What grit ceramic rod to get? If any?

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10160

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So, newbie to j-knives here. I read that you want to get a ceramic rod with them instead of a steel steel. Question is, what grit do you get? I normally see them at 1000,1500,2000. I was looking at the
CKTG Black Ceramic Sharpening Rod 270mm
from CKTG with stellar reviews that is a 2k grit.

But, do you even need one? I have also read people saying that you dont need it and its better to hone on a whetstone. So many different opinions, ugh.
The two knives I will be using it on have sg2 steel if that matters.
 

daveb

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A rod will typically do more harm than good for a Japanese knife. The rod to blade contact area is very small and all of the force is applied to that small area. The Japanese blades are much harder than their Euro counterparts and do not flex. This may result in chipping the blade.

Sharpening stones are the ideal way of maintaining a Japanese knife. A couple will get you started, I like the Shapton Pro series, especially for newcomers.

I do keep a Mac Black Rod for emergency, right damn now, touch ups. As rods go this is one of the most popular among users.


As a side note, if you peruse the togo site, you'll find everything in there gets very high reviews. I wouldn't lend much credence to them. And to be fair, that's true of most web sites.
 

Hz_zzzzzz

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I have the Mac Black and it works fine for my Shuns, Yaxells and Miyabis. I never tried it on my good knives but I bet if I do it carefully it can also hone my nice knives a little bit.
 

chefwp

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Consider having a leather strop on hand instead of a rod? Many folks make these themselves, denim works too. You can even apply a compound to them to make them more effective or to polish, Here is an example of a strop and compound.
 
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stringer

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I have used all kinds of stuff over the years but I've come full circle back to my hick roots and touch up knives the way my great grandfather showed me some 35 years ago. I use a small pocketknife stone in hand. I like soft arks, washitas, and coticules for this task.
 

bahamaroot

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Get the Idahone Fine Ceramic Rod it's the better one and is 3000 JIS. It is listed as 1200 grit but that is on the ANSI(US scale).
I keep a ceramic in my kitchen and use it on a wide variety of J-knives with no problems.
 

Bobby2shots

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I use an Idahone 10.5" "fine" ceramic sharpening/honing rod (1200 grit U.S.), and I've recently added the 10.5" "coarse" ceramic rod. (300 grit U.S.) I've used the "fine" for roughly 2.5 years, and have yet to try or need the 300. I've been experimenting with the 1200 to see how long I can use only that rod (no stones) for sharpening/honing my 6.25 Victorinox petty/utility/sandwich knife that I purchased in Nov. 2018. As of yesterday (Sept. 15th,'21), it's been 2 years and 10 months, and I've used that knife 5-6 times a day. I have yet to sharpen it on stones. I never allow that knife to get dull, and if it doesn't cut tomatoes on the first attempt, I immediately use the rod. Occasionally, I'll strop the knife on my leather paddle-strop, or, I'll simply strop it on a dish-towel that's draped over my stoves' oven-handle after washing/drying the knife.

There was a brief period where the 1200 "fine" did not appear to be removing metal, and it's now working fine again. I suspect that this was due to a residue from cleaning the rod with Idahones' Superaser,,,, but that has yet to be confirmed. The Superaser however, does a great job at cleaning the rod.

Over the last 4-5 months, there has been rare occasions where I've needed to use a steel, in combination with the Idahone rod. I've been using trailing edge strokes exclusively, and very light strokes. 3-4 strokes is usually enough.

FWIW, I have plenty of stones; Shapton Glass 120, 220, 320, 500, 1k, 2k, 3k, 4k, 8k, Diamond Glass Lapping plate, etc. Norton 220,1k, 4k, 8k, waterstones, Norton fine/coarse Crystolon, Naniwa Green Brick of Joy, King 800/4000 combo, Large Naniwa flattening stone, black Arkansas stone, Atoma 400 and 1200 diamond plates, various 3M micro-films, SiC powders and abrasive sheets, paddle strop, a Tormek SuperGrind 2000, 6" and 8" bench grinders with specialty wheels, Chef'sChoice TriZor, and a few more goodies.
 
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Benuser

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For soft steels the Sieger LongLife is an excellent option. But indeed, an emergency solution. No replacement of stones. It restores the edge without taking into account the entire geometry. Frequent use will lead to thickening behind the edge.
For only restoring an edge with soft steels there isn't always need for an abrasive ceramic rod. An almost smooth steel rod as the Dickoron Micro is another possibility. To be used with a very light touch, and not with steels beyond 62Rc.
For both ceramic and steel rods: please respect the blade's asymmetry and follow the existing edge. There is a serious learning curve in avoiding the risk of a wire edge.
 

coxhaus

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I have found using my Worksharp Ken Onion sharpener there is no reason to use a steel. I have not used one in years. I just do a pull through 1 time on each side using the Worksharp with an extra fine belt if the knife needs attention. I am now trying to only power strop using the Worksharp with polishing compound if the knife needs attention. Stropping is new for me so I can't really tell you how it is going. I have stropped all my knives and I will see how it goes. I have not had to sharpen again since stropping my knives. I am going to try to avoid stones for a long time.

I am sharpening Wusthof Classic knives and Henckels 4star knives. I have 1 MAC Pro knife that I sharpen. I have around 30 kitchen knives that I use. My favorite are 10-inch chef knives.
 
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Benuser

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Avoiding stones, @coxhaus?
When sharpening you move the edge to a thicker part of the blade. If you don't compensate by thinning expect a rapid thickening behind the edge. If a good working chef's knife is 0.2mm thick above the bevels, it is more than the double at a few millimetres from there.
sharpen4-1.jpg
 

coxhaus

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Avoiding stones, @coxhaus?
When sharpening you move the edge to a thicker part of the blade. If you don't compensate by thinning expect a rapid thickening behind the edge. If a good working chef's knife is 0.2mm thick above the bevels, it is more than the double at a few millimetres from there. View attachment 142783
I understand the concept. I have 50-year-old Henckels 4star knives that still don't need thinning. I have only sharpened the bolster of 1 of them. The taper is not that great as shown in the diagram. The diagram is very exaggerated. Very little has been sharpened off of my blades. Maybe with some knives that chip badly they get used up very fast and need lots of thinning.

I sharpen with the idea to preserve as much steel as possible. That means I don't hit coarse stones unless I absolutely need to as they remove a lot of steel.
 
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Bobby2shots

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Benuser,

Geometric drawings can be a wonderful tool for illustrating a particular concept. These same drawings can also illustrate errors of interpretation. Your drawing shows a receding apex, caused by an exceptionally obtuse re-sharpening angle (90* in this case/ 45* per side). With this particular drawing, the eventual need for thinning becomes obvious and essential. I realize that your drawing is strictly designed for illustrating a point. and the actual angles would be far more acute, but, the illustration assumes that the "entire" original bevel is "not" being sharpened/honed,,,,, only the apex is being sharpened, creating a micro-bevel.

Now, let's assume the original starting bevel is 40*/ or, 20* per side, and lets also assume you maintain the same 20* per-side angle for sharpening/stropping. What you'd have is a stack of "V's" inside each other. In other words, you're constantly "thinning the bevel shoulder" as you go. The original cutting angle would be maintained, and the bevel itself would ultimately become taller.

Neither of these examples are complete of course, without considering the actual amount of removed material, and, over what period of time that removal occurred.

As you are aware, I've been conducting a 3 year ongoing experiment with a Victorinox 6.25" utility knife. We both accept that this knife is considered to be "soft". In the 3 years that I've used this knife, I've never once needed going to stones for a re-sharpening, and, the amount of material removed boils down to a few darkened traces on a ceramic honing rod,,,, which essentially boils down to "virtually nothing". That knife continues to slice through tomato skins on the first stroke despite daily use. (at least 3-5 times daily)
 
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Jason183

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I think this geometry is probably what @Benuser meant. It can still cut stuff, but it’s going to perform/wedge badly on specific produce without a good thinning.
40800A9B-5AFA-4438-B514-6EC7F43050CA.png
 

Bobby2shots

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Now, put a time-frame on that.(days,weeks,months,years,,, as well as number of sharpenings)

The bevel angle on that knife looks to be quite obtuse. When you look at a clock's face, each "minute" equals 6 degrees of angle. One minute per side equals 12* included angle. 2 minutes per side = 24 degrees included angle. That choil shot appears to be well over 40 degrees included bevel angle.
 
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SirCutAlot

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Hard to believe... I used and abused some knifes in about 20 years in pro kitchens all over the world... My Globals have lost maybe 2mm hight ?

What do you do with them ?

SirCutALot.
 

inferno

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i dont know bout you guys but i could easily keep all my knives sharp for the rest of eternity with only a shapton 2k. its fast enough and its sharp enough.

i used the 1k and 2k for all my customer knives. no one ever complained. and almost everyone cut themselves :) or their wives did. thats kinda evolving into being my proof that i did a good job. when human blood is flowing i know i did a good job.
 

stringer

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Hard to believe... I used and abused some knifes in about 20 years in pro kitchens all over the world... My Globals have lost maybe 2mm hight ?

What do you do with them ?

SirCutALot.
I worked at a big hotel where people were required to bring their own knives. Everyone had terrible cheap knives so this was the passaround knife. It got left on the prep table for about 14 hours a day 6 days a week and whoever needed a knife grabbed it. Most of the height loss comes from repairing damage. People were used to soft stainless beaters and they treated this the same way. It got used for splitting lobsters and chickens, chopping frozen blocks of stock, cutting bamboo skewers down to size, etc. I sharpened it probably twice a week.
 

Hz_zzzzzz

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Avoiding stones, @coxhaus?
When sharpening you move the edge to a thicker part of the blade. If you don't compensate by thinning expect a rapid thickening behind the edge. If a good working chef's knife is 0.2mm thick above the bevels, it is more than the double at a few millimetres from there. View attachment 142783
Zwilling/Wusthofs are pretty thick behind the edge to start with, so you won’t lose much performance by sharpening on a belt without thinning I guess.
 

Rotivator

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I pretty much just use a strop for my harder steels. And use a sharpening steel for the softer.
 

Bobby2shots

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Zwilling/Wusthofs are pretty thick behind the edge to start with, so you won’t lose much performance by sharpening on a belt without thinning I guess.
That's probably true for the older full-bolster model Wusthof's and Zwilling Pro S, but I'd be curious to see how the newer half-bolster models compare. Wusthof Classic and Ikon chef knives are now sharpened 14* per side, and apparently, their Japanese-style knives (santoku and nakiri) come sharpened at 10* per side.
 

coxhaus

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I have a bolster so I can't show you a choil shot. As you thin the blade you also weaken it. You are compounding leverage on the edge as you thin a knife higher up which can cause breaks.

I am trying to get to where I only use stropping with polishing compound and not use a belt. If this works then it will remove the least amount of steel in my way of thinking.
 

Benuser

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That's probably true for the older full-bolster model Wusthof's and Zwilling Pro S, but I'd be curious to see how the newer half-bolster models compare. Wusthof Classic and Ikon chef knives are now sharpened 14* per side, and apparently, their Japanese-style knives (santoku and nakiri) come sharpened at 10* per side.
Have seen those modern edges OOTB. Pure V-shaped with prominent shoulders. Measured 0.35mm at the shoulders, that's rather fat. It hardly takes and certainly doesn't hold those 14° per side. They came with a fat burr, in one case even with one continuous wire edge along the entire blade. Wondering what their normal, non-sharpening public would think.
 

coxhaus

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Maybe you only saw the worst of it. I have a Wusthof Classic sushi knife I have used for around 4 years without sharpening it. I only use it to make sushi.
 

Hz_zzzzzz

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That's probably true for the older full-bolster model Wusthof's and Zwilling Pro S, but I'd be curious to see how the newer half-bolster models compare. Wusthof Classic and Ikon chef knives are now sharpened 14* per side, and apparently, their Japanese-style knives (santoku and nakiri) come sharpened at 10* per side.
I've sharpened some Zwillings/Wusthofs for my friends and I think the typical chef's knife is about 0.4-0.5 mm right above the edge (didn't measure just educated guess). The Zwillings santokus are decently thin though, probably 0.25 mm right above the edge. Some zwillings chef's knives can definitely cut lobster and small chicken bone without damage.
 

coxhaus

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Some zwillings chef's knives can definitely cut lobster and small chicken bone without damage.
I have a 11.5-inch old Henckels 4star chef's knife that I use to cut chicken bones. I still sharpen it at 20 degrees. I had a cleaver that I used way back but it tore up my cutting boards and the large chefs knife does not so I got rid of the cleaver.
 

Hz_zzzzzz

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I have a 11.5-inch old Henckels 4star chef's knife that I use to cut chicken bones. I still sharpen it at 20 degrees. I had a clever that I used way back but it tore up my cutting boards and the large chefs knife does not so I got rid of the clever.
Yea I had the same problem with my bone clever so I bought a 1 inch thick PE board which I can use a 2 pound clever on without splitting it.
 

Bobby2shots

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Have seen those modern edges OOTB. Pure V-shaped with prominent shoulders. Measured 0.35mm at the shoulders, that's rather fat. It hardly takes and certainly doesn't hold those 14° per side. They came with a fat burr, in one case even with one continuous wire edge along the entire blade. Wondering what their normal, non-sharpening public would think.
They're thicker yes,,,,, but compared to what,,, and for which tasks? For some reason, I'm not finding posts that complain about chipped edges from normal use. Regarding a "fat burr" with "continuous wire edge",,,,, I would suggest you look verrrry closely at that new PETek 14* Wusthof edge. The bevel is vertically ground, and laser-guided for accuracy. This results in an extremely toothy edge OOTB. If you drag your thumbnail along the shoulder of the bevel, it becomes quite noticeable. The knife feels deadly-sharp.

I just looked at a brand new 7" IKON slicer,,,, still in the box. I'll look at a few other profiles to see if they're similar. This could pose some new approaches to stropping after sharpening,,,, perhaps stropping trailing edge on a coarse stone after setting the bevel, in order to maintain toothiness. Interesting.
 

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