Saturday, 30 September 2017


I have been away and busy and I've been neglecting my Blog. I have chosen to leave the Forum that I was on for the last few years, there comes a time, for me, when that is necessary and this is the time.

I hope to share more information here as I usually do.

     Flattening water stones is something that I really don't enjoy, nobody does but to make it less painful I need to find what works best and for now, I think I have it. I have tried sandpaper, various diamond plates and the Naniwa flatting stone. The Diamond plates have it as far as I am concerned, they are the best.

DMT Lapping Plate

    In the picture above is my favourite plate but I have also added a little bit of SIC Powder to the surface. This greatly improves the performance of the plate. Some people don't use a plate at all, instead they use a granite or glass surface and just use the SIC powder alone. I know that works and I will try it, what I like about that is it may be possible to keep re-using the powder as the water evaporates the powder will remain behind. Right now, I am losing the powder so I plan to get the glass plate to see if I can keep from washing it away. In any event, it is effective.

    Now Kevin Kent of Knifewear, a man that I have the utmost respect for told me that he uses the Naniwa flattening stone, the ones with the grooves in them. He said the diamond plates can "kill" the stones, meaning, they will have a negative impact on the cutting power of the stone so I will be testing that. Kevin has never steered me wrong so I take what he says very seriously.

My son brought this knife home after a deployment, he is in the army, it was a departing gift.

I used to polish knives like this using the Edge Pro Professional only, that is to say, if I was going for a mirror finish. These days however I find myself getting away from that and doing it all by hand. It is faster and more enjoyable, I do find it more difficult to achieve the same standard on both sides of the knife, that is a "precision" issue but it is okay with me. I could always do it by hand and then go to the EP to finish it off but it's not like a competition or anything. Just makes pretty pictures and folks do like it. This is a collector item, won't be used in the field.

Average knives in the shot above, 80% of the knives that I sharpen are average and some are quite difficult to do but they all provide learning opportunities. Many pro sharpeners do knives like this on a belt. I don't, I use water stones for all my knives but I do use the belt sander for repairs and if the knife is very thick, of low quality, I may start it on the belt sander to save wear and tear on the water stones.

The knife on the right is the new Miyabi Black line, it is quite beautiful. I keep reminding myself that not all great knives have to come from Japan. Look at these, and Kramer knives and Carter's as well.

All the best.

Thank you for sticking around. If there is something that you want me to talk about in my Blog please let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Online Sharpening School PRESSURE

Online Sharpening School Lesson Four

In the article and video I describe and show how I use four levels of pressure to sharpen a knife, I have done this before for my Blog but I wanted to improve it.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Thinning Thoughts

Hello All,
Thank you for visiting my Blog. I want to talk about thinning, and even over the last few months I have had a change of heart about the subject.

Restoration Project. 

Random shots, this is the DMT Lapping Plate which is quite excellent.

THINNING seems to be a buzzword around many forums and elsewhere on the Internet, it is an important skill to learn and plays a huge role in the increase of performance of a knife but I think that we have a tendency to jump into it too quickly at times. I get the feeling that people feel pressured to THIN their knives because it seems like the thing to do.

It isn't that simple, and this is just my opinion of course, as all my blog post are.  So what is thinning, what is the purpose of it?

Thinning involves the reduction in width of the knife behind the edge, from a cross sectional geometry perspective, the knife is thinned to improve slicing performance. We knock the "shoulders" of the knife down. 

We thin a knife in a variety of ways using an assortment of tools but I do it all by hand on a very coarse water stone, 180 or 220 grit and if I had a 120 grit stone I would use that. 

We don't need to talk about the method as it is all laid out nicely on Knifeplanet by Jon Broida,  accompanied by an article that I wrote.


The point of this post is to encourage folks not to feel like they have to rush into the process of thinning a knife, especially a new one. 

Many knives these days come nice and thin and don't require anything but sharpening and honing for a very long time. We don't know how long it will take for that primary edge to start moving it's way up into the blade, the thicker part of the knife, it could be years I suppose and some blades are not thick at all anyway. 

Also, for me, I think it would take a substantial increase in the width of the blade behind the edge for me to be able to feel it's impact on cutting, let's face it, that is a pretty subtle change that is happening there. 

I am not talking about older knives like a 25 year old Henckels that was probably a little to thick in the first place. I am suggesting to take a good look at the knife before thinking about thinning and not to attempt it because you think it is necessary because it is a Buzzword. By all means though, if you feel the knife can slice better by thinning it, go for it. :)

Thinning is not easy and you may scratch the blade if you are thinning at an angle that brings the blade of the knife in contact with the stones. Before thinning, consider how much of the blade you want to work on, perhaps just 1 or 2 mm behind the edge is all that is necessary and for that, you may just need to lower your sharpening angle by 3 degrees or so. You can tape the blade as well to prevent some inherent scratches.

The purpose of this post is not to discourage anyone from thinning a knife, just don't jump into it because you feel you have to because it is a common subject. Do it if the knife is telling you that it needs to be thinned. Start cautiously and watch the video on Knifeplanet first.


Friday, 1 September 2017

Before and After Masakage Kumo

This beauty came in for some repair work today, it's a Masakage Kumo Santoku.
I put this here because I get a lot of questions about repairs and how long it takes to repair and to sharpen.

   I use two different techniques to repair an edge like this. I need to remove the metal along the primary edge until basically, the holes disappear. I do this either using a 1" x 43" belt sander with trizact belts or with a very coarse stone. In this case I opted for the belt sander as I find that it is very quick and precise, as long as I go nice and slow and make sure not to get the blade hot.

After the repair is done, the edge is pretty much non-existent, it's just a flat, completely dull line. I then decide whether I need to thin the knife a little before sharpening it and in this case I did that.

After the thinning on Naniwa Chosera 400, I started to sharpen it at 12 deg per side(as close to 12 deg as I can get, I am freehanding).

It was relatively easy to sharpen as a matter of fact and I finished it on an 8,000 grit Kityama.

Total repair/sharpening time was 20 minutes.