Sharpening an OOTB Shibata Kotetsu AS gyuto

Discussion in 'Sharpening Station' started by stephen129, Jan 12, 2019.

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  1. Jan 12, 2019 #1

    stephen129

    stephen129

    stephen129

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    I've just ordered a Shibata Kotetsu AS gyuto 210mm, it's coming on Monday.

    I'll admit my sharpening skills are pretty rubbish, I've never got any good/consistent results. I think this is due to shaky hands.

    I own:

    Naniwa Gouken Hayabusa 4000
    Kitayama 8000
    Spyderco sharpmaker + ultra fine rods

    I've also just ordered a King 250/1000 which I am going to use and start from scratch with some beater knives I own.

    I only ever get decent result from the spyderco, but it's still not quite as sharp as I would like.

    I've tried stropping on newspaper, but this seems to make no difference. I might have a leather belt (it might be fake leather) lying around that I can try.

    My question is as follows:

    Am I going to improve the edge on my new Kotetsu if I take it to the Kitayama 8000, or is there a big risk of messing up the OOTB edge if I don't know what I'm doing?

    How many passes should I be doing, should I just be maintaining the existing edge, should I put on a microbevel, what things should I look out for etc?

    I am aiming to replicate this:







    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Jan 12, 2019 #2

    ACHiPo

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    Those are some pretty amazing videos. I have never had anything that sharp, although my Nakiri is close. It seems the edge would be extremely fragile?
     
  3. Jan 12, 2019 #3

    stephen129

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    That's a good point. Hope long would an edge that sharp even last on that knife? Is it literally two tomatoes/five grapes?
     
  4. Jan 12, 2019 #4

    Xenif

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    If your edge only last a few cuts, then you are most likely just putting a wire edge (aka just a sharp burr) on your knife.
    You can probably do everything shown in these videos after doing a fresh 1k edge off a King.
     
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  5. Jan 12, 2019 #5

    stephen129

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    If I can get those results off a 1k King, what exactly is the point of a 4k or even 8k?
     
  6. Jan 12, 2019 #6

    Cyrilix

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    Doesn't Shibata sharpen his own knives and is a master sharpener with many years of experience?
     
  7. Jan 12, 2019 #7

    stephen129

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    Apparently he does, but I was under the impression that Japanese knife makers never make knives as sharp as possible, to allow the buyer to sharpen them how they'd like.
     
  8. Jan 12, 2019 #8

    mikaelsan

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    I think I heard a quote somewhere along the lines of the Smith is the master of making the knife your the master of sharpening/maintaining it.

    That being said if your not that comfortable sharpening yet you could keep the out of the box edge for a while, get a sense of what "sharp" and edge deterioration feels like. It's also super nice to have a frame of reference of what a deburred knife feels like even if your an experienced sharpener
     
  9. Jan 12, 2019 #9

    Knife2meatu

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    There's no way to be sure what the result will be if you take your new knife to a stone, of course -- but yes, you will mess up the edge.

    If it were me -- and I were wiser than experience has shown is the case -- I'd apply sharpie to the edge and using the UF ceramic rods with ultra-light pressure edge trailing strokes, carefully figure out the current edge angle and keep the OOTB edge going for as long as you can manage.

    Meanwhile fix up your beater knives with the 250/1000, taking them up through the 4k, deburring the previous stone on the next finer one, until you're consistently getting good edges there. Practice using the Kitayama for stropping and deburring. Once you can hold a constant enough angle up through the grits -- which isn't actually very hard; relying on the pre-existing geometry and focusing finger pressure where it needs to be -- and debur to a clean edge, practice the very light touch for adding a micro-bevel on the Kitayama, and then refine the very apex, at the same angle as your micr0-bevel, with the ceramics. Maintain with stropping at the micro-bevel angle on the Kitayama, and ceramic for the apex, both feather-light. Until the knife gets dropped or otherwise chipped and the real fun begins.

    Or something like that, anyway.
    That said, there's no doubt in my mind that you could get a better edge than OOTB with the sharpening kit you have there.

    So... absolutely keep that 250 grit away from your new knife, and avoid taking your new edge to any stone before you have the confidence that you can a take a dull edge and make it sharper your new one currently is.
     
  10. Jan 12, 2019 #10

    parbaked

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    That's some, not all makers....
    Shibata should be an exception as all he doesn't forge the Koetsu knives.
    All he does is finish, sharpen & install handles, so the sharpening should be excellent.
    Your knife should arrive very sharp out of the box...much sharper than you can improve.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  11. Jan 12, 2019 #11

    stephen129

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    Thanks, knife2meatu and parbaked, I will be testing my OOTB kotetsu on some tomatoes and grapes then =)

    The radish test seems crazy though, I've never seen that test done with one. They're much harder than grapes or tomatoes.
     
  12. Jan 13, 2019 #12

    zitangy

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    Define master sharpener..

    a) One who is a awarded or recognized as Dentokogehsi ?
    b)Many years experience?
     
  13. Jan 13, 2019 #13

    inferno

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    i can get that sharpness of the regular white rods off a sharpmaker no problem.

    and yes even i think you could get that kind of sharpness shown in the vid off a 1-2k stone that gets "muddy" aka releases particles and breaks down, like a chosera or so.
    that sharpness is not very impressive if you have sharpened a few knives. and its not hard to achieve.

    and yes it will disappear quite quickly. 5 minutes of use or so with most steel.


    ----------------------

    factory edges usually suck azz. its not meant to be your working edge. its meant for you to put your own edge on there as easy as possible. with your own angles for your use.

    ------------------------

    a 4 and an 8k will make the blades "scary sharp". which is very nice. no need to go above 2-3k or so with most SS. carbon can usually handle 8k or so. and deliver.
     
  14. Jan 13, 2019 #14

    Cyrilix

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    I was thinking more the latter, especially if they do it profesionally.
     
  15. Jan 13, 2019 #15

    esoo

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    I bought a used R2 Shibata Bunka off the BST. It is the sharpest knife I've ever handled. I handed the knife to a friend recently and he said that it made a hard carrot feel like an old soft one as he sliced it .

    I suspect that his AS knives will be just as good.
     
  16. Jan 13, 2019 #16

    Kippington

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    They can dry out and go very soft. It would be impossible to do what he did with a fully hydrated radish, no matter how sharp the knife.

    The copy paper video would be a far better reference for you, and it's not that hard to achieve.

    Have fun doing all of this, but always keep in mind, the highest level of sharpness is not necessary at all on your kitchen knives.
     
  17. Jan 13, 2019 #17

    milkbaby

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    I thought Shibata was the professional sharpener who started the Masakage brand? If his main schtick is being a sharpener, it seems like his brands (Masakage and Shibata) would ship with good ootb edges versus dull ones?

    Maybe Jon who trained in Japan or Joe who works in knifemaking in Japan can shed some light on this in particular?

    Regardless of whatever the case is with Shibata, are you only interested in doing parlour tricks with your kitchen knife or do you plan to use them for their intended purpose?
     
  18. Jan 13, 2019 #18

    MrHiggins

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    To the OP: to get better at sharpening, watch Jon's video series (and buy a Sharpie!). If you do that, and practice practice practice, you'll get great results.

    I agree with the rest of the crowd here that while those edges in the videos you posted are very impressive, they're not very strong and will chip very easily. As you practice and get more experience, you'll need to find the balance that you like between sharpness and resilience. Personally, I keep some knives really, really thin and sharp kinda like the Shibata in your video, and I keep other knives sharp, but tough.
     
  19. Jan 13, 2019 #19

    zitangy

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    Before shaving steel... you need to access amount of steel that needs to be removed either for sharpening or enhancement. In this case, since it is a a)thin new knife, either it has not been taken to the optimum b)with a wire edge c) near optimum

    a. where to remove steel... all along the edge.

    A long stroke with spine leading would enough to refine the edge further. THis type of stroke will not scratch the blade and I wld do it with say 5 sets alternating regular pressure ( assuming it is 4kg) all alternating strokes, another 5 times alternating pressure at half yr pressure ( 2 KG) adn another 5 strokes set alternating with just teh weight of knife and hand which should clock in at 1 kg.

    alternating strokes are to increase the possibility of achieving an apex.

    AS you progress with each stroke you can lower the angle. ITs not a deal breaker with sharpening,. Its function is where you remove steel and how much behind the edge.

    Repeat the set(s) when necessary as each stroke will remove steel as evident on the black juice on teh stone.

    this way you will not alter the profile of the edge.

    Eventually, you will have to sharpen it.

    have fun
     
  20. Jan 13, 2019 #20

    larrybard

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    "Dentokogehsi"?? Couldn't find the term anywhere by Googling it.
     
  21. Jan 13, 2019 #21

    Xenif

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    Think he means 伝統工芸士 , Dentoukougeishi
     
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  22. Jan 13, 2019 #22

    stephen129

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    I'm an enthusiastic home cook, I use my knives for prep, but I just thought it would be cool to achieve that kind of edge.
     
  23. Jan 13, 2019 #23

    Knife2meatu

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    It's way easier to make a knife capable of doing something like this than one might think -- executing the trick with the produce is arguably as difficult as the sharpening of the knife, and many of the same concerns are involved, too: cut the produce at an optimal angle, applying the right pressure to get it to stick to the board; slice with a speed and pressure conducive to cutting through the produce with minimal resistance; hit the produce at an optimal angle and in an optimal spot to produce a slice as thin and even as possible.

    My point is, there's roughly as much skill involved in cutting the radish, as in getting the knife sharp enough to cut it. It's just that being able to get a knife wonderfully sharp is an eminently more useful skill than stunt-slicing a radish -- or so it seems to me. No offense meant to any skilled radish show-slicers reading this.

    I would wager that an edge capable of managing this sort of thing can be attained with a $20 Crystolon combination stone (120/320 grit), a $2 chuck of green polishing compound and a decent piece of inexpensive veg-tan leather about the size of a sheet of printer paper. Properly used, those can be all that's needed: Capable of thinning a blade; shaping the edge; refining and maintaining the apex.
     
  24. Jan 13, 2019 #24

    toddnmd

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    The two new Shibatas I’ve bought were both very, very sharp ootb. Try using the knife before sharpening. I suspect it might never again be as sharp as when you receive it.
     
  25. Jan 14, 2019 #25

    osakajoe

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    Now when he says he’s a professional sharpener, it is a professional Re-sharpener. Not a grinder/sharpener or someone who takes a forger blank and takes it from 0-16 or so steps. Just look at his website and gallery “factory” pictures. He may have some of the tools used by a grinder but they obviously aren’t being used. Now, the small horizontal donut wheels are classic tools of small repair shops.

    I’ve never seen his re-sharpener results but can guess that he puts a decent finishing edge on the mostly finished knives he has made for him.

    My idea of a master, whether it be forger or grinder, is someone who can go from that zero step all the way to the end. Someone who has been trained for 5-8 years then from there continued to hone and perfect his craft. Someone who works 8 hours a day only doing that one thing and only retires once he knows there is no more to learn.
     
  26. Jan 14, 2019 #26

    Garm

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  27. Jan 14, 2019 #27

    osakajoe

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    Yup that’s a well made video made by knifewear. Kevin happens to be good buds with him and glad to see they are helping each other out.

    But again I never said he didn’t sharpen. Just that he didn’t start at step zero. Not trying to take anything away from him. Just don’t like people telling pirate tales.



    Let me teach everyone a few signs to look for when looking at one of these water wheels.

    First look how clean or dirty it is or the wall. Usually if fully in use and grinding a lot you get a massive build up of “Douro” or sludge.

    Second, togi bo. The sharpening stick used to hold the knife in place while you do the rough grinding. Those are usually quite dirty as well and any metal on them usually rusted.

    Third (not in video but on his website), the hammer / axe used to hack lines into the stone in order to create grip. His looks never used. I have to sharpen mine at least twice a day. The edges therefor are always shiny or slightly rusted.

    Fourth, when he’s grinding on his stone his knife is bouncing all over the place. That is a sign of a stone with too many high and low spots. Meaning its not being properly maintained or he’s just not experienced on how to do that. Takes proper hammering and marking. See point above.

    Five, he looks at his knife every two seconds after touching the stone. Sign of an amateur. Experience people who has been sharpening on a water wheel don’t need to check their work every second. This would take them forever to get anything done. Takes thousands of knives to get to that point.

    Again not taking anything away from his knives. I’m sure they are great. But I can comment on the craft and will happily answer any questions about grinding. I’ve been at it for two years and still have many years and thousands more knives to grind before I consider myself a maker.
     
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  28. Jan 15, 2019 #28

    Tonsku38

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    I've been using my Kotetsu AS gyuto in pro kitchen couple of months now and only thing I have been using is leather strop. Ootb box is very nice and retention is very good so just use the knife and strop it with leather.
     

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