Knife Sharpening Experts: Sharpening Angles


You’ve decided to sharpen your knives yourself.  No more squandering money by handing them over to a professional sharpener.  No more throwing away your dull knives just because you don’t know how to sharpen them—and refuse to turn them over to a professional.  Good for you! 


You’ll need to know about sharpening angles then.  A person shouldn’t be sharpening a knife if there’s no mind to the angle.  It determines the purpose of the knife.  Pay close attention to them.  If you don’t, you really will be wasting time.  The sharpening angle of a knife is the sloping angle of the edge.  It determines the cutting effectiveness of each knife.  When you achieve the right sharpening angle, the edge will be as sharp as possible for as long as possible when used correctly. 


Think about kitchen knives, especially a chef’s knife.  The sharpening angle is pretty small.  The edge is very thin.  This is good because you want your knife to work fast.  In the kitchen, you don’t want to keep repeating strokes with all the cutting you’ll need to do.  How about utility knives or hunting knives.  They’ve got much larger sharpening angles.  This is also good because you want these types of knives to have a more durable edge.  Their cutting jobs are much tougher than what you’d find in the kitchen (no bones allowed).  Generally speaking, then, small sharpening angles are best for fine cutting, when you really need razor-sharpness.  Large sharpening angles are best for rough cutting, for tough jobs that need lasting sharpness. 


Maybe you’re thinking that it’s not so important.  A sharpening angle doesn’t really matter as long as you can make it sharp.  Allow me to answer freely.  Don’t think that way.  Take those thoughts right out of your head right now.  The sharpening angle is monumentally important.  Even were you to achieve sharpness with an incorrect angle, you’ll be sharpening again before you know it.  It just won’t last.  Compare the angles of different types of knives to each other.  Inspect their angles carefully and think of how each is meant to be used.  You’ll see it plainly.  It really does matter.


Every knife edge has an appropriate sharpening angle to maximize its efficiency and durability.  They’ve been tested and tested by knife manufacturers.  It’s been proven.  So here’s one crucial point you need always remember:  Don’t ever attempt to remake the edge.  To alter the sharpening angle.  It’s just not practical and will likely result in making your knives less than their best.  Trust each knife’s sharpening angle and maintain it.  You’ll get the best performance out of your knives that way.


Be precise and be very careful.



 Len Q. is a master blade sharpener and an adventurer who strives to protect the natural world.  If you would like to learn more about


            ▪  Knife Sharpening:  How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them

            ▪  How to Achieve the Correct Sharpening Angles for your Knives

            ▪  Sharpening Other Edges

               (e.g. Chain Saws, Lawn Mower Blades, Gardening Tools, Axes)

            ▪  Sharpening Devices, Tests for Sharpness, Steeling, Stropping and Much more


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