How To Sharpen a Fujiwara Santoku Knife on Water Stones
There are too many knife sharpening videos to count and if watching a video in order to become enlightened with regards to the process of sharpening, you may find the selection process overwhelming. As a novice, you want to find one that will simplify the process for you, make any doubts you have about your ability to sharpen vanish. So finding the right one could be just as challenging as the process itself.
Complete Video: Sharpening a Handmade Fujiwara Santoku Knife
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Focus on The Sharpening Process, Not on The Results
Too many videos focus on the sharpeners end game, they show a knife slicing the top of a tomato off without the tomato being held. While this a fine display of the sharpeners skill and potential of the knife itself, it may mislead a novice sharpener. When I started my sharpening journey, I was proud of myself if I didn’t make the knife more dull than when I started, there was no way I would have been able to perform miracle slices and if I thought that was the ultimate display of skill, my inability to create those surgically sharp edges may have shaken my confidence and clouded my focus on what was really important.
Here I am suggesting that there are too many sharpening videos and yet I have made another one for you. My goal is not to just make another video of my sharpening process but to assist novice sharpeners in achieving realistic sharpening goals, to allow them to logically navigate the stepping stones of the art of knife sharpening by hand and commence their own sharpening journey in a direction that will not just lead to extremely sharp knives but to build and understanding of the creation of better edges, not just sharp but Sharp Smart.
There won’t be any dazzling displays of sharpness with me slicing through lotus blossoms while holding the knife in my teeth. Instead, you will learn how to make your knife sharper today than it was yesterday. You will learn from the mistakes I have made when I started learning and getting very serious about it. In order to ensure you step off on the right path, I went through the pains of making lots of mistakes, I did this for you.
The Sharpeners Journey
The sharpeners journey is much like the tools he or she uses, the Japanese Water Stones in my case, the coarse, medium and fine stones. It starts off a little rough or Coarse, an urge to sharpen rather than a knowledge of the process. Then we progress into the Medium level of skill where we grow and develop muscle memory and technique and create edges beyond our wildest dream. The Fine stage will lead us into the understanding of steel, alloys, edge retention and further development of our skill. We will discover that what we believed to be Pat Myself on the Back Edges were not even nothing like what we can do now. For me, there is no pinnacle, no summit to reach. While there may be a time when we can learn as much as we can about the process of sharpening, I sincerely hopes there comes no point in my sharpening life where I believe I cannot improve. If at any point in your sharpening journey you believe this to be your case, where you have it all, I suggest that you get over that and consider this: I knew of a man who started sharpening at 15 years of age. At the age of 67 he was still visiting his Master twice a year to ensure he was still moving in the right direction. The art of sharpening, your own level of success will be a self driven goal, there is no test at the end of the day to pass that will elevate you to the top of the sharpening ladder. Your sharpening ability and mine may be different but that doesn’t mean what you will achieve is any less significant than what I have or will achieve. Manage your expectations and just enjoy the process instead of achieving unrealistic goals. That knife that can make a horizontal slice through a tomato may be sharp but it may not be an appropriate edge. Remember, the stepping stones continue into the mist, don’t let your mind stop your journey and know that each stone is as important as the one before.
Embrace all of the connected elements of the process that make it so incredible, it is a unique sensation and it will only end if you let it, so just keep improving, beyond the Fine stones there are Ultra fine stones, who knows what lies beyond that. What is important is that during the early days, you can enjoy it as much as you can in later years, the edges you create in the first month are important, don’t think of them as “a little less dull” Think of them as the Beginning of Sharpness, that Dull Stepping Stone is behind you now.
Sorry if that was a little deep, one becomes very passionate about this and eager to share and motivate. All you need to know is that the sharpening process, with just a little bit of practice and passion has the potential to unleash a feeling of satisfaction that will be yours to enjoy throughout your entire sharpening journey. Start with the low hanging fruit and that will be enough, but start with the right frame of mind. Build a strong, smart foundation and that is not difficult to do as you will see in the video. I don’t suggest that you should not strive for perfection but don’t let that desire interfere with your sharpening path, don’t jump to far ahead of yourself.
Conclusion: It’s Sharpening Time
Your role as a sharpener, whether you sharpen your own knives only or if you plan to do it professionally is to build edges that are not just sharp but appropriate for the knives you sharpen. People who purchase knives, in my experience, won’t think about anything but the cost of the knife, the appearance, the way it feels and the expectation that it will slice beautifully on day one and beyond. Your goal is to make that “beyond” a reality, not just make it sharp but keep it sharp for as long as possible and at some point, make that knife better than it was when new. Most people are not familiar with truly sharp knives, the sharpest knife they have used is the one they bought. You can change that for them, it will be exciting for you and rewarding.
Thank you for reading this and watching the video.