Knife sharpening problem--kitchen cutlery [Archive] - Glock Talk

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garyo
04-13-2010, 11:11
We have some nice kitchen cutlery about 10 years old. I have a "V" sharpener which is made of steel. Up until the last couple of years it has worked fantastic in putting a nice edge on everything. I have recently replaced the sharpener, and it still does not seem to be working properly. So I'm thinking that my cutlery may need to be re-ground. What does everybody think? The cutlery is comprised of these name brands: Henckels, Tramontina, Boker, and Chicago Cutlery. All good quality stuff with lifetime warranties.

Thanks

mitchshrader
04-13-2010, 12:04
buy a 1000/4000 grit 8" Norton combo waterstone. Use it.

stompk
04-13-2010, 19:56
buy a 1000/4000 grit 8" Norton combo waterstone. Use it.

+1 (and five more damn characters )

Dennis in MA
04-13-2010, 22:01
Given that your current method served you well for a decade, I'd have them professionally sharpened and then go back to your old ways for the next 10 years.

I could tell you a whole lot more of how's and why's, but why bother? What you are doing works. Stick with it.

Hummer
04-15-2010, 01:41
buy a 1000/4000 grit 8" Norton combo waterstone. Use it.You really can't beat a good quality stone. In my opinion, everything else either under sharpens by fine polishing only, or takes off too much steel with electric wheels. I have two 8"x2"x1" (Norton & Carborundum) combo stones that keep fine, lasting edges on my kitchen and field blades. One good stone will last a lifetime and beyond. With some diligent work on a stone you can reform a blade and then easily maintain sharpness.

Steel (or ceramic) V-sharpeners can't do the job of shaping a blade for long term edge retention. I don't like them, but like steel rods they're useful for quickly smoothing an edge. Invest some time with an 8" oiled stone and give your quality knives a better than factory, long lasting edge.

garyo
04-15-2010, 19:11
Thanks all for the advice.

N.D.Glock23
04-17-2010, 22:46
Thanks all for the advice.


If you can consistently hold the required angle to properly hand sharpen I also recommend in addition to the a fore mentioned Norton combo stone that you get a medium diamond flat plate (quicker and more precise than one W holes & divots) W/O holes or divots to do the foundation bevel shape then go to the combo and you'll be very happy W the results, but from your post it seems that you do not have very much experience freehand sharpening so if that's the case, I would recommend (for plain edge knives only) that you get a Lansky Diamond kit and then add a Lansky ultra fine Blue sapphire ceramic stone to properly finish/polish off your edges with and you'll be amazed at the results you can get W just a little practice.

Good luck I hope this helps you out. :wavey:
N.D.

mitchshrader
04-18-2010, 01:48
You can learn to sharpen on one knife and you'll know how till you die.

garyo
04-18-2010, 12:08
The free hand part is my problem. I'm 53 and ashamed to admit that I never really got the hang of it. Over the years I got some of the fancy contraptions to sharpen knives with mediocre results and was never very satisfied with the edge. As suggested, I think I will find the worst knife that I have and just stick with it until I finally learn how to properly sharpen a knife. BTW I ordered the DMT flat plate diamond sharpener and am looking forward to learning how to use it.

N.D.Glock23
04-18-2010, 21:16
garyo:

There is allot more to proper knife sharpening (getting a superior edge) than just consistently rubbin the blade at the correct angle across a stone, "but" the hardest hand sharpening skill to acquire is IMHO keeping a precisely repetitively consistent angle long enough during sharpening to be able to get the end results you want, and when you can do this you will have mastered the #1
most important and difficult building block of hand sharpening but W/O this ability you will never consistently get the desired results, but even worse is that you might not ever move past that stage and get to grasp some of the more advanced intricacies the subject offers.

I started learning to hand sharpen at about 9 or so, by the time i was 15 I could go beyond shaving sharp, and could even regrind, a blade to correct for off center blade grinds and/or just poor blade geometry on Flat/Sabre/Bayonet/ETC. ground knife blades completely by hand, W sandpaper & stones and all by eye W/O any measurements, Hand sharpening is a hard won skill to be proud of, but I still never completely mastered the skill, fast forward to today, I'm now 42 and I no longer have the time, patience, nor consistent steadiness of hand to do all this, by hand all of the time, especially when I can in most cases by properly using a good jig system W Diamond abrasives cut out a lot of the time and difficulty necessary to get a very good foundation edge bevel on my blades that will in most cases then require only a bit of refining by hand if any, before I can go to the strop and still get a beyond shaving sharp blade that only takes intermittent stropping to maintain a very good cutting edge for a very long time.

If you have some good sharpening systems already, then I would strongly recommend that you do a little research at a forum that is completely dedicated to the love of making, collecting, Precision sharpening, and the maintaining of very high quality and custom knives, like maybe knife forums, so that you can get some system specific pointers for beginners and also get some very good advice if not step by steps on the finer intricacies of sharpening. :wavey:

Good luck

N.D.

mitchshrader
04-18-2010, 21:52
You aren't GOING to approach mechanical perfection. ok? you're too old to even waste time trying.

The way to learn how is have someone EXPLAIN what happens when you hand sharpen.

You can already do what you need to, it's not learning a physical skill you're inhibited by, it's lack of any sort of understanding of the sharpening process.

(1). Get a decent carbon steel mid size knife, that'll be comfy to use once sharp. WITHOUT a darned bolster. Thin blade, french knife style, 7" or so, is a fine style to learn on cause you can use it for most chores. A 3-4" paring knife is ok if you can't find one, but it's a bit easier to learn with the larger blade.

(2). Lay the knife flat on the wet/soaked stone. (coarsest, but generally 1000 grit is ok, you can go down lower if the knife is dull as a froe) .. Make some circles. Take off some patina. Feel the steel. Do both sides. You've not yet even begun to sharpen, this is learning how much pressure makes how much abrasion. Keep swapping sides and move *toward* the edge, thinning the lower half of the blade faintly. Still little circles, periodic rinsing, keep it smooth. Eventually you're bored and your hands hurt and the knife has an even scratch pattern. Quit. lesson one.

(3) Next day, wash/wet/soak your stones, get the knife, and start some 'pull' strokes. if you're right handed, stone in left, knife in right, lay the knife flat and then raise the spine up some (maybe an eighth, a quarter for a wide blade) and SMOOTHLY pull it to you. heel to point. the abrasion should grind first at the knife heel, and continue in a SMOOTH arc to the point, which will wind up in the lower right hand corner of the stone. Don't worry about bevel angle. You'll have a variable angle, which will result from the spine of the blade being various heights during various strokes. Eventually it smooths into a convex edge. This is good, natural, and means you can ignore the fine differences between strokes. They average out.

Keep practicing the pull stroke. it's easiest.

Doing the opposite, starting edge away, point left, bottom of the rock(closest to you).. and TRYING to match the same angle as you push away is the single hardest thing about sharpening.

When you can make the 'push' stroke the complementary opposite of your pull stroke, you have 80% of it.

BTW, points are hard. Take your time, THREE times, shaping points.

All right, now you're supposedly able to get strokes both directions that maintain the same AVERAGE bevel. If the spine is 1/8" off the rock pulling, it should be also 1/8" off the rock while pushing. One 'rocks'.. like rocking chair.. through the smooth arc from heel to point, shifting the pressure smoothly and evenly along the grind line.

Practice a lot. Don't worry about bevel angle, worry about SMOOTH, and control, fine variations going both ways, and AVERAGE symmetry.

Start above the edge & work down into the edge, thinning the 'pre-edge' and adjusting the profile FIRST. It's coarser work, good practice.

When in doubt, at first, make the 'pre edge' TOO thin, cause shortening and strengthening the edge is trivial beside the work to get it 'too sharp' in the first place.

Now, start this with 10 strokes each side. Go to 5 per side when you're competent to maintain similar profile angles per side. Go to ONE per side when you feel slick and frisky. (10 hours practice later)

You should be by this point semi-accidently making a 'wire edge'.. knock it off.

;) I mean, run the knife edge down a ceramic stick or a microgroove steel, both sides, and knock off all accumulated wire bits. Don't be gentle, gettem OFF. Wash EVERYTHING. .

By now you can hone either side and raise or lower the angle at whim. Keeping the angle very low, give it 100 alternating strokes and raise the angle FAINTLY on the last 10. See how far you've gotten.

And throw away or have the bolsters removed on every knife with one.

eisman
04-19-2010, 17:02
Kitchen cutlery often has non-conventional edges, by which I mean they don't always sharpen like your pocketknife (etc). Most good kitchen supply / cooking retailers have professional knife sharpening services. Use them if you don't know how to keep your kitchen knives sharp.

mitchshrader
04-21-2010, 03:23
I happen to think of the blades you mentioned, Tramontina stands the best chance of being easily and happily sharpened by a novice.

Their steel (in my experience on the 2 12" Tramontina chefs knives I own), .takes a *fine* edge, and I'd guess they are higher carbon and a little harder than most Euro style kitchen knives, closer to Japanese generic.

A bit hard, maybe even too hard for some folks, but you can make that edge SING, and that hard steel works GREAT with a convex edge.

Squaw Man Wolfer
04-23-2010, 03:42
Why no mention of the humble sharpening steel that greatly reduced the need to sharpen in the first place?

Big Bird
04-24-2010, 06:57
Why no mention of the humble sharpening steel that greatly reduced the need to sharpen in the first place?

There are different kinds of steels and they are meant for different purposes. Most should be avoided. The purpose of the steel is to reset the edge not to sharpen. The best steel for this is the smooth brass or steel rod. I use a ceramic rod but again only for resetting an edge I feel needs some touching up not for actual sharpening. A quick strop on a leather or felt pad is better for this IMO.

The ridged version common to most knife sets is really a big vertical file. So you are sharpening your knife with a file which takes off way too much metal and also doesn't really make that great an edge.

The best sharpening system by far is the one that works for you. Until you discover a better way....

Some people consider a given level of sharpness correct and others do not.

A line cook at Applebees might be happy if his knife can mash a tomato but a good Sushi Chef might only accept the best 10,000 grit hand honed edge using $500 worth of Japanese waterstones.

This really is a case of YMMV.

But in general learning to use a waterstone at about 1,000 grit will get a kitchen knife well beyond what most folk understand as sharp. I also use a felt strop to get rid of the wire edge. And if I work up through three or four stones to 8,000 or 10,000 grit I will strop on felt between stones as I have found its far better to remove the wire edge at every stage than to try and do it at the end. You get to a true edge much quicker.

Going beyond 2,000 grit with a German knife like Henckles is mostly worthless as the steel isn't hard enough to hold an edge that refined. You want a to take advantage of a 10,000 grit edge you'll need a knife with a Rockwell of around 62-64 and that mostly means Japanese knives. Most of the Eurotrash knives are around 55 or so.

Using a waterstone is not hard but it will take time and experience. I'm going to tell you that until you do 30 knives or so you will struggle with it...

I'm going to disagree with Mitch a little about a convex edge on a Kitchen knife. If you have a thin slicing knife or any other type of Kitchen knife where your goal is to cut vegetables and protein in thin slices you don't want a convex edge. With practice its quite possible to get a good straight grind but not by using the circular strokes Mitch uses. See if you can pull up the Video's on YouTube by Murray Carter where he shows you how to do this... Or better yet rent the DVD from NetFlicks. Another good Video is Dave Martell's Knife Sharpening video...

The type of stone matters. In general I urge most people to avoid things like DMT diamond plates. They work but take an incredible amount of skill to use well. They give terrible feedback to the user and unless you are an expert you won't know. The Shapton Pro and glass stones have the same faults as the DMT. Japanese Waterstones are far superior in this regard. You can feel and hear if the stone is cutting the way you want it to! For a beginner I recommend the Beston 500 grit for fast metal removal. Then the Bester 1000 grit for everyday use sharpening. I own a DMT XXC (120 grit) but I only use it for flattening stones....which is another matter that needs to be done.

Squaw Man Wolfer
04-24-2010, 07:35
[QUOTE=Big Bird;15179067]There are different kinds of steels and they are meant for different purposes. Most should be avoided. The purpose of the steel is to reset the edge not to sharpen. The best steel for this is the smooth brass or steel rod. I use a ceramic rod but again only for resetting an edge I feel needs some touching up not for actual sharpening. A quick strop on a leather or felt pad is better for this IMO.

The ridged version common to most knife sets is really a big vertical file. So you are sharpening your knife with a file which takes off way too much metal and also doesn't really make that great an edge. EDITED FOR LENGTH

QUOTE]

Great summary! My point is that I see a lot of posts in here where there is no mention of the proper use of a SMOOTH steel, so you kinda wonder. Does the poster know how to do this? Or are they grinding down their blade daily? Not aimed at this specific post, just an overall comment.