The metaphorical fork in the road: Freehand vs Guided System Sharpening

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Pat Y
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Re: The metaphorical fork in the road: Freehand vs Guided System Sharpening

Post by Pat Y »

I thought I would add my two cents in this thread as I've recently gone through similar decisions as the OP. I've only recently found the Japanese knife rabbit hole and found the idea of having to mail out my knives to have them sharpened less than desirable. So assuming there was no way I'd ever master free hand sharpening (I was obsessing over the angles) I felt the guided system was for me so I purchased the Edge Pro Apex kit.
I put quite a bit of time into sharpening all the older knives I had and then moved onto everything my parents had. I was able to get some decent edges but I found the whole process of changing the stones over and measuring to make sure I was at the same angle very tedious. I found I wasn't enjoying the sharpening process which meant I was losing interest fast. So..

I figured why not give the freehand system a shot. I've watched tons of videos and and I've spent hours going through past threads here in the sharpening forums. I settled on the Kohetsu 800 and 2000 as well as the Riki 5k stones. My first victim was an old Chicago Cutlery carving knife that my Mom had relegated to cutting garden plants. It was literally butter knife dull. It took me a while to get the hang of it, finding the style that I felt comfortable with such as using both hands or just one, leading edge strokes or trailing etc. But once I got a little comfortable I was able to put a nice edge on that old knife, good enough in fact, that it's now back in my Mom's butcher block! :D I stopped obsessing about the angle and can now understand what everyone was saying about "feeling" the edge on the stone. I've gained enough confidence that I've now done a few of my Japanese knives and I've been very pleased with how they have turned out. Besides sharp knives, the best thing about switching to freehand is I've found it enjoyable and it's given me the motivation to get even better.

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Re: The metaphorical fork in the road: Freehand vs Guided System Sharpening

Post by jacko9 »

In all of this great discussion I haven't seen mention starting on stones with a angle guide (Training wheels). It won't help you near the tip and you need to be careful to use blue tape on the knife to avoid scratching the side of the blade but, it can give you a start along with control of pressure and a flattening plate you can take out minor micrxscratches, etc.

Even a video of some guy using one,

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