The Basic Movements of Sharpening- Japanese Knife Imports

37 thoughts on “The Basic Movements of Sharpening- Japanese Knife Imports

  1. David Shook says:

    How long does it take to sharpen a knife that you use often but only sharpen every few months. I realize the answer is probably that it depends on a lot of factors. What I'm getting at it, if you properly sharpen a good knive as often as it needs to be, then how long does each sharpening take — 1-2 minutes or 15-20 minutes or 40+ minutes? I ask because I bought a medium grit setup and after 5 minutes of working on a knife the knife really had not sharpened very much. I wondered if I just need to sit there sharpening for 20 more minutes before I achieve results or if I'm more likely doing something wrong because it shouldn't take more than a few minutes if done right. Thoughts? Thanks

  2. LexLuthor1234 says:

    Thanks JKI, you are the best! And I might just take you up on that offer!
    Once again compliments for your generous effort on educating the youtube masses on these issues.

    Many regards,


  3. LexLuthor1234 says:

    Thanks a lot, again ๐Ÿ™‚ I am afraid your excellent answers brings me to two more questions however, (what was it Socrates said, " the more I learn….." ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I promise I'll stop after these two though ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. How exactly do I wear down the bolster. Do I just "sharpen it" so to speak? And if so at which angle?

    2. How much of the bolster should I look to remove in terms of depth and height (I would hate to mess up the quite good balance the knife has from the factory).

  4. LexLuthor1234 says:

    As always a great, clear and useful video. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚
    If i may, i have two practical questions;

    1. I took from the video, that this sharpening technique would also be opportune for european style knives. Correct? ( I am thinking of a french carbon sab in particular :-))

    2. which sort of stone would you recommend for such a type of knife?
    I did see your video on choosing sharpening stones, but the french carbons are as I understand it softer than the most Japanese carbon steel knives. Does this change anything?

    ps. How do you chose which angle to sharpen in? Is that tied to the factory set angle or can/do you just chose a new one yourself?

    Thank you once again and sorry for perhaps going ott with the questions.

    Best regards, Claus

  5. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    depends on the stone… in the case of the stone in this video, it does not need to be soaked, but i generally put it in the water for 1-2 minutes before use. Other stone types may need longer soaking, while some need none at all.

  6. Lemendeer says:

    Funny fact about you mister abdyfreak666 you call your self an "bsolute beginner" but 3 weeks ago you wrote stuff like
    "Now, who is this muppet posting crap like this ?
    A bloody gai-jin, a dilletant, both of it or even worse ?
    A good advice from mine: Never do it like this at home."

    You do that because the guy in the video (he is from Japan i can tell that from his name) is pushing and pulling to sharpen the Knive. This Guy here does the same? So why dont blame him? Mister absolute beginner?

  7. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    i picked a nakiri (usuba is single bevel, nakiri is a double bevel knife) because its simple and i didnt want to confuse people with extra information in this video. However, in other videos i discuss and show how to deal with curve and different shapes.

  8. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    @Endure2theEnnd well, we sell some stones if you look up our website (though we are out of stock of some until the middle/end of the month). There are also a number of other sites online. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you'd like to talk more about this… jon at japanese knife imports dot com

  9. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    @JKnifeImports This helps the stone cut more quickly over time. Fifth, having stones of different hardness can help with certain sharpening techniques, as can the ability to develop mud while sharpening.

    Anyways, hope this explanation helps.

  10. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    @Endure2theEnnd Using wet stones (as opposed to dry) helps lubricate the stone, flush away the swarf, create mud, and control heat development. Sand paper can work well too, but there are a few issues. First, is wears quickly. Second, you have to put it on something with some height for knuckle clearance. Third, most stones use better abrasives for knife sharpening that sand paper. Fourth, as you sharpen on stones, fresh abrasive is constantly released (continued in next comment…)

  11. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    @Endure2theEnnd if you look at the movements in the video, you will see that one the first side, the handle doesnt hit the stone when sharpening the heel area. But on the second side, if i kept the same angle, the top part of the handle would hit the stone on each stroke if i sharpened at a 45 degree angle of approach. Give it a shot yourself and i'm sure you'll quickly see what i'm talking about.

  12. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    @schoolfrigginsucks dont you find the angle a bit awkward in practice? as long as you maintain a consistent angle and adjust for the curve and tip properly, there's no reason this would cause damage, but i dont think its a particularly easy way of accomplishing what you want to do. But, again, the most important things are angle consistency, following the curve, and checking your work constantly.

  13. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    @chisel54 Though i am able to sharpen with both hands, this is the way I have been trained by the craftsmen i train with in Japan. Every time I read books about this, ask craftsmen, or watch people work in Japan, this is the way they do things…

  14. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    @kw1968cw for double beveled knives, the pressure is about the same on both strokes… also the same on both sides. For single bevel knives, its a bit different. For the bevel side, pressure is the same on the push and pull. But on the back side, the pressure is only on the push.

  15. Kerry Wallace says:

    Great instructional video showing the correct position and hand motion. My question is if the pressure on the blade edge is different on the away stroke from your body and the return stroke. Also is this pressure sequence the same for both sides of the knife. Look forward to your comments Bst Rgds Kerry

  16. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    @Gorboror it could be that you need more water as you sharpen… it could also be that you are pushing too hard when sharpening. I generally put between 1-2 lbs of pressure when doing the majority of my sharpening. On sharpening time, it really depends on the condidtion of the knife, the type of steel, heat treatment, and the stones being used. It could be a couple of minutes or it could be a couple of hours… i really depends.

  17. Mike D says:

    @JKnifeImports I could see water on the surface of the stone; maybe i just pushing the water over the sides too often and need to water it more. Could it be the kind of metal? I have another question: how long would it usually take to sharpen a dull knife, using a 1000X/4000X combo?

  18. Japanese Knife Imports says:

    @Gorboror squeaking sound? are you constantly keeping the surface of the stone lubricated? Generally when stones are making bad sounds, its because people forget to splash water on the stones surface from time to time (ever after you soak the stone, you need to do this). If you see in my videos, i splash the stone with water from time to time.

  19. Mike D says:

    I was sharpening a standard kind of kitchen pairing knife, and while I was sharpening the stone and blade friction was causing a squeaking sound. I was using a 2000 stone, and soaked it for about 20-30 mins. I was wondering why this unpleasant noise was happening?

  20. vircabutar says:

    thank you so much for your techniques!!! Your instructions are crystal clear. After 3 years, i finally figured out how to CORRECTLY sharpen my knives using the stone. Just did some knives yesterday, and they were sharper than when i originally bought them. Thanks again!

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