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This question is somewhat similar to How to sharpen knife with chunk missing?, but the knives I have are not ruined like the one in that question, and I doubt the answer here would be to just throw away the knives as in that question.

I have three different Classic Global knives – a G2, a G5, and a GSF22 – which are all somewhere between eight and ten years old. None of them have ever been sharpened before. Especially the G5 and the GSF22 have been frequently used, and the blades are showing the effects of that, so I’ve bought an MS5 ceramic whetstone to sharpen them.

I’m a complete novice when it comes to sharpening knives, especially with whetstones, so I did the usual thing first: watched some YouTube videos (Global have one themselves which was very instructional) and read up on it on the Internet.

The M5-OM whetstone I have is 1000 grit, which I realise is probably not really coarse enough to get efficiently rid of nicks very efficiently, but I didn’t feel like splurging on more than one whetstone to begin with, so I got the medium one to start with.

I’ve just sharpened all three knives now, and I admit the results are a bit underwhelming to me. The knives are decidedly sharper than they were before, but all the little nicks and chips in the blades that have developed over the years are still there – some of them actually look bigger now than they were before, which was rather the opposite of what I wanted to achieve.

For comparison, here are two superimposed images of the blade of the GSF22 before (top) and after (bottom) sharpening (click for full size to see the nicks better):

Nicked blades

None of the nicks you see there are very big to begin with (the blade is 11 cm in total), but I would have thought sharpening the knife would at least have reduced them, taking material off the edge of the blade, but not where it’s nicked.

With this level of nicking, is it normal that sharpening the blade does not seem to affect the nick? Or does this level of nicking simply require a coarser grit than 1000 to even start getting rid of the nicks at all? Or is it evident from the photo that I did something very wrong when sharpening (over- or undersharpening, wrong angle, etc.), which may have exacerbated the nicks rather than getting rid of them?

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You are indeed supposed to remove so much material from the blade that the nicks disappear completely. You'll have to lose what's probably a least a milimeter of the blade's width.

For that, the 1000er grit is indeed too fine. Go for something much coarser, and use finer grits for finishing. With the stone you're using, you'll have to spend days to get so much steel ground away. Something in the 150-300 range will do nicely for the task you have.

  • Thank you! Apart from not wanting to spend all my money on a whole set of whetstones, I was also worried that I might just ruin the knives entirely if I used a coarse stone on them, and I didn’t know how coarse to go, nor indeed how long to spend on it. Good to know that someone who knows a bit about it reckons I do need a coarser one. I’ll probably get a 300 or 400 grit stone as well (don’t plan on letting them get this nicked again before I sharpen them again) to start with. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 1 at 20:34
  • The whole process might be easier on you if you stop worrying about ruining the knives. When you learn a skill from scratch, it is practically guaranteed that you will make mistakes, and there is a high chance that a few of your initial learning materials will be ruined. That's just a standard expense of education. Start working with cheaper knives if you can't afford to risk these. Also, if you want to minimize the money or space expense on stones, you might leave out the 300-400 for now. If you intend to sharpen your knives regularly with the 1000er when they are dull but before... – rumtscho Jan 1 at 20:40
  • ... they get nicked, that can be enough. Of course, adding a grit gives you more versatility and a more enjoyable learning process, so you have to balance towards what you prefer. Also, one more thing about "ruined" knives: you can certainly put a terrible edge on a knive by bad sharpening, but that's correctable, if not by you, then by a professional. So you get many "fail and repeat" chances per knive. The limiting factor is that at some point, the knife shape becomes uncomfortable for cutting, you end up with a boning knife. – rumtscho Jan 1 at 20:40
  • A Diamond whetstone block duckduckgo.com/?q=diamond+whetstone&t=ffsb&ia=web has sides going from 200 to 800 or so, and won't set you back too much. – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 2 at 0:21

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