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Sharpening for careless owners

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Joe_Lane, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Joe_Lane


    Jul 15, 2014
    Where I'm going with this is your average kitchen knife owner. Usually relatives, sometimes friends knives. The ones who put there knives in the dish washer next to other metal objects. Or throw them in the drawer to bang against other metal objects. These knives always have very substantial chips in them. Sometimes I will sharpen them out and leave them with a smooth edge, but lately i think i have realized that they will simply damage them again. Maybe my best bet is it to get the edge sharp, and leave the chips. :confused:

    It should also be noted that I'm speaking here in the case of a friendly service, not charging.
  2. Rondel


    Jul 3, 2015
    That's why I use my work Sharp for most kitchen knife customers. I can grind the chips away and get a razor edge in 10 minutes or so.
  3. HeavyHanded


    Jun 4, 2010
    If its a free service, I might stop at 320 grit, steel it, and off it goes. There's no point in polishing out chips on a knife that gets tossed in a drawer with its litter mates. Also no point in applying a finer edge, the raw one will hold up better to incidental knocks.

    If someone is paying, I'll work out the smaller nicks but any that are quite large might have to settle for being reduced, depends on where they are. And then to a reasonably polished edge.
  4. I have certain family members for whom I've had to 'restrain myself' in sharpening kitchen knives for their use. I periodically sharpen up a Chicago Cutlery paring knife that gets a lot of use in the kitchen; it gets the treatment of a Fine-diamond hone, and I leave it at that. One family member uses that knife to cut fruit (apples, etc) against the ceramic tile countertop, which means about ~1/2" of the tip portion CLACKS against the tile in the first cut, and the edge gets mushroomed and/or rolled immediately.

    I sharpened up a larger butcher-style knife from the same Chicago Cutlery set, giving it a nice toothy slicing edge. Another family member managed to cut herself with it within a day of that sharpening, as she's been a little too 'casual' in how she handles the blade when using it (because she's been using truly DULL knives for decades). So, I remain constantly conflicted about whether it's a good idea to leave truly sharp knives in the care & custody of others... :(

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
  5. bflying

    bflying Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    I sharpened a bunch of my brothers kitchen knifes because they were so dull I don't think I could cut myself with them if I hacked at my arm. Weeks later they were cooked again. He recently upgraded his kitchen, and now cuts against granite counter tops. So I gave up.

    The last time we had a family gathering at his place, I simply pocketed a little Boker SanYouGo that I keep razor sharp. Everyone laughed at my participation in the kitchen, but one by one as other family members got fed up with the pre-caveman cutlery available, they were all asking to use my little knife. I said only if there was a decent cutting board to use it on. So the sister-inlaw so used to just using the granite goes looking. The best they could come up with was a glass cutting board. My little Boker went back into the pocket.

    I have a hard time doing family freebies any more unless I already know how they will be treated. If mistreated, they can just keep buying new knives at Wally's.

    I think I've come to the conclusion that if someone lets their kitchen knives get destroyed, they probably don't have the knife handling ability/technique to be safe with really sharp knives anyway.
  6. Lieblad


    Jul 24, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
  7. Sadden


    Dec 19, 2011
  8. bucketstove


    Sep 23, 2014
    I would leave them in, they will get removed eventually
    but I hear if you have a rod/round abrasive,
    you can sharpen the chips as well so they don't snag/tear when cutting

    But I don't have a rod so I just leave them in
  9. Joe_Lane


    Jul 15, 2014
    Funny you should mention that because I have often thought to myself, people say a dull knife is dangerous. Well I agree, but a sharp knife used by a person not used to the cutting ability of a sharp knife is just as bad.
  10. HwangJino


    Dec 2, 2012
    I feel you.

    My kitchen can't sharpen to save their lives, so they always come to me, too often I might say.

    So I give them a very thick edge, since they don't know the difference.

    For family members, i give them a highly polished convex edge, seems to last them a while.
  11. SunsetFisherman


    Feb 4, 2012
    My mother told me to stop sharpening her knives for fun, she'd rather be able to use her thumb as a cutting board :cool:
  12. DeadboxHero


    Mar 22, 2014
    Hahaha brutal, my families the same. When I need to cook however I just sharpen on the bottom of a ceramic cup and strop on paper. If only my family had diamond cups haha
  13. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    I just finished sharpening my neighbors' kitchen knives, they were in deplorable condition, but I used the Work Sharp Ken Onion model with the blade grinding attachment and it did fairly quick work putting razor edges back on them again as well as bring the points back to a pointy condition.

    BUT I did not try to remove all the nicks, as I explained to him, there isn't any point to take away that much steel for one or two nicks in the blade, just takes too much away too soon, they will slowly be sharpened out over several more sharpenings as the knives need it done. I explained it to him in case he tried to show off the edges and was surprised at a catch in the paper due to the nicks. He understood completely, why take away that much life from a blade if it's not needed to be taken off.

  14. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    A coarse stone 100 grit or so, and a honing steel. Plenty sharp if you know what you are doing and very quick.
  15. DeadboxHero


    Mar 22, 2014
    Jason, what's a good coarse waterstone? I have a DMT continuous extra coarse, Its getting worn out after 5 years, I was thinking about either an extra extra coarse or if there is any advantage to coasre waterstones besides hollowing out fast.
  16. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    I would stick with diamond plates for most thing, DMT XXC can be had for around $60 and if you want some real speed the Atoma 140 will run about $100. Cheaper diamond plates can be used but wear quicker and have noticeable flaws compared to name brands... but, they are cheaper and do work.

    Most waterstones under 300 grit wear quickly and are best suited to sharpening Japanese traditional Knives such as the Yanagi, Deba, and Usuba. Most coarse brick waterstone just suck and while they can have amazing cutting speed it's way to easy to wash out bevel lines and over grind spots as the stone literally wears out from underneath the blade. I don't have one yet but the Shapton Glass 120 is on my list of coarse stones to get. It does not have the same issues as coarse brick stones and allows for clean bevel lines, flattening becomes an issue though. It's recommended to have two 120 stones unless you like the more messy option of SiC powder on glass.
  17. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    GINSU knives to the rescue. Get the large set.
  18. DeadboxHero


    Mar 22, 2014
    Great info as always J. I sharpen alot of knives, even daily. Is there a noticble performance for atoma over DMT for a heavy user to justify the cost?
  19. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    Tough question to answer. For me, I think I might have prematurely killed my Atoma 140 by lapping my Nubatama 150 stone. Once a small patch of diamond wore away it was downhill from there as I kept lapping stones from 320 up and using it for bevel setting. It's about a year old now and visibly missing 2/3 of its diamonds but still Laps like a champ, not much use for setting bevels though. My DMT still has 99% of its diamonds but it's a dull plate causing it to lap very slow and while it will still set a bevel the lack of speed from the dull diamonds is very noticeable.

    When the Atoma was new, grinding a blade was like zipping a heavy zipper. Steel was removed very fast and the resulting edge was surprisingly sharp too, much sharper than you would expect from such a coarse stone. I plan on getting a replacement top and using it just for bevel setting to see how long it lasts. Even it you only got 6 months of heavy use it would probably be worth it though, it makes quick work of everything.
  20. DeadboxHero


    Mar 22, 2014
    Good stuff thanks Jason.

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