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How a Knife edge can Deceive you

Updated on April 3, 2011

A Knife edge is yours

More often than not I will get asked about what is the best way to get and edge on a knife, be it a hunting knife or kitchen knife.

I have written other articles and a book on the subject and I can tell you this can depend on several factors. One being steel type, another hardness of the steel, maybe the grind type. This could also be how someone sharpens a knife or technique being used.

Before going into sharpening fully here in this article I wanted to focus on what I call a "Deceiving knife edge"

This is basically an edge that is honed or stropped to a very smooth edge, some would call this a polished cutting edge. This type of knife edge can almost feels dull if you were to flick your thumb onto it quickly in a horizontal motion, but will shave the hair off the back of your arm or cut all day and night into just about anything you throw at it.

The reason for this is the knife edge was fully stropped, or honed so fine that the very cutting edge is very smooth with no "tooth" to it. This type of edge will last allot longer when cutting wood or leather, cut food and veg's all day long but it may skate across the top of a hard crusted loaf of bread.

A knife edge left with a fine bit of tooth such as running it over a fine stone with no stropping or polished honing will leave a small amount of fine steel burr at the very edge that will cut and work fine it will just dull up quicker.

I once had an old timer at an historical event tell me he had the best knife in the world, he skinned out three deer in a row and the blade didn't even need one touch up on a stone. He happily handed me the the knife that was forged by hand. I quickly inspected the larger knife and it was forged nicely but the edge wasn't all refined and shiny. I handed him the knife back and we exchanged ideas on knives and old time sharpening methods, we had a few laughs and enjoyed the rest of the day.

The point is the older gentleman had a method of sharpening that worked for him and he was happy with it and why wouldn't he be if he could skin game with it all day and it worked. In the end if you have a way of sharpening that works for you and it works stick with it.

After I forged both knives in this article,  the edges were finalized on a leather strop.


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    • mlesniewski profile image

      mlesniewski 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      Thank you

    • AGBarteck profile image

      AGBarteck 6 years ago from \m/

      Nice. The deceiving edge is a concept that is good to know. Specially since I didn't know about it till now