Archive for July, 2010

Shapton Glass Stone Scratch Marks

July 31, 2010

This is a rough comparison of the scratches made by the Shapton Glass stones (white and gray). The process was the same as the with the Professional stones, I sharpened by hand using a single Jende Reed Knife for the entire shoot, working up from the white #120 to the 30K in order. I then went back from the 30K to the 4K, 6K and 8K  Gray stones, or High Carbon (HC) stones, labeled here as the JP stones (see this post that addresses the Shapton nomenclature). The Jende Reed Knife is a Medium Carbon Steel RC 60-61, and the steel type is from the Japanese standard SK series. I do not know the equivalent US Standard. It should be noted that results will differ on different metals.

The idea behind these pictures was not to produce high magnification shots of the edge, but more of an normal look at the results. The pictures were taken in the “worst” light so as to really see the surface of the bevel. You’ll notice just how “smooth” and polished the bevels come out in the 2K to 10K range, then how the scratches reappear at the 16K and 30K level.

Scratches from the Shapton Professional Shapton stones are here.

Better pictures of this chart can be found here and here.

Shapton Professional Stones Scratch Patterns

July 30, 2010

This is a rough comparison of the scratches made by the Shapton Professional stones. I sharpened by hand, using a single Jende Reed Knife for the entire shoot, working up from the #120 to the 30K in order. The Jende Reed Knife is a Medium Carbon Steel RC 60-61, and the steel type is from the Japanese standard SK series. I do not know the equivalent US Standard. It should be noted that results will differ on different metals.

The idea behind these pictures was not to produce high magnification shots of the edge, but more of an normal look at the results. The pictures were taken in the “worst” light so as to really see the surface of the bevel. At the 2K level, there is a hazy mirror, and by the 5K+ there is a full mirror. The 30K was difficult to get the light to not reflect so brightly, and I apologize for the crappy looking bevel on the 1K.

Scratches from the Glass stones (all of them) will follow shortly.

Here is a better picture of the chart.

15mm Wide 30K Shapton Pro for the Edge Pro

July 26, 2010

I recently received an inquiry from a customer who was thinking of purchasing the 15mm wide 30K Shapton Pro Edge Pro stone, and I thought that sharing my answer would be helpful to others.

In order to experience the full potential of the Shapton stones, the 30K is a must, in my opinion. The 15mm wide 30K Shapton Pro EP Stone is certainly a luxury, though – I won’t try to say it isn’t. In my experience it leaves an incredibly consistent and very smooth, yet gripping edge that is not duplicated by any other method I have tried.

Can other things arguably do as good as or better than the 30K pro? Yes. However, different products yield different results. 0.5 micron Chromium oxide makes the bevel very shiny, but the edge becomes less gripping, while 0.5 micron diamonds make the edge more aggressive and leaves more scratches on the bevel. Furthermore, there will be varying results based on the quality of the Chromium Oxide and carat concentration and shape of the crystals in diamond sprays and compounds. These variations are by no means negative if a particular product or combination of products produces the results you desire. I wholeheartedly recommend you experiment with the different products to find which suits you best.

I do recommend the 30K if you are serious about sharpening and your budget permits it. The 30K completes the Shapton lineup, which is the original intention behind using Shaptons. They are designed to be used all the way up to 30K instead of switching to another medium like pasted strops or felt pads at the end. As mentioned above, switching to different products at the very end produces different results. I happen to really like the results of the 30K specifically for sushi knives and straight razors.

Review of the D-11 Maestro Wu 7″ Chinese Slicer Cleaver – Part 2

July 21, 2010

In this continuation of the Maestro Wu 7″ Chinese Slicer Cleaver review,  Ken has put the knife through its paces to the point of failure. This is not failure in the sense that the knife didn’t hold up its end of the bargain, but in the sense that it was a very thin edge (16 degrees total) and intentionally mistreated and used in ways the knife was not necessarily designed to be used (i.e. used as a cleaver instead of a slicer), and the tip chipped after parking the knife tip first in the cutting board one too many times. In other words, if my mother-in-law had a go at it… 🙂 Overall, the knife received a very favorable review, and was deemed superior over the equivalent CCK cleaver.

Once again, this is text taken directly from the forum on the knife forums. The entire thread is located here.

So I put the ‘Wu’ through it’s paces for this review. Actually, I gave it hell I mean you didn’t want a wimpy review, right?

I prepared a kabocha squash dish, cooked in a tagine, a Morocaan clay vessel (I used a modern version made by Emile Henry). It was a ‘fusion’ recipe, with Indian spices and fresh ingredients.
I was purposely rough on the knife.

For those not familiar with kabocha squash, it is considerably harder than a pumpkin, with a woody stem and large seeds. Normally I use a heavy cleaver to cut it up, not a slicing cleaver so this was purposely designed to be a ‘torture test’. I also cut up the kabocha first as I wanted to see how the edge held up by doing the delicate cuts last.

I did the cutting on a Chinese chopping block. During the ‘procedure’, I purposely ‘stuck’ the cleaver into the board – often and tip first.

After splitting the squash in half, I scooped the seeds out with a spoon and then diced the squash into ~1 inch cubes. Note that this edge was sharp enough to slice paper push cutting 2 inches out from where I gripped the paper (straight down, not slicing), so it was not the factory edge, which would be less delicate. MOST of the cuts through this OLD kabocha squash required force to cut it, enough so that it stuck into the board on most every cut.

After doing this I cut some red chili peppers, filleted a large red pepper ‘a la Martin Yan’ and sliced a handful of garlic cloves and three mild onions and a few mushrooms.

I started out with sauteing the onions and mushrooms, adding some coarse Arabian sea salt, and a masala made of freshly roasted coriander seeds, a Goan Masala mix and some dried Morocaan chili powder (used in making Harissa), all ground in a ceramic mortar and pestle). In the center of the onion mix I added an Indian whole tumeric pickle (not powdered tumeric). After the onions and spice mix ‘broke down’ a bit, I added the squash, then some artichoke hearts (from a jar) and some chicken stock, mixed it up a bit and let it slow cook for a couple hours in the tagine. The long cook ‘mutes’ the heat of the dish a bit, but still leaves it fairly spicy. It can stand on it’s own as a main course for a vegetarian meal or as a side dish for another meat course.

Pics to follow ….

Look at the last pic closely and you’ll see that the edge seems to have survived the squash cutting in good shape. On to cutting up the rest of the ingredients!

Onions were effortless to slice with no appreciable edge loss in performance. Chilies and garlic cut cleanly without requiring the knife to be slid into the board. The red pepper (not shown) after the initial ‘coring’ of the center, done by holding the knife parallel to the board and rotatong the pepper, easily and cleanly was cut into small ~ 1inch strips. In all instances the cuts were clean, which requires a good sharp edge.

So, after undergoing the torture test, how did the edge hold up? Well, quite well, better thsn I had expected. If I had done this to my CCK1101, I know I would have chipped the edge out, but this held up through all of this. But then, in a moment of irrational exuberance, I just HAD to stick the knife into the chopping block one more time.

Well, I chipped the edge on this move – at the end of the cleaver. I probably twisted the knife entering the board. I just don’t know, but I did chip it. I rounded off the tip a bit, redoing the cleaver tip and was back up in short order. Lesson learned. Don’t keep sticking the tip of a slicer into the board even if it feels like fun, ESPECIALLY if you thinned the factory edge to a razorsharp profile. If you put a thin edge on a knife to slice food, don’t expect it to chop wood.

My overall impression – I like it! I’m going to use it a lot and leave it out as my everyday knife. I’ll feel free to smash garlic with it and do all the tasks a slicer should perform, but I won’t ‘park it’ tip first into the board. It’s a comfortable knife to use and if the task called for a slicer cleaver or nakiri type task, it’s an excellent knife for this. The steel is easily superior to a CCK and, especially with a factory edge, should hold up well in a commercial kitchen where space is at a premium. I didn’t see any evidence of rust or discoloration cutting onions and chilies and didn’t wash it down until I had gotten all the ingredients cut and into the tagine.

Hope you enjoyed the ‘foodie’ part of the review as well as the knife review.

Review of the D-11 Maestro Wu 7″ Chinese Slicer Cleaver – Part 1

July 15, 2010

The following is a review posted on the Chef Knives to Go sub forum on the Knife Forums by Ken Schwartz of Precise Sharpening. You can read the entire thread here.

I’ll follow this up with a bit more detail on knife dimensions, but I thought I’d post a short initial review of the Maestro Wu cleaver. This is a knife that Tom of Jende Industries provides to Chefknivestogo. If after this review, you decide you like it, get it here:…

It is a well made knife. Fit and finish far exceeded my expectations for workmanship. It easily rivals knives from Japan, USA and Europe. No rough spots, well made handle, exceptional factory edge. The handle shape reminds me of a Glestain. The size reminds me of a Shun cleaver – the same blade length, but a bit taller. It has a nicely shaped belly unlike the more pronounced belly of the Shun that many don’t care for.

The factory edge is very respectable – consistent grind, more than what you would expect from a European manufacturer and rivaling the edges of Japanese manufacturers who pay attention to initial factory edges like Shun, Ryusen or Hatori.

For the home chef, it’s a perfect size. For the pro chef with a small workstation area, it’s also perfect. For a culinary student who doesn’t want to spend a lot on a knife but needs performance, it’s perfect.

As I am a home cook and a professional knife sharpener, I’ll be evaluating how well it performs in these two areas. My next post will be evaluating this cleaver’s ability to take an edge.

I might also mention that the base of the spine is thickest and then markedly tapers, which is very unusual in other than hand forged blades – and a good thing as it is a better overall geometry.

Well the next step was to see how well it would take an edge. As is it is an excellent factory edge, but I wanted to see how much finer I could make the edge. I was not at all disappointed.

As I mentioned in my subforum, I recently added two belt grinders – discussed here:…

So I thought I’d combine several interests in one session. I set the belt grinders to about 8 degrees and, using the horizontal platen, reset the bevel angles using LOW speed grinding. These are speeds approaching a fast handsharpener producing no appreciable amount of heat. At any point, you could touch the blade and leave your hand there, only sensing mild warmth, not heat.

The bevels were easily established as a precise flat grind, ending with a 1200 grit belt. No nasty burr problems at all. A small bit of microburr was easily removed by wiping the edge across the palm of my hand (edge trailing).

Following this I used a leather belt, impregnated with Hand America 1 micron Boron Carbide. Again, I ran this at low speed, estimated about 200-300 RPM. The result was a very uniformly distributed coat of Boron Carbide. I used a knife to smear the boron carbide across the belt.

The edge was simply amazing. Easily push cutting paper 3 inches out.

SO how did it cut? I made a salad today – lettuce,
finely sliced chives, raw mushrooms and sliced pitted olives.

Effortless, precise cuts with clean separation. Very finely sliced chives. Cleanly sliced mushrooms and the head of lettuce was split and sectioned effortlessly just by dropping the cleaver through the head of iceberg lettuce with no added downward force necessary.

I’ll be keeping this knife on my cutting board to put it through it’s paces, but at this point I simply have nothing negative to say about it.

The HA boron carbide prep is outstanding. Works quickly and leaves an edge any sharpness afficianado would love.

I also did a convex edge with it on another knife also with excellent results.

Here’s some pics. the first compares the ‘Wu’ with the Shun cleaver – also a black handle, a Sugimoto small ‘mini-cleaver’, and a CCK 1101, a rather large cleaver.

Tom thank you! Please use this post and it’s contents – including pics for your Blog!

Mark if you want to include any of my review on your website or parts of it, also please feel free top do so as well._

OT – Razors and Rainbows

July 11, 2010

So I was driving back to Kaohsiung with the family after seeing my knife guy, and we saw an amazing rainbow. It was much clearer in person, and as I pulled over to take a cell phone picture, the power lines obscured it slightly. The top pic was while the car was in motion. It was a nice drive, and you can just make out some of  Central Mountain Range  in the distance, which don’t always come out to play. When they do, I can see them all the way from Kaohsiung. They are quite beautiful, and whenever I see them, it gives me the feeling that I actually live somewhere, not in just vast expanse of concrete, scooters, and traffic lights.

By the way, aside from picking up a batch of Jende Reed Knives, I got these 2 Japanese style straight razor blanks. They will go off to the machine shop next to make them precision hollow ground.  Enjoy!