Sharpening "in hand"

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I do a lot of field sharpening, minor repairs, and touchups "in hand". If you're already familiar with maintaining an edge on a honing rod then learning to do this is pretty easy with a little practice. I'll post some closeup pictures later of before and after. This is a Kanehide 240 gyuto and a vintage Norton India/soft Ark Combo stone.


 
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I was repairing a broken tip. Accidentally left "my" gyuto on the line. (I always leave an older gyuto on the line for the cooks to use but I leave it intentionally a bit thicker behind the edge to prevent stuff like this)

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There's also damage near the heel. Zoom in to see.

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Here's my India/Soft
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Here is after. Not perfect but good enough for a work beater to keep me going for another few weeks.

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The famed knife sharpener, 3 Finger San, was showing me this technique. It looked promising until....

Now 2 Finger San has had to change his name :cool:

I have cut myself many times in many different ways but never sharpening like this...... So I'm probably due. Thanks for jinxing me
 

Pie

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Those edge leading swipes are making me twitch. I can just feel bits of my fingers coming off.

Very nice.
 

KingShapton

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@stringer: Good job. I like the video very much. I got into some in hand sharpening a while ago, but you're miles ahead of me!

One other thing, you use the soft ark with water, have you noticed any problems with the stone getting clogged?

And one more thing, lately I've got the impression that you're starting to prefer coarser, moore bitey finishes on kitchen knives?! Am I wrong about that or did I notice that correctly?
 
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@stringer: Good job. I like the video very much. I got into some in hand sharpening a while ago, but you're miles ahead of me!

One other thing, you use the soft ark with water, have you noticed any problems with the stone getting clogged?

And one more thing, lately I've got the impression that you're starting to prefer coarser, moore bitey finishes on kitchen knives?! Am I wrong about that or did I notice that correctly?

The soft ark does start to clog and burnish pretty quick. But that's really fine for what I'm doing. Just chasing the burr a little and refining the edge a touch. I do prefer oil for arks/India's/crystolons in general but not for in-hand work.

I prefer my kitchen edges to be around 1-2k. That's where I've always found is the sweet spot for me. But it doesn't have much to with teeth or bite. For many many years I used a Naniwa Super Stone 2k. Still do for other people's knives. Synthetic edges above 2k I really dislike because they lack tactile feedback moving through product and they stick in plastic boards. But I have no problems losing teeth even taking synthetic edges up to Naniwa superstone/Shapton Pro 12k, etc. Or beyond with compounds and strops. I just don't have much use for edges like that in a kitchen.

The coarse work I prefer to do as fast as possible. So mostly the last several years has been with the Crystolon. But lately I've also started using India stones and an American Mutt.

For mid range and finishing I've basically stopped using synthetic waterstones except for polishing. I have a horde of naturals that I much prefer for edges. Usually just going from one of the vitrified coarse stones right to a natural finisher. Coticules, BBW, arks, washitas, Llyn Idwal, tam-o-shanter, aizu, suita, Hideriyama, etc. They give me an edge that is comparable to a 1000-8000 grit synthetic or even higher depending on the knife and my mood. But I like the tactile response better, the edges are more stable, longer lasting, and they feel better on the board.
 

kayman67

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It is a bit risky the way you hold it in the OP clip, but it that's comfortable for you, it's fine. I do in hand sharpening all the time. Never had the slightest cut. Been at it for many years. But 99% of all that ever saw me, fear they will badly cut themselves.
 

Desert Rat

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Pretty sure Stringer could sharpen in hand while blind folded hanging upside down.

I would think in hand would produce a more convex edge. Can't do that on a guided system.
 

kayman67

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Yeah, gets like a second nature. I think my approach developed a bit differently also because most stones could not be hold like that.
Funny enough, used some JNS water stones in hand just recently. Pretty much anything can be used. If the stone is efficient and you move at a slower pace, you get to keep a crisp straight bevel. It's 100% doable.
 

M1k3

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This talk makes me think of this. I saw this in a local pickle factory recently. Machine was made before the days of ISO warning symbols. No room for confusion here.
If in hand sharpening were to happen like in the image, I don't know what to say.... Or maybe I do! "Can't fix stupid!"
 

Vdark

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Instead of holding the stone and moving the knife, is it possible to get the same results by holding the knife and moving the stone instead?
 

BoSharpens

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If in hand sharpening were to happen like in the image, I don't know what to say.... Or maybe I do! "Can't fix stupid!"

A doctor friend, Jorge Luhan, here in SoCal was called into the hospital one evening for a guy who put his hand "too far down" in a blender and took off the tips of all 4 fingers. It was some sort of Mexican festival party and the guy had one too many tequilas. He was lucky in that Dr. Luhan managed to patch up all 4 fingers with steel rods in the tips of all 4 and the guy recovered fairly well, except maybe he lost a little length. I was truly amazed that such a patch up would work.
 

ian

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A doctor friend, Jorge Luhan, here in SoCal was called into the hospital one evening for a guy who put his hand "too far down" in a blender and took off the tips of all 4 fingers. It was some sort of Mexican festival party and the guy had one too many tequilas. He was lucky in that Dr. Luhan managed to patch up all 4 fingers with steel rods in the tips of all 4 and the guy recovered fairly well, except maybe he lost a little length. I was truly amazed that such a patch up would work.

I use the same method for making margaritas.
 

KingShapton

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The soft ark does start to clog and burnish pretty quick. But that's really fine for what I'm doing. Just chasing the burr a little and refining the edge a touch. I do prefer oil for arks/India's/crystolons in general but not for in-hand work.

I prefer my kitchen edges to be around 1-2k. That's where I've always found is the sweet spot for me. But it doesn't have much to with teeth or bite. For many many years I used a Naniwa Super Stone 2k. Still do for other people's knives. Synthetic edges above 2k I really dislike because they lack tactile feedback moving through product and they stick in plastic boards. But I have no problems losing teeth even taking synthetic edges up to Naniwa superstone/Shapton Pro 12k, etc. Or beyond with compounds and strops. I just don't have much use for edges like that in a kitchen.

The coarse work I prefer to do as fast as possible. So mostly the last several years has been with the Crystolon. But lately I've also started using India stones and an American Mutt.

For mid range and finishing I've basically stopped using synthetic waterstones except for polishing. I have a horde of naturals that I much prefer for edges. Usually just going from one of the vitrified coarse stones right to a natural finisher. Coticules, BBW, arks, washitas, Llyn Idwal, tam-o-shanter, aizu, suita, Hideriyama, etc. They give me an edge that is comparable to a 1000-8000 grit synthetic or even higher depending on the knife and my mood. But I like the tactile response better, the edges are more stable, longer lasting, and they feel better on the board.
Ok, then my impression was wrong. With the tactile feedback I'm completely with you, that's enormously important.

And I know that with the horde naturals very well, I already have almost too many of them... Especially because my Arkansas stones, my Washita and my little Charnley Forest are now my absolute favorites.
 

cotedupy

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Excellent stuff! I'm going to practice this later with my homemade Washita x India.

May I ask another question... would you do repairs like this in-hand at work, rather than just putting the stone on the bench and being able to use more pressure? Or was it more for demonstration purposes...?
 
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Excellent stuff! I'm going to practice this later with my homemade Washita x India.

May I ask another question... would you do repairs like this in-hand at work, rather than just putting the stone on the bench and being able to use more pressure? Or was it more for demonstration purposes...?

This is the way I do stuff at work on the fly. I usually only have one or two stones in my kit and I don't carry a stone holder. If the knife needs serious thinning or the damage is a bit worse than what we have here then I'll take it home for a full spa day. But I can do this for a few years in between "serious" sessions.
 

M1k3

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I like to bring a stone instead of strop just for those times the edge is to far gone for a strop.
 

Desert Rat

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Instead of holding the stone and moving the knife, is it possible to get the same results by holding the knife and moving the stone instead?
Yes, it works really well with small stones or bigger knifes like a machete or tools like axes. Holding the tool edge up where I can sight down it gives a great visual reference.
 
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