Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

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Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by [email protected] »

For those who are not familiar with the name, Jason Knight is from the Forged in Fire bladesmithing TV series (at least, that is where I first learned of him). He has a few knife sharpening videos on Youtube, quite the unconventional technique in that he holds the stone in one hand while sharpening with the other. A gent by the name of Cliff Stamp (Youtuber) also demonstrates a lot of sharpening while holding the stone. I like the idea of this technique....but should I when we're talking about kitchen knives? I sharpen all of my pocket knives with a DMT Diafold but most of the blades are 4" or less in length.

Thoughts?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c57wWcg8rs (Jason Knight)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPGGo3W15HQ (Cliff Stamp)
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by salemj »

I didn't watch the whole Jason video, but I did try to watch the moments when he is sharpening or talking about sharpening. I think this is an extremely personal method. Seems to work for him, but I would not - definitely not - recommend trying to imitate this style.

The one thing it has going for it is that the idea of holding a stone is great for pressure. It is very hard to use too much pressure if you are hold a stone. There are various ways to achieve this kind of control, even with holding a stone, but doing it in ways that are safer (MUCH safer) and more consistent than his. For example, you can hold a stone like a honing rod, with one edge on a hard surface. And so forth. But even then, there are a lot of variables that are needlessly introduced, so it is usually better to try to learn another method if you can.

I'm going try to catch the Cliff video later and see how different it is!
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by branwell »

Here's some pros and cons of each. Feel free to add to it.

Sink Bridge.

Pros:
- Easy water control.
- Easy mud control ( if that's your thing ).
- Only need to control blade for angle, pressure etc.

Cons:
- Not all that portable by comparison.
- More setup time.

Stone holding method.

Pros:
- Very portable.
- Easer to implement in the wild.

Cons:
- Two points of angle to master.
- Harder to keep water on the surface if using water stones.
- harder to control mud.

To me, I can see how each method would have its place, where one would be better than another under certain circumstances. I can also imagine certain stones would be more suited to it.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by gladius »

It is the technique used in the field and also used in razor sharpening: Perfectly valid. My grandfather used this technique over 60 years in professional kitchens while favoring 10 inch Sabatiers.

I like Jason's explanation of sharp up the ramp to the point of "staying sharp for a long while" before further dulling. I also like his idea of "fit for purpose", beyond which is a waste.

I like Cliff's point about not sharpening purposefully creating a burr so no time is wasted taking it off chasing the burr - chase the apex instead.

Notice very light pressure and purposeful strokes are used on coarse stones. One naturally becomes very aware of cutting one self when using this technique so slows down and slices with purpose.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by Eli Chaps »

Look up Michael Christy on YT. He does a lot of in-hand sharpening. Not for me but it comes down to whatever works for the individual.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by ronnie_suburban »

Eli Chaps wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:44 pm Look up Michael Christy on YT. He does a lot of in-hand sharpening. Not for me but it comes down to whatever works for the individual.
Just try not to fall asleep during his videos! I really do like watching him sharpen. He's totally obsessive and the information he provides is incredibly useful but it's as dry as it gets.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by d_rap »

ronnie_suburban wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:01 pm
Eli Chaps wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 4:44 pm Look up Michael Christy on YT. He does a lot of in-hand sharpening. Not for me but it comes down to whatever works for the individual.
Just try not to fall asleep during his videos! I really do like watching him sharpen. He's totally obsessive and the information he provides is incredibly useful but it's as dry as it gets.
His results though! Yeah Michael Christy may be deadpan but he's a great sharpener with a lot to teach. The care he takes laying the knife tip on to the stone says it all.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by Eli Chaps »

I've never found him boring, just focused and explanatory. One of the few sharpening channels that has been a long term description of mine.

He's definitely a different cat than Big Brown Bear but I really admire and enjoy both. :)
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by d_rap »

With Christy and the two videos the OP posts I really think that although yeah the one-handed technique is useful in the field it's a very personal approach, as Joe says above, but their sharpening suggestions can be applied to other more traditional two hands on the knife techniques.

Gladius mentions Cliff's point about not necessarily getting a burr. I like that as a goal but in practice that can be difficult.

One of my favorite points in the Jason Knight video is really basic and lots of people make it but he really shows clearly that it's just about tipping the knife up and connecting with the edge. Simplest way to find your angle.
David
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by ronnie_suburban »

Eli Chaps wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 6:33 pm I've never found him boring, just focused and explanatory. One of the few sharpening channels that has been a long term description of mine.

He's definitely a different cat than Big Brown Bear but I really admire and enjoy both. :)
Me too. Christy is definitely not boring, just definitively no-frills, but he clearly knows his stuff. I've learned a lot from watching his videos.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by orezeno »

gladius wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 3:52 pm It is the technique used in the field and also used in razor sharpening: Perfectly valid. My grandfather used this technique over 60 years in professional kitchens while favoring 10 inch Sabatiers.
In the 1960's my father taught me to sharpen knives on an oil stone using this technique. The stone that he used (and gave to me) looked a bit like a half-pipe. I used this method for many years, but much prefer to have both hands on the knife nowadays. In sharpening, it is the result that matters. Placing the stone in a holder, switching hands, and using both leading and trailing strokes happens to be what works best for me.
I like Cliff's point about not sharpening purposefully creating a burr so no time is wasted taking it off chasing the burr - chase the apex instead.
Cliff's matter-of-fact approach always appealed to me. I stole the "remove the edge before sharpening" technique from him. The real power of this is in looking at how light reflects off of the flattened edge when the knife is in an edge-up orientation. Cliff talks about this in the video. The beauty of this is that you realize right away that a well-used knife does not have even wear along the edge. Light reflected from the flattened edge shows where more sharpening effort is required as the edge narrows to the point that it does not reflect light.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by Eli Chaps »

d_rap wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 6:38 pm With Christy and the two videos the OP posts I really think that although yeah the one-handed technique is useful in the field it's a very personal approach, as Joe says above, but their sharpening suggestions can be applied to other more traditional two hands on the knife techniques.

Gladius mentions Cliff's point about not necessarily getting a burr. I like that as a goal but in practice that can be difficult.

One of my favorite points in the Jason Knight video is really basic and lots of people make it but he really shows clearly that it's just about tipping the knife up and connecting with the edge. Simplest way to find your angle.
Cliff is a rather controversial figure and I've never agreed with his no burr sharpening approach.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by Wjhunt »

I find the one handed approach to work better with shorter knives and with knives that are flexible. The dia-plates seem to be a little too heavy for anything more than a touch up. I do like the plastic based diamond whetstones for the one handed technique.
The disadvantages are obvious. The risk of being cut are increased and you have less control over the knife when using one hand instead of two. The advantage is being able to see the distance between the stone and the blade, giving you another way to keep your angle consistent. If you hold the stone at a 45 degree angle towards the ground then you will be able to focus on the angle. I find the technique works especially well with fillet knives and pocket knives.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by ken123 »

kenI like working with him. He gets a lot of use out of my 3k diamond. did one of the first videos using my diamond strops at 5.3 million grit poly. Definitely a nice guy to know. I don't find his videos boring but that's just me :)

Ken
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by David_R »

gladius wrote: Sat Jan 23, 2021 3:52 pm It is the technique used in the field and also used in razor sharpening: Perfectly valid. My grandfather used this technique over 60 years in professional kitchens while favoring 10 inch Sabatiers.

I like Jason's explanation of sharp up the ramp to the point of "staying sharp for a long while" before further dulling. I also like his idea of "fit for purpose", beyond which is a waste.

I like Cliff's point about not sharpening purposefully creating a burr so no time is wasted taking it off chasing the burr - chase the apex instead.

Notice very light pressure and purposeful strokes are used on coarse stones. One naturally becomes very aware of cutting one self when using this technique so slows down and slices with purpose.
I can see where the would be some advantage to this in terns of hold the angle or holding the bevel size if you prefer one over the other, especially at the tip. Definitely would require some practice. I could see doing this with smaller stones, like the EP stones. I may give this a try.

I get Cliff's point about not creating a burr and just finding the apex. This is ideal but also easier said than done in practice.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by orezeno »

David_R wrote: Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:53 pm I get Cliff's point about not creating a burr and just finding the apex. This is ideal but also easier said than done in practice.
Cliff's "plateau sharpening" technique is pretty easy if you get the first step right. Hold the knife edge down, and scrub off the old fatigued metal at the edge. This creates a small flat area where the edge used to be. That flat area reflects light. In plateau sharpening, you work both bevels of the knife until that edge no longer reflects light. The edge is actually formed by the intersection of the two bevels surfaces. If you don't see light, those surfaces have joined to form the edge. Cliff's point is that once you've formed the edge, more work only creates a burr. So stop and save yourself the extra work of burr removal.

When I saw this years ago, I really liked the idea of removing fatigued metal from the edge as the first step. The flattened edge adds information that's useful when you're figuring out what needs to be done to the knife. Most of the time, the reflection from the edge is wider in some places than others. Because of this, the bevels intersect in some places on the edge before others so by the time there's no reflection anywhere, part of the edge has a burr on it. Nonetheless, this method minimizes burr and minimizes the work necessary to perform burr removal.

If you combine this approach with Hap Stanley's jointing technique (on a finishing stone), you have a nice, clean edge with no fatigued metal from sharpening and one without a foil-like burr.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by [email protected] »

Greg....the jointing technique was a educational 👍🏻
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by Wjhunt »

https://www.chefknivestogo.com/nastho.html
I would always use one of these to make the one handed technique safer.
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Re: Jason Knight Sharpening Technique

Post by afrad786 »

amazing post!!! definitely helpful. Thank you
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