Thanks for the kind words, GB. I think I can support your claim with an anecdote. When I got to work today I faced a Perfect Storm: Every cook that owns his own knife asked me to sharpen for him before I even got my chef coat on!
I don't mind sharpening for the boys but normally it's not every single knife at once!
At any rate, one is an unidentified school-branded knife; one is a Shun Onion Kaji; one is a garden variety Shun Classic; the other is a higher-end Wusthof Ikon.
First off, the Ikon didn't really need it. The owner is a young pup, and he only had it for a month. I took a look at it and the bevels were very crisp. It wasn't "sharp", but that doesn't mean it was "dull". I grabbed a Hand American ceramic rod and gave it four purposeful licks, two per side. It then would shave have and make 1/8" confetti of printer tickets. Hmmm...does anyone know how to use a steel/hone nowadays?
But more to the point. When I got home, I had a glass of Pinot and decided to start with the "school mystery knife." By the markings denoting the steel it's obviously a blade made with the standard German formula (basically the standard Chromium/Molybenum/Vanadium ratio) that they all use. Okay, those of you who read my ramblings know I'm a "J-Knife Snob" to a degree. But setting that aside, a job is a job. This blade had no discernable bevel. Either it had never been "professionally" sharpened or it had been done so long ago that no trace remained.
I spent about an hour and quarter carefully creating a bevel on this one. I made sure to cut a nice wide bevel from heel to tip, laying down the roadway for future sharpenings. Frankly if I owned this knife I'd use it chip ice off my windshield or cut weeds in my yard. But the owner is a good kid, just out of culinary school and really without a clue. He expects to pay for the job, but to be honest, if I was to charge him what the job is really worth, he couldn't afford it. So instead it will be free. And I didn't do a half-arsed job; once I finished it I split a hair lengthwise and cut a magazine in half with one draw stroke. And it push-cuts paper an inch out. Not bad for a department store blade.
Hattori KD, Kramer Damascus, Murray Carter, Chicago Cutlery, Wusthof, butter knife- I don't care. If I agree to take it on I will create what I feel is the best edge I can make for the given blade. Part of it is ego, part is pride- but the larger part is simple honesty. I will always do my best. Why would you ever approach a job with any other attitude?