Kitchen knife sharpening questions

If you strop a knife do you still need to steel it? What does steeling do that stroping doesn't?
I can get one of my kitchen knifes so sharp that I can easily cut the
hair off my arm but it won't stay sharp and very quickly dulls. Is this a sign of a cheap knife?
How can you tell if a knife will hold an edge?
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It's a sign that the edge angle is too acute. A really acute angle can be sharpened to razor sharpness, but because it's so thin, it rapidly dulls.
A kitchen knife edge should be beveled about 20 degrees (for a start) to be both sharp and long-lasting. The metal may cause you to make it more or less acute. I sharpen my carbon steel kitchen knives (which I prefer over stainless) to about 28-30 degrees. I also do not steel them unless cutting vegetables; steeling makes the edge very sharp, but also very smooth. For meat, the slightly rough wire edge left by abrasive sharpening makes them cut faster and more cleanly. Being a _deeply_serious_ barbeque-er, meat slicing is my primary use.
LLoyd
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On Mar 15, 3:29 pm, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote:

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The kitchen knife that won't hold an edge is stainless. I'm sharpening it with a bench stone holding it at 20 degrees. If all stainless knifes act like this cheap one does I can understand why your prefer carbon steel. I am cutting vegetables and all I cut are vegetables. See my posts on juicing. After getting the cheap stainless knife so sharp that I can cut the hair off my arm it becomes dull after just one prep for juicing. Do you think steeling the knife would make the edge last longer or just make it sharper?
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I'm not sure I understand the distinction. A blade must be 'tuned' frequently to keep it really sharp.
Lloyd
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'Took me 40 years with the same woman to teach her to put them cutting edge-up in the knife block!
There are 'hers' and 'mine', but I don't discriminate... I just sharpen them all, and always tune one up before use, if it needs it.
LLoyd
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On 3/15/2013 7:28 PM, Lloyd E. Sponenburgh wrote:

Sounds like my house. Except my wife won't use my knives. She sticks to hers and tells me when she wants the edge touched up.
My personal favorite is a Wasabi that I bought for a buck at a garage sale. It doesn't look very dangerous but it's a 6 inch long scalpel.
http://www.thekershawstore.com/Wasabi-Black-Nakiri-Kitchen-Knife-6-5-p/k6716n.htm
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That's a pretty good price, too!
FWIW, someone mentioned Old Hickory carbon steel knives earlier, as being "30 year old" stock.
They still make them. I love 'em, and all of mine have developed a nice black patina that oil and slow oxidation can make, if they aren't allowed to rust.
They are more expensive than the Wasabi knives, though.
LLoyd
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Carbon steel will take a very keen edge, but won't hold it for long--I rough hone with india at say 28 deg then finish with fine arkansas at 30
For stainless, generally I dress by dragging a cermet lathe insert along the edge...gloves are a good idea.
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My experience as well..very easy to sharpen, a medium india followed by a few strokes with a fine india at a slightly more blunt angle.

I've got a piece of O1 kicking around someplace that's 3/16 thick and ~6x18 thinking one of these days it's gonna make a couple of downright scary cleavers.
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Correction: finish with Arkansas

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On Sat, 16 Mar 2013 09:17:29 -0700, "PrecisionmachinisT"

I own two cleavers, both inherited. It must take practice. When I attack a chicken with one, we get some really odd-shaped pieces. <g>
I prefer my carbon steel L.L. Bean boning knife, with a big, fat handle, for disassembling chickens. Speaking of which, I have to go buy one of those two-packs at Costco right now...
--
Ed Huntress
>
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Practice on zucchini...they're worthless otherwise....
A cleaver works well with dinner guests....use it in a perfectly safe, appropriate manner for a few minutes then suddenly launch a vicious assault on an onion or somesuch...

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Some stainless grades are the equivalent of tomato can steel, won't take or hold an edge at all. If it's non-magnetic, use it as a butter knife, it's not slicing anything tougher. Magnetic grades of stainless will hold an edge, if hardened. Have run across some of that, too, with cheap imports, stainless, but not hardened. You can get a wire edge that's sharp but will break off when you make your first cut with it, too. That's usually an indication of too much time on the stone and too little angle on the edge for the blade steel quality.
A steel is just a round file that raises small teeth on the edge, kind of like a serrated knife edge. Works great for meat and soft stuff, the "teeth" break off easily, so rinse and repeat. And do it AWAY from the food, nothing bugs me worse than some jerk steeling his knife over the roast at a restaurant. Don't care for a side order of steel filings, thank you.
You can check how sharp an edge is by passing it over a thumbnail, that'll also remove a wire edge. Nicks and dull spots are readily perceptible. Never understood why folks use the ball of their thumb when checking how sharp it is. Guaranteed bandaid time with anything but a butter knife.
Stan
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    [ ... ]

    Do they still demontrate that the kitchen shears can cut coins in half? A friend was one of their salesmen decades ago, and that was one of the demonstrations.
    I have a pair (made long prior to the cushioned colored grips, but still good size all-metal grips.)
    Enjoy,         DoN.
--
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a LONG time. Just

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All the folks had when I was growing up was carbon steel knives, came out of the Rath packing plant where my uncle worked, all Chicago Cutlery. They were wiped off, not soaked in dish water, and lived on a magnetic holder on the wall. They weren't mirror finished and were cheap, eventually picked up that brownish patina that exposed carbon steel gets. But they cut and kept cutting. Still have some. They were used until there was a not too useful stub left.
If you want a good cheap kitchen knife, in stainless, the Ace hardware stores around here have Tremontina(sp?) knives, come from South America, have hardwood handles and very good steel. Don't think any of them are more than $5. Have several paring knives of various sizes, they hold up well and the handles hold up well with washing. Their steak knives are good, too.
Those wooden knife block sets with slots look good, but they're breeding grounds for bacteria in the holes. Nice warm wet areas with food particles. That's why I like the magnetic holders. Not as neat, but the edges don't get dulled and you don't get food poisoning that way. Way better than sticking them loose in a drawer, too.
Stan
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not being made of stainless steel is the first step.
old good quality carbon steel knives take the best edge, period.
Every now and then I square off the Tormek grinder and do kitchen knife sharpening for everybody.
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On Mon, 18 Mar 2013 04:52:50 +0000 (UTC), Cydrome Leader

Some..some stainless steels can indeed keep an edge. Not most of them..but if you hunt around..you can find several alloy blades. AUS 8 is one.

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cook neighbor has a french carbon steel knife. The name is worn off the handle, it makes unique sound when being ground, and seems faster to sharpen than the german stainless knives.

probably, but a Tormek will tear up anything. The machine itself and the jigs are sort of goofy (all settings are near the limits of what you can do, for pretty much anything), but it does work.

There's really no special treatment carbon steel needs over stainless. Neither should be soaking in sink tea or tossed in dish rotting machine.
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On Mon, 18 Mar 2013 05:08:23 +0000 (UTC), Cydrome Leader

Sabatier was the most common French carbon steel knife, if your neighbor bought it within the past century. <g> I have a couple of them, and one of their steels. I can't say I ever noticed a different sound in grinding, but I've only done that a couple of times, when I had to take the belly out of a chopper.
I've had mine for almost 50 years. They're great and, like most carbon steel knives, they will sharpen faster than a 400-series stainless knife. But 400-series stainless will hold an edge for a longer time.
If you have any Buck pocket or hunting knives, they're made of a proprietary, slightly modified 441C stainless alloy. Compare that with your old carbon steel pocket knives in terms of how long the edge lasts. It's roughly the same comparison.

Don't leave onion or tomato on it, or it will rust before you finish cooking dinner.
--
Ed Huntress

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I've not run a kitchen knife test, but I've noticed a few things between the good german stainless knives and carbon steel ones.
The carbon steel takes a really nice edge, and grinds really smooth. You can almost strop it to a mirror finish.
Stainless stuff is harder to polish and strop, it always has these ridges that are hard to remove. It just seems like it's a mix of hard and soft materials. This might make them seem like a saw once the blade is dull, so they still kind of cut through stuff. Crappy stainless knives are gummy and can't even be sharpened at all.
Even the german stainless knifes need a little touch up out of the box for some reason. I'm going to guess the japanese stuff like Global and Mac come fully and completely sharpened since they love their knives.
My daily carry knife is a Microtech made of "154-CM", and that's a weird material, some sort of knife foamer type alloy of who knows what. That stuff is hard and tough. I'd be interested to see a kitchen knife made of the stuff and how it holds up.

Didn't know about the onion. I don't hang out in a kitchen, but I also never let stuff dry up or set on a blade either, especially the pocket knife.
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