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Aug 22, 2011 10:53 AM

Having problems

ok another problem with knife sharpening. I started using a cheap combo stone from Canadian tire. I can actually get them decent sharp. Then I bought a lanky guide rod system and it works decent for pocket knives if they're carbon but removes stainless so slow it's a waste of time. I've read Japanese water stones work fast and well. So I bought a naniwa 220 Superstone and a king 1000/6000 combo. I'm pretty decent at holding a consistent angle. So I tried sharpening my already pretty sharp santoku on the 220. It does nothing. I spent about an hour sharpening just one side and never raised a burr. What is going on? I'm about ready to give up on doing this myself. Thanks for any help

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  1. "So I bought a naniwa 220 Superstone and a king 1000/6000 combo. "

    I have never used a Naniwa Super at low grit. I have only used the 1000 and 3000 Naniwa Superstone. Nevertheless the 220 grit should work. When you say it does not work, do you think it is because (a) it removes metal, but never raise a burr or (b) it does not remove metal at all. Do you see the metal or the stone being ground away?

    Because you said your Santoku is pretty sharp already, have you tried just using the King stone. A pretty sharp knife should start at 1000 or 2000 grit stone. Nevertheless, your concern is true. You should be concern that no burr was raised. In fact, it should take your less than two swipe to raise a burr for a relatively sharp knife. It definitely should not take an hour.

    One obvious question... you have use water on the waterstone, right?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I would add what kind of steel is your santoku made of? I've had experience with 120,220,320,400 stones not even scratching a miyabi but the 800 and up removed metal quite well
      I have also encountered and heard of some SS steels that cannot be sharpened I don't know the specific grades/numbers but I had a cheapy knife from a friend that no matter what I did to it, would not remove any metal or sharpen, even a pull through carbide wouldn't touch it, just skipped over it.

      1. re: Dave5440

        "I had a cheapy knife from a friend that no matter what I did to it, would not remove any metal or sharpen"

        I certainly have tried some very cheap knives which do not form burr. Metal get removed, but burr cannot form. Let's take an extreme example, when I sharpen my plastic knife (which I had), I can remove the plastic, but I cannot form a burr. Anyway, it seems the original poster must have a different problem because he/she can sharpen it using a cheap combo stone, but not the Naniwa Superstone 220.

        "I've had experience with 120,220,320,400 stones not even scratching a miyabi but the 800 and up removed metal quite well"

        Very interesting, I have to think about it a little bit. Are these stones made by the same manufacturer? I suppose if the 220 stone is made of different abrasive than the 800 grit stone, then this can happen. For example, if the 220 stone is made of coarse by softer materials, while the 800 grit stone is made of finer by harder abrasive. I wonder if the Naniwa 220 stone is made of soft abrasive or that the abrasive are held up by too softly....

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          It was the ep brand of stone that didn't work, the lowest chosera (800) was the best at removal and no one can tell me why, they didn't load up and stop they just didn't do anything, it doesn't make sense.I didn't take that it was removing metal from the op, it will raise a burr if metal is coming off, unless it's breaking off before one looks at it, there are some SS's that are too tough

          1. re: Dave5440

            Maybe the abrasive materials are different. It is possible that Chosera stones are made of different abrasive than the EP stones. This is especially the case for your powder steel knife (Miyabi). Let's take an other example: ceramic knives. I am sure you have heard that ceramic knives are very difficult to sharpen except for diamond abrasive. As such, a finer diamond stone at 2000 grit size can probably sharpen a ceramic knife better than a coarser 1000 grit aluminum oxide stone.

            That being said, I don't know if any of these applies to the original poster's situation.

            P.S.: it is said that Naniwa Superstone is made of resin binding aluminum oxide..


    2. Vicv07.

      Just following up another speculation I have, do you know what is the brand of your Santoku? Is it made of some special hard steel like the Shun Elite SG-2 powder steel or Henckels Miyabi MC66 powder steel...?

      1. Okay, this may be a really dumb question, but since you mention that you've never used a Japanese waterstone before, are you soaking it thoroughly in water first? Also, I'm sure you know that you're not supposed to put honing oil on a waterstone, as you would for an Arkansas oilstone.

        Sorry if these questions/comments are way too obvious, but I can't imagine that you could try to sharpen your santoku on a 220-grit stone (which is very coarse) for an hour without removing any metal. I have a variety of Japanese knives, and all of them sharpen up quite quickly on my Shapton 1000-grit ceramic waterstone. Less than ten strokes per side, followed by the same number of strokes on a leather strop, is usually all it takes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tanuki soup

          sorry for the wait. I'm embarrassed to say I must have made this post then forgot about it. So to anyone who tried to help and I didn't respond I am very sorry. If anyone who responded sees this I'll continue the discussion. I gave up on freehand sharpening for a bit and started power sharpening with a belt sander. I got pretty good at it but still having problems with burrs that seem to be gone but come back after using the knife. Recently I got bitten by the freehand bug again and got to work. That cheap santoku was a fabreware I believe. No problem with power sharpening either. The problem was the stone wasn't removing any metal. That's why I couldn't raise a burr. The knife just skated along the surface without being abraided away at all. The stone must have had some kind of surface hardening in the manufacturing process. I recently flattened it on plate glass with 90# Sic powder. The stone was covered in a kind of grayish marbling all over the surface. Now it's a nice even beige colour and works very well. Raised a burr on a yanagi in about a minute. By the thickness of the burr I went way to far with it. Lesson learned. It removes metal very quickly. So yes i am using water not oil and this particular stone doesn't require a soak. It's a splash and go. I'm working on my technique but I've gotten some pretty respectable edges with these three stones. Anyone seen this happen with a new stone? I did try flattening them when new to make sure it was flat but maybe the sandpaper I was using wasn't hard enough. I know it wore out very fast. Sic powder much better