There is an interaction between stone grit and blade angle. It's not one or the other in terms of importance per se. But in general I see the same as Atax where smaller angle seems sharper than finely honed bigger angle.
Atatax, since I started doing more aggressive work on the board I have taken some to Benuser's advice and strop on a fine stone, essentially removing the damaged edge instead of just straightening it, though still use the rod for convenience as the waterstone I use for this is not a spalsh'n go and doesn't take well to working dry.
In your case you might consider trying a diamond loaded strop. They are light and won't break, Just keep it in a plastic bag, and you can select just the grit that suites you best. US Products sells diamond slurry fairly cheap, but might want to to let it settle and siphon off some of the water as it is a bit more dilute than other products you'll pay many times the price for. That just for no other reason than having your strop dry faster.
Well Alan, I wish I could say I was closer, I think we'd have a wonderful evening and lively discussion. Alas, IE in the moniker refers to the Inland Empire area east of Los Angeles. While my co-worker is from Boston, I don't get out there very often but the invitation is open if you're ever on the this left coast. My daughter is in York, PA, perhaps a side tripe next time I'm out that way.
So Brian, that makes you the next candidate for instructor. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
As for the question of how sharp do I need something the answer there is a definite yes. For me, cooking is a new hobby and a skill I wish to acquire and grow. When I was married, I was the prep and really not involved with meal generation beyond chopping stuff up. My ex was pretty adamant that she was doing the cooking and that chopping and dishes were my realm. For the last 10-15 years, I've been making my own meals and learning about ingredients; what goes together and building on my meager skills. Most of this has been in terms of being able to feed myself and I've been making things from recipes but no real creativity, just replicating other's ideas. The past few years however I feel comfortable that I can actually throw a few dishes together and have it come out edible. I'm cooking more for family and friends, dinner parties for 6-8 and feel I have to get beyond the basics - I want to get beyond the basics. My knife skills still need work, nowhere near the "machine gun" speeds you refer to, but I now have the need for finely sliced onions and garlic, not just diced and minced, and being able to work with larger amounts of ingredients and dispatch them quickly is becoming more of a need. Cooking for one can be pretty simple and quick and even a dull knife will result in a nutritious albeit ugly meal. I now want to work with textures, presentation and a better blended result for what I put on the table. I'm making my first pastrami this weekend and thinking about what else to do with it and accompany it.
And yes, reds are my passion although there's something perfect about a crisp sauvignon blanc during prep. Cabernet, Syrah and some interesting Italian varietals like Teroldego, Mourvedre and Nebbiolo. I've been collecting for about 15 years now and have quite a selection. My girlfriend asks why I stay on these clubs and continue to buy. My answer is that I have to have enough so that when I retire and can't afford to buy great wines anymore, I'll have enough to last me.
So we're quite off topic but I appreciate the discussion and your questions are quite valid. The answers truly are more than because I want it.
IEtinker, I've been busy with some technical writing, and that typically keeps me away from here in large part when it happens. I am involved in autism remediation, and the only reason I bring that up is what I always find myself saying to professionals in the field as well as lay persons is that remediation work here is not rocket science. Principles and concepts can both be explained in simple language and applied by anyone of ordinary intelligence. Of course a lot of professionals do not like to hear that., let alone have their prospective clients hear that. Nor do they like to hear that they are completely ignorant of essential concepts and principles. But fact is they always are. The soft sciences are so terribly immature.
Anyway the same lack of being rocket science goes for knife sharpening. To borrow a line from another member here, "We work in kitchens, it's not rocket sugery."
Here is a video of Jon performing what is perhaps the most critical task in sharpening, effectively eliminating the burr, at least that's the way I look at it because the process as it seems for me is a short down hill stropping run from here.
Watch this, watch his other videos. You will then have all the instruction you need because, as said, its basic kitchen work, not rocket surgery.
I'd add one thing as I don't know if Jon actually mentions it, but to hold a consistent angle you will keep a thumb, and/or a finger or two, near the edge of the blade, this widens your base of support and better control naturally follows.
I went on a port kick a few years ago and now have these and other dessert wines coming out the wazoo. LOL There are a lot of late harvest zinfandels that are just delicious and one of my favorites, Dulce from Far Niente.
I have some late 80s ports I've been sitting on a whole bunch from my 10 year ago binge; some vintage, other's not. And there's other stuff like tawney that doesn't age but won't go bad either. Let us know how the 2011 turns out.
BTW, I'm off tomorrow to vacation with the kids at a lake in MO next week. Already shipped out 1/2 case of assorted to keep us in wine on the water. I'll most likely be incommunicado for a bit.
Well, it's been years since I chimed in and at that time I was asking much the same, questions about good knives and sharpening. I bought a few stones and got to the point of at least getting knives passable sharp including a reasonable Henckles but never as sharp as they should be. I couldn't ever bring myself to spend more money on good knives if I couldn't already sharpen the ones I had to an acceptable level so I muddled on.
A few months back I bought the Wusthof branded version of the Chef's Choice 3 stage knife sharpener with some reluctance as I already had a much older Chef's Choice that I had never been happy with. What sold me on giving it a try was the different angle, it use the Wusthof PETech 14 deg angle and boy what a revelation. Now, I'm not using this on super quality Asian knives so I can't comment on how they might fare but even on the worst of my old knives (and we are talking a couple of Woolworth Quality knives if anyone remembers the old nickle and dime store) it brought them to tomato slicing sharp, albeit in some cases with a pass or two of the steel before use.
The Henckles, by my standards got closer to wicked sharp, as in I'm not testing this on arm hair because I don't want to filet myself sharp. Since I did get something of a resolution to my original question, I thought I'd throw in my review and add a thanks to boar_d_laze and other folks kind enough to respond to my original posts.