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Brand new knife already dull?

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So when I was choosing a new knife I nicked myself twice on the display knives at Kitchen Stuff plus. When I got my new henckel chefs knife home I was being careful because I thought I was dealing with something much sharper than I was used to. This was about 2 weeks ago and it already seems that the knife has either dulled or never was as sharp as I thought. I just spent 120$ on a knife. I don't really think it's fair to be expected to shell out another 20$ to get it sharpened so soon.

How do you all test if your knife is as sharp as it 'should' be? I can't get all the way through an onion easily to do a proper dice, and I felt like it was dragging a bit on the soft tomato I was testing it on. Very frustrating!

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  1. What kind of cutting board are you using? What have you cut with this knife?

    1. If you search various cooking boards you'll discover that a lot of people, including me, have discovered that most knives of that sort (Henckels, Wushhof, &c sold in higher-end chain stores) actually aren't that sharp out of the box. Ironically, cheap stamped knives from Ikea or a restaurant supply store are often sharper when you get them out of their plastic packaging.

      As for how *I* test a knife, I do it the way you did. I rock-cut a pepper (skin side down for me, but skin side up is probably a better test of sharpness) or dice an onion, or drag it over the skin of a tomato . If the knife requires any effort, I get out my sharpening tools (a DMT diamond hone, which can put an edge on anything) and sharpen away. The DMT cost me more than the knife did, by a few bucks, but it means I can put a decent edge on almost any cheap knife I encounter.

      1. Many things can come into play like fmed pointed out the board and materials cut. Do you have a honing steel and use it? Couple of strokes may fix you right up.

        If the steel doesn't remedy it a resharpening is called for. $20 for resharpening a dulled knife, ie no damaged tip or chips, is quite high

        Jim

        1 Reply
        1. re: knifesavers

          It is impressive the improvement the honing steel can do. Watch Julia child explain on the French Chef how to use it and you can save some money.

        2. Well, I think the best way is to learn to sharpen your knives, but that is an entirely different topic.

          As for what actually happened, there are a few likely possibility. First, it is that your cutting boards are very bad. I hope you are not using a glass cutting board or marble cutting board. Second, the knives have been put in dishwashers. Third, it is your cutting techniques. Your cutting technique is poor.

          1. lf your knife felt sharp when you bought it and now feels dull, two weeks later, chances are that it is. You can test, if you wish, by slicing a sheet of newspaper (or at least printer paper). If the paper isn't sliced cleanly, then the knife is less than sharp.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKjfTX...
            But testing on food is equally valid when you're experienced with sharp edges.

            If your knife is dull, the next important thing is to figure out why.
            - If you have glass or marble cutting board, case solved. These are awful for knife edges.
            - If you just throw your knives in a drawer and let em bang around, case solved.
            - If you throw em in the sink or dishwasher in such a way that the edge can just bang around into other implements, case solved.
            - If you used the knife to hack through bones or frozen food or tree branches, case solved.
            - If you never learned good cutting technique and find yourself applying a lot of pressure or wiggling the knife side to side; or if you move foods around your cutting board by pushing it with the knife, dragging the edge along the board, case solved... sort of. These things are bad for a knife edge, but not as bad as the problems I mentioned above. Still, they'll cause you to dull prematurely.

            If none of these apply, there are still various reasons why your knife could be dull. The edge could be rolled, in which case a light honing should return the sharpness of the blade. Do you have a steel? If so, try using it and then check the edge. If not, you can even steel on the rounded edge of a marble countertop or on the spine of another knife. If your edge is rolled, then steeling for a minute or two should make the knife sharp again. This type of thing can be the result of a problem with the initial sharpening and/or a result of the steel of the blade being comparatively soft for the angle it's set at.

            I would think that 2 weeks is a little quick for a big drop off in sharpness for most home cooks' knives, but if you're using them extensively enough, then it could have just dulled normally. If I lent out a sharp knife to a professional line cook who works in a busy kitchen, I would expect a dull knife returned after 2 weeks. Some knives dull quicker than others, but ALL knives will dull noticeably under heavy usage with no maintenance. Whether your knife cost $30 or $120 or $1000, it will go dull with heavy use and will need to be sharpened for optimum (or acceptable) performance. Because of this, the most cost effective way to have very sharp knives year round is to learn to sharpen for yourself. I'll say the same thing I say in all of these threads: sharpening is more important than what knives you have.

            45 Replies
            1. re: cowboyardee

              "Whether your knife cost $30 or $120 or $1000, it will go dull ...sharpening is more important than what knives you have."

              Agree. It is infinitely better to have "a Victorinox $20 knife and knowing show to sharpen it" than to get a "$1000 Henckels Kramer knife"

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Only cut fruits and veggies.
                Wooden cutting board.
                Hand washed.
                My cutting technique isn't pro but it certainly isn't bad.
                This is really disappointing.
                There is some drag on the tomato. Noticed it last night.
                After buying this stupid knife it'll be awhile before I can afford something decent to sharpen it with.

                1. re: Nocontact

                  If you can't afford to buy something to sharpen it, you can have it professionally sharpened. It should only cost a few bucks per knife, not $20.

                  1. re: MelMM

                    Any idea where in Toronto I can get it sharpened well for that price? I looked at Knifetoronto and it was $14 for my chef's knife. I've read some nightmare stories about Nella's and I don't want to part with it for a week.

                    1. re: Nocontact

                      "Any idea where in Toronto I can get it sharpened well for that price? I looked at Knifetoronto and it was $14 for my chef's knife. I've read some nightmare stories about Nella's and I don't want to part with it for a week."

                      $14.00 sounds like a lot of money,but Eugene at Knife or Ivan or Olivia at Tosho Knife arts will make your knife sing..They both have sharpening classes(one is free,very basic and they both have more advanced classes,not free)

                      Whatever you do don't send them to Nella!!

                      I forgot to add that both places hand sharpen with top notch stones,none of those grinders used to sharpen ice skates... :-D

                      1. re: petek

                        Kitchen Stuff Plus sharpens knives (the one at Yonge/Highway 7 does anyway) but I don't know how good of a job they do.

                        I was in the audience of a CityTV taping a few months ago and they gave everybody these: http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.... They work great and are fairly inexpensive (~$25).

                        I make sure to sharpen my knife before every use.

                      2. re: Nocontact

                        don't let nella sharpen it, and i have a lot of henckel pro knives which are the same steel and mine definitely last more then 2 weeks without being sharpened, and i use them professionally. That said, I do hone them pretty much every day that I use them, sometimes more then once. Perhaps your method of honing isn't correct or maybe it just needs to be steeled a bit more. If I was in Toronto I'd take a look at them for you, but I am in Barrie right now and not for much longer. My professional S knives I have at 18 degrees which is less the the recommended but I still have no problem keeping them sharp by honing.

                        1. re: TeRReT

                          Petek and TeRReT,

                          Ok..... I have been holding my tongue... , but what is Nalla? Is that a person who has this horrible reputation that both of you condemn? Or is this a hardware store chain?

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            nella is a restaurant supply store, they have store fronts where you can buy decent things, and also rent/sell all equipment to outfit a restaurant. They are very good at this. They also provide a knife service to restaurants, they have knives similar to victorionox that they replace weekly and take your old ones to sharpen. Its a decent enough idea, but they use a wheel grinder and grind the crap out of them. Again, thats fine since they are cheap knives and its a cheap service, but they don't take the care that other places would so I wouldn't want to send my own personal knives there. Places like Knife will sharpen by hand with great care.

                            http://www.nellacutlery.com/kniferent...
                            http://godtopuseats.files.wordpress.c...
                            http://imgc.classistatic.com/cps/kjc/...

                            http://www.nellacutlery.com/home.html

                            as a company I do like them, and they are probably the biggest restaurant supplier for most of ontario, and I likely will use them in the future, and have friends that work there, just I wouldn't send my knives to be sharpened is all.

                            1. re: TeRReT

                              Thanks TeRReT.

                        2. re: Nocontact

                          http://www.blogto.com/design/tosho-kn...

                          that was just posted today, they do sharpening for $5 and the store looks mighty fun :P

                          I will be going there this week and will let you know how it is ;P

                          1. re: TeRReT

                            $5+ :)

                            So I am guessing a big knife will cost closer to $10. It is still pretty inexpensive as it does waterstone sharpening by hand. It is probably overkill for a Henckels :D I bet the store will lure Nocontact in and say "Why don't you take a look of this Japanese knife while fill out the paperwork" :D

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              bah, i was too excited reading about the store i missed the +, its right around the corner from where i get my korean food so looking forward to going there this week, though im not in the market really given in 2 weeks i will be in japan, but still, and Petek already mentioned Tosho but still.

                              1. re: TeRReT

                                Have fun in Japan, and don't forget to take a few pictures about foods and knives as you zoom around in Japan. Where will you be? Tokyo? Osaka?

                      3. re: Nocontact

                        Hmmm... in that case, I cannot really see anything obvious. It sounds like the knife is only lightly used.

                        Instead of sharpening it... do you have a honing steel? As cowboyardee said, maybe your knife edge is still there, but it has been rolled/bent. You can realign it using a steel.

                        http://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/ima...

                        1. re: Nocontact

                          Two questions:

                          Exactly which Henckels knife did you buy? Doesn't necessarily make a huge difference, but it might guide the discussion a bit.

                          Also, what exactly do you mean by 'There is some drag on the tomato'? In other words, it's hard to gauge from your description just how dull it is right now.

                          I agree with Chem (who agrees with me ;) ) - consider steeling the edge and see if that helps before moving on to more drastic measures.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            I bought a 4-star 8" chef's knife.
                            I used a ceramic honing rod on it last night which just arrived from amazon, didn't seem to make much difference if any.
                            It certainly won't cut paper cleanly.
                            I just meant that if I take it to a tomato, it doesn't go through the skin with minimal effort. It feels like it's pulling a bit.

                            1. re: Nocontact

                              Make sure you are using a 20 degree angle. That's what the manufacturer recommends:
                              http://www.zwilling.com/en/sharpening...

                              The key is to maintain a consistent angle on both sides. The angle is so important. Its the difference between a good edge and a perfect edge that's durable.

                              http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/...

                              "Maintaining consistency is a primary reason freehand sharpening with benchstones or waterstones is a little tricky. It takes a lot of experience and practice to keep the edge at a constant angle stroke after stroke using only your hands and eyes."

                              Just be patent it will work.

                              1. re: Nocontact

                                Thanks for the description of how your edge is currently performing. It definitely sounds dull. Might not have been that sharp to start off, but it would be impossible for me to say for sure. Not all knives come sharp when new, even expensive knives.

                                Generally speaking, a ceramic rod should be able to hone a knife and fix an edge that is slightly rolled (an edge that is completely folded probably needs something more aggressive, but then we're talking about sharpening again rather than honing). That's only if you use it right though. When you use the rod, apply a couple pounds of pressure (lay your hand on a scale and see what a couple pounds feels like -- that's not much) and hone at about 20-25 degrees each side, making sure you alternate sides with each stroke for the last few strokes of the honing. You can safely hone at an angle a few degrees more obtuse than the angle of the edge. Again, a few degrees is NOT MUCH. But if you hone at too shallow an angle, you won't touch the edge itself and the hone won't make any difference to the sharpness of the blade.

                                If the honing ceramic rod still doesn't get you a sharp edge after another try, I suggest taking it to a well-reviewed professional at least once so you start off with a reliably well-crafted edge. Unfortunately, I don't know Toronto so I can't tell you where to take it. The Toronto board might help you. Here is a (slightly out of date) thread to start you off:
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/608397

                                After that, I recommend you reconsider a sharpening strategy for the long run. There are many methods of keeping your knives sharp, and they all have upsides and downsides (ok, some have a lot more downsides than upsides). I made a thread a while back comparing various sharpening methods. Here is a link:
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7971...

                                1. re: Nocontact

                                  As cowboyardee said, try this revised post:

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7971...

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Sorry, missed that, this forum is a little hard to navigate sometimes with replies not necessarily coming in order. Thanks. I'll have a look. And thanks cowboyardee.

                              2. re: Nocontact

                                Should cost less than 20$ for honing steel.

                                1. re: melpy

                                  Who said anything about $20 for a honing steel?

                                  1. re: melpy

                                    Nocontact has a ceramic rod. No need for a sharpening steel.

                                    The ceramic rod should do it if it's used correctly. I'm guessing the angle used on the rod is to acute so not getting the edge

                                  2. re: Nocontact

                                    You may want to look at a book called _An Edge in the Kitchen_ by Chad Ward, whose blog is at chadwrites.com. He discusses many aspects of sharpening, including an inexpensive technique using a mousepad and adhesive sandpaper. I haven't tried that, but he seems to be a credible source. Find a cheap knife, try his technique, see if it works.

                                    1. re: KWagle

                                      The mousepad and sandpaper method is cheap in a sense. However, it is actually a method of sharpening or converting to a convex edge (which has some upsides - Globals come with convex edges normally). A piece of wet dry sandpaper tends to wear down quickly so the cost adds up eventually. And though it's pretty fast on a knife that you are converting to a convex edge for the first time, once an edge is already convex, it can be a fairly slow way of sharpening a knife since you can only sharpen in one direction.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        I went to Tosho knife, nice people and Olivia sharpened it on the spot for $8 which I thought was fair. It does feel as thought there's a burr on one side (i think that's what it's called, it feels a little rougher on one side and rounded on the other) but that may be what I needed. I thought the german blade should be a V but I don't know if one side should be slightly rougher. It certainly does seem sharper, I'm just still a little confused if both sides should be smooth.

                                        1. re: Nocontact

                                          "$8 which I thought was fair"

                                          $8 is pretty cheap for hand sharpening.

                                          "It does feel as thought there's a burr on one side"

                                          That's not good. It shouldn't has a burr. It does not matter if it is an French knife or a Japanese knife. It is not a good thing to have a burr at the end.

                                          "It certainly does seem sharper"

                                          Can you slice paper at the very least?

                                          "I'm just still a little confused if both sides should be smooth."

                                          If Tosho knife is not too far away from work, then I would suggest you to stop by and tell them exactly what you told us.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            It can slice paper now so that's a good thing for sure.

                                            When I say burr, I may not be describing it properly. What I mean is, when I flick my thumb or finger along the edge on one side I can feel a little resistance, but when I do it along the other edge it feels smooth. Again, I don't know if this is normal or not, I would have guessed either both sides would be a little rough or both would be smooth. Any thoughts?

                                            And I agree, $8 is very reasonable. Just hope it doesn't mean another trip there so soon!

                                            1. re: Nocontact

                                              "What I mean is, when I flick my thumb or finger along the edge on one side I can feel a little resistance, but when I do it along the other edge it feels smooth."
                                              __________
                                              Sounds like a burr. But I can't say with 100% certainty without seeing it first hand.

                                              I agree with Chem - if it's not a huge inconvenience, bring it back to em and have em take a look at it. If they left a burr, I suspect they'll happily remove it for you.

                                              1. re: Nocontact

                                                I agree with cowboyardee. If it is a burr, they will fix it for you for free. It is such a basic thing that I cannot imagine any professional sharpener will charge you for their mistakes. Even if it is not a burr, they will able to fix the problem for you.

                                                If you are busy in the next few days, then just give them a call, and say you will bring it in a week or something. It does not have to be done today.

                                                1. re: Nocontact

                                                  I'll third the burr likelyhood. I know what you are describing and for me it isn't done until that is gone.

                                                  Imagine a wedge like this ^ where the right side goes a bit longer. Running your finger on the right it is smooth, running it on the left you feel it.

                                                  The knife may cut very well but the burr can fold over and then the knife goes dull.

                                                  Jim

                                                  1. re: Nocontact

                                                    drag it through a wine cork to see if you can remove the burr.

                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                      I can't believe Olivia from Tosho would leave a burr on your edge..But as scubadoo suggests,drag it through a cork or lightly strop it on some cardboard.
                                                      How cleanly does it slice through paper or a tomato?

                                                      1. re: petek

                                                        It does seem like such a novice mistake. On the other hand, Olivia may have a high volume of work, and sometime the best of us makes the simpliest mistakes when pressed in time.

                                                        If it is a light burr, then it can be removed by dragging across a wine cork or wipe on a leather surface like a leather belt....etc, but it is a large burr, then it may not get remvoed by these softer techniques.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          I admit it was done during a time when there were other people there and she did seem a little frazzled, I just didn't want to leave it over night but I guess now it's costing me another trip there anyways! And "knifesavers" that's just what it's like, one side smooth, one side rough.

                                                          1. re: Nocontact

                                                            Nocontact,

                                                            Just call them and tell them the problem, and bring the knife in at a time which works best for you. Obviously, you don't want to take way too long. I say anytime within a month is reasonable.

                                                            They will understand. A knife burr is not something you can create overtime. So if it is a real burr, they will know it is their mistakes. This is different from a knife chip. A knife chip is something that can develop overtime, so if you bring a chipped knife back to them in a month, then they really don't know if it is their mistake or not. A burr is a lot more clear cut.

                                                            P.S.: You can always buy a 1000 grit stone when you are there the second time. :)

                                          2. re: Nocontact

                                            What kind of wood is your cutting board? I was reading an article in last month's Cooks Illustrated and they concluded that a teak cutting board was the best material to prevent your knife from dulling too quickly. We use a teak cutting board but still make sure to run our knives through the hand-held sharpener before every use.

                                            1. re: ladooShoppe

                                              CI is talking out of their arse...teak is a bitch on cutting tools, mine anyway

                                              1. re: ladooShoppe

                                                I don't know if tweak wood is the worse, but I seriously doubt tweak wood is the top 50%, let's alone being the best. Cook Illustrated often writes the most stupid thing. I would really appreciate ( really) if you can share this link or something because if Cook Illustrated really wrote that, then I think many here would like to read it.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  I don't know if hardness tells the whole story but here is a list of woods and the Janka hardness scale. Ex. Teak is 1155 Maple is 1450

                                                  http://www.woodsthebest.com/wood/jank...

                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                    Hi scubadoo,

                                                    My understanding is that there is a concern for teak's higher concentration of silica. It is not clear, but silica embedded wood may dull a knife edge faster than the Janka hardness scale may suggest.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      Interesting. I didn't know about the silica connection.

                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                        I forgot to give you this link. It is from a short thread from a month ago:

                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/825144

                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        Doesn't the chowhound thread you linked include a link to the CI article? The links are http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/825144 and http://www.cooksillustrated.com/equip...

                                                        I do not have a CI account, so I cannot tell for sure if that article concludes proteak is the best, but it is one of the tested boards. It looks like there were only two end grain boards included, so maybe it is not too surprising—just a silly comparison.

                                          3. Well, Henckel choice is the first issue. They use very soft stainless steel. They sharpen easy, but don't hold an edge. Especially if you don't hone your knife with every use.

                                            Which brings me to the misinformation that people have spread here so far. A honing steel does just that, hones a knife. Not sharpen it. Honing straightens out a bent edge, sharpening creates a new edge.

                                            Now for a few tips to keep your blade sharp.

                                            Wood or plastic boards only.
                                            Handwash only.
                                            Never let acidic juice sit on the knife. Cut a tomato? Rinse immediately.
                                            Never let your knife touch a hard surface like a metal or marble countertop.
                                            Never scrap your knife along your board to move food. Use the heel instead. A little practice and it becomes second nature.
                                            Hone your knife with every use, at the correct angle. Look to the manufacturer for which angle the blade is ground to.

                                            And next time.... Buy harder steel. Not necessarily carbon steel. But harder than Henckels.

                                            24 Replies
                                            1. re: LawnGnome

                                              So Henckel is no good, buy something else? Why bother replying if that's what you're going to come up with? No one on this thread has spread any misinformation.

                                              Thanks to Chemical and everyone else who has something useful to add.
                                              Any yeah, I havent even used it since I got it sharpened on Thursday, didn't want to add to the problem.

                                              1. re: Nocontact

                                                German steel is softer than japanese, but thats not necessarily a problem. Hone it at the proper angle when you use it and have it professionally sharpened 2-3 times a year and it will do a fine job for you. Good luck.

                                                1. re: Nocontact

                                                  Any average knife will serve you well if you learn how to properly sharpen. Your best investment is in a set of water stones and your own time to learn.

                                                  J

                                                  1. re: HalifaxJ

                                                    This is very true

                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                      These stones tend to be very expensive. Instead of laying out $75 for one I could get my knife sharpened professionally for years for that much.

                                                      1. re: Nocontact

                                                        If you are like most people who enjoy cooking and also cookware, you'll probably acquire some knifes along the way. Having multiple knives sharpened will cost more than two stones down the line. Alternatively, you would be fine with one 1000 waterstone since you won't be re edging these knives anytime soon.

                                                        Tools are an investment, and I take a lot of pleasure from their maintenance.

                                                        J

                                                        1. re: Nocontact

                                                          This is true, but not as well or as often as you could do at home. Honing does not bring your edges back to pristine levels. Just makes them sharper but not always sharp. But sharp is a relative term. What you and I call sharp may be very different

                                                          1. re: Nocontact

                                                            Years? That depends on how many knives you have and how often you sharpen. As I mentioned, I have specific tasks (peppers skin side down rock-cut, onions, tomatoes) that let me know when my knives aren't sharp enough. So I sharpen whenever the knives fail these tasks, not on a schedule, and because the tasks are common, I notice immediately. I couldn't imagine being happy having my knives get gradually duller over the course of a year, and then suddenly return to full sharpness.

                                                            1. re: Nocontact

                                                              It is really up to you in term of your expectation. For people who sharpen their knives on waterstones, we sharpen them fairly regularly. I used to do so once a week. Now, I sharpen them about once every three weeks. This keeps my knives at tip-top condition at all time. You may not need that, and many people don't. In this case, a professional knife sharper can sharpen your knives at an interval between once every six months to once every two years.

                                                              It is a bit like comparing apples and oranges because the ability to sharpen every week does not exist for the professional sharpener routine.

                                                              I suppose you can think of this like buying a body thermometer. Yes, your doctor can check your body temperature for free during visit, but then you cannot just go see your doctor every day to check you body temperature.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                True, and I suppose the more I become familiar with this knife, which really is my only quality knife and the more I use it and need it to be sharpened and edged regularly a stone will be a worthwhile investment. But times are tough and shelling out $90 for a stone when I just paid 8 bucks for it to be sharpened by hand on a range of stones from 200 to 5000 grit makes more sense for me right now.

                                                                1. re: Nocontact

                                                                  Yeah, $8 for hand sharpening from 200 to 5000 grit is pretty cool. I guess you live close to a good shop. Don't forget to stop by and ask him to remove the burr -- assuming it is a burr.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    I went back in and they fixed it up for me. She recognized the burr too was great about smoothing it out.

                                                                    1. re: Nocontact

                                                                      Nocontact,

                                                                      This is great news. I assume she didn't charge you extra. Have you double checked to make sure the burr is gone? You should able to slice a paper now and feel smoother.

                                                                      1. re: Nocontact

                                                                        Glad to hear she took care of it.

                                                                        FWIW Henckels can be stubborn when it comes to releasing the burr at the end.

                                                                    2. re: Nocontact

                                                                      Exactly. For most home users, it makes more sense to buy a hard japanese steel knife that will need sharpening every 6 months or so with home use, than it would to buy 3-4 $80 stones to sharpen it at home.

                                                                      Though eventually learning to use whetstones will make sense depending on how much time you plan to devote to using them. They are not easy to use properly.

                                                                      Also, it is misinformation when anyone says a honing steel sharpens a knife. It does just what it says in its name. Hone.

                                                                      Also, german knives use very soft (comparatively) steel, a softer steel can't take the same edge harder steel can. And hard steel can't take the edge a ceramic blade can.

                                                                      Once you have worked with, and sharpened german stainless steel, japanese stainless steel, japanese carbon steel, and ceramic bladed knives, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

                                                                      Also, most henckels have a full bolster. Which means in about 4-5 years of use and sharpening, the blade will be ground to above the bolster. So that the blade will no longer have complete contact with the cutting surface, leaving accordion cuts.

                                                                      1. re: LawnGnome

                                                                        Most of your post is correct, but there are a few points to nitpick:

                                                                        "it is misinformation when anyone says a honing steel sharpens a knife. It does just what it says in its name. Hone."
                                                                        __________
                                                                        I used to think this. Now I think it can depend on the technique of the person using the steel in combination with the qualities of the knife being 'honed.' A grooved steel is harder than a knife and has the potential to remove some metal from the edge, acting as a file. I have come across people who do no sharpening whatsoever aside from use of a grooved steel, and their knives, while not impressively sharp, have a sort of coarse edge intact that works well enough for them. I've also personally done this with some of my inlaws' knives and taken them from useless to workable, just by 'honing' tiny little chunks out of the edge. In these cases, people are applying the hone with enough pressure to remove metal, and using it on a knife with properties that allows them to do so.

                                                                        If you use a polished smooth steel or light pressure while steeling, then you are mainly straightening out a warped edge, which I assume is what you mean by 'honing.' Using more pressure with a grooved steel turns it into an inefficient and inelegant but somewhat effective method of sharpening. Knife-dependent, of course.

                                                                        "german knives use very soft (comparatively) steel, a softer steel can't take the same edge harder steel can."
                                                                        ___________
                                                                        Not quite accurate. Also depends on the knife. But you can often put a fairly fine, low angle edge on some softer steel knives - the issue isn't that it won't take the edge, but just that the edge will fold over on itself quickly.

                                                                        Edge taking has more to do with grain size (smaller is better) and structure than hardness. Vintage carbon Sabatiers were a good deal softer than modern German steel, but they sharpened comparably well to Japanese knives. To combat how readily their edges would fold, cooks steeled these knives very regularly (which, to an extent, makes polishing them up to super high grit a wasted effort). But if you cared to, you could sharpen one to a very fine, low angle edge, despite its hardness being maybe Rc 52.

                                                                        "And hard steel can't take the edge a ceramic blade can."
                                                                        ____________
                                                                        This statement is even more problematic. In theory, you could make a ceramic edge super sharp, I'm sure. But with all the practical considerations of reality, a high quality steel knife can be sharpened to a significantly finer edge than any ceramic on the market. There was a discussion of ceramic knives and sharpness recently in the short ribs thread open right now on the cookware forum. Take a look if you're interested.

                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          Thanks Cowboy. You said what I wanted to say about those statements.

                                                                          I think if one is using a smooth metal or glass rod then yes there is only honing going on but with anything other than that there is metal removed. There is metal removed when I strop on my leather charged with chromium oxide and that has a grit of about 30k. People who think that their grooved steel is only realigning the edge are mistaken. Fortunately is doesn't matter that much anyway if the knife is sharper after steeling on what ever rod is used. That is the end goal. Some of us are just more obsessed with achieving that end goal.

                                                                          And angle of approach when steeling is critical. Something many don't take into account when steeling their knives. I find steeling more difficult than sharpening. I have a better sense of my angle when sharpening or stropping on a flat surface than I do when I've ever tried to use a rod.

                                                                        2. re: LawnGnome

                                                                          "And hard steel can't take the edge a ceramic blade can."

                                                                          This statement is technically correct if you mean a ceramic blade edge takes on a worse edge which microchips.

                                                                        3. re: Nocontact

                                                                          There seems to be a lot of false information floating about, or at least from my perspective;

                                                                          1. This is German stainless steel. It does not need to be sharpened on a range of stones from 200 to 5000. A 1000 grit water stone should be able to keep a very sharp edge for a long time, and regular honing helps along. You don't want to be using a 200 grit stone every time you sharpen - it eats metal. Sure, going up to 5000 will give it a good polish, but again, this is german steel not a japanese or french carbon blade.

                                                                          2. Where are you getting your stones? A Norton 1000 waterstone can be found for $50, and the 220/1000 combo for less. Sure they're not the highly regarded Naniwa stones, but people have sharpened knives on Norton stones for years with great results.

                                                                          3. Put $2 aside every day and after a month or so buy a 1000 grit Norton stone. Some sand paper (wet to dry) and a flat surface and you're good to go. This setup will keep multiple knives sharp for a long time.

                                                                          J

                                                                          1. re: HalifaxJ

                                                                            Very good points. Yes, I agree that German stainless steel knife really does not need to go much above 1000 grit waterstone. So one stone should be enough. There are reasonable good 1000 grit waterstone for about $20-25 as well.

                                                                            http://www.amazon.com/Suehiro-D1069-D...

                                                                            http://www.amazon.com/Woodstock-Steel...

                                                                            1. re: HalifaxJ

                                                                              Which information is false in your opinion?

                                                                              I don't disagree, btw, that most users of German knives would be well served by just one 1k waterstone. When I sharpen German knives for people, I normally finish em at 800, 1k, or 2k depending.

                                                                              But I've come to accept that some people just aren't going to commit themselves to hand-sharpening, regardless of how few stones they need or whether or not said stones are affordable. So I also give info about other kinds of sharpening options.

                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                I stop at 2000 because it gives a shiny bevel. :P

                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  I agree with what you're saying. I meant that people claiming that you need to take a knife from 200 to 5000 every time you sharpen is false, and that you have to pay $75 for a stone is false.

                                                                                  Any decent 1000 grit stone will get a knife "sharp", and will serve anyone who is committed to learning how to sharpen.

                                                                                  Sharpening can be very simple and cost effective. Sure most of us have multiple stones and knives, but the very basic act of sharpening on a waterstone does not require a full workshop and collection of expensive stones.

                                                                                  J

                                                                                  1. re: HalifaxJ

                                                                                    Agreed, there is no excuse for a dull knife

                                                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZuGEl...

                                                                2. geeze, I'll sharpen it for $15!

                                                                  36 Replies
                                                                  1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                    I have one good knife, if I branch out to more I can consider stones etc. And yes, 1000 grit can work and sharpen and maintain, and no 5000 grit isn't "necessary" but if someone is willing to do it to make the knife that much sharper and that much more polished, then why not?

                                                                    1. re: Nocontact

                                                                      Knives get dull with use. "That much sharper" doesn't mean your knife will stay at the same sharpness for a year and then suddenly get dull enough to need a trip to the sharpener. If you use it, it's getting dull already. How often do you use your knife? How often are you planning to pay this person to sharpen your knife? And how willing are you to live with it being dull when you need it for a job and the place is closed?

                                                                      Or to put it another way: do you care how sharp your knives are when the so-called expert is done with them? Or do you care how sharp they are when you go to use them?

                                                                      It's not unreasonable to sharpen your knife once a month or so if you cook a lot, and if you know what it's like to use a sharp knife. That's $80 a year, and the knife may be too dull at the time you want to use it. A DMT two-sided diamond hone will cost you about $125 for the larger size and plastic base, so it's not cheap. (If your goal is a sharp knife on a limited budget, I would've recommended a $20-30 Dexter or an Ikea knife in a plastic package, which would be sharper out of the box, and a good sharpening tool.) But it's certainly not expensive if you expect to sharpen frequently and have more than one knife. And it doesn't involve a trip to the store, a burr you have to go back to remove, and sharpening on someone else's schedule.

                                                                      1. re: KWagle

                                                                        When I get ready to cook, I check my knives. If it needs a sharpening, I do it then and there. I always have a sharp knife.

                                                                        1. re: HalifaxJ

                                                                          Indeed. A sharp knife is not bought, a sharp knife is made.

                                                                          You can learn to make it sharp, or you can pay someone else and wait for their convenience. Kind of like car repairs.

                                                                          1. re: KWagle

                                                                            I like your car repair analogy. For some sharpening is like putting oil in the car and for others it's like the 30,000 tune up and for others it's like turning on the wipers to get a clean view before you drive.

                                                                        2. re: KWagle

                                                                          DMT is great but there is no need to spend that much to get their big bench stones. They make the Aligner Deluxe kit for $40. It comes with 320, 600 and 1200 grits. (coarse, fine and x-fine). This is perfectly adequate for most kitchen knives. For better knives, I also recommend the extra $15 for the xx-fine (8000 grit). The aligner takes all the guesswork out of holding those angles and is easy to use for a layman (like me).

                                                                        3. re: Nocontact

                                                                          "... yes, 1000 grit can work and sharpen and maintain, and no 5000 grit isn't 'necessary' ..."

                                                                          Like others here, I'd also suggest starting with only one stone, either a 1000 or 1200 grit: http://www.mikestools.com/Sharpening-...

                                                                          If you're relying on Tosho to sharpen it, I'd expect you might go as often as once every 6 to 12 months. If you have a stone, I'd expect you might want to sharpen it once every 3 or 4 months. Three sharpenings & you'd have paid for your own stone, & always have a sharper knife around the kitchen in the process.

                                                                          The link Chem provided to the $36 1000/6000 combo stone is also a good price, but we can both tell you that the jump between grit sizes is fairly large for someone just starting out. I've been using a 1000 stone & a 6000 stone for the past 2 yrs. ($50 total for both stones.) Because of that experience (& because a $27 6000 grit is the best deal I've ever seen on any polishing grit stone), I usually recommend starting with the 1200 grit instead of the 1000. Then you can get the affordable 6000 grit later, if you're ever interested, & your jump between grits is a bit less.

                                                                          1. re: Eiron

                                                                            "The link Chem provided to the $36 1000/6000 combo stone is also a good price, but we can both tell you that the jump between grit sizes is fairly large for someone just starting out"

                                                                            I agree. That stone may not be a good idea after all. The 1000 or 1200 stone is better.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              Hard to go wrong with a Bester 1200. Just looking at the array of stones at chefknifestogo and boy have my Shapton glass stones gone up in price. Wow!

                                                                            2. re: Eiron

                                                                              "the $36 1000/6000 combo stone is also a good price, but we can both tell you that the jump between grit sizes is fairly large for someone just starting out."
                                                                              ________
                                                                              I don't disagree with your basic advice, and I agree that a beginner can be well served by a single stone in the 1k grit range. But just to provide a counterpoint:

                                                                              I know it's unconventional, but I'm not convinced that a big(ish) jump in grits is always a bad thing. If you want to create a very polished edge that can push cut paper silently, shave your face comfortably, or fall through tomato skins with a straight up-and-down chop, then you'll have an easier time if you move more slowly through the grits, fully polishing out the scratches of the last stone with each successive grit.

                                                                              But if you want to leave a degree of toothiness or bite to an edge while refining it to a sharper and more stable edge than the lower grit stone would on its own, a jump in grit sizes can be useful. I'm not sure - the microbevel I often apply with a high grit stone may help this jump work better as well, leaving some teeth intact but making sure I am sharpening the extreme edges of them. In a microscopic sense, I think of it as kind of like sharpening a dull serrated knife on a flat stone.

                                                                              Of course, AFAIK I am the only person on the web who really advocates doing this intentionally, so accumulated wisdom seems to be against me. And in any case, this is getting into fairly deep water as advice for a first time sharpener goes.

                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                When I first started sharpening on J stones(not that long ago),my first stone was a Sugimoto 1k.About a week later I picked up a Arashiyama 6k and that's been my stone line up ever since,except I've upgraded to a Chosera 1k.

                                                                                I personally don't think the jump from 1k to 6k is too great,but that's just me.Your results may vary...

                                                                                1. re: petek

                                                                                  That's how I started off too - 240 grit stone, 1k grit, and 6k grit.

                                                                                  The other thing that I neglected to say above - even if you're trying to fully polish up on the 6k stone, rather than trying to leave some of the coarser scratch pattern intact as I do, you can still do so after making a big jump. It just takes a lot longer on the fine stone.

                                                                                  But...

                                                                                  Downside for a beginner is the longer you're working on a high grit stone, the more time you have to mess up your edge with some bad passes. It's ok though - practice makes perfect.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    "It's ok though - practice makes perfect."

                                                                                    +1 (or nearly "perfect") :-D

                                                                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  CBAD, yes, that's an excellent point! I still haven't had the opportunity to try Jon's micro-bevel technique yet. The way my VG-10 knives wear, I don't plan on sharpening them for another few weeks. (I need to sharpen my softer steel knives, but I hadn't planned on trying this technique on them, since I only use the Spyderco ceramic stones on the softer steels.)

                                                                                  This technique would more easily validate a 1000/6000 combo for me, but I've never had the impression that Shun (or anyone else promoting this combo) advocates using the stones in this manner. Since Shun advertises that their factory sharpening is done to 1000 grit, what do YOU think the chances are that they're micro-beveling at the factory?

                                                                                  [Edit:] Also, yes, as you pointed out, this is pretty deep into the topic WRT the OP's needs. I was strictly thinking along the lines of 1000/1200=sharpening, 6000=polishing.

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    "Of course, AFAIK I am the only person on the web who really advocates doing this intentionally, so accumulated wisdom seems to be against me."

                                                                                    Many people advocate this including Chard Ward .

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      News to me. Aside from his posts on egullet, I never read Ward,

                                                                                      I don't mean just leaving the edge coarse, but partially refining it with with a high grit stone, not fully polishing out the coarser scratch pattern. Ward recommends this?

                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        No, you are right. I think Ward and other semi-advocate to stop at 1000 grit for stainless steel edges.

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          Yeah, I've seen that advice quite a bit.

                                                                                          Heck, when the first 'sharpening olympics' came up over on knifeforums, Dave Martell, king of high polish edges, said something along the lines that someone would probably win the competition with a coarse, low grit edge.

                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                            Let me ask you this. Just something to think about.

                                                                                            Let's say I sharpened my knife at 1000 grit and then polish it on a 6000 grit. It will take a long time to really polish out the 1000 grit marks, so the edge will still have some bite.

                                                                                            Now, how is that different than say I sharpened and stop at 2000 grit? Would that give me the same effect when cutting?

                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              My thinking is that it will not be. Generally, my experience has also been that it feels differently when cutting food - it seems to both push cut and slice better than a knife fully polished to the intermediate grit. And it also wears down a little differently.

                                                                                              Think about the actual edge. A normal 2k grit edge will have scratches that are about 6 or 7 microns wide. These scratches determine the size of the 'teeth' left at the extreme edge. Now a knife fully sharpened to 4k will be evenly scratched with particles about 3 microns wide, and will have teeth corresponding to that size. Meanwhile an edge that fully polishes at 2k and then briefly jumps to 8k will still have a lot of those larger 2k stone teeth intact. However, those teeth will have very small (1.5 micron) scratches in them, refining the teeth themselves, and leading to improved push cutting over the 2k grit edge.

                                                                                              Of course, that's sort of idealized. In reality, the edge is surely messier than that. For one, grit sizes within a stone aren't perfectly consistent. For another, scratch patterns aren't as perfect or even as I've implied - there are almost always some scratches left from coarser stones on a polished edge. Still, you get the idea.

                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                Shhh don't let out the secret. ;)

                                                                                                Too high a polish does lose any "bite" but looks great and can easily shave.

                                                                                                Edges sharpened to a very toothy edge have no wow factor but do spectacular on product such as tomatoes.

                                                                                                I try to balance them out.

                                                                                                Jim

                                                                                                1. re: knifesavers

                                                                                                  Hey Jim, you never said what type of bearing the upper wheel of your Viel grinder has. That may have a part in the "best" lube to use on it, along with the rpms it sees. Oh yeah, if it's a ball bearing, does it have any kind of seal or shielding covering the balls/races?

                                                                                                  Greg

                                                                                                  1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                    I'm not sure what it has and don't have the manual handy. It has a red material "washer" on both sides but the shaft is visible. It is pressfit so I can't remove it but can get a pipe down there to apply oil.

                                                                                                    1750 rpm

                                                                                                    The manual said oil only no grease and may mention the bearing type but I'll dig it out tonight.

                                                                                                    Jim

                                                                                                    1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                      Looked it up last night it has an oillite bushing listed in the replacement parts of the manual.

                                                                                                      Jim

                                                                                                      1. re: knifesavers

                                                                                                        Thanks Jim! So, bushings are sleeves of material separate from the wheel itself (aka "plain" bearings). I haven't looked it up, but oillite is probably made from a bronze material with an oil-impregnated finish. It might even have very shallow grooves on the surface to capture small amounts of residual oil. (Fascinating, eh? ;-) ).

                                                                                                        Anyway, as you've already discovered, Triflow is an excellent choice for this type of bearing in this type of application. The only oil I might suggest in place of this would be "One Lube":
                                                                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Slick-50-Lube-S...
                                                                                                        Some auto parts stores carry it, so you won't have to buy an entire case! I think I bought my 12oz can at K-Mart years ago for only $2.95. :-)

                                                                                                        I have both Triflow & One Lube in my workshop, & use them both for slightly different applications. The Triflow is a little lighter-weight, so it penetrates a little better but doesn't have quite the staying power of One Lube. I use One Lube on the bushings of my AC/furnace blower. During both the middle of winter & the middle of summer I have the blower running all day to circulate/regulate air temp between floors. The One Lube has the PTFE additive like Triflow, but provides a longer-lasting film between the bushing/wheel interface. That film of oil is going to be your primary wear protection, & any additives are there only in case the oil film dries out or gets pushed away.

                                                                                                        Let me know what you think if you get the chance to give it a try.

                                                                                                        Greg

                                                                                                        1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                          I'm not sure exactly how they do it but oil lite bearing material has the oil impregnated completely through the metal. If you get it too hot when turning it on a lathe it will literally ooze out.

                                                                                                          1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                            Thanks Greg. I have/had a tube from eons ago in my fishing stuff. The one thing I hated was the dispenser was hard to aim.

                                                                                                            I'll try to round up a bottle.

                                                                                                            Jim

                                                                                    2. re: Nocontact

                                                                                      '5000 grit isn't "necessary" but if someone is willing to do it to make the knife that much sharper and that much more polished, then why not?'
                                                                                      _________
                                                                                      Personally, I say that if you don't mind spending the money and are willing to practice and experiment, then a 5k stone is a perfectly fine investment. It's all instructive. You understand that it's not strictly necessary and you still want to buy it - so be it.

                                                                                      However, as you advance in your sharpening, you'll probably find a few things. One is that softer steel (such as that in most German knives) doesn't benefit as much from polishing at a higher grit, because the edge retention is such that you only get that super sharp, polished feel for a very short while before the edge warps with use. We can be talking less than one prep session.

                                                                                      Another thing you'll probably come to learn: 'sharp' starts getting harder to define the more you know about it. Right now you probably think of it in a theoretical sense, assuming that the finer the edge is on a microscopic level, the more easily it will cut. But in a practical sense, the edge that is functionally 'sharpest' can vary from task to task, and also varies with different cutting styles. For example, if you chop straight down through a tomato, no slicing motion at all, then a highly polished blade will cut better - 10k stone, stropped, the whole deal. But if you go to slice a tomato as you would a roast, that highly polished edge has a greater tendency to slide on top of the tomato skin while a knife sharpened only to 1k or 2k will aggressively bite into the tomato, and keep biting into it long after the 10k edge has lost that extreme push-cutting sharpness.

                                                                                      For yet another example - now switch around two letters and consider cutting a potato. Now what matters more than the difference between a highly polished edge or less-polished edge is actually how thick the knife is behind the edge - how soon after the edge bevel the relief bevel comes into play. So in this case, a coarse stone could have much more effect on functional 'sharpness' because you can use it to reprofile your knife until it is thin behind its edge, regardless of how you finish the edge itself.

                                                                                      I'm not really trying to steer you any one way or another. If anything, I'm pointing out that you can go a long way down this rabbit hole, if you are so inclined. Just be wary of thinking, 'finer grit = sharper, more stones = sharper, spending more money = sharper.' Because 'sharp' is sort of tricky.

                                                                                      And the most important things in any case are your skills with a stone and your skills with a knife.

                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        Well stated assessment

                                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                          I have not read the previous 85 posts but sharpening a knife just isn't that hard. I got my first "big boy" pocket knife when I was about eight and could sharpen it well enough to shave hairs off my arm by age ten. Forty plus years later I can't imagine paying someone to sharpen a knife.

                                                                                          It may be venus/mars deal... My grandmother, mother and wife didn't /don't sharpen knives either. It really isn't that hard to do and doesn't require expensive stones.

                                                                                          1. re: kengk

                                                                                            Despite the fact that CHOWHOUND has a much higher woman to man ratio, you see a huge bias in the knife section.

                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              we need a place to scratch and burp, no?!!

                                                                                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                and fart......

                                                                                                1. re: petek

                                                                                                  and puke

                                                                                                  I think it is clear what I wanted to say, but I didn't spell it out more clear. I wanted to say there is a huge bais in the other direction (more men than women) in the knife section.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    not that there's anything wrong with that

                                                                                                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                                      There is nothing wrong with puking. It is a nature reaction. If your body wants to puke, and you force it not too... then it is a bad idea. So, let it puke everywhere.

                                                                                  2. Some knife companies will sharpen knives for free if they ever get dull. If you have a Harbor Freight Store near you you can also buy a multi sharpening tool with four various size diamond grits. Also I would reccommend you buying some broad tipped Black Pens and darkening the edge of the knife so when you attempt to sharpen it it will yell you if you are sharpening the edge at the right angle. I would also like to mention that inexpensive carbon steel knives which dull and rust faster sometimes are easier to sharpen than the expensive stainless steal knives. Forgive me if I duplicated some responses but by the time I got to this thread there were already more than 150 Posts and I am not about to read them all.

                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: oldman83

                                                                                      The harbor freight set looks good on the surface but they only run from 200 to 600 grit. I would also question the quality of the diamond surfaces. 600 grit is not bad but still not really all that sharp. Many of us sharpen our knifes to at least 1000/1200 grit. I take all my good knives to 8000. The DMT stones make it pretty easy.

                                                                                      1. re: jkling17

                                                                                        The Harbor Freight diamond hone uses a different grit system than the one you're used to. It's presumably on the American system, whereas the waterstones that are most often discussed here are on the JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) system.

                                                                                        The 600 grit side corresponds to something more like 1500 grit for Japanese waterstones. Not super fine by my standards, but noticeably finer than a 600 grit waterstone.

                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                          I recently got a 750 grit diamond bench stone as a gift. I think it is a little too coarse for final sharpening but it cuts very well and I like it for thinning the edge out. I think a "stone" like this and a fine ceramic stick make a good minimalist sharpening system.

                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                            I could be wrong but it has been my understanding that DMT stones use the American system, rather than the Japanese one? I did some quick checking and this looks to be so, at least to my untrained eye, but again I could be mistaken.

                                                                                            http://www.woodcraft.com/Articles/Art...
                                                                                            http://sharpeningmadeeasy.com/grits.htm

                                                                                            As far as I can tell the Harbour Freight grits match up to the DMT fine (red - also 600). This is "decently sharp" but there is definitely a big jump to the green / x-fine / 1200. That's when I get much cleaner paper slices with push cuts. And my better knives (only a few of these) get the extra treatment of the xx-fine / tan / 8000 grit. I'm glad to have it for the 3 or so knives that truly merit the extra attention.

                                                                                            1. re: jkling17

                                                                                              You might be right. Not sure. I'll explain.

                                                                                              Yes, DMT seems to use the JIS system.

                                                                                              However, I'm not convinced that the Harbour Freight stone is manufactured by DMT. To be honest, I'm not sure if there are other manufacturers of diamond abrasives or not. My immediate thought, seeing the stone, was that it would make no real sense to produce a 4 sided hone with 200, 300, 400, and 600 grit sides if we're talking about the JIS system. So I assumed it was using the standard American grit scale.

                                                                                              OTOH, it wouldn't be the first product to make no particular sense.

                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                Well i don't know but I would seriously doubt that DMT is in any way involved in the Harbour Freight stone. HF is a great source for knock-offs of some good stuff, and I have no issue with buying things from them in some categories. But, even without evidence, I would question the quality of those diamond surfaces. Perhaps someday, someone from bladeforums etc will post up extreme close-up shots of those surfaces?

                                                                                                I just found this ... and I have to say that it makes things even more confusing LOL

                                                                                                http://stusshed.com/2009/06/05/qa-wit...

                                                                                              2. re: jkling17

                                                                                                Are the 2200 and 8000 grit DMT stones available as 6" or 8" bench stones? I've become really fond of the bigger one for kitchen knives.

                                                                                                1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                  Oh yes, DMT makes bench stones in 6, 8 and 10". Just to clarify - it's 1200 and 8000. There is no 2200. IMO, the better values in most of their bench stones is probably their duosharp 8" line. Most of those are about $65-75.

                                                                                                  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...

                                                                                                  If you are considering getting some bench stones for the first time, you may wish to consider instead some 3M abrasive films instead. Google "scary sharp". There are some people that achieve very serious results using a few of these and pieces of glass as a backer. Seriously high-end results.

                                                                                                  In any case, If I WERE to get their bench stones I'd probably recommend just the dual fine/x-fine (600/1200). These are great stones - mine are only 1x4" and they really do a phenomenal job. But I'd probably recommend something different for very high grit polishing - like stropping w/ dmt diamond pastes, chromium oxide or using 3m abrasive films.

                                                                                                  Or you can just get a 4" xx-fine (8000) to augment the bench stone for only $14. You'll only need to do some very light swipes with this to set a microbevel. It's a good value, unless you are really fixated on a larger stone. All my better knives get finished with this stone and they are seriously sharp.

                                                                                                  1. re: jkling17

                                                                                                    The woodcraft page you cited lists a 2200 ceramic. But they don't seem to be designed for the DuoSharp system. :-/

                                                                                                    I have a DuoSharp and love it, and much prefer the 10" (600/1200) to the (300/600) 8" which my friend gave me when he upgraded to the 10.

                                                                                                    1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                      Sorry - yes you are correct but the 2200 is not part of their stone line - it's strictly their ceramic sharpening steel. http://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/Cer...

                                                                                                      1. re: jkling17

                                                                                                        Oh! Interesting. I should think about getting one of those.

                                                                                                        1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                          I wouldn't bother. As far as I'm concerned a steel is wholly unnecessary. If you need to hone you can strop on cardboard or leather. But I do really like the DMT stones, a lot. When I want to give my knives a really quick light touch-up, I simply just use the xx-fine 8000 stone.

                                                                                                          1. re: jkling17

                                                                                                            I tend to touch-up on the 1200 stone. Maybe I need an 8000. :-)

                                                                                        2. I don't think this is that complicated or that it's anything you're doing wrong. I have had my Wusthof Classic knives (pretty much the same as your new Henckels) for more than 15 years. Mine are still great and I've never had them professionally sharpened either. I used to use a sharpening steel but recently purchased this hand-held sharpener from Wusthof that cost 20 bucks. It works great, is easy to use and it was only 20 bucks. I picked it up at Bed Bath & Beyond. Here's a link to the short product review on my site:

                                                                                          http://4plates2table.com/2011/07/30/w...

                                                                                          I would recommend picking up one of these sharpeners or something similar. A great knife will always need a little sharpening. I have an easy to read cutlery product info section on my blog as well if you'd like to read up on shopping for knives.
                                                                                          Hope this helps.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: 4plates2table

                                                                                            Have you ever wondered how a Japanese he can cut his vegetables ona griddle and not dull his knives? I wondered about it to the point my curiosity got the best of me so I asked a chef how he did it. He pointed to the very tip of his knife and showed me how he would place the very tip of his blade on the griddle and pull his knife through the vegetables. Thanks for the information on the harbor Freight Grit and the Japanese standard. I only mentioned Harbor Freight because they were cheap and not being a professional chef I do not need the knife to shave just to slice a tomatoe occassionally

                                                                                            1. re: oldman83

                                                                                              How do you know he doesn't dull them? His day may begin by spending a few hours sharpening.

                                                                                              1. re: KWagle

                                                                                                I'm sure he does dull them eventually.

                                                                                                I belive oldman83 was talking about teppanyaki cooks, who cut things directly on a metal griddle surface, using what is essentially a sharpened spatula. By cutting with what I call a 'draw cut,' they keep most of the blade's edge from contacting the hard metal surface, and thus keeping the edge from dulling immediately, which is what would normally happen if you cut on such a hard surface.

                                                                                                People use the same technique, more or less, when cutting with an Xacto knife. A few people also use this technique to compensate for having glass cutting boards (which I don't recommend, btw).

                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                  "By cutting with what I call a 'draw cut,' they keep most of the blade's edge from contacting the hard metal surface, "

                                                                                                  Agree.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    This is old man 83 now going on 87 and you are right on. Here is a reply which was returned to me

                                                                                                    I never knew what the chefs were called but I was referring to the guys who cut the food right on the grill by placing just the point of the knife on the grill and pulling the knife through the vegetables so the blade itself never touched the griddle. It was fascinating to watch and if I hadn't been shown how it was done by the chef I would still be wondering. .
                                                                                                    On Jan 22, 2012, at 7:55 PM, Chowhound wrote: