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mpier

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Thanks for the reassurance.

Incidentally, it's time to replace my stones and I've been eyeing up the Naniwa Pro 400, 800 and 3000 as my set, also using it to sharpen / restore some of my other family knives as my skill level improves. From the reading I've done apparently there's little point going above a certain grit level for both stainless steel and powdered steel like (not sure why, would love to understand better).

With that in mind, what combination do you think would suit better?
Naniwa Pro 400+800+3000, or 400+1000+5000?

Any thoughts welcome.
I would go with the 400+800+3000 those are the three best NP stones IMO
 
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JDC

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I would go 400, 1000 and 3000 but you can also go 5000 Super/Specialty Stone. 400 only really needed for thinning and repair work imo.
I'd go np 400, 800, 3000. I have 800 and 3000 actually. 800 removes 325 diamond scratches easily; and 3000 takes care of 800 no problem. Very efficient setup. Only thing is 3000 is a bit too refined to me for cutting red meat, yet not ultimately refined for vegetables (it's more than adequate for cutting vegetables, just not impressively refined).
 

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To date I hardly could get some patina on mine Yoshi SKD core at all, counting onions garlic and tomatoes in preps. I’m not one to wipe down in between or run to wash immediately after.

Naniwa Pro 400 and 800 I can confirm they're quite good stones. The NP400 is not the fastest and I'd feel barenaked without a couple coarser alternatives, but it's also the most undemanding coarse stone I've tried, and it just doesn't dish. Good for mild thinning, maintenance, setting bevels, minor repairs or reprofiling. Leaves a relatively nice kasumi-like finish if you get some mud working for you. The NP800 is a smooth, versatile stone. You could stop many cheap SS right there, deburring and all. Leaves a keener edge than SP1K, with a level of refinement closing on SP2K.

Edit: ah yes I forgot to tell, NP400 can sharpen deburr and be refined to a nice butchery edge level - also a nice one stop option for cheap SS where you want lasting bite. Tremendous starting stone in a full sharpening progression with better steels - feels so smooth, works fast enough.
 
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ap1487

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Thanks team, I went with 400-800-3000 as that seems to be the consensus! Although by the looks of things I'll focus on getting good with the 800 before I even think about using the 400/3000
 
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Thanks team, I went with 400-800-3000 as that seems to be the consensus! Although by the looks of things I'll focus on getting good with the 800 before I even think about using the 400/3000
Focus on what is needed for the knife. The NP800 is not slow, but if you're starting from dull, or need to set a relief on a thicker knife, start with the NP400. It's no steel cruncher, it will just be quite faster to get the primary edge.
 

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Finer stones are indeed a bit dangerous - you can mess a perfectly good edge there. If you're starting, I'd say you should focus on NP400 - NP800 and learn to do light stropping for final deburring with the NP3000 when you get some muscle memory down. Don't fret however: use your stones. At worst, you'll have to go back to the NP800, and then try your chance again on the NP3000.
 

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Remember: making mistakes forces you to pass more times on the stones. Passing more time on the stones means getting better, and getting to know them better. The latter means making less mistakes, and needing less time, in turn minimizing the chances for mistakes.

The more time you're on a stone, the more inclined you are to make mistakes with angle consistency. You're no machine. Hence why I said don't be shy to use your NP400 at all. Less strokes to get an edge means less potential errors, and a good primary means less strokes needed on the next step.
 

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I've been using a King combo stone on a cheap Vnox and I've always got it to an acceptable sharpness but I'm intimidated by the jump of using NP stones on a $300 blade. I'm worried it'll be like the jump from putting some crushed black pepper on your food to putting on some sliced Carolina Reapers!
 

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You'll be anxious for sure, but if experience serves, I know you will also treat it right. There's no going around sharpening the knife, so just start with lower pressure, and use the sharpie to make sure your angle is good and keeps that way. Augment pressure just as needed to get a burr. When you got the edge, you shouldn't need that level of pressure again for the next steps, go with about 50% pressure, until blade weight only in deburring.
 

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Hi Dave,
Will you clarify this statement?

The description I have from Shiro Kamo is
61 Layered SG2 Damascus

Thanks
I'm sure there are many others who can explain it better than me but from what I understand, of the many ways to get a Damascus looking knife, one of them is to forge weld (read: heat to high temp then hammer together) your core steel (SG2 in this case) in between two layers of steel, often Iron, that has been laminated with a Damascus pattern. On the other hand an actual Damascus blade is one where the entire knife is comprised of the Damascus Steel, a composite steel where several layers of different steel have been repeatedly folded, welded, cut and reassembled creating that pattern, such that, theoretically, the cutting edge is also comprised of that pattern too. Of course the Damascus layering shouldn't impact the quality of the SG2 edge quality and subsequent knife performance (except for any stickiness issues sometimes caused by Damascus finishes). I hope that helps even a little but I'd look for better answers from people more experienced than me!
 

mpier

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I've been using a King combo stone on a cheap Vnox and I've always got it to an acceptable sharpness but I'm intimidated by the jump of using NP stones on a $300 blade. I'm worried it'll be like the jump from putting some crushed black pepper on your food to putting on some sliced Carolina Reapers!
I've been using a King combo stone on a cheap Vnox and I've always got it to an acceptable sharpness but I'm intimidated by the jump of using NP stones on a $300 blade. I'm worried it'll be like the jump from putting some crushed black pepper on your food to putting on some sliced Carolina Reapers!
Always best to work an old blade on your new stones anyhow, just dull it down and brake in those new stones and I think you’ll find the stones themselves will take away your anxiety and build your confidence. NP stones are beautiful to work with but you may need to slow it down just a little at first until you feel comfortable with the stones.
 

Barry's Knives

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I'm sure there are many others who can explain it better than me but from what I understand, of the many ways to get a Damascus looking knife, one of them is to forge weld (read: heat to high temp then hammer together) your core steel (SG2 in this case) in between two layers of steel, often Iron, that has been laminated with a Damascus pattern. On the other hand an actual Damascus blade is one where the entire knife is comprised of the Damascus Steel, a composite steel where several layers of different steel have been repeatedly folded, welded, cut and reassembled creating that pattern, such that, theoretically, the cutting edge is also comprised of that pattern too. Of course the Damascus layering shouldn't impact the quality of the SG2 edge quality and subsequent knife performance (except for any stickiness issues sometimes caused by Damascus finishes). I hope that helps even a little but I'd look for better answers from people more experienced than me!
What you are describing here is coreless damascus. Damascus was originally a form of Wootz who's intricate (carbon?) banding was seen as a mark of quality - these blades had excellent toughness and edge retention. What we now commonly call damascus is an etched pattern that mimicks the aesthetics of this wootz steel and is created by folding different soft metals in the jigane and forge welding them to a harder core steel. Coreless damascus is when 2 hard steels are folded into each other, creating a pattern, but they comprise the whole knife and are not then welded to a core steel - hence core-less.
I'm not sure why Dave is criticising someone for wanting a knife that fits their aesthetic choices? that's pretty much what 80% of this forum is generally about.
 

JoBone

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What you are describing here is coreless damascus.
I got it, he was referring to core-less. To me, the post implied the cladding wasn’t layered, but purely etched on.

San Mai Damascus (suminagashi) cladding over core steel is what we expect from most imported Japanese ‘Damascus’ knives. The price gets pretty high otherwise.
 

ap1487

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Ok I see, so if I got this right - essentially what we see as a Damascus finish from Japanese knives anywhere in the $200-1000 price range is as "real" a Damascus as one can get? They'll all be Sen Mai knives - Damascus steel cladded around a core steel. There's no "level above" that, until you get to significantly higher prices? Is that basically it?
 

M1k3

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If you can get a Victorinox sharp, you can get a simpler carbon steel sharp. Also try this out when sharpening
@TSF415
 

JoBone

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Ok I see, so if I got this right - essentially what we see as a Damascus finish from Japanese knives anywhere in the $200-1000 price range is as "real" a Damascus as one can get ..
I would steer you back to either a Damascus or cool looking hammered stainless. You indicated that a dramatic look is important and you can get an excellent knife that fits your need for both style and performance.

The contenders from the early list are all good.

Kurosaki Fujin , Raijin
Yoshikane, Shiro Kamo and Kato

The smiths out of Takefu work closely with the Takefu Special Steel company, which created VG10, SG2 and Cobalt Special. I believe one of their strengths is working with those steels.

Yoshikane is based out of Sanjo City, the smiths in that region really excel with their spines and distal taper.

Personally, I would narrow it down to Yoshikane SLD black Damascus or Shiro Kamo SG2. I would just slightly lean toward Kamo San due to his age and experience. I like to get knives from the older smiths while they are producing and I believe he is still hammering those.

If the flashy hammering is calling, pick the Raijin over the Senko. The Fujins are also really sweet...
 
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M1k3

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Shinko Kurokomo from KnS?
 

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Hello, I'm new to the forum. I'm fairly new to Japanese knives. I have one VG10 knife that I bought about 10 years ago and recently decided to try an artisan-forged knife. I know how to sharpen and have a fair amount of practice but would be considered a noob by this forum's standards.

It was good timing to see this thread. I just bought a Yoshikane SKD Hammered Gyoto. I did a simple paper test to see how the edge was out of the box. It push cut through thin magazine paper easily and could cut an "s" easily. But when I did a slicing cut I noticed that it caught on the paper like the edge was nicked. I looked closely and there are about a dozen very tiny chips in the edge. They aren't chips that go along the blade. They are vertical (perpendicular to the edge), about 0.25-0.50 mm high measured from the edge and only about 0.10 mm wide (along the edge).

One more thing. A few of the chips appear to be on only one side of the blade. Also, they are mostly in the middle third of the blade.

Questions:

Is this typical with SKD steel?

I can't figure out how they got there. Maybe someone demo'd the knife in the store and wasn't too careful? Maybe someone was scraping cut food across the board?

Is it odd to have narrow microchips that go perpendicular to the edge?

Should I simply sharpen them out? Return it to the store? Did I get a dud?
 
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M1k3

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Hello, I'm new to the forum. I'm fairly new to Japanese knives. I have one VG10 knife that I bought about 10 years ago and recently decided to try an artisan-forged knife. I know how to sharpen and have a fair amount of practice but would be considered a noob by this forum's standards.

It was good timing to see this thread. I just bought a Yoshikane SKD Hammered Gyoto. I did a simple paper test to see how the edge was out of the box. It push cut through thin magazine paper easily and could cut an "s" easily. But when I did a slicing cut I noticed that it caught on the paper like the edge was nicked. I looked closely and there are about a dozen very tiny chips in the edge. They aren't chips that go along the blade. They are vertical (perpendicular to the edge), about 0.25-0.50 mm high measured from the edge and only about 0.10 mm wide (along the edge).

One more thing. A few of the chips appear to be on only one side of the blade. Also, they are mostly in the middle third of the blade.

Questions:

Is this typical with SKD steel?

I can't figure out how they got there. Maybe someone demo'd the knife in the store and wasn't too careful? Maybe someone was scraping cut food across the board?

Is it odd to have narrow microchips that go perpendicular to the edge?

Should I simply sharpen them out? Return it to the store? Did I get a dud?
Sounds like some kind of wire edge folded over and falling apart or micro chips. Maybe start a new thread with some pictures?
 

SeattleB

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Nope, no wire edge. It would be difficult to take pictures without a special camera and macro lens. I'll give it a try though.
 

mpier

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If it was convenient and cost prohibitive I think I would return it, there’s no reason a new knife edge should be damaged. I guess you would probably have a hard time finding another one at this point unless you get lucky so you’ll have to way the options.
 

JoBone

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Going back to the original topic, here’s a comparison pic of a few of the original options
This is
Kato VG10, Kamo SG2 and Kurosaki Raiji
1D598328-6A4A-45C5-8490-5D0E28BF5679.jpeg

4D6F0CAA-E1EE-45A6-AED1-4E44F7DAD49E.jpeg
D82DE011-88EE-4E03-AA1F-6C133A41C8E8.jpeg
EC618CDA-A12F-4B9A-8F2D-7D7D2BEDBEC0.jpeg
 

JDC

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Am I seeing pits? If so the knife was probably used before sending to you. They probably didn't dry the knife fully and left drops of water close to the edge.
 

JoBone

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The only Yoshikane I have is white, hopefully it helps
This is :
Yoshi white, Kamo SG2, shigeki tanaka VG10 Damascus, and raijin
2369EBC0-6D7C-4E7F-AB0E-5EEAA34DFE5B.jpeg
164AD900-C66D-47AA-A947-5443074A493E.jpeg
 

SeattleB

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I wanted to return to this discussion because my earlier posts might give someone the impression that that Yoshikane SKD Gyuto is a poor choice. I took the knife back to the retailer and we figured out what went wrong. I purchased their showroom display knife. They think the microchips were due to customer operator error. They offered to sharpen the knife for free. I got it back and it looks perfect and cuts perfectly. I'm looking forward to seeing how long that SKD retains its high level of sharpness.
 
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