In a recent blog post, I discussed briefly how everyday maintenance and using a good cutting board helps prolong the edge of any knife. In this post, I will explain how to use your ceramic sharpening rod to keep your blades sharp longer.
There are two easy ways for you to strop your knives after each use. You can either set the rod on a hard, non-slip surface and strop downward or hold the rod in one hand above the counter surface. Photos are shown below.
In either case, the most important thing to remember is to keep your fingers and thumb out of the way! The photo shows one good way to hold your sharpening rod. Continuing with safety first, never pull the knife all the way to the bottom of the rod. The small rod in the photo is good for small knives and steak knives for this reason. For larger knives, we recommend a longer, thicker rod as shown in the photo of the rod being held on top of the cutting board.
Remember that Japanese blades have a narrow edge grind. Because I know you won't be getting out your protractor to take edge measurements, just try to set an angle at about 15-20 degrees. If you are using a fine grit rod and not applying much pressure, you will not damage your edge even if you aren't real accurate. The same is not true with diamond or steel rods which is why we recommend a ceramic rod for everyday use.
Another equally good way is to use a leather strop. Think old-time shaving razors and you've got the idea.
The other important thing to remember is never apply pressure. The knife blade should glide softly and easily over the rod. You are only trying to 'realign the atoms' so to speak, not remove them.
Give the knife about 12 strops on each side. I do it in groups of three...easy to remember that way.
Once you get the hang of it, it literally only takes a few seconds after you dry your knife and before storing it. You will actually enjoy both the experience and the result. Your knives will love you for it.
We welcome your questions and will gladly help you through owning your new knife either with videos or via facetime or e-mails.