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Mar 11, 2012 09:54 AM

CCK 1301

Hello everyone. I recently purchased a 1301. It's awesome. Love the thin blade. First time I chopped an onion all I can say is wow. Anyway the edge from factory wasn't exactly exemplary. Wouldn't cut through the skin of a tomato. Ok got to thinking how the heck am I going to sharpen a 3.5" wide blade. Clamped it down to a board and used a piece of copper bus bar as a guide and held the stone. Worked like a charm. Ok now after my rambling I have a question. Any knife I've sharpened before gets a noticeable burr. You can feel it as you run your thumb away from the opposite edge. Well with this knife I couldn't feel one after quite a bit of time sharpening. Being carbon steel I figured it'd sharpen up quick. I got looking at it and the edge looked chipped all along it. Wasn't chips but the wire edge. But it was no soft it just flipped back and forth almost like metal fillings magnetized to the edge and I couldn't remove them not matter what angle I tried to swipe them off. Finally used a cork and it peeled them off. Now it is the sharpest edge I've even gotten. Is that type of burr normal for these knives or am I basically the owner of a soft iron blade?

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  1. Hi Vic,

    My experience of the CCK KP1303 is very similar to your KP 1301.

    The blade profile is as perfect as it gets for a Chinese thin blade slicer. The factory edge is functional, but not great. In fact, that was why I didn't think it was a great knife in the beginning, but all changed after I sharpened it.

    After the initial sharpening, I almost never full-blown sharpen it. I only do touch-ups, so it is difficult to get a big burr anyway in my situation. Either way, I do not believe this carbon steel knife is made of a soft steel blade. The edge is not as hard as some of the Japanese carbon steel like those Aogami or Shirogami knives, but it definitely holds it edge better than most German made stainless steel knives which I have come across.

    I am guessing that the burr may flip a bit because the blade behind the edge is so thin so the support behind the burr is weak. In term of what I do. I tend to strop on a leather belt at the very end instead of using a cork. They are probably doing the same thing.

    What angle were you sharpening the knife at? I find the knife has no problem holding its edge at 15 degree (per side), but the edge becomes unsteady at 10 degree per side. If you were trying to put a 10 degree (or less), then I can see some strange problems.

    43 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Ok. Thanks. I have no idea of the angle. I added about a mm of bevel compared to factory if that helps

      1. re: Vicv07

        I have a little opinel that is also very this and it gets a solid burr

        1. re: Vicv07

          By the way, I have the opposite experience than you had. In my experience, it is the softer steel knives which give more pronounced burr -- presume because the burr does not break off as easily. My hard steel Japanese knives form burr, but not as noticeable as my softer steel American knives (Dexter-Russell).

          This is not absolutely of course. My very soft Trade of Tools knives do not form burr at all. So...

        2. re: Vicv07

          Hmm, you could be sharpening at a very shallow angle if you add another mm of bevel. The reason is that this is a very thing blade knife. At the same angle, a thick blade will have a much wider bevel than a thin blade. For example, a thick single bevel usuba has a very wide bevel:

          I just sharpened my CCK today. At 15 degree per side, my primary bevel (main bevel) is no more than 0.5 mm wide. So forget about the fact that you ADD a 1 mm bevel, a total 1 mm bevel would have put you below 10 degree for sure.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Maybe not a whole mm then but before it was barely noticeable. Now you can definitely see the bevel. I wasn't going that shallow. The spine probably was about 1" or so from the stone

            1. re: Vicv07

              "The spine probably was about 1.5 to 2" from the stone"

              Then you should be close to 15-20 degree, so that is good. Go ahead and use it. I am certain that you will find the edge will last you for awhile. Keep us update on your opinion about this knife.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                IME having bought 2, the CCK knives seem to come with a fairly obtuse-angled edge for such a thin blade. If the OP is sharpening that low, it's probable that he is reprofiling the edge and maybe didn't feel a burr because he didn't fully create one - it seems to take a little while on a coarse stone to fully reprofile a CCK down to 15 degrees/side. Also, if he is switching sides frequently while he sharpens, he's going to flip the burr and keep the size of it down (inasmuch as he creates one in the first place), so that may be a factor.

                Conversely, if you sharpen at the factory edge angle, which was pretty obtuse on the two new CCKs I've seen, you won't get as much of a burr as you will on other hard-ish carbon steel knives just because of the edge angle.

                Personally, I've found a CCK sharpened to about 10-15 deg/side kicks up a pretty decent burr. I think the OP will probably have more luck in his next sharpening session.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  "IME having bought 2, the CCK knives seem to come with a fairly obtuse-angled edge for such a thin blade."

                  I didn't know you have two. I know you have the large CCK KF1103. Is the other one the same? I may get another Chinese cleaver one day. :)

                  "Personally, I've found a CCK sharpened to about 10-15 deg/side kicks up a pretty decent burr."

                  :) Come to think of it, I do remember feeling a burr on my CCK. Not quiet as pronounced as the Dexter-Russell, but not any smaller than a typical VG-10 knife.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I had lent a friend who is a line cook my huge CCK 1103 and he liked it a lot. After holding onto it for months, his birthday came around so I bought the 1303, sharpened it up, and told him he could try it out for a week and then decide which one he'd prefer to keep. He kept the 1303 and now my 1103 is home again. Seemed like the most graceful way to my cleaver back.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      "Seemed like the most graceful way to my cleaver back"

                      It sounds like that he may have actually just kept the CCK 1103 if you didn't buy the CCK1303? :D

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        He woulda given it back eventually..... eventually. OTOH, he wound up inheriting my forschner paring knife in pretty much the same manner. I can't complain though - the guy has done me a lot of favors, some enormously generous.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          "I can't complain though - the guy has done me a lot of favors, some enormously generous."

                          Ok then. :) Otherwise, I was going to say that he is one strange dude.

                  2. re: cowboyardee

                    There was a definite burr. You could see it and move it around with your finger. And I shaves my arm hair after so I believe that would mean its about as sharp as it can be at that angle. I'm new to sharpening though

                    1. re: Vicv07

                      That's all the important stuff. Sometimes I just feel like the first sharpening of a factory edge is also like the first crepe in a pan - it's just a little different and a little off from your normal results and you can't pinpoint exactly why. My guess is that it will feel pretty similar to other hardish steel carbon knives you've sharpened once you have another sharpening session or two. But that's only a guess.

                      Like I said above though, if you really want to maximize a burr for whatever reason, use a fairly coarse stone and sharpen only on one side at a fairly low angle until the burr is as big as desired.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        ya i agree on the whole "new pan thing." I bought a De Buyer Iron pan and it was terrible the first use. Now i have four of them and they're the pride of my kitchen. Ugly things they now are. To sharpening I'm not sure what you mean about wanting to maximize the burr. I've always been under the impression you need to raise a burr on both sides otherwise the knife won't be as sharp as it can be since thats when its ground down to that particular angle. I'm not sure how hard the steel is but from what i've read it's probably the hardest steel i've owned. My Wustoff is the best kitchen knife i've had thus far and it makes a good solid burr. When i sharpened the cleaver i just kept going on one side till i raised that soft burr then flipped over. Wish I'd removed it first before starting on the other side cause now I don't know if i went at that side enough. Next time I'll start on the other side when it dulls. i also have a Mora which is supposed to be 60Hc. Scandi grind. Gave up after an hour on one side with a 220 Naniwa when i couldn't raise a burr laying it flat on the bevel. I really hate that stone though. I sharpened my cleaver with my 1000/6000 combo king today. Got a lot of copper in the stone. LOL. Flattening took it out

                        1. re: Vicv07

                          "When i sharpened the cleaver i just kept going on one side till i raised that soft burr then flipped over. Wish I'd removed it first before starting on the other side cause now I don't know if i went at that side enough."
                          Unfortunately (in a way), it doesn't work quite that way. Once your bevels have met (which is what your burr indicates), you're going to form a burr very quickly on the opposite side of the knife as long as you're sharpening at the edge itself. Removing the bevel after sharpening one side doesn't make much of a difference because as soon as you start on the other side, you'll start creating a burr (though I guess a new burr can tell you whether you're working at the new edge - it might be useful if you're reprofiling the edge to a more acute angle).

                          It's the kind of thing where you can count strokes or just pay close attention to the knife to see if you're making the edge asymmetrical or flip the knife after every few strokes (at the expense of having a smaller burr, which isn't a bad thing as long as you can detect it). You basically decide which strategy to use based on which feels best and makes most sense to you.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            ya i understand flipping the knife frequently to make sure each side has a close amount of strokes to keep it the same but when clamping it to a table with a c-clamp constantly flipping it gets annoying very quickly but i know doing one side till you get a burr causes the edge be move a bit to one side of the knife. That's why when sharpening i try to alternate my starting side. Just in this case with this knife the burr was strange. It was like flakes of metal lightly attached straige down on the actual edge where the bevels meet. Moved almost like liquid but stone wouldn't take it off. When passed through the cork the whole cut was full of small shavings of steel

                            1. re: Vicv07

                              "It was like flakes of metal lightly attached straige down on the actual edge where the bevels meet. Moved almost like liquid but stone wouldn't take it off. When passed through the cork the whole cut was full of small shavings of steel"

                              Not an uncommon thing and passing through cork, or something similar, is exactly what you are supposed to do.


                              1. re: knifesavers

                                Ok thanks. Just never seen that before

                                1. re: Vicv07

                                  i was asked to update after a while. I've gone to power sharpening so i remove my burr quickly. So far though i love and hate this knife. The thinness and sharpness right after sharpening is quite incredible and it's still my most used knife. That being said it also goes dull faster than any knife I've ever come across. I don't believe it's my sharpening as my other knives stay sharp a long time. With my CCK the first time I use it after sharpening and the edge is folded over wherever on the edge that's been used. It still could be my sharpening of that particular knife. I'm thinking of just sending it off to knifewear to have it done professionally and see if it's me or the knife

                                  1. re: Vicv07

                                    Consider using either a microbevel (I'm a fan of the one-sided very steep microbevel) or sharpening at a more obtuse angle in the first place. The CCK cleavers are kind of easy to sharpen at an especially low angle, and if you gauge your sharpening angle by the distance from the spine to the stone, that's often what you're going to wind up doing. It's easy to think you're sharpening a CCK at 15 degrees per side and actually sharpening it well below 10 degrees/side.

                                    Alternately, you could be having problems with a wire edge resulting from not removing the burr correctly or fully. Though this usually manifests as very quick dulling on such a microscopic level that you can't actually see or feel the folded edge. If you can see and or feel (with your fingers) the folded edge, then the problem is more likely to be too acute a sharpening angle. Still, something to consider.

                                    1. re: Vicv07

                                      <That being said it also goes dull faster than any knife I've ever come across. I don't believe it's my sharpening as my other knives stay sharp a long time. >

                                      Thanks for the update. I agree with cowboy on both accounts, but let me share my own experience.

                                      The CCK knives I have do not hold an acute edge as good as Aogami super steel knives. My two Aogami (blue paper) steel knives can hold at 10°. My CCK knives has about the same edge angle holding ability as my other Japanese knives (like Tojiro DP or CarboNext). CarboNext is particular obvious. What I found is that CarboNext's edge holding ability at 10° is horrible. Its edge instantly collapsed – even shorter than Tojiro DP. However, CarboNext holds its edge as long or longer than Tojiro when they are both sharpened to 15°. In my experience, my CCK cannot hold an edge long at 10°, but it can support 15°, so I will suggest to sharpen it at this angle. Just to be on the conservative side, try to sharpen at 17-18° for the next round -- just in case you are not holding the angle where you think were.

                                      The other possibility has been mentioned by cowboyardee as well. There could be a burr issue. Try to deburr it if you have a dedicated setup. If not, use your leather belt.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        I don't believe it's a burr. I've gotten to know what a burr looks like from this knife. It's just folded. Every time I sharpen I lift the spine a little further away. No noticeable change yet. I'll keep working on it

                                        1. re: Vicv07

                                          Maybe burr is not the right word, but I have noticed a huge difference between stropping the knife over a leather belt vs not doing so. A huge difference. And I wasn't able to feel a burr before the stropping anyway. I am not referring to the kind of large burr often can be felt by the thumb or the fingers. I do recommend you to strop it on a leather belt -- if only to rule out this possibility.

                                          <Every time I sharpen I lift the spine a little further away. No noticeable change yet>

                                          On second thought, why not sharpen the knife at 20° which pretty much everyone know will work. If the problem goes away, then you can progressively go back to a shallower angle (e.g. everytime you sharpen you lower the spine). This may be a quicker way to diagnose the problem. If the problem persists at 20°, and you are sure that it is not a burr/wire edge problem, then you may want to send to knifewear as you have suggested. I hope you solve this problem soon. There is always a chance (a very minor one but realistic) that you simply got a really bad quality control CCK knife. This chance is fairly low because I have not read any compliant about a wide variation of edge holding ability of CCK knives at 20°. I have, however, read many other complaints about other knives -- say Moritaka.

                                          Good luck.

                                          1. re: Vicv07

                                            As I said above, my first suspicion would be that you're sharpening at a lower angle than you realize, since the height of a CCK cleaver tends to trick you into thinking your angle is more obtuse than it is.

                                            But just in case - what is your deburring technique? You do deburr, right?

                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                              I use a 1x42 belt grinder to sharpen so knowing exact angle can be difficult. I finish on 6u belt then debut in pine then cork then finish on leather belt loaded with .5u veritas compound

                                              1. re: Vicv07

                                                Belt grinders can cause a little more difficulty in deburring than stones (mainly just because you can kick up a really large burr quite quickly). Giving the knife a couple very brief strokes alternating sides right before deburring can help minimize the burr to make it easier to remove. Also make sure you are using very light pressure on your leather belt.

                                                That said, I'm still leaning toward your problem being too shallow of a sharpening angle.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  More than likely that's the case. I'll just keep moving the spine out. It could just be the width of the blade but it seems I'm so far out already. I've already tried a micro bevel. I pass per side with fine belt very lightly and created a micro you could barely see at the very edge. Still same problem. And I'm only using it on veggies and deboned meat on a mable board

                                                  1. re: Vicv07

                                                    One other possible explanation -

                                                    A belt sander, especially a high speed belt sander, is capable of heating the metal up enough to actually damage the temper at the edge. This could also result in an edge that folds very easily, as it would leave the edge softer than it should be (the CCK typically uses moderately hard steel that seems to perform fine at edges as low as 20 degrees included, IME).

                                                    I'm guessing you have some experience sharpening with your belt sander, so hopefully I'm just barking up the wrong tree here, and telling you things you already know. But just in case, make sure your sharpening passes are kept brief and that your blade gets a break for a few seconds in between passes. You may benefit from dipping the edge in a bucket of water after each pass or two to cool the edge. And a slower belt speed is usually better, if that's an option.

                                                    If you do think you've gotten the edge too hot at some point, just fixing your technique isn't going to solve the problem, because the steel you're sharpening will still be too soft. You might have some success by carefully sharpening deeply into the existing edge, fixing the profile and edge geometry and starting with fresh steel, hoping that the steel deeper in the knife will make a better edge - basically what you would do to fix a deep chip in the middle of the blade (and not a very fun job). And of course if you do so, you'd have to be careful not to overheat the edge in the process.

                                                    Basically, if sharpening at a more obtuse angle doesn't fix the problem, consider the possibility of damage to the edge temper.

                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                      Thank you but I'm not overheating the edge. I've been sharpening with this unit about a year now and my other knives hold their edges quite well. I actually tried to ruin temper on a very cheap knife. I leaned into it and pushed really hard and didn't move. Took about 1 minute to cause that area of steel to start to turn blue. I have my motor set at 1180rpm and the belts I use are made to be used wet or dry. Every couple passes I dip knife in water and make another pass stil wet so the belt it always wet as I sharpen. So it's not an overheating issue. To me it could just seem I'm going too obtuse because the blade is 4" wide

                                                      1. re: Vicv07


                                                        I will be blunt and hopefully you won't think this as a personal attack because I am not, but I want to cut to the chase, so we can directly address the situation here. There are ultimately two possible reasons for your experience I can think of. Either you have a bad knife (an outlier but real possible which should be considered). In which case, it explains your frustration of this knife, and you can move on and buy a new knife (CCK or not). Or you have sharpening the knife incorrectly. Again, I hope you don't take this as a personal attack.

                                                        To me, at the point, the best solution is probably send the knife out for a professional knife sharper who sharpens knives by hand with waterstones (maybe knifewear?). Tell them what you have experienced, and ask for a obtuse knifeangle (20° on both side). If the problem persists, then you have a bad knife. If the problem resolves, then you know the knife is worthwhile to keep.

                                                        <To me it could just seem I'm going too obtuse>

                                                        It cannot be too obtuse. If it is too obtuse, then the knife edge would have felt dull from the start, and not what you have experienced.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          No I meant it seems like I am because of the width. I'm not taking it as personal attack. I'm not a know it all:). That's why I'm on here for advice. I very likely am sharpening incorrectly. I'm getting pretty good at it now but I'm no expert by any means. And I do find cleavers harder to sharpen than other style knives. Do you folks recommend knife wear? I've only ever had a couple knives sharpened professionally. It was at nella's in Hamilton and I wasn't impressed. I did a better job and I was very green then

                                                          1. re: Vicv07

                                                            I actually have never used knifewear. I only mentioned it because I thought you mentioned it first. That being said, it does look like a reasonable place given that it has the skill to handle Japanese traditional knife. I take it that they sharpen by hand on waterstones, so that should be good. I have heard good things, but I personally have never used it.

                                                            For me, I find a cleaver to be easier to sharpen than other style of knives. This is because the spine to edge distance is very uniform from tip to heel. So, it is easier for me to hold the angle. The spine to stone distance is always the same, whereas the spine to stone has to be changed for a curved knife. Another thing I find a cleaver is easier is that I can use my entire hand to hold the knife blade. Third, I find is very easy for me to measure my angle using a protractor. I have a more difficult time with other knives.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              With bench stones you're correct I believe it is easier with a cleaver. My best result hand sharpening was with a santuko for the same reason. With a belt grinder it's the opposite. With a knife with some belly to follow the curve of the knife you just slowly raise the handle as you make your pass. It's very easy. With something the size of the cck and the basically straight edge you must run the whole length exactly the same and with the width your wrist wobbles a bit trying to keep it steady. My problem is I'm completely useless with stones. Even if I could get the skill downpat I'm much too impatient to sit for an hour with one knife. I just seem to grind away without any results and I lose my want to do it through frustration

                                                              1. re: Vicv07

                                                                UPDATE. I've decided to give freehand another go. I'm actually enjoying it. And hating it! My technique still needs a lot of work but I'm getting very acceptable edges and starting to learn how quality of heat treat affects ease of sharpening. Got a wicked edge in my CCK this weekend. It was easy though as I had thinned it with my grinder. Bevel is much smaller. Set the edge with 1K King and easily pushcut newsprint. Went to 6K King. Destroyed nice edge. Rrrrr. Now I understand developing proper technique before moving on to higher grit stone. Reset edge with 1K deburred then stroped on newsprint MC style. I've went through meal prep 3 weekends in a row now and still sliced paper. Not quite as good as fresh edge but just stropped on newsprint again and refreshed the edge. So it was my crummy skills causing the problem. They're still crummy but slowly getting better. This is an old post but thank you all for you recommendations and help. Now the stones bug has bit me and I'm looking at others. Stupid expensive hobby!

                                                                1. re: Vicv07

                                                                  < Set the edge with 1K King and easily pushcut newsprint. Went to 6K King. Destroyed nice edge>

                                                                  That is interesting and odd. I cannot imagine a 6K stone can destroy the result from the 1K stone. Regardless, it seems things are working out for you. Thanks for your update.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    I'm assuming it's my technique. I set a good edge with the 1K but I was probably a bit more wobbly than I think I was and may have rounded off once I went to a higher grit that removes less steel. I'm not sure. A little off topic but has anyone noticed some knives just don't get good edges? I've gotten great edges with this cleaver, Wusthof, cheap walmart santuko, and my custom O1 EDC knife. An opinel carbon and a old hickory paring I can't get properly sharp. Freehand, Lansky, Belt grinder, no matter what I've tried I just can't get a nice edge. Bad heat treatment on both? Strange cause they're 1084 and 1095. Both plain carbon steels. Should take a wicked edge but no

                                                                    1. re: Vicv07

                                                                      < I set a good edge with the 1K but I was probably a bit more wobbly than I think I was and may have rounded off>

                                                                      I thought about that, but I don't think that is likely. Not impossible, but not that likely. Let's say you set your knife at 15 degree each with the 1K stone. Even if you wobbled and ended up sharpening the knife at 20 degree on the 6K, the edge should still work. Anyway. Try it a few time. Good luck.

                                                                      <A little off topic but has anyone noticed some knives just don't get good edges?>

                                                                      Yes. I have some knives absolutely cannot form an reasonable edge, let's alone a good edge. Even for all the knives which can form good edges, the qualities of the "good" edges are different. For example, my Aogami knives take on sharper edge than my CCK knives which take on better better edge than my Wusthof.

                                                                      <Both plain carbon steels. Should take a wicked edge but no>

                                                                      Yeah, the steel grades may be good, but the heat treatment could have been really bad. Alternatively, it would be an angle issue. For example, I have a CarboNext knife. It takes one a very good and durable edge at 15 degree on both sides. However, the blade has problem at 10 degree on both sides.

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        It's not an angle issue. I'm not saying they won't hold an edge. Won't take one. Raising a burr. Removing. Polishing edge. I'm pretty good with my grinder. Can not even slice paper with those two even though all the right steps were taken. Doesn't take much to slice paper. Just rough feeling

                                                                        1. re: Vicv07

                                                                          < I'm not saying they won't hold an edge. Won't take one.>

                                                                          I know. Some steels will have problem forming an edge if you sharpen it way too shallow, but I doubt you were doing anything like that.

                                                                          I have some crappy Tools of Trade knives. They will not form an edge. No burr, no nothing. The metal simply get ground away. It is crazy.

                                                                            1. re: Vicv07

                                                                              I have two in the garage that have bested me.

                                                                              1. re: JavaBean

                                                                                Java and Vic,

                                                                                Just realize that you can use these "impossible" knives to mess someone over. You go and teach someone how to sharpen a knife and raise a burr using your regular knife, and then give him/her these "impossible" knives to practice as a practical jokes.

                                                                                It is like those magical relighting candles: