Ooh, shiny
June 20, 2017 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Very satisfying, both knife and cat.
posted by The otter lady at 9:09 PM on June 20, 2017 [21 favorites]

Missing the #OddlySatisfying tag.
posted by Fizz at 9:13 PM on June 20, 2017 [6 favorites]

Makes me think that the old ginsu ads really missed out by not having a cat
posted by nubs at 9:19 PM on June 20, 2017 [8 favorites]

I really like that cat.
posted by thivaia at 9:21 PM on June 20, 2017 [9 favorites]

It's a good cat, Bart.
posted by janey47 at 9:38 PM on June 20, 2017 [7 favorites]

This guy really knows how to sharpen a knife! Sharpening a $1 knife.
posted by unliteral at 9:40 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

I want to use his tomato cutting technique!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:43 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Previously. Jun's gotten a new kitty since his last videos!
posted by Dante Riordan at 9:43 PM on June 20, 2017

This guy knifes.

(or "knives"?! What does this guy kanif, exactly?
posted by alex_skazat at 9:45 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is Jun of the famous and charming Japanese/American YouTube couple Rachel and Jun!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:53 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

This is so satisfying.
posted by Toddles at 10:08 PM on June 20, 2017

The guy has beautiful hands, too--- long-fingered, smooth and graceful. And the shots of the cat in the basket on the bike passing through the neighborhood are enchanting. This is just wonderful.
posted by The otter lady at 10:30 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

That was incredible finesse shown there. But for an example of purely beautiful cooking on his part, check out his Crepe Suzette.
posted by happyroach at 10:34 PM on June 20, 2017 [10 favorites]

I wish I knew how to sharpen knives better. Mine don't seem to be much sharper after I do them than before.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:35 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

To not abuse edit window, I just watched the crepe suzette one, and now I need a cigarette and a nap. My goodness.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:45 PM on June 20, 2017 [25 favorites]

Haku, growing up.
posted by eye of newt at 10:52 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think the cat actually is impressed, he just has a rep to uphold.
posted by scalefree at 11:50 PM on June 20, 2017 [7 favorites]

This knife... can cut.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:03 AM on June 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

That man… can cook.

(fans self)
posted by Soliloquy at 1:19 AM on June 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

The cat seemed kind of impressed when he was slicing that daikon paper thin.
posted by lordrunningclam at 1:43 AM on June 21, 2017 [14 favorites]

The panache of it all though. I lost my mind at the floating leaf being cleanly cut, then promptly lost it again a few seconds later with the tomato drop.

Those cats seem pretty stoic in general. His (excellent) ramen video shows them gazing at fried chicken skin with only mild interest.

I would also note that when delicate operations are being prepared one of his cats, Poki, is conspicuous by its absence...
posted by ocular shenanigans at 2:04 AM on June 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

Tandem cleaning is the best type of cleaning.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 3:25 AM on June 21, 2017

Oh god, don't cut towards yourself... I've got the scar to prove it
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:16 AM on June 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

$3 knife, but I'm wondering how much all the other stuff he used to fix up the knife cost. I imagine considerably more than $3!
posted by Justinian at 4:54 AM on June 21, 2017

He links the stones he uses in the video description, to Amazon. For knife sharpening equipment, he's using fairly modest and cheap supplies as well. The whole kit seems to be less than $100 US.
posted by bonehead at 5:31 AM on June 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a Wusthof knife sharpening thing, one of those handle grips with a hand guard and two slots for coarse and fine, it's kinda mediocre but it seems to make them at least sharper than they were before. Guess I need to up my knife game!
posted by thelonius at 6:18 AM on June 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I immediately thought of Poki when I saw this guy's face. I hope they figured out the recycling bin. (Previously)
posted by AFABulous at 7:00 AM on June 21, 2017

Meh, any idiot can cut a radish. But only a truly sharp knife and a master swordsman can cut a radish, then put it back together.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:29 AM on June 21, 2017

The cats are not always stoic.
posted by jeather at 8:30 AM on June 21, 2017 [8 favorites]

I wish I knew how to sharpen knives better. Mine don't seem to be much sharper after I do them than before.

Spiderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker. Dead easy and you get an edge just as sharp as what he's demonstrating in the video.
posted by Huck500 at 8:36 AM on June 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

It takes talent to keep the blade at a consistent angle on the phone, and the nakiri has the added difficulty of the edge taking a right angle up at the tip. This is a quality carbon steel knife, and will hold that edge a loooong time with only occasional touch-ups on the fine stone. (Japanese cooks generally don't steel their knives, especially chisel-grind blades like this, just a quick run along a stone before cooking.)

I don't have the hand-eye coordination for this type of work, so I bought a Work Sharp. Takes some practice with crummy dollar-store knives before you learn how not to cup the blade near the handle or round off the tip, but it gets things shaaaaaaarp. There are aftermarket abrasive belts for various levels of knife nerdery, even diamond ones.

I have a set of cheap ceramic knives from the Job Lot - they're well made and attractive, but came from the factory about as finely honed as a bowling ball. Ten minutes on the Worksharp, and they're push-cutting paper all day long. Great for acidic stuff like tomatoes and fruit, or sticky stuff like garlic and cheese.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:28 AM on June 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

tl;dr: With a few dollars worth of sandpaper and glass and a few hours of practice, anyone can do this. With a few hundreds of dollars one can do it just like in the video.

I wish I knew how to sharpen knives better. Mine don't seem to be much sharper after I do them than before.

>>> Spiderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker. Dead easy and you get an edge just as sharp as what he's demonstrating in the video.

First of all, I recommend learning how to sharpen by hand using a stone. Once you master this, you can sharpen knives with the unglazed bottom of a coffee mug, the edge of a car window, any old piece of sandpaper.

I promise that at the end of this long winded post I will point you to a system that costs just a few dollars and that will train you to be an expert knife sharpener. But first I have to show off a little bit :). Maybe it is a simple as you not knocking off the burr and/or wire edge.

I am kind of a knife sharpening geek. To give you an idea, last year we rewarded my team with new fancy Leatherman multi tools. The blades came sharp from the factory, but not sharp or symmetrical enough for me. I spent one Saturday morning building a fixture (the blades have to be removed from the tool to properly sharpen, and they have a tiny tang too short to hold by hand) and the afternoon sharpening a bunch of blades. Some I mirror polished for people who like thin slicing stuff, some I left a little rough for cutting rope and such.

Look at these crappy cellphone pictures of the factory edge, halfway done, "rough" sharpened with a secondary bevel (still sharp enough to slice paper like in the video, but with a little "grab" to make cutting rope easier. The secondary bevel makes the edge more durable and easier to maintain), and finally mirror polished for slicing stuff really really thin (it can literally whittle hair).

I have tried all kinds of sharpening systems. The Sharpmaker and similar systems are pretty decent to get a consistent angle, you just need to have enough eye-hand control and spatial awareness to maintain the knife blade perfectly perpendicular to the base.

I have more complicated and expensive systems, like the edge-pro.

None of the commercial systems do exactly what I want, so for occasions when I am going to be sharpening multiple similar blades in one session, I built my own sharpening jig. I am sorry I have no pictures of it in use, but you get the idea.

Having said all that, my favorite sharpening method is to use stones. Depending on what I want to do (relax and meditate, or get finished quickly), and the type of steel I use modern stones (shapton glass, assorted ceramics, diamond coated, diamond spray on different substrates) or traditional Japanese and American stones. It takes patience, but I enjoy setting up the workspace, soaking the stones, the careful repetitive motions.

The problems is that even a basic set of tones and strops of good quality will cost over a hundred dollars (I have stones that are $200 each new. I bought them from someone who thought they had ruined them, and spent a weekend restoring them).

The other problem is the steep learning curve. The three main skills to develop are:

1- Keep a consistent angle along the whole length of the blade. When learning it helps to paint the edge of the knife with sharpie, and after every stroke check that sharpie is being removed consistently from the whole width of the bevel. If you are only removing sharpie from the 'shoulder' and not hitting the very edge you raise your angle. If you are only removing from the very edge, lower your angle.

2- Burr detection. You alternate sides when sharpening a knife. The idea is to remove material from both sides of the bevel until they meet at a very sharp point. The problem is that steel has some flexibility, and when the two sides meet, a little bit of still will roll over creating a burr. Once you can see or feel the burr, you know you are done with the current stone, it is time to knock off the burr and start on the finer stone.

A typical mistake is to stop sharpening before a burr is created, and another one is to keep sharpening long after a burr has been created. I use my fingernails to detect the burr, but at the start I used a flashlight and a magnifying glass. When you are learning, check often, and in case of doubt, give it a couple more passes.

I knock off the burr by "slicing" a piece of felt, wine corks work as well.

3- Patience and thoroughness. Sharpen the same number of times on each side. Don't stop until you can feel a burr. Knock off the burr, then move to the finer stone. Continue on the finer stone until ALL grind marks from the previous stone are gone AND you have a burr. Repeat.

How to learn to sharpen without spending hundreds of dollars on stones? Sandpaper and a piece of flat glass.

Get assorted grits of sandpaper for metal, from 200 (only needed for a really badly damaged knife or to set a new angle) to 1,000. 2,000 to 4,000 are good only if you want mirror polished knives.

Get a few pieces of flat glass, at least the size of half a sandpaper sheet each. I got them for cents each from a local glass shop's scrap bin.

Get a few inexpensive knives (like the one in the video).

Glue the sandpapers to the pieces of glass.

Look for any number of Japanese Stone Knife Sharpening videos on YouTube and practice with your inexpensive knives and 'stones'.

When your knife is super sharp, go and ruin the edge so you can practice again.

These are pics of some inexpensive knives being restored with this method. I was teaching someone how to sharpen, they got it in an afternoon. At the end I finished with the bottom of a coffee mug, that felt as smooth as a 2,000 grit stone. Chipped edge, ground down to a new edge with 200 grit sandpaper (4 or 5 passes only!), almost done, after coffee mug, ta-da ! (hard to see in the pick, but the knife is 'filleting' half the thickness of the index card.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:29 AM on June 21, 2017 [68 favorites]

Holy shit, Doc! Thanks!
posted by notsnot at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add, if you get a nice ceramic rod (steel rods vary in quality too much, some will ruin your edge, some will barely scratch hard steels) and give your knife a couple of passes on each side after every use, you will keep your knife sharp for many months of daily use. I do full on sharpening only 2 times a year.

Use the sharpie on the edge method to find the angle with the rod.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:14 PM on June 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

The video is great, but that cat is the real treasure.
posted by ThatSomething at 1:38 PM on June 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

I wonder how many different grades of stone that went through.
posted by kenko at 11:51 PM on June 21, 2017

My cat was equally unimpressed AND offended by the background music and, to be frank, her human watching cat videos.

But the knife looks brilliant!
posted by kitten magic at 12:18 AM on June 22, 2017

Dr. Curare, thanks for that. As a beginning hand tool woodworker, I'm discovering the joy of sharpening and using a keen edge myself.

Can I ask if you have an opinion on waterstones versus natural and synthetic Arkanasas oilstones? The biggest barrier for waterstones for me is just how expensive they are, but I love the results I get with them.
posted by biogeo at 9:19 AM on June 22, 2017

When I have the time I prefer waterstones. I enjoy the ritual of setting up a workspace, soaking the stones and watching them come alive. Lapping the ones that need it. I like the sound and the tactile feeling of the different stones. I love getting a nice slurry going, they all smell and taste (don't judge) different.

One of my top five happy afternoons is sharpening with waterstones after one of the first rainy days in the year, in front of an open window. Sharpening is a microcosm of what's going on outside. Waterstones have their own petrichor, the rhythmic sound of the steel on the stone matches the dripping of water from the trees, some times I get call and response from birds. The golden afternoon light is not easy, but shows the burr in a lovely way once you get the angle right.

But I just do this once a year, sometimes twice, when I give all my good knives a throrough sharpening, and I know I want to spend 4 or 5 hours on this (I own an embarrassing number of knives, and also sharpening for friends).

Most of the time I use modern ceramic and diamond stones. The experience is more sterile, but it is faster, not messy at all, predictable, and they can handle the crazy hard steels like butter. I can get a knife from chipped edge to hair whittling sharp in 3 minutes, no cleanup needed. But I have the expensive stuff, shapton glassstones and atoma diamond plates and stuff like that.

I never got the hang of Arkansas stones, no opinion there.

If you are on a budget, don't get the super cheaply made stones. They are inconsistent, frustrating, and you will end up hating the process.

The good news is that for chisels and other woodworking tools sandpaper is very very good. Look up something like 'scary sharp method' and 'chisel'.

You can find good quality used stones in Craigslist and garage sales. People sell them for cheap when they ruin the shape. If there is enough thickness left you can make them good again in half an hour with sandpaper on glass, or in 5 minutes with a rough diamond plate. I have a $150 140 grit atoma plate that I have used to restore a couple thousand dollars worth of damaged Japanese waterstones, that is how I built my collection over 10 years.
posted by Dr. Curare at 10:02 AM on June 22, 2017 [5 favorites]

This appeals to my interests in multiple ways, and I am delighted.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:20 PM on June 23, 2017

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