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TOPIC: Rescuing Gerber Balance Plus

Rescuing Gerber Balance Plus 1 year 1 month ago #12709

  • GibCurry
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After a dozen or so practices on cheap knives and a couple of runs on good knives, I'm ready to start on my kitchen knives.

Knowing I was a fanatic about my kitchen knives, I was given a set of Gerber Balance Plus for my 40th birthday 25 years ago!

I've spent the last 25 years (not quite) ruining them. I've tried just about every knife-dulling steel remover on the market.

I'm hoping to get some advice.

Here's a photo of the Balance Plus Chef knife. The white background is an online, industry photo -- the black background is mine.

h17024b5.jpg


Here's a photo of mine.

hacf64cd.jpg


The blade of mine has been ground down a good 1/8". From what I can tell in the original photo; the blade edge and the bolster are supposed to be nearly even. Does that seem correct?

I was looking at a diagram of knife parts. The Balance Plus seem to have a ricasso but the ChefChoice has tried to sharpen it. It needs to be fixed, too, correct? So that it looks similar to the following....

hddf6cde.jpg


And, the same for my paring knife, as well, right?

hfea698d.jpg


Gerber says unequivocally, "Gerber knives are sharpened with a uniform 15° angle on each side for a total of 30°." So, I'm assuming I'll just sharpen to the recommended geometry.

I am going to measure what the current angle is just out of curiosity as to what angle the ChefsChoice was actually working the blade.

All I can find about the blade composition is that it is High Carbon Stainless Steel. One guy called it tool steel.

Please, any suggestions for polishing the blades, grinding the bolster/ricasso and/or sharpening the blade, would be greatly appreciated.
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For Now,

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"Things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out."

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Last Edit: 1 year 1 month ago by GibCurry.
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Rescuing Gerber Balance Plus 1 year 1 month ago #12712

  • LeoBarr
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It looks as if the blade profile has been lost on both knives you seem to have a hollow on the chef knife in the danger zone where most knives loose it (*just forward of the heel this area should be the highest spot and the blade should gently curve from there up to the point.
I would concentrate on the pointed end and work back with each the smaller knives profile appears to have two hollows if you want them to function properly then you will have an awful lot to take off each knife especially if you want the correct proportions .
It will take a long time to do . I would suggest that you keep rolling the cutting edges on glass to spot the hollows .
I would set a very high bevel angle so as to remove less metal since you will have to substantially thin each blade once you have the correct geometry since the edge will be possible as much as 15% up near the pointed end so the knife will be a lot thicker.
If these were not your own knives I would say they are to far gone for the labour over the value of the knives to repair .
I include an image of a stock chefs knife to give you an idea and an image of a MAC knife I did it probable took three hours to do .
I would suggest that you put a thinning bevel as low as possible and work it through to the edge get a burr and then put a micro bevel and then put your micro bevel of 15Ëšto finish it .
If it is high speed tool steel then it will be very hard going . The positive side is it will hone your skills these are more difficult in many ways than a small bladed pen knife.
h5090a7f.jpg



h1d96dea.jpeg
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Rescuing Gerber Balance Plus 1 year 1 month ago #12717

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Should I invest $$$.$$ in a new knife and/or knives or should I invest hours in repair and maybe not get the usefulness I want but will have restored my gift set?

If I feel torn, is it because I'm not sharp enough? :whistle:
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"Things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out."

"My goal is to be a good, practical knife sharpener. My dream is to polish molecules."
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Rescuing Gerber Balance Plus 1 year 1 month ago #12719

  • LeoBarr
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I would recommend that you restore both knives the experience will be priceless ; it will train your eye and you will learn to avoid these vulnerable spots when doing other peoples knives plus the longer the blade the harder it can be to avoid disrupting the geometry of the edge profile particularly if your sharpening movements are not fluid .
I find at least on the EP that I start my sharpening cycles at the pointed end since it is so easy to create a dip in the profile just forward of the heel.
The heel on your knife with the full bolster dropping to the heel need not be sharpened at all for at least the first 1/4-1/2 an inch.
I would perhaps recommend that you go to a kitchen store and look carefully at a similar knife so you know what to emulate.
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Rescuing Gerber Balance Plus 1 year 1 month ago #12744

  • razoredgeknives
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Or you could send them to me and I'll hook you up :-) Leo is correct, the blade geometry needs to be restored to factory. The way they are right now will prevent them from functioning properly.

I fox these types of issues all the time on knives I sharpen... I really need to do a tutorial on how to grind down the return on a knife to hopefully help others out.

If you are going to fix that yourself then you definitely need to use either a belt sander (#1 choice for speed) or a file to rough it in. Then you can progress through the weps stones on the return to give it a nice polish. Either way you will have to grind away metal with your stone/file/belt directly perpendicular to the edge to make sure there are no gaps left. I'm probably not making and sense but I hope this helps... I think you have a lot of life left in those blades.

Ps. The return on the smaller knives doesn't have to be repaired unless you just want to... It will not inhibit cutting ability. :-)
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Rescuing Gerber Balance Plus 1 year 1 month ago #12747

  • cbwx34
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Some of the answer to "what to do" depends on how you use the knife... on the top knife in your pic., if you're just going to slice thru things, then just sharpen it... if you're going to try and chop with the heel area on a cutting board, then that whole back area including the bolster needs some work. (If that very top picture is a brand new knife, they sorta handicap you to begin with). Like Leo has shown... it needs to hit flat (or with a slight curve if you like to rock the knife.) The other issue to check is,,, if you remove too much, then you knuckles start hitting the cutting board.

On the bottom knife, I'm guessing you could just sharpen the usable edge and be happy with it.... you could clean it up, but not sure it's that important.

Edit: Josh was posting while I was slowly typing :) his probably makes more sense. Pretty much the same idea though.
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Rescuing Gerber Balance Plus 1 year 1 month ago #12762

  • GibCurry
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Thanks for the helpful messages.

After digesting the info, I think I can actually see in my mind's eye what needs to occur. I have a sense of the cross-section and what metal needs to come off in re-profiling. I can more-or-less visualize what the return area can look like.


These knives long ago lost their ability to chop right up to the heel. But, I've got a decent (shopping for an excellent) chopping knife so that hasn't been a detriment.

As you said, they can sure be useful to slice.

On all the knives, I'm going to clean up the bolster/heel area. Or, attempt to, at least. I'll gain experience through mistakes on my own knives! And if not mistakes, then I will gain great pleasure in bringing these knives back near their purpose and seeing these knives sharp!!

Before re-profiling, I'll first put an edge on them just to "feel" them in the WE vise.

The fillet knife and the paring knives should be wonderful with a WE edge on them. The chef's knife will be sharper than we are used to but will, ultimately find its way to my project desk for re-profiling. (for the experience and out of respect)

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The tutorial idea for grinding the return is a good idea. Especially since that's what I need tutoring in! :dry:

As for belt sanders... awhile ago I bought a WorkSharp (www.worksharptools.com/). You all have probably heard of it long before I did. But, I had shovels, hoes, trowels, chisels, etc. etc. etc. that needed sharpening so I got the WorkSharp (rather than Tormek). I got the knife/scissors adapter for it.

I realized as soon as I put a machete in the knife slot that I'd very seldom, if ever, put a valued knife in that slot. Re-profiling might be the reason. I've got more to think about.

I've got a path laid out in front of me. I'm going to walk it..... in a few weeks when we get back from vacation with the grandkids!!! B)

Thanks again for the insights.... much needed and much appreciated...
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For Now,

Gib

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"Things work out best for those who make the best out of the way things work out."

"My goal is to be a good, practical knife sharpener. My dream is to polish molecules."
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