Why I'm Now Obsessed with Sharp Kitchen Knives

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Im thinking about acquiring a leather strop.
Just make one. Scrap 2x4, and old belt, and some wood glue. I daily use the ones I made. The commercial one rarely gets used. There are several YouTube videos on making a strop out of an old belt. Even with a little sanding, you can finish one in less than 30 minutes. Let the glue cure overnight, the strop away!
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Interesting topic. I personally use an electric sharpener. The thing is though... it doesn't really get the blades as sharp as I would like. I also regularly sharpen my EDC on it and it doesn't get as sharp as I'd like. I'm going to have to check out the work sharp sharpener mentioned here. I cook a lot, like 5 + nights per week and I appreciate a sharp blade on my knives. I also know that there is a bigger chance of getting a wound from a dull knife than a sharp one...at least in my hands. Good comments!
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The idea of knife sharpening is extremely complex. There are all sorts of things involved such as what kind of steel the knife is made of, what the angle of bevel of the blade is, what the cutting surface is made of, why all this matters, etc.

All my knives are sharp. I think understanding honing is very important when it comes to owning and enjoying a sharp knife. The nice thing about honing is it doesn't remove steel. I hone my knife almost every time I use it, and I typically sharpen a knife way less than once a year.

The tomato test works well for me. Set the blade of the knife on a tomato. Hold the knife loosely by the handle so that the weight of the knife rests on the tomato. Pull the knife towards you gently - and do not push down. The weight of the knife should begin to slice through the tomato skin. If it doesn't, a quick and simple hone which takes only a few seconds will solve the problem like magic. The knife slices right through.

I'm always amazed by how much sharper the knife becomes with a simple hone.

If the knife doesn't slice through the tomato skin, this means the blade is really hammered, it would need to be sharpened which grinds steel off the knife.

So moving forward with your sharp knife, it's important to think about your cutting surface. I use a soft wood cutting board for my good knives, and a plastic cutting board for my cheap knives for convenience. Cutting on a marble countertop or steel surface will, of course, damage the knife blade.

Here's a simple vid visually describing what honing does and why it works.

A very sharp knife and only letting the point touch the cutting board has almost stopped my knife sharpening these days
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My next acquisition is to get a Japanese knife.
Ive already copped 2 Chinese cleavers to go along w/ my traditional Butcher cleaver.
A first Japanese knife, the true "rabbit hole" of choices and steels. Been down that hole many times. Still no Japanese knife in my house.

I watched a YouTube video last night on "A day in the life of a Japanese knife maker." It followed a woman who worked in the Zwilling-J.A.Henckels Japanese knife factory. The video claimed that "90% of the knives used in Japan come from that plant." I seriously doubt that point, but a lot of the work is still hands-on. Miyabi knives are one of their products.
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I can believe the mass produced knives are made there, but there's a whole 'nother market of boutique brands that dont make it to the mall.
This thread made go look in the toolbox for my old sharpening stones. Brings back a lot of memories. I worked at a hardware store just outside of Houston when I was living with my sister in '80 or '81... I don't remember exactly. Anyway, there was a Buck Knives display in the store with these and various knives that I wanted badly. I was 14 or so at the time (lied about my age to get the job) and finally saved up enough to buy them. I couldn't tell you how much they were.
I haven't hand sharpened a knife on these in many many years. Maybe I'll dust them off and put them back in use. I've had these for just over 40 years. Hard to believe I kept them or anything this long.

Lost the top of the cedar box to the one on the right. It's a #135 Hard Arkansas. One on the left is a #134 Washita

I can believe the mass produced knives are made there, but there's a whole 'nother market of boutique brands that dont make it to the mall.

Here's a great website with a bit of information about true Japanese manufacturers.

I just went to Korin on my lunch break and got a Togiharu Wa-Santuko.
Definitely looking forward to your impressions once received. Congrats!

Edit: Aaaaaand, once again, I've fallen down the Japanese knife rabbit hole. I have to keep talking myself out of buying a Honesuki (pronounced Hone-es-ski, not Hone-es-suki) or a 150mm petty. I really don't need any more kitchen knives, but I hear the siren's song they sing on every website.
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Thanks for memory lane NB! To be honest I can’t remember a time as a kid that I didn’t have a knife in my pocket....it’s a rare thing not to have one now.... I have very early memories (5 or 6) of my dad working the stone and showing me how....shaving arm hair was a thing! It was a rite of passage!

Today even though I have the state of the art belt grinders and stropping belts, I still have a 8 inch tri hone set that I still enjoy working an edge! A carbon blade and stone is a thing....it’s a rite of passage!
The stone is the word! My son "doesn't have the time" to follow his old man, but I love taking his knives and "stoning them" just to get his wife all upset at him! It's become a Thanksgiving and Christmas family ritual - let the old gray haired fat guy sharpen our kinves for some beer/vodka and food. Yea, I'm easy. But it reminds so much of my father and grandfather sharping their tools and FISH HOOKS!! And the grandkids think it's really cool and help! A little too much oil on the stone, but, ahhhh, who cares.

BTW - Anyone, besides me, still sharpen their own fish hooks, arrow heads or gigging tips?! LOL! 🍻

BTW - Anyone, besides me, still sharpen their own fish hooks, arrow heads or gigging tips?!
Beat me to it. When I used to go fishing I always sharpened my hooks. I kept a stone in the tackle box. Amazing how dull they get bouncing around in the box or scraping rocks on the bottom..
Not a feather flicker, so no on the broad heads and the frogs around here aren't gigging worthy.
I use my kitchen knives way more frequently than I do my chisels and turning tools, so my sharpening station is next to the stove. The moment a knife is performing like I want, I can immediately touch it up.

NB this brings back so many great memories of my grandfather. He told me when I was 5 to always carry a good pocket knife and a handkerchief. To this day ( I'm 65) I still follow that advice. Unfortunately I had to surrender my favorite pocket knife at a Washington Capitals game a few years back. Still miss that knife.
I wish I had free time to sharpen my knives. I have a nice set of Zwilling's Henkel knives that really are crying for attention. I am so jealous of my retired friends, I have so much I want to do and work just sucks up all my time.
Last time I sat down to really sharpen my knives was Thanksgiving 2019. I spent 3 hours working on all my kitchen knives. When I was done I went thru the turkey like a breeze.
Nowadays I just sharpen what I'm using that day on a little pocket honing device. Makes a slight improvement, but I need to set some time aside for a proper sharpening session.

I followed my Grandfathers advise and passed it on to my kids. Both of them always carry a blade, and I know for a fact my son keeps his razor sharp. So I guess I'm not a total failure.

Thanks for the memories, made my morning.
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BTW - Anyone, besides me, still sharpen their own fish hooks, arrow heads or gigging tips?! LOL! 🍻


Years ago I sharpened my hooks, on the rare occasion that I was using a large hook, such as a #4 or larger.
However most of my fishing was for smaller freshwater fish, like Trout, & panfish, and I generally used catgut snelled hooks that came in packs of 6 or 8. If I had one long enough to need sharpening, it would just get tossed & replaced. For those I used #8, #10, #12, and an occasional #22 gold hook for use with Salmon Eggs.

This discussion of sharps begs this question.... anyone still have their father's or grandfather's straight razor? I found my grandfathers razor cleaning out my dresser this weekend, and the dang thing is STILL SHARP!!! It's still in the original snap felt case, and felt like a lot of memories watching PopPop shave with it. The wife even found my Vietnam field surgical kit, which still has all the the scaples and stuff with 5 blades still n their paper wraps! Wonder what folks in the kitchen would think if I used a #10 scaple to trim the meat?! :emoji_thinking:
Prost! 🍻
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