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

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

Post by michael1778 »

Have been reading and watching a great deal in the past 2 months. Also, I've used my stones more than ever and have improved my freehand sharpening skills. I reached the point that I wanted to get a more comprehensive and higher quality set of stones.

Ken (ken123) was generous with his time and we even agreed on a shopping list for when my summer bonus pay comes in. That is still the end of next month. We had high quality from 150 up to 8k on stones and then some nice additions to my strop gear. I will kick all three of my existing water stones to the curb but I managed to get a good start on stropping gear. Stropping is all set. No big decisions to make.

The big decision to make is freehand or guided system. I am conflicted. I am trained as an aerospace engineer. Tight tolerances and repeatability are assumed and required in making our stuff into actual systems. I am also a trombonist and seem to be more aware of subtle tactile feedback than many of my friends and family. I am accustomed to making fine scale changes based on tactile feedback.

My issue is this. I want to spend more time on developing my actual knife skills and general cooking skills than freehand sharpening. I watched a couple of Dr Matt's videos linked from the CKTG product pages and thought, "Wow, I would be more than thrilled to have a system to get to edges like that." I always worry about repeatability and tolerances in my hand sharpening angles.

I could plunk down a certain amount of money for excellent freehand stones or I could get something Shapton Pro/Glass in a guided system like an EdgePro Apex or one of the Hapstone modular systems. Initial costs to me look very similar. Getting some Nubatama stones to round out the collection over time seems like a great option for the future. I want to focus on the result for my intended purpose, cooking not sharpening alone. I get mild enjoyment from feedback on the stones but the actual resulting functionality is what I desire and enjoy most.

(Apex or Hapstone) + (Shapton and/or Nubatama) + (Ken's honing gear) = (very good to excellent) assuming I put in some work?
But, less hours of work compared to freehand. Would you agree?

Am I missing something when considered through the lens of my intended use/goal? I'm a home cook and will be sharpening ~10 knives for family use. My intuition is that I can get to repeatable, less variant edges with a guided system sooner than with freehand. Also, with less time investment. I want to spend more time with my children in their high school years before they leave the house.

I would love to get your thoughts on my thinking and my assumptions. Thank you in advance for your kind help.

Keywords: Hapstone, EdgePro, Shapton Pro, Shapton Glass, Nubatama, honing, freehand

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

Post by jmcnelly85 »

I suppose a large part of this depends on the definition of “knife skills.” In my eyes, freehand sharpening is an essential knife skill to have no different from breaking down a chicken or dicing an onion; however, I’ll fully admit that I have zero experience with guided systems. I don’t think that the learning curve to get to “sharper than before” is as steep as some people make it out to be; however, sharper than before and repeatable extremely sharp edges are two different things.

I suppose the real question is whether or not the trombonist or the engineer wants to be the knife weilder. I’ll personally take the Pepsi challenge pitting one of my knives freehand sharpened by me vs someone else using my knives on a jig because I have a sense that I know how to squeeze an extra little something out based on feel, intuition, exploration and expertise. I say this because I view sharpening as an art. I’m sure there’s a machine that can perform music with a higher degree of accuracy or rythmic perfection than a person, but it seems less impressive even if it’s flawless. A drum machine can be more perfect than anything found in nature, but I’d still rather listen to Ginger Baker.

It’s not wrong to use a jig if the goal is merely having actualized tools, but if the goal is improved knife skills freehand is the way to go. At the point you are, what sounds like something more in line with what you want?

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

Post by Jeff B »

There is a learning curve with a guided system to get the results you are talking about and a bigger learning curve than you may realize. There is also more time involved using one than you may realize. You just don't "get it out, sharpen a knife and put it up" in ten minutes. I can get my splash-n-go stones out, sharpen and put them away faster than using a jig.
I do have little experience with guided systems though but hopefully one of the experienced EdgePro users will pop in and expound on this. I would put a post up in the EdgePro subforum and ask questions about it's use and processes.
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Re: The metaphorical fork in the road: Freehand vs Guided System Sharpening

Post by michael1778 »

Exactly why I wanted to post and extrovert my goals and my thought process. Certainly there is more to guided systems than may meet the eye. I hope I can be clearer on proper expectations for those types of systems.

As to the artistry? I appreciate it but do not value it as much in this realm of effort. Repeatability and precision outscore the satisfaction of freehand or human art in sharpening, for me. I complete respect anyone that has a different balance of priorities.

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

Post by Radar53 »

Hi There Michael,

I have experience both with the EdgePro (21 years) and freehand (4 years) so here's my thinking. I can fully relate to your comments about engineering precision vs the "zen" of having a haptic experience. Both have their place and their advantages and disadvantages. This topic has been posted many times on the old forum if you want to go hunting for further discussion.

In summary I would say that Jeff is right in that there is also a learning curve with the EdgePro, but my experience is that it is quite a lot shorter than trying to become really proficient at freehand. For me I was able to get very sharp, repeatable edges much more quickly on a EP, than by learning to freehand. Mr McNelly sums it pretty well in his post above and at some stage the trombonist in you may want to have a greater say. It was kinda like that for me in that the engineer in me wanted the functionality & repeatability, but somewhere in me was another spirit that wanted the hand skills and the zen. I think that once you have developed really competent freehand skills that the time taken to set or sharpen an edge is significantly less than using the EP. However my EP edges are still significantly better than my freehand edges even though my freehand edges easily cut newsprint & shave arm hair.

Some people are divided into one camp or another ~ either / or if you like. For me, I see them as being complementary with both methods having their time & place. Having said that, if I had Jeff' or Mr McNelly's freehand skills I would probably sharpen most of my knives this way.

HTH, YMMV :) :)
Cheers Grant

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

Post by arthurfowler »

Hi Michael

I absolutely cannot disagree with any of the above comments as they are all correct and they will all be better sharpeners than me. Here is my sharpening journey!!! When I first started collecting Japanese knives, I bought a cheap 1k/6k combination stone and watched every video I could on sharpening technique and different stones. It is a minefield. I quickly noticed that I wasn’t maintaining a consistent angle and the primary bevel would look a little wavy. I then bought an EdgePro with Shapton Glass Stones as this would help maintain angles much easier. I very quickly got better consistent edges and gained a better understanding of the sharpening process as there were less variables for me. However for me, I didn’t feel the love for the process, it was too clinical for me, took too long for me and I had a real urge to learn to freehand sharpen. So the EdgePro has been in the cupboard unused for a number of years.

I then bought various stones, strops, compounds over the years including Shapton Pro 220,1000,2000,5000, Nubatama 150, 320, 600, 1500, 3000, Aono Aoto, Meara, Yaginoshima Asagi, Shapton Glass 120, 500, 2000, 6000, JNS 300, 1000, Red Aoto, Ohira Suita and an Uchigumori. 3 different diamond emulsion/pastes, balsa wood, leather......

If I knew what I know now, this is what I would have done. I would choose 3 splash and go stones, course, medium and fine. You can then sharpen whenever you like with no notice. If you go with Shapton Pro, you don’t need a stone holder. I would get a diamond flattening plate, a wine bottle cork and a leather strop. That’s it. I would then buy a practice knife like this https://www.chefknivestogo.com/toitkshwa21.html (which I bought more recently) and sharpen it, blunt it, sharpen it, blunt it, sharpen it etc etc. The knife is easy to sharpen and at this price you don’t worry about removing excess steel. Later on, due to all the sharpening, you will be able to practice thinning on it!! With a simple combination like this that will allow you to get knives shaving sharp in time, it removes all other doubt and then you know it is just about technique. I would also recommend the following to help - https://www.chefknivestogo.com/anguforshst.html These really help me with a consistent angle. I try to sharpen most of my knives using the 12 deg and I just leave it next to my stone and I set the angle and then hold it as I lay the knife on the stone. I am sure it will not be exactly 12 deg but it aids consistency.

With the technique, I would watch all of Jon Broida’s videos as the core principles are fantastic, I would then combine this with Peter Nowlan’s videos especially regarding pressure as this was the game changer for me combined with how little time you need to spend on finer stones to refine the edge. I used too much pressure all the time and spent too long on each stone and ended up with poor edges. After watching Peter and applying his 4 stage pressure, it was like a 10 x jump in improvement and a 10 x reduction in the time to get a much sharper knife.

This was my journey, I hope it helps. For me keep it simple and just practise and you will get unbelievably sharp knives in no time and have great fun along the way!!

Best

Gareth

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

Post by Cigarguy »

I got started with sharpening by going the guided system route as, being a technically minded person, I thought it would be easier to learn. I wanted something that is good enough for my cheap knives. Back then I was not into knives, knew less about steel and couldn't tell you the difference between a masonry brick and a sharpening stone.

I decided to get into freehand sharpening when I got a tiny weeny bit more into knives, mainly outdoor/bushcraft knives. I'm not going to lug around a guided sharpening system camping and backpacking and can't sharpen my axes with my guided system. So freehand it is.

It was pathetic. $500 in stones, hones and strops and my knives were duller than my chopsticks. But I was determined and stuck with it. Read lots, watch lots, but I practice, practice and practice some more. It didn't help that I started out on Arkansas stones and cheap soft steel knives.

Eventually something clicked and I got it. 4 years later and I really get it. I'm getting results that I never dreamed of with tools that I never thought possible. i.e. I'd never thought I'd get razor sharp edges from a 1000 grit stone. Never thought I'd have 8 different 1000 grit stones either...and growing.

Along with learning freehand, I also learned about better steels, better knife makers and the art that is in knife making and sharpening. I've learned to appreciate, care and maintain good steel that honestly, I don't think I ever would with a guided system. Guided systems are just too mechanical for me, there's no feeling, no art, emotion. Just like internet sex vs..... Or put another way, freehand is like a fine cigar paired with a fine single malt vs a cigarette and coffee.

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

Post by Peter Nowlan »

The collateral benefits of freehand sharpening makes the choice easy in my opinion. The Edge Pro is capable of consistently delivering edge sharper than perhaps you’ve ever seen. This was the case for me anyway. However after about one year I started losing what I need to continue sharpening and that is enjoyment from the process. I just don’t want sharp knives, I want to take in every moment of the journey, the sense of challenge and reward, the satisfaction of making a dull knife sharp and all that involves. I put the EP away about 6 years ago and use it only once in a while. With your background I’m sure you’d excel at freehand sharpening. In terms of levels of sharpness between the two, my freehand edges are superior to the EP edges but that may be because of my love for the freehand process. It’s
A wonderful skill to learn, there seems to be no peaking, no end to the journey, in other words you can just keep learning little tidbits here and there from all kinds of sources unless your ego prevents you from looking.

If you’re in this for the long term the path ahead is clear to me.

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

Post by jacko9 »

I started sharpening woodworking hand tools over 40 years ago and have a large collection of wet stones. My experience with knives is limited but the one thing that I can relate to that has buggered me for a long time is controlling the pressure like Gareth mentioned. I use a Veritas MkII chisel holder and it wasn't until reading about controlling the pressure on the stones that I got a truly great edge on my tools. I started sharpening free hand and went through a lot of steel before I came across this tip.

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

Post by michael1778 »

Peter Nowlan wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:05 am
The collateral benefits of freehand sharpening makes the choice easy in my opinion. The Edge Pro is capable of consistently delivering edge sharper than perhaps you’ve ever seen. This was the case for me anyway. However after about one year I started losing what I need to continue sharpening and that is enjoyment from the process. I just don’t want sharp knives, I want to take in every moment of the journey, the sense of challenge and reward, the satisfaction of making a dull knife sharp and all that involves. I put the EP away about 6 years ago and use it only once in a while. With your background I’m sure you’d excel at freehand sharpening. In terms of levels of sharpness between the two, my freehand edges are superior to the EP edges but that may be because of my love for the freehand process. It’s
A wonderful skill to learn, there seems to be no peaking, no end to the journey, in other words you can just keep learning little tidbits here and there from all kinds of sources unless your ego prevents you from looking.

If you’re in this for the long term the path ahead is clear to me.
Thank you for your encouraging words.

I watched the CKTG short video about Kurosaki knives. Generally, they are beautiful. Some of them are down right captivating to me! Watching the personal knife making process in the video made me pause. I caught myself thinking, "What sharpening I would want on a hand made knife like that?" I will take some time to carefully consider the options and their salient characteristics.

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

Post by PaulME »

My .02
I’m a mechanical engineer and as a hobby have a complete machine shop (all manual machines) some of the most accurate stuff ever made Monarch lathe SIP jig bore precision surface grinder with micro adjust to .00005 I give you this background as my intent was to make my own guided system. Well in playing around a bit (and after buying the materials) I junked the idea and went to hand sharpening. Primary reason - to do a guided system you really will need to cover the blade to insure you don’t scuff it up, to me this was a complete waste of time, masking tape on blades works but just wound up a silly waste of time and effort to me. If you work in aerospace you also realize everything is made of rubber - by that I mean as soon as you touch things they move and flex So a guided system is not going to give perfect repeatability when a person is operating it and varying forces stroke etc. So to me it was better to just go the hand route (I tend to be good at that sort of thing). Anyway, I doubt you will have much difficulty in getting edges that will take the hair off your arm if you’re mechanically inclined. Does my sharpening approach what some of the members here do, I’m quite certain no but half the fun is improving - and I have yet to play with stropping (aside from newspaper), although I do have graded diamond powders so should probably make some strops of leather or balsa.
Have fun
Paul

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

Post by salemj »

I've never used a jig. I've been curious about them. I don't doubt I could get so-called "better" edges if I used one.

I happen to be a musician and also detail-oriented (my father was an engineer and I went hard in math and science until I opted to get my advanced degrees in musicology). To me, what comes through in your early posts is that you seem sensitive to the art of cooking: you want to spend time on knife skills and cooking skills. The fact that you have other personality traits is relative to this. In my opinion - and it seems like 95% of the world's chefs agree - what you need to know how to do is to get a very good, durable, easy-to-touch-up edge fast rather than the most precise, higher to highest-polish edges that jigs are known for if the goal is just to have fun in the kitchen.

I am not a great sharpener. But I don't seem to have trouble getting edges that work very well in the kitchen, and I tend to get them very, very quickly freehand. I have never sharpened a lot for practice, and I sharpen my own knives as little as possible. Even so, it wasn't that hard to develop skills to get decent edges once I realized what resources to pay attention to (some of which have already been mentioned), and which ones to mostly ignore. Yes, it took some time and practice...but during that same period, I was also learning about knives and building my collection, so it never felt like I was really waiting desperately for those skills to develop.

If I were in your shoes, the question I'd ask is: what type of edge do you want? I like broadly functional kitchen edges, which usually means middle-grit edges with a strop (1.5-4k or so and maybe a touch-up on either a hard finishing stone or balsa and a compound, usually no more than six strokes per side). In my opinion, it would be a waste to use a jig for edges like these. Often, if a knife of mine needs touch-up work, I spend no more than 1-5 minutes on it per stone, across 1-3 stones. I often do 4-5 knives at a time and easily finish in 30 minutes. I imagine adjusting a jig for this type of work would make things take far longer, especially if the goal was ideal precision for very different sized knives.

Now, if instead you want the most precise edge, at a high polish, that will give you the edification of real precision even if it loses its actually cutting refinement by 5% or more after one session on a cutting board, then a jig is probably what you want. I'll admit that, if I were sharpening ultra-hard, ultra tough pocket knives, I'd use a jig; same if I were using ultra-hard PM steels that hold edges a really long time: you want those edges as perfect as possible, and it is worth spending the extra time getting them there because they don't degrade so easily and don't touch up so easily, so it is worth it over time. But for most of my knives, they come back to life with just a few strokes on a stone or strop, almost like using a steel, and it is better to just have a semi-polished middle-grit edge that wakes up quickly with rough teeth to tackle any and all kitchen tasks than to go for the ultimate polish and refinement.

Yes, I'm steering you with biases here, but on purpose. If you find yourself questioning my logic, then you know to take a jig more seriously. If what I say seems obvious, then perhaps freehand is the way to go...and without such a broad range and big investment. (I think I have 8 stones or so, and now-a-days, 90%+ of my sharpening depends on 3 of them: 600-800, a 1.5k or 2k, and a hard, upper-middle range Japanese natural). The last thing I'll say is that - based on my own experience and everything I've seen in terms of sharpening issues - it is far harder and takes far longer to master a 5k+ edge than to master a mid-grit edge. I think this is where jigs really excel. So if the goal is mirror polished bevels and "tricks," this is the way to go. But if the goal is fun in the kitchen, I think you may find a more tactile connect to the edge is worth the investment.
~Joe

Comments: I'm short, a home cook, prefer lighter, thinner blades, and own mostly Konosukes but have used over a dozen brands.

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

Post by Robstreperous »

michael1778 wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:09 pm
Have been reading and watching a great deal in the past 2 months. Also, I've used my stones more than ever and have improved my freehand sharpening skills. I reached the point that I wanted to get a more comprehensive and higher quality set of stones.

The big decision to make is freehand or guided system. I am conflicted. I am trained as an aerospace engineer. Tight tolerances and repeatability are assumed and required in making our stuff into actual systems. I am also a trombonist and seem to be more aware of subtle tactile feedback than many of my friends and family. I am accustomed to making fine scale changes based on tactile feedback.


........
My issue is this. I want to spend more time on developing my actual knife skills and general cooking skills than freehand sharpening.

.........

I could plunk down a certain amount of money for excellent freehand stones or I could get something Shapton Pro/Glass in a guided system like an EdgePro Apex or one of the Hapstone modular systems. Initial costs to me look very similar. Getting some Nubatama stones to round out the collection over time seems like a great option for the future. I want to focus on the result for my intended purpose, cooking not sharpening alone. I get mild enjoyment from feedback on the stones but the actual resulting functionality is what I desire and enjoy most.

.......
But, less hours of work compared to freehand. Would you agree?

Am I missing something when considered through the lens of my intended use/goal? I'm a home cook and will be sharpening ~10 knives for family use. My intuition is that I can get to repeatable, less variant edges with a guided system sooner than with freehand.

Keywords: Hapstone, EdgePro, Shapton Pro, Shapton Glass, Nubatama, honing, freehand
Hey there... I completely get where you're coming from here. I was at one time before finding my true place in music (It's clearly the audience) a trombonist. I also started with a jig setup. Why? I had nobody to show me the basic stuff and I was afraid of "hurting" my knives. That lasted a couple of months and then it was 100% all in with freehand.

So here's an unfair question to your question. As a musician why shouldn't a listener just play the same digital stream of a performance all the time? Why would anyone ever want to go to a live performance?

Here's the thing, to your question "am I missing something?", maybe maybe not... It all depends on how you look at it and what you can honestly answer about yourself and your needs. For plenty of people the digital stream is exactly right. For others... only sitting in the concert hall will do even if tonight's performance isn't exactly the way they did it during the season "x" years ago under that other conductor....

With apologies stones are analog and the jig setups are digital. Want exactly the same very good edge all the time -- kind of like the packaged razor blades most people use -- have at it. No argument from me ever to anyone. On the other hand, would you enjoy your cooking more if you could tune your edge to more easily slice that tomato yet still allow you to neatly chop that onion and slice that salmon and maybe tomorrow I'm going to want to do yams? Then in my opinion you're going to want to learn the stones.

See... for me it wasn't about sameness and repeatability. It was about doing what I could to make my edges sing and just like the slide on your trombone it isn't all about which position you end up in.. it's about how you get there and whether you want to "bend it" a little or not.

I guess that's why I moved to freehand and ultimately to natural stones (a topic for another day) my edges with the jig were sort of like the tone from a tuning fork. Exactly right, dead on the money for what I selected and perfectly fit for the task. How often do you get perfect and exactly the same? Nothing wrong with that. Looking for me to say that's not great? Look elsewhere. It's great.

Yet with the stones? A little more like a full orchestra playing a note --- with the conductor calling out the sections of the orchestra... today I want some more strings... tomorrow we'll emphasize the low brass... That's me with my sharpening setups. I'm buying the ticket and going to the hall to listen to tonight's performance..

So you see It's all about your relationship with the tool and in this case that's the knife and what you want it to do --- not so much the stone or the jig -- and that's a beautiful thing because you get to make the call. How do you want that knife to perform?

Plus.. here's the good news.. nothing wrong with starting one way, learning what you can and then trying the other way out taking whatt you've learned. Nothing wrong at all..

Hope this helped answer your question a little bit. Good luck and make sure to tell us what you do next...

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

Post by ronnie_suburban »

Irrespective of one's feelings about "the fork," this query has led to some of the most interesting and thoughtful writing I've read in a long time. Given the nature of these forums, it doesn't surprise me that the leanings here are toward freehand. I share that opinion but I found my guided system really useful at the very beginning of my sharpening journey (I'm still a relative n00b).

At a time when I was still very unsure about many aspects of sharpening, it reduced the number of variables I had to consider/manage and, when needed, provided a glimpse of how things were "supposed" to go. I started out sharpening pocket knives and if I was struggling to get one sharp, I could always put it on the jig to establish a baseline. From there, I found certain aspects of the process (determining a preferred angle, applying appropriate pressure, recognizing when a burr was established, etc.) were applicable to freehand sharpening. And knowing I could produce an edge on the guided system gave me the confidence to keep at it on the stones when things weren't going as I'd hoped. I came to know that if I could do it on "that," I could certainly do it on "these," too.

In addition to it being a more soulful, interactive experience, another thing I prefer about freehand sharpening is that it leads to infinite stylistic possibilities. I'm not even sure I have the vocabulary to describe what I mean. Freehand, each sharpener applies his or her own aesthetic. And this effect is extended because freehand opens the door to many more (types of) stones than guided systems. There are only so many stone choices one has when using a guided system. Over time via freehand, knives essentially become more attuned to their owner/sharpener than they would if sharpened using a guided system. Considering the nature of many of the knives we've come to love -- and the reasons we love them -- freehand seems way more organic.

There's nothing wrong with a guided system-produced edge. As others have posted, it may even be "superior" to a freehand edge. But edges produced by 10 different Edge Pro users are likely to be far more similar than edges produced by 10 freehand sharpeners, even if they're all using the the same exact stones. If one truly wants to consider their knives their own, freehand seems to be the clear path. It parallels the ethos of the knives -- and the manner in which they are made -- more closely than a guided system.
=R=

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

Post by ken123 »

I'll try to justify my answer by posting my conclusions first. You need both a guided and a freehand approach. I might also add belt sharpeners, strops and naturals to the list. Why? Let me start to explain. This will be a rambling discussion. When I mention guided or edgepro systems I'm including edgepro, kme, wicked edge and more recent knockoff systems.

I think not having extensively used both ep type systems and freehand you come to weak conclusions. Both approaches do require work. Users who say you have no feedback with ep systems are wrong. Some of the best ep sharpeners are the best at picking out the nuances of a stone on an ep including Nubatamas, Japanese naturals Shaptons, strops etc on an ep. With angle control largely done for you, you get to focus on the stone itself. Ep use is subtle. Beginners do a little ep work and think they are experts. Not so. . If you are sharpening a deba on an ep, you hold the blade at an angle to achieve different angles along the blade. Not easy but doable. Thstonesvices arent perfect. As a person who made my own 'ep' called a Gizmo, I know you must compromise your design to meet objectives. In my case I wanted to be able to sharpen to zero degrees. But that's another story.

Freehand lacks precision. Your ep experience will teach you to be a better freehand sharpener. Freehand also allows you to do razors , handle odd shaped stones etc

The engineer in you and the artist will be presented with a challenge. Rather than neat orthogonol data sets you are given a multivariate problem with sharpening angles, steels, task specific requirements, even defining sharpening itself etc. You can achieve results in many ways. You need to please both your artistic and engineering masters within yourself.

Ill stop here and continue later ...

---
Ken

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

Post by michael1778 »

ronnie_suburban wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:52 pm
Irrespective of one's feelings about "the fork," this query has led to some of the most interesting and thoughtful writing I've read in a long time.
I agree. The thoughtfulness and quality of these responses has been delightful. This is one of the most rewarding online experiences I have had in years!

Another quote:
"Hope this helped answer your question a little bit. Good luck and make sure to tell us what you do next..."

Well, late last night I grabbed my beater Tojiro white #2 nakiri and put a steeper bevel angle on it. 11 or 12 degree half angle now.
No stone holder. Stones on a damp folded hand towel (with a plastic wrap barrier between towel and stones lest the towel drain the water form the Beston 500 like a vampire...ask me how I know).
Beston 500
Bester 1200
what seems like a synthetic Aoto (http://zknives.com/knives/sharpening/st ... to3k.shtml)

I do not like the 500 or 1200. However, they managed to get the job done. Cutting the new angle with the 500 took some time until it started then it finished quickly.

Stropped on a 3"x11" bare leather. went through newsprint cleanly with no hitch except near the "tip". I noticed that I had put a wobble in the edge angle there. I felt it when I did it and I could see the slight edge change in it before I used the cut test. Otherwise the edge was very nice. I didn't need a microscope to tell me it looked good. I'll test on a carrot shortly. I am proud of the results.

I'm still debating internally. However, I think I see what could be causing my angle changes or imprecision. This is a great conversation and I thank you all very deeply!!

-- Mike

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

Post by michael1778 »

Update: Nakiri 1, Carrot 0

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

Post by michael1778 »

I'll be going freehand and accepting the time it will take.
Thank you, everyone.

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

Post by TheLegalRazor »

I've enjoyed this thread. No sharpening dogma, but rather thoughtful and practical advice.
Ricardo

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

Post by Jeff B »

The most important thing is to learn to sharpen, be it with a jig system or freehand, just do it.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

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