I've been thinking of getting:

  • Tojiro DP Gyutou - 8.2" (21cm) knife
  • King Two Sided Sharpening Stone with Base - #1000 & #6000
  • Norton Flattening Stone for Waterstones
  • Winware Stainless Steel Sharpening Steel, 12-Inch
  • Extra large bamboo cutting board (18x12)

Is it smarter to send your knives to get sharpened, or to do it yourself like this? If I want to sharpen my own knives, are the listed items a good starting place?

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. It's difficult to provide good answers when you ask so many things in one "question". It would be better if you spit this up into separate posts. – Daniel Griscom Feb 13 '17 at 0:44
  • 2
    "Knives -- tell me everything about them and also about sharpening them!" This is far too much for one question. – David Richerby Feb 13 '17 at 0:45
  • Ah, I'm sorry about that. I've done a lot of research on these items and on the subject itself, I just want to make sure I'm getting the right equipment. So instead of a lengthy answer, I more so want reassurance or criticism. And of course a short, decisive, knowledgeable answer to the actual questions posed in my post. – Calfedon Feb 13 '17 at 1:04
  • Perhaps a good general rule is that if you can't summarize into a single question in the title, you're asking too much at once. (People who see just the title should have a good idea what you're asking.) Maybe edit with that in mind, and if necessary split this up and ask another question? – Cascabel Feb 13 '17 at 2:22
  • Okay, I edited this one down into a fairly manageable question, I think. Feel free to edit more, but try to avoid adding new, distinct questions, and remember to make sure the title is a good summary of the question (not just something generic). – Cascabel Feb 13 '17 at 2:43

My answer is that there isn't one simple answer, it depends on who you are and what you want to use your knives for.

Me, I'm a slightly disorganized amateur. I use my knives, on average 15 minutes every day, the day before Christmas perhaps 2 hours and on some days only five minutes. For that reason I don't spend a fortune on knives, instead, I buy middle of the range stuff, based on how they feel in my hand, the stiffness of the blade, etc.

Since I'm slightly disorganized, sharpening of my knives happens on a whim - no, this is too dull, I have to do something NOW - for that reason I sharpen my knives at home, sending out takes way more planning than I'm capable of.

Since I haven't spent a fortune on my knives, I don't mind using one of those mini grinders on my knives, they are fast, efficient and gets the job done.

The steel I use for everyday use is my only regret. I should have gone for something longer/bigger. A good quality 12 or 14-inch steel is definitely on my wish list.


There's quite a few related questions here on the subject of sharpening (pretty much everyone will have a different opinion on the subject...)

I'd start off with advice from the manufacturer, which can often be uses as a basis for a sharpening protocol

Tojiro Whetstone Series

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The website has some advice for what grades of whetstone are recommended for sharpening and finishing Tojiro knives:

First of all, rough grain is used to repair knives when they have chipping. It grinds the blades efficiently. From #100 to #500 are available in general but from #200 to #400 are suitable for knives.

Middle grain is used for edging. At your home, this will do everything for you and good enough to have this kind only. From #800 to #1200 are suitable.

Finishing grain is used for getting rid of tiny scratches that are made by middle grain and doing “Kobadome” that is a method to make edge stronger. From #3000 to #10000 are available in general but #4000 is often used. If you would like to this kind of finishing grind as your next step, this is what we recommend.

Bear in mind that the English version of the Tojiro website appears to be largely unfinished/broken.

If you only have the one (or few) good knives, then a couple of stones seems to be the economical solution. I have a set of 5 or 6 "good" knives, so I spent out on an electric sharpener which works well for me (I get them all done within the space of a few minutes without fretting about getting the right grain size, the right angle on the stone, etc.).

  • These Tojiro stones look very very similar to Naniwa stones, they might even be OEM products. – rackandboneman Feb 13 '17 at 11:37
  • And "kobadome" likely means "application of a microbevel" (a small, more obtuse bevel at the very front, so you get the apex resilience of an obtuse edge with the edge behaviour of a more acute one. good idea.). – rackandboneman Feb 14 '17 at 9:04

The DP is on the harder side, and is "too japanese" in blade design to trust old school professional sharpeners with unless they know japanese knives.

A sharpening steel, especially if used without much practice and knowledge, is likely to do more harm than good on these (or anything specified at 60+ HRC). A flat leather or wood strop (no need to load it with abrasive pastes) is often the best touchup tool for that kind of knife.

Th King stone is very good, but requires soaking, very frequent flattening and tends to make a mess - it is great for the workbench, not good for in kitchen use.

Get a decent coarse stone instead of a flattening plate, you'll need it sooner or later anyway.

Bamboo cutting boards aren't the gentlest on the knives, but have less warping problems than true wood boards and are OK to use.

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