Knife Edges

Knife Edges

Introduction

We really like knives and their edges. They are one of the most useful tools in our kitchen, and they can make cooking so much easier - when the edges are sharp. But when it comes to choosing a knife, there are a lot of factors that go into the decision-making process. One of the most important decisions is what kind of edge you want on your blade. Edges can be flat or serrated, short or long, curved or straight, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at them!

Edges are one of the most important aspects of choosing knives.

The edge on a knife is one of the most important aspects of choosing a knife. The edge is what does the cutting and so must be able to be sharp, but it also needs to be durable enough to remain sharp. Knife edges can be straight or curved, short or long; each has its own advantages and disadvantages that you should consider when making your choice.

Knife Edges Defined

There are many different edges, but for the most part, they can be divided into two groups. On group sees geometry from the side (tip to heel) and the other sees the geometry from the edge (straight on).

Side: Is it straight or curved?

A straight, or mostly straight cutting edge on a knife is going to be better for deboning a chicken or slicing fish than a curved knife. Curved knives are the majority of knives and the geometry helps the user "rock" through food more than pure straight blades do.

Edge: What kind of bevel does it have?

Beveled edges (also called chisel ground), serrated edges (also called scalloped or saw-toothed), flat ground blades and hollow ground blades are most common. They create a cutting edge by joining two angles somewhere in the middle of the thickness of a blade. These are also known as double bevel knives and can be found on asian knives as well as western knives.

Another configuration of a beveled edge is a single bevel knife. These are straight on one side of the blade (90 degrees) and only angled on the other side. These are most often found among Japanese knives and asian knives.

Flat Ground Knife Blade Edges

The most common type of knife edge is a flat ground blade. This grind does not bow in or out from the edges. It stays "flat" or straight from the two outer points of the bevel. Other types of grinds (e.g. convex, compound, hollow) can be found on select knives. Flat ground blades are most used for general purpose cutting, slicing, chopping and dicing.

Sharpening

There are several ways to sharpen a knife, including using a sharpening system, tool, stone or device to remove material from the knife blade. The sharpening angle on a kitchen knife can vary from a 10 degree to 20 degrees most commonly. For a more blunt edge angle, 30 degrees or even 40 degrees can be applied to both sides for a total cutting edge equal to or greater than a 60 degree angle. A more common edge will have around a 20 degree angle for western knives.

Some sharpeners can hold a desired edge on kitchen knives while sharpening freehand. Others will want a specific or "best angle" on their knives and will likely find support in sharpening systems that hold fixed angels while removing material.

If you're looking for something more portable and easy to store away we recommend our retail sharpening packaging. When it's time for service simply pack up your knives and ship them to us. Afterall, it's difficult to get good at something you practice once or twice a year.

For those who want a bit more control over their sharpening experience and don't mind spending more upfront (in time and money) on their initial purchase of equipment than they would with other options consider a set of whetstones. They can be challenging to learn how to use but also therapeutic in an interesting way and always at your house.

Serrated Edge Sharpening

Serrated blades are sharpened differently than straight blades. Serrated blade edges are wavy from their heel to their tip and then sharpened with specific tools. The serrations on the steel blade are made by a set of small teeth, called cusps or scallops, which work much like the teeth on a saw.

Sharpening these serrated edges requires special tools that can sharpen or create the small points. These tools are often referred to as "serration sharpeners."

Conclusion

The edges on a knife are one of the most important aspects of choosing knives. Just like a car needs good tires and brakes to be safe on the road, a knife needs a sharp, well crafted, edge if it's going to cut well. Hone in on the best angle, best profile, best steel knife for your kitchen. And, if you want something extremely sharp consider a harder steel with more carbon in it for durability. They've been known to hold their razor edges longer. Or simply pick the knives with the best style or quality and put them to work. Worry about the edge types, edge angle, hardness, softer steel, profile geometry and the like later.

Happy cooking!


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