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Q&A -- Knife Maintenance and Sharpening


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According to my DIN standards book it means the composition by weight is 0.5% carbon, 1% max silicon, 1% max manganese, 14.5% chrome, 0.65% molybdenum and 0.15% vanadium.

In other words it's a Euro name for what the rest of the world knows as 440A, a very common stainless cutlery material. IMHO heat treatments are a lot more critical than the material used (unless of course they use something really awful).

Thank you for this information. My knives are the "V Sabatier" range from Richard Sheffield.

Perhaps I should contact them to find out what their RC rating for these knives is. I am a final year university student and got these knives at a very good price, I think they will serve me well for the time being. I do want to go to culinary school, and the culinary schools I have looked at provide a set of knives as part of the tuition price. However, I have a feeling that these knives may be better than the ones they provide.

I don't think I will buy another set until I graduate from culinary school. Perhaps a set of Tojiro Senkou knives, but my dream knives may well be the Hattori KD Series, even with the 2 year waiting list, I'm sure they are worth waiting for.

Please take a look at the Hattori knives and tell me your opinions, I would be really glad to receive your input!

Cheers!

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I might as well turn in my Official eGullet Knife Nut Club badge right now because I have no experience with either Hattori or V Sabatier. I do know both of them are well regarded in their own categories. The high-end Hattoris in particular seem to be practically venerated by their owners.

If I had any advice to give it would be not to focus overmuch on brand names and specs and get a knife that really suits you. IMHO you can get a perfectly functional chef's for under $50, and an excellent one that also looks nice for under $100. Spending more than that will only get you relatively marginal performance gains and/or the prestige of owning a premium product (both of which I'm chronically guilty of, btw. I like nice things). I own much "better" knives but the ones I reach for 4 times out of 5 are a gyuto of unknown provenance (I can't read kanji) that is very similar or the same as the ones sold under the Gekko brand in USA and a baby chef's from Shun's Alton's Angles line.

The other piece of advice is to get that EdgePro and master it. Better a sharp dollar store knife than the latest four-figure wunderstahl gyuto if it's not sharp.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I might as well turn in my Official eGullet Knife Nut Club badge right now because I have no experience with either Hattori or V Sabatier. I do know both of them are well regarded in their own categories. The high-end Hattoris in particular seem to be practically venerated by their owners.

If I had any advice to give it would be not to focus overmuch on brand names and specs and get a knife that really suits you. IMHO you can get a perfectly functional chef's for under $50, and an excellent one that also looks nice for under $100. Spending more than that will only get you relatively marginal performance gains and/or the prestige of owning a premium product (both of which I'm chronically guilty of, btw. I like nice things). I own much "better" knives but the ones I reach for 4 times out of 5 are a gyuto of unknown provenance (I can't read kanji) that is very similar or the same as the ones sold under the Gekko brand in USA and a baby chef's from Shun's Alton's Angles line.

The other piece of advice is to get that EdgePro and master it. Better a sharp dollar store knife than the latest four-figure wunderstahl gyuto if it's not sharp.

I agree with you. I got my V Sabatier knives all for £10-20 each, which I think is a very good price. I tend to mainly use the 20cm chef's knife, boning knife, bread knife, and paring knives most of the time, but they all do eventually get used from time to time. They are probably higher quality, and a similar price or even cheaper than the ones provided at the culinary school.

I am definitely going to get the EdgePro. Do you think the 15/20 compound bevel is the best way to go for these French-style knives? Or could I go even steeper?

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I really love the look of the damascus steel blades with the hammered texture like your Gekko knife. Do you find that the hammered effect allows food to release much easier?

Shun Premier knives feature a similar design. How would you think Shun compares to Gekko, or other handmade knives featuring the damascus and hammered texture?

Furthermore, have you heard about Tojiro Senkou knives? I am not sure if they are that well known in USA. They seem to be quite good quality, 63 layers of damascus steel, and linen micarta handles. All I know is that they are Heston Blumenthal's knives of choice, and I've seen him use them in every show he has been in.

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I really love the look of the damascus steel blades with the hammered texture like your Gekko knife. Do you find that the hammered effect allows food to release much easier?

I'd like to think that it does, indeed, offer better release, but... no. :hmmm:

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I haven't handled the Shun Premier line but I do own some from another line. What you have to understand is that the Shuns are not comparable to most other gyutos - they're thicker and have a German-style full belly. If anything I'd say they're a compromise between contemporary Western and Japanese design. I'm 99.9% sure that my current workhorse gyuto is just a Gekko sold under another name. I really like how it handles and it has the right look, however fit and finish aren't perfect and it's not as skinny and fast as some other gyutos.

I'm sure Tojiro (and Global and Ken Onion and etc) are fine examples of modern design but I find them ugly as sin, and for that kind of money I expect a knife to look nice.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I really love the look of the damascus steel blades with the hammered texture like your Gekko knife. Do you find that the hammered effect allows food to release much easier?

I'd like to think that it does, indeed, offer better release, but... no. :hmmm:

That's very disappointing to hear. So purely for aesthetics then?

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So I have a few other questions regarding knife maintenance and sharpening:

1. Have you ever tried using the EdgePro to sharpen a (Benriner) mandolin blade?

2. Do you finish with a different courseness depending on which knife you are sharpening? I.e. slightly coarser on a knife which does more slicing, and finer on a knife that does more pushing/chopping.

3. Have you ever tried making your own scalloped/granton edges to reduce friction when cutting and allow food to "release" more easily?

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I really love the look of the damascus steel blades with the hammered texture like your Gekko knife. Do you find that the hammered effect allows food to release much easier?

I'd like to think that it does, indeed, offer better release, but... no. :hmmm:

That's very disappointing to hear. So purely for aesthetics then?

To begin with, damascus blades are decorative, functionally it is not meaningful in kitchen uses. You pay a high price for having that.

Damascus is meant for battle field combat situations.

dcarch

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Anyone know the best or most recommended angle at which to sharpen a chinese cleaver?

I ordered the EdgePro and will be travelling to New York in a couple of weeks so I can pick it up then. If I get the chance I will try to visit the Korin store in NY too.

I also ordered the Gekko GE-5 240mm Gyuto with personal engraving. Can't wait for it to arrive! I'm seriously tempted to get the Sanetsu ZDP-189 270mm Gyuto, but it is about 6x the price and I can't justify it since I am a university student and haven't even gone to culinary school or worked in a professional kitchen yet!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I will be in New York this weekend to pick up my EdgePro. After reading the amazing zknives.com I also decided to order the 6000 grit abrasive film, some glass blanks, and a piece of Hand American honing leather which I will stick onto the glass blanks to make a leather strop. I also ordered some 0.5 micron and 0.25 micron Hand American diamond spray to use with the leather strops.

That may be a bit excessive, but it's not too expensive, and I would like to see just how far I can take the edge, beyond SCARY sharp!

I also ordered some borosilicate (pyrex) rods off of eBay, since the Hand American borosilicate honing rod is sold out every, but also extremely expensive. I got these rods for a fraction of the price, and with a slightly thicker diameter so that they will hopefully be a bit more impact resistant. I'm also going to order a stainless steel tube with an internal diameter just a little bit wide than that of the rod, as a carrying case for them. All that will still be cheaper than the Hand American rod. I've also thought about a hand grip, a hand guard, and some end caps for the rods, but since I will be holding the rod at the top firmly down against the chopping board, I dont think those will actually be necessary.

Will let you know how I get on!

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Good going. Let's nerd out about

when you get the kit.

The video is not mine, btw - my knives are much sharper. :raz:

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Knives- too many to list. My everyday chef's/gyutos are a dead ringer for a Gekko bought on a trip to Japan and a Shun baby chef's from the Alton's Angles line (didn't I already post this ITT?). They're satisfactory in every way and I won't cry if I drop one on the floor. Okay, I'll cry because I dropped one of my favorites, not because I just ruined a ridiculously expensive knife. The dimples on the "Gekko" also fool people into thinking this is some fantastic handmade knife while the angled blade on the Shun looks racy and high-tech. Yes I am a terrible person.

Angles- 10 deg back bevel and 15 deg microbevel on these two. You'll see why on the equipment list. I also do convexing on some of my other knives.

Equipment- EdgePro Apex, Spyderco Sharpmaker with the optional ultrafine stones (which I use to maintain the microbevels - setup is instant, there's no mess and it's compact enough to keep on the kitchen counter, all unlike the EdgePro). I freehand on Japanese waterstones (the kind with the shrimp on the logo, I forget the name) and strop on a legal pad loaded with diamond compound when I can be bothered.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I tried to maintain the steep angle that is currently on the blade using the Sharpie technique to make sure I was at the edge and not reprofiling. As you can see it is a single beveled edge.

It must be quite hard to hold the benriner blade, did you tape it down to the deck?

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I just reprofiled two of my knives. They were French style, V Sabatier knives, a 20cm and 15cm chef knives. I started on the 120 grit stone, and it seemed to take a VERY VERY VERY long time to reprofile to 15 degrees. I also seemed to be spending a long time on each subsequent stone (220, 320, 600, 1000, and 6000 tape) to come to a burr on each side. After these two sessions I can really see the advantage in having Japanese style blades due to the annoying bolster.

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15 is pushing it for a final edge on Euro stainless. Are you going to microbevel?

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I took my 6" chef's to 14.5 degrees, total 29 (Edgepro 320 grit), and it's been good for over a year - it's just recently gotten to the stage it needs sharpening again. I use it a lot, too. In the time since that re-profiling I've kept it away from anything like bones that would over-challenge the edge.

The maker told me they're made of Cr13 C0.45/.55 and heat treated to 53/56HRC, and that the heat treatment happens in a

... furnace that heats the blades to about 1050degrees then cools them rapidly - this is the hardening cycle which is then followed by a tempering process whereby the blades are allowed to soak at about 550degrees to take any brittleness out of them

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Ah, the bones. Makes sense. I use my Euro chef's for the heavy jobs.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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