Question about sharpening

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Joined Dec 1, 2001
How does everyone sharpen their knives? With a stone? Does anyone take thier knives to a professional?
I think I will be getting a Messermeister Elite 10" chefs knife and slicing knife from Santa this year. I was planning on just mailing them back to the company for free sharpening minus the cost of shipping. But now I am starting to think that I will be sending it throught the mail and waiting for it to get back to me so often that it might get annoying to wait for it.
I have heard that one of the most important asspects of using a sharpening stone is to be consistant with the angle that you drag the knife at. I have talked to a couple of people, inlcuding John Borg from Knifemerchant.com, and he seems to think that it is almost impossible to be that consistent, and I would be better off mailing the knife back to the company.
Right now I sharpen my Wusthofs with a gizmo with ceramic wheels. You just drag the knife through the two wheels, it seems to work fairly well, but I am sure they could get an even better edge.
I am interested in hearing what everyone has to say. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks
 
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I sent my Wusthofs out to be professionally sharpened once. I wasn't impressed. They removed too much material so there is a small gap between the heel of the blade and the bolster. As much as it is a chore (3 or 4 times a year) I prefer to sharpen my own knives using a $20 stone with a rough side and a smooth side. I used to keep the stone wet with water but I read recently in Cooks Illustrated that a dry stone is better and faster. And so it is. (It wears the stone faster too.) With practice and a strong wrist you can keep a fairly consistent angle.

Jock
 
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Jock:

My hobbies are lapidary (stone cutting and polishing for bolo ties and belt buckles) and gunsmithing among many other interests. All rely on intimate knowledge of abrasives. I can assure you that ALL STONES REQUIRE LIQUID TO FLOAT PARTICLES OFF OF THEM to prevent the pores from clogging.

The best all around sharpening stone is the CARBORUNDUM BRAND (not the Norton brand) COARSE SILICONE CARBIDE stone. Get one that measures at least 8 inches in length.
 

nicko

Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
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I happend to feel the Cook's Illustrated is an excellent magazine and offers some good insight. Obviously someone with your experience (Kokopuffs) in sharpening will probably have more knowledge than the research at CI, but they like most publications won't hit the mark everytime. I think that when you read a magazine just like reading a recipe you have to use your own common sense since it may not be accurate. Personally I don't think one poorly researched article should make or break a magazine. I certainly don't stop reading the paper because one journalist wrote a bad article.

What issue was the article in I would like to read it.
 

nicko

Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
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Joined Oct 5, 2001
Thanks, I will check it out. Curious Kokopuffs, do you have any of your bolo ties or belt buckle work online? I would love to see some pictures of your work.
 
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Thanks for the feedback Kokopuffs. I don't recall exactly what the brand name is of the stone I have. It is 8" long with a gray course side and a red smooth side.
Nicko, Kokopuffs is correct, the article was written within the past few months. I will dig out tomorrow and let you know what issue.
Regardless of the specific technique, my preference is still to sharpen my own knives.

Jock
 
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I was shouting at the world and no one in particular regarding that article. It seems that the younger generation, raised in tract homes instead of the farm, has lost touch with certain manual skills - not to mention that they didn't see much blood upon growing up, namely animal slaughter. These are gross generalities, I know. And I'm bound to offend a few out there.

Jock, it sounds like you own an INDIA stone, aluminum oxide; the gray side being coarse and the red fine. Go to ebay and do yourself a favor. Procure a CARBORUNDUM brand coarse silicone carbide stone. It'll sharpen your knives in a minimal amount of time and effort.
 
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Thanks kokopuffs, I will check it out. I'm sure there is somewhere in San Francisco I can get a Carborundum stone.
I'm curious to know if Crane made a decision on sharpening knives. Or has all this debate put him off?

Jock
 
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Joined Dec 1, 2001
Well, I am slightly confused because of some conflicting information I had found on the internet and different searches on this site. I think that I will definately be better off taking the time to learn how to sharpen the knives well myself. I do still have a couple of questions. Why do you want to use a coarse stone to sharpen your knives? Won't that cut more of the metal from the blade away, and leave you with a rougher edge? I am also a little more hesitant to sharpen a messermeister on "any-ole-stone" because of the edge. The blade is somewhat similar to a Global. I have read from alot of places that you need a special stone, or a higher grit stone to sharpen them well. It may have just been a ploy to get people to buy more Global products, like their stones, but I still wonder if their is any truth to it.
However, after taking in all of the information that I have found, I think that if I buy a stone to sharpen my knives, at the very least my few Wusthofs and possibly my Messermeisters (soon to be receiving), I will be getting a three way stone mounted thinggy with stone grits of around 250, 500, and 700.
 
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I use my knives daily and I give them 8 or 10 swipes on a steel before every use. That way I only have to sharpen them 3 or 4 times a year. Sherpening, by definition, means removing material. Using a course stone gets the edge closer to being sharp faster than using a fine stone. (Either way the same amount of material has to be removed.) Once the blade is sharp using the course stone, a fine stone is used to hone the edge to a smooth, sharp finish.

Nicko, the "Knife Sharpening 101" article is in the August 2001 issue of Cook's Illustrated.

Jock
 
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Joined Dec 7, 2001
Hey Crane,

As mentioned in another post of mine, I use (almost exclusivly) Mundial and/or Dexter-Russel blades (cheapies, i know). However, it took me far longer than i am willing to admit to realize that it is more important to invest in a great sharpener than buy high-end cutlery. About 8 years ago, I happened upon a most brilliant knife sharpening device: Edge-Pro. Now listen, I DO NOT go round advocating products of any kind, but this one saved me LOTS of many--though you will pay through the nose for it. As I said, I use cheapies. I have bought no knives for eight years, almost nine now. In the past 9 years I have worked in 5 diff. high-end DEMANDING kitchens. Needless to say, my knives have been run through the ringer. Many cooks laugh, and brandish a new Sabatier, Global, what have you. I laugh when they lose, it breaks, gets stolen, melts, dropped (not very nice of me huh?). I buy (or used to) the cheapest blades I can find, and keep a good edge on them. Here's the web-site for Edge-Pro:
http://business.gorge.net/edgepro/#

With this machine, you can sharpen any knife (save bread knives) to a wicked edge. Also, it is excellent for sharpening those blades in plastic Japanese mandolins. AWESOME!



........and another thing. An English cook friend of mind told me once that in Europe, they often buy cake spatulas and sharpen one side for a brand new slicer. I've tried it, MAN O MAN.

Hmmmm...Slicer $40 vs. Cake Spat. $10...............CAKE SPAT.



Flash
 
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Joined Dec 1, 2001
Looks like a very intersting device. I am still curious about a couple of things. First, do you need to rotate the knife as it gets closer to the tip? I would think that if you don't, the edge would be uneven. Second, I already have some nice knives so there is no point for me to start to neglect them now. Does the knife get scratched when it is being sharpened? From what I can tell you are supposed to move the knife and the stone at the same time. Is this correct?
Regardless, I am going to look into it a little more, because it looks like a very precise product...as it should be for the money. Did you get the APEX?
 
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crane wassup,

better than ME tell you how the thing works, ask them to send you a videotape demo of how their gadget works. If your gonna spend a fortune, they owe you that much. IF THEY WONT, I WILL. i have a tape that came with mine that I no longer need.


That's the beauty of this thing, knives don't get SCRATCHed! Like they do on regular two (or three) sided stones. The stone in this machine only touches that part that is to be sharpened, also, it takes off the MINIMUM of metal. very cool. but again, expensive.

Yes, knife and stone move at the same time, but it is easier than you think. ask for a video. basically, you really don't need to move the knife but once (sharpen one half, then the other).

What did i get? I guess it was the APEX (it was a long time ago). I got the macine, two stones, a video, and a couple other side things like a water bottle to squirt water on your stone. I have never bought replacment stones, or parts of any kind. What I bought eight years ago I still have today in working order.
 
818
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Joined Oct 13, 2001
This is one of the reasons I use Forschner knives . High Carbon and stainless steel . You have to sharpen a little more than the tougher steels but what an edge . And knife sharpening is just basic geometry . On the rough stone a beveled edge , on the fine stone you bring that edge to a fine point . Then you keep clean on a steel until you need to repeat the process . And this knife will cut like a razor with just a couple of passes on the steel for a long time . Also the prices are pretty good . As far as a farm goes momerog I think he was implying to just basic country sense on how to keep things sharp . Of course thats just my opinion ......
 

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