Knife bevel changes
The newest Wusthof Knives now have a 15 degree bevel and Henkel's is going to a 12 degree bevel to compete with Shun and other Asian produced knives. If you own older knives you are fine with the stones and sharpeners previously produced.
If you are purchasing knives produced in the past few months you are going to have to adjust. Wusthof does have a pull through sharpener designed for the 15 degree sharpener, it red and marked with an Asian stamp. For the sharper 12 degree angle you are going to have to adjust. I don't know of any simple pull through except one being marked by Wusthof dubbed 'Universal which can be used with either edge.
I'm new at high quality kitchen knives. I would just have to assume that blades with 15 and 12 degree bevels would have to be high quality and made with excellent steel since neither of these companies want to increase problems of chipping or breaking. That's why they have used the 20-22 degree edges--they are tough but will not stay sharp as long.
My first thought is that you should forget the pull through sharpeners for knives of this fine a blade edge. They just will not give good consistent edges. Some of the sharpeners like the Wicked Edge, which I own and love, and the Edge Pro will handle these knife edges, though at present, the WEPS will only go down to 15* on the guide. The manufacturer is working on an attachment to cover the smaller angle edges as we speak.
Problem with these is the cost for either is around $250.00. It takes a knife nut to justify one unless one does a lot of cooking. This leaves you with the Japanese Waterstones which can also cost whatever you want to spend really. I see leather strops with fine abrasive coatings or ceramic honing rods containing a fine grit as the best answer right now.
But I would stay away from anything "Universal" and easy.
Dave. I believe the change of bevel is more or less a known trend for these two companies, but I am under the impression that it is a limited change. Wusthof has always applyied the 15-16 degree bevel for its Ikon series knives and the Le Cordon Bleu series. Wusthof has also recently changed the bevel geometry for ALL knives. It is called PEtec. Silly name if you ask me:
Wusthof knives always can hold a 15-16 degree edge anyway. Afterall, Messermeister has always used the 15 degree bevel for most of its knives.
As for Henckels, it is the Miyabi Morimoto lines, but that has always been the case. 9-12 degree. It would have ben very silly to try to make Japanese knives without a Japanese bevel, no?
I seriously doubt Henckels can alter its regular lines into a 9 degree bevel.
I can only find reference on the Wusthof site to 20º angles (in the "Honing and Sharpening" section). I don't see anything in the PEtec section at all, other than the rather cryptic statements, "The blades are measured by laser before sharpening. Computer programmes calculate the precise sharpening angle for each blade." This implies that each blade receives its own 'best sharpening angle' based on geometry analysis & some pre-determined software inputs.
I also don't see how the regular Henckels blades can support a 9*-12* bevel with their
rhc 57-59 hardness.
It's somewhat strange the different edge angles seen for different Henckels Japanese knives.
I see Amazon has the Miyabi 7000MC 8"Gyutoh with a 19* bevel. This knife has a core of
ZDP-189 powder steel and will stand a much finer bevel.
The Henckels Twin Cermax line has same steel. I had to email Henckels to find bevel for it. They said use 10*-12* angle and use a 3000K/8000K Waterstone for touchup and sharpening.
My Twin Cermax 8" Gyutoh rhc 66 needed some sharpening so I started on the 3K. It was a long go. I could never feel a good burr on the blade so after a while I just moved on to the 8K and used it till it would shave and cut paper. Then I used a strop with Enkay White Diamond honing compound and kept at it till it will push cut paper.
This Waterstone sharpening is fun! I've never been able to get a knife this sharp before.
I feel like I'm wandering in the dark with my stropping, so if anyone knows the grit size of the abrasives in the Enkay honing compounds I sure wish they would post them here.
"I also don't see how the regular Henckels blades can support a 9*-12* bevel with their rhc 57-59 hardness."
Agree. With many of their Miyabi Japanese knives, sure it is possible. With the regular German Zwilling, the 9-12 degree won't last more than 10 minutes on a cutting board.
" see Amazon has the Miyabi 7000MC 8"Gyutoh with a 19* bevel. This knife has a core of ZDP-189 powder steel and will stand a much finer bevel."
Agree. There was an older post here that a few of us discuss on this. We thought it was rather wasteful to make a powder steel knife like 7000MC, and then gives it a ~20o edge bevel. It is almost as silly as if you sharpening your knife from 8000 grit and then more to 3000 grit.
"They said use 10*-12* angle and use a 3000K/8000K Waterstone "
:) 3000K and 8000K is a lot :P Henckels means 3000 grit or 3K, right? Just teasing you.
"Then I used a strop with Enkay White Diamond honing compound and kept at it till it will push cut paper."
"if anyone knows the grit size of the abrasives in the Enkay honing compounds"
Sorry, I don't know, but someone else may know. If you don't get any answer here. I suppose you can always email the company.
Thanks Dave5440, for the information on the 15* bevel. I've been wanting to try reducing it and was concerned since I got my WEPS and it doesn't go below 15* yet.
Now I'll just use the 15* and be happy with that.
I bought that knife on ebay stated to be "brand new but no box" . When I got it, on checking with a 10x loupe, I could see numerous tiny chips in the blade edge. I don't know what had happened, but it made me wonder about its chipping propensity.
I sure do like to use that knife now though. It feels so good in my hand and the forward weight distribution handles much better(to me) than my handle heavy Henckels 8" Twin Cuisine chefs knife I bought as my first high quality kitchen knife.
I'm not positive, and Dave can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe he is talking about an edge that is 15 degrees included. He took his Henckels cermax down to a single bevel of 15 degrees.
If you are sharpening with the WEPS at 15 degrees per side, you are sharpening at 30 degrees included. Nothing wrong with that, but a powdered metal knife like the Henckels cermax can go below 30 deg included without getting too chippy.
Here is a link to the thread about Dave reprofiling his knife if you're curious.
Also, I wouldn't worry too much about microscopic chips in a new knife. That's actually fairly common. After you've sharpened it once or twice and used it a bit, if you're still getting chips (either lots of microscopic chips, or any big ones), then you have a problem either with the way you're using the knife, the way you're sharpening the knife, or the way the knife was tempered..
"I wouldn't worry too much about microscopic chips in a new knife. That's actually fairly common...."
Columa. Just because the knife microchips the first time at a particular angle, it does not mean it will continuously chips at that angle. A Henckels Cermax knife should not have any problem with a 30 degree included angle for normal usages.
Thanks all for the comments on the edge angle of the Cermax. I had no idea that knives would need a 'breaking in' period. Since I'm so new to Waterstones, I think I'll wait on re-profiling the edge till WE gets their attachment for lower angles so that I won't have doubts about what angle I'm actually getting.
I have become insane with my new hobby and bought 4 new chef knives and skip from one to the other trying to compare cutting qualities. I'll use the Cermax alone for a while. I haven't noticed any chips since I sharpened it and got the old ones out and yes, they were very small.
Re: Enkay honing compounds
" If you don't get any answer here. I suppose you can always email the company."
I emailed Enkay and got this answer:
"Polishing compounds do not have grit values. The aggressiveness is determined by the material makeup of the compound, not different sized particles. I have attached a copy of our polishing instructions, which includes a chart showing the compounds in order of aggressiveness and the materials they should be used on."
Strange answer to me. I would think that if the compounds can remove material and / or scratches in steel the property of 'aggressiveness' has to be based on particle size --or shape maybe?
Wish some of you would comment on their answer above.
"I have become insane with my new hobby and bought 4 new chef knives and skip from one to the other trying to compare cutting qualities"
Yeah, I was doing that too. I would jump from one knife to another just to test their performance difference. I don't think it is a bad idea to have two Chef knives or more. The reason is that I can get busy from week to week and sometime I just don't have the time and energy to sharpen my knives on a particular weekend. Having another Chef knife allows me to rotate them when one is getting dull and effectively doubles the duration which I need to sharpen them. Yeah, I do enjoy sharpen my knives when time permits.
"I had no idea that knives would need a 'breaking in' period."
"Breaking in period' was probably a little inaccurate when I said it above. Really you just need to sharpen away that initial edge the knife came with, because metal at that extreme edge can tend to be a little more brittle than is normal for the knife, and also has often been dinged up a bit in manufacture and shipping. By 'breaking in,' I specifically mean a sharpening session or two.
As for Enkay's email response to you:
Sounds like BS to me. It's possible that their compounds use grits of varying sizes and/or that they don't know the grit size (in microns) or their compounds. It's also possible that different compounds they make are denser with grit particles than others, contributing to aggressiveness. You're even right that particle shape can contribute to aggressiveness (though particle size would still be a factor). But their response is a non answer, and sort of implies that their compound contains no grits, which is nonsense.
You're just gonna have to go by feel on this one. If your compound is noticeably and quickly improving polish and pushcutting ability of an edge (fully) finished on an 8k stone, we can surmise that it is acting like it has a grit size below 3 microns. And above 0.5 microns, since that's chromium oxide level fineness. After that, you'd just have to compare it to other compounds of known grit size, which might be an interesting weekend project, but is otherwise probably not worth the time and money expense if you're already getting good results.
You are right, I was talking about 15* on each side with WEPS or 30* included.
I first sharpened it on the stones setting an angle about 2 quarters high. Not sure what that was but tried to hold it through the 3K and 8K and stropping.
It's finally pretty sharp. I haven't used the WEPS to sharpen it yet.
I enjoy using the Waterstones and stropping. I'm retired and need to keep busy:)
so I might just keep doing what seems to be working for the Cermax right now
Again, thanks for the information about the problems encountered in a new knife--eases my mind somewhat.