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Old 04-02-2009, 02:19 AM   #1
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Knife sharpening angles?

well after reading a few threads in the knife forums, i've decided to buy a sharpening stone per the recommendations of some on the forum (King 1k/6k) to try and sharpen my knives.

they might not be the best but they are what i can afford (cheap and/or free). 2 are stainless steel (6.5 and 10" chef knives), one says "molybdenum vanadium high carbon stainless" (6.5"), and the 3rd (7") is most likely a carbon-steel (?) cleaver. the 6.5" knife has knicks from a bad experience with a crappy knife sharpener.

since i can't afford the expensive ones, i can at least practice my knife sharpening skills on these so by the time that i ever am able to afford my fancy knives, i'll be a knife sharpening pro. could anybody please recommend sharpening angles for the above knives and the best way to eyeball or gauge that? i am an absolute neophyte so i will freely admit that i know nothing. any information is welcome.

and if it means anything, my partner is a right-hander and i'm a converted left-hander (my right hand is slightly gimpy and have had to switch certain tasks over to my left hand) but since i do most of the cooking, i will tend to be the wielder of the blades.

thank you for any and all tips, suggestions and words of encouragement.

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Old 04-02-2009, 01:49 PM   #2
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I was taught to go for 22-23 deg. for all except perhaps the cleaver
(I shoot for 1/2 of 45 deg.) - depending on how you use the cleaver
(cutting bones?) you might want to shoot for something like 30 deg.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:33 PM   #3
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hold the knife perpendicular to the stone (like you are going to slice through it) - thats 90 degress.....cut the angle in half - thats 45 degrees....cut it in half once more - thats 22.5 degrees

thats a good way to estimate, and as about exact as you are going to get anyway

ive just recently began sharpening with my own king stone...been practicing on the cheap knives, and this weekend i think im going to try my hand on my good parer (more acute angles, though)...if that works out well, ill try my larger knives
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:01 PM   #4
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I'd say go with 15 deg.
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:58 PM   #5
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thanks all.

i guess i could have the smaller chef's knife at 15 deg, per CharlieD's recommendation, for slicing tomatoes or other vegetables very fine and so on. and according to mike in brooklyn, 30 would be for butcher duties (the cleaver) and everything else in between is 22-23 for perhaps the larger chef's knife? or would i just be confusing myself?

how long have you been using the stone for, theNoodleIncident? is there a certain point that you feel like you are getting it, a certain rhythm or position?

also, am i pushing forward and pulling backward or just going in one direction? if so, which direction?

thank you
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbirdpies View Post
thanks all.

i guess i could have the smaller chef's knife at 15 deg, per CharlieD's recommendation, for slicing tomatoes or other vegetables very fine and so on. and according to mike in brooklyn, 30 would be for butcher duties (the cleaver) and everything else in between is 22-23 for perhaps the larger chef's knife? or would i just be confusing myself?

how long have you been using the stone for, theNoodleIncident? is there a certain point that you feel like you are getting it, a certain rhythm or position?

also, am i pushing forward and pulling backward or just going in one direction? if so, which direction?

thank you
The angle you give the knife depends on its intended use. For slicing and light chopping (NOT touching bones) you should go for a 15 degree per side angle as this is about as acute an angle your knives can handle. The 22-23 stuff is often touted because that's the way the knives come from the German and French factories. They are sharpened this way to make the edges last as long as possible but defeats the purpose of sharpening your own knives. Only use an angle like this if you're going to do heavy chopping or the edge will be touching objects like bones or marble cutting boards, etc.

You push AND pull with more pressure applied on the push cycle. Watch and the other videos of Dave Martell. I've never seen better free hand edges than the ones he produces. Learn by practicing on your crappiest knife first. Be sure and raise a full length burr and then remove it before going to the next finer stone.

Buzz
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post
The angle you give the knife depends on its intended use. For slicing and light chopping (NOT touching bones) you should go for a 15 degree per side angle as this is about as acute an angle your knives can handle. The 22-23 stuff is often touted because that's the way the knives come from the German and French factories. They are sharpened this way to make the edges last as long as possible but defeats the purpose of sharpening your own knives. Only use an angle like this if you're going to do heavy chopping or the edge will be touching objects like bones or marble cutting boards, etc.

You push AND pull with more pressure applied on the push cycle. Watch and the other videos of Dave Martell. I've never seen better free hand edges than the ones he produces. Learn by practicing on your crappiest knife first. Be sure and raise a full length burr and then remove it before going to the next finer stone.

Buzz
Never knew about the 15deg. method Buzz and will certainl try it
soon - I use an 8" Dexter Russell Chinese knife almost exclusively and
I use it almost exclusively on vegetables. I sharpen/hone using
60 circular strokes applying pressure only on the blade to tang
stroke and finish with 20 lateral front to back strokes. I learned this
technique from observing butchers at a local Chinese supermarket.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:22 PM   #8
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looks like the other guys already answered some of your questions

ive only been hand sharpening for like a month...and ive only done 3 knives, so im still very much a newbie....i do feel that i've learned alot in these few weeks, mostly because i had read a TON on the topic but hadn't actually tried it yet....actually seeing/feeling/hearing the process makes it alot more clear....now, that isn't to say im good at it yet - im not terrible, but certainly not "good" yet....my troubles so far have been creating and detecting a burr (either im not properly grinding one, or i cant feel that i already have), and holding a consistent angle (especially around the tip, which is tough)....the knives ive done so far have been cheap, and very dull, so its going to be interesting to see what happens when i try a good knife that is still semi sharp (going to take my parer to the stones this weekend)

something else im bad at is grinding evenly on both side - maybe someone can help me....i just sort of grind away on one side, till i think ive done a good job, or until i think i may have formed a burr....im absolutely not counting of strokes (i try to estimate the same amount of time on each side, but im sure thats not accurate)....how important is equal grinding? im guessing that if i dont make it even, im eventually going to have a very asymmetrical bevel, which may or may not be a good thing....prob a bad thing if im not trying to create a specific asymmetrical bevel
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike in brooklyn View Post
Never knew about the 15deg. method Buzz and will certainl try it
soon - I use an 8" Dexter Russell Chinese knife almost exclusively and
I use it almost exclusively on vegetables. I sharpen/hone using
60 circular strokes applying pressure only on the blade to tang
stroke and finish with 20 lateral front to back strokes. I learned this
technique from observing butchers at a local Chinese supermarket.
Oops. Misunderstanding I think. The 15 degree angle to which I was referring is the bevel angle, not the angle of the blade relative to the stone. I sharpen with the blade 90 degrees to the stone at all times to keep it simple. It helps with muscle memory and makes it easy for me to maintain an angle quite well. If I were to use a different blade to stone angle, or worse, a changing angle during the stroke, my bevels would be all over the place.

As to your technique; sounds good to me. We all sharpen differently but the basics are, ummmmm, cut in stone.

1) Maintain the angle
2) Raise a burr
3) Remove the burr
4) Proceed to the next finer stone and repeat

Any deviation from those four constitutes an incorrect method of free handing.

Buzz
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:08 PM   #10
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Thanks for the correction Buzz - do you use any sharpening aids
like DMT which will allign the knife to the blade at an exact angle.

I would also like to hear your opinion of diamond stones -
I currently use a normal stone with 3 grades of finer to
coarse grit.
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