Guidance on Sharpening/Honing Set

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by Jay MacCallum, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Jay MacCallum

    Jay MacCallum

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    I've just purchased a 270mm Misono Swedish Carbon Gyuto (Still getting used to that LONG length... slowly!), and I was gifted a knife of my choice this past Christmas. Although that isn't the subject of this post, I'm not sure if it may affect recommendations on what I'm missing in my sharpening set. The knife in question will likely be a 150mm AS Clad petty, Although I'm also considering other low maintenance+great edge taking options.

    Along with the Misono, I also have a 180mm Moritaka A#2 Santoku which I've been using for most of my prep pre-gyuto purchase. The remaining knives I have are Wusthof Classic Ikon, hence the heavy use of the Santoku.

    I've read a little on the damage that a steel can do my Japanese knives. To be completely honest, up to this point I've been honing my Moritaka on it (62ish HRC?), and haven't noticed any chipping, at least that I've seen. With the imminent purchase of this Petty that will also be quite hard, I'm wondering if a fine(r) hone is required to avoid damaging my knives. I've read BDL recommend the Idahone a number of times throughout my research, and at its very reasonable price-point I think this is the route I will go.

    With that in mind, I'm hoping I can get some clarity of the use-case of the Idahone. As I understand, its a very fine hone, and will only be able to true the edge for so long, before something like my Wusthof Steel will need to be used. However, based on what I've read, this isn't an option for my J-knives (perhaps the Misono may be ok, 60 HRC is very close to the ~58HRC of my Wusthof steel). Would this then require me to use a polishing stone, maybe somewhere in the 8-10k range, once the Idahone no longer trues the edge? As it stands, I have a King 1200# medium grain, and a Rika 5k (just purchased), which I'm afraid may be a little too coarse to fill the gap between the Idahone ceramic and the King stone.

    With that said, should I be (in general) using my kit in this order:

    German knives: 1200 then 5K to sharpen. Idahone before each use (meaning each day I use it, I'm a home cook), eventually move on to the Wusthof steel. Rinse and Repeat as required.

    Japanese knives: 1200 then 5k. Idahone until no longer useful. Repeat 5k polish/hone for a few months, then take some more material off again with the King stone.

    As someone who has only used my stones about half a dozen times, I'm still learning how to 'feel' when my knives need sharpening or polishing. I'm hoping you guys can give me a couple loose guidelines of the sharpening progression so that I don't damage anything before I start to get a feel for it.

    Thanks!!

    Jay
     
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    There are a lot of potential opinions (aren't there always?) on this topic. Here are mine:

    Sharpen as appropriate using stones. I use Ark soft and hard. With hard Japanese steel (mine are VG-10) finish with surgical black Arkansas. Hone lightly before use with ceramic rod. When the edge gets to the point it doesn't cut to my liking it's back to the stones. I retired my traditional steels quite a while ago, with the exception of a smooth steel that I use with American carbon steel blades and occasionally German knives. I've used the smooth steel on Japanese knife in the past and it works okay. With honing rods I believe the most important thing is to use them in a controlled manner with very little pressure. Slapping a knife silly against any kind of a honing rod/steel is just silly, and could result in chipping on the harder blades.
     
  3. Jay MacCallum

    Jay MacCallum

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    Thanks for the recommendation Brian. So you would generally say to hone Japanese knives with ceramic rods *only*, and when it isn't sufficient, you move back to the stones? I'm not sure if that rule of thumb is due to the fact that they are generally made of materials harder than the steel itself, or because its safest.

    Would you expect to see any benefit of using a ceramic rod on my Germans, or would they likely dull so quickly that it will have little benefit. I would imagine my Steel hone is sufficient for them.

    Lastly, what is the grit of your Ark hard? Trying to gauge if my 5k would do the trick, or if that would take too much material off?
     
  4. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    With the German knives I find the ceramic to work faster than a steel. That's the primary reason why I use that and retired the steel. One or two light swipes...

    Arkansas stone grit equivalents seems a bit debatable. But the hard Ark is often referred as equivalent to 800-1000 grit. the surgical black they say is "1200+"... whatever that really means. it feels slicker than that, though, in terms of the polish it provides.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  5. Jay MacCallum

    Jay MacCallum

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    I suppose the 5k should do just fine then! I guess I can probably ditch my steel for the ceramic - nice!

    Would a 500-800 grit be a more crucial stone to have than a 8-10k? Or should the 1200 and 5000 be enough for now, until I get more comfortable with sharpening?
     
  6. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    Hi Jay. I would think that unless you need a coarse stone to set a new bevel, or grind out nicks/chips, or thin the blade you should be fine for the time being. Are you getting an edge that you like and serves your needs with what you currently have? If, yes, then buy more stones only if it makes your life easier. If no, then buy the stone that will enable you to achieve your goal. At some point you'll need a coarse stone. Unless you are sharpening your knife for surgery or shaving you might not need anything finer than what you already have. But that's just my opinion.
     
  7. Jay MacCallum

    Jay MacCallum

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    Thats good to hear! I'll grab the idahone and see how pleased I'm at with the edge on my Misono and my new Petty. Thanks for the info!