Saturday, 25 July 2015

Japanese Natural Stones

Yesterday I had the opportunity to sharpen some very nice hand made Japanese knives (Takeda) on the stones pictured here. (The bottom of the stones is what you see, the sharpening side of all of these stones are in pristine, perfectly flat and smooth condition)

So was it everything I had hoped it would be, were the knives even sharper than before?

It takes some time to get used to using these stones, I only had an hour or so but there is definitely a different feel and different result. They do not polish like the Shapton Pro 5k for example but the "natural stone polish" is very pleasing to the eye. Over time of course as my experience would grow with these I would see different results but the finish is still a little different, not in a bad way though, in a good way.

It didn't escape me that I was using natural stones from caves in certain parts of Japan and that in itself is very cool. They smell differently, they make a different sound and are very heavy.

The edges on the Takeda knives I did were absolutely amazing,  were they sharper than I am used to?

They felt different, a different sharp but yes I think they were a little sharper but nothing very obvious, it was not a "I can't believe the difference" moment, it just felt a little different.

So now I have to pick up some of these fantastic stones and learn how to get the best from them and that will be a very exciting educational period for me.

The sharpening journey never ends.


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

How long will a knife stay sharp?


This is the most common question I get, or

 "How often should I get my knives sharpened"?

The quick answer is "OFTEN"

Here is a problem that I have noticed:

Folks are good enough to bring me their knife/knives for sharpening, they have had enough and finally find me.  The folks often have been using their knives dull for years and in many cases, never really experienced what I call a sharp knife because as we know, not all knives are as sharp as we would like them when purchased. After all, they are often mass produced and run quickly through a grinder of some type, albeit, a pretty expensive grinder at the factory that can produce a decent edge.

I sharpen the knife and it becomes sharper than any knife the good folks have seen, this is inevitable if the sharpest knife they have seen is a $30.00 knife they picked up at their favourite hardware store or Costco.

The knife is sharp is what I am saying and in time, a month or two as the edge starts to fail, as the force applied to the primary edge through normal causes the fatigued metal to roll over, the knife is once again dull, or the dulling cycle is in full force. So people are now surprised that it got dull so fast, even though it could be 4 months. The knife feels dull compared to the way it felt when I gave it back to them. Even though they used a dull knife for many years before that. It's a strange problem, and all I can tell people is to just get the knife sharpened often.

I can't tell them that it is dull because it is 30-60 dollar knife with poor steel quality and despite my best efforts, it will not hold an edge. Yes I could put a 25 deg angle on the knife but that would rob performance and they wouldn't be happy.

This is just one of the things a sharpener deals with, it is something that in all honesty makes me a better sharpener as I search for solutions to the issue, the big one...EDGE RETENTION.

Thanks for reading this.

Friday, 17 July 2015

My favourite sharpening stuff

Hey folks, thanks for being here.

Over the past 10 years or so I have really taken a huge interest in Japanese Water Stones. (I don't use Japanese Natural Stones yet, that will come in time as I get more hand made Japanese knives to sharpen)

I have some favourites of course, these are the stones I use on a daily basis:

Naniwa Chosera:

My favourite stones

I have used these for many years and because I am in Canada I purchase them from Paul's Finest. I love them, the 1,000 grit stone is absolutely superb but they are all great, I also have the 10,000 grit Naniwa Chosera. I don't it very often, most knives that I sharpen don't require a level of refinement that high. IN FACT, in reality, no knives do.  This doesn't meant you can't use of course, there is a difference between what the edge needs and what you want to do with it.

Shapton Professional
Chef Knives to Go

There is only one place in NS that I know of where you can purchase these, i.e. buy them off the shelf and that is because I asked the fantastic owners of the beautiful little Japanese shop called The Ikebana Shop to stock some.  The 5k stone here is my favourite 5k water stone. It will produce an edge that most people have never experienced.

(Now if you live in the United States, you don't need to look any further than Chef Knives to Go, Mark Richmond, the owner is absolutely wonderful to deal with, he has a collection of water stones and knives that I can only dream of having. All the stones that I use are available at his site and I have ordered from him many times, never a problem.)

5K Shapton Pro


This is another fantastic line of stones and I can highly recommend them. Some folks are turned off by the feel of them but you will get over that quickly. They do the job on all steels, and I have relied on them for years.

I get mine from Mark at times but because of the shipping cost, customs and exchange rate, it is just better for me to deal with a Canadian shop so I use Fendrihans for my Shapton Glass.  Now I really like dealing with Mark but he understands.

In the link, you will notice that the Shapton Pond is Sold Out.......that is because I bought the last one :)  (sorry)

There is one particular stone, a 2,000 grit stone that I use and I think it is my favourite stone of all, even more than my Chosera 400, 1,000, or Shapton Pro 5k.  

The Naniwa Aotoshi 2,000 or Green Brick of Joy.

Green Brick of Joy

Just get this one from Mark at Chef Knives to Go. The stone is huge and delivers and edge that will startle you. Polished yet not over refined at all and better that most factory edges, oh yes.
I love this stone, I bought mine in Phoenix but if you are in the States, don't hesitate to pull the trigger on this fantastic water stone.

My favourite 6,000 grit stone is the 

Favourite 6K

My Favourite 8K is the:

8K favourite

Another cool spot in Canada to purchase Japanese Water Stones and knives of course, dream knives, is Knifewear. 
Kevin Kent, the owner has done much to highlight the beauty and importance of hand made Japanese knives to Canada and he should be commended for that. 

He and his staff are great folks, easy to deal with and they know there stuff, believe me.


Thanks for being here

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Tip Sharpening Video

I made this short video with the goal of providing some assistance to anyone out there who may be experience difficulty sharpening the tip of a knife. It does take some practice but for me, there are only a couple of things that are a must:

1. When reaching the tip area of your knife and could be the actual tip and the inch of metal that flows out from the tip, the pointy end.
RAISE YOUR ELBOW so that it is parallel to the ground and when doing the back of the knife raise your elbow but tuck it in to your body.

2. RAISE YOUR ANGLE  slightly, I do this and I find it helps, just a few degrees but be sure to drop back down to the "sharpening angle" when moving back down the knife towards the heel.

When I mention 45 degrees in the video, that is NOT my sharpening angle obviously, it is angle of the knife against the stone, if the knife was lying flat on the stone basically but I am quite sure folks realize that.

Thanks to a few folks who truly are outstanding knife sharpeners and are eager to share information.
Jon Broida is a gifted sharpener who owns Japanese Knife Imports and in my opinion his sharpening videos are the best that have been made, definitely the best I have seen and be sure to watch the LECTURE portions of the videos.
Awesome videos on everything about sharpening by Jon Broida

Corey Dunlap at the Phoenix Knife House. In fact, Corey is the only other sharpener that I have actually met and talked to (harassed) besides the Master Sharpener I met in New York but there was a language barrier there. The Phoenix Knife House is pretty cool, besides the vast array of dream knives there, you get to see folks like Corey the head sharpener actually sharpening, it's right up front in the store, it's a unique experience.

Thanks to my friend Jeff who asked me to make the video, much appreciated.

Very Respectfully
Peter Nowlan
New Edge Sharpening
NS Canada

Monday, 6 July 2015

Folders and hunting knives

This  is a really cool Benchmade folding knife that I sharpened for my brother.  The reason the tape is shown is that I used the picture on a  forum to illustrate how I protect the blade while sharpening on the Edge Pro.

I used to use blue painters tape, masking tape but for years I was never thrilled with it because it would slip off the blade as it got wet. I use a lot of water when I sharpen, especially if I am polishing the bevel . This tape that I got from the post office is fantastic, it will not come off.

The Edge Pro can very quickly scratch the blade as the grit from stones rests in the water suspension that sits on the blade table so it I just tape the blade to prevent it getting scratched. Now a lot of knives I get are already in rough shape so I don't worry about that too much.

A scratch in the blade is pretty much there for good so the last thing I want to do is any cosmetic damage. Especially in a blade like the one above.

I often use the Edge pro for this type knife, I just find it easier and it excels at creating not only a very sharp edge but one that is visually appealing.

I finished the knife with a Shapton Pro 15,000 grit stone.

Now the knife in this picture is very very old, it is hand made by "Grandad" and handed down to the Grandson who brought it to me. The edge was in rough shape and imperfect, well it was handmade, pretty cool actually.

He had two like this and I did one on the Edge Pro Professional and the other freehand. The freehand process is a little faster and creates more of a convex edge which is very good for this type of knife, it  adds strength to the edge.

My next video is going to be on sharpening the tip of a knife.

Thanks for visiting my Blog, I am very grateful.


Monday, 29 June 2015

Tomato, Takeda and Takamura

I've gone on a video rampage.

 I lived on the edge and did the video without any pre-cutting. The purpose of the video was to prove (to me :) ) that one can still have slice a tomato beautifully despite having a polished edge.

It was Ken Schwartz who first told me that we can still have nice blend of refinement and bite, we just need to focus on sharpening and bring those two sides of the knife together as precisely as possible at the Apex of the knife.

I know that in the past and every now and then I over refine the edge,  this doesn't mean the edge won't perform, it is more overkill than anything. When I first started getting very serious about sharpening, when the obsession started growing. I figured I had some nifty ultra fine stones so why not used them.  That was then, now I realize that a 5k or 6k finish on these dream knives as I call them is perfect. Heck, the knives are sharp enough after 1k to be honest.  In fact,  80% of the knives I sharpen go home with a 2k edge.

SO to be clear, I do not usually refine the edge as much as I did in the video but saying that, I don't believe it hampers the performance of the knife.

Also...I didn't Over Refine the edge, i.e. I didn't use a progression like 1k, 2k, 3k, 5k etc. The only time I have done that is when I am creating a Relief Angle and shooting for a mirror finish. That primary edge would not be that highly refined.

Sharpening knives is journey as I have mentioned several times, we need to test ourselves and try different things, we need to make mistakes to learn from them. This is after getting a good grip on the basics but still, don't be afraid to step outside the sharpening box and see if something works. It may come in handy someday.

OH and if I pronounced the names of these beautiful knives incorrectly, my apologies, I shall correct myself for the future videos.

If you watched this, I thank you very much.


Sunday, 28 June 2015

Video - Takamura and me Part 1

This is the video I spoke of in a previous post, it is just me using a coarse stone on the Takamura.

If you like it, thanks for watching, if not, thanks for watching :)