How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

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Emieloss
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How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by Emieloss »

Hi all,

I recently bought a Shiro Kamo R2/SG2 210mm Gyutoh. I really love the knife! It’s super sharp, has an amazing height, looks absolutely gorgeous and very thin behind the edge. It’s this blade:
https://www.chefknivestogo.com/shkar2gy21.html

The problem is that I can’t really chop with it on products that are a bit higher than half a chalot. The damascus cladding is kinda rough and the drag messes up the chopping flow. Stopping the knife in the product, or attempting to pull the product op from the board. It’s annoying and feels a bit dangerous.

I tried to touch it up with some sandpaper, but it messes up the damascus finish. Luckily it’s just a very small bit of the tang where my fingers rest, but it still kind of sucks.

How do I reduce the roughness / drag of the finish without messing up the looks of the blade? Or should I just appreciate the tool as it is? an excellent push-cutter.

Looking forward to your reply’s!

- Emieloss
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by jknife »

Hi Emielos
Let me preface this by saying Im no expert and others may have better suggestions but I have dealt with this problem in my own way.
I had this exact problem with a Yoshimi Kato bunka. Was worried about damaging the damascus finish but couldn't use the knife the way it was. I decided to try the least aggressive way I could think of to smooth it out. I laid the knife flat on a bare leather strop and moved it back and forth (since the knife is flat and the edge is not touching the strop you can move the knife both directions). If the blade road needs smoothing tip up the knife until the road is in contact with the strop and strop as you normally would (edge trailing strokes). Warning! This method takes a lot of patience. It took about 1.5 hours to get my knife to the point that it was usable but the damascus still looks great. I have had the knife about a year and it seems to have improved even more just though use. If I were to do it again I might try a 1 micron paste on the strop just to speed things up. Hope this helps and good luck!
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Jeff B
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by Jeff B »

Use it, wash it, use it wash, use it, wash it. You get the idea, it will get better on it's own the more you use it.
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by Emieloss »

Thanks for the advice guys.

The use it & wash it method doesn't really seem to work. I've read a review somewhere about this exact knife that it still had that 'problem' even after a long time of usage. I'll give the bare leather strop a try. I don't mind spending time on it. I still have a 0.5 micron paste as well I might give that a go.
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by Jeff B »

If you have a high grit natural stone you can make a slurry and polish the sides with that. It will help keep that great contrast between the metals. Polishing a Damascus knife with diamond sprays/pastes or other metal polishes tend to remove that contrast that makes the knife look so awesome.
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by Emieloss »

I have a Iyo nagura Tomonagura coming in next week. The grit is estimated between 6k and 10k. Would making a slurry with that work? If so how do I make a slurry without mixing it with a synthetic grit? I have no 'big' natural stones.
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by Jeff B »

Do you have a diamond plate? Wet the stone and use a diamond plate to work up a slurry and put it on a cotton pad or let it dry on copy paper and polish with that.
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by ken123 »

Don't use sandpaper for this application unless it is 5000 grit or so. As you have seen coarse sandpaper is not optimal.
Diamond plates generate too coarse of a finish unless it is a 3k plate. Even then I would recommend a properly selected tomonagura.


Ken
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by gladius »

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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by beanbag »

Bump on this thread to ask:

I have very very fine sandpaper like 4K to 12K.
One version is backed on thin plastic sheets, the other is backed on a thin layer of latex (Micro-mesh).
Which would work better without diminishing the Damascus contrast?
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by Radar53 »

I have this knife and am currently living with the extra drag pretty successfully, so I'm not sure that I'm going to specifically contribute much here. However I have done a bit of this work with a number of blades when looking to create / replicate a kasumi finish and also restoring a W#2 core with iron/steel damascus cladding by using synthetic and natural stones.

I thought that the very distinctive Kamo damascus finish was created by etching as opposed to grinding / honing. So my first thought is what type of contrast will a grinding / honing approach leave? Don't get me wrong as the right stones can leave both texture and contrast, but I'm left wondering if it will a significantly different look to the Kamo standard look.

Keen to learn & know more.
Cheers Grant

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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by Robstreperous »

Emieloss wrote: Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:39 am Thanks for the advice guys.

The use it & wash it method doesn't really seem to work. I've read a review somewhere about this exact knife that it still had that 'problem' even after a long time of usage. I'll give the bare leather strop a try. I don't mind spending time on it. I still have a 0.5 micron paste as well I might give that a go.
Food release and perceived "drag" seems to be one of those super personal user preference "thingies". I used that knife. I understand what everyone's talking about. It didn't bother me. But I get it.

As Jeff and others have mentioned... I have noticed some of my older blades' food release has evolved for the better over time.

Here are three off the cuff suggestions.

1. Patience. [OK. Had to say it. I'll move on.]

2. Try working up ** slowly ** from least aggressive to more aggressive. I like your idea of using a strop first. Personally I don't think I'd be trying to use a stone or past on that blade unless I was prepared to re-etch it afterwards. [Wonder if reetching would defeat the purpose of smoothing to begin with?]

3. Here's something entirely out of the box. It's probably more than you want to spend. It's not in stock. Plus... not sure how you feel about western handles.

Other than that... It's perfect!

- Get this knife: https://www.chefknivestogo.com/takeshisaji2.html
- Rocks, chops, slices, sticks in the board OOTB. For me it adjusts effortlessly to whatever style I feel like using.
- It's damascus. .
- It's the slipperiest thing I own that doesn't come in a spray can or tube.
Last edited by Robstreperous on Fri Sep 03, 2021 7:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How to reduce drag on damascus cladding?

Post by taz575 »

I have been playing a bit with this, but with all carbon Alabama Damascus steel blades. Acid etching damascus etches the different steels at different rates and the surface forms into oxides based on how the acid reacts to steels. Hard steel will go dark, mild/soft steel with stay more of a matte grey look. The surface will feel a bit rougher to the touch due to the acid etching/eroding the steel surface a bit. This also happens with bead blasted kasumi finishes, but those are much coarser to the touch.

With a satin belt finish at 800 grit, some of the damascus pattern shows without etching. Not all layers will be visible. Hand rubbing seems to hide the pattern, but I need to play with this more. Haven't dabbled in stone finishes yet with damascus. May be playing with them soon on some San Mai though!

Superficial damascus etch (minute or two in the acid) shows the pattern better, but can wear off quickly and looks splotchy some times.

Longer Damascus etch (layers almost felt, surface is rough feeling, 10+ minutes in the acid) shows the pattern and lasts, but causes more drag. Patina may help reduce drag over time.

I have also done a deep etch and then back to the 800 grit belt or non woven abrasive pads. This gives an interesting finish where the damascus pattern still shows clearly, but it is varying shades of silver and light grey as opposed to black/dark grey and silver. Less drag, but it will show a patina more. I kinda like this look as the best of both worlds; clear pattern, but smoother less draggy finish.

Non woven abrasive pads (ie scotchbrite) work well to give a nice satin finish to blades. I used to use them all of the time to prep for an acid etch and worked my way up from the green, maroon to the grey and white. These would work to remove the thicker oxides from acid etch and smooth out the blade surface for less drag. They also work awesome when you have a bead blasted kasumi finish for reducing the drag.
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