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TOPIC: Sharpeners and steels in a real life kitchen

Re: Sharpeners and steels in a real life kitchen 2 years 4 months ago #3000

  • wickededge
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This is a fascinating topic guys, thanks for all the posts and great information. We'll be receiving our new line of ceramic stones in 2 weeks that are extremely smooth 1.4um and .625um respectively. If we like those two stones really well and they become popular, we might add another set in at .375um and .25um. These are super hard, super fine stones from Coorstek and will be a great tool for quick maintenance.
--Clay Allison
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Re: Sharpeners and steels in a real life kitchen 2 years 4 months ago #3019

  • RogerHerbst
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Thanks to all the posters who have contributed to this topic. I've done a bit more testing, and I think we have enough information to draw some pretty good conclusions.

Here are some pictures to illustrate what we've learned

1. A knife sharpened to .3 microns, with a hair for size reference. It's a very cheap knife, which I then beat up a bit.

3MicronSharpen1.jpg


2,3 The edge after being beat up
Afterbeingbeatup1.jpg

Afterbeingbeatup2.jpg


4. The edge after steeling with a groove steel
Afewpassesongroovedsteelaftersmoothsteel.jpg


5. Knife re honed, then steeled with a diamond steel
CheapKnifere-honedthendiamondSteel.jpg


6. I don't have a smooth steel, but the 1/2 " of my Henkles steel next to the handle is smooth, so I did what I could with that after re-honing the blade
Beatupthenafewpassesonsmallsmoothsectionofhenkelssteel.jpg


7 Reality. Paper thin tomato slices, from left to right Cheap knife with grooved steel, cheap knife freshly honed than smooth steeled, and my fav santoku freshly honed. Note the diamond steeled knife isn't shown...it could not break the skin of the tomato.
Left-CheapknifesteeledMidcheapknifesmoothsteeledRight-FavSantoku.jpg


Conclusions.
It's interesting that almost 100 % of the talk about what steels do, including that coming from celebrity chefs, refers to the smoothing effect of a smooth steel, while almost 100% of the steels out there are grooved, and behave completely differently. So much for the wisdom of crowds. On a more practical note, we can conclude that:

1. A freshly honed edge is the ultimate solution

2. A smooth steel will touch up a well honed edge without destroying it. Over time, though, as the edge truly dulls, it will need to be re-honed, as the smooth steel will not remove metal and reshape the edge.

3. Grooved steels are ugly under a microscope, and will completely re cut a honed edge, so I wouldn't even bother fine honing a blade I intend to steel. That said, they produce an effective edge, and remove enough metal that a grooved steel alone can keep a knife in decent cutting condition, if used properly.

4. My diamond steel is the all time loser. Don't know why, or if other diamond steels are the same, but the grooved steel produces a much more effective edge.

So I'm pretty satisfied that we've gotten to the bottom of this, except we haven't talked about strops for quick touch ups - I'm playing with them now and may have more on that in the future.

Roger
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Re: Sharpeners and steels in a real life kitchen 2 years 4 months ago #3026

  • mark76
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wickededge wrote:
We'll be receiving our new line of ceramic stones in 2 weeks that are extremely smooth 1.4um and .625um respectively. If we like those two stones really well and they become popular, we might add another set in at .375um and .25um. These are super hard, super fine stones from Coorstek and will be a great tool for quick maintenance.

:woohoo:

Did I just miss a covert announcement? :mrgreen:
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Re: Sharpeners and steels in a real life kitchen 2 years 4 months ago #3027

  • AnthonyYan
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I just posted this to www.knifeforums.com, but I thought it would be of interest here as well:

About the company Coorstek that is mentioned as the manufacturer of ceramic stones for WEPS:

I believe Coorstek is a company that branched off of Coors, the beer company. It sounds weird, but years and years ago, Coors used to make ceramic tools, including ceramic hammers. Why a ceramic hammer? well, it's for those applications where positively absolutely you cannot afford to generate a spark. If you work in the natural gas industry, or explosives, then you know why this is a good idea.

Metal hammers spark when you chip off a tiny tiny piece of iron, and it combusts (to form iron oxide; or rust). Many ceramics are metal-oxides, so well, they're already burnt and cannot burn again! (Okay, not under "normal" situations.) The problem with this is, most ceramics are brittle, which is not good for a hammer. So the hammer is made of a special type of ceramic: transformation-toughened zirconia. This is the same ceramic used in almost all ceramic knives (Boker in addition to zirconia, also has some knives in other types of ceramics).

Want to know more about transformation-toughened zirconia? You can read about it in the awesomely wonderful book: _Why Things Break_ by Mark. E. Eberhart.
www.amazon.com/Why-Things-Break-Understa...id=1336605192&sr=8-1

"Though Coors is well known as a brewer of beer, it is less well known as the world's largest producer of specialty ceramics producs. This particular hammer was made from transformation-toughened zirconia, a polycrystalline material made from the oxide of zirconium."
--_Why Thinks Break_ by Eberhart (2004)

This snippet and more can be read from Google Books:
books.google.com/books?id=e6eVD2MDGLMC&p...mic%20hammer&f=false

A picture of a Coors ceramic hammer:
ceramicsmuseum.alfred.edu/exhibitions/conspicuous/hammer.html


Isn't that cool? Now go have a beer. :)

Sincerely,
--Lagrangian

"What grit sharpens the mind?"
--Zen Sharpening Koan
Last Edit: 2 years 4 months ago by AnthonyYan.
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Re: Sharpeners and steels in a real life kitchen 2 years 4 months ago #3034

  • wickededge
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That is so cool, thanks for sharing it!
--Clay Allison
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Re: Sharpeners and steels in a real life kitchen 2 years 4 months ago #3035

  • wickededge
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I'm really excited about these stones. We don't have a name for them yet or photos or prices. We're sort of stuck on the name part because we already used Superfine Ceramic and these are finer than our current stones. They will be a great next step after current ones and will also be wonderful for maintaining a well polished knife.
mark76 wrote:
wickededge wrote:
We'll be receiving our new line of ceramic stones in 2 weeks that are extremely smooth 1.4um and .625um respectively. If we like those two stones really well and they become popular, we might add another set in at .375um and .25um. These are super hard, super fine stones from Coorstek and will be a great tool for quick maintenance.

:woohoo:

Did I just miss a covert announcement? :mrgreen:
--Clay Allison
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