Posts Tagged ‘knife sharpening’

Lost Art of the Local Sharpener

January 29, 2019

I ran across one of the last of a dying breed today – the local street sharpener working out of his modified motorcycle. His equipment is simple, yet effective: a stone grinding wheel for chips and repairs, a sandpaper flap wheel for the majority of the sharpening, and a very worn out 2×32″ belt for finishing.

He plugs his power cord in at the local shop he is visiting. He had a few other odds and ends for straightening blades and an oil stone he said he long since stopped using since most of the knives are poor quality steel these days.

We had a wonderful conversation, discussing some of the other sharpeners in town and how he is happy to be mobile and independent service without a storefront or employees to worry about. He got his start when his brother learned sharpening in Japan and set him up with the equipment he has been using since (the belt grinder needed a little knowing nudge to begin working).

He had no illusions of his purpose and his quality. More experienced sharpeners watching this video will no doubt have a lot to say about it, but he charges very little per knife and comes by every week or so. Several years ago, I would’ve been snooty and pointing out everything he did wrong. But experience has taught me some humility and perspective, and I truly praised his work, and will appreciate this chance meeting and this modern day reflection on his function in time and in the community.


Chosera Slip Stones 1×2″

January 15, 2019

1×2″ Chosera slip stones are the perfect stones for those little jobs! Carefully shaped with 3 different usable surfaces and 8 grits from 400 grit to 10K, they can fit into your glove box, field pack, first aid kit, bugout bag, tool box, or tackle box. One long surface is rounded over for use on recurves or scalloped serrations, while the other is shaped to a V for tighter serrations or small surfaces like wire nips, or field saws. The top and bottom flat surfaces can be used for conventional sharpening.

We’ve bundled these into 3 choices – a coarse set with 400, 600, 800, and 1K grit; a fine set with 2K, 3K, 5K, and 10K grits; and full set of 8 grits.

Sharpening a meat cleaver on a sharpening stone (part 2)

December 21, 2018

This is a continuation of “sharpening a meat cleaver on a belt sander” After making the shape on the belt sander, we use the 320, 1K and in this case, the 5K stones to further refine the edge. We continued using an askew stroke to make the edge a consistent shape and thickness from heel to tip. We matched the 20 degree bevel, and also used a slightly lower and slightly raised angle to make a slight convex shape to the bevel, which helps make it more sturdy, and adds a level of aesthetic beauty.

Knife – D-12 Maestro Wu Bombshell Steel Cleaver (heavier)

Jende Sharpening Tips – Jende Nanocloth Strop Loading

December 3, 2018

Sharpening Tips from Tom Blodgett at

Loading the Jende Nanocloth strops for the first time requires a little extra diamond emulsion the first time in order to fill up the honeycomb column structure. Simply spread the Jende Poly Diamond Emulsion evenly and you will see how quickly the emulsion is drawn into the nanocloth. To reload a strop takes much less emulsion to top off the columns. Also, you can wash the Nancoloth with water and reload. Let the strops dry for several hours (overnight is best) and always use dry.

Strops: Jende Nanocloth Ultra in 1×4″, 1×6″, 2×6″ and 210x70mm
Emulsion: Jende Poly Diamond Emulsion, 0.25 micron (60,000 grit)

Spyderco Stone Challenge

May 2, 2018

We recently started offering Spyderco Medium, Fine and Ultra Fine stone in 1×4″ and 1×6″ custom sizes for various sharpening systems. That is nothing major by itself, but it spurred a friendly challenge because historically, it was said that he Fine and UF were the same stone, only finished differently. I am of the mind that the Fine and UF are the same materials, and are formulated the same way, but use different sized abrasives (Fine is approx 2K while UF is approx 4K). This would explain the difference in finish as well as the cost for the stones. Konstantin from Gritomatic is of the mind that the stones are exactly identical in every way, including grit size, except there is a different surface finish/texture on the stone which influences the resulting scratches. So the gauntlet was thrown down to see if I could discern the difference between 5 fine and ultra fine Spyderco stones. The stakes are high, so we wagered a bottle of Russian Vodka vs. a bottle of Kinmen Kaoliang.

Before I continue, it must be said that both theories hold water. Natural stones such as quartz can be surface finished rougher or finer for different depths of scratch, which results in coarser or finer finishes. You see it with dressing sticks for tormek wheels, and is similar in action with raising slurry with diamond plates, and nagura or slurry/conditioning stones for synthetics. However, my stance is that regardless of the surface texture, the resulting scratches have always produced the same results under the scope despite their aggressiveness (as long a no other abrasives are introduced into the mix).

So we begin! The obligatory data info first – pictures were taken on a Dino-Lite AM4113T. There are bar measurements for 1mm at 20x and 0.2mm at 200x if you enlarge the photos.

I received 5 stones from Konstantin and was assured that there was at least 1 Fine and 1 UF in the mix. I did several “tests” to see if I could tell the difference before the scratch test. Now this is a little unfair since I have my own stones, cut and uncut, processed and unprocessed to compare to. So the first test was the thickness test. The Spyderco Fine is just a little thicker overall than the UF, so in theory, the thinner stones should be the UF. My results were as follows: Stones 2 and 5 should be Fine stones while 1, 3, and 4 should be UF. But of course, Konstantin would know this, so I could clearly not choose the cup in front of me.

So I took to the scope. First round was 20x pics against a control of my known stones. Results were interesting, and seemed pretty straight forward at first. Stones 1,2,4,and 5 were Fine while stone 3 was UF. But we knew Konstantin would know that I would use a scope, so he changed up the surface finishes to hide any immediate tells, so I could clearly not choose the cup in front of him.

Spyderco Fine Control 20x

Spyderco UF Control 20x

Stone 1 20x

Stone 3 20x

Stone 4 20x

Stone 5 20x


Onto the 200x, which would reveal even more secrets. Results were slightly different, with the 1,3,4 and 5 stones being fine and stone 2 being UF. Clearly this was starting to get dizzying…So I could clearly not choose the cup in front of me.

Spyderco Fine Control 200x

Spyderco UF Control 200x

Stone 1 200x

Stone 2 200x

Stone 3 200x

Stone 4 200x

Stone 5 200x

So seeing as the stones were lapped before I got them, and the control pics were different from what I was seeing, we lapped everything again – both my controls and the stones from Konstantin to see if that would even the field more. I spared you the 20x pics and jumped straight to the 200x. Results were 1,2,3 and 5 as Fine, and 2 and 4 as UF, so I could clearly not choose the cup in front of him!

Spyderco Lapped Fine Control 200x

Spyderco Lapped UF Control 200x

Stone 1 Lapped 200x

Stone 2 Lapped 200x

Stone 3 Lapped 200x

Stone 5 Lapped 200x

So enough games – it’s time to drink. Last test was the all out scratch test. I started off with a control 600 diamond scratch, and then make parallel scratches against the control stones. Each time I went to a new stone, including the on the controls, I reset the askew angle on the 600 diamond to erase all traces of the previous scratches so we could see a true finish. Here the results are a little more visible, ending with stones 2,3,and 5 being Fine and Stones 1 and 4 as UF. Quite a different story from the previous tests.

600 Diamond Control 200x

Spyderco Fine Control 200x

Spyderco UF Control 200x

Stone 1 Blade Test 200x

Stone 2 Blade Test 200x

Stone 3 Blade Test 200x

Stone 4 Blade Test 200x

Stone 5 Blade Test 200x


So in conclusion, I say the Fine stones are 2, 3, and 5, while the UF stones are 1 and 4. This was a tough test, to be honest. I’m glad we were able to have fun, I will post the actual grits from Konstantin when he reveals them.

Either way, it was better than getting involved in a land war in Asia. I think it’s time to drink some alcohol! Inconceivable!

Jende Hapstone V6 Has Been Unleashed!

February 9, 2017

The Jende Hapstone V6 is now in stock! This is the first collaboration with Jende Industries and the Hapstone Sharpener. We’ve got the V6 sharpener tricked out with the Jende red and black colors, as well as a couple of other goodies.


One of the benefits of the Jende Hapstone V6 aside from its striking beauty, is the option to accessorize like mad – you can choose from a full line of Shapton Glass stones, Chosera stones, and from our complete line of Color-coded Jende Nanocloth Ultra Strops with CBN and Poly Diamond emulsions as well as our Kangaroo and Leather strops!

And if that was not enough, the Jende Hapstone V6 also has a rotary sharpening attachment, which clamps blades and rotates them without the need to move the knife at all!


So if you’re in the market for a new sharpener. make it a Jende Hapstone V6!


Shapton Glass Stones for the Wicked Edge!

October 18, 2016

Shapton Glass Stones are now available for the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS)!  The full 10 stone lineup includes grits from 220 all the way up to 30K, and you can now make your own customized Shapton Glass Stone Paddles for the Wicked Edge.

Shapton Glass WEPS Stones

Shapton Glass WEPS Stones

The Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener is such a great platform, and anyone who uses one knows just how diverse the accessory stone options are. Shapton Glass Stones are some of the best sharpening stones in the known universe, and until now, the only only way to experience them was by using them in the full size stones. Now they have been brought together to make the WEPS even better! Be warned that there may be a small mushroom cloud that forms when you first use the stones 🙂

320 Shapton Glass WEPS Stone

The extensive grit range is unparalleled, and includes 220, 320, 500, 1K, 2K, 4K, 6K, 8K, 16K, and 30K grits. Our DIY Shapton Glass WEPS Paddles allow you to mix and match your grits to get the combos you need, and come attached to a Wicked Edge Paddle. If you liked the Wicked Edge before, you will fall in love with it all over again with the Shapton Glass WEPS Stones!


Loading and Using the Jende Nanocloth Ultra Color Coded Strops –

September 20, 2016

We’ve done a quick and dirty video on how to load your Jende Color Coded Nanocloth Ultra Strops. These are the 4 micron 2×6″ with 4 micron CBN Emulsion and the 210×70 mm 0.25 Micron Poly Diamond Emulsion. Both strops and emulsions are color matched for easy recognition. 210×70 mm strops are designed to fit most stone holders as well. These strops are 3/4″ thick acrylic.

A special thanks to Mike Martinez of Martinez Blades and to Mark Reich of Reich Precision for allowing their razor and knife to make a cameo appearance.

TOG Elite Japanese Kitchen Knives Review

April 25, 2016

We recently received a TOG Elite Japanese Kitchen Chef Knife Santoku for testing. Bottom Line: This is one very nice knife that handles well, keeps its edge, and just plain looks good.

TOG Elite Japanese Knives

TOG Elite Japanese Knives


On the TOG website, there is a “Tech Specs” page that lists all the wonderful, interesting, and even nerdy things about the knives.  I’ve decided that my review will focus around the claims on that page.

  • “TOG blades are made from a special steel… to produce the ridiculously sharp blade and ensure that it stays sharp.” 
  • “Incredible cutting performance from a central layer of high-carbon (1%) steel. This core is made from… Acuto 440 that is similar to Western ‘440C’. This is hardened to Rockwell Hardness (HRC) 58-60…”

As an OCD sharpener, any claims to sharpness are always met with (rolled eyes or yawn) “Oh, yes, it is.”  I then proceed to lick the entire edge of the blade  – twice.  🙂 The TOG blade, however, actually looked and felt surprisingly sharp upon checking the edge right out of the box – sharp enough for me to not employ the old tongue test. So I went straight to the paper cutting test, expecting a typical 240 grit with a buffed edge feel. I was shocked by my first cut, so much so that I took another slice into the paper just to make sure. This thing cut -no- SLICED through the paper in a way that was not the usual factory edge. This was much, much better. I was truly impressed. If I had to call the grit, I would say about 3K. Score 1 for TOG right out of the box.

Edge retention is always going to vary depending on the user and the tasks performed, but when I sharpened up the TOG to my usual angles and finish, it kept up as good as, if not a little better than my usual knives (RC57-58). The knives in the rotation were all freshly sharpened by me, and used in a professional kitchen over a 2 week period with no special treatment (believe me!), and were only adjusted with a sharpening steel by the sometimes brutish kitchen personnel.

Steel junkies say what you will about 440C, but the Acuto 440 steel in this blade is perfect at RC 58-60. IMO, RC 56-60 is the Goldilocks hardness zone for high quality, non-custom kitchen knives – hard enough to hold the edge so that it does not require steeling after every cut, and flexible enough so that the edge won’t chip out. RC 58-60 also makes maintenance on the edge easy and straight forward on just about any good quality sharpening equipment, be it a steel, stones or mechanized sharpeners. I used 220, 1K, and 4K sharpening stones and got a smooth edge with just enough bite. As a sharpener, I am quite satisfied with the quality.

As for the feel of the edge when in use, it actually felt more akin to VG-10 steel, and not even remotely close the soft mushy stuff that your 29-piece knife set in a woodblock has (usually RC ~52). The overall balance and handling of the knife was easy and light, and the thinness of the blade allowed for easy cutting and slicing.

So to sum it up, this is one very nice knife that handles well, keeps its edge, and just plain looks good.

Thank you to the fine people at TOG for the opportunity!

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.