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how long did it take you

Discussion in 'Sharpening forum' started by James, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. I sharpen for chefs almost daily most of the knives are represented by what I would call Japanese entry level knives -Macs- Globals -Shuns - Miyabi then a few Victorinox & Zwilling Wüstof my techniques constantly evolve to the extent I have what I call a eureka moment monthly which means each monthly visit to restaurants my techniques have evolved.
    Achieving the sharpest edge is of primary importance - but it is most important to a chef what remains after the shaving edge has gone - what remains which is why the profile needs to be thin behind the edge. I could hone many of the knives that have not been damaged by ceramic rods or diamond steels in moments but I spend about 20 minutes per knife (good condition a stick with a handle may take double or triple this time) to ensure they will endure. a shaving edge will not last long except on higher end steels like aogomi , shiriogami or honyakis or powder steels but a good profile will still work well.
    I estimate that amongst the 150 +/- chefs whose knives I sharpen only about 5% can use a steel or a stone without damage ->removing belly from a knife - creating hollows- causing micro chips or completely flattening the apex of an edge + > stick with handle.
    Many of the chefs I work for are in Michelin or high end restaurants & are too busy creating amazing menus to have the time to master honing or sharpening Japanese knives. I think in general in the UK few people have the patience to learn the craft of sharpening I think Japanese knife culture has yet to be broached at entry level for chefs.
    A comparison I often draw on when speaking to chefs is can you learn to skate board from a You Tube video it takes a lot of practice to be able to do it sharpening is a never ending learning curve the better you get the more you realise how much more there is to learn.
  2. I would say a least a year of hard work would or you in a good place , and watching jon's videos on YouTube is a great start. I didn't know about him until 3 years in to my adventure , wish I did ... took me a long time to get good
  3. I'm almost a year in and I still feel like I've got ways to go, especially in terms of consistency and speed and getting the near tip area right. I can get them pretty damn sharp but it takes some focus and effort, the muscle memory is still not there.
  4. I learned a lot by stopping frequently to inspect under magnification. the black marker trick also helped. I have a natural ability to hold consistent angels freehand on whetstone and also the ability to maintain the belly of a knife + tip. I don't think I could have done it without the videos. but I also don't think I could do it from only watching videos. I don't think it takes a long time to learn to use whetstones but I think all the ingredients to a sharp mind need to be present.
  5. I think picking a bad steel is the worst thing you can do when starting to learn how to sharpen.

    I made the mistake of picking a cheapo stainless as my 'practice knife' to start with. had no idea how crappy it would feel on stones and it kind of put me off. I'm slowly getting back into it with proper steel.
  6. I wonder where you are located (probably London i guess), but as an agency chef myself i have been to many places including fine dining (no Michelin tho') and i have to tell you i have barely seen any knives better than my Tojiro DP (which is pretty much the lowest of the low in the japanese kitchen knife world). Most of them were Victorinox pastry knife, some german and french knives and Globals, one Shun (the one with VG-10 core steel), a couple of other VG-10 core steel knives and a HB knife with AUS-10 core steel (@60HRC). And amongst the hundreds of chefs i've met only sharpened his knives on a stone (apart from me).
    Mind you it's not the knife what makes the chef and i have met amazing ones, it's just a bit saddening that the quality japanese chef knives are still scarce and i feel like a lone rider most of the time.

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