Originally Posted by dwfisk
Thanks for the post buccs, very informative discussion.
Well, I guess this is pretty much true for any knife or anything with a cutting edge. I've been hand sharpening with Japanese ceramic wet stones for a little better than a year now (certainly not an expert) but it seems to me certain steel is more conducive to this kind of sharpening than others. I think I'm seeing higher quality knives sharpen better and certainly hold their edge better.
Am I assuming correctly these knives and the hand sharpening technology go hand in hand?
One thing that is definetely true, after spending 30-60 minutes on a knife to get it acceptable edge, I damn sure take better care of them than I used to.
Your observation is correct, but, the reason has less to do with convergent technology and more to do with the characteristics of the steel that was used to make the knife. A given steel will have varying characteristics, and the design of the knife is less important than the steel used to create the knife. High carbon steels, with chrome and vanadium values sharpen more easily on hand stones, than stainless or higher chrome and vanadium blades. They will also take a more acute edge. This is the key to the feel of Japanese blades.
There are equally refined European blades, and actually, equally specialized ones, but, far fewer as the method of preparing foods has put a premium on single knife usage. Because the Japanese remain, with the exception of Santoku, adherents to the idea of specialized knives, the materials chosen by knife designers remains focused on edge quality and not edge durability. One of the primary reasons I do not let friends use my Japanese knives is that they will use very delicate blade profiles to cut bone or chop on things, this can permanently ruin a Japanese knife.
As to the Global issue, you cannot re-profile a Japanese knife, one run through a Western sharpener and the edge is badly ruined. Once done, that knife will need to be repaired by a skilled hand to reset the edge. The angles are just too different. I hand sharpen my sister's Global whenever I get the change, that thing will split hairs. I don't much care for Globals steel, but, it can be a great cutting edge.