Author Topic: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery  (Read 6266 times)

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Offline GoingMyWay

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Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« on: June 30, 2018, 08:50 PM »
I was pleasantly surprised by the number of contributions that other members contributed to my What's Cooking thread.  A couple people brought up different cutlery and also sharpening so I thought I'd create a new thread that can cover knife sharpening.

Besides woodworking and cooking, knife sharpening is also a bit of a hobby for me.  I've collected a few different type of sharpeners and other sharpening related gadgets in my quest to get a sharp knife.

I have a set of Global knives.  Global wasn't actually my first choice (I'd actually prefer the more "traditional" and heavier German style forged knives).  An old girlfriend at the time got me the 3 piece "starter" set of Global knives (Santoku, utility, and pairing knife).  When I first saw the set, I kinda chuckled to myself and thought it was some cheap asian grocery store brand of inexpensive knives.  I didn't realize that they're actually a well known and fairly respected brand (I think they rate behind Miyabi and Shun, but still a pretty good Japanese blade, at least based on my observations).  She bought Global knives because she had recently read Anthony Bourdain's book, Kitchen Confidential, in which he recommended Global.  The Globals were incredibly sharp out of the box.  I think it's still the sharpest knife I've ever used (I have never used Shun, Miyabi, Mac so I don't have a lot of points of comparison).  I actually sliced my finger pretty good trying to get one of the knives out of the packaging.  I think it was ziptied in and I was trying to use another knife to pry/slice the ziptie off when my finger went right into the blade.  I now try to use some heavy shears or scissors to cut zipties off as it's safer.

Since I had 3 Global knives already I was kinda stuck with the brand and I gradually added to my collection over time:  I got the knife block, bread knife, filet knife, carving knife and fork, diamond hone.

As I mentioned the knives were extremely sharp right out of the box, but they of course got dull over time and I needed a way to sharpen them.  I did some Googling to find out the "proper" way to sharpen Global knives and purchased a bunch of sharpening tools:

MinoSharp Plus Sharpener


MinoSharp Whetstone


Spyderco Sharpmaker


Wicked Edge Sharpening System


Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition


and finally the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition with Blade Grinding Attachment (last, but not least)


The MinoSharp Plus Sharpener didn't really get the knife that sharp, but it was pretty easy to use.  I had even worse luck with the MinoSharp Whetstone, even with the angle guide attached to the blade.  The Spyderco Sharpmaker didn't do anything in terms of sharpness despite all of the positive reviews that I saw.  Those were the systems that I tried but didn't work for me (well there were actually others, but that's what I still have and took pictures of).  It may have been more of an issue with the operator more so than the products themselves.

Now on to the systems that did work for me.  The Wicked Edge Sharpening System is what I'll call a top level sharpening System.  It's right up there with The Edge Pro Systems from a performance and cost perspective (Tormek is also up there, but I did not look that much into that system, I think Tormek was even more expensive).  I compared the Wicked Edge with Edge Pro extensively and I ultimately decided on Wicked Edge for a few reasons:

It uses diamond stones that are supposed to last longer and most importantly do not require flattening.  The blade is held edge-up in the vise so both sides of the blade can be sharpened at the same time (this is also a problem, more on that in a second).  It seems like a more consistent and repeatable process that could always be setup exactly the same way.

I was able to get well, "wicked" sharp edges on my knives with the Wicked Edge System.  It was a very expensive system with some of its own problems, but it was capable of producing probably the sharpest edge I've personally ever been able to produce and the most accurate edge (if I wanted to either set or match a specific angle).  One downside to the system is it was very expensive, but the real downside is that it was a very slow process to sharpen.  I also managed to cut the ring finger on my left hand pretty badly attempting to sharpen a longer chef's knife.  This is due to the nature of how the blade is held and the action of how the blade is actually sharpened (particularly with longer blades).  After that incident, I tried to wear cut resistant gloves whenever sharpening.

Somehow I came across some YouTube videos of the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition System and I got turned on to that.  I picked up the system 2 years ago and this system allowed me to put a pretty sharp edge on my blades in basically no time.  I could go through all of my knives in probably less time than it took to do just 1 knife with the Wicked Edge System.  I think it was also something like only 30% of the cost of the Wicked Edge System that I bought.

I upgraded my Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition system a little bit with the addition of the the Blade Grinding Attachment.  This is now my favorite way to quickly sharpen my knives. 

I picked up a few nifty tools and gadgets along the way that can help me sharpen my knives, but I think I'll share those at a later time.
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Offline Cincinnati

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2018, 08:43 AM »
I too have the Wicked sharp - the older version from maybe 6-8 years ago.  It created a razor sharp ( make that a wicked sharp) edge. I’ve never cut myself on it, but it sits atop the refrigerator unused a lot of the time.

The fact is, I just don’t think of sharpening the knives.

The other system I have is the Tormek. It’s in my shop, so I have to take the knives out there which is also inconvenient.

Between the two, the Wicked Sharp produces a much better  edge largely because of the graduated stones available. The Tormek is basically one or two grits and honing.

Because of the motorized wheel, I wasted away and reshaped a couple of very nice knives early on. The Wicked Sharp is slow, so there’s very little opportunity to grind too much steel away.

Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2018, 09:29 AM »
I store all of the pictured sharpening tools in a toolbox.







It keeps all my systems together in one place and is easily transported.  I have taken toolbox to a friend's house to sharpen his knives.

I also don't routinely think about sharpening my knives, but sometimes it does bug me how dull the knives have gotten compared with when they're freshly sharpened.  That's usually my motivation to bust out the sharpener and sharpen the knives.  My Wicked Edge System just sits in the bottom of the toolbox.  I can't remember the last time I used it to sharpen anything, but I like knowing that it's there and I can use it when I have the need to set a precise angle and/or make an extremely sharp edge.  It just takes sooo long to use.

I plan on sharpening our kitchen knives today since I already have everything out.  I forgot to mention that I sharpen my Global knives at 15 degrees on each side.  That makes for a very sharp edge, but not the most durable edge.  I can see lots of little micochips in the edge when I look at the santoku under magnification.
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Offline Bob Marino

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2018, 10:39 AM »

  Thanks for this thread as it is very useful, deserves and is helpful to stand alone not as part of another (very interesting) thread.
Kitchen knife sharpening is something I'm betting is not a thought in most people's mind and when attempted if at all, is probably done incorrectly. I include myself in the not sharpening correctly in that group also.

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Offline Knight Woodworks

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2018, 02:36 PM »
I own a mix of Shun, Wusthof, Henckels and Victorinox kitchen knives. Victorinox is highly recommended by Cooks Illustrated and has become my preferred brand of chefs knives. Reasonably priced too.

For sharpening, a friend introduced me to Chef's Choice knife sharpeners many years ago. I have owned the model 1520 for over ten years and it continues to give consistently good results. It accommodates 15* & 20* blades and has a polishing disc. If you don't need the 15* option there are other less expensive models.  For touch ups the Accusharp knife sharpener, also recommended by Cooks works well.

For those occasions when I need a razors edge on my knives, I start with the Chefs Choice, then switch to Shapton water stones. A few passes on the 1,000 stone, a few on the 2,000 followed by the 4,000, done.

John

Offline Koamolly

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2018, 03:42 PM »
I mention the Edge Pro that I use in the other thread but thought I should list it here also.  Here’s a short video showing how to use it.



Link to manufacturer

http://www.edgeproinc.com

Not too much of a learning curve.  You do need to level out stones occasionally to get consistent results.  Buy their silicon carbide and use your own piece of glass.  His website has lots of info.  I haven’t used it, but he makes an attachment for scissors and chisels for the Apex.  I have the Apex model purchased quite a few years ago.  No complaints.


Offline mrFinpgh

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2018, 05:36 PM »
I have a hodgepodge of knives - some I've made, some my girlfriend brought with her, and some I have owned for a while.

For me, I prefer to keep things as simple as I can.   Sharpening is mostly about getting two facets to come to as close to a 0 radius as possible.   The rest is polishing.  So, I like to sharpen freehand almost all of the time.

For me, a few waterstones and a non-slip mat seem to be sufficient.  I started off with the DMT stones, but now I'm mostly using Shaptons.  I did buy these: https://www.chefknivestogo.com/anguforshst.html  because I'm used to sharpening chisels and plane blades, which are a steeper angle that I'm used to visualizing.  It takes a little time to get the body mechanics right, but after that it becomes a relatively smooth and simple process.

For me, having a sharp knife is what makes cooking fun.  It's frustrating when the food you're slicing collapses or you have to struggle through the cut.

-Adam

Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2018, 05:43 PM »
I forgot that I also own a Chef's Choice Electric Sharpener.  I wasn't impressed with the sharpness that it produced.  My model only does 1 angle, which I believe is 20 degrees.  I also bought the SOG Countertop Sharpener: https://www.sogknives.com/countertop-sharpener.html for some of my SOG pocket knives.  That thing seems to just destroy the blade - definitely would not recommend.  I may have even thrown it away as I was so disgusted by the product.

I have no hands on experience with the Edge Pro, I only researched it.  Even after getting the Wicked Edge System I had thought about purchasing the Edge Pro - mostly because of how compact it is when stored, plus is looks pretty fun to use while achieving very sharp results.

I later learned about the TSPROF Knife Sharpener: http://tsprof.com/.  It seems like most people who like the Edge Pro System thinks this is an even better product.
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Offline Cincinnati

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2018, 06:24 PM »
... Victorinox is highly recommended by Cooks Illustrated and has become my preferred brand of chefs knives. Reasonably priced too.

John

We’ve got nearly $2000 invested in kitchen cutlery. My favorite knife is a red plastic handled chef knife by  Victorinox. It was Less than $30 on Amazon. It takes and holds a fabulous edge. Easily sharpened on Wicked Edge.

Offline Cheese

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2018, 06:38 PM »
For me, having a sharp knife is what makes cooking fun.  It's frustrating when the food you're slicing collapses or you have to struggle through the cut.

A dull knife is also more dangerous than a sharp knife because of the extra force you have to apply. That’s when things can go south in a hurry.  [crying]

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2018, 06:48 PM »
I bought my first set of knives at a woodworking show.  Spyderco.  They served me well but over time I moved onto other knives also.  The Spyderco kitchen knives basically disappeared from the market.

BUT recently Japan Woodworking reintroduced them.  I don't care as much for some of them as I once did, but the bread knife and the paring knives are wicked great.

The Victornox Festool knife is cool too if you can find one.  [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]

Peter

Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2018, 06:49 PM »
A dull knife is also more dangerous than a sharp knife because of the extra force you have to apply. That’s when things can go south in a hurry.  [crying]

That's what they say... BUT a very sharp knife might nearly take off a finger if you're not careful.  Using a mandolin slicer without a guard immediately comes to mind.
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Offline Koamolly

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2018, 06:50 PM »


I later learned about the TSPROF Knife Sharpener: http://tsprof.com/.  It seems like most people who like the Edge Pro System thinks this is an even better product.

The machining on that looks quite impressive.  Similar concept to the Edge Pro.  Very expensive.  Would love to try one.

Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2018, 06:54 PM »
I believe the key differentiator between the the TSPROF and the Edge Pro is that the TSPROF has a vise to hold the blade.
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Offline Koamolly

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2018, 06:56 PM »
A dull knife is also more dangerous than a sharp knife because of the extra force you have to apply. That’s when things can go south in a hurry.  [crying]

That's what they say... BUT a very sharp knife might nearly take off a finger if you're not careful.  Using a mandolin slicer without a guard immediately comes to mind.

I was going to say the say thing.  I’ve never sliced the tip of my finger off with a dull knife.  Can’t say the same for one of my sharp knives.  ;)

Offline Koamolly

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2018, 07:10 PM »
I bought my first set of knives at a woodworking show.  Spyderco.  They served me well but over time I moved onto other knives also.  The Spyderco kitchen knives basically disappeared from the market.

BUT recently Japan Woodworking reintroduced them.  I don't care as much for some of them as I once did, but the bread knife and the paring knives are wicked great.

The Victornox Festool knife is cool too if you can find one.  [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]

Peter

The Dexter knives are good too.  Says Japan on knife, assuming that means the blade came from Japan.  Restaurant supply places might have them.  Got mine at a commercial fishing supply store.  Also got the serrated Victorinox, which is a little longer, at the same store.

https://www.amazon.com/Dexter-Outdoors-Scalloped-Tapered-Parer/dp/B0015R5KSY/ref=pd_sbs_79_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0015R5KSY&pd_rd_r=992d8dfe-7d82-11e8-9813-a3ffab62dff8&pd_rd_w=EkI7M&pd_rd_wg=qvrnv&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=5825442648805390339&pf_rd_r=KQKD5HWZ64XYWW0MGMHP&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=KQKD5HWZ64XYWW0MGMHP

https://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Swiss-Classic-Paring-Serrated/dp/B005LRYEJU/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1530486403&sr=1-2&keywords=victorinox+serrated+knife

Good little knives.


Offline Bob Marino

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2018, 09:44 PM »
  Truth is, of course, any knife, dull or sharp can cut you if you are not careful. But a dull should not stay dull - sharpen it.
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Offline Don T

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2018, 11:35 PM »
I use my Tormek for really dull knives or ones that have nicks from cutting through bones. I use a steel to maintain the sharpness.
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Offline Bert Vanderveen

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2018, 08:47 AM »
Well, the cut from a dull knife will take longer to heal and leave a more profound scar than a sharp knife will. Speaking from experience (sliced of the top of my thumb with a large western style chef’s knife, half a lifetime ago).

Ever since I discovered the Globals I have exclusively used those. Hold their edge for a long time. I use their diamond ‘steel’ to dress the cutting edge before using the larger ones & sharpen on waterstones (freehand) about once a year — but then I have some of the models in multiples, so there is some roll over involved.
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Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2018, 09:33 AM »
The Dexter knives are good too.

I was also going to say I've heard good things about Dexter knives.  A lot of commercial kitchens use these.  I believe they usually also have a professional sharpening service that comes in to sharpen.  Granted those knives are being used a lot more than an average household kitchen so I don't know how durable the edge is.

I've also heard very good things about Lasting Cut knives - very sharp out of the box.  I know they're sold at Restaurant Depot (not open to the general public).  I think they're cheaper than Dexter.

Ever since I discovered the Globals I have exclusively used those.

Cool - I'm happy to hear someone else is using Global.  Shun knives do seem to be more popular than Global for whatever reason, but it's all personal preference and how it feels in your hand.  The Global handles do take some getting used to.

I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but I wanna say while edge retention is primarily a factor of the steel hardness and the angle at which the edge is sharpened, I think the type of surface / cutting board you are cutting on may be almost as equally as important.  Glass is probably the absolute worst thing you can cut on.

I made that end grain cutting board a few months ago and I personally try to use that for most cutting (even some meats, but that may be a whole different discussion).  We still have some cheap bamboo cutting boards and some Epicurean boards.  My wife often likes to use the bamboo cutting boards for small chopping jobs since she doesn't really like having to wash the larger end grain board.  I'm pretty sure the bamboo cutting boards are quite rough on the blade's edge and really shorten it's sharpness life span.  We often use the Epicurean boards when cutting things like chicken since that can go right into the dishwasher.  I don't think the Epicurean boards are as bad for the edge as the bamboo, but still probably not all that great.
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Offline Cheese

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2018, 10:15 AM »
We often use the Epicurean boards when cutting things like chicken since that can go right into the dishwasher.  I don't think the Epicurean boards are as bad for the edge as the bamboo, but still probably not all that great.

I've been using an Epicurean board for the last 6-7 years. They hold up real well and can be popped in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. They're a lot easier on the knives than the polypro board I previously used.

I use both Shun and Wusthof knives daily on the Epicurean board. The only difference is the Wusthof knives need to be steeled more often than the Shun knives. 

I've used polypro, bamboo and a traditional wooden board but I like the Epicurean board the best.  [big grin]

Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2018, 10:24 AM »
I guess the Epicurean boards are pretty good, albeit pricey.  I wanted to get the one with the juice channel, but it was pretty expensive so we passed.  We have a probably 10 year old black one that is peeling.  It's leaves black specks in the food.  I should probably throw it out - I'm not really sure why I'm still holding on to it.

Nothing beats the sound of a knife hitting a nice solid wood cutting board though  [big grin].  Everything else just sounds so "hollow" if you know what I mean.
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Offline Cheese

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2018, 11:16 AM »
I guess the Epicurean boards are pretty good, albeit pricey.  I wanted to get the one with the juice channel, but it was pretty expensive so we passed.  We have a probably 10 year old black one that is peeling.  It's leaves black specks in the food.  I should probably throw it out - I'm not really sure why I'm still holding on to it.

Hey I found the perfect Epicurean cutting board for you!  [poke]   [poke]   [poke]


Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2018, 11:26 AM »
LOL.  That's pretty cool.  I assume they have one for all 50 states?  Maybe there are some other states that have a better overall shape that's a littlle more conducive for a cutting board design.
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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2018, 01:53 PM »
LOL.  That's pretty cool.  I assume they have one for all 50 states?  Maybe there are some other states that have a better overall shape that's a littlle more conducive for a cutting board design.

Colorado

Offline leakyroof

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2018, 03:00 PM »
I use Lee Valley or similar Film Micron Sanding Belts in my 1" x 42" Jet Belt Sander to sharpen our Kitchen Knives.
 I started using the belt sander after watching a Sharpening Video made by Leonard Lee of Lee Valley.
 Fast, no burning, and I just kiss the edge with a Leather Belt laced with Lee Valley's Green Cutting Compound after using the Micron Sharpening Belt to take any tiny burr off as well.  Takes more time to swap between the 2 belts than it does to sharpen the knives.
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Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2018, 03:39 PM »
The Worksharp system is basically a mini belt sander.  Some sort of belt sander really seems to be the way to go.  I reckon most better quality production knives are sharpened on some type of belt sander.  I can't imagine anyone or any company producing knives for a living would use something as slow as a stone (please correct me if I'm wrong).  Another advantage (I consider if to be an advantage anyway) of using a belt sander is that it puts a convex edge on the blade.

I sharpened 4 of our Global knives this morning on the Worksharp Ken Onion Edition Blade Grinding Attachment.  The "production assembly line " approach of doing all the knives on each grit of belt definitely makes quick work of them.  I used 4 different belts.

I think using a strop of some sort is what really gets you that really refined razor sharp edge.  Now some people prefer a more "toothy" edge that you get from a less polished edge (like maybe 200-400 grit), particularly for like slicing tomatoes.  Sometimes it seems that a super highly polished edge is really only good for bragging rights, like the so called "hair whittling sharp" - not all that practical for every day real world slicing and cutting.
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Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2018, 03:45 PM »
@GoingMyWay, if you're using the Spyderco system as shown, you're going to have a hard time getting an edge.  I can get a razor-sharp edge with mine. 
- Willy -

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Offline Koamolly

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #28 on: July 02, 2018, 03:50 PM »
LOL.  That's pretty cool.  I assume they have one for all 50 states?  Maybe there are some other states that have a better overall shape that's a littlle more conducive for a cutting board design.

Hawaii is MIA.  Maybe they’re waiting for the volcano to stop changing the coastline.

Offline GoingMyWay

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Re: Sharpening Kitchen Cutlery
« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2018, 03:57 PM »
@GoingMyWay, if you're using the Spyderco system as shown, you're going to have a hard time getting an edge.  I can get a razor-sharp edge with mine. 

I just set it up like that for the photo - I forgot what the exact correct setup was.  I had watched the DVD that came with it when I first got it and set it up correctly then, but I still had no luck.  As I mentioned before, most likely user error as you along with a lot of other people have gotten razor sharp results.  It just wasn't the system for me.

Hawaii is MIA.  Maybe they’re waiting for the volcano to stop changing the coastline.

I'm terrible with geography.  If I was given a blank map I think I'd struggle to be able to correctly identify more than a few states, but Hawaii would be tough, even without the volcanic eruption - isn't it a series of islands so you'd have several little cutting boards?

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