Sharpening Wüstof and Sabatier.

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Perverockstar

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One of my co-workers has Wüstof and Sabatier knives and he wants me to sharpen them.

What would happen if I sharpen them at the same angle I use for my Japanese knives?

Is it better if I raise the angle and keep it around 20°? Or which one do you recommend?

Thank you.
 

Rainman890

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I had a Wüstof chefs knife that I got when I started working in kitchens - sharpened daily/weekly on a King 1000 - I used around 15-20 degree angle (all free-handed, so can't be super sure). Worked fine, and I had the sharpest knives in my kitchen. :)
 

Pie

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I just set the angle a little higher than usual and go. I’m not accurate enough to perfectly maintain an angle,

Finding the stock angle first, it it’s still there, with a sharpie or visual cues such as scratch pattern will give you a good idea. It (unfortunately) seems these are the most common to come through for repairs or sharpening 😕.
 
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My wusthof ikon was so much better once thinned out and sub 15 degrees was just to fragile of an edge at work for me
 

mpier

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I would keep the angle high, I believe that steel has an HRC 58 or so, to low of an angle while it may cut nice won’t last long unless you put a micro bevel on it
 

Steampunk

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Modern Wusthof's are kind of a losing battle to optimize... Their stainless steel is coarse grained and kind of crumbly, so it's not real stable when thinned, and thinned + steep-angle (20-degrees+) knives in this material are really hard to get shaving sharp. It's a little less likely to fold than Victorinox at shallower angles (13-15 DPS), providing there's enough material behind the edge to support that angle. I'd actually go thicker BTE, and shallower angles with Wustie's. They're never going to be stable with thin BTE dimensions, but at least an edge can be put on around the 13-15 DPS point that's sort-of holdable. With this sort of thing, the user really needs an F.Dick Micro to maintain it during service. The steel feels 'crunchy' to sharpen. I like SiC stones with it. Don't take it too high in grit.

As for Sabatier's, are we talking modern stainless or vintage carbon? Modern stainless feels like a slightly coarser grained Victorinox, to me. They can stand a bit more thinning than Wustie's, but not much, and 15-DPS is a nice balance between sharpness and stability. You need a slightly sandpaper roughened, non-chromed smooth steel with these during service to keep them going. They wear and fold quickly.

Vintage carbons can be taken down to near-zero convex, with a steep micro-bevel on a slow stone like a Hard or Translucent Ark, and then maintained with a smooth or slightly roughened steel rod. They respond to this treatment really well. You'll just need to refinish them with sandpaper on a soft substrate to a fairly high grit, to mitigate corrosion. They're rustier than Japanese carbons.

The right steel honing rod is the critical component to keeping these knives going through the shift, or even multiple shifts. They'll never achieve the geometrical potential of harder metals, but can definitely be made sharper, and maintained better than what your co-worker currently is experiencing.
 

Benuser

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First get rid of the shoulders. I sharpen those soft stainless with a Chosera 400 (+/-JIS600) or lower. The Wüsthoff can get a bit finer, but not much. For deburring the rough side of a green Scotch pad. The rough side of split leather can help to clean up the bevels a bit and push all debris to one side, where you can deburr. With the Wüsthoff a dry Chosera 800 for deburring only. Looking for convex bevels, ending at some 20dps.
Recent Wǘsthoff come with an OOTB edge the steel can't take or hold. Only for marketing.
Soft stainless doesn't benefit from any refinement: it leads to even greater edge instability.
Soft carbons though take and hold refined edges. I maintain them with high grits. Best results with Arks.
As for steeling: the Dickoron Micro works very well. With carbons you may consider the smooth Dickoron as another option. All with the lightest touch, of coarse.
 

coxhaus

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I use 15 degrees for my kitchen Wusthof using a Worksharp Ken Onion. They seem to work well. None of my knives have chipped. I also sharpen my Henckels 4 star knives the same. To me they cut better than 20 degrees. I have a big Henckels Chef knife 11.5 inches that I sharpen at 20 degrees because I use it for heavy stuff like cutting chicken in half.
 
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Modern Wusthof's are kind of a losing battle to optimize... Their stainless steel is coarse grained and kind of crumbly, so it's not real stable when thinned, and thinned + steep-angle (20-degrees+) knives in this material are really hard to get shaving sharp. It's a little less likely to fold than Victorinox at shallower angles (13-15 DPS), providing there's enough material behind the edge to support that angle. I'd actually go thicker BTE, and shallower angles with Wustie's. They're never going to be stable with thin BTE dimensions, but at least an edge can be put on around the 13-15 DPS point that's sort-of holdable. With this sort of thing, the user really needs an F.Dick Micro to maintain it during service. The steel feels 'crunchy' to sharpen. I like SiC stones with it. Don't take it too high in grit.

As for Sabatier's, are we talking modern stainless or vintage carbon? Modern stainless feels like a slightly coarser grained Victorinox, to me. They can stand a bit more thinning than Wustie's, but not much, and 15-DPS is a nice balance between sharpness and stability. You need a slightly sandpaper roughened, non-chromed smooth steel with these during service to keep them going. They wear and fold quickly.

Vintage carbons can be taken down to near-zero convex, with a steep micro-bevel on a slow stone like a Hard or Translucent Ark, and then maintained with a smooth or slightly roughened steel rod. They respond to this treatment really well. You'll just need to refinish them with sandpaper on a soft substrate to a fairly high grit, to mitigate corrosion. They're rustier than Japanese carbons.

The right steel honing rod is the critical component to keeping these knives going through the shift, or even multiple shifts. They'll never achieve the geometrical potential of harder metals, but can definitely be made sharper, and maintained better than what your co-worker currently is experiencing.
Glad you chimed in. Mine is almost thirty years old by now. Great profile, all things being equal

compared to a gesshin ginga
image.jpg
 
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It's my understanding that Wusthof used to put a 20 (or 22.5) dps edge on their knives but at some point lowered it to 14º or 10º for santokus etc. Presumably to try to compete with the greater sharpness of J-knives.

  1. Tilt the knife so that there is a 14o angle between the knife and the steel. If you
    are honing or sharpening an Asian-style knife, such as a Santoku, Nakiri or Chai Dao, tilt the knife to a 10 ̊ angle.

 

Benuser

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It's my understanding that Wusthof used to put a 20 (or 22.5) dps edge on their knives but at some point lowered it to 14º or 10º for santokus etc. Presumably to try to compete with the greater sharpness of J-knives.

  1. Tilt the knife so that there is a 14o angle between the knife and the steel. If you
    are honing or sharpening an Asian-style knife, such as a Santoku, Nakiri or Chai Dao, tilt the knife to a 10 ̊ angle.

Not just for so-called Asian knives — made from the very same Krupp's 4116 @58Rc. They did it with all their knives, when introducing their... (drumm-roll) 'PETec technology', which is nothing more than robotic sharpening of a V-edge, and a lot of marketing fuss.
That steel just doesn't take or hold those edges. Have seen brand new ones with spectacular wire edges.
I happen to be a sharpening geek, so I'm not that impressed. But Wüsthofs are sold to a general public. What do these guys believe that happens when a €140 knife fails after three slices of cucumber??
To make things even worse, behind the bevels they are twice as thick as common well-made traditional German or French vintages, or a today's Robert Herder 1922. So, more force is required to get through hard food, which results in a more violent board contact. Poor edge. The only reason for this, is cheap production and limited returns. Our young fellows coming from the vocational education learn rock-chopping, not the traditional French 'guillotine and glide'. Imagine what happens to the edge if a young guy, 6'3", 188lbs, pumps from the shoulder.
Old Wüsthofs weren't very thin either, but at least had convexed bevels. The production required more man-hours. A Herder 1922 now costs €200, a Wüsthof some €140, and working with stainless is harder. The soft 4116 is very abrasion resistant, requiring more man hours and abrasives when working in the traditional way. See what costs a 240mm Misono 440, $183. To make a fair comparison, add EU import tax and VAT. Some €215. And Misono doesn't have the costs of a huge distribution network or the marketing of Wüsthof.
Or look at an even smaller factory, K-Sabatier. In their 200-series, 14C28N steel, F&F at least on par with Misono, a 250mm chef's costs €160. These are not the series they are likely to make a lot of profit with.
When buying a Wüsthof today, you basically pay for their distribution and marketing.
If you're looking for the kind of profile they offer, high tip, huge belly, and are fine with the kind of steel: Burgvogel / Messermeister offers a good alternative, even if the price difference isn't as large as it used to be.
 

Wagnum

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Keep the angle above 15° and don't go past 1000 grit on the stones and your good. I find stropping really necessary with softer steels
 

psfred

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The problem with ChroMoVa knives is that the base steel is fairly soft and carries large carbides. Low angle sharpening and thin shoulders results in a thin edge that often has many of the carbides pulled out of the matrix, and the matrix, while very sharp off the stones, mashes flat on the first contact with something hard like a cutting board. Stones finer than 1k grit pretty much strip all the carbides out of the edge, the reason you should not polish a ChroMoVa edge.

Fat sharpening angle, fairly obtuse shoulder, some convexity, and a good smooth steel and those coarse carbides with do their job of keeping the edge working sharp. The smooth steel will straighten out the edge that fails from bending -- very different than abrasive knife steels intended to remove metal.

A Wustie will never be razor sharp, but a decent working edge at 20 degrees per side and careful use of a steel will keep last a long time. They also do not chip with sloppy work, being dropped, or being shoved into a dishwasher and are not hard to restore.

Vicorinox Fibrox are a better working knife in my opinion, they take a finer edge and stay sharper longer with less care.
 

coxhaus

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Vicorinox Fibrox are a better working knife in my opinion, they take a finer edge and stay sharper longer with less care.

My experience is different than yours as I had a Victorinox paring knife as well as Henckels 4 staring paring knives and the Victorinox always seemed to need to be sharpened more than my other ones.

I have not tried the Victorinox fibrox big knives as I don't like the handles. I have like 30 Wusthof Classic and Henckels 4 star knives.
 
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Perverockstar

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I have only owned the Victorinox with rosewood handles, I'm guessing the blades are exactly the same as the ones on the Fibrox. Correct me if I'm wrong...

Anyway, I like them for what they cost. They are comfortable and they can get sharp enough for any kitchen task. But the sharpness does not last that much, in my experience.
 

Benuser

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They come OOTB with a straight V-edge above 20dps and prominent shoulders, you may ease to make the face flush with the bevels. It will considerably reduce the force needed to get the blade through hard food, and the resulting hard board contact. I sharpen them with a Chosera 400 (JIS 600 or so). Keep a Dickoron Micro nearby.
 
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