Today I got the Naniwa Chosera water stones that I had ordered. I’m really excited to see what kind of results I can get with these stones. Water stones are used for sharpening knives and other tools.
This isn’t what I normally write about, but hey, at least they’re from Japan .
Some time last year I started getting into knife sharpening as a hobby. I’m not sure exactly how it started. I think it was when I bought a knife that came with a factory edge that was so much sharper than anything I had. I was afraid I’d ruin the edge, so I decided that I had to learn how to get my other knives equally sharp.
I’ve progressed through ceramic rods and compound loaded strops. For my birthday I got an Edge Pro, which uses small water stones that you set at a certain angle to get a nice and even edge. I sharpened one of my kitchen knives and when I made the first cut I was stunned by how sharp it was. I actually felt fear. The definition of “sharp” had been forever changed in my mind. Since then I’ve attained even sharper edges (using stropping compounds). I find it fascinating. Sharpening is also pretty relaxing.
This summer I tried freehand sharpening convex edges on sandpaper and my strops and it worked so well that I thought I’d move on to freehanding on water stones. Sharpening freehand feels like more of an accomplishment and it’s also a useful skill.
I took the stones for a test drive while the KARA video was being encoded. I used a cheap paring knife that I’ve practised on before. The stones cut very well. The 1000 grit stone is definitely aggressive enough for my needs. I don’t think I’ll need to get the 400 stone, like I originally thought. The move from 1000 to 5000 also worked well. I thought about getting 1000 and 3000 first, but I’m glad I got the 5000 instead. Put a really nice polish on the edge.
I tried thinning out the blade before sharpening the primary edge, but the blade I used is slightly uneven and my technique is still sloppy, so the secondary edge looks almost like the hamon line on a katana . It ain’t pretty. The primary edge is pretty even, though. And sharp. But there’s definitely room for improvement. It only (easily) whittles hair in the middle of the blade. This was more of a trial run. I’m going to experiment more (on cheap knives) and eventually get better at it. I am a novice after all.
I used the squirt bottle that comes with the Edge Pro to keep the stones wet, but it didn’t last long. I had to refill it several times. I have to conjure up some kind of rig to put over the sink, so I can keep the stones wet more easily.
The stones I got aren’t glued to a plastic base like Chosera stones usually are (I got a good deal on these) and I’ve heard horror stories about the 5000 stone cracking if it dries too quickly, so I’m a bit paranoid about that. We’ll see how it goes. I put them in a damp cloth to slow the drying. I don’t know if that’s necessary though.
Update 29/8: Last weekend I built a contraption that allows me to keep the stones above the sink while sharpening. It’s basically two pieces of wood screwed together that I sort of press fit over the sink so it doesn’t move around. I used it for the first time just a little while ago. This was the second run on the stones. Same knife. The resulting edge was everything I had hoped for when I bought these stones. It is sick! After finishing on the stones I gave it a few light swipes on a compound (Bark River white) loaded strop, but it wasn’t really necessary. It’s toothy enough to cut plastic wrap, but polished enough to whittle hair and cut newsprint seemingly before touching it.
I took a picture of how it looks when I’ve dropped a cherry tomato (straight from the fridge) onto the edge. If the blade wasn’t so small it would’ve been cut cleanly in half. You can see that I tried polishing one side. That was what took most of the time. Putting the edge on was very fast compared to how I used to sharpen before. The edge is more convex that it has to be, but that’s because of the state I left the edge in on my first attempt last week. I just blended the old “scars” into the polished side by convexing it. I’m very pleased to get this result on my second attempt. Really made my day.
I felt the need to cut something, so I minced some garlic for some chogochujang (초고추장). I haven’t been able to find any lately, so I looked up some recipes online. It’s quite potent! Perhaps I should use less garlic next time. Too bad I don’t have any eggs at home. I like to eat fried eggs with chogochujang. Very tasty!