Chico Challenge: What do I do with this knife? - Kimber Forum

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Old 12-01-2018, 03:23 PM   #1
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Chico Challenge: What do I do with this knife?

The challenge for me is to make this knife better than it was when it was delivered to me. The challenge for you is to advise an impatient beginner with sub-standard tools on the best way to go about it.

Actually, I already know I can make it better. And anything you say will add to the sliced-dicey-goodness.

The knife is already far sharper than most household knifes, but I wan't it to be so sharp that a real chef will wet his pants upon laying eyes on this. We're shooting for chef-sharp, not samurai-sharp. That can wait for the next project.

The seven pictures will be added to two posts: three for each side, and one of the label. Are the tip and heel damaged enough so that I should attempt to reshape them, or should I just work with what I have? The grinding pattern on the sides isn't something I can reproduce, so should I just leave it? What kind of angle should I shoot for? My untrained eye tells me it's about 20 degrees, but I haven't rubbed a stone on it to find out. Should I take it down to 15 degrees?

What should be my first step?
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Old 12-01-2018, 03:24 PM   #2
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Pictures of the right side:
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Old 12-01-2018, 03:33 PM   #3
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First thing--you have to get the bevel uniform--front to back, and then left to right. Very important, then the edge goes straight down the middle of the blade blank. The biggest example of this is to compare the right side tip with the left side tip.

The heel of the right side looks better than the left. And if you want to scare yourself, turn on a strong light and hold the edge up and sight down it. For lack of a better description, you'll see a "spiral staircase."

Making the bevels uniform is the hardest, and longest portion of the sharpening. But once uniform, the rest is just polishing.

...I wish you were my neighbor...

(It's okay, Grasshopper, you should have seen my first knives...)

Edit: If you want to laugh, Chuck sent me a knife. It took four days to get all four bevels uniform. This does not come easily.
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Old 12-01-2018, 04:11 PM   #4
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In the past I would have said "what the heck are you talking about that knife looks great". But after following our "Knives" sub forum and Chico's contributions I am proud to say that I can spot all kinds of flaws. I am totally incapable of correcting them but I can sure see them.... thank you Chico.
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Old 12-01-2018, 05:55 PM   #5
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Thanks, buddy. I started with a 150 to see what I could do with the bevel as I touched up the tip and heel. I thought I did pretty good, but now that I'm further along, I see that I'm good side-to-side, but the edge is a bit narrow in the middle. I now have some good magnifiers, and I can see scratches that I would have missed before.

Overall it's not bad right now. I've given everything double effort. If I stopped now, it would be the sharpest knife on the block. But it's time for dinner. I'll continue tomorrow.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:01 PM   #6
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Got her done, and I'm happy with her. So I took Chico's advice to try to make the bevels the same in all dimensions. It's better than when I got it, but not perfect. If I do the knife again, I'll make it better next time.

Then I began polishing with my usual routine, but doing it twice as much. After taking it to 5000, I put the high-magnification lenses on, and noticed some deep scratches. I asked myself, what would Chico tell me to do? So I went back to 2000 for a do-over. By the time I got back to 5000, there were only 5000 grit scratches in the edge... except for one. But that's ok. If I do the knife again, I'll make it better next time.

Then I went to polishing tape. Instead of the Maguiar's, I used Mother's Chrome and Glass polish. I polished twice as long as usual. I went twice as long as usual. When I was finished, the edge was nasty sharp. The edge wasn't mirror-like. It was at the very edge, but back a ways the 5000 grit scratches started. I think I should have gone with the Maguiar's first, then switched to Mother's. Maguiar's has left a nice mirror on past projects. Or maybe the steel of this knife is different to work with. I don't know. If I do the knife again, I'll make it better next time.

I tried taking some pictures of the finished edge, but my heart isn't in it. It's interesting that the knife had deep scratches, like it was sharpened on a bench grinder. It's much nicer now. I think the owner will be pleased. Hopefully this project will earn me some nice sashimi.
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:30 PM   #7
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If you drank cold coffee wore a flannel shirt and the sashimi is in a subway sub then you have potential.
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:58 PM   #8
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Cut stuff.....
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:23 AM   #9
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'Iron, you just joined the lineage of an 800 year old craft.

For example, you said, "It was not perfect." I say that every time, I've taken knives out of the UPS box I was going to send and did it over. The Japanese call polishing "the curse." To a craftsman it will never be good enough.

Last week I wanted a knife for myself, and I went over the knife with four stones and three polishes. It looked very good.

Then later I looked at it again, flipped it over and looked at the other side. To my disbelief one bevel was a tad wider than the other. No one would have noticed this--but I did.

And when it needs another polishing, I'll fix it. It's not perfect.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:07 AM   #10
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If the blade was perfect, I'd be reluctant to actually use it. If I have an idea how to make it better, then the harder I use the blade now, the sooner I get to make it better.

On this knife, the point and the heel were both rounded upward from hard use. You can see it in the picture. What's a good way to address this?
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