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Old 08-22-2008, 10:41 AM   #1
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Oops, I did it again!

My other half, PeppA, has been giving gentle, and not-so-gentle, hints that the two 8" chef's knives here at the house need some TLC.

So, I get my stones out. This is a cheap, $20 tri-stone setup that I bought at Wally World 15 years ago. It consists of one aluminum oxide stone of unkown grit, and two natural Arkansas wetstones.

Well, I learned something really quick. Those natural wetstones do a MUCH better job of polishing an edge than the stones at work. I sharpened the knife that "I" prefer to use on Saturday. Monday night, I nicked my thumb. Nothing serious, but yes, I caught an edge.

Yesterday, I sharpened the other knife, which is a F. Dick 8" stamped chef's knife, which I retired from commercial use a few years ago. While I was sharpening that knife, PeppA was prepping some ham to make an omellette, and tagged her index finger. From the way she squealed, I thought she cut her fingertip completely off.

After looking at the wound, it's not that bad. It doesn't need stitches, nor did it bleed badly. She's got it bandaged up.

I learned that she has no tolerance for pain, though. She's since told me never to sharpen a knife that sharp again.

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Old 08-22-2008, 10:43 AM   #2
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Allen...do yourself a favor, never run with scissors.
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:24 AM   #3
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Allen, you trust your better half with a sharp object??

My, my, you are a brave man!!!!!!
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Old 08-22-2008, 11:34 AM   #4
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Yep, I know whatcha mean. I use an natural Arkansas Stone to put the final edge on my knives when sharpening as well. I use the Smith brand. And yes, I've knicked a thumb or two. All I can say is, thank goodness for tough thumbnails!

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Old 08-22-2008, 11:47 AM   #5
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My thought is if she gets used to a sharp knife she will be a bit more careful. I feel for her - I've cut myself before and it didn't really bleed, which scared the snot out of me!!! It hurt like heck. Pain is relative, however...I have been told I have a low tolerance for pain....when you are in the throws of pain that whole statement makes no sense and I'm like...WHAT???
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:12 PM   #6
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Well, I got a good look at her "injury" today. It's maybe half an inch long, and barely 1/8" deep, at a very shallow angle on the tip of her index finger. Basically, it make a "flap" type wound.

When I injure myself like this, I don't squeal and cry. She did for 10 minutes. Heck, I darn near amputated my left thumbtip 10 years ago, and had to go get stitches. I didn't scream, squeal, or wail.

For what it's worth, my Sous Chef borrowed my hollow-ground slicer Tuesday, and tagged his right index knuckle. Looks like no one can resist the steely kiss of my blades.

BTW: While I look at these incidents as amusing, believe me, I take great care and attention to knife safety. Yes, I have cut myself. All cooks have. But, I make sure my fingers are curled under, and that I never use sloppy technique.
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Old 08-23-2008, 03:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Looks like no one can resist the steely kiss of my blades.
Just professional curiousity, could you tell us how you sharpen and polish your edges.
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Old 08-23-2008, 03:40 PM   #8
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Sharp knives cut cleaner,

Clean cuts heal faster,

And so it goes.

My Arkansas always seemed to sharpen he best, and mayhaps that's what I'll do tonight, razor up some knives.
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Old 08-23-2008, 03:57 PM   #9
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I learned that she has no tolerance for pain, though. She's since told me never to sharpen a knife that sharp again.
If the knife had been really sharp she wouldn't have felt a thing. The cut is "sensed".
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Old 08-23-2008, 06:24 PM   #10
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I amputated the end of my thumb many years ago because I stupidly tried to slice tomatoes with a large slicing knife usually used for prime rib still have no feeling there. I think a sharp knife is safer than a dull knife if you know how to use it and more importantly using the right knife for the right job. I do prefer a lesser sharp paring knife for peeling potatoes I don't care for a potato peeler on potatoes it just seems to take too long but I like them for carrots etc.
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:44 AM   #11
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Well, she did it again. Managed to knick the palm of her hand this time. She's been glaring daggers at me again :)

Chico, just like I do at work. Only difference is, it's a different tri-stone setup. It's got one aluminum oxide stone of undetermined grit, and two Natural Arkansas wetstones, also of undetermined grit. I spread a little mineral oil on the stone, and start working the blade across the stone, I try to maintain a 20 degree angle on the blade, all by hand. I start with the coarse stone, and work that just until the bevel becomes uniform and the rounded, dull edge is ground off. This takes constant checking, as I don't want to grind to much metal off the knife. Once that is achieved, I clean the stone off, and advance to the next stone. I was actually surprised by the Arkansas stones, as they produce a more polished edge than the artificial stones at work do.

I maintain my edges with a steel.

I will admit that I am but a lowly apprentice compared to your skill level, Chico. I need to look into getting some better stones and teaching myself to use them properly.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:31 AM   #12
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AllenOK, I always wonder what people use on their edges. And frankly, I have bizarre rituals and procedures, myself.

As you might know, I toss knives into the freezer if I think it might help on a really good edge. Right now, the nakiri I repaired is taped up and sitting in the the freezer since yesterday. I have frozen a knife for several weeks, and it came out great.

After much debating, the professional sharpeners have come to think that freezing a knife before sharpening isn't really doing anything to the HRC of a blade itself.

Since the edge is the thinnest, most fragile part, a good freeze may be keeping the very edge rigid for any work the tinker must do.

Is this really worth the effort? Well, until some philanthropist shakes my hand, the nakiri will be for my personal use--because the cost is skyrocketing.

Look at the time I invested in research and sweat equity just to get the blade straight. And when I mean "straight" I mean 'OCD straight,' like better than factory.

Now it's about to receive several hours of carefully making the bevel uniform front-to-back, and then left-to-right. That's a slow pain for any knife. (When Buzz came to see me I wanted to do a knife for a demonstration. As is my luck, the only knife I had that needed a sharpening was so far out of whack it shouldn't have escaped the Q/C at the factory.)

After all of this, the knife is then re-frozen for a polishing. Finer stones, polishing papers, paste and glass, and then finer paste on finer papers on Glaziers glass.

Now, is this work practical, worthwhile, affordable or even logical? Of course not! As a dealer, I paid 59 bucks for this knife. Considering all of the extra-curricular monkey-motion this knife has caused, I might be investing 200 to 300 dollars worth of time and materials into a six-inch knife.

To a professional chef (and I mean, think "Iron Chef"), acquiring the knife for perfect slices may indeed be worth it for presentation at a four-star. They write off their costs, and who knows, they might even toss the knife in the "junk drawer" when it got dull.

For us peons, it means "the biker got bored, needed a project."

Edit: You do realize that as a consumer, I'm not wealthy enough to afford a "Bada Bing polish." The knife will ultimately get sold to a chef. I cannot even afford my own work.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
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She's been glaring daggers at me again :)
As long as you didn't sharpen those daggers maybe they won't penetrate too deeply!
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:14 AM   #14
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I know I am spoiled, my DH keeps my knives sharp - when I visit my Son (who seems to make time for every other project BUT sharpening his knives) I always end up cutting myself and grumble a great deal. Sharp is best!
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