If you find it hard to choose the right stone from the large number of different whetstones we offer, we recommend a stone from our combination stone page. If you don't have a lot of experience with these kinds of stones, we recommend a stone with 1000/3000 grain. For those with a little knowledge of the process, we recommend a 1000/6000 grain stone for a really razor-sharp edge. The 1000 grain side is for sharpening, and the 3000 or 6000 grain side is for removing the fine burr that develops along the edge during the sharpening process. These stones should be lubricated with water only!
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should one use a sharpening steel or any of the other patented sharpening devices on the market. If there was a good one out there, we would sell it. They may promise a revolutionary way to simplify sharpening a knife, but this is simply marketing twaddle. One needs only to read the instructions we include with every knife and every stone we sell, and then to practice a little. The result will be the truly sharp, long-lasting, and easy-to resharpen edge that your fine knives deserve.
Preparing food is a real pleasure if you have a sharp knife. You can forget the suffering induced by knives that are better at flattening tomatoes than slicing them if you start using Japanese kitchen knives and following a few simple rules.
|Hard cutting steel between two layers of iron||
The traditional Japanese knife known as the "Hocho" is usually forge-welded from two or three layers of steel and iron.
Within this group the "ryoba" (=double-sided) type has the cutting steel embedded between two toughened iron layers. These knives are sharpened from both sides.
The "kataba" (=single-sided) type has the cutting steel forge-welded to one layer of iron. These knives are sharpened form one side only and are especially suitable for filleting tasks.
|Two layers of iron to reduce brittleness|
You do need to get the feel of these knives. Also, remember that the sharper a blade, the more delicate. So Hocho knives should not be put in the dishwasher. Pieces of cutlery are knocked together in the dishwashing process, and the blade may be damaged.
Traditional Japanese knives are not stainless. This is another reason not to take them near a dishwasher. The same thing is true today as in years gone by: the best knife blades are made of carbon steel, which simply is not stainless. However, it requires only a little care to keep them from getting rusty. Just dry them after use! Only before a long period of non-use does the blade need to receive a smear of oil. The best protection is Camellia Oil.
What should you do if the knife gets rusty all the same? It is not a real problem, the rust disappears when you sharpen the knife. Additionally you can use a Rust Erazer, which is made of silicon carbide particles embedded in silicon, before sharpening. This is a fast and efficient way to remove the rust.
No knife will remain sharp for ever. The best way to sharpen Japanese Hocho knives is on Japanese waterstones. Even if you have never done it before, you will soon manage it with a bit of practice. There are instructions supplied with each knife. Dry running grinding wheels are completely the wrong thing, and sharpening steels not a good idea.
The great hardness of the Hocho blade (approx. 59 - 64 HRC) means that it is not as springy as conventional European knives. If you have bent it, it will not go back automatically to its original shape.
As long as you remember these points, you will long enjoy using your Hocho.