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Sharpening tips for a newbie

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slowtyper

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Knife: konosuke HD 270 gyuto
Stones: King1k, Arashiyama 6000K
leather strop with 0.5 micron chromium oxide

Out of the box, this was the sharpest knife I've had. Still, it wouldn't shave my arm hair very well

Sharpened it for the first time today....I have mainly been using info from Jon's youtube videos (which are great, thanks Jon).

I'm a bit uncertain about what I am doing, so I'm going to write about what I did and please feel free to critique and give any tips.

Step 1: Magic marker to find edge angle on 1k stone. I found myself holding the knife quite high up compared to what I saw in the videos. Oh well.

Step 2: Got a burr going along one edge with not too much trouble. Switched to the other side and flipped the burr to the other side. Didn't have too much trouble with this except for at the tip. I tried the trick as shown on Jon's video about the tip but I had some serious coordination problems....scuffed up the blade on the tip...

Step 3: Switched to the strop...wasn't sure if I was supposed to do this now or only at the end. Anyways, stropped a bit until the burr was gone.

Step 4: Started with the 6k stone. Felt very smooth, took me a long time and still didn't feel any burr. I was expecting an edge like on the 1k stone, but is the burr much less obvious on higher grits? After I thought about that, I looked closer and I did detect a slight burr, just very slight. Not sure if I really did or it was in my mind. Anyways, just continued both sides, then hit the strop again. Sliced into a wine cork a few times but didn't feel any difference before and after that.

Final results, a bit scuffed up (mostly around the tip), but much sharper than it was brand new. Shaved off a nice patch of arm hair with a big grin while my gf watched and thought I had gone insane.

Obligatory pic:




The single bevels were not as sharp as the konosuke brand new. I will start with the yanagi and get the hang of that one first then try the usuba.
 

heirkb

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I'm a newbie, too, and I'm still practicing on crappier knives. Try the tip sharpening again, but do it on a cheapo knife if you can so that you don't create a really strange bevel on your nice knives. I've been doing that just to get a hang of the motions necessary for following the curve properly and creating an even bevel, not necessarily to learn the sharpness. The ones I really scuffed up ones have been tough for me to put a clean new bevel on, so that's why I suggested you try it on a cheapo knife first. Other than that, I can't offer any tips. Good luck (wish me luck) :thumbsup:
 

kalaeb

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Truth be told I have tried Jon's tip technique many times and lack the skill and coordination as well. I have no doubt that it works well, just beyond my abilty.

Has any one effectively converted?

I keep trying every once in a while, but for me its tricky. My tip technique is a little more like Salty's if you watch his sharpening videos.
 

Flounce

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Wow, you have nice knives. I'm a newbie as well, have probably sharpened 30 times or so in the past few months, practicing on cheap knives, German knives, and then my old Global G-2. I've been too chicken to mess with my Suisin Inox Honyaki 270mm or Miyabi 7000mc 240mm, both of which arrived recently and still have sharp OOOTB edges. Will probably wait till they get dull before going to sharpen them. Look forward to hearing about and learning from your experiences.
 

99Limited

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I sharpen my tips using Jon's method. It's kind of like putting your arm into a rocking chair motion and then adding a twisting motion to your arm as you go through your stroke. The way I do it is to have the tip of the blade on the stone during the pull stroke and then as I go into the push stroke I rotate my arm, either to the left or right depending on which side is being sharpened. This raises the tip off the stone and you work the curve of the blade.

It's kind of hard to put into words how to do it, but once you get the hang of it it's kind of fun. You can always practice the motions on your cutting board until you get comfortable with it. Sometimes I end up putting a polish on the whole tip because I'm laying the knife over too far. I don't worry about that since I know that with more practice that will become a thing of the past and I'll have nice even bevels from tip to heel.
 

NO ChoP!

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slow and steady wins the race.....

I found my HD OOTB edge to be not that great. And, truly, its not the easiest knife to sharpen, as its some seriously hard steel. It'll take some extra time on the 1k. So, if you've made an improvement you must be doing something right. Everyone initially tries to emulate others style, which isn't a bad thing; great way to learn; but you will find what works best for you through simple practice and repetition. I've been sharpening for about six years on waterstones, and am still a newbie....
 

Cadillac J

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Step 2: Got a burr going along one edge with not too much trouble. Switched to the other side and flipped the burr to the other side.
Did you abrade/work down the burr at all on your 1K, or just stop and go to the strop after just getting a burr raised on each side? From what you typed, it sounds like you need to spend abrading to make the burr smaller and easier to remove on your strop...and cutting into cork, felt or the like helps too.

Not directing this towards you or saying in a negative way, but I think people need to get off of the "it shaves my arm hair". All of my knives will shave hair easily, but each edge is so different from one another that it really isn't a good indicator of sharpness IMO. Cut food items that the knife will be used for to test sharpness instead, as it will give you much more feedback and information about your results. Also remember, you can shave hair with a burr, but that edge won't last at all when put into the paces of its actual use.
 

Lefty

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The last part is a great point, Caddy!
It can act as a false confirmation of a good edge. Really make sure you have gotten rid of the burr before going to the next grit or final stropping.
I've heard some say deburring between stones is a waste of time, but I do not agree. If you don't, you might be rushing the whole process, and leaving too much left undone for the next stone.
 

StephanFowler

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Not directing this towards you or saying in a negative way, but I think people need to get off of the "it shaves my arm hair".
heck, I can run a piece of mdf through a good table saw and shave arm hair (or take a HUGE slice out of my thumb (done it more than once)) with the 90deg edge if it's clean enough
 

SpikeC

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One thing that I have found helpful in working the tip of knives is looking very closely at the intersection of the knife to the stone before moving anything, preferably with magnification. You can see when the edge just comes in contact with the stone, and by slowly rotating the blade along the edge/stone interface you can see how the knife needs to be positioned to keep the bevel consistent. Watching closely as you move the knife tells you how to approach the stroke.
 

Craig

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I'm not really an expert myself, but one thing I will say is I think a lot of people are too hesitant to take their nicer knives to the stones. I more or less learned on my Takeda Nakiri and moreso my Watanabe Petty and neither of them are any worse for it, other than a few little scratches on the blades. At the same time I was always sharpening a Wusthof Chef + parer too, but I found I learned a lot more from working on the other two.

I think the fear of seriously damaging a knife with a stone is overstated. Understandable though, I mean you are rubbing something that cost a few hundred bucks with something else that cost almost a hundred.
 

Lefty

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This might not apply for everyone, but if you've ever seen Zoolander, this should make sense.
When sharpening, hitting a golf ball or cooking a meal I always have better results if I "go monk".
It's amazing how not worrying about something and allowing your body to do it naturally can vastly improve your performance. The same goes for any sort of endurance sport. If I'm halfway through a 20k trail, and I get crampy and my rhythm is off, I know I'm over analyzing, and getting into my own head in a negative way.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is trust yourself. You might just be amazed with your skills!
 

MadMel

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This might not apply for everyone, but if you've ever seen Zoolander, this should make sense.
When sharpening, hitting a golf ball or cooking a meal I always have better results if I "go monk".
It's amazing how not worrying about something and allowing your body to do it naturally can vastly improve your performance. The same goes for any sort of endurance sport. If I'm halfway through a 20k trail, and I get crampy and my rhythm is off, I know I'm over analyzing, and getting into my own head in a negative way.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is trust yourself. You might just be amazed with your skills!
Have not tried this while sharpening but I usually go into this state at around the 16km mark on a marathon. Might try to relax and not think too much on my next sharpening job.
 

tk59

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Hi slowtyper! I've learned my first sharpening experience from this helpful post. I use the diamond steel because it guarantees the 22 degree angle. Enjoy!
Hello Melanie, that is certainly a nice way to keep your double bevel edges serviceable. I'm not sure how it is that this diamond rod guarantees a 22 deg angle but most people here sharpen freehand. Thus, the 22 deg angle is irrelevant. As the individual in the video you cited mentioned, a rod is not an ideal tool for sharpening, that is regrinding an edge which must be done periodically to maintain a high level of performance. It is used merely to touch it up.
 

Vertigo

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The drive-by spammer drives by again, getting free clicks.
 

monty

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Sounds to me like you are doing pretty good. Tips, like anything else, come with practice and it sounds like you'll have them conquered in no time.
 

JBroida

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i think i need to revisit that video and do a followup... to be honest, the most important thing in that video is not the motion i'm doing, but rather understanding how the right hand height and rotation can help you follow the tip curve... i'll try to shoot a new followup this week if i can find some time
 

MadMel

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i think i need to revisit that video and do a followup... to be honest, the most important thing in that video is not the motion i'm doing, but rather understanding how the right hand height and rotation can help you follow the tip curve... i'll try to shoot a new followup this week if i can find some time
I'll be looking forward to that
 

stevenStefano

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Something I found that really put me off freehand sharpening, was starting off at too low a grit. I started sharpening with a 220 grit stone and because it cut so fast, any slightly movement in my hand meant that I was never getting a true bevel and therefore took forever to get a burr. If you start off at about 800ish if you're a beginner I think it will cut fast enough but is still forgiving enough that you should get a pretty even bevel fairly quickly even with pretty beat up knives
 

RRLOVER

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This might not apply for everyone, but if you've ever seen Zoolander, this should make sense.
When sharpening, hitting a golf ball or cooking a meal I always have better results if I "go monk".
It's amazing how not worrying about something and allowing your body to do it naturally can vastly improve your performance. The same goes for any sort of endurance sport. If I'm halfway through a 20k trail, and I get crampy and my rhythm is off, I know I'm over analyzing, and getting into my own head in a negative way.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is trust yourself. You might just be amazed with your skills!



This is spot on for me with everything......I seldom over think things:slaphead:
 
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