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Old 12-19-2007, 11:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hawkeye16 View Post
Jeekinz... Do you use multiple Whetstones? ie. Coarse, Fine and Ultra fine or do you tend to just stick with one most of the time (fine / ultra fine probably?)
I have a few sets. One is a 3 stone set 6000, 4000 and 2000 grits I believe. I also have a single King stone at 6000 grit. And numerous smaller stones with varying grits. Usually, unless there's a nick, I can get away with the 4000 or 2000 stone. Your not carving wood so anything more is overkill. I recently sharpened a friends 8" chef. We both own the same exact knife. Mine needs to see a stone once a year, I use a steel once a week and the knife gets used on a daily basis. (I've even opened cans with it) He had his for 2 months and killed the edge on a glass cutting board. (raw chicken police) I used my Delta sharpening station to get the edge back then finished it with the stones. I can also use the sharpening station to put an edge on the heel of a knife. If you compare some chefs knives, you'll see on some the blade will stop at the heel where bolster is.

One 2000 grit stone using ONLY WATER as a lubricant will get most of the work done. Regularly use a steel, only use knives on a wood or soft plastic cutting board, do not place knives in the sink and store them away from other objects on their side. A safe way to check for sharpness is to hold the knife blade side up and see if theres a slight reflection on the edge of the blade. The reflection is where it's dull.

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Old 12-24-2007, 01:43 AM   #12
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Well, working as a chef for years definately instills an appreciating for the inportance of keeping your knives sharp. There's definately an air of mystery around the sharpening process; one one level it's extremely simple, but it's not easy! Japanese waterstones can give you a spooky-sharp edge but freehanding requires a lot of skill and can take a lot of patience and practice. There are a variety of methods the pro's and skilled amatuers use (hones, waterstones, paper wheels, strops, mousepad-and-sandpaper) and they can acheive great results. But there if you're "coordination-challenged" there are some superb options that will give you an edge that will shave with a minimum of hassle. I'll list my recommendations in reverse order of desirability (and not coincidentally, from cheapest to most expensive!).

3) The Edgemaker Pro- These are a very innovative and effective "V-type" pull thru system that utilizes varying grit aluminum oxide coated rods, much harder than any blade steel you'll ever encounter (close to diamonds in hardness). When you press down and draw the knife thru, you compress them like a spring, allowing them to really cut a bevel quickly. There are three main tools, with 4 grits. There are several virtues to this sytem. First, they're so simple to use a monkey could use 'em. Just line the blade up with the slot at a slight angle and draw the blade thru, applying firm pressure. Second, they remove very little metal. Obviously the coarser grits remove more metal, but you'll rarely use them- once you get a good edge, you'll mostly use just the finest grit (the Yellow Handy Honer.) Lastly, it's extremely effective. My Dad has sharpened hundreds of knives with his, and nearly all of them are shaving sharp. I've used mine on many knives, and have taken the junkie, "disposable" knives from the commercial kitchens I've run and put an edge on them that will push cut paper and shave hair easily. It will even sharpen serrated knives very effectively! They're pretty cheap, about $30 for all three with free shipping, or $10 for just the Handy Honer. The downside? There are a few knives it just doesn't work on, mostly due to the way they're ground. And I wouldn't advise you run a single bevel knife like an Usuba thru it (although I did it just to try it out, and it did give me a scary sharp edge- but it probably altered the bevel). For keeping cheap-to-midprice knives razor sharp with rediculously little effort, the Edgemaker is tops.

2) The Spyderco 204 Tri-Angle Sharpmaker- This sharpener is legendary on the knife forums. It will put an edge on almost any knife that will shave like a razor and push cut with ease. It comes with 2 grits, but finer and coarser rods can be added, including diamond rods. It's really simple to use, too, and is based on the fact that while holding a knife at, say, a 21.5 degree angle is very difficult, virtually everyone can easily hold something straight up and down at a 90 degree angle. The Sharpmaker will also teach you a lot about the process of sharpening, too. The basic set sells for between $45 and $65 depending on where you buy.

3) The Edge Pro and Edge Pro Apex- IMOHO this is the finest guided sharpening system out there. It utilizes synthetic waterstones, high grit polish tapes and a ceramic hone to put an edge on your blade that's breathtakingly sharp! It has a little bit of a learning curve (it'll probably take you 10-15 knives to feel like you really have it down pat- Ben Dale, the inventor, has a DVD & manual that help a lot) but it's worth the effort. The knives I've sharpened on my Apex will easily delaminate paper and many will fillet a human hair. It'll sharpen any knife, including single bevel & differentially bevelled blades, although it won't correctly sharpen a concave edge (of course, you can't usually do them freehand on stones, either- it takes a belt or mousepad-type sharpener for that. I've never seen a concave kitchen knive, btw, and I'm not sure any exist). The only downside is the cost- from EdgePro Inc it will cost you about $200 for the Apex, or $375-$500 for the Pro model. There are some authorized resellers for the Apex with much better prices, some as low as $125 for the bare-bones model. I bought mine for about $225 with a bunch of extra waterstones, a carrying case, DVD & ceramic hone, as well as a blank for polishing tapes. Short of learning to freehand on waterstones or mastering the abrasive belt, there's no better way to sharpen a knife, and even those methods really aren't any more effective. I wouldn't part with mine and give it my strongest possible recommendation!

There is no "best" method for everyone. I love my Apex but still use my Edgemaker's a heckuva lot. I tuck the two peices with the 3 finer grits into my chefs roll to take to work and have sharpened many knives to shaving-sharp that otherwise would be used as dull as a butter knife. They'll take a knife from very-dull to extremely-sharp in well under 1 minute, and I can teach anyone to use it in less than 5 minutes. For cheaper knives it's really not worth it to me to drag out the stones, and periodic honing will keep them very sharp. Of course, the art of sharpening can be a very enjoyable & therapeutic hobby in and of itself.

No matter what route you take, remember- a sharp knife is safer and makes cooking a lot more enjoyable. Getting and keeping a good edge is so simple that there's no longer any excuse for tolerating a dull knife.

If we're not supposed to eat animals, then how come they're made out of meat?
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Old 12-25-2007, 01:30 AM   #13
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Here's a picture I took tonite of the three sharpening systems I mentioned above:

Upper left- Spyderco Sharpmaker, Lower left- Edgemaker Pro's, Right- Edge Pro Apex

If we're not supposed to eat animals, then how come they're made out of meat?
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Old 12-27-2007, 05:45 PM   #14
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Jeff suggested the Chef's Choice Professional Knife Sharpening Station.

I have had the Chef's Choice Manual Diamond Hone for about 15 years. It works well for me. I'm not a chef, but I do cook a lot.
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Old 12-27-2007, 05:51 PM   #15
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My husband bought a (forgive my terminology) Craftsman sharpening wheel at sears, has a round spinning wheel and he just holds my knives on at an angle, he figured out how to hold it right by researching online and reading the manual. I have more knives in the kitchen than he does in the garage, by about 20, so I like to think he bought it for me?

Otherwise I would be taking them to a professional .
Not that there's anything wrong with that.....
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Old 12-27-2007, 08:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by miniman View Post

aunt dot. It's a high school where I teach cooking and the knives are those the kids use.
Does the school have a wood shop or a metal shop? Perhaps one of the shop teachers could help you & your students out.
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Old 12-28-2007, 05:24 AM   #17
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I use a Lansky system with a collection of hones. I usually start with a course diamond hone on new knives (to set the correct bevel angle), followed up with the 600 grit stone, the 800 grit stone, the 1000 grit ceramic, and 2000 grit "sapphire" hone. After a few strokes on a ceramic steel, the edge is stropped with a chromium oxide-loaded bench strop. Not hair-whittling like some people can get, but certainly hair splitting.

The disadvantage of the Lansky is that, on longer knives, the clamp has to be moved on blades longer than 5 inches or else the bevel angle will be far from uniform.

To keep them sharp, I'll give a just-used knife a few swipes on the ceramic steel. I use that until I get a smooth steel.
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:39 AM   #18
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DMT Sharpening Steel

I like the DMT sharpening steel.... This is for honing. I think you could get the dull knives sharpened somewhere, but then have the students practice keeping them honed with a steel. Honing is the lifelong practice that we should practice regularly. Sharpening a dull knife is something a concscientous cook will not have to do because they will keep their knives honed.... It's like, do you want to learn how to do an oil change or clean out an engine clogged up with burnt oil sludge because you never did an oil change.
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Old 12-29-2007, 08:08 AM   #19
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Unfortunately DMTís 1200 grit / 9 micron and 2200 grit / 7 micron sharpening rods are not available in lengths greater than 12". Their 14" Ďsteelí only appears to be available in 600 grit / 25 microns. While 600 grit might be ok, if itís your only sharpening tool, itís perhaps a tad too aggressive for regular use.
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:25 AM   #20
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iF YOU WANT TO GO ELECTRIC, The manufacturer of my knives, Gunter Wilhelm, recommends the Presto 8800 Eversharp Electric Knife Sharpener. I have one and I am completely happy with it, and so are all the other people I have sharpened knives for.

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