Tale of a rock - Kimber Forum

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Old 06-19-2018, 11:24 PM   #1
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Tale of a rock

I'm intrigued by the videos of real togishi holding stones with their feet and freehanding their swords. I'll never do that, as I really do need all ten of my toes. But using a natural stone is clearly more zen-like and will create a greater bond between the polisher, the knifes, and the sandwich slicer. So what am I missing out on by using man-made stones and a fancy fixture?

As I was meditating upon this great riddle, I remembered a rock that was stuck in a cabinet in the garage. I got it from the estate of an old guy, whose name I can no longer recall, several decades distant. Back when I was a younger man rummaging through the shop of my deceased friend, the stone first caught my eye as I spied a dusty wooden box high on a long-forgotten shelf. I reached the box and lifted the top--to find a dirty old rock. It had been used, but not only slightly. Scribbled in the top of the box in pencil was, "Use only Vaseline."

I took the stone home, and used it a couple times with oil, and was unimpressed. From there, it found a home buried at the back of one of my cabinets, where it patiently waited, gathering dust, to be rediscovered.

A couple days ago, my thoughts turned to the dirty old rock. I found it tucked away in the cabinet, and brought it out so I could introduce it to my flattening stone. It's not that it needed flattening, but it needed some cleaning. Soap and a lot of elbow grease cleaned it up, and the next step was deciding what to do with it.

I decided to see what I could do with one of the knives from the kitchen. It's a slab of German stainless that was a gift 30+ years ago. The original scales fell apart long ago, so Mrs. Iron fashioned replacements out of Bottle Brush wood. I've been using stones and methods taught to us by Chico, and it's been working out nicely. If my experiments with the new stone failed, I could always go back to that.

So I began freehanding the knife on my old rock. I envisioned the sides of the knife, and the existing bevel at the edge. My plan was to knock off that corner, thinning that area, and tapering down to an edge. I think that optimally I would want each side of the edge to be a straight line, but I'm lazy, and this was to be just an experiment. My work was really going to produce a slightly convex surface.

So I started rubbing the rock, experimenting with different strokes and angles. Several times I thought I was done, but was compelled to go back when new ideas popped into my head. I played with a Sharpie along the edge, to see what was going on.

Eventually, I called it quits. With the naked eye, the edge is not as pretty as when I use the Chicom EdgePro. Magnified, the surface is much much smoother overall. In handling, you really wouldn't want to accidentally touch the edge. There are flaws that I could improve upon, but currently I'm just experimenting so there would be no point in that.

The tale is in the way the finished knife cuts. Right now, I can hold a cherry tomato in one hand, and shave off translucent slices. For me, that's quite acceptable. I'm thinking that frequent maintenance and refinement of technique is going to take the gratification of cooking to the next level.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:48 AM   #2
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I love the Rust.
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:31 PM   #3
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Well, grasshopper, you've learned the really hard part of polishing.

"You finally do not understand what you do not understand."

It took me about five years to learn that...
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:37 PM   #4
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Why are you the lucky one? I have been studying this one for about 29 years and to this day I know zip
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:03 AM   #5
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The ancient Masters
didn't try to educate the people,
but kindly taught them to not-know.

When they think that they know the answers,
people are difficult to guide.
When they know that they don't know,
people can find their own way.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:48 AM   #6
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Empty your mind, just concentrate on the edge.

Perfection comes from subtraction. Michelangelo said that in carving a statue all he did was chip away everything that was not the statue.

Every knife is shiny and sharp. Just carefully polish away the dullness and corrosion.

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