How Do We Sharpen at Togu?

At Togu we put each knife through the following seven step process to ensure that every blade we ship has the sharpest, most durable edge. Read on if you are interested in learning more about our process and how you can care for your knives at home.

Anatomy of a knife, depicting point, blade, edge, spine, heel, bolseter, handle, rivet, bevel, and bevel angle

  • Inspect

  • When a knife is returned the first thing we do is inspect the edge. We look for damage such as large chips as well as dull spots and other indications of wear to determine what maintenance is necessary.

     

  • Grind

  • If there is significant damage we grind the blade using a coarse stone on a motorized whetstone grinder. We use this type of grinder because heating and cooling a blade can cause it to become soft and pliable, or hard and brittle. Our grinder spins at a slow speed and is water-cooled which allows the blade to maintain the precise hardness imparted when it was forged.

    Thin

  • As a knife is repeatedly sharpened the portion of the blade just behind the edge gets progressively thicker. This causes the blade to act like a wedge, requiring more force to make its way through food. In order to maintain a knife’s cutting performance the blade must be periodically thinned. We perform the thinning process by grinding the blade at a low angle on our whetstone grinder.
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  • Refinish

  • We use a fine grit sandpaper to refinish the knife each time it is returned. This removes tooling marks from the grinding and thinning processes, as well as small scratches in the blade. This keeps the blade looking fresh, and helps it release food after cutting.

    Sharpen

    We use a multi-step sharpening technique to impart a compound bevel on every knife. We start by grinding a low angle bevel along the length of the blade which provides an acute and sharp edge. On its own this edge is quite sharp but it is also delicate, and will dull quickly. We finish with a few strokes at a steeper angle, leaving the edge both sharp and durable.

     

    Polish

    We use a leather strop and honing compound to polish the newly formed edge. This rounds over the hard angles between bevels and buffs out the microscopic scratches left from the stone. The result is an incredibly smooth cut that lasts.

     

    Quality Control

    Finally, we test the edge by slicing through a piece of newsprint and then a carrot. The newsprint tests the uniformity of the edge; even an imperceptible chip can be felt by a hitch in the smooth slicing action of the blade. The carrot is a functional test that reveals proper blade geometry. If the blade does not slice straight though the carrot, and instead wanders to one side or the other, the geometry must be adjusted. We adjust, re-sharpen, and re-polish until QC is passed.