Saturday, 27 May 2017

Water Stones - Choices, how important?


This is quick post about whether a certain brand of water stones will make your knives sharper than another. Assuming we are talking about all the popular brands and not the ones you can buy for 15 bucks on Amazon or at the hardware store. So Shapton, King, Suehiro, Naniwa, Gesshin, Kityama, Kohetsu, Cerax. You get the point.

I personally think that once you have established a solid understanding of the  fundamentals of sharpening and have a sound technique that you will make your knives sharp on any brand of stones.

In the picture above I sharpened each knife with a different combination: Shapton Glass, Naniwa Chosera and Gesshin.  All at the same angle of 12 deg per side, as close as I can get to that of course and all to the same level of refinement.

When I was done, no knife stood out in terms of sharpness, the difference was so subtle that I couldn't really notice one. They were all push cutting thin paper and shaving arm hair nicely and all nicely polished.

I guess my point is, and I have been a believer in this for years, is not to stress about the brand of stones, stress about getting good with the ones you have.

Even if the one I sharpened with the Naniwa Chosera stones was slightly sharper,  after 20-30 minutes of use, that edge is not going to as screaming sharp as it was anyway and I am not saying the knife off of the Choseras was sharper.

For me, the important difference in the stones is how they make me feel as I use them, how is the feedback and do I look forward to using them every single time.

Having said that, the Gesshin Stones from Japanese Knife Imports feel great, I can highly recommend them but again, they all worked just great :)

Ajikataya (Hinoura) knives. Handle by Chris at Fine Japanese Kitchen

Now these are cool knives. I forgot to mention that all three knives that I used in my little experiment are identical.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Angle Guides

Hi all,
Thank you for being here.

     I spotted these on the Chef Knives to Go website and they are cool. The package which is less than $10.00 USD, includes guides from 10-20 deg. So it gives people an immediate visual guide of what a 15 deg angle looks like. You could keep the guide in place as seen here and use it as a reference if needed.


     I got them them for my students.

12 deg

20 deg

     Most people are surprised how high a 20 deg angle is, how far the spine of the knife is off of the stone. Of course these are just ref points, once you start sharpening you're on your own but they are handy, no doubt about it.


     I have had this plate now for a couple of months, I can return it still but I won't, not even close. It is fantastic. It is expensive, almost 300 Cdn with tax but by far the best plate I have used for flattening. (I have not used the Shapton plate which is even more expensive)

     In my new video series I will be going over flattening and why I think it is important. There are some sharpeners who do not believe it is necessary, but I am pretty sure there concerns are that the flattening process wears out the water stones prematurely. I don't buy into that whatsoever but I will talk about it and show how I flatten. It is pretty common sense for most of course but this is novice orientated article/video, it will be when I am done that is.


I have this here for sale actually.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017



As you know I recently started a new series of videos, a sharpening school that has been published by Knifeplanet.

While the 21 or so comments that I have read have been positive, I did see a comment on a knife forum about me in particular, nothing to do with these new videos but about me, and it got me thinking.

The comment questioned by qualifications to teach knife sharpening and I do think that is a fair question despite the individuals framing of the question, it was not nice but that's okay, I can learn from it as well and again, it is a good question.

What makes anyone qualified really, we don't have the opportunity to go Sharpening University and get a degree in the subject. So what really makes a person qualified to go out and teach people how to sharpen?

Well, I have been in 3 newspapers including a full page spread, been on the radio, been on TV and I sharpen about three thousand knives a year. I have sharpened the knives of one of best Chef's in Canada.

Does that make me qualified?

Probably not.

I opened up my business in 2010 and I am still in business and I sharpen knives every single day and I absolutely love what I do and I get excited about every single knife that someone brings me to sharpen.

Does that make me qualified.

Absolutely :)

Viewing the videos is optional. I have never stated that I think my videos are the best or anything remotely close to that.

I have no problems with people questioning my ability but at least give me the chance to sharpen your knife and provide you an opportunity to add some weight to any negative statements.

Thank you for being here and I appreciate your desire to learn

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Friday, 12 May 2017

Sharpening School


As I mentioned earlier, I have been working with Knifeplanet to create a series of videos, each with a supporting article in an effort to build a learning environment that will help people learn to sharpen knives.  It is being planned as a program that will unfold methodically, in a logical sequence and not in a haphazard manner. Meaning, the first video will be a very basic demonstration to get people off on the right foot, to build a strong sharpening foundation.

This of course will make me filthy rich, from a personal satisfaction perspective:)

Everything used in the videos will be items I have purchased, no company is sending me products to use.


There is one sharpener that I have learned volumes of information from, a man I deeply respect and like me, likes to share information, I see him as my Mentor in fact.

JON BROIDA has agreed to jump onboard this project and work with me in producing videos demonstrating some of the more advanced topics. Jon sharpens a lot more single bevel knives than I do and has much better understanding of Japanese Natural Stones than me. So he will work on brand new videos and they will be published on Knifeplanet in due course, when his material fits into the program.

Cool eh!

The first video should be on Knifeplanet this Sunday, Mother's Day but I will provide a Link. 

It will be first day of school:)


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Restoration - Old becomes New

A nice man sent me a knife from Montreal. He acquired it through an inheritance but it had been lost in a cupboard or drawer for at least 15 years. He had no idea what it was, just that it is a Japanese Knife.

It is Yanagiba, the Kanji reads "Registered" "Tohgoro" which I have never heard of, some think that it is an old Tojiro.

The project took about four hours with the majority of the time spent on the blade road. It is an inexpensive knife and the blade road was not flat, not anywhere near it. It is still not perfectly flat but much better.

I polished it with sandpaper ranging in grit from 180 to 1,500 and then finally on a belt sander with a very fine belt, about 1,200 grit but that was just on the portion of the blade where the Kanji is. After that, it was all coarse stone work, 180 and 220 grit. In fact, I would say 75% of the time was on the 180 grit stone. I did it in increments of about 30 minutes at a time. It really tests your patience.

a Fun and very educational project.


Saturday, 6 May 2017

New Articles with Videos coming, Sharpening School


I mentioned this before but I am working with Knifeplanet again on a series of article and videos with the goal of providing viewers interested in learning to sharpen knives, a Sharpening School so to speak.

The plan is to demonstrate the process in a logical sequence starting from the basics and extending to limits of my knowledge.   I will be doing my absolute best to provide an enjoyable product that is not just fun to watch but gets folks beyond certain barriers that they may be facing,

I will talk about the products I use and over time go through everything that I think of is important and things that I don't think we need to worry about, at least not for now. There are so many videos and forums that eager people visit and often end up no further ahead, they get overwhelmed and don't know who to trust. A lot of videos are made by people trying to sell products so it can be a little uncomfortable to people.

Everything that I used in my videos are things I bought myself, nobody is paying me a cent to promote products or make the videos. I do it because I enjoy sharing information and I want people to get the most of the process, to start off on the right foot.

Just some knives I was sent to touch up 

Masakage Yuki

As soon as the products are put up on Knifeplanet I will put the links on my Blog.

Sone of the stones that I use.