot about the apex and the deburring process.

    As a beginner don't be too hard on yourself, if the knife is sharper than when you started you did a good job. Consistent testing will help you learning and you will be able to get repeated and familiar feedback on what you do.

    As of now your goal should be to slice thin paper evenly and smoothly. Shaving on both side will help inform you if you have a burr bent on one side.

    I would refrain from getting a finer stone for the moment, a proper 1k edge (even the Shapton which is more like a 800) will be plenty sharp and the appropriate refinement for such stainless. Using only one stone will help you learn faster too.

    Good luck.
     
  24. Feb 26, 2019 #24

    psfred

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    Eh, back to actual knife sharpening:

    Blacken the edge of your knife with a Sharpie and take a couple passes on your stone like you usually do, then take a close look at the edge with a magnifying glass of some sort (a 20x loupe is best probably). Do this with the Lansky and free-hand, and I suspect you will find that the bevel on a knife you have sharpened free-hand is rounded, and just one or two passes will reveal a narrow strip of Sharpie removed from the bevel while the Lanskly system sharpening removes all of the Sharpie ink from the bevel.

    This is the hard part of free-hand sharpening, the rest of it is really just rubbing your knife on a rock. You will need some practice holding a consistent angle on both sides long enough to actually produce a flat bevel that meets in a clean apex. All of the "system" sharpening tools use some mechanical device to hold the stone at the correct angle. For free-hand you have to teach yourself to provide the constant angle.

    Wobble up to a point is OK, it produces a slightly convex bevel, but very much and you end up with a fat, rounded bevel that will "wedge" in food (or paper) so that the nicely sharp edge you have produced never actually touches anything. Knife will feel quite dull in spite of the fact that it will cut you very nicely if you are careless because you are using the shoulders of the bevel to split food.

    Easy check is to cut slices of carrot -- if the knife goes "snick" and you get clean, smooth slices, you have a nice thin blade and a sharp, clean bevel. If the goes "crunch" and the slices are rough (and it's hard to force the knife through) it's not cutting, it's wedging.

    From personal experience I can tell you that poor angle control results in terrible sharpening -- my favorite bad habit is to allow the edge to "grab" and tip the spine up while the edge "bites" into the stone. Ruins the edge every time, especially on straight razors. I no longer try to sharpen plane blades free-hand, I don't do it enough to bother. A jig gets me a sharp blade in less time than it takes to figure out the correct angle.
     
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