Shun Yanagi restoration

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ken123
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Shun Yanagi restoration

Post by ken123 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:05 am

So as anyone who has followed me over time knows, one of my least favorite knives are Shun Yanagis - horrible factory grinds, etc. So of course, what do I get from a local customer? A Shun Yanagi that had been badly abused. Karma lol.

So there is the legend of a Buddhist Monk, Pindola. It is the custom that they beg for their food, and whatever is put in their bowl, they eat. A leper inadvertently dropped one of his fingers into his bowl, which, without hesitation he ate as this was, one way or another the leper's offering.

And so this Shun landed in my bowl and I decided to not curse it but sharpen it to my best ability. I find this gives me a chance to learn something and for that I am grateful, as I am for every knife I sharpen, be it something cheap or expensive. Like the monk, it is a lesson in humility to take what comes in my bowl.

The knife had been sharpened roughly probably with a very coarse stone and sharpening steel with a v grind edge and deep scratches in the urasaki or hollow grind portion of the back of the knife. The perimeter of the back of the knife also had a rough grind to it. The shinogi line was indistinct and there was a pronounced bird's beak near the tip area. And of course it was dull. The front bevel was quite uneven, also with deep scratches. The handle had some crud on it and was dull too. And of course it was dull.

So first some pics of the initial condition .. Then some of the steps to bring it back. Not perfection, but a reasonable compromise to suite both the customer and myself. The customer paid for what he wanted and I did more to the knife because, well because.

---
Ken


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ken123
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Re: Shun Yanagi restoration

Post by ken123 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:36 am

So I started out with the front side, trying to level out the blade road and at least partially restore the shinogi line and reduce the bird's beak.

Weapon of choice 120 Nubatama ume stone - slightly softer and muddier and also coarser than the 150 Bamboo. 'Tested with the 320 Platinum and realized that I needed something rougher but not extremely rough (eg 24 or 60 grit). Worked the blade road and also the back to reestablish a flat back margin. I didn't attempt anything inside the urasaki area. The goal was a uniform flat surface. I mostly succeeded deciding not to go for perfection - just significant improvement.
120ume.jpg
ShunYanagiLocal3Nubatama1201.jpg
ShunYanagiLocal3Nubatama1202.jpg
---
Ken

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ken123
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Re: Shun Yanagi restoration

Post by ken123 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:49 am

Followed this with the 320 and 600 Platinums (sorry no pics). Then wanting a soft muddy synthetic stone, I opted for the 1200 Bamboo. The 320 significantly brough up the finish and the 600 made for an excellent 'bridge' to precede the 1200. Fast stones. I wanted something softer than the 1500 Platinum. This 1200 is an underrated stone.
ShunYanagiLocal3Nubatama12001.jpg
ShunYanagiLocal3Nubatama12002.jpg
ShunYanagiLocal3Nubatama12003.jpg
ShunYanagiLocal3Nubatama12004.jpg
ShunYanagiLocal3Nubatama12005.jpg
---
Ken

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ken123
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Re: Shun Yanagi restoration

Post by ken123 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:10 am

So the shinogi line nearest the tip was not perfect and I didn't want to take it down further, but wanted to cosmetically improve it getting out scratches and getting the finish to match the top surface of the front of the blade and also refine the entire blade road a bit further.

4 micron diamond bars on a buffer. Minimal metal removal, but further refinement.

Time to work the back of the blade. Diamond bars - starting with 80 microns on a scotchbrite wheel, followed by stiff sisal wheels in progressively lower grits inside the urasaki surface, followed by softer buffs at higher grits of diamond bars... Not shooting for perfection - just marked reduction of deep scratches.

Now the knife was looking respectable but it wasn't sharp lol.

I knew I was close but that the two sides had not yet met. Close. Solution 5k Bamboo convex microbevel with no back microbevel. This had the advantage of not having too fine of an included angle, just acute enough. Once this was established, I thinned the 'micro-hamaguri' grind a bit further, closer to the absolute minimum that would still support the edge. Final stropping with a Kangaroo strop with .75 micron CBN and done.
Shunfinal.jpg
ShunYanagiafterurasaki2.jpg
Customer was happy :) I know he had no idea how much work was put into this, but I'm fine with that.

---
Ken

Robstreperous
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Re: Shun Yanagi restoration

Post by Robstreperous » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:46 am

"Doing a common thing uncommonly well brings success."

What you've demonstrated Ken is success faces inward as well as outward.

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Organic
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Re: Shun Yanagi restoration

Post by Organic » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:40 am

Wow, you took that knife from being so mangled that it was barely recognizable as a yanagiba up to looking like a desirable tool again. Nice work!

Peter Nowlan
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Re: Shun Yanagi restoration

Post by Peter Nowlan » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:22 am

Very cool project, nice and yes the customer had no idea what effort you put into that.

(Recently I was given the Shun Pro Yanagiba, the one with the chrome like finish. How the heck do you sharpen that without removing that ridiculously high level of polish. You can't if you do it properly and for me it was just a matter of educating the customer. )

120 Bamboo looks nice.

milkbaby
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Re: Shun Yanagi restoration

Post by milkbaby » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:51 am

Very nice work, looks so much better now! :thumbsup:

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Re: Shun Yanagi restoration

Post by mark76 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:49 am

Wow, that looks a lot better!
https://japaneseknifereviews.wordpress.com/: my blog with Japanese Knife Reviews
https://moleculepolishing.wordpress.com/: my blog about sharpening with the Wicked Edge

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