Friday, 18 April 2014

Steeling - Does NOT sharpen a knife

I am still blown away every now and then by folks who I encounter and when we get to talk about sharpening they say things like "yes I sharpen my own knives too". I get a little excited thinking I have met someone who shares a common interest. Then when I ask what they use, the response is " a steel".
The conversation ends soon after that.

To confirm, a steel when used properly and assuming the steel is of good quality and not the one that comes with the knife block. (they are usually quite bad). When utilised properly a steel can keep a knife sharp for a period of time by pushing the fatigued metal back into place. It is not the best way to keep a knife sharp by any means but it will work for a while.

I just peeved off when people are closed to an education on what a steel is, these are people in the industry too. I am not suggesting everyone needs a whack of water stones, gees one water stone at the 1k level will be enough to keep that knife sharp for an eternity.

Remember the best way to maintain an edge is with a whetstone.

Thank  you for reading this.

Sunday, 6 April 2014


I did my sons CRKT folder today, took about 30 minutes.

I used the Edge Pro at 17 Degrees.

Progression was:

Atoma 140 to reprofile
EP 220
Chosera 400
Shapton Glass 1,000
Shapton Glass 2, 000
Chosera 3,000
Shapton Pro 5,000
Chosera 10,000

Lots of water and some dish detergent on the stones.

thanks for looking


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Buck Vanguard

Well this is one beautiful knife, the nicest and best hunting knife I have had the opportunity to sharpen. It is brand new, the owner just wanted the edge refined a little, I was only too happy to oblige.
I hope you like the picture.

Buck Vanguard

Monday, 31 March 2014


Buck Knives
I do hunting knives as well of course, same principle, same technique basically. I find they take a lot longer than kitchen knives but I can refine to a significantly higher degree.
When I do kitchen knives, a 2,000-5,000 grit edge is almost always enough. It is important to leave some teeth on the edge.
With hunters though, I don't really get to concerned about that, these are protein cutters so I can take them up to 10,000 grit or higher. They look nice too when polished like that, I think so anyway.

When I first started sharpening, seriously sharpening I used to sharpen every kitchen knife to 10,000 grit but I quickly discovered that it isn't the most efficient kitchen edge. It looks pretty cool but a 2k edge or even a 1k edge with a very light 5k finish is a fantastic edge for the kitchen.

Remember, the first stone, whether it be 140 or 500 grit gets the knife sharp, I could finish a knife off at 500 grit and people would be happy, believe me.

I just wanted to share this picture of the two Buck knives, I hope you like them.

The background is a beautiful Ikebana arrangement.

225 0579

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Steeling - Why I don't do it.

Now this will come as a surprise to you and most won't agree with what I am going to say.

Here we go:

First of all, I am still amazed by the amount of people, people who should know, that think Steeling a knife is sharpening it. I often ask the butcher in a grocery store  how he/she sharpens a knife. I'm always curious and I always get the same response.
There is grinder of some form, or an electric sharpener that is used but most of the time they just use a Steel hone like the one in the picture.  I have never seen a water stone in the store, and I gave up a long time ago trying to explain sharpening.
So to remind folks  the honing rod does not sharpen a knife, it hones it, it will keep a sharp knife sharp for a while but you cannot get a dull knife sharp with one. It is not intended for that, it is a maintenance tool, a means of realigning the edge, moving fatigued metal that has folded over back to where it should be.

Why don't I do that you ask?

When  a knife is dull, fatigued metal along the primary edge (cutting edge) has folded over, it isn't something visible to the naked eye and it doesn't mean you can't cut anything. Heck, lets face it, likely 90% of people cut with a dull knife.

Now we take our Steel and let's assume we are world class "Steelers", we have it down pat, we know how to use the Steel like nobody else.  Are we not just pushing tired metal back and forth, what happens to metal that is moved back and back forth, back and breaks.  Basically, we are just pushing fatigued metal back to the spot where it will get the abuse and in no time, it has rolled over again. The cycle continues and for some people, they do this for years thinking they are doing a good job sharpening their knife.

Here is something to think about:
Forget the steel, get a fine grit water stone, 2,000-5,000 grit stone and use that instead. Instead of moving metal back and forth, remove that minute amount of metal and just hone your knife with a water stone instead.  I can re-sharpen or hone my knives this way in about  2 minutes.

5,000 grit water stone.......or rectangular hone...just sayin

If you are worried about removing metal, you can do this for about 30 years once a week and then maybe you could see a little wear. Seriously, it's something to think about.

I know I may have confused some folks and I am not suggesting throwing away that good steel, perhaps the best approach is a combination, use a good Steel for a week and then take out that 2,000 grit stone and use that once a week and then keep that cycle going. You are constantly refreshing working part of the knife that way.

Just my thoughts.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Testimonial - Progress

When I started my business a few years ago my goal/dream was to have the opportunity to sharpen knives for a Chef, it was a dream and something I worked hard towards. An Executive Chef not only excels at cooking but he/she knows knives and they know them well.
Making their knives sharp was not the challenge, it was having them trust me with their precious tools, so when that happened, I was extremely grateful but also nervous. One mistake and it could be a disaster, a real blow to my confidence.

That was then, this is now, I have been so fortunate to not only gain the trust of some pretty cool Executive Chefs but some of them have even taken the time out of what is a ridiculously busy schedule to say what they think about my work

This one is form Executive Chef Luis Clavel from the Atlantica Hotel in Halifax, he called me and asked if he could submit a testimonial, few will understand how much that means to me.

Here is his Testimonial.

I trust no one with me knives besides Peter, the quality of work and
craftsmanship behind each knife is incredible,
I have used Peter for the last year and every time he returns a knife is
better than new, is really quite an experience
A true artist...... 
Luis Clavel
-Member of Culinary Team Canada-
Luis Clavel
Executive Chef 
Atlantica Hotel Halifax
1980 Robie Street Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3G5
direct tel 902.490.3341
main tel 902.423.1161
fax 902.423.2407
Member of Culinary Team Canada and Manager Culinary team Nova Scotia

Friday, 7 March 2014

Those other knives- Oh Yeah.

What got me interested in knife sharpening you ask?

Well it started with an interest in knives, I think it may have come from watching my dad sharpen his knives on an oilstone.  From there, in my travels with the Navy I would make an effort to go into places that sold knives in different countries, not kitchen knives at that point but exotic knives.

That was 35 years ago and my interest has shifted to kitchen knives but mostly, sharpening those kitchen knives.  A few years ago I went into Paderno here in Bayer's Lake and met a gentleman who really changed my life now that I think about it. The manager of the store was very interested in how I sharpened knives and supported me and continues to support me like no one else has, except my wife.

So my sharpening business started to actually become a business with actual customers with Malcolm's support and offer to use Paderno as a drop off and pick up spot for folks that wanted their knives sharpened. He is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to knives and I highly recommend treating yourself to one of the beautiful knives he sells.

Over time, the good folks at Cucina Moderna allowed me to leave my business cards there and through that, many good people with dull knives have found their way to me.  Recently, The Ikebana Shop offered a similar service that Paderno has, so that is how my customers find me other than visiting my website. I can't express how grateful I am to these establishments and of course to the people who bring me knives. NOT TO MENTION the chefs and cooks at places like Chives and The Bicycle Thief.

So what about the other knives, the Japanese Hand Made knives that you cannot buy here where I live in Nova Scotia. What is big mystery about them and are they better than the knives we can purchase right here.....down the road so to speak?

I am not suggesting abandoning the stores you purchase your knives from, stick with them, I do.
However, there is nothing wrong with just having something different in your inventory. There are a couple of places right here in Canada that we can use to buy knives that are hand made in Japan.
I'm not talking about Global or Shun or MAC, the names of these knives come from the family name of those who make them,  a generation in many cases such as Moritaka, Takeda, Masakage and many more.

There is a store in Calgary, now in Ottawa too called Knifewear. I have shared several emails with the owner, Mr. Kevin Kent and I come to respect him very much. Knifewear sells several brands of Japanese hand made knives. Kevin has been to Japan, actually met with the blade smiths, this man knows his knives. You will be surprised at the costs, they are not as expensive as you may think.

Here is a link to his site and you can browse through it to see all the beautiful knives, it's an awesome website, very funny and what I love about it is how he tells us about the Master's who created the knives, that is very cool.
Dream Knives

Also, it is free shipping for purchases over $200.00.

So what is so good about these knives? Besides being hand made and knowing that each knife undergoes scrutinization by people that have been doing so for years and perhaps have learned the art from their father. (That alone has to mean something, it does to me). The material used in the knives is nicely described by Kevin, I won't go through it here, he does a much better job. However, having seen some of these knives and sharpened them, I can promise you that in terms of cutting performance, they are really something you need to experience. The hardness of the steel allows/begs for much more acute sharpening angles, 12 degrees in some cases and with that ridiculously low angle, it is truly like a razor blade and because it is so hard, it will hold the edge longer.

What is really cool is that these knives are easier to sharpen, seriously,  I love sharpening them, it is relatively quick process and the results are startling.

Again, this is not to say there is anything wrong with your Wusthofs, Henckels, MAC's and Grohmann knives. Nothing wrong with your Toyota Corolla or Honda Accord either, that doesn't mean you wouldn't like to own a BMW.

Now many are full carbon knives or have a very high carbon content, this is a good thing. It does mean however that if left out on the kitchen counter wet, the blade will rust in spots. It's simple, use the knife, love it, be blown away and then dry it off right after use, just keep it dry.

Just something to think about, Knifewear is a safe place to purchase from, he has stores in four cities, take a look and if you have questions, just email them or call them.

By the way, I don't get anything from Knifewear for mentioning them here, if I were to buy a knife there I would pay the same as you do. I'm just providing information on what is available.

Now I personally would support one of the local stores (Paderno or Cucina Moderna) and get one of their knives or 5 of them but I would also, and will some day purchase a Knifewear knife and put it proudly on my magnetic knife strip right beside my  MAC or Grohmann or Shun.  They are something you need to see and use to appreciate.