Sharpening Tojiro DP

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Oct 28, 2020
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San Antonio, TX
1) I see people recommending Tojiro DP all the time for entry-level Japanese knives.

2) I see people complain about sharpening VG-10 unless is made well. Takamura VG-10 is often mentioned as being easier to sharpen, but I don't recall seeing any comments about the Tojiro DP being easy to sharpen.

3) Tojiro DP is made from VG-10.

Tojiro DP owners, how easily does this knife sharpen? How sharp does it get? Is it hard to remove the burr? What stones are best? What grit rating is the highest that makes sense to use?
With very simple carbons, you may weaken the burr until it falls off. No so with VG-10: the burr is so much attached with the edge that in case it were to fall off, which doesn't occur, it would leave a moonscape-like edge behind. Only weakening doesn't work: it has to get abraded throughout the entire progression.
With VG-10 all depends on the Heat Treatment. Mass production and a critical HT combine poorly. I've sharpened quite a lot of DP's and they used to be unpredictable in that respect.
Some excellent, others very hard to get deburred. Since, it looks like some serious improvement has been made. Recent ones are much more even, and sharpen relatively easily.
My progression goes up to my finest stones, not so much for achieving a high polish, but for deburring only. I use edge leading strokes, eventually followed by longitudinal ones. The lighter the better. Hard to imagine a fully deburred one under 4k. If you have finer stones, use them. My typical progression is Chosera 800 and 2k, which leaves an end result of JIS 1200 and 3k, followed by further deburring with a JIS 4k and perhaps 8k, depending on my mood.
VG-10 is very likely to develop a wire edge: the accumulation of debris on top of the old edge. Make sure you really reach the very edge. I would suggest the use of a permanent marker and a loupe with every stone, even when only deburring. A wire edge is very sharp but will fail at the first board contact. Once it got developed in the case of VG-10 I wouldn't even try to get rid of it. Better restart the entire sharpening.
Remember VG-10 has an unusual dulling curve: a screaming, aggressive sharpness right from the stones, that gets lost after just little usage. The remaining lesser sharpness is perfectly fine in Western cuisine and stays almost forever.
Tojiro DP is the reason why I started my knife journey, made me wanna try some ease of sharpening steels.

It’s a good stainless steel that kept the working edge for very long. But it took me longer to get it sharp compared to my current knives, it’s going to wear out your stones faster in the long term because I normally have to apply more pressure on stones compared to other steels. I haven’t tried other maker’s VG10 but I do believed different maker/heat treatment affects ease of sharpening also.

Tojiro DP still good entry knife for practice sharpening.
You're most welcome. In the case you do have some first experience with sharpening, mastering the deburring of VG-10 will mean a big step in all your sharpening. I wouldn't start with it, though. In Europe, I would suggest a very thin, inexpensive simple carbon breakfast knife as Herder's Buckels, to get easily to the basics — raising the burr, chasing it, getting rid of it — without heavy prior thinning before you even reach the edge, as is so often the case with neglected knives. To make it even worse, poor stainless is often very abrasion resistant.
Once those basics acquired, one may start with a simple Japanese utilitarian carbon chef's knife. A Fujiwara Kanefusa FKH costs less than $100 and is a simple but well made knife, and sharpens easily. It allows a novice to get used to a different, asymmetric geometry.
A Tojiro DP would be a great next step, but not to start with, because of the slightly tricky deburring.
I would agree with the above statements. VG10 tends to be more abrasion resistant than many other stainless steels so it is harder to cut, and then it also holds the burr with a bit of a death grip. I wouldn't say that a beginner should steer away from it through. It's not going to reward you instantly with a hair popping edge the way that white steel or other very simple carbon steels will. It will give you good results in a reasonable amount of time though.

VG10 does has a supernatural ability to hold an acceptably sharp edge for what seems like forever. This unfortunately makes it a great choice for line cooks that need inexpensive knives that get the job done, and whom do not want to pay to get them sharpened often.

Best heat treat I have found is Ryusen, worst is probably Shun
FYI: I've sharpened many different types of steel, German and Japanese, stainless and carbon. I agree with your comments about raising a burr and removing it.

I'd like to have some first-hand experience with this knife just because it's recommended so often. Shame it's so expensive to try out many knives. I'm glad so many people have let me sharpen their knives for them. It gives me a pretty good idea of whether or not I'd like/recommend the knife without having to purchase it.
Tojiro DP put me off VG-10 forever, and that was just a 90mm
My Tojiros sharpen up no different than my other Stainless knives really. A touch "crunchy" but nothing outrageous. While I understand why "Chippy" has been attributed to VG-10 because of Shun, i never understood why people thought it was hard to sharpen. Even the Shuns that i have sharpened were not difficult to deburr like are often reported. YMMV i guess.