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Old 01-22-2006, 08:06 AM   #1
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Unhappy Caring for new Japanese knive, please help me

Hi,

I just bought a new set of Japanese kitchen knives, made by Sekiryu. I tried to get as nice as what I could afford. However, I'm very confused on how to care for them, what kind of sharpener I should get (ceramic or stone, and what grit). I've read pages of threads and asked people I know how to care for the knives and the answers are radically different. I don't understand the words or phrases.

I don't know if I"m allowed to place a link here, so if I've done wrong, I apologize and please tell me so I can take it down.

This is the same set here-- I found a pic on Ebay, this is from the same merchant

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=4431617210

I have a little money left over to get a sharpening/honing system. I really do not know what this is---I've read dozens of threads and Im confused as ever. There are different answers. I wanted to sharpen my knives after each use(someone told me only to do it twice year and that I meant "hone")

Can someone give me suggestions? My budget is about $60 and that would include shipping for anything I ordered.

Thank you very much in advance!

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Old 01-22-2006, 09:56 AM   #2
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Honing is what you do after each use. This involves stroking the knife on a steel a few times after hand washing and drying. Honing does not sharpen a knife, it realigns the microscopic edge of the blade to keep it as sharp as possible.

When the knives are dull from lots of use and honing no longer has an effect, the knives must be sharpened. This is best done by a professional, but there are home systems that will do the job as well.

If you do a google search on knife sharpening systems, you will see there is a variety of stuff available.

The electric sharpeners where you draw your knife through a slot which holds grinding wheels will work but take a lot of steel off the blade.

Good luck with your new knives.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:04 AM   #3
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Smile honing "steel"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Honing is what you do after each use. This involves stroking the knife on a steel a few times after hand washing and drying. Honing does not sharpen a knife, it realigns the microscopic edge of the blade to keep it as sharp as possible.

When the knives are dull from lots of use and honing no longer has an effect, the knives must be sharpened. This is best done by a professional, but there are home systems that will do the job as well.

If you do a google search on knife sharpening systems, you will see there is a variety of stuff available.

The electric sharpeners where you draw your knife through a slot which holds grinding wheels will work but take a lot of steel off the blade.

Good luck with your new knives.
Thank you so much, Andy!

I'll get a honing "steel" for myself and let a professional do the sharpening, at least for now. When I google to look for a "steel", is there something that is preferrred with cooks?

Thank you again! I didn't think anyone would answer
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:09 AM   #4
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If possible, try to find one that's made for your knives. Different knives are made with different steel and can have different degrees of hardness. You should try to match the steel to the blade.

Do a search for the manufacturer's website or the site of a company theat sells their stuff.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:51 AM   #5
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Andys advice, as usual, is right on. I think part of the confusion from sharpening/honing comes from the fact that sometimes the honing steel is actually called a sharpening steel even though it does not sharpen the knives.

I use the honing steel before every single time I use any of my knives (other than serrated ones). I stroke it on each side of the blade about 12 or 13 times. You do not need to push down. Just let the weight of the knife do the work and just draw the blade over the steel.

Sharpening removes metal so you do not want to do it too frequently. For most home cooks they can get away with sharpening every 6-12 months or so. Professionals will sharpen much more frequently. If you can find a professional who you trust then that is a great way to go. It is inexpensive and hopefully they will know what they are doing. It takes a lot of practice and some knowledge to sharpen a knife well without ruining it if you do it with just a stone by hand. Personally I am too nervous to try that on my knives myself as I am sure I would mess up a few times before I learned how to do it. Because of this, I bought a sharpening system (Lansky Universal). There are many systems out there and they all basically do the same thing. They hold the blade at the right angle. Depending on what you are using the knife for this will generally vary from around 15 degrees to around 35 degrees or so. A typical kitchen knife is around 20 degrees. Some people like it more like 23, but you get the idea. The sharpening systems are not very expensive and take the guess work out of getting the angle right so you won't ruin your knife.

Good luck and enjoy your new tools
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Old 01-22-2006, 11:21 AM   #6
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Honing blades

Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
Andys advice, as usual, is right on. I think part of the confusion from sharpening/honing comes from the fact that sometimes the honing steel is actually called a sharpening steel even though it does not sharpen the knives.

I use the honing steel before every single time I use any of my knives (other than serrated ones). I stroke it on each side of the blade about 12 or 13 times. You do not need to push down. Just let the weight of the knife do the work and just draw the blade over the steel.

Sharpening removes metal so you do not want to do it too frequently. For most home cooks they can get away with sharpening every 6-12 months or so. Professionals will sharpen much more frequently. If you can find a professional who you trust then that is a great way to go. It is inexpensive and hopefully they will know what they are doing. It takes a lot of practice and some knowledge to sharpen a knife well without ruining it if you do it with just a stone by hand. Personally I am too nervous to try that on my knives myself as I am sure I would mess up a few times before I learned how to do it. Because of this, I bought a sharpening system (Lansky Universal). There are many systems out there and they all basically do the same thing. They hold the blade at the right angle. Depending on what you are using the knife for this will generally vary from around 15 degrees to around 35 degrees or so. A typical kitchen knife is around 20 degrees. Some people like it more like 23, but you get the idea. The sharpening systems are not very expensive and take the guess work out of getting the angle right so you won't ruin your knife.

Good luck and enjoy your new tools
Yes, I did get confused on the words, and the way I often saw them swapped. I had read that the blades should be honed(see, now I know!) after each and every use, and I was thinking they meant to sharpen!

So it doesn't matter if I hone my blades after each use, or before each use, just as long as I do it, and do it properly? I can handle that, I think. At some point in the future I guess I should get a western chef's knife because I occassionally hack at a chicken to make curry! Thank you again
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Old 01-22-2006, 11:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinktwice

So it doesn't matter if I hone my blades after each use, or before each use, just as long as I do it, and do it properly?
Yes this is correct. Most people will do it before each use, but as long as it is done each timed (before or after) then you are good to go. If you live alone then it doesn't matter much, but if other people will be using your knives then it is good to do it before you use them just so you know it was done.
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Old 01-22-2006, 11:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinktwice
...So it doesn't matter if I hone my blades after each use, or before each use, just as long as I do it, and do it properly? ...
It's a matter of personal preference when you hone. It doesn't matter as long as the knife is honed between uses.

I choose to hone the knife as part of the clean up process. I wash and dry the knife, hone it, and put it away. Then it's ready to go when I am. Others wash, dry and put away their knife and hone it the next time they take it out to use it. No material difference in the two sequences. (mine is the better way )
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Old 01-24-2006, 05:39 PM   #9
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Also, be careful to pick a steel that is hard enough for its job. I have been using a Chicago Cutlery Steel that I purchased almost thirty years ago now, and it's the best steel I have personally used. It is a very hard steel and gives me a good edge with few strokes.

But there are steels out therethat aren't really steels at all. They can be coated with diamond dust, or be made of ceramic. The ceramic variety is usually called a ceramic rod. But labeling can be confusing.

The steels coated with diamond do remove metal from the blade and are a sharpening tool. The same is true of ceramic rods. They do not hone the cutting edge. They sharpen it.

In a pinch, I have used the stainless steel shank of my multi-bit screw driver (in the field) to hone the cutting blades of my Leatherman-type tool. It gave the blades a razors edge, litterally. I have also seen peple use the bottom of ceramic plates to sharpen there knives in an emergency situation. Many years ago, before I purchased a good steel, I used the spine (back) of a high-carbon butcher's knife to hone the edges of several knives we were using to cut meat (I was in boot camp and assigned to the butcher's shop for two weeks, and had only semi-sharp knives and no sharpening or honing tools to work with). It worked.

My point is, if you know how materials react to each other, you can improvise. It is of course more convenient to use proper tools, made for the job. But in a pinch, technique and knowledge are more important.

one year, when my eldest son was about 18, he purchased a cheap set of kitchen knives for me. The set came with a steel. Every time I tried to use it, the knife edge would bite into the steel, leaving a scratch and dulling the knife blade. The steel of this tool was far to soft for the job it was supposed to do. So beware of cheap tools. They can really cost you more than the money you pay for them.

Andy and the others are dead on with there advise. I hope that my additions are helpful as well.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 01-24-2006, 07:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinktwice
At some point in the future I guess I should get a western chef's knife because I occassionally hack at a chicken to make curry!
A "western" chef's knife (I assume you mean something like the standard "French" chef's knife) is no more designed for "hacking" a chicken than a Japanese chef's knife. For hacking through bones and cartilage you need something more substantial with a bit more heft - you really need a cleaver. Recently, America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated aired a program where they looked for the best tool to hack a chicken (including using an axe) and they concluded that a cleaver was the tool of choice (it actually did a better job than an axe).

I bought mine at an Asian market several years ago and it is the only knife I think about reaching for when it comes time to cut up a chicken. The market had two to choose from - one was a plain carbon steel and the other was a high carbon Stainless Steel ... I opted for the SS model. I don't remember what it cost exactly, but it was in the $10-$15 price range.

As for info on sharpening knives - just check some of the previous threads in this forum. We discuss it frequently.
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