How to Care for and Sharpen Double Bevel Kitchen Knives

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Instructions for Obtaining a Razor Edge on Any Double Beveled Kitchen Knife


Please note that all Japanese kitchen knives sold by us come with a keen well sharpened edge. They should be handled carefully to avoid cutting yourself, as well as to protect the edge. If a bit of care is exercised, the need for re-sharpening will be greatly reduced.

Our kitchen knives are high quality tools and should only be used for cutting food items. Bone and shells should be avoided. If you intend to cut relatively hard foods such as winter squash, please re-sharpen the blade in the following manner. Hold the blade at approximately 22½° to the surface of a finish stone and hone the edge for 10 to 12 strokes. Turn the blade over and hone the other side in the same manner. Finally, strop the edge thoroughly using aluminum oxide abrasive.

Always use a cutting board to protect the edge. Never cut on crockery, Formica countertops, sinks, etc as this will chip the edge of your blade.

After use, clean the knife thoroughly, rinse in warm water and dry well. Apply a bit of vegetable or camellia oil to the blade and store in a dry place, well away from children. Store the knife in such a way that the edge does not come into contact with other cutlery or utensils. Under no circumstances should any of our knives be sent through the dishwasher.

In Japan, it is traditional to attach the handle without pinning it permanently to the blade. We recommend that handles of this type be well saturated with an oil finish. This can easily be done by standing the knife, handle down, into the can of finish for about 20 minutes. Use a soft cloth to wipe off any excess oil from the handle and blade. Allow to dry overnight and apply a second coat of oil. Non-toxic Sealacell finish (our #37.119 for a pint) is recommended.

Since unpinned handles are not permanently attached to the blade, they can occasionally become loose. If this happens, remove the handle and mix a small amount of 5-Minute epoxy resin. Fill the opening in the handle with the epoxy and reinsert the blade. Remove any excess epoxy, and allow to harden for a few minutes. This procedure will permanently install the handle on to the blade.

How to Sharpen
When a blade becomes too dull to cut well, it is time to re-sharpen. The first procedure is to check the edge for nicks. If there are any, rub the edge on a coarse water stone (#600 to #1000 grit) until the nicks are removed. Now hold the blade held at approximately 11¼° to the surface of the stone, and rub the blade up and down the length of the stone while at the same time sliding it across the stone. When a "burr" or wire edge is felt, turn the blade over and continue sharpening at 11¼°. This creates an initial bevel on the edge with an included angle of approximately 22½°.

Now transfer to a #4,000 to #6,000 grit water stone, and sharpen as described above with the blade held at approximately 22½° to the surface of the stone. After 8 to 10 strokes, turn the blade over and hone at 22½° for another 8 to 10 strokes. This will create a "micro-bevel" with an included angle of approximately 45°.

Finally, strop the edge using aluminum oxide powder. Hold the blade at 24° to 25° to the strop and strop each side. stropping once a week will double the longevity of the edge.

Supplies
If not obtainable locally, Camellia oil, nontoxic natural finishes, strop, abrasives and sharpening stones can be obtained from the Japan Woodworker. The Japan Woodworker has the largest selection of water stones available to suit any sharpening situation. If you are undecided as to which stones to select, please feel free to call for our recommendation.

Ceramic Knives
Ceramic blades are easy to care for. They do not require any special oil or treatment, other than rinsing in hot water. As long as they are restrained and not allowed to rattle around, they are dishwasher safe. The blades do not need to be thoroughly dried before storage.

Since the blades are very fine grain, they are can be chipped if hit against a hard object, i.e. silverware, tableware etc. So in this respect they are similar to our high quality metal blades. If the blade is chipped, it can be repaired using #600 and #1200 grit diamond stones. The DMT SuperHone Kit is recommended for this purpose.

Japan Woodworker's Sharpening Service
We've put the finest cutting edges on countless mumbers of tools throughout the years. Except for our Swiss Made carving tools, most of our edge tools require sharpening or honing before use. We sharpen new and used edge tools including chisels, carving tools, plane blades, micro carving, shavehooks, inshaves, drawknives and turning tools. Please feel free to email us or call 1-800-537-7820 for assistance. 

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