Grits to keep my Jamenese knives razor sharp ?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by philip007, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. philip007

    philip007

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    Hi folks,

    What grits of a waterstones would I need to keep my Japenese knives razor sharp ?

    I've heard 1000 for medium and 4000 for razor sharp ?

    Anyone have any comments or disagreements ?

    Many thanks for any help and assistance.

    Philip
     
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    203
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Without knowing more about your knives, sharpening skills, the particular stones you have in mind, etc., those are good choices for sharpening and finishing most Japanese manufactured kitchen knives. At some point you'll probably want something coarser for profiling and repair.

    Was the question as general as it seemed?  Or, are you thinking about a specific pair of stones? 

    BDL
     
  3. panini

    panini

    Messages:
    5,168
    Likes Received:
    284
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  4. phaedrus

    phaedrus

    Messages:
    1,579
    Likes Received:
    143
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    A 1000 grit is normally sufficient to prep the bevel.  If your knife gets really dull or damaged it's nice to have something coarser.  A 4k is sufficient to get a knife "razor sharp" to most peoples' standards if your technique is good.  When I sharpen Japanese knives for coworkers I generally go to either 5k or 8k.  When I do my own I usually finish on a 10k Chocera.
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    203
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I usually sharpen my meat specialty knives to 3K; the Sabatier carbons, other Forschners, and Konosuke stainless petty to 5K; and the Konosuke HDs to 8K or higher. 

    Sometimes I'll take the Sabs and Konosukes to the strops and finish with 0.25u diamond.   I like the diamond stropped edge quite a bit, but it only lasts til the first steeling on the Sab/SS which don't have much "scratch hardness" anyway.  That fresh, diamond "bite" doesn't last all that long on the HDs either.

    Stropping aside, I think I'm probably sharpening/polishing about 1 grit level higher than purely practical; but what could it hurt? 

    In my opinion Phaedrus is too tough on his own work (as Rob Babcock), and too complimentary to Ken's.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  6. phaedrus

    phaedrus

    Messages:
    1,579
    Likes Received:
    143
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Mostly I just don't want to come off as a shill.  There are lots of good sharpeners doing knives for Mark, I'm just one guy.  And I don't do a lot, just a handful here and there.  Mostly I think Mark just has fun pitting us against each other!/img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif   He can count on us to do a pretty good job since we don't want to lose bragging rights./img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif   Again, it's just kind of a sideline for me.  I'm busy enough working and plugging away at my Bachelor's degree that I haven't made any effort to look for knives to sharpen just now.

    But Ken is a serious font of info and materials.  I rely pretty heavily on some products that he's developed.  Just as you & I don't march in lock step I don't always approach things the way Ken does; but in both cases we agree more than we disagree.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  7. duckfat

    duckfat

    Messages:
    1,354
    Likes Received:
    24
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    +1
     
  8. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

    Messages:
    2,208
    Likes Received:
    290
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Hi Philip,

    In all likelihood, your sense of "razor sharp" is getting in the way here, so let's not sweat that. What you want is "so sharp it will do everything I want it to do much more easily than I have any right to expect." Something like that.

    At base, the roughly 1000-2000 mark is the core for good-quality Japanese knives. Below this is for fixing things, and above this is for polishing. You don't really get sharper as you go up above this level, but the effects can be a lot like a LOT sharper.

    The trick about polishing is that not every knife can reasonably take every level of polishing. You can polish some old piece of junk iron knife to your heart's content, but as soon as you actually use the thing it's all for nothing. So you have to grade your level of polish to the knives you are using. This is why BDL is asking about what knives you use.

    Let's suppose, hypothetically, that you are using spectacular Masamoto KS white steel knives, OK? So, how much polish can they take? I dunno -- I don't know anyone who's hit the limit yet. What difference is there between 1000 and 10,000? Well, 10,000 glides like you wouldn't believe -- just drifts vaguely through food in this weird, disconcerting way. And 1000 does not do this -- it acts like (gasp!) a knife.

    But if you tried to polish a Wusthof Trident to 10,000, you'd be wasting your effort: even if you managed to get that level of polish on there, which would take some doing, the bending that happens as the edge hits a board or hard food would soon remove all of that. This is not to say that the Wustie is bad, but that it's not designed for this kind of thing.

    The other thing is that high-grit stones are not all alike, and some of them are VERY expensive. So before you go dropping huge chunks of change, we'd like to know a lot more about your knives, your sharpening, your cutting habits, and so on. We'd love to advise you -- lord knows BDL and Phaedrus are drooling to talk about fine polish! -- but we don't want to send you haring off after something totally useless to you and expensive for your wallet.
     
    eduardo castro likes this.