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"An Edge in the Kitchen"

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I have a question now that I'm getting more into the various practices and such. When steeling, I had always heard that you were supposed to pull backwards from the blade, but your instructions very clearly say to run it blade side down the steel. Is there a reason to do either way?


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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Hi Chad,

I really love your book and am thrilled to have such a substantial void in my food book library and culinary knowledge filled. Thank you!

I am getting ready to do some sharpening and am wondering if you have any thoughts or experience with the Wicked Edge system. It seems pretty decent but I'm worried that the lowest angle you can set to using it is 15 degrees. Given what I read in your book, I'm worried that 15 degrees will be fine in the short term but that once I become more experienced, I'll want even finer edges and that this system will not accomodate that.

On the plus side, the system looks remarkably easy to use (at least from viewing the demo videos).

Thoughts?

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I have a question now that I'm getting more into the various practices and such.  When steeling, I had always heard that you were supposed to pull backwards from the blade, but your instructions very clearly say to run it blade side down the steel.  Is there a reason to do either way?

You can do it either way. I have better luck with the edge going into the steel. I find that it is easier to find and hold the correct angle that way.

Good luck!

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Hi Chad,

I really love your book and am thrilled to have such a substantial void in my food book library and culinary knowledge filled.  Thank you!

I am getting ready to do some sharpening and am wondering if you have any thoughts or experience with the Wicked Edge system.  It seems pretty decent but I'm worried that the lowest angle you can set to using it is 15 degrees.  Given what I read in your book, I'm worried that 15 degrees will be fine in the short term but that once I become more experienced, I'll want even finer edges and that this system will not accomodate that.

On the plus side, the system looks remarkably easy to use (at least from viewing the demo videos).

Thoughts?

=R=

Hi, Ronnie. Thanks for the kind words!. I'm not familiar with that system. It looks like somebody tried to combine a NordicTrack with a sharpening jig. Personally I'd find something like that extremely limiting. As you note, 15 degrees is as low as it will go, and I frequently set bevels and back bevels lower than that. The fixed jig also limits how you sharpen near the tip, where it is sometimes necessary to make adjustments to keep the bevel uniform. The other limitation is the grit range of the stones. The finest is only 1000 grit, which isn't bad for utility edges but not as fine as I'd like for kitchen use. I frequently take my edges up to 8,000 grit, sometimes to 10,000 or 16,000 if I'm feeling sporty. Admittedly, that's up in the fanatic range, but I like having the option.

Hope this helps.

Take care,

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Hi Chad,

I really love your book and am thrilled to have such a substantial void in my food book library and culinary knowledge filled.  Thank you!

I am getting ready to do some sharpening and am wondering if you have any thoughts or experience with the Wicked Edge system.  It seems pretty decent but I'm worried that the lowest angle you can set to using it is 15 degrees.  Given what I read in your book, I'm worried that 15 degrees will be fine in the short term but that once I become more experienced, I'll want even finer edges and that this system will not accomodate that.

On the plus side, the system looks remarkably easy to use (at least from viewing the demo videos).

Thoughts?

=R=

Hi, Ronnie. Thanks for the kind words!. I'm not familiar with that system. It looks like somebody tried to combine a NordicTrack with a sharpening jig. Personally I'd find something like that extremely limiting. As you note, 15 degrees is as low as it will go, and I frequently set bevels and back bevels lower than that. The fixed jig also limits how you sharpen near the tip, where it is sometimes necessary to make adjustments to keep the bevel uniform. The other limitation is the grit range of the stones. The finest is only 1000 grit, which isn't bad for utility edges but not as fine as I'd like for kitchen use. I frequently take my edges up to 8,000 grit, sometimes to 10,000 or 16,000 if I'm feeling sporty. Admittedly, that's up in the fanatic range, but I like having the option.

Hope this helps.

Take care,

Chad

Thanks, Chad, for the information and for confirming some of the initial thoughts I had about his system -- thoughts I couldn't have even mustered, if not for reading your book. :smile:

Looks like a Sypderco or Edge Pro Apex for me.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I say this with some embarrassment: I use a Chef's Choice 120, using the final strop only for my Watanable gyuto, and the others for my collection of Wusthof knives. The sharpener sits there on my kitchen counter which makes it a cinch to use. It's probably less than perfect, but the idea of assembling and mastering an Apex just does not appeal. Could sharpening to the finest most lethal edge be primarily a guy thing?

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What are your thoughts on a belt sander with 1200 grit paper? Many years ago I toured a Knife manufacturer and the edge was put on by skilled workers and a fancy belt sander. I soon after started experimenting with that method and I still put my edge on with the belt sander and fine tune with stones and a steel

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What are your thoughts on a belt sander with 1200 grit paper? Many years ago I toured a Knife manufacturer and the edge was put on by skilled workers and a fancy belt sander. I soon after started experimenting with that method and I still put my edge on with the belt sander and fine tune with stones and a steel

There are quite a few sharpeners doing business with belt grinders. You can even get leather belts for stropping.

I do not know why you would need to go to the stones. I would either do one or the other.

Here is a great thread about sharpening with belt grinders:

Jerry Hossom on sharpening

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What are your thoughts on a belt sander with 1200 grit paper? Many years ago I toured a Knife manufacturer and the edge was put on by skilled workers and a fancy belt sander. I soon after started experimenting with that method and I still put my edge on with the belt sander and fine tune with stones and a steel

There are quite a few sharpeners doing business with belt grinders. You can even get leather belts for stropping.

I do not know why you would need to go to the stones. I would either do one or the other.

Here is a great thread about sharpening with belt grinders:

Jerry Hossom on sharpening

Thanks, H2O. I was just about to reference that discussion. Sareed, if you can do it, have at it! A belt sander with fine belts is a quick way to get your knives in shape. And to answer H2O's question, you can set an edge -- especially if you are repairing a damaged knife -- very quickly with a belt sander. However, if you want a little more refinement and control, finishing on waterstones is the way to go. A couple of pro sharpeners I know do that very thing.

Lee Valley Tools has some great sharpening belts for small sanders. I have a cheap 1x30" from Harbor Freight that I'll occasionally use to fix bad nicks or chips. I've never fully mastered the technique however, so I limit my use of the belt sander for repairs, rounding spines and heels, and power stropping with a leather belt loaded with CrO2. I've often wondered if my failure to get the hang of belt sharpening has as much to do with the cheap sander. Not only is the speed a lot higher than it should be for sharpening, but the belt jitters wildly. I might get a better platen and try it again.

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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Thanks, H2O. I was just about to reference that discussion. Sareed, if you can do it, have at it! A belt sander with fine belts is a quick way to get your knives in shape. And to answer H2O's question, you can set an edge -- especially if you are repairing a damaged knife -- very quickly with a belt sander. However, if you want a little more refinement and control, finishing on waterstones is the way to go. A couple of pro sharpeners I know do that very thing.

Lee Valley Tools has some great sharpening belts for small sanders. I have a cheap 1x30" from Harbor Freight that I'll occasionally use to fix bad nicks or chips. I've never fully mastered the technique however, so I limit my use of the belt sander for repairs, rounding spines and heels, and power stropping with a leather belt loaded with CrO2. I've often wondered if my failure to get the hang of belt sharpening has as much to do with the cheap sander. Not only is the speed a lot higher than it should be for sharpening, but the belt jitters wildly. I might get a better platen and try it again.

Chad

Do you keep any type of coolant handy for dunking the blade while using the sander?

It seems like the right tool for relieving bolsters.

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Do you keep any type of coolant handy for dunking the blade while using the sander?

It seems like the right tool for relieving bolsters.

I do. I keep a lexan full of water next to the sander. It's deep enough to dunk all but the longest blades between passes.

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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The second of my (very) low budget knife skills videos is up:

The Onion Cheat is a great way to dice onions if you're spooked by cutting toward your guide hand in the standard method.

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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chad,

I have a low end 1x30 sander but I also bought the variable speed control from harbor freight to slow the rpms. I think i paid 15.00 for the speed control

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I am enjoying your explanations Chad keep up the good work.

Is your book available in Australia?

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Chad,

I finished your book last week. A very entertaining and useful read.

I have always been a "sharpness fanatic". I suppose it started with a part time job I had in high school which consisted of sharpening the knives for a small local slaughterhouse. Much of the sharpening I have always done has been by hand.

Most of my cooking knives are Forschner brand. They are a little harder and thinner than most of the previous knives I have used.

After reading your book, I purchased an Edge Pro. It was intuitive to learn to use. I quickly was able to put much superior edges on my knives than I was able to do by hand.

I purchased the scissors sharpening attachment and was able to dramatically improve my kitchen and poultry shears. They are better than new.

This a little off topic. How would one sharpen pinking shears?

Again, thanks for a great book.

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Chad I was cutting a yukon gold with my japanese knife, a Fujiwara Kanefusa 240mm Gyuto that I bought off of japanesechefsknife.com ($108.00) and it simply snapped in to two pieces on me.

gallery_55239_5394_2128.jpg

Any idea how this could happen? I had the tip of the knife on the cutting board and was pushing thru the potato by applying pressure to the handle.

They immediately shipped a replacement by the way. I'm waiting for it to arrive but do not wish to repeat the process.


Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.

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Chad I was cutting a yukon gold with my japanese knife, a Fujiwara Kanefusa 240mm Gyuto that I bought off of japanesechefsknife.com ($108.00) and it simply snapped in to two pieces on me.

gallery_55239_5394_2128.jpg

Any idea how this could happen? I had the tip of the knife on the cutting board and was pushing thru the potato by applying pressure to the handle.

They immediately shipped a replacement by the way. I'm waiting for it to arrive but do not wish to repeat the process.

Wow. That's impressive. Still trying to wrap my mind around how that could happen cutting a potato.


Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Chad I was cutting a yukon gold with my japanese knife, a Fujiwara Kanefusa 240mm Gyuto that I bought off of japanesechefsknife.com ($108.00) and it simply snapped in to two pieces on me.

gallery_55239_5394_2128.jpg

Any idea how this could happen? I had the tip of the knife on the cutting board and was pushing thru the potato by applying pressure to the handle.

They immediately shipped a replacement by the way. I'm waiting for it to arrive but do not wish to repeat the process.

Wow. I've never seen anything quite like that. The only cause I can imagine is stress fracturing due to improper (or non existent) tempering after heat treatment. A freshly heat treated blade is under enormous internal strain. Tempering relieves some of that while maintaining a good level of hardness. If a blade missed the tempering step it might crack exactly like yours. I wouldn't worry too much about it happening again. That's an anomaly. Good to see Koki took care of it immediately. That's one of the advantages of shopping with JapaneseChefsKnife.com.

Take care,

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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I am enjoying your explanations Chad keep up the good work.

Is your book available in Australia?

I bought it on Amazon but have seen it since at the Essential Ingredient in Crow's Nest so it must be here.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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Chad I was cutting a yukon gold with my japanese knife, a Fujiwara Kanefusa 240mm Gyuto that I bought off of japanesechefsknife.com ($108.00) and it simply snapped in to two pieces on me.

gallery_55239_5394_2128.jpg

Any idea how this could happen? I had the tip of the knife on the cutting board and was pushing thru the potato by applying pressure to the handle.

They immediately shipped a replacement by the way. I'm waiting for it to arrive but do not wish to repeat the process.

Wow. I've never seen anything quite like that. The only cause I can imagine is stress fracturing due to improper (or non existent) tempering after heat treatment. A freshly heat treated blade is under enormous internal strain. Tempering relieves some of that while maintaining a good level of hardness. If a blade missed the tempering step it might crack exactly like yours. I wouldn't worry too much about it happening again. That's an anomaly. Good to see Koki took care of it immediately. That's one of the advantages of shopping with JapaneseChefsKnife.com.

Take care,

Chad

So you woud consider this an anamoly and not to worry too much about the replacement? I am sending the broken knife back so the manufacturer can investigate it.


Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.

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Chad I was cutting a yukon gold with my japanese knife, a Fujiwara Kanefusa 240mm Gyuto that I bought off of japanesechefsknife.com ($108.00) and it simply snapped in to two pieces on me.

gallery_55239_5394_2128.jpg

Any idea how this could happen? I had the tip of the knife on the cutting board and was pushing thru the potato by applying pressure to the handle.

They immediately shipped a replacement by the way. I'm waiting for it to arrive but do not wish to repeat the process.

I am relatively new to Egullet, but I have 17 years experience in the knife world. I would not claim to be an expert but I have seen similar things before.

Does the blade have any discoloration in the metal that is exposed by the break (the inside)?

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I've never heard of a knife snapping mid-potato, but there's been a lot of chatter lately about terrible quality control from Fujiwara. Someone in another forum complained about a new gyuto with a bent tip ... the temper of the metal was softe enough that he could bend it back with his fingers.

This all seems to be new. Not too long ago everything I heard about Fujiwara was positive.

Edited to add:

I just took a closer look at the photo. I've never seen a knife snap like that (practically at its thickest point) under any circumstances. Truly amazing. Looks like someone cut your sword in two with theirs, in a low budget kung fu movie.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

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I've never heard of a knife snapping mid-potato, but there's been a lot of chatter lately about terrible quality control from Fujiwara. Someone in another forum complained about a new gyuto with a bent tip ... the temper of the metal was softe enough that he could bend it back with his fingers.

This all seems to be new. Not too long ago everything I heard about Fujiwara was positive.

Edited to add:

I just took a closer look at the photo. I've never seen a knife snap like that (practically at its thickest point) under any circumstances. Truly amazing. Looks like someone cut your sword in two with theirs, in a low budget kung fu movie.

I took a macro shot of the break.

gallery_55239_5394_45668.jpg


Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.

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It's hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like there may be some discoloration on the back of the knife. This would indicate a small fracture, possibly caused by overheating whilst grinding the back. This would cause the knife to fail in the event of any sideways force. Cutting a potato is tough and if the cut goes off course and pressure is applied at a slight angle, that could do it. Just my view based on the assumptions I made about the color.

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Chad,

Do you have any thoughts on Warthogs V-Sharp system?

Tim

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