Microchips all over my Masamoto...need advice

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by guga, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. guga

    guga

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    Hi, I was looking at my Masamoto VG and realized that it was full of microchips. I dont really know what I did to chip my knife as I am always very careful with it.

    I read in another post that maybe my chop board is too soft....could this be the cause?

    Also, I would like to know if this is difficult to fix, I have a 1000/6000 King stone but I am not very good with it /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif but I am planning on buying an edge pro (maybe this is the perfect excuse to buy it now).

    I am including a couple of pics, they are not very clear but they are the best I could get with my camera.

    Hope someone can help me out.

    Thanks,

    guga

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  2. guga

    guga

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    I am adding two extra pics of the knife and one of my cutting board that is made of.....mystery wood, it was a gift from my girlfriend. Also, what you people think about boos cutting boards? Are they any good? which one is easier on the knives? maple, cherry or walnut?

    thanks
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Those are fairly common events in the life of a knife, usually a point where one of the carbides is knocked free of the steel matrix. I'm assuming you haven't sharpened this blade yourself yet? Or if you have, then only once right? Quite often, the edge put on a knife from the factory is done with power tools. This often over heats the steel at the edge, essentially giving it the wrong temper. Until you sharpen past that over termperd bit of steel, it may be prone to such chipping. But it won't take much sharpening for it to stop doing that.

    On the other hand, cutting boards can contribute to it as can grit in the vegetables and such. Technique too, if you're using too much force.

    The one chip you show in the shoulder of the edge grind is not worth concerning yourself over imho. It will not even come into play as you sharpen it again..It's not in the path of the where the edge will be.

    BDL and Capsaicin will be along soon to disagree with me.
     
  4. wagstaff

    wagstaff

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    Boos makes good boards; but you have an edge-grain board (which is also fine for most folks, but getting an end-grain will likely make more of a difference than switching to, say, walnut etc.). I don't know if dealing with good end-grain boards it really matters much to go "softer" (i.e., cherry or walnut instead of hard maple).  I sort of hope not just for price point. (I tried to ask Dave @ Boardsmith and he really didn't have much to tell me on the topic).   Also, I saw a recent post on another forum where the concern was that the knife was "too sharp" for the softer board (it was end-grain, but the problem was a bit like using sani-tuff, where the edge cuts into the board and there's danger of torque on the edge).  There was some speculation that this wouldn't have happened with a harder board; I don't know, and I'd like to know, but it seems there might be trade-offs within the narrow range of good woods.

    Those microchips look to me, too, like they'll just "sharpen right out" after a couple of sessions.  Or sharpen out after one, but maybe take a couple/few to really get past the problem recurring.Would an end-grain board help? Or a lighter touch? I don't know.... but it would be worth just seeing if phatch hit it 100% in your particular case and the knife is less vulnerable to these microchips after sharpenings. I share the same deference to those who may come along to correct.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Completely agree with my betters. Carbides, the whole ball of wax.

    If you're sharpening skills are at the point where you can use the 1K side of your King to sharpen by raising and chasing a burr, and your 6K to polish (I'm not seeing much evidence of a 6K shine -- but that doesn't mean it wasn't there), and you can deburr... you're not only ready for a coarse, profiling stone, you may also be ready to step up from the King. The 1K/6K King is adequate without being particularly good. You don't NEED to step up, just sayin' is all.

    Since you're going to ask, I use a Beston 500 as my coarse stone. It's perhaps on the expensive side for coarse, but "mid-priced," around $40ish, as good stones go. The Beston is very hard, but has good feedback nonetheless, and needs a lot of soaking. The scratch pattern is slightly better and the stone somewhat faster than you'd expect from a 500. Along with the ridiculously expensive Chosera 600, the Beston was THE coarse stone for the last couple of years. Japanese Knife Imports is selling a coarse "Gesshin" ($75) which is supposedly better across the board (haven't tried it) and is driving the knife-boards away from both the Beston and the Chosera. Unless you make a hobby of sharpening, you don't need to spend the big money. You probably won't use your coarse stone more than a couple of times a year on even your go-to gyuto.

    Speaking of which... If you slightly thin your knife -- just enough to get fresh metal all the way along both sides of the edge -- then sharpen and polish a fresh edge, you'll not only get rid of the chips along the edge but get to better steel that won't chip as easily as the edge which was shipped. Factory edges tend to be very chippy. As to the bigger chip by the handle, it will eventually sharpen out, don't try to get it all at once.

    Your current cutting board is not awful but not great as a primary prep board. Because it has sentimental value and a channel, keep it as a carving board/second board. Boos makes good boards. They're on the expensive side for what they are, but the quality is definitely there. Worth it? Yes. Not that it matters, but one of our two primary prep boards is a Boos maple end grain. Get the biggest board the size of your kitchen allows, even if it means stretching your budget. As a rule, end grain is more forgiving, less likely to promote chipping, heals better, and outlasts edge grain. But, even a good, thick, edge-grain would be a step up.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  6. guga

    guga

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    Thanks everyone for your replys.

    I am sold on a edge pro, so I think I will place my order later this week.

    On the board topic, I was thinking about getting a boos maple board 20x15x1.5 in. but they are edge grain, and the end grain models are way too thick not to mention too expensive. Is there other brand that I can look into?

    thnaks
     
  7. wagstaff

    wagstaff

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    Oooohh... seduced by the Dark Side... (just kidding, I don't have an EdgePro).

    Try Dave Smith i.e., www.TheBoardSMITH.com  for cutting boards. 

    I have a very pretty end-grain board that is not quite as nice in that it's thinner (which you might like) and the edge-grain squares are smaller, which means more glue (which is not as gentle on edges as the wood).  Still, nice boards and pretty well priced, by Marty Jones at jonescuttingboards.com (as well as his ebay store -- http://stores.ebay.com/JonesCustomWoodWorking ). The thinner board is less bullet-proof, but mine's holding up just fine so far, too.

    At least those are two suggestions.  My own first choice would be Dave's, given size options and size of the pieces within the board.  He's got a helpful FAQ too.  My board from Marty is Walnut/Cherry and very pretty to look at and good for the price, too, though.

    I'm sure there are other good options, but I don't know what they are.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  8. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    What board size? What's your price limit?

    BoardSmith boards are wonderful, worth their price, and very expensive. One of my primary boards is a 3x18 dia, round, maple, end-grain Boos. The other is a 2x20x24, mahogany, end-grain BoardSmith. I do most of my prep on the BoardSmith -- but neither board is really better than the other. Just different shapes and sizes.

    For years and years and years -- professional and home cook -- I worked on Boos edge-grain maple boards. They ain't cheap, but are plenty good. If you take care of yours -- keep it oiled, clean, don't lay it on a wet counter, keep it dry, and dry and store it on edge, you should get three or four years out of it. Maybe more. It doesn't always depend on you, and sometimes it completely does. Rest assured that no matter what situation you find yourself in, you can always make it worse.

    If there's something specific you're looking at, say what it is and I'll tell you what -- if anything -- I know. FWIW, so far every budget-friendly board I've tried -- except for an end-grain board I got at WalMart years ago -- has disappointed. The WalMart board went a few years before cracking, but it was cheap enough to begin with that its demise was no tragedy.

    Lucky is good,
    BDL
     
  9. wagstaff

    wagstaff

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    BDL -- and ANYONE else who might have reason to opine -- do you have a take on the relative hardness of the various BoardSmith wood choices?

    i.e., theoretically it seems that the softer woods would be easier on knife edges (so, say, walnut better than maple); on the other hand, I don't know if this matters in any practical way or if other factors (grain density) override or some such.  Also, on another forum (Fred's, maybe?) someone was asking about his knife being "too sharp" because it bit into to board like into a sani-tuff, and I wondered if maybe there was a case of a board being too soft (vs. the knife being too sharp, or the technique being unrefined).

    Dave himself didn't really seem to have an opinion.  But he's a wood guy more than a knife guy, I think.

    His mahogany is unavailable right now.  I think it's pretty.  I think the walnut is  super pretty, too.  But the maple is least pricey.

    And I'm not sure, but I think Boos end-grains are slightly more expensive nowadays for similar sizes.  I could look that up before posting, but I won't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  10. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Guga, I don't own a MasamotoVG, nor have I ever used one, but I have a lot of experience with VG10 knives of a number of different makers. They all have the same issue like your second picture in post #2. I believe phatch is right to blame it on the tempering of the knife. Around the edge is a very thin amount of metal compared to the higher area around the spine. I believe that causes the problem. It will go away after just a few thourough sharpenings, it always does, and you will be left with a fantastic knife.

    May I advise not to use high grit stones for the time being, it's totally useless. Use your 1k King and only a few strokes on the 6k side. I restrict myself to maximum 4k natural stones for the time my VG10 knives keep on chipping. Also, do not thin your knife at all! It will only make it worse. It's just common sense, you don't need to make an already thin and therefor brittle knife even more thin. Many carbon knives need to be thinned right away, stainless knives are already quite thin, even very thin like the Hattori HDs. You can think about thinning the knife after a few years of use when the edge has moved upward to a thicker area due to a lot of sharpening.

    Your cutting board looks fine to me, isn't that oak or beech? I have seen boards made by the Board Smith, they are simple exquisite! What an artisan!

    Maybe another tip; stay away from low grit stones untill you know how to sharpen with a 1k stone!  
     
  11. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The Masamoto VG is NOT made from VG-10, but from VG-1. The Hattori HD is laminated san-mai (three-layers) with soft stainless jigane (outer layers) over a VG-10 hagane (core), while the Masamoto VG is "mono-steel" (just the bare alloy). The two knives have nothing in common in terms of material or construction.

    Except for the one chip at the heel, all of the chipping along your edge is very minor and will sharpen out easily. Some of the chips probably aren't even chips at all, but holes left by carbides which got knocked out by use and/or sharpening. You don't have to get all the chips and gaps out at once.

    Each time you sharpen all the way down to the edge, the fresh, new metal you expose will not be as prone to chip.

    I don't see why you can't use the 6K side of your King. You're going to have to learn to sharpen sooner or later if you can't already. Even though it's really more like a 4K than most true 6Ks (e.g., Shapton GS, and Takenoko), the King's 6K surface is slow and fine enough that you can't do much damage. I do agree with Chris that it's a good idea to avoid coarse stones until you have pretty good control as a sharpener -- which you may or may not have already.

    BDL
     
  12. lennyd

    lennyd

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    I am no expert on chipping or sharpening, but my experience with chipping was directly related to too sharpening to too acute an angle and torque.

    This was more prone on the VG10 (Tojro DP) blades, but also looked much different than what is in most of those pics above, and looked more like well chips were chopped out of the edge. The ones in the pics look more like holes so it does make sense like the others have posted that these are more likely a product of the factory edge.

    I orig quoted BDL by accident, but am leaving it as I totally agree with needing to just pull out the stone(s) and get busy as they will not only produce a superior edge than a machine, but also produce a serious feeling of accomplishment once you start to get good edges from freehand sharpening plus you will get past those chips/holes real fast.

    I have to be honest that I was a bit concerned with the idea of taking my new J knives to an abrasive stone for the first time. I mean no one wants to mess up their knife, and the idea of doing real harm is a scary one too.

    Have to thank BDL once again for his help with the sharpening stone selection and technique etc (not to mention driving him and others here a little nuts with knife selection too lol) but also for the extra nudge to just get to doing it. Even though I had some sharpening experience from hunting, folding and my old Henckels knives in the past the whole newness and unknown of the new J knives made the whole thing intimidating. Do not let any of this get the better of you, and just take your time, read up on technique on the net, and watch a few vids on youtube (be sure to check out salty as he has some good ones, as well as chef knives to go) and you should be fine.

    Do not expect to be perfect, expect to have to go back and redo a couple times until you learn what your looking for in results at each grit, and allow yourself to learn as you go and it will get easier and your results better as time goes on.

    It does have a lot to do with muscle memory too so it can take a little to train your muscles to hold the proper angle over and over etc, but you can do it. I have actually found that at times when I do not cook as often (mostly in the summer when tied up with other hobbies) my sharpening is not as good as when I am doing it more often. They still get sharp, but not as much so, and just do not look as nice as when I was spending more time on the stones.

    Lastly I do not know why by for some reason I just feel like someone has been defeated when I see they are giving in to a electric sharpener. Just feels weird in a weird kind of way :)

    Anyhow hope that helps!
     
  13. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    I know the Masamoto isn't VG10, I did not say it was, but the "damage" shown in guga's picture that I referred to (see below), looks very similar to the one appearing in "fresh" VG10 blades.

    On the other hand, the Hattori HD is definitely NOT san-mai as you claim!

     [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Chris,

    Really?

    Using a few Japanese terms will make discussing this easier. As you know -- but for everyone else -- "san-mai" means "three layers." San-mai construction refers to a blade made from a three layer laminate. The outer layers are called jigane. The inner core layer -- the one which gets the edge -- is called the hagane.

    If an Hattori HD blade isn't a three layer laminate with a VG-10 hagane sandwiched between layers of soft, stainless, suminigashi patterend jigane -- with each pattern layer of jigane made and acting as a single layer -- then what is it?

    Surely you're not suggesting the suminigashi pattern welding makes the jigane anything other than a single layer. The jigane in question is manufactured by (I believe) Takefu and sold to Ryusen (who makes the HD blades) in single sheets. I can't recall whether Ryusen or Takefu applies the jigane to the hagane to make the three layer form, but whoever does it treats the "'mulitple' layer suminigashi" construct as a single layer of jigane. In any case, it's not kitaeji, wootz, or any other form of patten welding else with performance benefits. If you want to think of each "layer" in the sheet as having some individual integrity which in some way changes the character or name of the construction you're entitled to your beliefs.

    Bottom line: The pattern is only a pattern. It doesn't actually do anything. The Hattori HD is every bit as "san-mai" as a Shun Classic or any other of the many "'faux damascus'" acknowledged as san-mai.

    BDL

    PS. Knowing the VG wasn't VG-10, why bring up VG-10 at all? It was ambiguous.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
  15. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    BDL, I don't see how all this display of terminology helps the OP in his question? Maybe simply admitting you guessed wrong... again, would help. We all make mistakes.

    Also, I'm not sucking information out of my thumb. I do own Hattori HDs bought from JCK.

    After many purchases with them, I trust JCK as a very reliable source.

    Here's what they say concerning your problem with the HattoriHD layers;

    Quote JCK; ... "Made of VG10 core cutting edge forged with 63 layered Nickel Damascus stainless steel blade."...

    http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/HDSeries.html
     
  16. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Maybe I didn't "guess," maybe I actually know what I'm talking about. Oh wait. I do.

    On the other hand, "actually [owning]" a knife doesn't mean you know much about it. Reliance on JCK's "63 layer" catalong copy for the inference the blade isn't san-mai is sadly misplaced. As I already explained, the multi-layer jigane (in this case 32 layers) is made and sold as a single sheet by Takefu, the steel manufacturer (who also makes the VG-10); sold that way to blade manufacturer, Ryusen; who then bonds a sheet of jigane to each side of the VG-10 hagane. If that isn't san-mai, what is it?

    Since I brought up Ryusen, to avoid confusion, Hattori and Ryusen are engaged in a joint venture for some knives, including the HD; and to that end, share a factory built by Ryusen. The idea was that Hattori would get some help with mass production and Ryusen with skilled hand-production. In the case of the HDs, Ryusen makes all the blades, while Hattori "handles" and finishes the knives sold under their own name.

    Using the Japanese knife terminology to describe Japanese methods of knife construction is a convenient way of not constantly repeating long expository descriptions. Unfortunately, sometimes it isn't enough.

    I'm done,
    BDL
     
  17. blackjettison

    blackjettison

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    Perhaps slightly off topic, but based on the information that I'm seeing here, is a purpose of 'opening' the knife (beyond adding sharpness) to get past the brittle temper that results from the powered sharpening?
     
  18. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    "Opening" a knife usually means the owner or retailer sharpens it before its first use, in order to replace the manufacturer's edge with something better. Sometimes it means the owner's first re-profiling/sharpening, and who knows what else.

    As a rule, it's more necessary with traditional, Japanese, single-sided edges than western style profiles which are sharpened on both sides. In my opinion though, it's never a bad idea. If you're a good sharpener and picky about geometry, laying in your own profile is something you'll get to sooner or later so it might as well be sooner.

    Many Japanese knives -- emphatically including western styles -- come "chippy." That can be allayed by knocking out any protruding or loose carbides, getting down to fresh metal and establishing a fine edge (which includes polishing out any toothiness); and as a matter of course the first sharpening should be done very soon after the knife comes out of the box.

    I know doing so makes a big difference, and while I'm fairly sure about some of the reasons and suspect some of the others, I'm not enough of a metallurgist to open my mouth without getting a foot in it, so staying shtum.

    :cool:
    BDL
     
  19. wagstaff

    wagstaff

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    If you're inexperienced with sharpening, or particularly with reprofiling, having someone -- someone else -- who is very good open the knife might give a bevel to "click in" -- makes setting initial angles easier.  Even if you want to thin the blade, it makes the "magic marker trick" much more helpful.  I think.  Turns out sometimes the "opening" just kinda sucks anyway, and is not helpful.
     
  20. lennyd

    lennyd

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    That really got me thinking about my personal experience with sharpening.

    First thoughts were of when I started altering my old Henckels Pro-S (I say altering rather than reprofiling because it was really more of an experiment at the time lol) to get a finer more acute and dare I say sharper edge. It was a learning process since they started at approx 22deg and ended up some ware around 13deg. Obviously the 22 was ootb and a bit blunt and the 13 was well beyond the steels ability (they did cut nice until they hit the board lol).

    Then how over time there was as slow process of actually reducing the angle in an attempt to find a sweet spot which actually led me to the world of J knives.

    Then after getting in the J knives first thing I had to do was play with the new stones I got as well. I originally did not do too much to change the Tojiro's, but the Fujiwara FKM saw what I think I have to call a true opening up and re profiling. OOTB it was 70/30 and soon after it was more like 90/10 and the angle was much more acute as well.

    Now though not a complete newbie to sharpening at the time (though I did feel like it, and still consider myself to be one slightly) I really was to these more acute angles, asymmetric bevels, and steels as well.

    Were the results the best ever done? I seriously doubt it, but it did the job and raises the point that with a little practice and some knowledge it can be done without years of experience.

    If I am off base on this let me know, but the more time I get on the stones the more I am believing we are actually making this harder than it really is.