Some time ago somebody from my country has contacted me with some questions about knives. We started talking and after some time we became friends. This guy is a Ph.D. on Department of Parallel and Distributed Computing. Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science on Nicolaus Copernicus University. Yeah. Even I don't know what does that mean, but it's not about computers anymore. Trust me or not, but for me this guy is doing the best sushi in Poland. And he is not a pro. Just home cook and sushi enthusiast. Want to check it out? Check out his facebook and do not forget to like his page.
So after few attempts I've managed to force him to send me his knife. He has sharpened it and when I got it I thought that it is ok. It is sharp. The only problem was visual and it doesn't affect cutting. He was also complaining about shinogi line, because it was rounded, which was mostly visible near kanji. I didn't know what to do with that knife. As I said, it was sharp, it doesn't need any repair etc. Shipping from Poland to UK is quite expensive so it was pointless to just send it back. Then I have decided to make him surprise and to modify his yanagiba.
These are pictures of knife when I got it.
I hate those cheap handles with big ridge between handle and the ferrule. Also it was plastic.
So I started my work from fixing ura. As usual I have paint the back with red marker to see where I remove the metal.
As you can see here there is no contact between very heel and the stone. This is happening due to edge being bent. I thought about tapping it out, in exactly same way as tapping out the plane blades, but to be honest I was little scared of that. I have noticed that it is easy to sharpen that place. You only have to focus your pressure in that place.
So I thought that it will be cool if I try to even out the lines and then polish the ura. Back of the every single yanagi has diagonal scratches from the grinding wheel. To do that I used ura fixer which is a small rough stone. All you have to do with it is to hold it somehow and then grind some metal with forth and back moves.
After that I have used fingerstones to polish the back of the knife.
And here it is. It is now even and smooth. All scratches from grinding wheel has dissappeared. Also now you can see the place where iron and steel became one. It was visible previously but not like that.
Now became the time to do something with shinogi line. Repairing shinogi is not easy and it's time consuming. I had two options to do that. First I could simply sharpen it for a very long time to lift shinogi line. The second option was to sacrifice a little bit of kanji and then make top part of the blade totally flat. With a little bit of normal sharpening I could make two bevels meet exactly where shinogi is.
To do that you must use 100% flat stone or diamond plates.
I've learned that before that every single bevel knife is concaved in place where everybody thinks that it's flat. On the picture below you can see that i am removing metal near shinogi and near spine.
Here it's almost complete. You can see almost sharp angle on shinogi line. It's still not sharp near the heel, but I was working on it.
In the mean time I made a new handle from Pomelle wood, brass spacer and ironwood ferrule. Now it was a time to make a saya.
Honestly I am happy with saya. I have managed to grind a very nice bevel on my new belt grinder. This also made me thinking and I think that if I did it in wood then I could make it in steel as well:D
Obviously saya is made from very bright cedar and colour doesn't match with handle so I have dyed it with mahoganny and walnut dyes.
So here it is. The complete modification. The owner of that knife is also hobbyist photographer. Some time ago, after little conversation he made me buy new camera. It is dslr Nikon D7100. It took me 4 days of experimenting with different exposures to take those pictures.
Here you can see new shonogi line. Due to some light reflexes you cannot see it, but trust me it is straight and sharp.
This is the picture which Michal, owner of that knife took before posting it to me.
I wanted to make similar, but it is too hard and my photogaphy skills are too low. This is all I have managed to do.
I was using 4''x36''Clarke CS4-6D belt and disc sander which was modified to take 2''x36''. It was working fine, but it is too slow for some applications. For knife making it was not enough. It doesn't mean that you cannot use it - I've made three knives on that grinder, thinned a lot of them and did all my handles. However I wanted something more professional and more powerful - a 2''x72'' belt grinder. Machines like that are very expensive and usually you cannot just buy them in tools shop. They are custom made. I have found a good option here in UK, but it was expensive. For a belt grinder with engine, professional inverter and all equipment and attachments including contact wheels I would have to pay about £1700. Of course I couldn't afford it. And then I saw that post on Britishblades.com forum. Somebody have mentioned cheap belt grinder on ebay which was made in Greece.. People were talking about it and maker of that machine has joined conversation. It was way cheaper and after some hesitation I have decided to order it. Now, after 7 months I got it, but there is negative side of the whole thing. You see, that guy have promised me that he will build it in three weeks. To spare you all details it looked like that:
I have ordered my grinder. I have paid £835 in advance
Instead of three weeks I got it two months later - incomplete
I was promised that I will get rest of attachments quickly.
I kept asking for my tools and was still promised that they will be sent on Monday
I have stopped counting Mondays and also had enough of empty promises.
Suddenly in January I received email with apologies and promise that I will get my stuff soon.
I sent three emails and never got an answer.
On 15th of March instead of sending another email I decided to post it on the forums in that guy's thread and I got polite answer few minutes later. He couldn't answer for my emails for two months, but he did when his reputation was in danger.
Few minutes later he started sending me private messages in which he was threatening me with solicitors, because as he said ''I was destroying his reputation and slandering him on the internet'' bla bla bla.
I have reported that to admins and they helped me to solve that problem. I got my tools 7 months after ordering them. It is not acceptable to treat customers like that. Anyway here is my belt grinder.
Three phase ABB 3GAA091001-BSE engine. Power: 1.50kW, Speed: 3510r/min
Invertek ODE-2-22220-1KB4Y Optidrive E2. I can control every aspect of the engine with that inverter.
Front flat platen with adjustable angle
10'' and 6'' contact wheels
Small wheel attachment with different small wheels.
Additional flat platen which will allow me to work on top of the belt.
My grinder is quite heavy so to avoid problems with transporting it I have settled it up on the storage cabinet on wheels.
I can store all attachments in bottom part of the cabinet.
It's dirty, but I was using it for some time:D
I glued two layers of leather on top flat attachment to convex blades.
10'' contact wheel.
6'' contact wheel.
Small wheel attachment.
And after work I can easily store it near entrance to my bedroom.
Some belts I bought in Poland.
Total cost of that machine was about +/- £1200. If I knew that I will have so many problems with a maker of it I would buy from different source in UK. The grinder itself is good, but it has some flaws. Especially attachments are not that good quality. Now I can't wait to use it.