Sharpening..and knife lifetime.

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HappyamateurDK

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Hi all.

I'm considering buying a sharpening stone. My plan is to buy only one, and only use it as maintenance, or stropping between real sharpenings done by a pro.

I've come to understand that a naniwa "green brick" could be a good choice.

My concern is that I might wear out my knives too fast. Let's say that i ones a month, give them 10 stropping strokes on each side. Would that cause them to wear unnecessary fast? I only cook at home. And would like to keep my knives for many years

Thanks 😊
 

HumbleHomeCook

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Hi all.

I'm considering buying a sharpening stone. My plan is to buy only one, and only use it as maintenance, or stropping between real sharpenings done by a pro.

I've come to understand that a naniwa "green brick" could be a good choice.

My concern is that I might wear out my knives too fast. Let's say that i ones a month, give them 10 stropping strokes on each side. Would that cause them to wear unnecessary fast? I only cook at home. And would like to keep my knives for many years

Thanks 😊
Even with required full sharpenings it will take many years for a home cook to visibly see a difference. Softer steels will wear faster but I wouldn't not worry about life span. Bad techniques, now that can wear away a lot of unnecessary material.

That said, I'm not sure your plan is going to accomplish what you're after. If you're going to do maintenance on a stone, you might as well learn to sharpen.

Otherwise, I'd just stick to some kind of strop like leather, cardboard, etc. and call it good.
 

Ericfg

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Weird, I just had a very similar talk this morning on another forum, although this was more about stone longevity than other.
 

Delat

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Hi all.

I'm considering buying a sharpening stone. My plan is to buy only one, and only use it as maintenance, or stropping between real sharpenings done by a pro.

I've come to understand that a naniwa "green brick" could be a good choice.

My concern is that I might wear out my knives too fast. Let's say that i ones a month, give them 10 stropping strokes on each side. Would that cause them to wear unnecessary fast? I only cook at home. And would like to keep my knives for many years

Thanks 😊
If you’re doing 10 strokes on a stone, you’re sharpening not stropping ;)

Personally I have no objection to your plan as that’s kind of how I started out myself. My first “real” japanese knife was a Shiro Kamo and I only sharpened it very lightly on a Shapton Glass 4000 for the first few months and was able to keep it decently sharp using a sharpie and following the original edge bevel.

Meanwhile I practiced sharpening progression with my old Shun on an SG1000 followed by the SG4000. When I felt the Shun was getting sharper than the Shiro Kamo, then I took the Kamo to the SG1000 to put my own bevels/edge on.

In between using a stone you can also use a strop. I use a leather strop loaded with random green compound which does a good job of refreshing an edge that’s not quite fresh-off-the-stones sharp anymore. People use all kinds of strops including leather, jeans, newspaper, cardboard, stones, etc.

So as to your plan, I recommend a strop and a fine grit stone in the 4k or higher range. Depending on how heavily you’re using your knife (and the steel) that could keep you going for months. Once you’re feeling more comfortable you might try a lower grit stone if necessary and skip the professional sharpener.

BTW unless you’re working in a pro kitchen or cooking every night for a big family it’ll take forever to make an appreciable dent in the height of a knife with a 4k stone. But if your professional sharpener is not so professional and takes the knife to a belt grinder then all bets are off.
 

Benuser

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If you’re doing 10 strokes on a stone, you’re sharpening not stropping ;)

Personally I have no objection to your plan as that’s kind of how I started out myself. My first “real” japanese knife was a Shiro Kamo and I only sharpened it very lightly on a Shapton Glass 4000 for the first few months and was able to keep it decently sharp using a sharpie and following the original edge bevel.

Meanwhile I practiced sharpening progression with my old Shun on an SG1000 followed by the SG4000. When I felt the Shun was getting sharper than the Shiro Kamo, then I took the Kamo to the SG1000 to put my own bevels/edge on.

In between using a stone you can also use a strop. I use a leather strop loaded with random green compound which does a good job of refreshing an edge that’s not quite fresh-off-the-stones sharp anymore. People use all kinds of strops including leather, jeans, newspaper, cardboard, stones, etc.

So as to your plan, I recommend a strop and a fine grit stone in the 4k or higher range. Depending on how heavily you’re using your knife (and the steel) that could keep you going for months. Once you’re feeling more comfortable you might try a lower grit stone if necessary and skip the professional sharpener.

BTW unless you’re working in a pro kitchen or cooking every night for a big family it’ll take forever to make an appreciable dent in the height of a knife with a 4k stone. But if your professional sharpener is not so professional and takes the knife to a belt grinder then all bets are off.
In addition only: much will depend on the kind of steel, not their hardness. Any stainless, and I would say especially the soft ones, are very abrasion resistant compared to carbon steel, which have a low abrasion resistance, even when reasonably hard.
4k is excellent for frequent maintenance. Before going to a full sharpening there a is stage to be considered that can be inserted. I use normally a Blue Belgian for say weekly maintenance at home, but before deciding to go to a full sharpening I give a Chosera 2k a chance: only edge leading stropping and deburring.
 

HumbleHomeCook

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Understand, I'm not disputing the efficacy of using a stone for routine edge maintenance. My opinion on it was that the skills required to do that are so similar to sharpening that you might as well go all in.

Lightly doing some edge trailing strokes on some cardboard is pretty easy and forgiving.
 
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It may depend on your knife/steel as well.
My white #2 Munetoshi gyuto hardly needs anything else than a very light touch up on a 2k or 5k stone, and then stays sharp for a long time.
My stainless knives require more time and attention.
 

Mr.Wizard

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@Deadboxhero proprietor of Triple B Handmade recommends the King Neo #800 as a one stone solution. You could follow it with a simple denim strop with polishing compound for burr removal or further refinement.

King Neo hands down.

Best no nonsense stone especially for people that don't have the time or inclination to geek out on stuff and just need something that cuts and works very simply without breaking the bank. However, it's also a great stone for advanced users as well That's my stone of choice when I go to friend's houses to sharpen their knives.
Don't need to bring a base, or any BS, it cuts fast and the final edge has a fantastic bite that can still push cut if deburred properly.

One grit, keep it simple.
 

Kawa

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As a homecook you will never wear out a knife in your life.
Same for a stone.

Unless you are 7 years old now..
 

Walla

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As long as you're not bringing your knives to an idiot with a grinder which many so called professional sharpeners are no matter what you do for maintenance at home will not affect the longevity of your knives.

I'll echo the others that have already posted... you're almost at the point of actually getting into the sharpening of them yourself...take the plunge and go whole hog... should that really not appeal to you then make sure the professional sharpener uses only powered methods for repair or perhaps thinning and do the actual sharpening by hand on stones...

Don't be afraid of asking questions about how they go about sharpening...what they use...check references... anyone who knows what they're doing will have any issue with you asking questions...in fact they'll be thrilled to actually interact with someone who also geeks out about knives...

If you cannot find someone local to you...there are many...some on this forum...who offer mail in sharpening services and would be head and shoulders above someone who has a brother in-law who has a grinder and thinks they can sharpen...

The horrific results of a local "professional sharpener" with an over zealous nature, no knowledge and an electric grinder is the reason I learned to sharpen myself...

I remember as a young cook... looking at the disaster that had been my German knives...and thinking...I can't do any worse than this and probably can do better...


Best of luck...and take care

Jeff
 

HappyamateurDK

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In addition only: much will depend on the kind of steel, not their hardness. Any stainless, and I would say especially the soft ones, are very abrasion resistant compared to carbon steel, which have a low abrasion resistance, even when reasonably hard.
4k is excellent for frequent maintenance. Before going to a full sharpening there a is stage to be considered that can be inserted. I use normally a Blue Belgian for say weekly maintenance at home, but before deciding to go to a full sharpening I give a Chosera 2k a chance: only edge leading stropping and deburring.
Most of my knives are carbon, ranging from white #1 and #2 blue#2 and AS. It was exactly the lesser abrasion resistance on carbon steels that made me think of the risk of wearing off too much steel. But I guess the easier sharpening if carbon also requires less strokes to maintain, and therefore less removal of steel?
 
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HappyamateurDK

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As long as you're not bringing your knives to an idiot with a grinder which many so called professional sharpeners are no matter what you do for maintenance at home will not affect the longevity of your knives.

I'll echo the others that have already posted... you're almost at the point of actually getting into the sharpening of them yourself...take the plunge and go whole hog... should that really not appeal to you then make sure the professional sharpener uses only powered methods for repair or perhaps thinning and do the actual sharpening by hand on stones...

Don't be afraid of asking questions about how they go about sharpening...what they use...check references... anyone who knows what they're doing will have any issue with you asking questions...in fact they'll be thrilled to actually interact with someone who also geeks out about knives...

If you cannot find someone local to you...there are many...some on this forum...who offer mail in sharpening services and would be head and shoulders above someone who has a brother in-law who has a grinder and thinks they can sharpen...

The horrific results of a local "professional sharpener" with an over zealous nature, no knowledge and an electric grinder is the reason I learned to sharpen myself...

I remember as a young cook... looking at the disaster that had been my German knives...and thinking...I can't do any worse than this and probably can do better...


Best of luck...and take care

Jeff
Luckily I know the guy. Japanese knives are sharpened only on stones. And often I'll have a cup of coffee and a talk while he sharpens them. I had the experience with another guy using a belt grinder on my first j knife( Tojiri DP ) I could visually see how he had taken about a mm off the edge. Made me a bit angry.
 

Benuser

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Most of my knives are carbon, ranging from white #1 and #2 blue#2 and AS. It was exactly the lesser abrasion resistance on carbon steels that made me think of the risk of wearing off too much steel. But I guess the easier sharpening if carbon also requires less strokes to maintain, and therefore less removal of steel?
It is true, the risk is real if you give them every day a full sharpening starting with a 320 stone. Carbon steel is little abrasion resistant, stainless more likely to develop fatigued steel that has to get removed as well.
The life span of carbons is shorter, and noticeable with small knifes with a short contact area with the board. They get more sharpening. You hardly will find vintage pettys.
For home users all this isn't that relevant. Maintain them as long as possible with a fine stone. The major factor though is poor sharpening with a powered equipment. In a few seconds more can disappear than in tens of years of careful use and stone sharpening. Every time you send the out a few millimetres are lost.
Stone sharpening is commercially hardly viable. A poor commercial sharpener — uncooled grinder, irrespective of profile and geometry — charges €3 for his 10 seconds job. A better one charges €7 for his work in different stages, taking 3 minutes.
How much should charge the stone sharpener for his job? Of course, the knives he gets aren't just dull. Broken tips, reverse bellys, protruding heels...
But even for the simple sharpening can he ask €40 + VAT?
The only people who know the difference are those who sharpen themselves.
You really should start sharpening yourself. Before the WW2 almost every man sharpened his own razor. No farmer sent out his scythe.
Get yourself a simple cheap carbon steel knife, for practice only. And a medium and a fine stone.
 

sumis

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it’ll take forever to make an appreciable dent in the height of a knife with a 4k stone. But if your professional sharpener is not so professional and takes the knife to a belt grinder then all bets are off.
this ^^

i fell into the knife rabbit hole after my chef knife of a huge-brand-of-kind-of-decent-but-uninteresting-make had lost like 3 mm after its second visit to a well renowned sharpening service.

i've since used that knife for sharpening practice, and punished it hard with thinning, edge experiments and what not, and it hasn't really lost any significant height – at least not compared to the basic sharpening of the 'pro service'.

but regardless, to me, it's better to have sharp knives for a decade than kind-of-sharp-knives for three decades.

.
 

riba

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Due to illness i haven't done any proper sharpening since March last year.
It is impressive how long I can maintain sharpness with some quick touch ups on a fast coticule. I of course started with knives that were in shape.
(E.g. a nashji TF gyuto)
 

big_adventure

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I only started keeping precise information on my knives maybe a year and a half ago. I have a few knives that I've used at least 100 times in that period, and I'm addicted to maintaining very high levels of sharpness (so I'll touch up extremely frequently). None of those knives has lost so much as a gram of weight in that time period. Only a couple of knives I own have lost weight, and that was because of extensive thinning (TF Denka lost 3g to thinning, and a Ku Shig Nakiri that I turned into a rough kasumi lost 4-5g).
 
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My most worn knife is a carbon Zwilling-Kramer. I’ve tipped it twice, taken a chunk out once after pushing thinning too far, and it’s seen thousands of hours of aggressive board contact and has been sharpened 100+ times. It’s still a very usable knife. My Mazaki, which sees most of my prep work these days has been sharpened weekly for two years and it’s height loss is negligible. You aren’t wearing out a knife through home maintenance anytime soon…
 
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Wow...how many sharpenings are on the most worn one?
Probably 500 sharpenings give or take. 1 or 2 minutes at a time. Mostly all with a naniwa super stone 2k.


Here's a thread I did about those two knives awhile back.


 

HappyamateurDK

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Probably 500 sharpenings give or take. 1 or 2 minutes at a time. Mostly all with a naniwa super stone 2k.


Here's a thread I did about those two knives awhile back.


Thanks.. I doubt any of my knives will ever see that many sharpenings. But kind of cool to see a knife actually get worn out 😊
 

HappyamateurDK

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It is true, the risk is real if you give them every day a full sharpening starting with a 320 stone. Carbon steel is little abrasion resistant, stainless more likely to develop fatigued steel that has to get removed as well.
The life span of carbons is shorter, and noticeable with small knifes with a short contact area with the board. They get more sharpening. You hardly will find vintage pettys.
For home users all this isn't that relevant. Maintain them as long as possible with a fine stone. The major factor though is poor sharpening with a powered equipment. In a few seconds more can disappear than in tens of years of careful use and stone sharpening. Every time you send the out a few millimetres are lost.
Stone sharpening is commercially hardly viable. A poor commercial sharpener — uncooled grinder, irrespective of profile and geometry — charges €3 for his 10 seconds job. A better one charges €7 for his work in different stages, taking 3 minutes.
How much should charge the stone sharpener for his job? Of course, the knives he gets aren't just dull. Broken tips, reverse bellys, protruding heels...
But even for the simple sharpening can he ask €40 + VAT?
The only people who know the difference are those who sharpen themselves.
You really should start sharpening yourself. Before the WW2 almost every man sharpened his own razor. No farmer sent out his scythe.
Get yourself a simple cheap carbon steel knife, for practice only. And a medium and a fine stone.
You sure have a point. I have ordered the green brick. I think I might find a good 5-6000 grit stone. And a flatening plate in the future. And I guess I can settle for that 🙂
 
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I'm going to take it a bit further than what some of the others have said. If you have nice knives, don't take them to a pro sharpener. Just learn to do it yourself.

I once sent a nice knife to a respected, known sharpener of Japanese knives to get some chips removed. The chips were taken out, but since *zero* thinning was done, it became extremely thick behind the edge and almost wouldn't cut. It would pass the paper test and other similar tests just fine, but couldn't scratch an onion due to the poor repair job. I spent more time and metal fixing the repair job than it would have taken me to sharpen the chips out myself.

That was the only time I paid someone else to sharpen my knives. I can't tell if my standards are too high or the guy just had a bad day, but never again.
 

Bobby2shots

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You sure have a point. I have ordered the green brick. I think I might find a good 5-6000 grit stone. And a flatening plate in the future. And I guess I can settle for that 🙂
Yes, you'll need a flattening method for the Green Brick. I found mine to be very soft,,, muddies up very quickly,,, and can dish quite rapidly. That said, I've only run a quick test to see how it felt when I first received it,,,, no longterm use exerience. My initial impression is that you'd be better off with a 500-1000 grit harder stone if you're going with only one stone. You'll probably learn more quickly about pressure-control with the harder stone. Take that with a grain of salt.

The Green Brick is a slow cutter, but capable of a nice polish from what I understand.
 

MowgFace

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Personally I never got along with my Green Brick. Hate the feel, and loads up easily.

If you’re looking for a 2000 grit soaker, then look no further than the Gesshin 2K. It has replaced my 1000 grit stone at home completely.
 
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