Originally Posted by mallorjc
That's the point at which I gave up. It seems impossible to keep the proper angle. Plus it's work I can spare myself by using a good (emphasis) electric sharpener and buying ceramics for the real work. My steels work fine and are nicely uniform under magnification, and the ceramics are every bit as sharp as a properly (KCMike!
) sharpened steel.
Next: I'm a fan of japanese (what's it called) folded layer forging steel, having seen it done in an old sword shop in Japan, and think that the real advantage was uniformity of the resultant steel blade. Do modern forging techniques achieve the same uniformity without all that work?
It's really not that hard to learn. It's just muscle memory. Trust me, I ruined many an edge before becoming proficient. The nice thing about steel is that it can be reformed, so if you screw up, just go again.
By "Modern forging techniques", I'm assuming you're talking about Western techniques employed by German and American bladesmiths. The techniques used between Japanese and Western knife makers are somewhat similar (except for the hand-made Japanese blades). It's the steel used, the heat treat, and the blade geometry that truly separate them. Nearly all Western knives (except the old French carbon steel Sabatier knives) are made from much softer stainless steel. The difference in hardness is quite large. Most Western knives range around 54-56 Rc, whereas Japanese knives typically fall in the 60-64 Rc range. The other major difference is the type of steel used. Japanese knife makers use steels that can be made much harder and still hold an edge without chipping, while the Western makers use much softer, and less exotic stainless steels. The last major difference is the thickness of the blades. On average, Japanese knives are much thinner and lighter than their Western counter parts.