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Sharpening angle and finish- the ultimate edge (discussion)

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Thorndahl88

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Hej guys.
I was wondering how u sharpen ur knives.

What angle do use and What finish do u give the knife for:

pro kitchen with lots of workload.

Home kitchen with less workload.

Finish on jnat cons/pro ?

Do the steel have a big factor on ur sharpening decisions. ?

If u have a specific way of sharpening like the zero grind please list it, and tell why u do it cons/ pro ?

I’m asking because I have been checking up on peter Nowlan and he’s take on sharpening and it fascinated me that there are so many different ways of sharpening and he’s take on the 1 k gritt, and not going all in on high gritt polish.

Nanohone mentioned another way of sharpening, like going up to 6 k and get a smooth edge for then going down to 3 k on one side of the edge to get a more toothy and longer lasting edge.

Dave Martell with he’s progression where he go up to the fine gritt and then down to a medium and up to a finish on a fine gritt again.




Please contribute if u have a specific way of sharpening, or some inputs to the matter I mentioned.

Best regards Niels
 

KingShapton

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As I remember, Peter Nowlan says, that he allways finish a knife as sharp as he can. I don't remember that he ever finishes on 1000 grit.

For butchering knives, he ist stopping at 3000 grit, cheap stainless finish for him ist often the Green brick of joy. And all the knives he ist calling dream knives, japanese knives and/or expensive ones with good steel and HT, will be finished at 5000 grit or higher, or with a J-Nat.

The only time he recommend a 1000 grit finish is for beginners, as a first step into sharpening.
 

KingShapton

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As you said, there are many different ways for sharpening.

And there are many different and at the same time correct answers to the question about the right finish for a knife.

As so often, it is a question of personal preference and planned applications. it does not give "the one answer".

Everyone has to find out for himself what he likes, what works for him and what satisfies him.
 

KingShapton

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For me personally starts at 2000 grit a good working edge for the kitchen.

Depending on the steel, the knife and the intended application I go higher and finish between 2000 and 6000 grit, in rare cases 8000 grit.

In general, I personally like two things in my knives, an aggressive edge with a lot of bite and different finishes for different uses.
 

Thorndahl88

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As I remember, Peter Nowlan says, that he allways finish a knife as sharp as he can. I don't remember that he ever finishes on 1000 grit.

For butchering knives, he ist stopping at 3000 grit, cheap stainless finish for him ist often the Green brick of joy. And all the knives he ist calling dream knives, japanese knives and/or expensive ones with good steel and HT, will be finished at 5000 grit or higher, or with a J-Nat.

The only time he recommend a 1000 grit finish is for beginners, as a first step into sharpening.

I’m sorry for not being able to say what I meant with peter.
What I wanted to say is he focus on one Stone till the knife is super sharp, and then progress to higher gritt, but not before the knife is as sharp it can get on the starting gritt. That’s what’s I meant with the 1000 gritt.
I hope it clarify it [emoji5]
 

Benuser

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My preferred method is starting as far as possible behind the edge, at the lowest angle I'm comfortable with. Raising the spine and so increasing the angle little by little. Checking progress with marker and loupe, or verifying the scratch pattern. Stay on that same side until you've reached the very edge and raised a burr on the opposite side. Make sure no ink has remained on the side where you've started, even not on top. You really need a loupe for that.
Once this has been done, start at the other side, again, starting at the lowest angle.
This approach allows to sharpen any knife, fully ignoring angles or asymmetry, once you're fine with the previous configuration. As you sharpen you move the new edge to a thicker part of the blade. The thinning you start with is meant to compensate for that.
 

suntravel

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Depnds on the steel

low end stainless under 58HRC, 1k and Dick Mikro

Aogami AEB-L and other mid range steel, Green Brick and Franke

High hardend PM steel with lots of Tungsten and Vanadium, 30k and Jnat

Regards

Uwe
 

Thorndahl88

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My preferred method is starting as far as possible behind the edge, at the lowest angle I'm comfortable with. Raising the spine and so increasing the angle little by little. Checking progress with marker and loupe, or verifying the scratch pattern. Stay on that same side until you've reached the very edge and raised a burr on the opposite side. Make sure no ink has remained on the side where you've started, even not on top. You really need a loupe for that.
Once this has been done, start at the other side, again, starting at the lowest angle.
This approach allows to sharpen any knife, fully ignoring angles or asymmetry, once you're fine with the previous configuration. As you sharpen you move the new edge to a thicker part of the blade. The thinning you start with is meant to compensate for that.
Hej benuser.
That’s one of the sharpening methods I was really interested in.
But what are the pro,s and cons ?
:)
And let’s say it’s a vg10 knife wouldn’t it be painful to thin out the knife so much ?
 

hennyville

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As pro i have very heavy prep. Lot of vegetables, concasse, brunoise, house made chips etc. Trying to keep all my knives thin behind the edge. For me works very well this setup. AI1000, aizu, Ohira suita/Shinden suita for guytos, AI1000, Takayuki 4000 for boning knife and petty, AI1000 and Aizu for nakiri.
 

KingShapton

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I’m sorry for not being able to say what I meant with peter.
What I wanted to say is he focus on one Stone till the knife is super sharp, and then progress to higher gritt, but not before the knife is as sharp it can get on the starting gritt. That’s what’s I meant with the 1000 gritt.
I hope it clarify it
Yes, now I understand what was meant and I fully agree!

"master the 1000 stone", there is a good reason for this saying.

You could instead say "master your first stone, or coarsest stone in your progression"

Even on the coarsest stone, you can get a knife scary sharp and you should do that.

It makes no sense to go on finer stones until your knife become scary sharp on your first stone , you give away too much potential
 
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K813zra

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Honestly I just do what the knife tells me. What that means is that how I sharpen a particular knife may change a handful of times before I decide what is the correct way for me and said knife for my needs.

Let us get the generalities out of the way. Most stainless in my kitchen stays at the 2k(ish) mark if synthetic and almost always a shapton pro 2k. If I go beyond that it is likely a natural edge and specifically one of my favorite Aizu that falls somewhere in the 2-4k range but feels like it has the bite of a 1k stone. I seem to retain more bite with naturals than synthetics and particularly on stainless.

Carbon, well, it really depends on my mood but I almost never finish below Aizu on carbon knives and almost never on a synthetic stone. There are exception though, like my Fujiwara FKH. Not that it won't take a finer edge, it will and will even hold it for an okay period of time but I beat the tar out of that knife and for what I use it for there is no need for a finer edge. Plus I use it on a lot of meat and I like loads and loads of bite. This knife almost always gets finished on a Monzen-to that is somewhere around the 2000 grit range but leaves a freakishly aggressive edge. Other carbon knives that I will use mainly on veg might get finished on a Takashima iromono (I'd say 8k+) or Ohira Akane (maybe 4-6k). Etc...

So, as you can see I do like a natural finish. Why, well, I feel that I can retain more bite for a given finesse and I like an aggressive edge that can still whisper through food, to an extent. Idk how else to say it other than I get a unique edge that feels both coarse and fine at the same time. From the first stone I was hooked on this edge type. Also, I seem to be able to push stainless steel further this way, even AEB-L, a steel I know a lot of people like seems to lose bite (for me) early on in the process of refinement. By using natural stones I can combat this. Plus I just like using naturals but that is an entirely different story.

Now, if we want to talk about paring specific stones to knives/steel we can. Example: I will finish my HD2 on my Oouchi or Hideriyama which might fall just below 8k when compared to synthetics but not on my Takashima that might fair as high as 10k. Why, because I start to lose the amount of bite/aggression that I like in an edge. However, I love to finish my KS on that Takashima. This is a case of the knife acting like it has more bite than it does, maybe. It feels like a smoother edge than it acts through food, if that makes sense. Yet another knife, my Masakage Yuki always gets finished on a Yaginosihma Asagi (say 6-8k). And again, this is all based off of my personal preference.

What angle do I put on a knife, I have no idea. When I sharpen a knife for the first time I lower the spine all the way to the stone and slowly start to raise it until the edge bites into the stone, from there I back off about a degree or two and sharpen the edge. I use that edge for awhile and if I feel it needs to go lower, I go lower next time or even thin it as much as I feel is needed. With some knives I may even feel I need to put a micro bevel on. This angle could be as low as about 10 dps or as high as about 18.

As for how I sharpen, I tend to sharpen like Peter explains and you seem familiar with that so I guess I needn't say more. But that is going from zero. Many times my knives don't need a full progression but rather I start off at the finest stone for a touch up. If that no longer works I fall back one stone. Example: When the 6k won't bring the edge back I drop to 3k and when that does not work it is time for a full progression, etc.

Btw, just a home user and I typically only cook for 2-4 people twice daily six days a week. So we are talking maybe 1-2 hours of board contact a week.

This is all general and includes sharpening only narrow double bevel kitchen knives. But that is how I go about things I suppose.
 

Benuser

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Hej benuser.
That’s one of the sharpening methods I was really interested in.
But what are the pro,s and cons ?
:)
And let’s say it’s a vg10 knife wouldn’t it be painful to thin out the knife so much ?
A monosteel VG-10 isn't that hard to thin, start with a 500 or so. Stainless cladding though is no fun: soft, but quite abrasion resistant, easy clogging your stone if you don't keep it very wet.
Pros and cons: as said, works only if you're OK with the existing configuration. With a new or unknown neglected knife you first have to find out how you're going to deal with its asymmetry, and which degree of steering is acceptable to you.
In such a case, I aim for a convexed right bevel ending at 10-12°. As for the left side, I probably start with a — very small — straight bevel at 15-18° and see how it works. Sometimes you have to increase friction on the left side by increasing the angle, and reduce friction on the right side by thinning behind the edge. Once you have balanced friction, next sharpenings will be much easier.
Don't be afraid of medium-coarse stones to start with.
 

KingShapton

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Don't be afraid of medium-coarse stones to start with.
+1:)

In addition, when I do a touchup, I do not thin the knife. only when I do a full sharpening progression again and that takes quite a while.

But here I speak only for myself, others see it differently.
 

Benuser

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+1:)

In addition, when I do a touchup, I do not thin the knife. only when I do a full sharpening progression again and that takes quite a while.

But here I speak only for myself, others see it differently.
For a very long time touch-ups are all you need. Basically by stropping and deburring on the finest stone or the one before.
 

Carl Kotte

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I usually try to keep my knives thin and add a micro bevel. I’ve no idea about the angle (I guess I’m very inconsistent - it just varies a lot between my knives). Some days I finish on #1000 and work on the edge until I’m pleased with it on that grit. Sometimes I take them to 3 or 5 k. Again I’m inconsistent.
This is all for use in a home environment. While I was still in the game I used a cheap Mac honing rod until the knives refused to take good edges.
 

adam92

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Hi guys, will the sharpening angle effect the edge retention?

I felt my knife easily get dull in pros kitchen when i sharpening the low angle like 10 degree.
 

M1k3

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Hi guys, will the sharpening angle effect the edge retention?

I felt my knife easily get dull in pros kitchen when i sharpening the low angle like 10 degree.
Depends on the steel (which steel and how hard it is). If it's dulling fast, make sure you don't have any left over burr/wire edge. If that's not the problem, are you chopping or slicing? What knife is it? Steel and hardness?
 

adam92

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Fkh sujihiki, HRC 60, I'm pretty sure i deburr correctly, maybe after 10 hour of working that's why get dull pretty fast..

I'm using for slicing only.
 

Sailor

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Niels, you’ll have many excellent responses to your questions all leading to a similar conclusion. There are many techniques that work, edge retention is a riddle that very difficult to solve, if possible at all and chosen sharpening angles will vary. At some point you just need to settle down on a technique and trust that it will work. If I finish my knives at 3,000 grit it doesn’t mean that choosing a different finish will lead to inferior results. It’s fun and beneficial from a learning perspective to experiment.
I spent 6 hours sharpening today and used the same progression on every knife with a few exceptions. Today I decided, based on the condition of the knives to use a 500/800/2,000 progression with a leather strop to finish. The sharpening angles I use vary in accordance with the steel. So 10-15 deg on hard knives and around 15-20 on softer, lesser knives. My choice of angle is about the only thing that I can do to influence edge retention. I always get the knife as sharp as my skill allows on the first stone. I always conduct a light check when I think I’m done on the first stone before moving to a different stone. I want to make sure that the edge is clean, that I’ve done all I can in that regard. I’m focused on burr formation, burr detection and burr removal. Then I switch stones and I like to use diminishing levels of pressure to continue to clean the edge.

This was today’s progression, tomorrow it may be 400/1,000/4,000.
For soft knives I finish between 1,000 and 3,000 and for Japanese knives I’ll finish at 5,000 or 8,000.

Edge retention is often a shot in the dark, I’ll do my best to use an angle applicable to the steel but once the knife is out of my hands, who knows what lies ahead. It usually matters not what I do, a poorly used Steel, poor storage and general care of the knife have greater impact on edge retention than anything I do.

Often you just have to find your own path, make mistakes, lots of them and reap the rewards that follow. If you get to a point where you think you know everything about knife sharpening, shake your head. I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn next.
 

suntravel

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Hi guys, will the sharpening angle effect the edge retention?

I felt my knife easily get dull in pros kitchen when i sharpening the low angle like 10 degree.
Yes, 10° is about that Takamuras are out oft the box, gets dull with microchips in a few minutes. With 18° microbevel it stays sharp much longer and no microchipping.

Form my expirience 16-22° works best for kitchen use.

Regards

Uwe
 

KingShapton

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Today I decided, based on the condition of the knives to use a 500/800/2,000 progression with a leather strop to finish.
Do you use bare leather? Or loaded with CBN, diamonds or something like that?
 

M1k3

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Fujjiwara FKH? I'd try a micro bevel, about 20-25°, maybe even more. Play around with that. What are you cutting? Does it have any small bone fragments you only seem to find with the knife? I hate when that happens.
 

Thorndahl88

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Niels, you’ll have many excellent responses to your questions all leading to a similar conclusion. There are many techniques that work, edge retention is a riddle that very difficult to solve, if possible at all and chosen sharpening angles will vary. At some point you just need to settle down on a technique and trust that it will work. If I finish my knives at 3,000 grit it doesn’t mean that choosing a different finish will lead to inferior results. It’s fun and beneficial from a learning perspective to experiment.
I spent 6 hours sharpening today and used the same progression on every knife with a few exceptions. Today I decided, based on the condition of the knives to use a 500/800/2,000 progression with a leather strop to finish. The sharpening angles I use vary in accordance with the steel. So 10-15 deg on hard knives and around 15-20 on softer, lesser knives. My choice of angle is about the only thing that I can do to influence edge retention. I always get the knife as sharp as my skill allows on the first stone. I always conduct a light check when I think I’m done on the first stone before moving to a different stone. I want to make sure that the edge is clean, that I’ve done all I can in that regard. I’m focused on burr formation, burr detection and burr removal. Then I switch stones and I like to use diminishing levels of pressure to continue to clean the edge.

This was today’s progression, tomorrow it may be 400/1,000/4,000.
For soft knives I finish between 1,000 and 3,000 and for Japanese knives I’ll finish at 5,000 or 8,000.

Edge retention is often a shot in the dark, I’ll do my best to use an angle applicable to the steel but once the knife is out of my hands, who knows what lies ahead. It usually matters not what I do, a poorly used Steel, poor storage and general care of the knife have greater impact on edge retention than anything I do.

Often you just have to find your own path, make mistakes, lots of them and reap the rewards that follow. If you get to a point where you think you know everything about knife sharpening, shake your head. I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn next.
Thanks Peter.
Ur always there with expert knowledge.
Yea there is alot of great Answers In here.
The hole idea with this thread was also to see if someone had a special technique like u, or another approach to sharpening in general.
Never stop learning [emoji16]
 

Sailor

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KingShapton I use leather loaded with chromium oxide most times. I also often strop in between stones.
 

Benuser

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Hi guys, will the sharpening angle effect the edge retention?

I felt my knife easily get dull in pros kitchen when i sharpening the low angle like 10 degree.
It certainly does! Especially when used on poly boards.
Keep the blade as thin as possible behind the edge and add a rather conservative edge at the end. Think a convexed bevel ending at about 15° on the dominant side, and one above 20° at the other side. If it is thin enough behind the edge performance shouldn't suffer.
 

Alder26

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Like most here I think my game plan depends a lot on each knife.
generally I tend to like big jumps between grits. So like 800 to a finisher or for mid grit finishes 400 to a 2-3k. I think this gives me more control over how much tooth the edge has.
Generally for gyutos and Nakiri I like to finish on an Aizu or a shobu iromono that finishes around 4K. For boning knives and silver skin knives I’ll stop around 1500-2k
 

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Hej guys.
I was wondering how u sharpen ur knives.

1: What angle do use and What finish do u give the knife for:
2: pro kitchen with lots of workload.
3: Home kitchen with less workload.
4: Finish on jnat cons/pro ?
5: Do the steel have a big factor on ur sharpening decisions. ?
6: If u have a specific way of sharpening like the zero grind please list it, and tell why u do it cons/ pro ?
7: I’m asking because I have been checking up on peter Nowlan and he’s take on sharpening and it fascinated me that there are so many different ways of sharpening and he’s take on the 1 k gritt, and not going all in on high gritt polish.
8: Nanohone mentioned another way of sharpening, like going up to 6 k and get a smooth edge for then going down to 3 k on one side of the edge to get a more toothy and longer lasting edge.
9: Dave Martell with he’s progression where he go up to the fine gritt and then down to a medium and up to a finish on a fine gritt again.

Please contribute if u have a specific way of sharpening, or some inputs to the matter I mentioned.

Best regards Niels
1: depends on many factors for me. hardness, blade size, blade steel, intended use, intended skill of user etc. i try to put the lowest angle on there that i think the user and steel can handle.
2: i would put a slightly blunter angle on pro stuff (just the very edge, 10 swipes or so) so they last a bit longer/are abit more robust.
3: sky is the limit here, even zero edges. at least for my own stuff that i can resharpen easily and quickly.
4: nope, i dont care.
5: yes very much. soft ss gets only 2k, premium ss and powder 3-4k, hard carbon up to 12k (just for fun) but normally 6-8k. also the higher the alloying content, like 4%V and 18%Cr and 1,5%C then its not gonna get a low angle edge, it will microchip in no time.
6: no not really. they are all different every time
7: imo no matter what you do on a 1k stone the blade is not gonna be sharp enough for me at least. i never stop at 1k. at least not for kitchen knives.
8: never understood this, you could have just stopped at the 3k in the first place.
9: same with this.

with that being said i usually polish certain pistons to P1200 or so with paper in a lathe (mirror finish pretty much) and then hand rub in a P600 finish, but i do this for lubricity, hydro seals need this a bit coarser finish to lubricate the seals otherwise they simply melt quite quickly, too much friction. but this is on industrial machines and not knives so.
 

lemeneid

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I think before even thinking about getting the “ultimate edge” think about getting the “ultimate steel” and heat treat first.

Because lesser knives, while they may get insanely sharp, will lose it with a few cuts. So what’s my ultimate edge. Zero grind edge, no microbevel, edge won’t microchip or crumble with a few swipes over the board.

So finding a good knife must precede all this talk about sharpening. So far only TF checks all these boxes for me :)

As for sharpening, it’s been discussed as nauseum. For me I start with a 1000k synth then progress with 2 or 3 jnats up to my Narutaki Awasedo. Followed by stropping on kanayama leather. On my final stone, I sharpen it like how they do straight razors. So a little different from knives, but it gets sharper and finer than any edge.
 

friz

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Yes, 10° is about that Takamuras are out oft the box, gets dull with microchips in a few minutes. With 18° microbevel it stays sharp much longer and no microchipping.

Form my expirience 16-22° works best for kitchen use.

Regards

Uwe
How do you measure those degrees?
 
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