Oct 19, 201793 views

Knife Sharpening

What the best method to keep an edge on a knife the longest?
ltopper and Duncan

Just my experience/opinion.
-First, using the knife properly. Don't torque the blade when cutting, try to cut bone, or other weird things. It doesn't matter how awesome the steel/grind is, if you pretend a knife is a sledgehammer. Keep in mind a knife edge is nanometers thin (or whatever, really really thin) so it is very weak. -Second, strop or hone to realign the edge. Most knife edge become misaligned edge during use. The goal is to realign the edge to be straight again. This skips sharpening, which will increase the life if your knife. Another good aspect about strop/hone is that you ensure that the misaligned edge doesn't literally roll over into a U shape and chip out. Keep in mind, the more times you realign an edge, the weaker it gets (sort of like bending a paperclip back and forth too many times, the metal at the bend will eventually suffer too much fatigue, work harden, and then snap off) -3rd and last method is sharpening, where the edge is just dull. Either the edge is plain flat, chipped out, rolled over, sharpening literally removes this metal and creates a new edge. If you don't like your knife edge (too thin or too thick) you can also redo your edge to how you want it.
Theres also a mix of 2 and 3, where you use the final stones of sharpening to give the knife a touch-up sharpening. Basically only use high-grit stones and then strop. This is useful if your edge is dull to the point where stopping and honing doesnt do anything, but does not have significant damage like edge rolling or chipping.
Again, this is my own experience and I find it works well for me, so just take this as a few ideas on what you can do. The best thing to do is just play around and see what works best for you.
The best way to keep an edge on a knife for a long time is maintaining it by honing it. But the biggest factor in how long your knife will keep it's edge is the steel. You can get a $15.00 knife just as sharp as a $200.00 knife but the $15.00 one isn't going to keep it's edge nearly as long.
The angle of the knife blade will impact the edge retention. A Japanese knife has a 15 degree cutting angle versus a western knife has a 20 degree cutting angle (there may be slight variations depending on maker). The 15 degree blade will keep better than the 20 degree edge.
Besides cutting angle, using whatever knife on a soft surface will keep it longer. Cut on wood or plastic cutting boards, never glass or on metal/stone surfaces. The harder the surface the edge contacts, the quicker the edge will diminish.