Thursday, 23 October 2014


Today is my lucky day, I received my dream knife in the mail to repair and sharpen.

This is what the edge looked like when I received it.


Here it is after some time, surprisingly little, about 10 minutes or so on the Nubatama 150 Japanese Water Stone purchased from Ken Schwartz  ("Father Sharp"..more on Ken soon)


What surprised me about the knife is that even in this condition, i.e. nicked along the length of the blade, not just the three bad spots up front, was that it was still sharper than many new knives I have seen. GEEBUS this knife is cool. Work was done by hands

After the repair work however, the knife was quite dull, the edge was basically gone so I had to start from and I had a plan.

Progression was: Nubatama 150, Shapton Glass 220 and 320, Naniwa Chosera 1k, 3k & 5k and finally the 8K Kityama.

This is one hell of a knife.

Today is my unlucky day.........I have to send this back to the owner.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Contacting Me

Hi there friends.

If you are interested in emailing me that is cool, I love to hear from people.

However, I am not sure if my replies are getting to you, I have sent replies to everyone so if you didn't get that, please let me know via email again.

My email address

Thank you so much for contacting me if you have.


Edge Pro Professional Continued

Before I start,  these would have been very difficult to do without  my EP.
Hi folks,
I thought I would give some tips that I learned from making some mistakes, the mistakes were mostly initiated by impatience.  This makes me a hypocrite because one of the things I stress is patience, I really cannot stress it enough, impatience leads to mistakes in the case of sharpening knives with or without the Edge Pro.

I'm human though, I don't mind making mistakes, each mistake has led to an improvement and I'm going to do my best to pass some information along.

First of all, this is what Bar Keepers Friend looks like, you can find it in kitchen stores, and hardware stores. Cucina Moderna here in Halifax/Bedford/Dartmouth sell it. (Also very nice stores with great folks working there, they sell some very nice knives)

This product excels at removing those little rust stains on knives and I use a cork. So as for my previous cork related posts, get some red wine, remove the cord, drink the wine and keep the cork. Mix up a little paste by mixing the BKF with a little water and simply dab the cork in the paste and gently....I say again, gently rub the moistened paste over the rust areas until it disappears. You don't have to rub hard at all and it will not scratch the blade. You can get this product in liquid form.
Now be careful on knives with a PATINA, this can remove the patina, for example if you let a little drop of the paste sit on the blade for a few minutes, once you clean it off with water that spot will be clean and look different from the rest of the blade. Just be gentle and wipe/dry the blade off immediately after use.

This is great for removing the black marks on ceramic hones too, I use this a lot, it is safe and inexpensive.

The other product I use is the adhesive that does a fantastic job of adhering water stones to the Edge Pro metal plates.  

Be careful with this, it is very effective, you just need a little on the plate only, don't spray it on the stone, just the plate and then put the stone right on the plate and you will have some time to move the stone around to make sure it is aligned correctly.  It will be ready to use in 15 minutes but I let mine sit for longer than that. This is easy to find as well in hardware stores and it lasts a very long time. 


Did I mention patience?

What I mean by that specifically is to exercise patience when sharpening by not jumping higher in grit before you should. This is especially true with the first stone used. Lets say the first stone you use is the EP 220. (I Love this stone). You need to make the knife sharp with this stone before jumping to the EP 400. By sharp, I mean, extremely sharp, don't get impatient and think the 400 is going to make up for anything you didn't do on the 220.

ENSURE you raise a burr on both sides with the 220, when the burr is raised on both sides the knife is going to end up very sharp, you can pat yourself on the back because you have successfully accomplished what was necessary to be done. You have removed the fatigued metal which was making the knife dull and you've exposed the fresh steel underneath and this is what you need to work on with subsequent stones. You are now ready to move into the refinement process. 

When you did raise the burr on both sides, you can continue with the EP 220 but gradually decrease pressure, if you measure sharpening pressure on a scale from 1-5 and you were at a 4 when you first started you should now be at a 1 to finish up with the 220 and prepare for 400.  Basically, you can get the knife very very sharp with that 220 or the 120 for that matter, this is the key to sharpening happiness, this is the Patience part.  If you need to walk away from the knife for a bit do so. Most of your sharpening time will be on the first stone, you are removing metal, there is no rush and patience will be rewarded.

Sometimes, you will need a bucket load of patience.

Tip 2.

Ensure that you use the entire length of the stone, and you can do this by slowing down, if you go fast you have a tendency to use the centre portion only. So you end up with the centre of the stone being dished. So take it easy and focus, use every millimetre of the stone and again you will be rewarded. The knife will get sharper faster this way.....remember, these tips are based on mistakes I have made.

This red area will dish faster if this is the only portion used. 
The video on the Edge Pro website does a superb job of demonstrating stroke speed. 

Tip 3 not use too much, let the stone do the work and the stone will last for much much longer. I never use "5" pressure for example, perhaps on a really dull knife a "4" but that quickly drops to 3 and then down to "1" By the time I am done, I am almost lifting the stone a little to reduce the pressure as much as possible. 

What about the Burr, is it necessary to raise it with each stone..

I will talk about that in my next post but the answer, my answer is "no" the Key is to ensure that any burr raised by any stone is removed completely when you are all done, I remove the burr after each stone but as long as you are diligent and ensure there is absolutely no burr when you are ready to put the knife away  or go show your friends or wife how sharp it is. 

I'll discuss this in my next post. 

Thank you.

ULU, easy on the EP.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

EDGE PRO Professional

Edge Pro Site

I got a very nice email yesterday from a gentleman in Vermont (Thanks Al, I hope you received my reply)

It made me realize that I hardly ever mention the Edge Pro in my Blog and yet it is critical component of my sharpening setup.

For me it started about four years ago, I had not heard of the Edge Pro but I was deep into knife sharpening and was just starting up my own business. If you are anything like me, before I purchase anything major I do a lot of research, I read reviews, watch YouTube videos, and I do this for months. I love to agonize over the decision and I even emailed Ben Dale, the inventor and owner of Edge Pro Inc. about his system.

Now at that time, the other world class guided system was the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener, I was considering that as well.

If you are like me four years ago and on the fence about the Edge Pro, I promise you that you will be completely satisfied with it. Having said that, I have absolutely no doubt the same can be said about the Wicked looks wicked, I have talked to the inventor Clay Allison and I know it is also a wonderful device. (More on that later)

However, I have not used it, never seen it so I can only talk about the Edge Pro and I feel qualified to do so, I have sharpened at least three thousand knives on it.

Do not worry about the system not working, if you own one and the knives are not getting sharp, and I mean sharper than any knife you have ever seen than it is something you are doing, and I don't mean any offence by that. I went through is during the learning curve, this is proven system, this is not some fly by night gadget, it was invented over 12 years ago's cool. 

Birds Beak paring knife, this style of knife screams out for the Edge Pro.

The GOOD stuff.

Simply put; it does exactly what Ben Dale says it does, it delivers spectacular edges. Once you have learned the ropes and I HIGHLY recommend watching the videos on the website. Edge Pro, you just need to practice and believe me, you will be the king, people are going to be blown away by the knives. Now of course, there will be those guys who will not say anything, and they will whisper to their sweethearts something like "I could do that without that machine", but in secret, he is blown away to. (Ask me how I know all this :)  )

It is sturdy, I recommend the Professional version, I have seen the Apex. Now I sharpen professionally so the choice I made after talking to Ben about it was a no brainer but both deliver the same final edge. The Pro version is just sturdier and bigger, it can handle the Scissor Attachment and will take lower angles but if you are just sharpening your own knives and your friends, the Apex is awesome too.

I have used it a lot, that's an understatement and it is still holding up just like the day I bought it, nothing gets rusty or worn or anything, the machine is superb.

So how sharp can you get a knife with the Edge Pro?

Over time, when you have a few knives under your belt, ten maybe, you will be able to produce spectacular knife edges that are truly like razor blades. I once did a paring knife at a ridiculously acute angle of 10 degrees per side. That knife was like a razor. 

So yes, you can the knives sharp, the system forces that. This is precision device that will bring the two sides of the knife, the two planes will meet perfectly at the Apex of the blade and it does this over and over and over.

Are the stock stones any good?

My EP Stone Collection.

 While there is a vast amount of Japanese Water Stones now available for the EP, and as you can see I have many, the stones that come with the system are just fine.  I am obsessed with sharpening so naturally I needed to go out and get all these stones.

I'll tell you one thing,  I have a paid a lot of money for stones that ended up cracking ( I can still use them) but in my 4 years not one EP Stock stone has cracked.  Also, they are not expensive, you can replace them all for $8.00 per stone without the plate and you don't need to buy a new backing plate every time, just use the same one. (This is assuming you will wear your stones out, you may never do that). I have replaced all the stones because they wore out but it is very easy. You just put them in boiling water for a minute and the stone will come off the plate easily. You clean off  the stone a little, make sure there is not glue left behind ( I use Glue be gone) and then you glue the new stone back on. I use that 3M 77 adhesive, it is a spray and it is awesome, I think Ben uses it as well.

( I will add some pictures soon of what I use)

I have sharpened some very difficult to sharpen by hand edges and they all came out great on the EP.

I sharpen by kitchen chef knives now by hand because I enjoy it but the EP will handle it all. ESPECIALLY hunting knives and tactical knives, I just the EP exclusively for those.



I found myself going into my friends houses and feeling the edges of their knives and judging my friends because they were dull. I cut myself one day with a knife I just finished and I watched in admiration how clean the cut was, it was not a cut actually, it was an incision.

Yeah these are the bad things about the Edge Pro......seriously,  there is nothing else to add. If mine was stolen I would buy another one immediately.  ( In fact, I am thinking about hiding it, and telling my wife it was stolen so I could relive the thrill of receiving it in the mail again and owning two)...........this is another bad thing about the EP I guess.

Thanks for being here, it really means a lot to me that people visit my Blog, it makes what I do worthwhile.

If you ever want me to talk about specific things regarding the EP just email me, don't worry, I am not going to pester you or anything.

Now what I will do next is to give some tips and lessons learned, things I have discovered about the Edge Pro.

By the way, have you ever wondered how to clean a ceramic hone?

I used Bar Keepers Friend with a cork, mix up a paste and use the cork and it does a fantastic job on rust


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Counting Strokes - Recommended?

Hello folks,

When I teach knife sharpening, a common question is if it is a good idea to count the strokes to ensure and even grind on both sides of the knife.

Over the years I have changed my view on this but now I have  rock solid opinion, this is my opinion. not count your strokes and here is why:

random shot to add coolness to my Blog Post.

Knife sharpening by hand is a process that can induce a zen like environment, if you are focused, free of distractions and in the zone, you will truly enjoy what is a very rewarding sensation. There is a synergy that develops between the stones and  your edges and you. Get in the moment, concentrate on the edge and let the scenario unfold and you will not only walk away with a sharp knife but you'll experience an extremely rewarding sensation. This is a scene that plays over and over in my world and you'll hunger for it. 

If you count your strokes, you have a tendency to automate a traditional process that should NOT be automatic.  You need to learn to use your senses to know when to flip the knife, when to switch stones and when to stop. If you rely on a counting system, you will miss something, you will rob yourself of the sensation I described above....besides that, it's freaking boring to count. 

Now this does not mean that you can't develop a rhythm, you need to find something that stimulates consistency and if a counting to 4 and then moving to another section and counting to 4 works, that is fine but the key is not to use that count/rhythm as a measurement to begin or end  a step in the process.  Instead, use your touch to feel the edge, to feel the burr and to feel the edge to make sure the burr is removed. Use you sight to look at the grind, is it even on both sides? 
Is the burr formed from the tip to the heel? 

I hope I am making sense and remember this is my opinion, if you are getting your knives sharp and you have a counting system, than use it, it works for you and that's what is important.

This is just the way that I feel about the topic, it doesn't mean I am right and everyone who counts is wrong. 

Try it both ways and see how it goes, that's what I did and this is something I have come to realize recently,  I only ever counted strokes for a month or so...I did not like it for the reasons I mentioned above. 

Did I tell you about the time I sharpened knives in the pool?

Grohmann belonging to Executive Chef Craig Flinn

Thanks for being here friends.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Angle Assistance

I'm going to give you a little help in determining how far you need to lift the spine of your knife off the stone to reach a desired angle, the math (sine) works, trust me.

Lets say you have a 2 inch wide knife, measured at the heel, always measure it at the heel to make this math work.

Ok now you want a 15 degree angle on the edge, that is 15 deg per side of course.

You take the width of the heel which in this case is 2 inches and  divide it by four.

So 2 which is the width of the knife divided by 4 is .5.

To get a 15 deg angle you raise the spine by 1/2 inch.

You can make a 1/2 guide from stacked quarters until it reaches .5 inch or the better way is to get a wine cork, so pull the cork, drink the wine and cut the cork at 1/2 inch and there you have a little guide.

What if you have a big knife, and it is 3inches wide at the heel and you want a 20 degree angle.
In this case, for a 20 deg angle measure  3 by 3 so the height to raise the spine is 1 inch.

If you want a: (Width is the width of knife at the heel)

20 deg angle divide the width by 3

15 deg angle divide the width by 4

12 deg angle divide the width by 5

These are the common angles and a two inch wide heel is a common width for many knives.

I got this info from a very good book called An Edge in the Kitchen by Chad Ward, I just thought I would share it.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

The ultimate axe - cleaver of orcs.

Gransfors Brux 

Today I received a very very cool axe to sharpen. I had not heard of these before but I have looked into it since.  This is a Gransfors Brux carving axe, it is a single beveled axe and absolutely beautiful.

They are made in Sweden and from what I have read, probably in the top 5 axes  made, but I'm guessing at that. It comes with a fantastic edge when new. This one had a bad chip in it and wasn't as sharp as it should be. It took me 90 minutes to get to a level where I was able to shave arm hair with it (thats gross eh, I cleaned the axe after though).

This is finished on the 8k Kityama

As I received it, notice the nick.

I painted the edge before sharpening it with a Sharpie

Naniwa Chosera 3K finish

Gransfors Brux carving axe