You guys have no idea...
...of the damage you've done to my sanity (that's also the name of my leather wallet, btw).
I used to be a normal guy with a sane, healthy habit for home cooking, preparing food to enjoy with my wife and friends, exploring different ethnic cuisines and recipes, cooking techniques and funny kitchen apparatus.
I even received an awesome Felix Solingen chef's for my birthday (a X50CrMrV15 german steel - btw, can you see the damage? I shouldn't know what that code mean...) and I was (and still am) very happy with it. This was a serious piece of equipment!
But then, one day, a realization suddenly took place: I was tired of working with dull knives. Really. No kiddin.
You know that feeling when everything inside you just smooths down calmly but firmly into place while the world around you becomes silent? Yeah, that one. "Determination" or "Resolution" someone might call it, although I now know it for being a close relative to "Mania" or "Creeping Insanity".
Anyway that's when I started to find a way to get my knives sharp and initially thought "Oh, not a big deal, I'll just buy one of those electric pull-through sharpeners and end-of-story". Ehehe... yeah. Bought one and after a bit of use in conjunction with a grooved steel (brrrrrr) my knives wouldn't be any sharper.
That's when I discovered waterstones on the forums and that made me also aware that there were japanese kitchen knives around and many considered them superior to anything else!
From then onwards it's just been a sheer drop toward insanity... knowing you guys on the forums, learning the types of steel, handle styles, blade styles, F&F (only knew M&Ms before...very smooth and polished!), etc...
So here I am, I've made the plunge and bought myself a Hattori HD 210 Gyuto from Koki (NZ here, and JCK's the only one that ships stuff around at decent rates), and also got myself a Tojiro stone 240/1000 and a SunTiger 1000/6000 (purely based on what's available here - and price) alongside with two guiderails, one Minosharp (set at an angle described as "between 10* and 15*") and another brand (can't really say the angle but definitely something close to 20*). Also got myself a DMT CS2 ceramic steel (again, no Idahone or MAC here in NZ - lots of potlids and ceramic whiteware though...).
Now, masking tape notwithstanding, my Hattori HD has the sanmai pattern completely scratched () but is quite sharp and the german Felix too! Finally!!Ahhhhh!!!
Just the beginning though. I can easily get that damned burr flippin on the 1000 but somehow I got the feeling I mess things up when I move to the 6000 (even with the guiderails on).
I can shave my arm and slice newspapers but can't effortlessly push-cut a cherry tomato.
I hate cherry tomatoes now.
I have nightmares with flawless cherry tomatoes bouncing around and laughing at me.
"The Silence of the Lambs" has been achieved, I can slice through lamb fine.Now the quest is to reach the "Silence of the Cherry Tomatoes".
Ah, and I really need a petty now... maybe carbonext or blazen just to try a different steel. 120? 150? Suggestions needed!!
Ah, need prob also a cutting board... wood or non-wood? (no sani-tuff in NZ)
Ah, and I might also need...
That's the end of the post guys. Too long? I won't apologize. You're the cause and you only deserve it!
You are perfectly sane - just happens that you have chosen the road to perdition. If you can see far enough along you'll find several of us ahead of you
Welcome to FoodieForums, Raph!
You might want to try finishing one of your knives at "just" 1,000 to see if it helps you achieve "The Silence of the Cherry Tomatoes." Often, it can be hard to sharpen higher than a 1,200 grit waterstone without sort of rounding over the edge just enough that it will cleanly shave armhair and printer paper, but not push straight down through a tomato without smushing.
Enjoy the insanity; it gets worse.
Scratching the san mai: been there. You might want to go to the NZ equivalent of Walmart and pick up some cheap knives to practice on. The Chinese stainless stuff you'll find there can produce very stubborn burrs, and removing them can be a good learning experience.
Hey Thom, cheers for the welcome and thanks for your hints!
Originally Posted by thombrogan
Mmm I might just do that: so you suggest I forget about the 6000 and stick with the 1000? The way I sharpen now is getting a burr along the whole edge before changing side. that's on the 1000 stone after a few initial passages on both sides without burr just to make sure the bevels on both sides are roughly equal (to the best of my ability). When I manage to get that burr flippin around in just one passage then I tend to move on the 6000. But if I don't then how would I get rid of the burr? Stickin to the 1000 but progressively releasing pressure? Using my ceramic steel? Bottle cork?
Willing to give it a try although I had hoped that the guiderails would have been sufficient to compensate for my inability to keep a steady angle... even on a 6000 grit. Evidently not.
By the way, when you move to a higher grit (4000+) do you still apply decent pressure on the knife or should it rather be a grip gentle enough to keep the blade in contact with the stone?
Sanmai scratched: yeah it was a bit of a drama initially but eventually got over it.
Originally Posted by wsf
I'm prob going to do exactly what you suggest in the future but I first wanted to try offering to sharpen some friends' knives. Same practice, but cheaper and I might end up looking like "the-cool-mate-who-not-only-is-expert-with-a-macho-thing-like-dangerously-sharp-knives-but-also-has-a-kind-heart-and-cares-for-friends". See if that wins me some extra bottles of wine when they next come for dinner...
Raph sounds like you are on the rt. track wt. the burr.A 1000 grit produces a good one,when you have burr heel to tip flipping back & forth on both sides.Do a lite trail sweep,just the weight of the blade on burr side at the same spine angle as sharpening.Feel to see if burr is removed,if some left do another lite sweep.Sometimes if too much pressure the burr may flip back a little on other side.Thats OK it's all part of learning burr removal on the stone.
When you feel little or no burr on both sides then you can use your ceramic steel.This too is important,Lite measured strokes on the ceramic at the same angle as sharpening( Or just a hair more)A common mistake wt. steels is too much angle,this can round your edge again & make your knife worse.
Keith, that's precious help, thanks!
Noted your advices re how to deal with intensity on the stone when in burr-removal phase. Did you imply, like Thom, that I should avoid the 6000 grit stone or the technique applies to both?
Have to remember your hint about newbies tendency to slightly exaggerate the angle on the steel, I've got a feeling that's one of the wrong things I may be doing.
Keith's method for dealing with the 1K burr works very well as does using progressively lighter pressure and then gently slicing through cork, wood, or similarly soft materials. Regardless of where I stop when sharpening; anywhere from 325 grit to 8,000 grit; I usually deburr using a cowhide strop.
With the 6K stone, I use the same technique of start heavy, finish light. When I start too heavy or didn't make the 1,000 grit edge as asbestos as could be or don't finish light enough, my 6K edges either end up duller than the 1K edges or will be sharp enough to shave armhair while lacking the bite needed for judgemental vegetables. When done right, such edges are precious; when done otherwise, there's a very shiny edge that refuses to cut well.
You can make searingly sharp edges with your 6K stone and you will do it; just expect them to fill you with hair-pulling frustration in the interim and you'll be all set.
If you do end up using a strop (the good ones cost between $5 and $200), that's an 'always go light; always go backwards' proposition.