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