Posts Tagged ‘bombshell steel knives’

Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels under the Microscope

June 22, 2015

We wanted to document the speed and ability of our Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels. Aside from having remarkable anti-break technologies in the tip and handles, they also actually work really well, as the microscope pictures will show. We freehand sharpened a couple of  Maestro Wu D-8 Nikiris (RC~58) from scratch and finished on both steels, and also demonstrated the speed of the steels by removing a chip on a customer’s custom Maestro Wu D-9 Damascus (RC~60). Pictures are with a Veho-400 USB Microscope, and the actual picture size is 1 mm wide by 0.75 mm high.

First, a picture of the steels – The white steel was difficult to see, so I also added a picture of a “dirty” section that had been used so the texture of the materials could be seen. Getting a picture of the black steel’s “dirty” section proved to be difficult as well. Basically, the surface of the steels is scaly looking, much like a reptile’s skin.

Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels

Jende Ceramic Sharpening Steels

White Steel clean

White Steel clean

White Steel dirty

White Steel dirty

 Black Steel Clean

Black Steel Clean

Black Steel Dirty

Black Steel Dirty

For new sharpening, I generally start with an #80 Grit belt, followed by a #240 Grit belt, and follow with a #1,500 Shapton Pro stone. This is my “basic sharp”, and it will shave hair and juuust push cut. The picture below is the edge off the #240 belt, which is jagged, and usually has a significant burr, which is pictured in the picture below that.

1. 240 Belt A

1. 240 Belt A


2. 240 Belt B

2. 240 Belt B – notice the gem-like burr

I then cleaned up the edge on the #1,500 Shapton Pro stone, roughly 35 back and forth passes per side, followed by a series of about 15 single-sided strokes:

3. 1500 Pro A

3. 1500 Pro A

You can clearly see a micro bevel from the stropping strokes vs. the knife strokes. This is pretty much the result of using less pressure with single-sided strokes, and it helps put the apex on the edge of the edge. While some haters may have something to say about my lack of precision, in reality the micro bevel is only 0.04 mm high – meaning my variation is pretty darn low. What matters most is that my stropping/steeling strokes are consistent, which they are.

3a. 1500 Pro A Measured Variation

3a. 1500 Pro A Measured Variation

After the 1,500 Shapton Pro, I did 10 light, alternating strokes on the Jende White Ceramic Sharpening Steel:

5. White Steel A  x10

5. White Steel A x10

The result shows a noticeable increase in reflection at the edge of the edge, indicating some cutting/burnishing action. The apex of the edge has evened out a touch, but is still quite similar to the edge from the just the stone. The cutting test determined that the edge was more aggressive than that straight off the #1,500 Shapton Pro stone. The White Steel cut very quickly and aggressively, which is the way it’s meant to.

I then sharpened up a different D-8 on the belts followed by the #1,500 stone in the same fashion, and then went straight to the Black Steel and did 10 light, alternating strokes:

7. Black Steel A x10

7. Black Steel A x10

As my micro bevel shows, I am pretty consistent from knife to knife. But back to the point – the difference here from picture 3 above shows noticeable cutting/burnishing of the bevel, but less than that found in picture 5 from the White Steel – which is the way things are supposed to happen. More importantly, the edge of the edge smooths out, and the cutting test produced a practically indistinguishable result from the #1,500 Shapton Stone. That’s friggin’ impressive because my results off the #1,500 Shapton Pro are very difficult to beat. 😀

For the next trick, I used a customer’s D-9 Damascus (RC~60) that came in for sharpening. There was a nice little chip in the edge which would’ve been easy enough to remove on the stones and belts, but I wanted to see how many licks it would take with the steel to get to the center of this chip. I also measured the “gap” along the way. Here is the “before picture”, and the same picture below it with the measurement of the width of the chip:

10a. Chip Before

10a. Chip Before

10. Chip Before

10. Chip Before

Then, with 10 strokes of the White Steel: I used what I would call an aggressive amount of pressure since I knew I was trying to fix the chip. Again, the picture followed by the same picture with the measurement. The chip which initially took up the majority of the screen width at 0.77 mm, was now only 0.46 mm – generously. The deepest part of the chip was about only half of that.

11a. Chip white steel x10

11a. Chip white steel x10

11. Chip white steel x10

11. Chip white steel x10


Then I did 10 more aggressive strokes on the White Steel, bringing it up to 20 strokes. Only the deepest part of the original chip remained, with a width of only 0.24 mm.

12a. Chip white steel x20

12a. Chip white steel x20

12. Chip white steel x20

12. Chip white steel x20


I followed this with a third round of strokes, bringing the total up to 30. There was no real evidence of the chip left at this point. I looked up and down the blade for any other indications of the chip, and there were none.

13. Chip white steel x30

13. Chip white steel x30

In keeping with the mentality of these steels, the White (Mohs 9) is the aggressive steel while the Black (Mohs 8) is the finishing steel. I then took 10 light, alternating strokes on the Black Steel.


14. Black Steel Final x10

14. Black Steel Final x10

I’d say this looks pretty freakin’ good! At a macro level, you can visibly see the micro bevel from the steeling (picture size is 13 mm wide by 9.75 mm high, and the actual micro bevel is approx. 0.22 mm wide). And because of the geometry behind the edge is still established and intact, the knife actually still cuts very smoothly despite it not being a 5K edge anymore.

15. D-9 Macro Black Steel Final

15. D-9 Macro Black Steel Final

Overall, the Jende Ceramic Sharpening Black and White steels can do quite an amazing job of maintaining knives – and can even handle small chips. More importantly, when used in conjunction with one another, they can help your knife maintain its edge for an extended period of time before needing a full resharpening.


Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives in action – Video Heavy

February 9, 2014

A while back I did a series of videos to introduce the Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives. They are grouped here into similar-functions – for example, the chef knives like the D-6 and D-7, the curved knives used in a rocking motion, such as the D-3, D-4 and D-9, the slicers like the D-8, D-10, and D-11, and the meat cleavers like the D-5 and D-12. There is a size and shape for every need. Please enjoy!

And just for fun…

Bullock Blades – Maestro Wu Knife Dealer and Expert Sharpening

October 14, 2013

We are excited to announce that Bullock Blades and Sharpening is an official dealer of Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives!

Bullock Blades and Sharpening are now able to provide for all of your Maestro Wu needs, with in-stock knives and access to the entire Maestro Wu catalog. Please contact Bullock Blades and Sharpening on their website or their facebook page for further information.

JM Bullman of Bullock Blades and Sharpening is well known and respected in sharpening circles for his high quality service and skills, and a Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knife with a Bullman edge can only make the smile on your face bigger when you use it! 🙂 Here’s a quick video to prove it:

And for those who don’t know the Maestro Wu story, here it is:

金合利鋼刀 Maestro Wu Logo

Chin Ho Li Steel Knife Factory, located in the Wu-Tsuo (“Wu’s Residence”) of Kinmen, has been dedicated to knife making and design for over 60 years. Mr. Wu Tsong Shan, the founder of Kinmen’s cutlery industry, specialized in iron casting and learned tool-making techniques in Xiamen, China during the period of Emperor Kwang-Hsu of the Ching Dynasty. Subsequently, his son, Mr. Wu Chao Hsi, inherited the business and established the Chin Ho Li Steel Knife Factory.

During World War II, there was a serious lack of resources on Kinmen. Steel was particularly hard to come by, so Mr. Wu Chao Hsi began to collect the artillery that had been dropped by the U.S. and the Allied Air Force and used the shells to make knives. That is the story of the renowned “Kinmen Steel Knife”. Mr. Wu Chao Hsi earned the reputation of “MAESTRO WU” by carrying his forging furnace on his shoulder and travelling throughout Kinmen Island to serve the local communities.

Later, Kinmen also suffered artillery bombardment from Mainland China. The “August 23, 1958 Artillery Battle“ was the severest battle during that period. The bombing left millions of shells that became an abundant source of material for the production of knives. Mr. Wu Chao Hsi started to collect the shells from all over Kinmen Island, and earned his reputation by forging the artillery shells into fine cutlery. Today, the “Kinmen Steel Knife” enjoys an international reputation.

Through the consistent and premium quality and design, the “Chin Ho Li Steel Knife” is the most renowned brand name and a legend in Taiwan. Mr. Wu Tseng Dong, the current president, devotes himself to promoting the products throughout the world. He defined his company as a service provider instead of a conventional knife maker and named the product as MAESTRO WU to represent the Chin Ho Li Steel Knife, and the Kinmen Steel Knife as its identity on the international market. Visitors can see the process of the steel knives making and forging techniques, and even assign a shell and observe a knife being forged from that.

Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel 8″ Fillet Knife – Pics + Videos

August 19, 2012

We got our first official feedback of the Maestro Wu 8″ Bombshell Steel Fillet knife! Videos are at the bottom of this post.

This knife came along as a result of speaking to more and more fishermen lately. I’ve always known that the fillet knife is the most important knife to these guys – much like a skinning knife is the most important to a hunter, and a chef’s knife to a chef. In my conversations, people have always asked if Maestro Wu made a fillet knife, and I finally went ahead and drew something up. Here are the results:

Maestro Wu Fillet 1

Maestro Wu Fillet 1

Maestro Wu Fillet 2

Maestro Wu Fillet 2

Maestro Wu Fillet 3

Maestro Wu Fillet 3

Maestro Wu Fillet 4

Maestro Wu Fillet 4

There are some defining features to this knife – the first and most noticeable is the finger guard. It’s incorporated into the blade for 2 reasons. The first is obviously to protect the finger from sliding up onto/into the edge of the knife. As we all know, cleaning fish can be slippery task. Secondly, the “fin” actually acts as a stabilizer for the blade, giving it some more rigidity, while still allowing it to remain flexible.

The next feature is that the blade is also only about 1mm thick along it’s whole  length. There’s about 3mm of thickness going into the handle, but it quickly tapers so the entire cutting edge will remain easier to sharpen and maintain over time.

Lastly, the Japanese “D” handle, which is made from willow wood, gives a lot of surface area to hold onto firmly, yet it keeps the knife light so that you have ultimate control over your fish cleaning.

After sharpening the knife up to 5K on the Shapton Pro stones, I sent the prototype to Brett, a friend of mine who is an avid sport fisherman. He and his friend Rick (who did the videos below) compete and win a lot of the fishing competitions in their area. These videos are the knife’s first use after the day’s catch.

This first video demonstrates the knife’s capabilities wonderfully. You can see that some of the initial cutting is still forced (@ 0:23), which is more a habit of using his old knives, IMO. But if you watch closely, you can see how quickly he adapts his cutting technique to let the knife do the work, especially on the back side of the fish 🙂 Notice how easily the knife slices into the tail on both sides!

This second video is Rick skinning the Fillet. He must’ve liked it because there is a slow-motion instant replay 😀

The final video is Rick fillets a sea bass, and then skins one of the fillets.

I’m hoping to get a few videos with Brett using the knife in the next couple of weeks!

A sepcial thanks to Brett and Rick for doing this!

IDRS 2012 – Oxford, Ohio + Meeting Nasty & Gary Nicholas Sass

July 23, 2012

Even though I already had tons of fun in Chicago, Austin, and at the sharpening party, it was finally time to do what I initially intended to do on this trip – and that is to go to the International Double Reed Society’s  (IDRS) annual conference, which was held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. (I know it’s a geographic mess – but it’s a real place!)

Due to the 4th of July holiday right before the show, there was no rush to drive to Ohio, so I scheduled a couple of stops along the way. The first stop was at knife maker Gary Nicholas Sass’s place in Sharpsville, PA. Yes, I said Sharpsville. It does exist! Interestingly enough, there are still remains of the  locks that were once part of the Erie canal system in Western Pennsylvania.

Upon arriving, I immediately got inducted into Gary’s knife shop – I hit my head on the low door even though he warned me it was low 🙂 A couple of days earlier, we had discussed him making a custom Reed knife for me, and he had a prototype for me that was ground down from an existing knife to take a look at. With a minor adjustment or 2, the knife was ready to go. There was a traditional samurai sword wrap on the handle that consisted of Ray skin wrapped in a synthetic silk, and this traditional approach was one of the things that drew me towards Gary’s knives a few weeks earlier at the Blade show in Atlanta.

Gary Nicholas Sass

We also discussed the different customizing of the handle options, which included different colored wraps and wood.  Here are some of his handles which included the ray skin wrap, dyed giraffe bone, and several types of wood. The far right is a boar tusk. I doubt it would ever be chosen for a reed knife, but it did fit in the hand quite comfortably…(BTW, the second from the left was the reed knife prototype).

Gary Sass’s Reed Knife handle options

Unfortunately, the prototype reed knife sold at the show the first day, and all I have are some quick photos I took so we can tweak the knife even more to suite oboists and bassoonists. With the slight curvature, the bassoonists LOVED the knife for getting into the channels, but the oboists were not as thrilled about it since their reeds are just so much smaller. FWIW, I asked Gary to put that slight curve on it for the bassoonists, and it was interesting that the oboists responded like they did! It was a bassoonist who bought the knife.

Gary Nicholas Sass Reed Knife 1

Gary Nicholas Sass Reed Knife 2

After some other business discussion (which will be posted soon!) Gary took us to Quaker Steak for some of their famous wings. The pepper parmesan sauce was just too good!

After a wonderful lunch at Quaker Steak, we headed out toward Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I was supposed to meet up with one of the super mods over at the knife forums, whose username is “Nasty”, but due to the storms that blew through OH, PA and West VA the previous weekend, our meeting was cancelled due to some cleaning up that needed to be done. There was mostly downed trees, but it was severe enough to cancel the local 4th of July celebrations. This setback would be remedied on the weekend, when Nasty and his wife came out to the university. But more on that in a little bit 🙂

We got to the beautiful Miami University campus, and started our normal setup routine, running into the usual suspects, including Ann Hodge of Hodge Products, Inc., who is one of my biggest retailers of the Jende Reed Knife and surrounding products. Her new display was amazing!

We bumped into Hanna Selznick, the “Oboe Fairy“, Robert Morgan of the Chicago Reed Company and inventor of the W.R.I.S.T, and Shawna Lake of Oboe Chicago.

I also ran into 2 new exhibitors – the first was Lisa Allen of Lisa’s oboe reedery, who also happened to be a fellow classmate and alumnus of The Boston Conservatory. She is now making oboe reeds full time. I couldn’t believe a fellow alum didn’t have my knife,  so I lent her my 15K Jende Reed Knife for a couple of days. She was happy 🙂

Lisa Allen of Lisa’s Oboe Reedery

I also ran into Robert Huffman, a long time “disciple” of mine who has sat at my table over the years observing, and absorbing the whole reed knife sharpening process. He’s a recently retired oboist of the US Army Band, and while he completely understands the sharpening process, his results were driving him to the point of no longer playing the oboe. Then he found the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS), which is an excellent guided sharpening system. Robert and I spoke about using the WEPS for reed knives several months ago, but when I saw him at the IDRS as an exhibitor FOR Wicked Edge, I was taken totally by surprise!

Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener for Reed Knives!

This was incredible news because I love my Wicked Edge, and Robert and I immediately went into the pros of using this system for reed knives – the most obvious is that it holds the angles for you. This is beneficial for repeatability, and for those players who might not have the dexterity needed for freehand sharpening on full sized stones, (which is the method I generally promote). For you double-reeders out there, I  also happen to be somewhat of an *ahem* expert on the Wicked Edge, although most of my you tube videos and blogging with the WEPS have been kitchen knife and shaving related. In fact, a few of us, including Robert, sat around watching some of my favorite shaving videos on one of the nights 🙂 Shave 1Shave 2, Shave 3 (#3 is not for the faint of heart!)

Back on track here – the good news is that you can use the same Shapton stones that I use, or their major competitor, the Chosera stones which are custom cut to fit the WEPS. The bad news was that Robert didn’t have them at this show…. We’ll soon remedy that, though!

Back at my table, Things were moving along as usual – lots of people dropping off knives for sharpening. This year was a little different because I brought an extra sharpening station for people to sharpen by themselves. In the past, there is just not enough time for me to “let” people sharpen on their own. I’ve seen more and more knives coming back for their yearly service in much better condition, which tells me people are getting results – no doubt a result of  the help from my Reed Knife Sharpening Book. 😀 It is also clear that more and more bassoonists are starting to get into sharp knives.

One of my self-sharpening visitors was oboist Aybegüm Şekercioğlu, from Turkey. She was very good at sharpening, and we had fun modifying my usual nickel and dime method of sharpening to using Turkish currency, which would help her students get good results when she returned home.

Turkish Oboist Aybegüm Şekercioğlu

In the middle of all the fun and noise, Nasty (the supermod from knife forums) and his wife paid us a visit at the exhibition hall. I was very excited that the meeting was actually taking place after all! With a little help from some friends and a small fortune in hush money, we got them in for a few minutes to show them what the IDRS was all about.

I showed Nasty my sharpening setup, and a few of the knives I was working on. We posed for the obligatory picture (otherwise it didn’t happen!) :

Nasty and Tom Blodgett

But then the real treat came when Nasty offered to give me a few pointers on my sharpening – it was an offer that I eagerly accepted. I like to learn from everyone, and it is clear from the footage below that Nasty truly is a master at his craft, and I walked away a better sharpener! 😀

We then headed into town for some lunch at Mac and Joe’s, Oxford’s oldest tavern, where we were able to talk in a quieter setting. Since we know Nasty and I are both respectful, but unmovable as far as our sharpening preferences, the conversation easily shifted toward life things such as our work and places we’ve lived. I can’t tell you more without having to kill you, but if anyone from the knife forums is driving through Ohio, it’s well worth stopping by to meet Nasty, who really isn’t so nasty at all. The only regret in meeting him and his wife is that our time was limited to just a few minutes at the show, and a quick lunch. This meeting was yet another amazing feather in the cap of this trip, though!

That was pretty much the peak of the trip! The next couple of days was full of sharpening, and showing off another reed knife prototype, this time made out of Bombshell Steel by Maestro Wu. It’s a single bevel, with the back side hollow ground. This one is left-handed, but there will be right handed ones available soon.

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -1

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -2

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -2

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -3

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -3

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -4
Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -4


With a quick wrap up of the table, and a 12 hour drive back to NJ, We made it back just in time for me to get some laundry done, grab that last slice of pizza, and head out to the airport.

This trip was a whirlwind 3 weeks, with so many great things happening. It already seems like an eternity since the Northwestern Summer Camp that started this whole journey off, and I can’t wait until next year’s trip!

Wicked Edge (WEPS) Chosera Stone Video Tuturials – Part 1 and 2 + a Shave!

April 22, 2012

Clay Alison of Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS) recently asked me to do a tutorial on the Chosera stones for the WEPS, and rather than write up another of my famous long-winded posts, I tried my hand at a video tutorial.  We ended up with 3 videos 🙂

The first video is the introduction to Chosera stones, and touches on flattening/cleaning the stones, as well as adjusting angles to account for the different thickness between the Choseras stones and the stock WEPS. (Read more about that here). I also go through the 3 different strokes that I use on the WEPS – Circles, Scrubbing, and Sweeping, and show some nice microscope pictures along the way.

The second video is the actual sharpening of a 3.5″ Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel folding knife using the 400, 1K, 3K, 5K and 10K Chosera stones. It’s a bit long because I wanted viewers to see a “real time” version. Due to the repetitive nature of the process, there was editing on the higher grits, where you should have the idea of the process and the time it takes by then. I finished with the WEPS leather strops with one side loaded with Ken Schwartz’s .125 micron CBN, and the other side with clean leather. More microscope pictures are posted along the way.

The third video is the same Maestro Wu knife put to a straight razor shave right out of the WEPS. It’s not my most controversial shaving video (like these!),  but there are some good closeups and the music is nice! 🙂

A special thanks to Colin Brown of ModelMosa for the use of his studio, and to Trevor Joines (TVGUY101), my cameraman and video editor.

Wicked Edge (WEPS) Stock Diamond & Ceramic Microscopic Progression

February 12, 2012

I was preparing to do a video on the use of the Wicked Edge Chosera stones, and I wanted to show some still shots to show what is happening at each stage of the sharpening process on the WEPS. I ended up taking microscope pictures of the whole “solid” WEPS paddle progression – 100, 200, 400, 600, 800, 1K , diamond plates, and the 1200 and 1600 ceramic paddles.

I am posting them below since there has been more interest about choosing between the higher diamond grits, the WEPS ceramic and the Chosera and Shapton WEPS stones.  I’ll be posting the Shapton and Chosera WEPS progressions shortly.

The knife is a Maestro Wu bombshell steel folding knife with the angles set to 20 degrees per side. All pictures are taken with a Veho 400x USB microscope, and the actual dimensions of the pictures are all 1mm wide by 0.75mm high.

I generally begin sharpening a new knife on the WEPS with the stock 100 diamond paddles using circles. This is an aggressive method, and as the picture below shows, it leaves seriously “crystalline” looking scratches. These random looking scratches make stock removal faster because the diamonds won’t get into ruts from a singular direction. The downside is that the leave such nasty scratches in all directions which will need to be worked out in order to prevent/minimize micro chipping at the finer stages (see my reasoning about that, here).

WEPS 100 Diamond – Circles

With the initial bevel set at the desired angle (in this case, 20 degrees per side), I can now begin the cleanup and refinement of this edge. With the 100 WEPS, I keep the angles the same, and begin using scrubbing strokes, which are basically straight up and down strokes. Scrubbing cleans up the scratches from the circles, and establishes a very flat bevel angle. You can see some very deep scratches, but they are all pretty much lined up now, but it is not ready to progress to the 200 stock diamonds yet.

WEPS 100 Diamond – Scrubbing

Scrubbing may line the scratches up and make a very nice bevel, but they leave the edge slightly wavy since you are only abrading a 3/4 inch wide section at a time as you scrub. As the final step to clean up any waviness, I use a sweeping motion, which is single alternating strokes on each side of the blade,  as seen below. This also minimizes the burr buildup.

WEPS 100 Diamond – Sweeping

From here you won’t need circles again. Each picture below follows the same scrubbing/sweeping pattern at each grit. My routine is to change grits, double check the angles with the angle cube, and then use scrubbing on each side to raise a burr, and make sure of any slight changes in angles have been removed. Then I switch to alternating sweeping strokes to clean up any waviness, and to keep burr formation to a minimum.

Below is the WEPS 200, scrubbing and sweeping. Some of the circle scratches from the 100 diamonds are still faintly visible.

WEPS 200 Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 200 Diamond – Sweeping

The WEPS 400 Diamonds start to reveal some of the micro chipping elements from my microscope lens digging into the edge for the pictures. On the 400 Sweeping picture, you can see how the deeper scratches terminates with micro chips at the edge. At this relatively coarse stage, they can still be worked out with the 600 diamond plates.

WEPS 400 Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 400 Diamond – Sweeping

By the end of the WEPS 600 diamond plates, there is a decent, although what I call a “minimal” working edge. Note just how much cleaner the sweeping edge of the edge is compared to the scrubbing edge.

WEPS 600 Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 600 Diamond – Sweeping

It is from here that all WEPS owners must make some decisions – to stop at the 600 stock, or continue with the WEPS 800/1K, the WEPS 1200/1600 Ceramics, the WEPS diamond compound on leather, or to the Chosera or Shapton WEPS stones. For this blog post, we will continue with the WEPS diamonds and ceramic plates.

My 800 and 1K diamond plates are relatively new (only about 3 months old) compared to my stock diamonds, which are about 15 months old, so they are a still a fair bit more aggressive than they will be when they settle in after a few more months. Nonetheless, you can see the scratches on the surface of the bevel are not as deep as the 600 even though the edge of the edge isn’t as clean as the 600.

WEPS 800 Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 800 Diamond – Sweeping

On the 1K WEPS diamonds, the bevel smooths out even more, and the edge of the edge is actually a “tip” of a point, whereas on the 600, there is a “flat top”. At this point, we have a  “sharp” knife that is what I would call a general purpose working edge. (I have very high standards!  😀 )

WEPS 1K Diamond – Scrubbing

WEPS 1K Diamond – Sweeping

The WEPS diamond plates tap out at 1K, and from there the WEPS ceramic stones are meant to further refine and polish the edge. Before you see the pictures below, take one more look at the 1K edge above. Note how consistent the scratches on the bevel are, and how clean things look, minus the occasional bump on the edge of the edge.

If you’ve read any of my posts before this, I talk about how the different abrasive mediums abrade differently. It becomes quite apparent below that when you switch from the diamond setup to the ceramics that there are hidden scratches that become exposed due to the more shallow scratches of the ceramics paddles. On the 1200 scrubbing picture, the scratches going against the majority could be written off as me just not doing enough scrubbing to remove the previous scratches. But when you see the sweeping picture, you can see just how wide the residual scratches against the grain are. Although those scratches are rather shallow at this point, you can tell from the width that they do not belong to the 800, 1K or 1200 plates (they look more like 400 grit scratches). Note how those deeper scratches leave serrations in the edge of the edge.

The solution is rather simple, either go back to the 800/1K WEPS, or do more on the 1200 until those scratches “bottom out”.

WEPS 1200 Ceramic – Scrubbing

WEPS 1200 Ceramic – Sweeping

Lastly, I finished with the 1600 WEPS ceramic plates.  You can see that I didn’t quite work out all the residual scratches from the lower grits in the scrubbing picture, but they seem to be under control from the sweeping – I did do quite a few strokes to clean things up 🙂

WEPS 1600 Ceramic – Scrubbing

WEPS 1600 Ceramic – Sweeping

By the end of the WEPS 1600 ceramic paddles, you have a very nice edge that should easily shave arm hairs.

I will be adding the microscope Chosera and Shapton Progressions in the next couple of posts.

Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives in The News Feb.3, 2012

February 3, 2012

Maestro WU made the News again!

Zeit Online, a German news site just did an article on Kin Men and focused on Maestro Wu:

Page two of the article has even more about Maestro Wu.

Here is the weak, yet tolerable Google translation:

The diameter of Master Wu

What is on the Taiwanese island of Kinmen a decades-old conflict into a tourist attraction.

It looks like a scene from an absurd theater piece: Among the marching orders of the commander bellowed six uniformed men and women in lockstep on a huge cannon to. Together they carry a stretcher, is on – nothing. In their minds, and in the audience but they carry a heavy artillery shell, which they then kneel, they introduce into the gun by means of synchronous arm movement, and – accompanied by a loud bang from the speakers – fire. In the direction of China.

Only a few kilometers of sea separating the small island of Kinmen to Taiwan proper from the Fujian province in mainland China. Should it occur to one big, weird brother to incorporate the “renegade province” of Taiwan by military means, Kinmen would be back first thing in the scope. It would not be the first time
About a million shells fired the People’s Republic of China in the course of two decades on Kinmen. After a first wave in spring 1958 with live ammunition, the shells were filled later with propaganda leaflets. Twenty years of fighting the two countries are in a bizarre ritual: On odd days of shelling China, the island, on even days were firing the Taiwan armed forces of Kinmen back out – again with propaganda grenades, the contents of the political achievements, material and especially the praised Taiwan’s advantage over the People’s Republic. At that time the island was like a fortress, always ready to repel desires of the mainland.

Since the relations between Taiwan and China have expanded in the nineties, but has the climate changed to Kinmen. A large part of the army has been withdrawn. Some of the underground, deep into the granite island blown up military installations are released today as a tourist attraction for visitors. And the cast of the shell-enactment are not real soldiers, but student athletes, to earn the four performances a day in some money. With guests from around 230 kilometers from the main island of Taiwan, the spectacle is very popular, but more and more tourists come to the People’s Republic of China.

The former enemies even closer – in very practical terms. Day after day ten vessels operate between Kinmen and Fujian Province. The crossing takes just under an hour. The former provincial city Xiamen on the other side has emerged as a major metropolis. From the beaches of Kinmen can be seen in the distant haze grow the impressive skyline of the city. For residents of Xiamen, the island offers a welcome opportunity for day trips into the countryside. It is estimated that clean air, the old architecture and the famous sorghum liquor. Kinmen residents use the ferry, however, to go shopping and to schuppern urban air. All very peaceful and civil, so it seems. Yet visitors from the mainland ferry terminal are still welcomed in the Armed: the cute, smiling cartoon silhouette target with machine guns.

As if in a trance Wu weighs back and forth as he grinds the blank

The conflict has left its mark, and they are nowhere more palpable than in the blacksmith shop of the island Tseng-dong Wu, stainless projectiles, remnants of war days, made into knives. The idea came from his father, Chao-Hsi Wu, who learned his craft even during the Qing Dynasty on the mainland. During the Japanese occupation from 1937 to 1945 Kinmen drove the chronic shortage of material to the blacksmith and his ten-member family to the brink of ruin. And so began the resourceful Chao-Hsi Wu, part of Allied bombs that rained down during the Second World War on the island to use as a raw material for his tools and kitchen knives. Soon, even that source dried up. Until the Chinese “People’s Liberation Army, the island” in 1958 was under attack.

Be consumed by the remains of the following material battle son Tseng-dong Wu today. We meet him at work in his workshop, a small hall with a brick oven rußüberzogenen and a shrine with incense sticks to the wall. “He’s” the owner of this place, says Wu – meaning the local spirit, without which no blessing would be on its activities. The smith, a tall lanky wearing jeans and apron. Viewed from the side, he looks as thin as his knife blades, but his vice-handshake reveals immediately the craftsman.

In order to forge a knife, he cuts with the torch a piece of metal from one of the projectiles, which already has the shape of the blade and handle. In coal bed of the furnace, he brings it to glow, then hammering the narrow one Master Wu for his work, that the only way stieben spark across the room. The cut is ultimately the decisive factor: As in a trance, Wu weighs back and forth, while the blank on his lap to the grindstone rotating leads and approach grinds to a radio beam to the perfect sharpness.

Since the age of six has Tseng-dong Wu helped his father at work – like all his seven siblings. “First I have served as a youngster the bellows for the fire, which made me very proud,” he says. Gradually he learned to his brothers and all the steps. “The finished blades were hanging for sale on the workshop wall. Customers have always chosen my “The reason. Wu worked slower than his brothers, but incomparably more precise.

At age 16 he dropped out of school, although he would have liked to study. But his talent for forging a particularly fine blade was obvious, and the family should be maintained. Sun-Dong Wu Tseng acquiesced – the right decision, as he says today. Initially, the grateful soldiers stationed on Kinmen purchasers of his goods. But the boom began only in the nineties, when the tourists came. Wu’s reputation got around – in the catering trade, with foreign visitors, in the media. Finally, the knife master built around a portion of his workshop to the auditorium. Since then his work is like a stage on which the making of his iconic performance blades for is: Here forge a military dominated the history of his island to tourists for a piece of the future.

A consultant advised the Ministry of Industry Wu to establish a trademark that was best in himself So from Tseng-dong Wu “Maestro Wu”. Also embarrassed laugh about the blacksmith. With his 54 years he has maintained a friendly, boyish nature. “The Master is not me, but the customer,” he says. A shot that hits: Wu now supplies to Russia, Italy, France, the United States.

On Kinmen “Maestro Wu has four knife shops” opened. From time to time, he considers his blades also offer there, where his grandfather had once learned the craft: on the mainland. But he shuns the big leap. Wu feels as Taiwan – even though the coast of Fujian is so much closer than the main island of Taiwan, even though his family originally came from the mainland, like most residents of Kinmen.

The houses of the island is the common heritage to be considered. Many settlements are built in traditional Fujian style – and miraculously spared most of the attacks. They lead the visitors still remember how the lives of wealthy Fujianesen the time of the Qing Dynasty was like. The often used term “village” is somewhat misleading – it really is small, walled residences, the wealthy merchants between the 17th and 19th Century were built. With their characteristic swallowtail gables, granite and wood facades seem to be representative, yet modest.

Whoever enters through the double doors to escape from terraces, patios, walls and corridors shrines, has the feeling of moving through a nested series of small jewelry box. Many apartments are still inhabited by the heirs of the ancient clans, others serve as guest houses for tourists, mainly from Taiwan, Singapore and Europe. “At guests from the mainland, we are not” properly set, says the manager of a small pension. Your visitors appreciate the calm and elegance of the old houses. Mainland Chinese are often rude and loud. “You want to smoke, drink and socialize – sometimes disturbs the other guests.”

“Maestro Wu,” has nothing against tourists from the People’s Republic, on the contrary: “Such a group can be a whole boutique” buying up, says the smith, as he prepares Taiwanese oolong tea. The blacksmith carefully handled with delicate tea sets. The Gong Fu ceremony is a major fixture for Wu everyday bustle. Devoutly he sniffs his tea cups. Then he tells him that are now offered shells from around the world, most recently from Iraq. Wu raises his arms up: “The world is crazy,” laughs and embarrassed!. “I’m here but still have enough material for years!”

Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Knives are currently available in Europe at and

3 Shaving Videos with 3 Different Maestro Wu Cleavers – OMG!

September 17, 2011

Warning – In all seriousness, please do not attempt to do this without a mastery of the proper wet shaving techniques – it is extremely dangerous.

The people in the following videos are actually all experienced straight razor shavers and are skilled razor honers who have all been deemed legally insane, crazy, unhinged, and even nuts by the highest authorities across several shaving communities. For more information about Maestro Wu’s knives, please visit or

I’m not sure how these videos ended up coming to be, but I think someone one the knife forums posted a video of himself dry shaving his goatee off with a 240mm kitchen knife, and someone said they could do that with a cleaver, and well, here we are  🙂

The first video is of yours truly, Tom Blodgett, aka, jendeindustries. I’m using a Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver that was honed using he Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS) with  Shapton Pro stones up to 30K, finishing with Ken Schwartz’s .125 micron CBN (see my microscope progression of the honing process here). I have been shaving with straight razors for over 9 years, but only 1-2 times per week.

Next up is my good friend Michiel Vanhoudt of Belgium with his Maestro Wu D-11 Cleaver. He’s pretty new to the straight razor scene, but he is an extremely talented and experienced sharpener and fast becoming a major force in the straight razor honing world. I was secretly hoping he’d slice his head clean off, but alas, the only head that got sliced was that of a pimple on his chin.  🙂  His progression used the Edge Pro with custom cut  Shapton Pro #320, 1k Chosera,  then 2K, 5k, 8k, 15k Shapton Pros for the Edge Pro followed by 0.5 CBN, 0.5 CrO, 0.125 CrO, 0.125 CBN horse (all on balsa), and finally stropped with Clean horse from Hand American.

Next is my good friend Jens Skandevall from Sweden, aka, Honed and Bengt-Hans with his custom Maestro Wu Damascus D-11 Cleaver.  Jens probably has the most straight razor shaving experience out of the 3 of us. He free-hand sharpened his cleaver using full sized Shapton Pros 1.5K, 5K & 8K, then the Naniwa Superstone 10K . He finished by stropping with HandAmerican 0.50µ and .25µ Mono Diamond on leather, back to Hand American 0.5µ Chromium Oxide on balsa, then on to Ken Schwartz 0.1µ CBN on balsa & finally with Ken’s 0.025µ poly diamond on kangaroo. – Say that 5 times fast! This shave includes 2 parts below. Part 1 is With the Grain (WTG), and part 2 is Against the Grain (ATG).

AND Since someone is going to get the bright idea to attempt a large knife shave after watching these videos, please watch  this tutorial video I made about shaving using a Maestro Wu A-5 Damascus 10″ Chef Knife. I know the knives will be sharp, but it will hopefully save some of you crazy yahoos from lopping your head off because of poor shaving technique.  (BTW, the technique in the 3 videos above is all acceptable, it some of the others out there I’m referring to below.)


Edit: Another video with a Maestro Wu D-11 has surfaced – this is the one and only Ken Schwartz of Precise Sharpening, and the granddaddy of the sub-micron CBN and poly diamond sprays out there on the market. This video is not for the faint of heart! (yes, he makes it out alive – but I don’t know how….)

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver Turned into a Straight Razor using the Wicked Edge (WEPS)

September 14, 2011

Warning – I have over 9 years of straight razor shaving experience, so please do not attempt to shave with the biggest, sharpest implement of destruction you own!

As with all challenges, someone posted a video on the Knife Forums dry shaving his goatee with some kind of 240mm knife. Naturally, it brought out the freaks who enjoy shaving as well as sharpening, and the gauntlet was thrown down by I forget who at this point, and we ended up having 3 guys commit to doing shaves with their Maestro Wu Cleavers…. 🙂

I decided I was going to hone my Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver on my Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS), and use this opportunity to document my Shapton Pro Stones for the WEPS. The main reason I chose the WEPS over free hand and even the Edge Pro was because of the clamped knife system, which reduces the amount of accumulated error due to flipping the blade that would need to be done on the Edge Pro or freehand.

One of the difficulties I knew I was going to face with a blade this big was the amount flex in the blade itself, being a good 3 inches (7-8cm) high and 1.8mm thick. On top of that, straight razors require a super-light touch, and I knew there would be some issue with how the paddles of the WEPS would create flex at the edge of the edge, which would normally not even be thought about if I were sharpening the knife as a cleaver.

But hey, if it were easy, everyone would do it!

This particular cleaver was a beater that had been experimented on several times, so I reset things on my belt sander before heading to the WEPS. I did not get a “before” picture, but below is a picture of a stock Maestro Wu edge taken from a D-6 Chef knife for another competition.

Maestro Wu D-6 Stock Edge

Maestro Wu D-6 Stock Edge (2.5mm wide x 1mm high)

Since I had already gotten the edge on the belt sander, I decided to begin with the stock 600 WEPS diamond plate set at 15 degrees on both sides. (I checked all my angles along the way with my Angle Cube. It’s a must for precision!) All microscope pictures from this point are 1mmx1mm.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver with WEPS 600 stock Diamond

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver with WEPS 600 Stock Diamond

I decided to do my normal progression of Shapton stones that I would do on straight razors. Looking back, I should’ve gone to the #320 Shapton after the #600 WEPS to really clean things up since I normally go to #1200 on diamonds – I actually don’t have them for the WEPS, though  :/

But I do know what I’m doing, and I went to the 1K Shapton Pro from the WEPS 600, which as you can see, is perfectly fine.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 1K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 1K Shapton Pro

Then onto the Shapton #1,500. I really like this stone because the 1K Shapton is on the coarser side of things, and the #1,500 really helps clean things even more before the critical leap to 5K, where all of the previous shortcomings are revealed.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS #1,500 Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS #1,500 Shapton Pro

You’ll notice there is the slightest wave at the edge of the edge  t is at this point where I was beginning the think that 15 degrees was going to be too shallow. Most straight razors are between about 18-21 degrees.

I moved on to the Shapton Pro 2K stone and saw that the edge was crumbling a little – mostly due to my lack of razor honing technique on the WEPS – so I upped the angle to 18 degrees. You can see the new angle in the first picture below, and then the finished 2K.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 2K Shapton Pro - transition to 18 degrees

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 2K Shapton Pro – transition to 18 degrees

Maestro WU D-4 Cleaver WEPS 2K Shapton Pro - Finshed 18 degrees

Maestro WU D-4 Cleaver WEPS 2K Shapton Pro – Finshed 18 degrees

The finished 2K shows evidence of a burr, but up until this point, that is acceptable in my mind, given the circumstances and dimensions of the knife!

On to the 5K – the 2K-5K is the critical leap, and I spent a good deal more time perfecting my 5K edge than any other. It is the key to success with the Shapton Pros.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 5K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 5K Shapton Pro

At this point, picture taking becomes more difficult with the added frailty of the edge being likely to chip from hitting the scope!  If I were sharpening this cleaver as a regular cleaver, this is where I would normally stop on the Shapton Pros. However, for a straight razor shave, it is not good enough yet!

On to the 8K. Having done my preliminary polishing on the 5K, the rest of the stones move pretty quickly to further polish.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 8K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 8K Shapton Pro

You can see how thin the edge of the edge is becoming – there is some evidence of rolling at the edge of the edge – again, from my technique and the way the stones do need to push against the steel. In fact, you can see from the slight angle change that I did put some pressure on the edge.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 15K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 15K Shapton Pro

However, on the 15K I used as little pressure as possible, and the edge becomes very crisp and clean. The shine from the reflection of light was becoming a hassle for the pictures! This would be a comfortable shave by normal standards, but Shapton goes to 30K. 🙂

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 30K Shapton Pro

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS 30K Shapton Pro

I will admit I did something I shouldn’t have done, which is more strokes than normal at this stage. The clumping on the bevel is evidence of elements of the swarf. I normally only do 10-20 strokes, but It felt so good, that I did about 50, and the water on the stone dried out.

I wasn’t worried because I knew I was going to use Ken Schwartz’s .125 Micron CBN (available from Wicked Edge here), and that there was going to be some convexing of the edge of the edge due to the leather paddles.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS/Schwartz .125 micron CBN

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS/Schwartz .125 micron CBN

The CBN really cleaned things up for the plain leather WEPS strop.

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS Plain Leather

Maestro Wu D-4 Cleaver WEPS Plain Leather

As you can see from the plain leather paddle, there is some rounding of the edge of the edge. This is not always bad for shaving 🙂 The weakest, thinnest portion of the edge is gone, leaving a solid enough width at the edge for shaving. You can see a fresh score going in the opposite direction of the normal scratches – this is from contamination, most likely from me when wiping the blade down with a tissue with my dirty hands…

The overall shave was a success. There are 3 guys in on the “competition”, and I will post all 3 videos when they come out. In the mean time, here’s my picture of the Shave of the Day. Enjoy!

SOTD 9/12/2011

SOTD 9/12/2011