Which stones or "system" for beginner to sharpen Hattori HD and Kagayaki VG-10?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by deputy, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. deputy

    deputy

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    Thanks to those who chimed in on my Katana handle thread.

    As noted in there, I've ordered the Hattori HD 240mm Gyuto and Kagayaki VG-10 150mm Petty. In terms of keeping them sharp, to put it bluntly (hardy har!),  I don't want to screw them up. I'm an absolute and complete neophyte in this field - I've never sharpened anything. Cooking is basically the extent of "working with my hands" for me. I'm no hobbyist, "toolie", or even all that handy. I'm a self-employed lawyer who loves to cook who wants good quality sharp knives and who doesn't want to screw up a relatively expensive new purchase.

    So, that being said, I'd like to try very hard to take care of these lovely new blades. I do have some older knives that I can work on first to learn the basic skills.

    My sources for stones/systems in Vancouver will probably be e-tailer order or locally at "House of Knives" where they would recommend the Shun 1000/6000 combo stone for $125 CAD...or $80 on Amazon. Elsewhere brick and mortar wise? No idea...Paul's Finest has a collection of Naniwa SS and Chosera stones, as well as Wusthof and the Edge Pro system.

    Cost-wise, it appears that the Edge Pro Apex #3 and #4 come in at between $230 - $260 CAD (jives pretty close to CKTG pricing). The stone grits are up to 1000, which Paul says is about equivalent to 3000 in the Japanese stones and then the #4 comes with additional higher grit "polish tapes" that attach to an aluminum plate, so I assume they're limited in the number of times they can be used.

    Paul also sells the Naniwa SS in a 3 pack on sale for $175 (400, 1000, 5000 with a free guide) or the Chosera in the same grits for $256 (and they also come with the guide and Nagura 600grit mud/slurry/cleaning stones...whatever those are).

    Aside from having more "control" and being more of a "purist" - is there any advantage to spending almost the same amount of money on the Naniwa stones?

    Am I less likely to ruin the Damascus look of my HD if I use the Apex? (I've read a number of comments from freehanders about scratching the Damascus, which is something that I'm a bit scared of...from an aesthetic standpoint - it's like scratching your new BMW and saying "eh, it still drives the same"). If I do use the Apex, will I be able to achieve a similar level of success with getting truly sharp blades?

    Alternatively, is it more reasonable to open it up to ordering a different (i.e. more value oriented i.e. cheaper) set of stones from CKTG or another e-tailer and going the freehand route that way? If so, based on these knives, what would you recommend?

    Note that I also intend on getting an Idahone ceramic rod (not sure which one, but I assume it should be the "fine" one) for regular maintenance.

    Finally, for perspective, I really don't mind learning how to freehand sharpen but I also don't feel like it's a driving force or something that I "need" to do as I really only have so much free time (and that's not much, if that helps put it into perspective). But I am completely willing.

    Okay, I think I gave all of the relevant information. Given the above, I'd really appreciate any thoughts anyone might have. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  2. deputy

    deputy

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    Okay, I've just ordered an additional Tojiro DP Damascus Santoku (165mm), Forschner 10" bread + 4 paring knives, and the Idahone rod.

    Given the above purchase (basically having spent nearly $500 on knives in two days), I'm leaning further towards freehanding with stones to save more than a few bucks. I'd still do the Apex if that was going to be better for me, but it is a pretty pricey route. That being said, I don't want to eff up my lovely new knives and, if that's likely, I'd rather spend the extra cash on the Apex.

    I guess it just depends on what you guys recommend for stones for my situation and the knives mentioned.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    If you aren't already a good freehand sharpener, an EP Apex will be much quicker and somewhat less stressful to learn.  In your case, for your knives, it's at least as good for your knives.  No need to worry about scratching either.  Less risk with an EP than with freehand.  I can't tell you what to choose, but from what you've written about yourself I think you'd be happier with an EP than going for months and months obsessing over learning about stones, and whether or not you made the right purchase.

    The Idahone, a 12" fine (aka "1200") was a great choice.  None better.

    If you're really worried about scratching the patterns on the faces of your knives, return the knives and get something you don't care as much about.  Knives are tools, and you should be comfortable about using them that way; and the soft stainless used to make san-mai patterns scratches.  Even if you don't scratch them in use or sharpening, someone will eventually scour them.  Or something.  It's always something.

    If you do decide to go with stones, I suggest learning to sharpen according to something I call the "burr method."  There's lots of sharpening information about a variety of different, and equally good techniques, but the burr method is the easiest for the beginner to see and feel the "metrics" of progress.  The best place to start learning is probably Chad Ward's FAQ on e-Gullet or his book, An Edge in the Kitchen.

    I keep threatening to write a pamphlet, and it looks that will actually happen sometime in the very near future.

    BDL
     
  4. deputy

    deputy

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    Thanks BDL. Your thoughts are appreciated, as you've heard before. 

    Do you have a recommendation as to which Apex kit (or beginner stones) based on these knives?

    And yes, I do realize tools get scratched - I just don't want to hurry it along. 
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    You're a Deputy DA?  I used to be one.

    Kit 3 is good enough.  If you can work out how to get it across the border without exercising too much interest from Canadian Customs, you might be interested in the EP/Chosera kit from CKtG.

    Speaking of CKtG... In the interests of disclosure, CKtG and I are discussing a commercial relationship.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  6. deputy

    deputy

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    Ah, I appreciate your "full disclosure." I've also developed a commercial relationship with CKTG in that I ordered all of those most recent knives from them, in the interests of commerce. :)

    The Chosera kit is currently sold out but I think I might just start with Kit 3 and add a variety of stones later as things progress. I will check with CKTG to see about future stock of that kit (as I believe it may just be one stone missing).

    Thanks again, very very much - your knowledge in this area is phenomenal (assuming you're not just completely full of shit and judging by the various threads here, you'd have been soundly discredited by now if that were the case). I, for one, greatly appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics on these forums. The patience that you must painfully (on occasion at least) exert in order to answer the same questions that all of us without any knowledge or real understanding of the subject demand is amazing. I know from many years on many forums that "newbie" questions can be painfully repetitive; however, we all believe that our circumstances are somehow unique and deserve individual attention. The fact that you give that attention freely is straight class. I do, partially, blame you, though. Given that your posts often request specific information in order to give specific guidance (naturally, this is required), we all feel special! In all seriousness, the time you take to devote to individual inquiries is very much appreciated. 

    I'm definitely not a Deputy DA (technically, we don't have DAs up here, but "Crown Counsel" - and I'm not one of those, either). It's a nickname from a trip t o Europe back in '03 where my tour guide kept calling me Deputy because I was always the go-to guy for an answer to questions that he didn't know. This was the net result of most of the tour participants being in the 18-23 year old range and I was of the grand age of 25 with a degree, work experience, and more than half a brain compared to the youthful and mind-numbing experience of the constantly drunk Australian teenagers that populated the majority of the bus. 
     
  7. deputy

    deputy

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    Well, I manned up and ordered the Chosera three pack from Paul's Finest. $300 after tax and shipping takes me up to...oi...$870 on knives/related in a week. Long term investment, so I'm happy.
     
  8. lennyd

    lennyd

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    I am at a loss for words lmfao.

    Welcome to the wonderful word of Japanese cutlery :D

    Seriously you made some great choices that you should really enjoy.
     
  9. deputy

    deputy

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    Hah, yeah, I'm a bit nuts, Lenny. Trying VERY hard to resist buying the Moritaka 270 Suji from Paul. He highly recommends it as a top notch suji for the price.

    http://www.paulsfinest.com/Moritaka...fe-270mm-10.6-Aogami-Blue-2-Carbon-Steel.html

    Not sure I want to deal with carbon (I know it's common sense and if I had it I'd probably just do it because I had to, but I'm not sure I want to).

    Why, oh why, am I cursed with this addictive personality?
     
  10. lennyd

    lennyd

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    I have not seen anyone post it lately but this can be a bit addictive and a dangerous hobby for those who tend to be a bit compulsive lol.

    I tried my best to resist buying anything expensive for a while, and talked myself out of that Hattori and the FH as well only to end up with a even more expensive Konosuke during a moment of weakness lmao

    Still been able to resist higher priced stones so far, but the curiosity of them may end up pushing me over the edge eventually.

    Guess you could justify the Moritaka based on how deep you in already, or wait a little so you can create a better opinion on what you like from spending some time with your current ones etc. I like and went this route and am glad I did since it lead me to the konosuke.
     
  11. deputy

    deputy

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    Yeah, I'm not in a rush, I don't use my slicer enough these days to warrant it just yet. I'd also be hard pressed to pick the Moritaka over the Hattori FH-13C (270 with cocobolo handle) from JCK because they're over the top gorgeous and a nice thin blade that I think I'd enjoy in a slicer. Regardless,no hurry!
     
  12. lennyd

    lennyd

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    I still find myself checking out various sujihiki and even comparing to a couple yanagiba etc as I think some kind of thin and short slicer may be in my future, but still a bit far enough that I will have time to figure it out (suji makes more sense but something about the chisel edge that just intrigues me).

    Got to love the FH line, and the 240 FH and also the HD you have and the 270 suji your considering were all on my wish list (only the suji remains for now) not too long ago. I still may find my way to a FH suji someday as those are very nice looking, and seemingly well regarded performers by their owners.

    Also if you like the FH series you have to take a look at the KH as they are thought to be works of art by many, but be forewarned they will literally eat your pocket as they are far from being affordable. Then again I have seen much more expensive stuff out there too so maybe they are a bargain to some :)

    Since were on the Hattori subject I almost became the owner of a nice set of five (sm and lg petty, gyuto, suji, and santoku) that were on eBay last year but someone out bid me by a hair in the end. Was too bad though as the whole lot was just a little less than the gyuto and suji from JCK. Was complaining about that one for a week lol.
     
  13. deputy

    deputy

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    That's a tough loss...damn snipers.

    Do you mean the Hattori KD? I haven't seen a KH. JCK's website isn't exactly...nicely organized...so I might have missed it.

    I'm definitely digging my HD, though...it's a beauty to operate in the kitchen, so far. I can't wait until it's REALLY sharp. 
     
  14. lennyd

    lennyd

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    My bad on the KH as it is really FH oops :)

    KD is just different to me as it seems to combine a more high tech core blade material with a more unusual damascus pattern and can be found here http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KDSeries.html
     
  15. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    I don't think Hattori makes the KD anymore, nor that anyone's still using CowryX.  If Hattori does, they're probably still filling orders from four or five years ago.  And if anyone's still using CowrX, the alloy is VERY expensive and even more chip probe and otherwise problematic; stay away.

    BDL
     
  16. deputy

    deputy

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    No worries there. I have financial priorities over $1400 knifes! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif
     
  17. lennyd

    lennyd

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    Apologies in advance to any too thin skinned etc. But your description reminded me of a high maintenance woman lol. Still beautiful even if a "little chippy " ;)

    Seriously though I think its a shame if they dropped them if they actually did as it looked to be a very unusual, well made, and elegant product.

    Do you have any idea of there are plans to update with a more appropriate core steel?
     
  18. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    "High maintenance but worth it," might not be inapt.

    As far as I know the real issue is that what made them special was that each knife was hand made by Hattori-san himself -- or at least had a significant amount of his hand labor; and that for reasons of health and age he doesn't do that kind of work anymore -- or at least darn little of it.  Also "hand made by Hattori-san" doesn't mean he did the pattern welding.  I believe Hattori bought the pattern welded jigane ready made. 

    I know three people who had KDs and all of them had issues with chipping, all loved their KDs and all moved them on regretfully to finance other knife projects.  To my mind the fact that they all three sold his is compelling.  That aside, the knives were certainly beautiful and excellent cutters.  Whether any knife is worth what a KD would cost now, as a tool, is arguable.  You can buy other knives as uber-zoot and just as beautiful as a KD if you have the desire and the credit.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  19. lennyd

    lennyd

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    I understand your points, and all make good sense.

    What I really think made them just that little bit more special than some of the many other "knives as uber-zoot and just as beautiful as a KD"   was just like you said "each knife was hand made by Hattori-san himself".

    Plus there is no way of knowing just how long that will even be possible though I wish for him to continue for a long time etc.
     
  20. deputy

    deputy

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    What a great day! Naniwa Chosera stones (400, 1000, 5000) all showed up today. Have to get working on some old knives (as soon as I finish marking these stupid exams....) to see how things can go.

    I wonder how sharp I can make a Farberware 5" santoku...