first time sharpening “good” steel

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Cowboy Dan
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:15 am

first time sharpening “good” steel

Post by Cowboy Dan » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:59 pm

I wanted to gear this post towards the novice knife sharpener, such as myself. I’ll be using terms in the way I understand them so correct me if needed, I’m here to learn. As of recently I acquired my first two whetstones, the chosera 400 and 800, after learning on a near pocket sized stone from ace hardware. I’ve been practicing on cheap stainless with some good and some udderly embarrassing results. But after I had a go with my MAC ultimate chef knife I had a crushing realization. Cheap steel is simply hard to sharpen. I felt immense disappointment after killing myself for weeks trying to just get a knife to cleanly cut paper. With that said I believe it to be a crucial building block in the foundation of my freehand sharpening. At first I was shocked at how easily I could overproduce a burr. Nailing that first perfect burr on a hateful knife is a transformative experience to say the least. You can and will struggle with making even bevels, it’s really a matter of understanding the movements and pressure you’re making while sharpening. One issue that plagued me was burr removal. Some steels do not want to let go of the wire, which I believe is because of how soft the steel is amongst many other nuanced factors (let’s not turn this into a metalurrgy discussion PLEASE lol). If I had not learned the hard way I most likely would’ve butchered the edge on a knife that has as much sentimental value as it was expensive; that knife being the chef knife I bought myself for culinary school. What I’m trying to convey is, take your time, it isn’t a race. For the last few months I felt like I’ve been trudging through quick sand trying to achieve the edge I desired. I was getting quite discouraged but I assure you when you’re ready and you sharpen your first decent knife you will be so SO glad you took the time to learn to crawl before you walked. It’s almost like making a run in a game of pool. You start to gain momentum and confidence then suddenly the table is cleared and you’re perfectly set up to slam the eight ball in. If done right the final result will be awe inspiring. I may have ended on an #800 stone and a strop (roughly 3000 grit) but good god! I’ve felt sharp knives but this one had bite like I’ve never felt before, like in your face scary kind of bite. Suffice to say I was grinning like a fool after it was all said and done. I’m sure this is a subject has been discussed many times over but I have no one else to share my excitement with. Thanks for reading :) I hope this helps someone out there.
“The road of excess leads to the palace of madness...You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough”

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Jeff B
Posts: 10209
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: first time sharpening “good” steel

Post by Jeff B » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:36 pm

When starting this journey patience is probably the most important thing that will see you though to the break through.

You did well and congratulations, but remember, there is oh so much more in front of you too and it only gets better. ;)
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

nakneker
Posts: 824
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:37 am
Location: Taylor, Az

Re: first time sharpening “good” steel

Post by nakneker » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:15 am

Cowboy Dan wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:59 pm
I wanted to gear this post towards the novice knife sharpener, such as myself. I’ll be using terms in the way I understand them so correct me if needed, I’m here to learn. As of recently I acquired my first two whetstones, the chosera 400 and 800, after learning on a near pocket sized stone from ace hardware. I’ve been practicing on cheap stainless with some good and some udderly embarrassing results. But after I had a go with my MAC ultimate chef knife I had a crushing realization. Cheap steel is simply hard to sharpen. I felt immense disappointment after killing myself for weeks trying to just get a knife to cleanly cut paper. With that said I believe it to be a crucial building block in the foundation of my freehand sharpening. At first I was shocked at how easily I could overproduce a burr. Nailing that first perfect burr on a hateful knife is a transformative experience to say the least. You can and will struggle with making even bevels, it’s really a matter of understanding the movements and pressure you’re making while sharpening. One issue that plagued me was burr removal. Some steels do not want to let go of the wire, which I believe is because of how soft the steel is amongst many other nuanced factors (let’s not turn this into a metalurrgy discussion PLEASE lol). If I had not learned the hard way I most likely would’ve butchered the edge on a knife that has as much sentimental value as it was expensive; that knife being the chef knife I bought myself for culinary school. What I’m trying to convey is, take your time, it isn’t a race. For the last few months I felt like I’ve been trudging through quick sand trying to achieve the edge I desired. I was getting quite discouraged but I assure you when you’re ready and you sharpen your first decent knife you will be so SO glad you took the time to learn to crawl before you walked. It’s almost like making a run in a game of pool. You start to gain momentum and confidence then suddenly the table is cleared and you’re perfectly set up to slam the eight ball in. If done right the final result will be awe inspiring. I may have ended on an #800 stone and a strop (roughly 3000 grit) but good god! I’ve felt sharp knives but this one had bite like I’ve never felt before, like in your face scary kind of bite. Suffice to say I was grinning like a fool after it was all said and done. I’m sure this is a subject has been discussed many times over but I have no one else to share my excitement with. Thanks for reading :) I hope this helps someone out there.
You can share all you want here, fellow forum members have heard your story before but are happy to see others succeed too. It’s nice to know that everyone here had to start somewhere and like Jeff commented, there so much more to learn. Even the most experienced sharpener will tell you he’s still learning. I fell down the knife and stone rabbit hole myself earlier this year. I’m may have to google a “Knife addiction” program.
“The goal is to die with memories, not dreams.”

Cowboy Dan
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:15 am

Re: first time sharpening “good” steel

Post by Cowboy Dan » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:42 am

Jeff B wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:36 pm
When starting this journey patience is probably the most important thing that will see you though to the break through.

You did well and congratulations, but remember, there is oh so much more in front of you too and it only gets better. ;)
It absolutely is, learning to take my time and making mistakes has been an important lesson for me. I think it may have been you that said to get your knives as sharp as possible on your lower grits before you move on to the next stone.. not sure, may have been someone else, doesn’t matter, it was sound and wise advice. That mindset helped me get to a hair whittling edge the other night. I wrote the post before I tried it. I always thought that was something that could only be achieved at higher grits.. I’m in it to win it at this points. I appreciate you and nakneker for being so supportive right off the bat. I look forward to growing with you guys and contributing more to this forum.
“The road of excess leads to the palace of madness...You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough”

Cowboy Dan
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:15 am

Re: first time sharpening “good” steel

Post by Cowboy Dan » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:56 am

nakneker wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:15 am
Cowboy Dan wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:59 pm
I wanted to gear this post towards the novice knife sharpener, such as myself. I’ll be using terms in the way I understand them so correct me if needed, I’m here to learn. As of recently I acquired my first two whetstones, the chosera 400 and 800, after learning on a near pocket sized stone from ace hardware. I’ve been practicing on cheap stainless with some good and some udderly embarrassing results. But after I had a go with my MAC ultimate chef knife I had a crushing realization. Cheap steel is simply hard to sharpen. I felt immense disappointment after killing myself for weeks trying to just get a knife to cleanly cut paper. With that said I believe it to be a crucial building block in the foundation of my freehand sharpening. At first I was shocked at how easily I could overproduce a burr. Nailing that first perfect burr on a hateful knife is a transformative experience to say the least. You can and will struggle with making even bevels, it’s really a matter of understanding the movements and pressure you’re making while sharpening. One issue that plagued me was burr removal. Some steels do not want to let go of the wire, which I believe is because of how soft the steel is amongst many other nuanced factors (let’s not turn this into a metalurrgy discussion PLEASE lol). If I had not learned the hard way I most likely would’ve butchered the edge on a knife that has as much sentimental value as it was expensive; that knife being the chef knife I bought myself for culinary school. What I’m trying to convey is, take your time, it isn’t a race. For the last few months I felt like I’ve been trudging through quick sand trying to achieve the edge I desired. I was getting quite discouraged but I assure you when you’re ready and you sharpen your first decent knife you will be so SO glad you took the time to learn to crawl before you walked. It’s almost like making a run in a game of pool. You start to gain momentum and confidence then suddenly the table is cleared and you’re perfectly set up to slam the eight ball in. If done right the final result will be awe inspiring. I may have ended on an #800 stone and a strop (roughly 3000 grit) but good god! I’ve felt sharp knives but this one had bite like I’ve never felt before, like in your face scary kind of bite. Suffice to say I was grinning like a fool after it was all said and done. I’m sure this is a subject has been discussed many times over but I have no one else to share my excitement with. Thanks for reading :) I hope this helps someone out there.
You can share all you want here, fellow forum members have heard your story before but are happy to see others succeed too. It’s nice to know that everyone here had to start somewhere and like Jeff commented, there so much more to learn. Even the most experienced sharpener will tell you he’s still learning. I fell down the knife and stone rabbit hole myself earlier this year. I’m may have to google a “Knife addiction” program.
That’s a relief! It’s getting a little ridiculous at this point because I’ve sharpened nearly my entire neighborhood’s kitchen knives lol plus some close chef buddies knives. I had the knife bug for minute but I’m actually a big axe enthusiast. I’ve been doing restoration and collecting for a few years now. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the group axe junkies but I’m fairly active member there. Anyway I’m hoping I can start doing this for a couple restaurants I’m well connected with. Just have to keep at it and get some more equipment down the road, practice makes better!
“The road of excess leads to the palace of madness...You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough”

jmcnelly85
Posts: 2094
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:59 pm

Re: first time sharpening “good” steel

Post by jmcnelly85 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:58 pm

Being able to get a knife sharper than before instantly puts you into a realm where you are a better sharpener than about ninety percent of the population. Keep up the good work, there are plenty more A-HA! moments ahead.

gladius
Posts: 3815
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:59 pm

Re: first time sharpening “good” steel

Post by gladius » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:18 pm

Cowboy Dan wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:56 am
...I’m actually a big axe enthusiast. I’ve been doing restoration and collecting for a few years now. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the group axe junkies but I’m fairly active member there.
---
Got a link? I am a Hults Bruk fan.

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Jeff B
Posts: 10209
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:59 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: first time sharpening “good” steel

Post by Jeff B » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:28 pm

Cowboy Dan wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:42 am
Jeff B wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:36 pm
When starting this journey patience is probably the most important thing that will see you though to the break through.

You did well and congratulations, but remember, there is oh so much more in front of you too and it only gets better. ;)
...I think it may have been you that said to get your knives as sharp as possible on your lower grits before you move on to the next stone...
That is something that I have been preaching for a very long time. Glad it was a little tidbit that was able to help in your journey!
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

Cowboy Dan
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:15 am

Re: first time sharpening “good” steel

Post by Cowboy Dan » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:05 pm

gladius wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:18 pm
Cowboy Dan wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:56 am
...I’m actually a big axe enthusiast. I’ve been doing restoration and collecting for a few years now. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the group axe junkies but I’m fairly active member there.
---
Got a link? I am a Hults Bruk fan.
Just head over to facebook and search “axe junkies” you’ll be required to answer a few questions before you are accepted but they aren’t a big deal. Hultz makes some good stuff. I have a few swedish axes, vintage and new, I like em. Most stoked about my new tuatahi race axe coming in. Just got involved with timber sports. :D
“The road of excess leads to the palace of madness...You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough”

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