Here’s another post ripped from Fred’s. jmbullman, a member there, asked how to deal with the bolster on his Nogent when sharpening.
There are a lot of different kinds of bolsters, but only a few of them either are or have finger guards which extend all the way down the back of the blade. So, if you want to get really picky about it – and you know I do – it’s the finger guards and not the bolsters, per se.
French finger guards are traditionally made with a little bevel on the bottom. To grind down the finger guard:
• Set the knife on your coarsest (not softest stone) stone, with the bottom of the finger guard on the stone.
• Tilt the knife back (handle down, point up) until the bevel is flat with the stone.
• Holding the angle, grind away until the finger guard catches up with the blade, and go a little farther until you’ve created at least a little bit of “chin.”
You won’t have to grind too much away, as you don’t really need to have the first millimeter of heel incredibly sharp. That’s something of a point of honor among knife guys first stepping into Japanese knives, but it won’t advance your cooking an iota. You do want to keep it thin enough to not get in the way of forming and maintaining straight bevels.
When you profile, use the finger guard as guide to section the back part of the knife with straight strokes, making sure the heel is thin. Then keep sectioning towards the point. Repeat this a couple of times on each side of the knife, check to make sure there aren’t any high or low spots. If there are, fix them by sectioning the high spots. Finally move on to length of the blade honing or stropping strokes. Then, it’s on to your sharpening stones.
It’s a good question, by the way. For one reason or another, a great many sharpeners never quite figure out how to handle the finger guards. The process of taking down the finger guards isn’t at all difficult, and just realizing that the problem may have a solution gets you about 90% of the way there.
I was going to publish “before and after” pictures of my finger guards, but last night when I sharpened my entire block, there unfortunately weren’t any good “befores.” Every knife was already taken down plenty far.
But it brings up a happy point… Congratulations! You don’t have to do this very often.
I’m not sure that it’s really worth posting this “after” picture one more time, since it’s already in another post.
On the other hand, why not? Why should you have to search around for it. Who’s paying for this bandwidth anyway?
Meanwhile, back at the narrative: In this picture I took to illustrate a soft pinch grip, you can not only see the bottom of the French finger guard on my stained, K-Sabatier chef’s, but that the chin is bevelled at the same angle as the guard, and that the bottom of the guard has been ground down on a coarse stone.
The Give Your Fingerguard a French Manicure by Cook Food Good, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.