So this is going to be pretty geeky. After a while of enjoying my current knife, I realized that part of why I like it so much is its lack of a full bolster. Take a look:
That’s the Togiharu Molybdenum 210mm. Did you know it’s currently on sale for $47 at Amazon and makes a great gift? Just checking.
The part I’m pointing to is going to make more sense when you look at the next picture, which is of my old knife (well, it’s similar), a Henckels:
See how the bolster is a thick chunk that extends down to the edge of the blade? This is–and if you own a knife like this, I apologize for dissing it–a design flaw. It means that when you sharpen the knife, eventually you’ll leave a pocket next to the bolster, and the bolster will hit the cutting board first, and you won’t cut all the way through your scallions, and you will cry. Then you’ll have to get the bolster ground down by a professional with power tools. (If you have your own power tools, okay, you win. What would you use for this sort of thing, anyway? Belt sander? Dremel? Router? Garden Weasel?)
Few knives are made with the full bolster anymore. The standard Wusthof and Heckels, basically. My parents have a Messermeister San Moritz, and the thing is heavy, sharp, German–and has a partial bolster.
So, anyway, back when I used the Henckels, I think my resistance to sharpening it myself was that I knew I would be slowly ruining it, and eventually I’d have to pass it off to a pro for bolster surgery anyway. With the Togiharu, okay, I might still screw it up while sharpening, but at least it’s not a sure thing.
Thanks for indulging me here. You’ll be pleased to know that I abandoned an extended skateboarding analogy after Laurie explained to me that my knowledge of skateboarding is perhaps less than current.
As for my current sharpening media:
For some reason, Iris finds these sharpening stones completely awesome. It’s not like I would let her try sharpening a knife, but she likes to carry them around and stroke them lovingly and tell Laurie all about them. I guess it’s because one of them comes in a cool box and the other sparkles with real (industrial) diamonds.