Let's face it, if you sharpen a steel tool you're going to get a burr at the edge. You know, that little peice of steel that's been abraded away from it's home and is hanging on for dear life.
In all the sharpening I've done it's become clear to me a couple of things....
1. The worst knives to deburr are those constructed from real expensive super steels and those made from super market steels.
2. Stainless, especially forged by the Japanese, will always be tougher to deal with.
3. All Japanese knives are harder to deburr than almost all other knives on the planet.
4. If you think that you can make an edge by "sneaking up on the burr" and not actually creating one then you're either fooling yourself or you're just a fool with your head stuck in the sand because it just can't happen.
The hardest thing for me in doing professional Japanese knife sharpening has been dealing with the issue of burr removal and later the dreaded wire edge. I view burrs as the loose metal that can be drawn off the edge while the wire edge would be the thinnest cross section of steel found just below the burrs but above the true edge. The burrs need to be pulled off and the wire edge needs to be reduced through abrasion/polishing. You don't see what I'm talking about on non-Japanese knives.
In my estimation more than 90% of Japanese knife users are cutting on a weak wire edge. This is an OK thing for a knife like a yanagiba to which will only cut raw protein but what about a gyuto which could see a multitude of cutting tasks and is used hard against a cutting board? Ever hear a self sharpening chef exclaim that his fresh edge died 15 mins into his shift? I have, many times over, and the culprit was always the wire edge that had not been reduced away properly.
I've worked on this problem for many years now, trying to come up with a wire edge reduction procedure that I could pass along to people to use themselves to make stronger, sharper, longer lasting edges. I couldn't tell you how many things I've tried but I never got as close as I've now recently been able to do.
What's the big breakthrough? Well it's pretty simple actually, it's a two part solution, the first being a series of steps to follow and the second being our new ULTRA-Rock Hard Felt Deburring Pad and Hard Felt Deburring Block.
I suggest the following...
1. Grind in a bevel (on a coarse stone) until burr is achieved along the entire blade length - both sides.
2. Slice into felt block, then strop on felt pad, then slice into felt block again.
3. Use your next stones (whatever they may be) and follow each stone with step #2.
If followed correctly this method of deburring will provide you with a near perfect edge at the end of your sharpening session. This simple procedure and felt set has changed my ability to produce better edges and to do so much quicker than ever before.
If you're interested in checking out these new felts please see Japanese Knife Sharpening DeBurring Felts
Just in case you're thinking that you can run down to Joann's Fabric store and grab yourself some felt to try out I'll save you the trip and tell you that this felt we sell is an industrial felt imported from India that was selected by us after three months of testing of multiple sources. It was selected because it was the only one that worked effectively on hard to deburr Japanese knives. There's no other that we know of like it.