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I bought a sharpening stone - Page 2

post #16 of 184
When I was just a kid, my grandfather taught me to use and sharpen knives, chisels, plane blades, etc. One of the best tricks he taught me was that if you can see light reflecting off the edge of the blade, it is not sharp. Those old timers really knew a thing or two. Once you know this trick, you can raise your sharpening skills to a whole new level.

Also, you should use a shallower angle for grinding and a very slightly steeper one for honing. As you grind, you will create a slurry of oil or water and metal filings. The more slurry, the less the stone grinds, and you can use this fact to decelerate your grinding so you don't overdo it. If you need to grind a lot, you'll want to flush the stone often, which is where water stones have the advantage over oil stones, though there are three-sided stones you can get that rotate in a bath of oil, and these are particularly well suited to sharpening kitchen knives.

Stropping is the final step, and is done with a fine suede strop with a small amount of polishing compound applied. This takes the burr off the edge and polishes it. When using the stones, you want to push the edge forward as if you were trying to cut the stone, but with the strop, you want to drag the edge away leading with the dull edge of the knife.
post #17 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
My stone is 1000/6000. 1000 for the edge, 6000 to polish.

I realize that my two Shun knives have a 15 degree bevel.

I practiced with the stone last night on my mother's German knives. Limited success, I think. Nice to have a guinea pig.

Sorry for the delay - we were celebrating our 10-year anniversary this weekend. Glad to hear you're jumping into this!

I think I know which stone you have and the good news is that there's a lot of good advice on this thread. I'll pull a few things together, though.

If you haven't already done so, see about getting your stone flattened - the stone you have is probably moderately flat out of the box but will dish rapidly with use. This does't seem like a major deal, but towards the heel of the blade a flat stone is essential. I use a diamond plate to flatten my stones - you can sent your stone to me and I'll flatten it if you like - PM me if interested. FWIW - I think I dropped about $40 on my plate, although before that I used Silicon carbide paper on MDF, which provides adequate flatness for knife sharpening.

The marker trick is a good one - however, if you can see the scratch pattern left by the 1000 grit, you can track your progress. If you're re-setting the bevel then you'll check your scratch pattern to make sure you get to the edge, but I wouldn't change the bevel angle on the Shuns.

I soak the stones for as long as my patience will allow (10 minutes?) and then get to work. I use short strokes to begin until I feel comfortable with my wrist locked into place, then lenghen the strokes gradually. These stones cut quickly, though, so check your progress often. I know when I'm done by the burr on the edge - you can feel the burr as you stroke your thumb down the knife from spine to edge. If you don't notice a burr after about a minute - pull out the magic marker to check your bevel angle.

When sharpening, start with the heel - it's flat and won't dish the stone like the tip. You probably already know this but I push and pull the knife along the stone fairly vigorously, grinding a portion of the blade with a stroke - so a few strokes on the heel of the blade, check my grind-marks, adjust my wrist angle as needed, then move down the blade a little as I go, making my way towards the tip. The motion resembles using a washing-board. I check for burr all along the edge, and once I have a burr I switch sides.

I'm a righty, so this handles one side of the bevel fairly well. The other side...I tried grinding lefty but hated it, so I use my right hand again and point the edge towards me, taking shorter strokes. Again I check for burr and once I have it, I polish.

Nothing wrong with polishing at a steeper angle, excepting the likelihood you'll gouge your 6000 grit side when you get to the belly of the knife. I prefer avoiding that. Odds are it works better on diamond/washita-type stones.

Polishing takes longer than grinding, but still check your progress. Your bevel should get shiny after a few minutes. Not quite mirror-shiny but close. Test for sharpness and if you're happy, you're done.

I used to test for sharpness on my thumbnail but I'm more likely now to use the tomato test or the thumbpad. People wince at the thumbpad test, though, so that depends on your tolerance for self-mutliation (I kid, I kid).

The strop/green CrO is IMHO a bit much for kitchen knives but essential for straight razors. (Nootje).
post #18 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post
How can one tell whether or not a stone should be lubricated w/ water or oil? I have an old knife that belonged to my grandfather and it came w/ a stone.

Odds are (based on the age) you've got an oil-stone. However, I have heard from some quarters that a stone is neither water nor oil, but a matter of choosing a lubricant and sticking with it.
post #19 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
Odds are (based on the age) you've got an oil-stone. However, I have heard from some quarters that a stone is neither water nor oil, but a matter of choosing a lubricant and sticking with it.

That's deep, T.
post #20 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwilkinson View Post
That's deep, T.

Actually I thought it was heretical, but there are people who take these things very seriously and they have very sharp knives, so who am I to argue?
post #21 of 184
Thanks Thomas, and congrats on the anniversary. Another basic question: should knives be sharpened on equally on both sides of the blade?
post #22 of 184
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post
Thanks Thomas, and congrats on the anniversary.

Another basic question: should knives be sharpened on equally on both sides of the blade?

Yes. The only exception is a one-side Japanese sushi knife.
post #23 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post
Thanks Thomas, and congrats on the anniversary.

Another basic question: should knives be sharpened on equally on both sides of the blade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Yes. The only exception is a one-side Japanese sushi knife.

Thank You!

...it depends on the bevel. 50/50 bevels - yes. I have a Togiharu knife that's got a 80/20 bevel, but both sides of the bevel still should be equally polished. You just have less metal to polish away on the 20 side.

As for the single-bevel knives, you still work both sides of the blade, in the same vein as a japanese chisel or plane blade (which have hollows on the non-bevel side). However, I've seen instructions that tell you to lay the knife flat, and then also some say do not lay it flat but tilt the spine up a few degrees. If I had a single-bevel knife, I'd ask the maker what he recommends.
post #24 of 184
Good, thanks guys. You've inspired me, M, to get out that old stone and try to sharpen a blade. Typically I've just used the rough bottom of a ceramic dish. Has worked pretty well for me. Soaked the stone in water. Water turned ever so slightly oily, so I'm thinking it probably was used w/ oil... Went ahead and tried to sharpen an old Henckels paring knife w/ the methods described above. Worked pretty well. Should I use oil on it the next time, or stick w/ the water? The only oil I have handy is Tri-Flow for my bicycle. Edit, that's not true. I also have mineral oil for wood products.
post #25 of 184
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post
Should I use oil on it the next time, or stick w/ the water?

I don't know, I am still a noob at this.
post #26 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post
Good, thanks guys.

You've inspired me, M, to get out that old stone and try to sharpen a blade. Typically I've just used the rough bottom of a ceramic dish. Has worked pretty well for me.

Soaked the stone in water. Water turned ever so slightly oily, so I'm thinking it probably was used w/ oil... Went ahead and tried to sharpen an old Henckels paring knife w/ the methods described above. Worked pretty well. Should I use oil on it the next time, or stick w/ the water? The only oil I have handy is Tri-Flow for my bicycle.

Edit, that's not true. I also have mineral oil for wood products.

... hmmm...I'm torn on this one. If you got good results with the water then I would probably say to stick with it. However, I'd also be curious how the oil would work.

That said, I doubt any of your oils are suitable for use. Tri-flow probably has a few additives like teflon which kind of defeat the whole purpose of abrasive media. Mineral oil - if you're using it on wood, I'd avoid for the hardening properties.

For using what you've got, stick with the water.
post #27 of 184
Sounds good. Thank you.
post #28 of 184
I've been meaning to get my knives sharpened for awhile now but this thread inspired me to pick up a stone and do it myself. I swung by Home Depot and picked up a cheap oil stone and after some playing around with it with a few of my cheap knives, I sharpened my main chef knives. The results were fantastic; no more dull knives for me.
post #29 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nil View Post
I've been meaning to get my knives sharpened for awhile now but this thread inspired me to pick up a stone and do it myself. I swung by Home Depot and picked up a cheap oil stone and after some playing around with it with a few of my cheap knives, I sharpened my main chef knives. The results were fantastic; no more dull knives for me.

Outstanding.

Sharpening knives is one of those things that seems like such a production until you get the hang of it, then once you get going you're done before you know it. I was in the process of assembling a belt grinder to speed up my sharpening until I realized that I was usually done grinding a knife in around 3 minutes on the water stones. The only benefit to the grinder would be...about 2 minutes per knife. Worth it only for major edge repairs or re-shaping, unless I want a bunch of abrasive belts lying around the garage gathering dust.

I will mention this, though - I bought a heavy butcher's knife in a shop earlier this year, and the proprietor sharpened it for me. He put it on a belt for around 30 seconds and didn't polish the edge. It cut tomatoes and the like well enough, but really shines with meats such as brisket or ribs - particularly after cooking when you've got a bit of a crust on it. So, if you have a heavy knife that's relegated to heavy-duty cutting work, you might skip the polishing step and see how it works right after grinding.
post #30 of 184
Your best bet: here are three basic options for sharpening your Shun knives. First, your best option is to send the knives back to the Kai USA facility in Portland, Oregon. At the Portland facility, we can restore the factory edge to your blade for the life of the knife, at no cost to you aside from mailing the knife to us. Just make sure you include a return address and telephone number so we can contact you if needed. To have your knives sharpened, send them to: Kai USA Attention warranty 18600 SW Teton Tualatin, OR 97062
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