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Straightening Block/Stick

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mr drinky

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I have an old Yanagi that I want to practice sharpening on before I go at the one I bought from Jon at JKI.

I've taken it to the stones a few times before, but the tip is stubbornly bent enough to be a pain in the a**. I've tried to straighten it by hand, but it still isn't how I'd like it.

I know people probably have DIY straightening blocks, and I think Dave used to sell them, but does anyone have design suggestions or know of vendors that sell them. Dave??

I found this link below, but $80 seems a bit high unless it is really a lot better product.

http://www.yamashoinc.com/supply/kitchenware/knife/yss/index.htm

k.
 

Dave Martell

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Mark at CKTG sells a copy of that one.

You can also make one yourself. A simple broomstick handle with a notch cut in it works wonders. Careful with tips though - snappy stuff. :)
 

mr drinky

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Yeah, after I posted this I saw Mark's version, but $55 still seems high for this simple item.

k.
 

Dave Martell

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The best version I made was from an oak dowel I scored for like $4 at Home Depot that I cut a notch into. Trust me folks - low tech works here. :)


Here's a pimped out low tech dowel version I made once, I gave it away to someone.

P1010003.jpg
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Yeah, after I posted this I saw Mark's version, but $55 still seems high for this simple item.

k.
Send me a PM, I can make you a simple one for free, just pay for the shipping. White oak, possibly from North East.


M
 

SpikeC

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If you can't make one from those pictures, you deserve to pay $80.00!!
 

SpikeC

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Sorry, that was uncalled for. It's that Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown!
 

mr drinky

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The best version I made was from an oak dowel I scored for like $4 at Home Depot that I cut a notch into. Trust me folks - low tech works here. :)


Here's a pimped out low tech dowel version I made once, I gave it away to someone.
Was that the one you used in your sharpening DVD?

k.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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No, I would make one similar to Dave's. One straight and one diagonal cut. If you want more, I will have to charge you $55. Kidding, of course.
 

Dave Martell

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Was that the one you used in your sharpening DVD?

k.

Probably not, I had first made this monster version from a 2x2 and that's likely the one I showed in the DVD but I forget really. I still have the monster version hanging on the wall and it gets used a lot still but I need to make a smaller broom handle version again since they're more agile and useful really.
 

Pensacola Tiger

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Here's some pics and measurements for anyone who wants to DIY:

Overall length is 395mm (~16 inches)
Width is 28mm, height is 54mm.

The 45 degree slots start 73mm from the end and are 14mm wide by 36mm deep. They end 118mm from the end.

The 90 degree slot starts 170mm from the end and is 7mm wide by 36mm deep







 

mr drinky

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Thanks for the specs/pics.

k.
 

JBroida

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So i hate to be "that guy", but i just have a few things to say about this subject. I've used various devices to straighten blades at this point, and although some may be functional, there are subtle things about the ones used in Japan that pretty much every other one misses. Likewise, you would be doing yourself a disservice by making one too thin or too small (like out of a broomstick or dowel rod). The two types of slots are for different uses and areas and they do serve a purpose. However, the biggest things that bothers me about all of this is the number of blades people have tried to straighten that i've later had to fix. Theoretically its easy, but i see so many people mess it up. Be careful or have someone who has some experience/training do it for you. There is potential to cause cracks in your blade, cause stress points that later turn into cracks, chip the edge, break off the tip, break the blade in half, make your blade wavy, cause torsion, and so many other things.
 

Eamon Burke

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Jon, are there any videos or something of people using it that displays how it is superior, or perhaps some kind of in-depth description of how it is used? As with most thing Japanese, I would assume that what has become traditional standard is a time-tested tool that has been perfected, provided one has the training and skill to use it. I mean, there were broomsticks in Japan circa 1500, too! Is it the angles? Something else?
 

mr drinky

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Jon, which is your tool of choice?

k.
 

JBroida

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Jon, are there any videos or something of people using it that displays how it is superior, or perhaps some kind of in-depth description of how it is used? As with most thing Japanese, I would assume that what has become traditional standard is a time-tested tool that has been perfected, provided one has the training and skill to use it. I mean, there were broomsticks in Japan circa 1500, too! Is it the angles? Something else?
I dont know if there are videos or not to be honest. I use one that was given to my by the people i trained with. The thing is that even when you buy one new, there are things you do to it to make it work a bit better... gouge out this area, sand off that area, tape this, and so on. And a lot of that is stuff that you do to your own preference based on experience. In japan there are many versions of these too... which style you use depends on how you learned or who you learned from. The angles of the grooves and their thickness all come into play. You can straighten with things other than these of course... i'm not saying they wont work. I'm just saying trying to make one without really understanding how its used may not be the best idea.

What i think is most important though is not the device itself, but the skill sets involved in straightening blades properly. I've lost count of the number of blades i've fixed that people had messed up trying to straighten themselves. I wish i could write something up about it, but i'm afraid a lot of the things involved dont type up well... or show up well in video for that matter. Maybe its something i should try to tackle in the near future.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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...I've used various devices to straighten blades at this point, and although some may be functional, there are subtle things about the ones used in Japan that pretty much every other one misses. ...
Jon, can you elaborate on this? Just curious. I was to make a couple for myself, but now you planted a seed of doubt in me. :) Opps, never mind.
 

JBroida

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Jon, can you elaborate on this? Just curious. I was to make a couple for myself, but now you planted a seed of doubt in me. :) Opps, never mind.
will i see you at the ecg? we can talk about it more then. A lot of stuff is difficult to explain and would be easier if i could just show you.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Ok. I will play with the prototypes in the mean time. I need to come up with a good system to straighten tangs.

M
 

JBroida

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use a hammer on the tangs... thats how they trained me. Again, i can show you more of what i mean at the ecg. Especially for the tangs of honyaki blades, specific types of hammering can be used to straighten the tang without causing damage to the blade... its delicate though.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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use a hammer on the tangs... thats how they trained me. Again, i can show you more of what i mean at the ecg. Especially for the tangs of honyaki blades, specific types of hammering can be used to straighten the tang without causing damage to the blade... its delicate though.
need an anvil then.
 

JBroida

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need an anvil then.
wouldnt hurt... but many just use a smaller spike like piece of metal mounted into a wood base... the top of the spike is flatish, but rounded off on the sides. Works well for tangs and other handle replacement/repair things.
 

Dave Martell

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Jon you bring up some good points that I tend to over simplify and not point out, which can lead to mistakes. I suppose this is because I've been lucky in getting the straightening correct most of time from the get go but I have done a couple that I got myself into a mess that took time to figure out and I've also seen a few really whacked out ones that looked to have been "straightened" out incorrectly and needed some TLC to get fixed again.
 

mikemac

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post a pic...

My $0.02 on this is that the sticks everyone is discussing are for blades that generally have warped. If your blade tip is bent, like what happens sometimes in shipping, thats a different kind of fix. So post a pic.
 

Dave Martell

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post a pic...

My $0.02 on this is that the sticks everyone is discussing are for blades that generally have warped. If your blade tip is bent, like what happens sometimes in shipping, thats a different kind of fix. So post a pic.

This never occurred to me but is so true.
 

Eamon Burke

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Man Jon, this subject is so Japanese. The tools don't matter, the skill is nuanced, hard to explain, etc. :p

I seriously feel like so much I learn of traditional Japanese culture ends up like this. Like, if you really want to know about it, you have to go live there and be in it to get it.
 

JBroida

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Honestly, sometimes I feel like a dick when I describe these things because it sounds like I'm telling people they can't do something...if I could soon it well online, I world...but I can't because so much that is important would be missed...like the super light grip on handles...even with my description and video, people still don't quit get me until I can show them in person. I wish I could be more helpful here.
 
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