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Old 03-18-2009, 04:53 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ChefJune View Post
Curious, Alan, how you are holding your knife? That could be affecting your perception of sharpness.
Not sure what you mean...I hold it with my right hand and put my index finger over the top of the blade.
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:54 PM   #22
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That is true. However, inattention or improper cutting technique will land you in trouble with a sharp blade. Redeeming factors are that the cutting won't hurt much if you feel it at all because it will be cleaner and the cut will heal both faster and with less scarring.
I don't know, with that tomatoe demo, I don't even want to think what a knife like that would do to a finger with even the lightest force.

My Wustoff is far from dull, but I'd have to put a fair bit of force and just completely straight on chop into my hand to do serious damage (which is unlikely with proper chopping technique).

With that Japanese knife, I think even a graze could be devastating, like cutting through butter with a hot knife
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:30 PM   #23
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I keep my Chroma 10" Chef's knife super sharp so that it cuts effortlessly. A sharp knife will indeed let you know when you are stupid. Fortunately, I have strong thubnails and they have saved the corner of my thumb a few times. Learn to use the knife properly and you won't get hurt. Chopping, slicing, necomes effortless and faster. Food quality goes up as well. Just keep finger and thumb tips out of the way. And if you are one of the truly accident prone (I'm not saying you are), then you can purchase finger and knuckle gaurds just to protect the parts you are most likely to injure.

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Old 03-21-2009, 09:51 AM   #24
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A sharp knife will let you think you've had a near miss. I've had times when I've cut myself and it's taken over 30 seconds for the bleeding to start.
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Old 03-25-2009, 01:18 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by AlanS2323 View Post
Not sure what you mean...I hold it with my right hand and put my index finger over the top of the blade.
Here is a good site to learn everything you ever wanted to know about knife sharpening: Sharpening Made Easy

Even an inexpensive knife can have a reasonable lifespan between sharpenings with proper use of a steel. A good cutting surface is also important. Wood is still the best surface for edge preservation (end grain in particular), with plastic next (plastics vary... softer is usually better). Glass or stone cutting boards should never be used with a good knife.
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Old 03-25-2009, 01:45 PM   #26
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Here is a good site to learn everything you ever wanted to know about knife sharpening: Sharpening Made Easy
I've previously read all of Bottorf's stuff before. While the information is good, remember that it is one man's opinion. If you're tempted to try his paper wheels, be careful and practice with some beaters. It's all too easy to overheat the edge and ruin the temper.

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Even an inexpensive knife can have a reasonable lifespan between sharpenings with proper use of a steel.
I use a steel that came with a block set 30 years ago to poke holes for planting seeds in the garden. Don't use them for knives if you can avoid it. Use a fine ceramic steel like the Idahone or a HandAmerican Borosilicate steel. I steel "steel" will rip up the edge as can easlily be seen with a loupe. Not good, and diefinitely not sharp.

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A good cutting surface is also important. Wood is still the best surface for edge preservation (end grain in particular), with plastic next (plastics vary... softer is usually better). Glass or stone cutting boards should never be used with a good knife.
A Sani-Tuff rubber board is every bit as easy on knives as end grain wood. They're kind of ugly but there's a reason they're found in many commercial kitchens. Poly boards have a place in my home, but only for proteins, and I am very careful to have minimum edge/poly contact. The sharper the knife, the more problems with poly.
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:35 PM   #27
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I've previously read all of Bottorf's stuff before. While the information is good, remember that it is one man's opinion. If you're tempted to try his paper wheels, be careful and practice with some beaters. It's all too easy to overheat the edge and ruin the temper.



I use a steel that came with a block set 30 years ago to poke holes for planting seeds in the garden. Don't use them for knives if you can avoid it. Use a fine ceramic steel like the Idahone or a HandAmerican Borosilicate steel. I steel "steel" will rip up the edge as can easlily be seen with a loupe. Not good, and diefinitely not sharp.


A Sani-Tuff rubber board is every bit as easy on knives as end grain wood. They're kind of ugly but there's a reason they're found in many commercial kitchens. Poly boards have a place in my home, but only for proteins, and I am very careful to have minimum edge/poly contact. The sharper the knife, the more problems with poly.
You're saying that using a "steel" steel is wrong???? Gee, it seems to have worked for me for a good many years. It also works for a LOT of professionals, including the instructors at the cooking school classes I attended some years ago. They even have a professional sharpener come in to teach proper knife maintenance, and HE used a standard steel.

So I'm justifiably puzzled by your assertions.
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:57 PM   #28
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Several years ago I stood through a boring demonstration with the promise of a free knife at the end. This free knife is the sharpest and easiest to use knife among all of my expensive cutlery. The only problem is that it is too small, only three inches. I have tried to find another longer one but they don't seem to make them. The box said: Paring Pro, surgical stainless steel. Has anyone ever heard of these?
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Old 03-26-2009, 06:16 PM   #29
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You're saying that using a "steel" steel is wrong???? Gee, it seems to have worked for me for a good many years. It also works for a LOT of professionals, including the instructors at the cooking school classes I attended some years ago. They even have a professional sharpener come in to teach proper knife maintenance, and HE used a standard steel.

So I'm justifiably puzzled by your assertions.
You can see for yourself. Sharpen a knife on stones up to 4k grit, better yet, 8 or 10k if you have one. Look at the edge with a 20x loupe. It's nice and smooth. Now steel it with a 1200 grit ceramic steel and look at it again. Roughed up a little (very very little) but still sharp and serviceable. Now steel it with a steel steel and look again. There are some micro chips and lots of tiny steel hairs.

It had been along time since I've even thought about such simple concepts so I actually took the time to screw up a very nice edge to reprove it to myself. I took a thirty year old Chicago Cutlery slicer with steel comparable to modern day German forged knives. It had been sharpened and polished with a 10 degree secondary bevel and a 15 degree primary bevel and polished to 4k grit. It was sharper than anything you can buy by a long shot. To test the edge I used a combination of visuals with the 20x loupe and the Murray Carter 3 finger test. First I used a 1200 grit Idahone ceramic steel. The result was as always, toothy, and very sharp with almost no changes visually. Then I used a steel steel and the resulting edge was only moderately sharp and contained the steel hairs as described above. The 3 finger test screamed dull dull DULL. I once again used the ceramic steel and the edge came right back to being sharp and toothy with no microchips and no steel hairs.

A steel steel is nothing more than a common hardened tool steel round file!

You tell me that the steel steel makes your knives sharp and that's the way the "experts" teach it at culinary schools. The experts are teaching a way to put an edge on a knife that will cut but just barely. I can tell you with no reservations that you have probably never seen a really sharp knife. If you don't believe me you can do some independent research. There are two dedicated kitchen cutlery knife sites, here and here. Both forums are populated by many Chefs who also happen to be knife guys like me. Please go to them, join up, and ask them if a steel steel will make your knives sharp. Also, don't forget to ask them their opinions on the knife sharpening classes at cooking schools.

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Old 03-26-2009, 11:12 PM   #30
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buzzard767, you taught me something today. When I purchaced my Chroma, the directions stated that a steel would ruin my knife. I didn't understand that statement as many years ago, when I purchased a 3-piece set of Chicago Cutlery knives, they came with an accompanying steel. The steel is harder than many that I've seen, and is smooth. Instructions stated that when my knives became dull, I could back steel them, then steel forward again and return the knives to a reasonable sharpness. Now those old knives hold an edge very well, but are hard to sharpen. Back-steeling proved to be a quick way to at least partially restore the edge. I've used the technique for years and my knives go through tomatoes, and virtually everything I cut or slice with ease.

On the other hand, I have two crock-sticks (ceramic rods) that are very smooth. After sharpening with my Smith's Arkansas stone, If I then try to finish them with the crock-stick, they actually seem to be less sharp. But if I very lightly steel them, and I mean barely touching the metal, the edge becomes much more keen.

Still, my knives are not truly razor sharp. They don't shave the hair on my forearm unless I put an extraordinary amount of work into them. Will they slice through paper, like a hot knife through warm butter. But I can't shave with them.

I have heard that finishing a knife edge with a strop that has been rubbed with jeweler's rouge will put a proper convex curve on the edge, making it stronger, less resistant to fold-over, and give the ultimate sharpness. Leather belts suitable for making a strop seem hard to find in my town.

So, I'm still looking for the ideal method to sharpen my blades. My Chroma is plenty sharp to do what I want it to. But I'm kind of a perfectionist, and the knife edge isn't perfect. So I am forced to settle with pretty darned sharp.

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