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Chef's Choice vs. Prof. Knife Sharpening?


jeancho
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Borrowed a CC 1520 to compare with my Spyderco system.

CC seemed quick and sharp, but the edges felt jagged.

The edge was similar to the cheap pull throughs.

Did not check them out under a magnifier as previously suggested.

 

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been using DMT diamond whetstones coupled with ceramic and steel honing rods.

What a difference!!

 

Even my heavy Wusthof 12 inch glides through a tomato, even by the heel.

Took time and practice, but I also enjoy the process of sharpening.

 

There are pros and cons to every sharpening system.

Whichever one works for you, is the best one.

 

Thought of getting the EP, but wanted total control and to learn the feel of sharpening.

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pleased you like your systems.  you can use the diamond stones under running cold water to take care of the 'bolster' on your european knifes 

 

it takes a lot of time but will get the job done.

 

EP does offer total control and you do get the feel of the sharpening, as you use your hands on the stones that move, the knife does not.

 

EP simply is a jig that controls the angle of the stone ///  knife  exactly at what ever angle you want.

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pleased you like your systems. you can use the diamond stones under running cold water to take care of the 'bolster' on your european knifes

it takes a lot of time but will get the job done.

EP does offer total control and you do get the feel of the sharpening, as you use your hands on the stones that move, the knife does not.

EP simply is a jig that controls the angle of the stone /// knife exactly at what ever angle you want.

You will need the D8XX and it will still take some serious time to remove the bolster but it's doable
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Have no issues with the bolster........that I'm aware of.

Have a couple of other chef knives without it.

 

Do see where the bolster may interfere with sharpening, but is there something else that I may not be aware of or am not noticing?

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Have no issues with the bolster........that I'm aware of.

Have a couple of other chef knives without it.

 

Do see where the bolster may interfere with sharpening, but is there something else that I may not be aware of or am not noticing?

No, that's the only problem. But it's considerable. It means that your knife will never be sharp at the butt end, and anything you do to try (short of grinding down the bolster entirely) will give you a misshapen edge that won't contact a cutting board properly. Considering that the bolster doesn't add anything, it's hard for me to come to any conclusion besides it being a flawed design.

Notes from the underbelly

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The bolster on my big German knife was too burly for me to reduce on my own. Regular stones weren't enough and I don't have a diamond stone or a belt sander. When I get a chance I'll post pics of what Dave Martell did to make the knife sharpenable. He did a nicer job than I would have.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

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I use a CC knock off from China, once every two months.  It was a no brainer at $25 including shipping.  It is flimsy, and has awful instructions,  but once I got the hang of it, it worked well. I use it in front of the TV.

For those of us who are less than fastidious, it is a good choice, along with a fine steel.

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The bolster on my big German knife was too burly for me to reduce on my own. Regular stones weren't enough and I don't have a diamond stone or a belt sander. When I get a chance I'll post pics of what Dave Martell did to make the knife sharpenable. He did a nicer job than I would have.

 

It will take a minute with an angle grinder.

 

An angle grinder is about $15.00 at Harbor Freight.

 

dcarch 

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Yeah, I'm way too squeamish to use a grinder on heat treated steel. I'm sure it can be done with great care. I was happy to pay Dave. He uses a belt sander on European knives ... fast, but not the kind of heat you get from a grinder. I did this when the knife needed other repairs. It's the only time I've hired a professional sharpener, although i've been tempted to send someone like him a high end knife just to see how much better he is than me. 

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I go there from time to time.  its on my way for routine business.  

 

 

aside from this puppy, they always send me a coupon for 25 % off,  one purchase.

 

then they give me back the coupon.

 

for another.

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  • 8 years later...
On 3/17/2014 at 2:02 PM, rotuts said:

Im not sure what Freud would say about this:

 

"  Plenty of knife nuts have posted this kind of image "

 

but its true.   I had a CC a very very long time ago.  still have it.  somewhere.  in the basement.  collecting dust.

 

it did take my few stainless steel FR. knives   ( sabatier of middle to lower quality ) at the time and get them sharp.

 

but I could feel the sawblade effect, and moved on.

 

sometimes things are so obvious, its said  " They Speak for Themselves " or " They make their own argument "

 

this is one of the cases.

 

mid to low end BB&B works 'OK'  dont get the knives with the european 'bolster' or whatever it called.  won't pass through the grinder.

 

'jewels' loops  at amazon tell you a lot about what you are doing

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=jewelers+loupes&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=32985906385&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13417360944952041020&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_3uqn6x6qyi_b

 

40 x is about a high as usefull in this case.  I have a set.  great fun.

 

As mentioned above, I've had a Chef's Choice 120 for more than twenty years, and a Chef's Choice 1520 since 2014.  After eight years my well loved New West 9" chef's knife was noticeably no longer sharp.  I cannot fault it.  I may not be as sharp myself.  But before shipping the knife back to New West for (free) resharpening, I decided to invest in a Chef's Choice XV.

 

I followed the Chef's Choice instructions methodically.  Then my knife was sharp but as I believe you say, grabby like a sawblade.  Sadly disappointed I thought about making a return.  Then I remembered the XV manual says if you want an edge for butchering or for cutting fibrous materials to skip stage two.  My inference was that if one wanted a smooth sharp edge one should increase the passes on stage two.  The amazon product page suggests the same.

 

So I did that.  Followed by liberal passes on stage three.  What a difference.  I sliced onion.  My old 9 inch New West chef's knife was now a joy!  I compared my new New West 8 inch chef's knife with the factory edge on the same onion.  Both chef's knives were sharp and did the job.  However if I had to choose I'd say the Chef's Choice sharpened edge worked better.

 

Your mileage may of course vary, but once again I am a Chef's Choice believer.

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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On 3/17/2014 at 1:23 PM, rotuts said:

its a bit simple:  look at the edge under a stereo microscope before and after.  any blade.  feel the heat this thing generates.

 

it turns knives all knives into little saws.

 

this has been covered over at Knife forum a while back.

 

obviously " completely destroy " is a relative term. turning a knife into a little saw is not.  you need 40 - 50 x to see this

 

100 x even better

 

Not a stereo microscope, but amazon is having a deal today and I ordered a USB microscope.

(eG-friendly Amazon.com link)

 

Until the microscope comes I remain pleased with my new Chef's Choice.

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Not a stereo microscope, but amazon is having a deal today and I ordered a USB microscope.

(eG-friendly Amazon.com link)

 

Until the microscope comes I remain pleased with my new Chef's Choice.

 

Oh you might need more than one Mai Tai tai to cope with whatever goes on under our noses on our pocket change. 
“16MP Coin Microscope with Screen for Adults,”

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The main problem with a Chef's Choice (and systems like the Edge Pro) is that while it may be able to sharpen the edge, it cannot thin behind the edge and alter the basic geometry of the knife. And geometry is what cuts. Sharpening removes steel, and over time as you sharpen at the same angle, the knife will become chunkier and chunkier behind the cutting edge. And while you might be able to get the cutting bevel cleanly apexed and sharp, it won't cut well if the knife is thick behind that edge -- especially if you're cutting dense items like carrots or potatoes. So while these sharpening systems might be good for maintaining or sharpening an edge, you can't use them to maintain the the geometry of the blade and optimize cutting performance. Jon Broida, sharpening guru and owner of Japanese Knife Imports, gives a good overview of thinning in this helpful video:

 

 

 

Edited by btbyrd (log)
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2 hours ago, btbyrd said:

The main problem with a Chef's Choice (and systems like the Edge Pro) is that while it may be able to sharpen the edge, it cannot thin behind the edge and alter the basic geometry of the knife. And geometry is what cuts. Sharpening removes steel, and over time as you sharpen at the same angle, the knife will become chunkier and chunkier behind the cutting edge. And while you might be able to get the cutting bevel cleanly apexed and sharp, it won't cut well if the knife is thick behind that edge -- especially if you're cutting dense items like carrots or potatoes. So while these sharpening systems might be good for maintaining or sharpening an edge, you can't use them to maintain the the geometry of the blade and optimize cutting performance. Jon Broida, sharpening guru and owner of Japanese Knife Imports, gives a good overview of thinning in this helpful video:

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the video.  I believe I now understand what thinning behind the edge is and what it is supposed to do.  However, unless I am missing something, this is exactly what Chef's Choice purports to accomplish.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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I now have my new USB microscope delivered and set up.  What should I look for and what should I be seeing?  What type of lighting is best for judging the quality of an edge?  What angle to the lens?  I have seen random micrographs of knife edges on the internet, but does anyone have a link to a tutorial?  I couldn't find more information on eGullet.

 

Perhaps most importantly, what's a good way to secure the blade to lessen the chance of an eventuality?  I have a vise, however I don't want to damage the handle or the blade.

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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@JoNorvelleWalker

 

looking forward to your results

 

what is the platform that the knife is on

 

when you examine it ?

 

a pic or two ?

 

why not try masking tape , the kind the painter use

 

that's easy to peel off ?

 

found a few pics via google :

 

https://prosharpeningsupply.com/blogs/knife-tool-sharpening/knife-sharpening-under-the-microscope

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAb0DdF7rrc

 

 

can  not vouch for quality etc

Edited by rotuts (log)
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On 8/24/2022 at 1:52 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

Thank you for the video.  I believe I now understand what thinning behind the edge is and what it is supposed to do.  However, unless I am missing something, this is exactly what Chef's Choice purports to accomplish.

 

 

Not really. Chef's choice does a compound bevel, where you get a fairly acute main bevel for performance, and very small, more obtuse microlevel (maybe a mini-bevel?) at the tip, for durability. It's a standard way to sharpen and can give good compromise between performance and burliness. 

 

Thinning happens along the couple of centimeters above the edge, where the chef's choice and other sharpeners never touch. As you gradually wear down the knife through repeated sharpenings, the edge will move up to fatter and fatter parts of the blade's taper. Performance will gradually decline if you don't periodically thin up there.

 

That's thinning for maintenance. People also sometimes thin new knives, just to fine tune them to their own preferences. This is hard work, done with coarse diamond stones and a bit of masochism. Fortunately there are enough thin knives available nowadays that there's less need for these shenanigans.

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13 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I now have my new USB microscope delivered and set up.  What should I look for and what should I be seeing?  What type of lighting is best for judging the quality of an edge?  What angle to the lens?  I have seen random micrographs of knife edges on the internet, but does anyone have a link to a tutorial?  I couldn't find more information on eGullet.

 

Perhaps most importantly, what's a good way to secure the blade to lessen the chance of an eventuality?  I have a vise, however I don't want to damage the handle or the blade.

 

 

No answers for how to use the microscope, but I look forward to reading whatever you discover. I've read that lighting is hard ... easy to make the edge look much better or worse than it is.

 

Rotus's idea of some tape on the blade to protect it from the vice should work great. You could also just pad the vice with a thin towel.

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Sorry for the late response... I'd somehow overlooked @JoNorvelleWalker's question above, but Paul's answer above is pretty much exactly what I was going to say. Thinning is not something that many people do to their knives, but most people don't really sharpen them either. If you sharpen on a semi-regular basis, the blade will eventually lose enough height so that it will no longer cut well even when the edge is sharp. The Chef's Choice really only addresses the edge bevel and maybe what's immediately above it, so it won't be able to grind off those thick "shoulders" and restore cutting performance. Thinning knives requires you to use an angle that's more acute than your sharpening angle so that you're actually grinding down the sides of the knife face, and that's not something you can do with most sharpening systems. They're more for maintaining the edge than for maintaining the whole blade. There's nothing wrong with that per se... I still break out my Edge Pro every once in a blue moon to get a super consistent edge on one of my knives. But you can't use it for thinning because it only really cuts along the main edge bevel.

 

Thinning might sound fussy or like something normal people will never need to do, and that's largely true. But if you're using knives with harder steel, their failure mode tends to be chipping along the edge rather than rolling like softer European style knives. Removing chips requires removing a lot of metal compared to normal sharpening, leading to the knife being significantly thicker behind the edge than it was before. So if you do any chip removal at home you'll want to be using a water stone (which does a better job than a system at removing chips) and you'll want to thin the sides of the knife after the chip removal is complete. 

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