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Topics - John_B

Knife Sharpening / Customer’s Knives
May 22, 2021, 01:10:31 AM
Today a new customer dropped of a batch of knives to be sharpened. They were all extremely dull with no big chips. Under my loupe I could see tiny chips from a lot of use but these were taken care of with a coarsely graded stone. Once I started sharpening I also noticed that the bevel on each side of some of the knives was not the same from end to on either side. It has been a while since I have done anything but repeat customers but I don't remember seeing edges like this. I gave her my short knife care talk and a hands on steeling demonstration. She seemed pleased and paid me twice what I was asking. She had 13 sharpened and held 5 back for round 2.

Knife Sharpening / My Daughter's Knives
May 18, 2021, 06:25:20 PM
My daughter and her family were recently at the National Cheerleading Championships where my eldest granddaughter competed. They did not win but were in the top 5 in the nation. While they were away we took care of their guinea pigs. I decided that their knives were in need of sharpening so I rounded them up and put a nice edge on everything. Using Wootz's chart I would put them all at <100 BESS. When they came back I told her to be careful as everything was sharp.

Early yesterday I got a call that she had sliced her finger and wanted to let me know. She said she got distracted while cutting and let the edge slide across her thumb. She did not feel the cut but saw the blood when she looked down.

Please try and impress on your customers how sharp their knives are and their full attention is required like when using a power tool.
Periodically  I read about users that have issues with dripping and water spilling onto their work surface. one reason may be that you have the adjustable water trough too high. When i am starting with a dry wheel I will keep the trough as low as possible filling it until the wheel has absorbed most of what it can. I also try and keep the water at the guideline not above. Raising the trough only becomes necessary as the wheel diameter decreases.
One of the takeaways from the recent knife sharpening videos produced by Tormek is attach the jig so that the front edge is parallel to a line drawn from the point to the heel. On a good many knives this results in a fairly straight alignment of knife and jig. Measuring the jig base to edge distance is straightforward for these knives. Knives with a more pronounced curve will be attached to the jig so that the jig adjuster face and the knife edge are at an angle. My assumption is that the measurement of jig face to knife edge should be made in the center of the knife. Most of the jigs I have seen would work well on the first case of knife types where everything is fairly parallel but a different method might be needed for more curved knives.

Class looks like outdoor related knives and tools and should be great for all users. It is at 0830 CT in US.
Knife Sharpening / Using the Japanese Wheel
November 01, 2020, 07:16:50 PM
I am close to purchasing a Japanese wheel for my T-8. I have a couple of question for those that have one.

Currently for most of the knives I sharpen I will use the standard wheel to sharpen the edge and then hone on the leather wheel at 2° greater angle on the leather wheel. Do you use this protocol with the Japanese wheel or do you hone at the same angle so the entire sharpened area has a mirror finish. I was thinking about honing using the Japanese wheel at the same angle then moving to the leather wheel at +2°.
An interesting article on the mechanism of dulling in razor blades. The article states that micro chipping and fracture are the cause of blades dulling.

Reading Vadim's work on edge angle optimization with knives got me wondering if the same thing may be occuring on knives sharpened at 12° or less. I see a lot of knives with tiny chips that can be seen with a magnifier. I know that few people treat their knives like precision instruments and their knives originally are sharpened between 15° and 20°. I sharpened a few of my knives at 13° and honed them at 14.5° and they are holding up pretty well. I did notice a chip (visible with the naked eye) in ihe tip of a paring knife. Not sure how it happened as I am not the only one using my knives. Another factor with edge retention is I believe chopping as opposed to slicing. Western technique seems to be more chopping as opposed to Eastern slicing. While we look for edges that are razor sharp I worry that this micro chipping may come into play at the lower sharpening angles.

For the customers I have I have been sharpening their knives at 15° honing at 16.5° unless asked to do something different or if the original angle is different. They seemed pleased with the result. I must add that I give each person a lesson on how to use the steel before each use and a card with simple care and use instructions.
Knife Sharpening / Sharpening Calculations
July 11, 2020, 04:10:09 PM
We have seen a number of threads over the past months on calculations to set the USB height to achieve a specific grinding angle. I do not want to upset anyone with my questions but I am wondering what are the actual differences between the various methods presented? For someone that is sharpening knives using the Kenjig concept is there any practical difference? I have been using a single calculator and have not tried the different ones that have been presented and my edges have all seemed consistent and after honing exceptionally sharp.
Knife Sharpening / Diamond Hone Question
June 05, 2020, 06:06:42 PM
I am not sure many can answer this but I will see. I am wondering if anyone with a BESS tester has tried measuring the following on a single chefs knife:

1. BESS score after sharpening on Tormek

2. BESS score when honing with steel rod does not restore knife to your satisfaction after use.

3. BESS score after using a diamond hone when knife reaches state #2.

I have been using smooth and grooved steel rods along with 2 ceramic rods that range from 1000-3000 grit. I am wondering if I should add a diamond hone to the mix. With the rods I have my time between trips to the Tormek has been extended considerably over just using the 2 steel rods.
General Tormek Questions / New Video From Wootz
March 21, 2020, 02:18:36 PM
Here is a great video for both new and long time sharpeners. Little things that will improve your sharpening process.
A recent post gave me an idea for the Tormek Community. A great many of our responses to posts contain links to other sites, reference posts within this forum, videos and a wealth of other information. What would you think about creating a document that would serve as a one stop place for the links to all the information that is commonly referenced? It seems like we are posting a lot of the same links and information repeatedly in response to questions. While search is a great tool it is I think hard for many new users that are not as familiar with the terminology.

We could start a thread asking for contributions of links so one person won't have to compile everything. A lot of this information is available in Rich Colvin's handbook and this would supplement it with links to commonly referenced threads. I would suggest posting this as a .PDF document here.

If you do not think this is worth the effort it will not hurt my feelings to hear that.
Knife Sharpening / Best Way to Sharpen These Knives
February 28, 2020, 05:40:35 PM
I recently bought these 2 knives for spoon carving. I was wondering if anyone has experience sharpening them?

General Tormek Questions / Tray for Tormek
February 05, 2020, 07:27:47 PM
I have seen posts about trays for the Tormek to contain drips when sharpening. I have read about the Tormek tray and have seen where others suggest a lunch cafeteria tray.

My dogs have cages where they sleep at night. These cages come in a variety of sizes and they have a plastic tray with short sides. I looked on the Walmart site and they have one roughly the same dimensions as the Tormek tray for around $10. Has anyone tried these? I may stop by a nearby store and see if they have the smaller ones in stock.
Knife Sharpening / Toothy Bevel Discussion
September 01, 2019, 05:37:55 PM
On a Facebook knife sharpening page there is a discussion on making the bvel less polished or toothy as they describe it. Here is a post. Does this make any sense to you? If so what am I missing?

"think of the edge bevel like a saw. The scratch pattern creates tiny serrations or teeth. The more refined or polished the smaller the teeth. Like the difference between a saw blade for metal and for wood. The larger the teeth the better the blade will grab when using a slicing motion. The more polished a bevel is the less pressure needed for push cuts. So how "toothy" or polished you want a bevel depends on the use of the blade"
Knife Sharpening / Knives - What is in Your Kitchen
April 30, 2019, 04:46:48 PM
I have learned a lot from the members in this forum. It has been enjoyable going beyond the Tormek User Manual and Videos (Some of the best available from a manufacturer I think). Lately we have been delving into honing, stropping, steeling and cutting board impacts on edge retention. All great subjects that are very important.

One question I get from people quite often is "What knives do you recommend?" The question most often comes from home users. I find that they most often fall into 2 camps. The first camp wants knives that are inexpensive, will stay reasonably sharp and will last. For this group I will give them some basic knife styles to buy and recommend Victorinox. The other and smaller group want high quality, high performance knives. These are the home chefs that take cooking seriously. Here I recommend that they go to a store that stocks several brands and try them out. If you are doing a lot of cutting it is important how the knife is balanced and fits your hand. If they like the heavier Western style knives I will steer them towards Wusthof or Henckel. If they lean more towards the Japanese style the two I lean towards are Shun and Global.
I know some of us collect knives and that there are many brands now available over a wide price range. Also in many chef's knife roll I see a wide assortment where they have chosen the knife style and brand that fits them. Often they will have 3 or 4 brands or more in their kit.

Looking at knife brand that are available now worldwide on the Internet I am a bit overwhelmed. What do you have in your kitchen for everyday use?

I have too many actually; in quantity order Wusthof, Shun, Keene (looks like Victorinox), and Henckel. My wife also bought a set of knives from Wolfgang Puck from HSN shopping for us and our daughter. They are actually pretty good knives.
Having joined the ranks of the FVB converts I must say I think the edges of the knives I have sharpened following the process outlined in Vadim's book are definitely sharper than my free hand honing efforts. I need to visit the drug store and buy some paper for the final test. I only have receipts on hand and by feel I think the knife slides through easier than before. My wife has asked me to wear long sleeved shirts when we go out as there is a lot of hair missing on my arms and it looks like I have a condition.

To my questions; assuming I can now deliver knives that are razor sharp what instructions do I provide my customers to help them maintain the edge for as long as possible?

  • Up until today I thought the ubiquitous plastic boards and bamboo were good to use. How is maple? I always thought that if your knife could easily slice the edge of a board it was soft enough. The soft Japanese boards are very expensive and the only ones i know that have them are the two local sushi places.
  • Never use the dishwasher and hand wash and dry individually after each use.
  • Store your knives in a block with the edge up or use a magnetic strip. Do not throw them in a drawer unprotected
  • If you must cut bone identify one cheap knife for that purpose. We have a lot of people that cut the knuckle off of chicken thighs to make lollipops for BBQ.
  • Do not use the knife's sharp edge to scrape food off the board. Most people always scrape in one direction which can't be good for maintaining the edge.
  • Last use a steel before each use
Should we try and use the steel at the +1.5° to 2° increased angle used when honing? I have a steel that consists of two smooth steel rods connected at one end by an adjustable screw. I can set the angle for each side of the knife very precisely and maintain it by drawing the knife towards me while holding it vertically. Most people have the lightly serrated steels while a few have smooth steel. I do not know anyone with a ceramic rod. Which is best? I give a quick lesson on using the steel but I am guessing most are lucky if the come close half of 45° or 22.5° ± 5° or so.

Is there anything else we should be doing to extend the time between sharpening?

I have a couple of questions. I watch this video and see a Global knife sharpened with a resulting BESS score of 75. By all standards quite a sharp edge. Should I expect an even lower value if the Japanese stone was used in lieu of the leather honing wheel? Will the ground edge just be smoother and more reflective with the Japanese wheel or actually sharper? Would a CBN 1000# be a better investment for the sharpest edge?

Hand Tool Woodworking / Sharpening Abused Chisels
March 16, 2019, 08:25:39 PM
I was sharpening some chisels that had seen better days recently and I had a couple of thoughts as I entered a Zen like mood.

First, I can see why Ken recommends starting off on chisels. Having the longer edge to look at while you sharpen makes it easier than a knife to assess your work and they are fun. Secondly it is very easy to feel the burr as you progress and this is also good if you do not have much experience with burrs on an edge. As I mentioned in another thread there was a stark contrast between the new edge and the rest of the chisels and I had second thoughts about not cleaning them up. 

My last thought centers around resharpening these chisels at some point. I think it would be very useful to measure the blade protrusion from the jig and the height of the support bar. This would allow you to exactly replicate the setup and possible save some grinding time.
Knife Sharpening / Another Way to Assess Sharpness
March 11, 2019, 10:14:36 PM
Today I saw a video which demonstrated a new (to me) way of assessing sharpness. He uses the banding from off brand plastic soda bottles. He asserts that the name brands like Coke and Pepsi are a little thicker and easier to cut.

Today I was shopping and I got a bottle of Ginger Ale. I tried cutting the label and I must agree with the statement. In my brief test it was more sensitive to sharpness than magazine paper and newsprint. I keep reminding myself to look for cigarette papers but so far I have forgotten.

If anyone has a Bess tester it would be interesting to know the highest value that will easily cut the label. 
I would venture that few of us have invested in the instrumentation to accurately determine a BESS value after sharpening. I was wondering if anyone has a chart that correlates BESS values with more practical sharpness tests. My test range from duller to sharper is currently copy paper, magazine paper then news print. I, however, have no idea what BESS vales these real World test correlate to. What are other things you use for consistently testing sharpness.

What would be ideal is a list that a knife at this value will cut this but if it is a higher values it will not. Perhaps not even to the exact BESS number but to their categories:
I like Wootz's categories at the lower end as well if there are tests other than BESS that correlate.

Severely rolled edge
Moderately rolled edge
New high end cutlery
Utility razor blade
Double edge razor blade