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Old 10-08-2009, 02:58 PM   #1
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Sharpness of Knives

Hi Folks.

If have a bunch of knives all from the same maker. Ie a Carving Knife, a chef knife, a boning knife and a utility knife.

Do they all have their own sharpness of the blade or should they all have the same sharpness to the blade? As I find my Carving knife and Boning Knife to be sharper than the rest even though I have sharpen the rest.

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Old 10-08-2009, 03:05 PM   #2
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It depends on the knives.
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:09 PM   #3
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It depends on the knives.
So are you saying even if they are all the same brand different knives have their own sharpness like you say depends on the knives?
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:13 PM   #4
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That could be the case. I am pretty sure that brands like Henkels or Wusthof will all be sharpened the same, but when you get into more exotic brands of knives such as some of the Japanese blades they could eithr be sharpened differently depending on what the knife is used for (sushi knife will have a different angle than a knife made for going through bone for example) or they may even come unsharpened so you can put your own angle of choice on them.
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:51 PM   #5
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So... is the level or degree of sharpeness and the angle of the blade a matter of personal choice or are there some guidelines ?
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Old 10-24-2009, 01:04 PM   #6
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There are guidelines. Different steels are harder or softer than others. A harder steel can take a sharper angle. Also, it depends on what you will be using the knife for. You would want a different angle for hacking through bone or something like hard squash than you would for slicing sushi or veggies.
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Old 10-24-2009, 06:45 PM   #7
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Hi Folks.

If have a bunch of knives all from the same maker. Ie a Carving Knife, a chef knife, a boning knife and a utility knife.

Do they all have their own sharpness of the blade or should they all have the same sharpness to the blade? As I find my Carving knife and Boning Knife to be sharper than the rest even though I have sharpen the rest.
Knives should have both geometry and degree of sharpening relative to the intended task. Your carving and chef's knife should be thinner behind the edge and should have a more acute cutting edge angle than your utility and boning knives.

Most knife sets come with all blades sharpened at the same angle, eg: 22 degrees per side. The reason is this matches all the electric sharpeners on the market with the exception of the Shun which is made for Shun knives sharpened at the factory 16 degrees per side.

A good mix of knives would be sharpened something like the following:

Veggie and boneless meat knives (slicers, chef's) - 15 degrees per side

Utility, paring, and other knives that may occasionally touch hard surfaces like pits or bone - 20 degrees

Dedicated boning knives - around 25 degrees per side

Dedicated Japanese veggie only slicers - 4 to 8 degrees per side depending on your level of insanity

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-25-2009, 05:46 PM   #8
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Listen to Buzzard. He knows knives. But there are a couple of other options. A V edge is most common, and if using the V, Buzzard is dead on. But there are also a few other edges to be made aware of. The chisel edge is sharpened on one side only. If you are right handed, the left edge of the knife is straight, causing the blade to cut in a very straight, up, and down path. It is useful for slicing sushi, or or very thin shaved veggies or meat slices. It is a shallow grind of no more than 16 degrees and feels sharp to the touch. But it isn't a strong edge and so is considered a specialized edge for particular purposes. The compound edge starts shallow, and then is angled with a more pronounced angle at the very edge of the blade. It will follow a two sided bevel of 16 degrees, but ending with twenty to 25 degrees. This increases the durability of the edge, as it resists folding over compared to it's shallow edged cousin. Finally, there is the convex edge, where the blade rolls toward the metal center on either side. The natural curve of the convex edge makes it the strongest edge, while still providing a razor sharp cutting edge. But it is the most difficult to produce. Once completed, a leather strop is usually used to maintain sharpness. The knife edge is dragged across the strop backward compared to the edge-forward motion used with steels and stones. As the knife edge contacts the coated leather (it has fine jewelers rouge worked into the smooth leather) it depresses the material into a curved shape that maintains the convex curve of the blade as it polishes the edge.

As for how sharp the knife feels, that depends on the type of edge. The shallow, acute angled edges feel much sharper than to the sturdier teh wider angled edges. As to which goes through what you are trying to cut easier, if you're talking about a tomato, or apple, the acute angle will travel through much easier, and cut with less pressure. If you are going to cut through a cantalope, or winter squash, the convex edge produces less drag, and pushes the food away from the body of the blace, again reducing frinction. The knife glides through more easily.

The one type of knife I have learned to wtay away from is any blade that is hollow ground. This grind initially produces a very sharp edge, and is easy to make at the factory. But it becomes hard to maintain at home and the blade shape makes it difficult to cut through anything thick. If you want to use a hollow ground knife to cut through something that is only half an inch thick, then your fine. But it is a miserable shape to try and force thorugh a mellon, or large chunk of anything, IMO.

Hope this helps.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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