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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Chad

  1. Mmmm, must be David Boye's dendtritic 440c -- very, very nice knives. Chad
  2. I don't have any experience with ceramic knives myself. That's why I hesitated to include them. But Cliff Stamp has done extensive testing with a Kyocera OK-45 and includes some insights and sharpening information HERE. Chad
  3. I use mine dry all the time - seems to work okay, and avoids the abrasive slurry mess. It's something I've always meant to ask Ben Dale (Mr. Edge Pro) about, but haven't ever done. When I'm done sharpening, I clean the stones with a paste of Bon Ami and water, then rinse and dry them. I'd also be interested in Chad's opinion when he takes his next break from brochure writing. The EdgePro stones are specifically designed to be used wet. They are artificial waterstones, but not Japanese waterstones (natural or reconstituted). I don't think it would hurt them any to use them dry, but they won't cut nearly as well. Using them wet can be a little messy. If you watch the EdgePro video, Ben Dale uses a squirt bottle to hose down his stones every couple of strokes. He ends up with quite a puddle on his table. My wife would kill me. I set the EdgePro up on the counter just to the right of the sink -- as close as I can get. That way the stone arm can hang down and over the sink while I wet down the stones. All the slurry and runoff just goes into the sink (where the other stones I'm going to use are soaking). And instead of using a ketchup-style squirt bottle, I use a heavy duty spray bottle/plant mister set to the tightest stream. Every other pass with the stones (and there are several strokes per pass before you change sides) I use the spray bottle. The high-pressure stream blasts the built-up grit and metal out of the stone without making too much of a mess. The other thing to watch out for with the EdgePro is the buildup of grit and slurry on the blade table. I don't worry about it too much; my knives are tools. But if you value the aesthetics of your knife or have a particularly nice or collectable knife, you'll want to use painter's tape on the blade. Otherwise it can get a fine pattern of scratches from being dragged across the blade table. Chad Edited for grammer
  4. I'll see if I can find anything suitable. Slkinsey is right, there are so many systems that it would be very impractical if not impossible to demonstrate them all adequately. Razor Edge, EdgePro and Spyderco all produce videos that demonstrate the use of their systems. The Razor Edge video is probably a pretty good guide to sharpening freehand as well. I do recall seeing some decent diagrams -- maybe a video clip -- that demonstrated freehand technique. I'll see if I can dredge it up. The actual stroke used is significantly less important than following the Burr, Angle, Abrasive, Consistency and Strategy guidelines. It becomes more important as you progress to the finer stones to grind off your burr, but if you go slowly, keep your angle consistent and swipe gently from heel to tip (or tip to heel, however you are comfortable), you should be okay. Argh, I'm popping in and out because I'm on deadline for a dermatology brochure. Anybody want to know the fascinating science behind laser hair removal? Chad
  5. It's heeeeere. The Sum Total of all Knife Knowledge as REVEALED in a prophetic vision. Chad
  6. Yup, they can be fixed. Bent tips are a problem. As you noted, they can come from hard contact with a pit or cutting board but most often happen when the knife is dropped cavalierly into the sink. Don't ask me how I know this . I've restored bent tips with a fine ceramic rod used as a file. The Spyderco stones work well for this, but just about any ceramic will do. Lay the knife on the cutting board with the bent tip pointing up. Hold the knife firmly into place and stroke the rod over the bent section to push it back into place and remove any weakened metal. You can also do this in a vise, if you have one. You may have to use a little force, but it's better than the usual solution of regrinding the tip. A severely bent tip may take 10-15 minutes or so to push back into place. Then sharpen as usual. Chad
  7. Now that is just cool. That's what the whole eGCI is about. Teaching people to do stuff they might have been afraid to try before. Good luck! Take your time, study the tutorial and don't be afraid to ask questions. Like everything else, sharpening takes practice. Start with a cheap knife just to get the feel for the process. You know, that slicer you bought at the grocery store long, long ago and haven't thrown out yet? Sacrifice that one first . Chad
  8. Another cautionary note. Don't do anything else with a knife in your hand. Put it down, do whatever you need to do, then pick it up again. Answering the phone with a chef's knife in your hand is a very bad idea . Another excellent point Zilla made in the safety section is to never let your knife edge or tip hang off the end of your cutting board. Just last week I was mincing some garlic. I put the knife down to sweep away some of the trimmings and paper when I felt this all-to-familiar burning sensation. The side of my pinky had swiped across the edge as I was sweeping up the garlic. The edge of the knife was parallel -- and just over -- the edge of the board. Nasty. Blood everywhere. It looked like that old Saturday Night Live Julia Child skit where she cuts her finger off. "Don't forget to save the chicken livers!" Chad
  9. Oh, and can you sharpen a boning knife on a stone? Absolutely. It is a little more difficult than sharpening a non-flexible knife. Boning knives and filet knives require more pressure on the stone. You actually flex the knife into the proper sharpening angle on the stone. This requires a lot of practice on a benchstone. It's a little easier on a v-sharpener because even with the blade flex you can see when the blade is perpendicular to the stone face. On an EdgePro system the blade flex is not an issue because the blade is supported by the blade table. You just sharpen as usual. Chad
  10. Jeez, I was hoping for a softball first question, and you hit me with the bolster problem? Give a guy a break . Yes, there are tricky places to take into account when sharpening a chef's knife. There is the belly area where the edge sweeps upward to the tip and the area just in front of the bolster. The belly is more pronounced on German chef's knives than on French chef's knives. Keeping the angle steady through the belly involves lifting the handle of the knife slightly as you stroke across the stone. It seems counterintuitive, at least to me, but because the knife is narrower at the tip than at the heel, you have to raise the handle a little to compensate. If you're using a v-sharpener (like the Spyderco), you tilt the knife a little downward as you stroke through the belly to the tip. Forged knives with heavy bolsters will almost always develop a hollow spot in front of the heel. This is a result of the blade shape and the bolster thickness. The thicker metal of the bolster lifts the knife slightly off the stone (or the stone off the knife, depending on your system) so the stone cuts farther back into the edge. There are two solutions that I know of. If anyone else has a better method, please chime in. 1) File off part of the bolster or have it professionally ground off. Man, it pains me to say that. Especially after spending all that time to convince everyone that professional sharpening isn't necessary. However, most professional sharpeners regularly thin bolsters to fix this very problem. This is an easy job for them. 2) Sharpen down to the heel, but don't take the area just in front of the bolster all the way to a burr. This will prolong the life of that section of the knife. You can leave that area a little coarse (see the "dual ground edge" paragraph in the Sharpening Strategy section for reasons that this might be a good thing) and a little thick. This will keep the hollow from forming for quite a while. The heel of your knife will still be fine for chopping. Chad
  11. First things first. I need to thank slkinsey and the other coordinators. My section turned out to be much larger than I'd intended -- nearly 15,000 words. That, in an of itself, wouldn't be a bad thing, but I was late, late, late with the article. I was still typing madly yesterday morning, awaiting e-mails from Japan, Oregon, Newfoundland and other far-flung spots that would add additional information. As a consequence the coordinating team had to scramble like mad to get the tutorial formatted and up by this morning. I'm sure there was a lot of coffee involved. I really appreciate it, folks. Thank you. Chad
  12. Zilla, again, spectacular job. I have a question that's been bugging me for a while. How much trim should we lose to get nice cuts? I try to get even, sqaured off juliennes, batonnets, dices, et. al., but I can't stand to carve away big chunks of a carrot or other veggie just so my sides stay square. Your cuts look great -- the kind I've always wanted to achieve. Did you have to throw away a lot of food, or am I missing a tip/trick/technique that allows you to trim a little for flat edges then use the rest? Thanks! Chad
  13. Not to highjack Zilla's thread, but Bruce, I'd be more than happy if you were to pop in on tomorrow's sharpening lesson and Q&A. I've got some familiarity with Japanese knives, but somebody with your experience could be an invaluable part of the discussion. Chad
  14. Personally, I love my knife-callus. Badge of honor, and all. But when you first begin to really use a knife for hours at a time, it can be pretty painful. I'm picturing a tiny, velvet pillow with gold tassels glued to the spine of the knife...we'll have to wait and see if I'm guessing right. Heh. Yup, and I'm trying to work a cross-promotional marketing deal with a Chinese pillow maker, so really talk this up! Celebrity endorsements ("BAM! Ouch! My hands really used to bother me until I got my ComfyKnife knife pillow . . ."), Food TV placements, the works. Chad
  15. Whoa! Nice job, Zilla! Very well presented. You've set the bar pretty high. Hope mine measures up. BTW, you're going to be really pissed when you get to the steeling section tomorrow . On deck, Chad
  16. Well, of course. It's worth it if only for my devastating charm and wit . Chad
  17. Marie-Louise, if it works for you, go for it. I'll readily admit, I'm a sharpening whacko. I have zen-like moments while sharpening my knives. It is a form of relaxation. I sometimes wonder if I abuse my knives just so I can resharpen them. The Chef's Choice 110 is absolutely the best of the electric sharpeners. Not only does it not remove excessive amounts of metal it has, as you've discovered, a provision for a back bevel (sometimes called a relief angle). The problem with most sharpeners, especially electric ones, is that they don't take into account the increasing width of the blade as you sharpen up the taper. Think about it for a moment. Your knives are flat ground, meaning that they taper at an angle from the spine to the edge. If you simply keep removing metal from the edge, you keep creating a thicker and thicker edge as you grind away the knife. There will be a diagram in the tutorial on Wednesday that makes this a lot easier to picture, but that's the general idea. The Chef's Choice is really the only model that takes that into account and has a back bevel provision. Chad
  18. In baconus veritas In bacon there is truth. Chad
  19. Wait! Wait! Before you buy it, take a look at the Magnum Pepper Mill. I have the smaller Magnum (rather than the Magnum Plus), but the thing is amazing. Even my smaller one will hold nearly a full jar of peppercorns, the grind is adjustable (except for very fine, which it doesn't do well), is easy to load and cranks out more pepper in a quarter turn than four turns of my crappy wooden one. Very cool. Chad
  20. I think I saw that movie. Oh . . . never mind. Chad
  21. Oooh, oooh, another one: Celebrity endorsements gone awry. Describe the pairing of a food-related item with a hideously inappropriate celebrity spokesperson. If you'd like, include a snippet of the commercial/infomercial with the celebrity pitching the item . . . "Hi, I'm Jeffrey Dahmer for A-1 Steak Sauce" or Anthony Hopkins pitching "a nice Chianti." How 'bout Divine Brown for no-smear, flavored lipsticks? For those who don't recall, Divine Brown was the hooker caught in flagrente with Hugh Grant. When I saw the photo, I thought Flip Wilson had returned from the dead. This has possibilities. Chad
  22. Well, there are separate forums (fora?). The writing assignments are posted and described in one, the submissions are posted in the other ("Smackdown Entries," where you are now). In this case, our writing assignment is to come up with the next writing assignment, so you don't want to submit an entry for any of the proposed subjects just yet. But if you have an idea for a cool food-related writing assignment, post away. Chad
  23. Hmmm, topics: Describe your significant other or a co-worker like you were writing a wine review. "He's a busy little clerk, precocious but never forward. Fruity, yet flaccid . . . " Write a restaurant review as though it were a letter to Penthouse Forum. "I never thought I'd be writing to you, but this experience was so amazing I had to send it in . . . . turgid meat . . . dripping juices . . . ripe and succulent . . . etc." You get the idea. Write a sonnet to a vegetable. Remember, 15 lines of unrhymed iamic pentameter. Try your hand at a food related haiku. We should probably just go ahead and give this one to Jinmyo . Describe your worst restaurant experience. Extra points if there's fire, something blows up or there's a bathroom involved. What's the most disgusting thing you've ever eaten? Describe it. Write a commercial to sell dog/cat food as though your pets could understand it and were the actual purchasers. Dog 1: "Hey, is that a chunk of gerbil in there?" Dog 2: Yep, AND bits of dead fish!" Describe a food item as though it were in the J.Peterman catalog. Create a new, food-related Olympic event. Pie tossing? Celery javelin? Frying bacon naked? I can hear Jim McKay now, "Look at the height on that soufle. I think he's got the record!" (BTW, I tried to get Speed Smoking included as a demonstration sport last time, but they ignored me. I think that standing outside when it's 10 below, wearing thin dress slacks with snow soaking through the leather soles of your shoes while you try to Speed Smoke a cigarette would qualify.) That's all for now. Chad
  24. Hmm, the 500(& something) watt, 6qt Professional model can be had for $300-$350 if you look hard enough. Dunno what you're planning on making, but I don't see a mid-line stand mixer between the KitchenAid and the 10-20qt restaurant models. Looks like a niche that needs filling. For what it's worth, I have an old 4-1/2qt, 250 watt KitchenAid, and unless I'm making a double batch of sticky pizza dough, it rarely bogs down. Not that I wouldn't want the 500 watt model. And not that I'm making restaurant quantieties of dough. But they're hard to stop. Trust me, I've tried . Chad
  25. Okay, heartfelt disclaimers about the pall fast food chains have cast upon the land (no really, those fries under the seat are from my kids! ) . . . But in keeping with the spirit of the game: [*]Arby's curly fries (or Chik-fil-A waffle fries) [*]Chik-fil-a original chicken sandwich (Wendy's spicy chicken 2nd) [*]Bojangles biscuits (I'll have to try Popeyes -- I haven't seen a Bojangles in 15 years) [*]Breakfast sandwich from Spangles, a local chain in Wichita (the usual breakfast bacon, egg, cheese combo but on a toasted sourdough bun that looks like a giant English muffin) [*]Captain D's pecan pie Chad
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