From temperamental blade issues to major repair work there has been plenty to learn along the way over the years. It's one thing to watch a video on how to sharpen but its a totally different kettle of fish to acquire the muscle memory and learn the techniques and issues that arise with the work. Nothing is as easy as they make it out to be to get you to buy their machines, stones and other products.
It takes time, dedication and plenty of lessons from mistakes to become a proficient sharpener. There's a lot of variants involved and common issues that arise are from a manufacturing quality standpoint. To give you some examples of how knives can vary from blade to blade here's what I have ran across over the years.
- Not using the steel that is advertised and or not heat treating it correctly to allow the steel to correctly form.
The first is definitely happening in the knife industry and a couple of manufacturers have been caught in the past the market is rife with false advertising.
However the second is definitely more common where to save a few dollars or most likely just because they don't have the correct forging tools it gets the close enough is good enough approach.
Correctly manufacturing the main chefs knife in the set and cutting corners on the rest is also another thing that does occur.
- Lazy or cost driven manufacturing.
There are companies and or employees in companies that just don't change or freshen the grinding belts anywhere near often enough. What this basically means is the grit is no longer effectively cutting the material away causing heat from friction. Now they have just set the temper of the blade to the manufacturers specifications and all of a sudden it gets overheated from a belt causing it to go brittle.
This can happen on any stage of the grinding so it can affect either the entire blade, the edge or a certain depth into the steel.
What this means is it can come out of factory with a fine looking sharp edge, but then when you go to use it all of a sudden it starts chipping away. Then you go to sharpen it and the edge will just keep chipping off. Next minute your 30 mins into the sharpening and you have lost 3 or 4 sharpening's out of the knife.
So with this all in mind understand what you are getting into when you make a purchase and buy according to your personal situation rather than looks or advertising. Here's a few things to ask yourself when you are looking at new blades.
What is the intended material it will be cutting?
Who else will be using them and what will they more than likely try and use them for?
Will the users both hand wash and dry the knives or will they see a dishwasher?
Will they always use a proper board to cut on?
Do you all know how to touch up and edge properly?
Have you considered a grippy hand filling handle for when your hands are slippery?
How thick is the blade?
So if you take the time to ask yourself these questions and speak to a reputable knife dealer they should be able to sell you the right tool for the job first time saving yourself a lot of headaches.