Sharpening for raw proteins?

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Delat

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I have enough redundancy in my collection that I was thinking about the value of having a gyuto sharpened specifically for raw proteins. I’ve seen people mention that a lower-grit edge in the 1-2k range is better vs higher grits for that application.

I sharpen everything at 4k, so I was curious if anyone out there has a “raw protein” knife they sharpen differently from their usual edge, and if it’s enough of a difference to be worthwhile?
 

Kiru

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I have enough redundancy in my collection that I was thinking about the value of having a gyuto sharpened specifically for raw proteins. I’ve seen people mention that a lower-grit edge in the 1-2k range is better vs higher grits for that application.

I sharpen everything at 4k, so I was curious if anyone out there has a “raw protein” knife they sharpen differently from their usual edge, and if it’s enough of a difference to be worthwhile?
I noticed veggie cutting edge doesn’t last very long(the teeth on the edge is gone after cutting one zucchini, I always touch them up after one prepping session at home, yes, I hate my knives with no teeth)
However, I do notice edges for raw protein last a lot longer than cutting veggies, I get my protein knives up to 8k plus, I use an okudo suita/nakayama tomae for the finial touch, and after prepping about 2kg of chicken thigh the edge is still relatively toothy(according to the three fingers test)
Probably the reason why most don’t sharpen double bevel knives that high because they use their doubles for both veggies and protein, and lower grit means larger teeth on edge and might last longer than smaller teeth, this is my take, probably wrong for some tho.
 

Walla

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Depending on what type of protein I'm cutting I'll sharpen differently...I'm fortunate enough to have options.

Lean proteins...ie most fish, beef tenderloin, chicken breasts etc I'll go higher grit... usually 4 to 6k

Fatty proteins...ie beef/pork butchery, fatty tuna belly, salmon etc around 1 to 2 k.

I find/feel lower grits perform better when dealing with fatty things...that is to say it feels like the larger micro serrations at lower grits don't clog up with the fat as much as the micro serrations at higher grits do. Can I point to empirical evidence that supports this...no...not really... though there are several Japanese sharpeners that make that claim...I tried it out...it works for me.

It's not night and day differences we're talking about...it just seems a bit better...I've played around with finishing with hybrid edges (ie. 1k one side 4k the other) worked well but a bit too fussy for me to do on a regular basis...that and one pass on a ceramic rod in the middle of the shift and all the time put into it is gone...

So all that being said...try out several different methods and see what works for you...

Take care

Jeff
 

daveb

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It's a bit of oversimplification, but a 6K finish for raw, 4K finish for cooked works for me and suji. I don't specifically sharpen for things like brisket but if I'm sharpening and if I'm cutting a seared protein, then I may quit on 2Kish.

When going to a catering gig (Have knife, will travel) I'll have a single suji at 6K to take on anything.
 

tcmx3

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I noticed veggie cutting edge doesn’t last very long(the teeth on the edge is gone after cutting one zucchini, I always touch them up after one prepping session at home, yes, I hate my knives with no teeth)
However, I do notice edges for raw protein last a lot longer than cutting veggies, I get my protein knives up to 8k plus, I use an okudo suita/nakayama tomae for the finial touch, and after prepping about 2kg of chicken thigh the edge is still relatively toothy(according to the three fingers test)
Probably the reason why most don’t sharpen double bevel knives that high because they use their doubles for both veggies and protein, and lower grit means larger teeth on edge and might last longer than smaller teeth, this is my take, probably wrong for some tho.

my favorites as well
 

KingShapton

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Suddenly I’m regretting selling a couple of my knives this weekend ;)

I think I’ll try one at 1k and another at 6-8k and see they feel. Thanks for the input guys.
I don't know what stones you have available, but be aware that some stones (especially 1000 grit stones) generate more bite than others... To name a few examples that generate a lot of bite: Shapton Pro 1k, King Deluxe 1k or 1.2k, Best 1.2k, Akamonzen. Other 1000 grit stones less, play a bit and test the differences, it makes (at least for me) a clear difference in practice.
 

Delat

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I don't know what stones you have available, but be aware that some stones (especially 1000 grit stones) generate more bite than others... To name a few examples that generate a lot of bite: Shapton Pro 1k, King Deluxe 1k or 1.2k, Best 1.2k, Akamonzen. Other 1000 grit stones less, play a bit and test the differences, it makes (at least for me) a clear difference in practice.

My regular set is SG 500/1k/4k.

I also have the “probably king 4k” and the “maybe kitayama 6k or 8k” from my unidentified stones thread. I normally sharpen everything on the SG4k unless I setting a new bevel, but based on this thread I’m going to try one knife on the SG1k and another on the kitayama.
 

tcmx3

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My regular set is SG 500/1k/4k.

I also have the “probably king 4k” and the “maybe kitayama 6k or 8k” from my unidentified stones thread. I normally sharpen everything on the SG4k unless I setting a new bevel, but based on this thread I’m going to try one knife on the SG1k and another on the kitayama.

have you tried any natural stones?

IMO naturals, and JNATs in particular, tend to leave more useable edges at higher grits (though I dont use anything coarser than my aizu anymore, preferring choseras), but that's just like, my opinion, man.
 

Jeff

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I have enough redundancy in my collection that I was thinking about the value of having a gyuto sharpened specifically for raw proteins. I’ve seen people mention that a lower-grit edge in the 1-2k range is better vs higher grits for that application.

I sharpen everything at 4k, so I was curious if anyone out there has a “raw protein” knife they sharpen differently from their usual edge, and if it’s enough of a difference to be worthwhile?


Lime most of us here, I love to sharpen and have many many many “toys” to accomplish the task.

… Too many toys if you ask my wife!

I prefer a more toothy edge when cutting proteins. … Somehow the feedback in the knife gives the appearance of it being sharper. Phantom sharpness?

Thinner, more refined higher grit finish is great for produce, but I prefer the tactile feedback on proteins. Sometimes I revert to a western knife for “big beef.”

… I’m a home cook so I really lack perspective on working a “whole shift” and observing edge retention.
 

Delat

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have you tried any natural stones?

IMO naturals, and JNATs in particular, tend to leave more useable edges at higher grits (though I dont use anything coarser than my aizu anymore, preferring choseras), but that's just like, my opinion, man.

Nope, no jnats yet.
 

KingShapton

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My regular set is SG 500/1k/4k.

I also have the “probably king 4k” and the “maybe kitayama 6k or 8k” from my unidentified stones thread. I normally sharpen everything on the SG4k unless I setting a new bevel, but based on this thread I’m going to try one knife on the SG1k and another on the kitayama.
The SG1k is a very good stone but leaves significantly less bite/tooth compared to the stones I mentioned.

If you really want to delve more into the topic of "edges for raw protein" and want to try edges with different finishes then I would really recommend buying the Bester 1.2k or a King Deluxe 1k and making a comparison. Provided that soakers are acceptable to you.

You can find quite a bit of information here specifically about the KDS 1k and the edge it creates, @branwell is a strong proponent of this stone for exactly this reason, he created a few threads on the subject.

KDS 1.2k has to be permagesoaked in order to work, with Bester 1.2k and KDS 1k a shorter soak is sufficient, which is why I recommend both of them. Another tip for the KDS, they work best for me with really light pressure.

In case you don't like soakers there is still the Shapton Pro 1k and if you don't want to buy any more stones (hard to imagine) then try @M1k3's recommendation and try the SG500, you already have it.

BTW, I still believe (based on the color of the stone) that your unidentified stone is an Imanishi 6000.
 
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You can find quite a bit of information here specifically about the KDS 1k and the edge it creates, @branwell is a strong proponent of this stone for exactly this reason, he created a few threads on the subject.
Yea. I recently went back to using the King 1K in place of several other 1K stones like the SP1K, Chosera 800 and even the excellent Cerax 1K. The King definitely doesn't like pressure. If you use it like you would a Shapton it will dish fast and you will get a rounded edge as the blade will sink into the soft surface of the stone. Use light pressure and the edge is just fabulous. Super aggressive and very keen for a 1K. Ideal step of point for a 1K / 6K hybrid.
 

Desert Rat

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I don't really care in the kitchen. A couple of chickens or a brisket, about any edge will do. My hunting knifes and whatever knife or knifes I choose to butcher with will have a toothy edge though. If they are not very toothy when I start they will be when I'm done. A faster stone with some tooth just makes sense because of the speed of touching up the edge, and that type of edge will last longer too.
 

Perverockstar

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I noticed veggie cutting edge doesn’t last very long(the teeth on the edge is gone after cutting one zucchini, I always touch them up after one prepping session at home, yes, I hate my knives with no teeth)
However, I do notice edges for raw protein last a lot longer than cutting veggies, I get my protein knives up to 8k plus, I use an okudo suita/nakayama tomae for the finial touch, and after prepping about 2kg of chicken thigh the edge is still relatively toothy(according to the three fingers test)
Probably the reason why most don’t sharpen double bevel knives that high because they use their doubles for both veggies and protein, and lower grit means larger teeth on edge and might last longer than smaller teeth, this is my take, probably wrong for some tho.
It is weird, I feel that my knives last a lot longer with veggies than when I have to small dice flanksteak. Our head chef has the same impression.
 

BoSharpens

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I read all the comments with a bit of an amazed viewpoint, since I don't understand all the abbreviations.

I do cut all my veggies, meat & fish with my own knives, mostly Wustoff & Shun which I keep very sharp, but I've never understood subtleties, except that mine will easily cut down through a Post-It note with ease. My thin sharp Shun works fine on most anything & the Wustoff with a wider edge takes a bit more force.

I'm one of the knife users that just sharpens to a fine polished edge and then uses an Arkansas or Washita to hone the edge when it gets just "a bit off." I do not try to get an edge that is so narrow and sharp that one touch to a board too hard chips it.

Could it be I'm missing something? Probably.
 

Steampunk

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Yes... For raw red-meat proteins, I do find that a coarser edge (500-1K depending on the stone. Soft Ark edges are also nice butchery edges on some steels.) make a deeper bite into the meat with less 'sawing' motion, and helps avoid that 'hacked up' edge on the portion. That 500-1K edge still needs to be able to shave hair, mind you, which can be more challenging to achieve than with finer grits depending on your sharpening skill (Ability to precisely hold an angle, pressure control, and burr sensitivity.). If you fail to achieve hair-shaving at lower grits, but can at higher grits, just stick with high grits. You're not going to see that extra 'bite' with a poorly deburred edge, and it could be less durable if you're not able to manage the burr.

How thick your Gyuto is BTE is also a factor, as near-zero knives bite deeper per cut, leaving less of a 'coarse sawn' edge on the meat. Near-Zero + Coarse Edge is a magical combination on proteins. However, not all knives can be deburred properly at a near-zero BTE thickness on coarse stones. They need to be pretty hard. If you're only working with cold/raw proteins, pure carbons work pretty well. With hot proteins, you really need a heavily alloyed carbon or semi-stainless, if not stainless alloy to keep an edge during use with that sort of geometry.

Hope this helps.
 
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I read all the comments with a bit of an amazed viewpoint, since I don't understand all the abbreviations.

I do cut all my veggies, meat & fish with my own knives, mostly Wustoff & Shun which I keep very sharp, but I've never understood subtleties, except that mine will easily cut down through a Post-It note with ease. My thin sharp Shun works fine on most anything & the Wustoff with a wider edge takes a bit more force.

I'm one of the knife users that just sharpens to a fine polished edge and then uses an Arkansas or Washita to hone the edge when it gets just "a bit off." I do not try to get an edge that is so narrow and sharp that one touch to a board too hard chips it.

Could it be I'm missing something? Probably.

My German knives can easily be brought to a sharpness level that cleanly slices receipt paper. My Yoshikane however, can almost slice a radish in two under it's weight and has shown no signs of chipping. After a number of full meal preps, I did experience a tiny roll, maybe around 1/32" but it stropped out.

A few other of my Japanese knives get close to this performance without any edge deformation at all. I would, and I guess do, use my Akifusa in AS over every German knife in this house for 99%+ of my cutting.

You can have very keen edges that aren't fragile.
 

Kiru

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my favorites as well
I like them with single bevels, I used to quit after 3k for all kitchen knives but now I started using my yanagiba to prep chicken thigh at home lol(the god of sushi will probably hate me if they hear that), always look forward to prep chicken for the week!
 

Delat

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I read all the comments with a bit of an amazed viewpoint, since I don't understand all the abbreviations.

I do cut all my veggies, meat & fish with my own knives, mostly Wustoff & Shun which I keep very sharp, but I've never understood subtleties, except that mine will easily cut down through a Post-It note with ease. My thin sharp Shun works fine on most anything & the Wustoff with a wider edge takes a bit more force.

I'm one of the knife users that just sharpens to a fine polished edge and then uses an Arkansas or Washita to hone the edge when it gets just "a bit off." I do not try to get an edge that is so narrow and sharp that one touch to a board too hard chips it.

Could it be I'm missing something? Probably.

What prompted this train of thought for me was trying to thinly butterfly beef short ribs to make galbi. I have no problem with flank steak or chicken breast, but the galbi was really frustrating. I was sure my knife was dull, so I swapped for another, then another, then just settled for cursing and hacking. My knives aren’t dull, but just weren’t getting any traction on the short ribs.

I wish I’d thought of this before I sold off a couple of my less expensive knives last weekend, but I have a “budget” Markin in 52100 coming in soon that I’ll try out at either 500 or 1k and see if it makes a difference.
 

M1k3

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What prompted this train of thought for me was trying to thinly butterfly beef short ribs to make galbi. I have no problem with flank steak or chicken breast, but the galbi was really frustrating. I was sure my knife was dull, so I swapped for another, then another, then just settled for cursing and hacking. My knives aren’t dull, but just weren’t getting any traction on the short ribs.

I wish I’d thought of this before I sold off a couple of my less expensive knives last weekend, but I have a “budget” Markin in 52100 coming in soon that I’ll try out at either 500 or 1k and see if it makes a difference.
Freeze it for a bit first. Once it has that little frostiness and it's stiffened up.
 

ModRQC

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No trouble I had with an SG6K edge for that. If you ask me that question for cheap SS, I'll say SG500 or Cerax 1K depending on the particular feeliing you're after. If a knife dedicated to raw meats in any suggestively dire enough way I'll say the same but still have a try as far up as SP2K or Ouka see if it fits your descriptions..

If one thing I don't use knives solely for something. I HAVE a few of that kind at hand... but I don't use them any much and find them inferior to other alternatives - and finer edges - mostly. Only edges I keep so readily coarse for readily daily use are cheap SS beaters intended for chopping anything in any state without fear. It's not only a matter of coarse edge warrants there as much as thicker BTE knives not worthy of any extra effort anyhow but being quite splendid at being molested at lenghts.

Raw meat is also two things where SP2K is the very limit up of going into the more dire, readily catching into fats and bits of whatever around bones. But if portionning or even getting some fatties done in squares like bacon within a singe prep, I'll make do with finer edges alright.
 

Sir Krinkle

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Personally I feel like edge finish isn't necessarily all that important for usage. I stop at 1k on my hankotsu because it is fine enough where I can slice through beef without too much sawing, saving elbow wear and tear. I really like using a 6k edge, it seems to fall through meat beautifully, but it doesn't like being steeled and I hate sharpening on my lunch break. I'll finish on a medium India in a pinch if I left my gesshin at home, but it's a bit too much bite for my liking, leads to more sawing on big chunks of meat.

I deal with a lot of heavy carcass fat while butchering certain animals. That's more of an exercise in preventing stiction than it is edge finish, because nothing really cuts through an inch of white corn fat all that well. My needs are probably vastly different than the average home cook, but here's my 2 cents anyways.
 
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