Honing Japanese Chef's Knives

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by KJT, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior member

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    If you have knives made with a very hard metal, using a steel is pointless because it is very unlikely that the metal at the blade would have curled like on an average german knife which is made of softer metal. Getting a ceramic rod is better but that will take a bit of metal off the blade and cause larger micro serations. If you were a knife freak, getting a glass rod would an ideal solution.

    Here is my take. If you use waterstones, using a ceramic steel or any steel rod to hone the edge defeats the purpose. You spend a good deal of time getting the edge sharp and finishing to mirror shine which means a truly sharp edge with minimal and absolutely tiny micro serations only to destroy that edge with a steel rod that not only ruins the mirror finish and the tiny micro serations with an edge that has larger micro serations.

    Use a 800-1000 waterstone to recreate a new edge, use the 6000 side to create a mirror finish which should take no more then 5-6 passes. Every other week, run the knife 4-5 times on the 6000 side to hone the blade and you are good to go.
     


  2. HORNS

    HORNS Senior member

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    I really don't see what the big deal is with micro serrations in the blade. I've been under the impression, for years now - from many sources that I've read and been told, that these serrations improved the cutting ability of the knife. Not only that, but using a steel that has striations in it has allowed me to maintain these serrations in my own knives and has resulted in very sharp and effective knives for me.
     


  3. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior member

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    I really don't see what the big deal is with micro serrations in the blade. I've been under the impression, for years now - from many sources that I've read and been told, that these serrations improved the cutting ability of the knife. Not only that, but using a steel that has striations in it has allowed me to maintain these serrations in my own knives and has resulted in very sharp and effective knives for me.

    Yes, it's not a big deal. It is true that micro serrations makes for an effectively sharper blade but it's not a true sharp blade if that makes any sense. I would argue that having serrations creates more feedback which can be beneficial to the user of the knife because he can feel the blade cutting through whatever he is cutting through. When I go around sharpening a knife, I can't shave fine strands off of paper but when I hone down the blade with an effective 10000 grit natural stone, I can get those fine strands easily. However, the blade maybe sharp but not as effective as a blade with more micro serrations because those deeper micro serrations can "catch on" to what I am slicing easier. So there is true sharpness and effective sharpness.
     


  4. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior member

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    I recommend this for that little knife freak in all of us.

    Hone the blade to a mirror shine with a high grit count waterstone. Then 0.5-1" down from the tip of the knife, run a ceramic steel for 1-1.5 inches to create bigger micro serrations. (This is meant for standard 8" gyutos). That will give you a very useful and pratical blade.

    I mean you can go even fancier with different angles at different parts of the knife but that's going crazy!
     


  5. HORNS

    HORNS Senior member

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    Yes, it's not a big deal. It is true that micro serrations makes for an effectively sharper blade but it's not a true sharp blade if that makes any sense. I would argue that having serrations creates more feedback which can be beneficial to the user of the knife because he can feel the blade cutting through whatever he is cutting through. When I go around sharpening a knife, I can't shave fine strands off of paper but when I hone down the blade with an effective 10000 grit natural stone, I can get those fine strands easily. However, the blade maybe sharp but not as effective as a blade with more micro serrations because those deeper micro serrations can "catch on" to what I am slicing easier. So there is true sharpness and effective sharpness.

    I do understand. On a larger, more perceptible level, those ginsu knives had serrations in them, which the manufacturers claimed "stayed sharp for a lifetime". Of course, that was not true, instead the novice user was essentially using a fine-toothed saw. On the other hand, maintaining a sharp blade, along with the micro serrations, allowed the knife to effectively cut but also to "catch" whatever it was cutting - the best examples I can use are the skins of really ripe tomatoes or citrus fruits - so it can then slice through the food.
     


  6. robin

    robin Senior member

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  7. Dmax

    Dmax Senior member

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    Here is my take....
    I mostly agree with you but very few people finish their edges to finer than 1000 grit equivalent and for everyone else a ceramic rod makes for an improvement over the standard "medium" grooved steel.
     


  8. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior member

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    I mostly agree with you but very few people finish their edges to finer than 1000 grit equivalent and for everyone else a ceramic rod makes for an improvement over the standard "medium" grooved steel.

    Yes, a true statement! But if anyone is to invest in a japanese knife, one should definitely consider learning some sharpening skills. I tell you, there is such a calming quality to sharpening a knife. I find it to be such a great stress relief.
     


  9. GrillinFool

    GrillinFool Senior member

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    I have one of those glued whetstones. Works fantastic... Although for the OP, depending on the damage, I would recommend sending it off and having it professionally sharpened.

    And as bad as the damage seems it could be worse. Had a Halloween party at my place and someone accidentally tossed my Shun Santoku in the trash. Gone. My fave knife of my 5 shuns..
     


  10. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior member

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    And as bad as the damage seems it could be worse. Had a Halloween party at my place and someone accidentally tossed my Shun Santoku in the trash. Gone. My fave knife of my 5 shuns..
    WTF? Find that person and de-friend on Facebook NOW!!!!![​IMG]
     


  11. KJT

    KJT Senior member

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    I have one of those glued whetstones. Works fantastic... Although for the OP, depending on the damage, I would recommend sending it off and having it professionally sharpened.

    And as bad as the damage seems it could be worse. Had a Halloween party at my place and someone accidentally tossed my Shun Santoku in the trash. Gone. My fave knife of my 5 shuns..


    It's crossed my mind - I very well may send it back to Shun for a free sharpening. But I figured this would be a good chance to learn to do it myself. I've wanted to learn it for a while but frankly was scared to mess up a good knife. Now's my chance!

    This is a Shun Santoku actually...
     


  12. Dmax

    Dmax Senior member

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    Yes, a true statement! But if anyone is to invest in a japanese knife, one should definitely consider learning some sharpening skills. I tell you, there is such a calming quality to sharpening a knife. I find it to be such a great stress relief.
    You don't have to tell me. Besides my own, I have to sharpen all of my friends' and family's knives. It's not too much work since I selected and bought their knives for them. [​IMG]
     


  13. MikkoN

    MikkoN Senior member

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    Here.

    Check out other vids from this guy too. Very educational.

    I use 1000/6000 grit combination water stone and ceramic "steel" to keep my knives sharp.
    Personally I do not need anything else. Removing nicks using 1000 grit is a bit time consuming, but can be done.
    All my knives are japanese mid-level high-carbon blades.
    Nothing fancy, but good enough for me...and far superior to most Japanese knives usually available outside of Japan.
     


  14. KJT

    KJT Senior member

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    Thanks for the videos. I've learned how to sharpen pretty well since posting this, but it's always helpful to see the technique.
     


  15. SField

    SField Senior member

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