Knife Sharpening

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Dabster
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Knife Sharpening

Post by Dabster » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:13 pm

My wife is quite the chef and aspiring prepper. She is doing all sorts of things to help us be well fed in these trying times. Everything is from scratch. This requires a lot of cutting. Most of her knives are made by Wenger in Germany. They are scary sharp at first but after a year or so they are not so sharp. She has returned them to the store for sharpening but this never gets them as sharp. She has tried sharpening them herself with devices provided by the store (Something like this: https://pleasanthillgrain.com/chefschoi ... efs-choice) but these didn't get them as sharp and also seemed to damage the knives.

She is looking into something better. Does anyone have any thoughts on something like this?

https://www.thespruceeats.com/brod-and- ... ew-4686137

Thank you!
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by the_alias » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:18 pm

I've had great success with Spyderco's sharpmaker with kitchen knives but a serious option is a belt sharpener.
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by Dabster » Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:06 pm

Thanks for that suggestion. I shared it with my wife and she said I should clarify that she looking for something as idiot-proof as possible.
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by woodsghost » Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:31 pm

"Idiot proof" is on the opposite side from "good sharp edge." She will need to decide if she wants to up her skill level or look for a better knife sharpening service.

The idiot proof tools out there will never get an edge truly sharp. If you look at the ceramic rods you linked to, what do you see? Rods forming a "V". You are taking material off the edges and getting the knife sharper only until the thinnest part of the edge gets to the bottom of the "V". After that, you are basically running your knife edge on a rock, which is never good for edges. That edge will be functionally sharp, but never truly sharp.

If your wife wants to up her skill level, I can make some recommendations and describe the process. Otherwise, I would find a service you like who does a good job.

A worksharp does a decent job, but you can ruin a tip pretty quick and the edge will be convex, which appeals to some but not all. Actually, you can ruin a knife pretty quick, so again....skill level....

The thing to do if she wants to get good at sharpening is to get some cheap knives, dull them, and resharpen them. Do that for all the pocket knives too.
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by raptor2 » Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:57 pm

woodsghost wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:31 pm
"Idiot proof" is on the opposite side from "good sharp edge." She will need to decide if she wants to up her skill level or look for a better knife sharpening service.
^^^ This ^^^^

I have over the years learned a lot about what does work for knife sharpening.

What I have found is that the quick and easy solution is never a good solution. Each knife frequently uses a different quality steel and each may have the need for a very different edge. Combine that with an individual preference and clearly a one size fits all approach will not work well.
This site has a lot of data on kitchen knives, edges and sharpening.
https://kitchenknifeguru.com/knives/knife-edges-101/

That said I have found the eze lap diamond sharpener in fine (red) to be useful in the kitchen for a quick sharpening job on most kitchen knives. The ones I use are SS and they normally do not have the metal grade on them but I assume in the 400 SS grade. A PITA to sharpen and keep sharp.

https://shop.opticsplanet.com/eze-lap-d ... ticsplanet

However I use a combination ceramic stone one side is fine the other ultra fine for a more detailed edge clean up.
https://www.amazon.com/Fallkniven-CC4-C ... B06XPXHCKY

I prefer flat stones to round sharpeners but that IMO is simply a preference.
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by NT2C » Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:48 pm

In the kitchen, I prefer the unglazed rim on the base of a stoneware dinner plate for quick touch-ups but anything beyond that comes to my office for a session with my Lansky setup, or the garage for time with my belt sander and a 220 grit belt. I've also been known to use a Dremel or bench grinder on things like scissors and drill bits or chisels (with fine lapping on an oilstone later). The belt sander also works great on axes and machetes I've found.

A lot comes down to exactly what's being sharpened and for what purpose. In many cases, I use "disposable" sharp things. That's not to say they're single-use or even that they can't be or aren't sharpened, just that they are easily and cheaply replaced if needed. Morakniv knives are a great example here. I have many of them, including a pair in each vehicle's emergency kit (stainless version, one serrated, one not), and a few in my kitchen knife drawer as general utility knives. If I have to replace a $15 Mora because it went through the dishwasher and got ruined I'm not gonna cry over it. (Dishwashers do horrible things to a sharp knife) Do I have some very expensive knives? Sure I do, and I don't use them on a daily basis or for general use unless that's absolutely what the task calls for. Most tasks can get done with the less expensive knives but tasks like cutting the Christmas turkey with guests absolutely calls for the carving knife handed down through 5 generations and kept "cartoon sharp".
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by boskone » Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:51 pm

Those pull-through sharpeners are crap. They're OK for utility edges that don't need to be real sharp, that's about it.

As said above, a really good edge requires manual skill, learning to hone a knife and hold it steady.

I will also note that if you sharpen them occasionally, they stay easier to keep sharp. Taking a couple licks across a high-grit hone once a month--even if it seems to be cutting fine--will help. E.g. one test is to lick the back of your thumbnail and lightly pull the knife across it: there should be a bit of resistance, but if the edge is ragged there's be too much, and if the edge is rounded or folded over it'll be too smooth.

My go-to for heavy sharpening is a DMT diamond stone, extra-fine. Pull a kitchen knife across it once a month or so just to restore the edge. I have two of these, one coarse/extra-coarse and one fine/extra-fine. The coarse mostly gets used for resetting seriously screwed up edges. I keep meaning to order a smaller set, but have never gotten around to it.

If I'm showing off, I use water stones. They're no good (at least my set) for setting edges, but you can literally put a mirror polish on it; they start at like 2,000 grit and step up to like 8,000. Usually I'll get into these after running on my DMT.

And if I have a knife that really needs work, I have a Worksharp Ken Onion belt sharpener. That'll turn a shim into knife in about 5 seconds...or remove a good bit of the blade if you're not careful; I have a paring knife that used to protrude from the handle a bit, but is now in-line.

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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by yossarian » Mon Mar 08, 2021 8:15 pm

In the right hands a butcher's steel can return a knife to hair shaving sharp. It won't sharpen a dull knife, it just puts the edge back. If you don't know what you're doing it can dull a good edge pretty quickly. I've also known a couple of guys that could work magic with a stone. The fancy stuff is nice and handy and I also rely on it (way too much) but there are primitive solutions that kept knives shaving sharp for centuries. Hell, I even saw one guy on Forged in Fire use his belt to strop his knife :mrgreen:
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by majorhavoc » Mon Mar 08, 2021 8:19 pm

Japanese water stones here. Well, with the exception of one polishing stone, they are all artificial water stones made by a company called Norton.

In a former life I was really into woodworking with traditional hand tools. Plane irons and chisels in particular had to be scary sharp or the hand tool simply wouldn't work. +1 on the notion that if you need/value sharp cutting implements, there's rarely a quick and easy route. You have to devote some time developing good sharpening skills.

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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by SCBrian » Mon Mar 08, 2021 8:40 pm

You're not going to get "sharp" and "Idiot proof" in the same package.
I sharpen all my own knives, but it takes time. I typically work a knife or 2 while watching a movie.
My suggestion? Call around to some upscale restaurants and ask if they send their knives out, and who they use.
Many chefs will sharpen their own knives, but the kitchen will usually have a stock of knives as well they need to keep sharp.
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by boskone » Mon Mar 15, 2021 12:48 pm

Somewhat related, Lansky now has a mini-sharpening kit. I'm not a fan of pull-through sharpeners, but the c-clip rods sharpener has some potential.

I currently carry a Blademedic, but aside from (possibly) sharpening serrations, I think I'd prefer the mini-rods.

However, I like Veff serrations, which could be honed with a rod. Might have to get to modifying my EDC knife with a couple or three Veff cuts, then get the kit (for the C-clip) to go in my EDC bag.

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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by SCBrian » Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:51 pm

also - forgot to post this earlier from my favorite youtube channel "Project Farm"



He may still be trying to figure out how to incorporate destroying a poor lawnmower engine with the knife sharpener... :rofl:
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by aikorob » Tue Mar 16, 2021 6:00 am

worksharp belt for everyday/utility blades; Lansky set for the good knives
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by grumpyviking » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:23 am

I use a sharpening stone, I bought several smaller round ones and hit them in the middle with a hammer, it breaks into two small enough to carry in a pack or a trouser pocket. its a trick I was taught many years ago.
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Re: Knife Sharpening

Post by PistolPete » Mon Mar 29, 2021 4:24 pm

I've used a Lansky system for years, because I hadn't bothered to put the skill points into anything else. Recently I decided I need to actually gain competency sharpening knives and spend a bit of time on it.

The first thing I learned was using a strop really ups one's game. My end result went from "eh, that's sharp enough", to "wow, that's sharp!" simply by adding a stropping step at the end of sharpening. In fact, sometimes just a quick stropping is all that is needed to freshen up an edge.

Good luck! It's fun and frustrating to learn a new skill like this. But as I mentioned, I always managed a reasonable job with a Lansky set, it's a great goto for general use, I think.
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