Best knife sharpening in Santa Monica shows how to sharpen a knife

First you need to make sure that the knives are straight and determine if they have chips or other damages. You also need to check if the edge bevel is correct for the knife, all this need to be corrected before sharpening could begin. Straighten and do all repairs, for repairs I recommend a really coarse DMT plate wish makes it fast and easy, and for rebevelling something in the 500# grit range depending on how hard the steel is.

Before starting the sharpening, prepare the stones and make sure they are flat and have them soak if needed. Find the right bevel angle check my post about “What edge angle to use on different knives” for a general idea what angle to use. For an easy way to find the angle is to measure the height of the blade at the heel, let say that your knife is 2” high at the heel as the knife in the picture bellow.

best knife sharpening in Pacific Palisades measuring knife blade height at heel

Measuring knife blade height at heel

In this case you could just divide the height of the blade, to get an estimate height that you need to hold the spine above the stone. Bellow I have a large heavy duty knife of bad quality so I decided to give it an dull edge angle of 30°. I divided the height of my blade with 2 and that tells me that I have to hold the spine one inch above the stone, see picture bellow.

best knife sharpening in Brentwood measuring knife spine distance from stone

Measuring knife spine distance from stone

Here is a table of rough estimate of values to divide the blade height with for different angles.

For 30° divide by 2

For 24° divide by 2.5

For 20° divide by 3

For 15° divide by 4

For 12° divide by 5

When you have fixed everything you need and the angle is right you could start sharpening. I usually start with a coarse stone 700# grit till I get a smoth straight edge with a burr, and continue with a medium stone in the 1000# – 2000# grit range making sure that I keep it tight and have a light burr. I usually holding the knife diagonal over the stone to avoid wobbling, see picture bellow.

best knife sharpening in Los Angeles Hand sharpening knife diagonally to avoid wobbling

Santa Monica hand sharpening knife diagonally to avoid wobbling

After this I deburr with some light edge trailing strokes on both sides, and a few strokes on a cork or a piece of wood, before moving on to the finishing stones. See pictures bellow.

best knife sharpening in Santa Monica using edge tailing strokes on fine sharpening stone to deburr

Edge tailing strokes on fine sharpening stone to deburr

best knife sharpening in Venice carlifornia deburring knife edge on cork

Deburring knife edge on cork

I usually start the finishing work with a fine stone in the 4000# – 6000# grit range and using lighter and lighter pressure, this stage it’s a lot about feel and sound and if the ground work is done on coarser stones 10-20 strokes per side should be enough. This should be enough for most ordinary kitchen knives, just deburr on a cork. At this stage you should be able to shave with the knife with a little bit of pressure.

If you want you could continue with super fine stones all up to the 30k# grit, but I most often only use a 8k# and 12k# stone to get that shiny finish. Of course you could continue even more, with lapping films and strops with different dressings until you get that dark deep mirror finish.  On my own knives I usually do it in this order, depending of what knife it is.

Fast sharpening: 2000#, 6000# and leather strop with blue magic. For a more over excessive way: 320# DMT, 500# Bester, 1000# Sigma, 2000# Bester great feel, 2000# more like a  4000# Unknown brand, 6000# Nubatama, 8000# Kitayama, 12k# Shapton, Balsa with polishing cream, Leather strop with Autosol or Mothers and finally horse butt leather strop without dressing.

Things to remember

  1. Make sure stones are flat and clean.
  2. Don’t use to much pressure, let the stones do the work.
  3. Avoid doing it to fast, so you don’t wobble.
  4. try your best to keep the angle, after a while it will come naturally.

 

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.




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Knife repair, giving new life to a broken knife

Santa Monica Knife Sharpening
old broken knife with chipped edge

Unsharp broken knife before regrinding

This knife was given to me by a good friend, at first look it doesn’t look to bad except for the big chip right there the heel starts. After a closer look I realized that the primary bevel was concave and parts of the edge was folded over, I also realized that the secondary bevel was way wider in the back and at the tip. Look at that tip I could have folded it by hand, it was thin as aluminum foil. At the moment I just saw two different ways to fix it, one was to leave the primary bevel concave and try to give it a new edge on the side of a sharpening stone, or regrind a new flat primary bevel and give some sort of compound edge. I decide to give it a new primary bevel to get rid of all edge damages and big scratches on shinogi.

illustration of edge before and after regrinding

Illustration of edge before and after regrinding

Above is a little illustration what it look like before and after, and what I would like to achieve. First I went to work with a large blacksmith file, because of the amount of material that I needed to take off, just to realized that it didn’t give me much precision, tried a bunch of different coarse stones, the one that eventually seams to do the best job was Beston #500. With this stone I worked until I got an even flat primary bevel all the way to the edge, I also used it to set the secondary bevel. After that I changed to King #1000 to smooth both bevels out and did some initial sharpening. After that just a fast brush with Bester #2000, before starting with my favorite stone it’s a man made blue Aoto rated to #2000 but feels much finer. This blue Aoto gives that perfect mist to the soft steel on the primary bevel, its super soft and have great feedback; the only thing is that if you don’t want your hand to look dirty for days after, use glows. For final sharpening and finishing on the secondary bevel I use Kitayama #8000 also a great stone, after this just some light stropping, before setting the micro bevel with Shun #6000 wish gives a nice bite to the edge.

I also did some clean up and light polishing just to make it easier to clean, I’m using it daily now, and its one of my favorite knives. I realized that I’m not good at always cleaning and drying the knife after use, so it started to get some stains/rust on the pretty mist on the primary bevel, so I gave it a light polish with #2000 sandpaper and all is good now. Yes of course its sharp, not hair popping sharp, but sharp enough to shave with or to slice cigarette paper into small strips. Pictures of the knife after regrinding below.

Knife after repair, regrinding and polishing

Knife after repair, regrinding and polishing

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.




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What edge angle to use on different knives

What edge angles to use is really subjective, because it is really a matter of personal preferences. The steeper angle the sharper edge, but it will also be more fragile. There is a few other things to take in to consideration though; how will the knife be used, the quality of the steel and blade thickness.

Western kitchen knives are traditionally of softer steel and take an edge angle of 19–23°, while Japanese kitchen knives are traditionally of harder steel and take an edge angle of 13–18°

Here are some rough guide lines, for what edge angle to use:

Thin flexible high quality slicing knives; thin fillet knives and roaster slicers that seldom touches the cutting board 13°

Thin high quality kitchen knives, that gets light use like slicing fish, meat and tomatoes and that needs to be extremely sharp 15°

Medium and heavy duty kitchen knives 18°- 23°

Very thick blades like cleavers 25°- 30°

Small thin pocket knives 20°

Medium pocket knives 23°

Big thick pocket knives 25°

Thin hunting knives 20°

Hunting knives 23°

Heavy duty hunting, camping and utility knives 25°- 30°

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.



Kitchen knife, a really good cheap slicing knife

Great cheap kitchen slicing knife from Marukai

Great cheap kitchen single beveled Japanese slicing knife from Marukai

A while a go I went shopping at Marukai (Japanese Costco) in Gardena.
I found this single beveled Japanese slicing knife in the store, it was really cheap less than $20 so I thought I would check it out. Compared to all other Japanese kitchen knives I own, it looks and feel really cheap, anyway I thought I would put it to test. It was really sharp out of the box, and performed way better than I thought it would. After a week I decided to give it a fast sharpening job, wow the steel was way harder than I thought and I was able to get it extremely sharp. It’s is super light, stay sharp and actually perform as good as some of our 20 times more expensive Japanese slicing knives. So if you don’t mind the cheap feel and look it is a great bargain.

Close up of great cheap Japanese single beveled slicing knife

Close up of great cheap Japanese single beveled slicing knife

Next time I visit the store I will definitely buy a few of the other knives in the line and check them out, I’m hopeful that they also will be great bargain performers.

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.



Fixing reverse bow edge and sharpening a Global knife

Reverse bow edge on Global knife

Reverse bow edge

As you see in the image of the knife, the edge just make contact at heal and tip, with a big gap between the surface and the edge in the middle. This is a common damage for knives that has been sharpened on small electrical counter machines. The easiest way to fix this is to grind the edge down till it makes contact all the way on the side of a coarse sharpening stone.

The bow edge is know fixed and in contact with the whole edge

The bow edge is know fixed and in contact with the whole edge

This is after the edge grinding, as you see the edge makes contact with the surface all the way. Time to start to recreate the bevel, for this I used a coarse DTM (steel plate with diamond particles embedded. After that I started the sharpening on Beston #500 until I got a good burr, to follow up with a no name #1000 stone, #2000 Bester, #5000 Naniwa and finally Kitayama #8000 stone.

The edge is straight, shiny and sharp on the Global knife

The Global knife once again has its edge straight, sharp and smooth

The edge is straight, smooth and shiny, and you could see that it make contact all the way after the sharpening job.

The edge in  x15 magnification after the sharpening job

The edge in x15 magnification after the sharpening job

Well the edge doesn’t look to shiny magnified x15 in real life it looks mirror polished.

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.



When to have your knife hand sharpen and when to buy a new one

Santa Monica Knife Sharpening blog explains, when to have your knife hand sharpen and when to buy a new one.

A lot of this will be my personal opinions. Usually if you don’t have extremely high quality serrated knife, I would recommend buying a new one instead of getting it sharpened. Example if you have an old 8 inch bread knife, like the one in the picture below. Pro sharpeners would charge around $9 plus $1 per inch of serration, so the total fee of the sharpening job would be around $17

Old serrated bread knife

Old serrated bread knife

For $11.95 you could buy J.A. Henckels International Fine Edge Pro 8-inch Stainless-Steel Bread Knife in the picture below. That I’m sure has both higher quality and a better, sharper edge than anything a pro sharpener could accomplish on your old cheap serrated bread knife and it would save you a few dollars.

New cheap serrated bread knife

New cheap serrated bread knife

Old stainless boning knives, like the one in the picture below. Many times they have been along for a long while, sharpened down to a stick, beaten, sharpened again.

Old boning fillet knife

Old boning fillet knife

I’m sure they might have been ok knives once, but after all that abuse and wrongful sharpening, they are not very useful for anything. You will do better in investing in a new knife, like Victorinox 47513 6-Inch Flex Boning Knife for $17.41 bellow.

New cheap boning fillet knife

New cheap boning fillet knife

It will have better edge geometry, better harder and more flexible steel and have way better edge retention. As for buying both boning/fillet knives and serrated knives I actually recommend to buy cheap decent quality knives, and save the money to buy a better chef knife and paring knife.

Small guide to buying new knives

1. Don’t buy a knife set, you will probably just end up using 2-3 of the knives any way, use the money to buy better quality chef, slicing and paring knife instead.

2. Most important, make sure the handle works for you. It should fit well in your hand, not being to slippery and give a sense of stability.

3. Choose the right length for your chef knife, your wife wife might prefer a 6” knife and you a 10” knife, an 8” inch would work okay for both of you.

4. Think of how you cut, I’m a rocker so I prefer to have a good bow on my knife, my friend is a push cutter and prefer straighter edge.

5. Choose a knife with high quality steel, high carbon steel knife if you don’t mind some stains and are good on keeping it clean and dry, or a high carbon stainless steel if you are less careful with your knife. Usually the harder steel they sharper the knife could be and softer steel will take a little more abuse. I personally prefer extremely hard Japanese knives.

6. Think about if you prefer a bolster on your knife, some people like the heft it gives the knife. I personally don’t like it and have removed it from the knives I have that had it. Mostly because it makes the knives to front heavy, hard to pinch properly and a real pain to sharpen. Most German knives have bolster, and it is rare to see on Japanese knives now more.

7. Avoid Cutco knives, they are a rip off, they are $25 knives that they sell for a $100, no wonder they could give great warranties with that mark up. Good and affordable knives brands are; Global, Shun, Tojiro and Mac. If these are too much for your budget I would recommend Forschner knives that a great knives for the price.

How to maintain your knives

1. Use the right knife for the right duty, slicing knives for slicing, chef knives for chopping and dicing and paring knives for light duty.

2. Always use a good end wood or nylon cutting board, no cutting on counter, plates and ceramic cutting boards.

3. Always rinse them and dry them off right after use, don’t run them in the dishwasher, don’t let them lay in a dirty sink and so on.

4. Don’t use any kind of electric home knife sharpener, they ruin your knives.

5. Don’t steel your knives if you don’t know how to steel, you just make the knives duller.

6. Keep your knives sharp, and sharpen them before they go dull. If you keep on working with a dull knife you just use more and more force and damage the knife more.

How to sharpen you knives

Get a Japanese combination water stone #1000/#5000 grit, and practice using it on some cheap knives first. There is tons of information online how to do it right, watch a few you tube videos and read up on some of the theory behind sharpening. After just a few hours I promise you will be able to do an ok sharpening job, the knives will be far from razor sharp and will not stay sharp for very long, but will be good enough for kitchen use and with time you will get better and better. If you don’t have the time or feel like sharpening your knives yourself try to find someone that do hand sharpening.

What kind of knives you need

I can’t answer what knives you need, it is rather personal, but for a start I would recommend.

1. A medium size chef’s knife, as a Global G-2 or MAC Superior 8″
2. A decent paring knife like Tojiro DP or Calphalon Katana
3. A good single bevel Japanese slicing knife (Yanagiba) they are great for precision slicing any meat.

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.



How sharp is sharp?

I many times hear people that they want their knives super sharp, and I always ask them how sharp is that? So I have decided to make a sharpness scale from ridiculous sharp that I give sharpness number 5 down to dull that I give number 0. Let’s start with sharpness 5 that is the hanging hair test (HHT).

Hanging hair test

Hanging hair test

As you see this old knife that I in my household call “The bacon slicer” doesn’t pass the test, because the hair is hanging on the edge. The pieces of cut off hair on the paper, came from that I had I little to much tension while trying to line the hair up. Next up is sharpness number 4, which is to smoothly slice a cigarette paper from heel to tip.

cigarette paper slicing

cigarette paper slicing

cigarette paper cutting with knife tip

cigarette paper cutting with knife tip

cigarette paper cutting with knife heel

cigarette paper cutting with knife heel

As you see the old knife passes this test, the only thing was that I felt a light resistance at the back and of the heel starting. Anyway, this is crazy sharp, it’s actually sharper than an ordinary surgical scalpel new out of the box, their are scalpels like the ones that are made for eye surgery that I’m sure would pass the test though, but I don’t have one. This is to sharp for any kitchen knife, except for maybe the most delicate fillet knives, and it wouldn’t last very long. Over to sharpness number 3, which is that it should be able to push-cut Para-cord without a problem from heel to tip and being able to shave arm hair.

Push cutting paracord easy 1

Push cutting paracord easy 1

Push cutting paracord easy 2

Push cutting paracord easy 2

Shaving hair

Shaving hair

These tests are passed easy; sharpness number 3 is a good sharpness for most thin kitchen knives like slicers, fillet knives and so on. Sharpness number 2 is to be able to slice magazine paper from heel to tip, slowly, smooth without any snagging.

Slicing magazine paper easy and smooth

Slicing magazine paper easy and smooth

This knife is almost too sharp for this test, I’m pretty sure the paper will dull it. Sharpness number 2 is good for most medium and heavy duty kitchen knifes and I think this is the sharpness most people are comfy with on their kitchen knives. Over to sharpness number 1, this is to be able to slice ordinary printing paper, cutting into the side of a tomato without slipping and slice paper thin slices of lemon.

Slicing lemon paper thin

Slicing lemon paper thin

Slicing printing paper smooth for heel to tip

Slicing printing paper smooth for heel to tip

Well this is still a good sharpness for your heavy duty kitchen knives and cleavers, but if you don’t pass sharpness number 1 test, your knife is dull and need sharpening. I call this sharpness number 0.

Sharpness:       Test:                                                    For:

5                      Hanging hair test                                 Straight razors

4                      Slicing cigarette paper                         Delicate slicing knives

3                      Push cut Para-cord, shaves                 Thin kitchen knives, fillet knives

2                      Slicing magazine paper                       Most medium kitchen knives

1                      Slicing printer paper smooth               Heavy kitchen knives and cleavers

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.



About Santa Monica hand sharpening

Santa Monica knife sharpening is a blog about hand sharpening quality knives,
shears, scissors, tweezers and razors.

Why you should spend a little more and have your good knife hand sharpened

Never take your expensive knife to a so called “professional” knife sharpener, that doesn’t use water stones to sharpening it by hand or at least use water cooled rotary stones. Most often they will sharpen your knife on a machine that looks like a belt sander or on a grinder, and sparks will fly. These machines are very abrasive and will apply excessive heat to you knife, and ruin the tempering. This over heating of the
edge while sharpening it will actually “de temper” the steel of the edge and
make it softer, and the knife will go blunt very quickly.

Also avoid kitchen supply stores, mall shops and so on that use machines like “chefs choice to sharpen their knives. These machines also over heating the edge, and they seldom have the correct edge angles. Please don’t use these machines at home either, because you are ruining your knives! Anyone who has ever tried to put a decent edge on a kitchen knife with an electric grinder can attest to this, a grinder is the quickest way to ruin an expensive knife.

I have been fixing knives from people who have taken their global’s, mac’s, shun’s and other really expensive high quality knives to places that use these kind of machines. The only way for me to fix them is to grind the knives down past the “de tempered” and damage steel, until I get back to the hard steel.

Machines have a few advantages like; Perfect angles, uniformity, and speed. But the downside is that; it could over heat the edge, it can’t adjust for minor variations and imperfection and grid down way more material than needed, wish shortens the life of your knife. If the blade doesn’t need it, grinding off excessive material is just throwing
money away.

I hand sharpening all knives on Japanese water stones, because I think a good hand sharpened edge beats a machines sharpened edge. The blade bevels come out smooth polished without rough grinding marks, and the hand sharpening also allows just the right amount to be taken off to provide a superior edge. Blades with sweeping curves, such as kitchen or restaurant knives, really shine with a good hand sharpening job. The edge is certainly less mechanically precise, but the sharper edge and polished bevels more than compensate, requiring less effort to get through the same material.

Why you need a sharp knife:

1. A sharp knife is important in order to
preserve the true flavors and beauty of fresh ingredients. Cutting with a dull
knife will damage food on a cellular level and alter its taste and appearance.

2. A sharp knife is also important for
safety. A dull knife is more prone to slip on food and may result in bodily
injury.

3. A Sharp knives are also important for
kitchen efficiency. It will take more time and effort to cut with a dull knife
than a sharp knife.

4. Using a sharp knife is also undoubtedly
much more enjoyable to work with.

Santa Monica knife sharpening recommend

If you like your knives sharp, I recommend you buy a few water stones and learn how to sharpen your knives yourself. If you are not able to or not having the time to sharpen your knives yourself let a professional hand sharpener sharpen your knives for you.

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.




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Knife sharpening

Santa Monica Knife Sharpening

Sins I was a little boy I have had a fascination with sharp objects. If it slices, dices, cuts, guts, shaves etc, it fascinates me and I get the urge to sharpen it. For me sharpening isn’t a chore, it’s a passion, it makes me concentrate and forget everything else. The
feeling and rhythmic sound of the blade against the sharpening stone, gives me bliss
and the satisfaction of putting a new edge on the blade, makes me feel that I have treated everyone involved the process of making the knife from the beginning with respect.

I have sharpen knives and tools as long as I could remember, as a teenager I was working with a Swedish “Skärslipare” (wish translated to Edge grinder) during the summers, I learned a lot, but mostly about sharpening scandi knifes wish isn’t that hard. I for sure learned to recognize extremely sharp, seeing truly hair popping sharp straight razors.

After this I spent time with sharpening woodworking tools, and worked fulltime sharpening butcher knives at a commercial meat processing plant, many times I was sharpening several hundred knifes a day, but the passion was gone. I love knives, and I knew all the machines that were used was ruining the knives, even if it was mass
manufactured knives, they did deserve a better treatment. I stayed away from sharpening, finished college with a degree in fine arts, and realized how hard it was to make a living as an artist, so I started an art gallery instead. Running an art gallery gave me a lot of extra time, so I also started a little hand sharpening business in the back everything was good and I loved it.

As everything good it doesn’t last for ever, hard economic times lead till that I had to close the gallery doors. I ended up in the consulting business; wish meant a lot of travel and no time for my beloved edges.

In 2001 I moved from Sweden to Santa Monica, and got introduced to some heirloom Japanese kitchen knives that made a great impression on me. Never
before I had seen knives that well made, the blades were talking to me, I got
possessed, and an old passion was reborn. Before I even researched it, I called
my brother in Sweden to have him send me all my sharpening stones that I had in storage in his garage. I researched and read everything I could lay my hands on about Japanese knifes. I couldn’t wait for my sharpening supplies to arrive from Sweden, so I
bought a few Japanese water stones and started to sharpen the knives I had at
home. Once again I had the feeling of bliss, hearing and feeling the rhythmic shh, shh sound of the blades date with the stone.

The result shocked me, never ever had I thought, it was possible to get this kind of edge on a kitchen knife, we talking scary sharp right away. The steep angel was challenging, and I did get some small scratches between the bevels, and I realized that getting the
perfect texture on all surfaces would take me a while. These knives still humbles me, getting them razor sharp, with mirror polished flat, straight even line between flat and primary bevel, perfect mist on the soft steel, and an even straight cutting bevel all at once takes time and patience, practice and more practice. I doubt I ever fully will master it in a fast efficient way, and anyone that says they do is not doing it right.

Anyway I’m a painter and photographer with a big passion for knife sharpening, even if I do sharpen knives regularly, I do not always have the time to help. If you have knives that needs hand sharpening and are local and can’t find anyone, don’t hesitate to ask me.

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.




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Santa Monica Knife Sharpening

Super sharp japanese knife

A beautiful sharp knife


Santa Monica Knife Sharpening, is a blog about hand sharpening knives.

Magnus Pettersson hand sharpener, now serving the whole Westside with free pickup and delivery: Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Culver City and West LA.

For free pickup and delivery on the Westside, call/txt 310-486-6068 or email.

More about Knife sharpening in Santa Monica

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