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The following is the concluding part in the sharpening myths series.
8. It’s easier to sharpen a less expensive knife: If you’re of the view that since you got your kitchen knives for a bargain, you should also get a discount on your sharpening bill then, unfortunately, you’re mistaken.
It’s actually a pretty painstaking process; even more so with the bargain knives. That’s because they carry a very soft burr, which doesn’t respond well to normal deburring techniques and keeps on bending easily making the job that much more difficult. To get around this problem, a much higher angle needs to be taken thus making the process quite a bit longer than it has to be.
9. Finer abrasive grit means a sharper edge: Contrary to the popular impression, the abrasive grit rating and apex width aren’t related at all. A good example of this “non-relation” between the two is the new factory finished knives. Their edges are still quite sharp yet they don’t carry a fine scratch pattern or even a polished finish.
The main purpose of using a finer grit is to achieve a finer edge finish and to facilitate prolonged edge retention. A finer grit helps in removing the metal that the blade loses during the grinding process.
10. Japanese knives respond better to Japanese waterstones: Japanese are an epitome of perfection and excellence. It’s evident in every little aspect of the Japanese way of life. And knife making is no exception. Japanese knives are absolutely gorgeous!
Quite a few people believe that a Japanese knife should only be sharpened on a Japanese waterstone. You’d be surprised to know that the core abrasive-mix of the Japanese waterstone is quite similar to that of waterstones available here in the West. It’s made of aluminum oxide and silicon carbide; the difference being the fusion process. So essentially, the Japanese and Western waterstones are the same and your custom Japanese knife will be perfectly fine on a waterstone available in the US.
11. End grain chopping boards maintain the knife sharpness for longer than do long grain chopping boards: This myth stems from the idea that when the knife cuts between wood fibers on an end-grain chopping board, it maintains blade sharpness for longer. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Functional tests have shown that using an end grain chopping board can reduce the blade sharpness while the long grain chopping board can actually prolong the knife sharpness.
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