A Good Cut – 4 & 5

What Are You Cutting With That?

To get a good cut you need to match the tool to the job.

You can’t chop wood with a fillet knife and it’s hard to core an apple with an axe!

Mostly this goes back to “A Good Cut – 1” – geometry of the blade. But matching the tool to the job also includes the profile and handle design.

I’m going to leave it at that and let your imagination fill in the blanks…

… or better yet, Google the task you have at hand and see what knives are traditionally used for that task.

Sharpening The Edge

Practice, practice, practice.

There are any number of folks ready to sell you a sharpening system. I suppose a lot of them are actually decent setups. I prefer stones, strops, steels, and doing it “by hand.” If an edge is totally destroyed or the profile needs reworking (I’ve sharpened a lot of chef knives that the owner has ground a swayback in the blade with their sharpener) – then using a file or grinder makes sense before going to the course stone.

Rather than try to write a book on how to sharpen various edges – I recommend the oldie but goodie: The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening by John Juranitch

This book has been recommended on the forums: The Complete Book Of Sharpening by Leonard Lee

… and there are many Youtube videos on sharpening – some more useful (to my mind) than others… but really – I don’t trust the sharpening jigs. I prefer using stonesĀ  with Simple Green as my lubricant/cleaner: course (if needed), fine, and sometimes Arkansas – then strop on leather that’s been loaded with polishing compound. You can strop on a course paper like a folded newspaper instead of leather, if you like. For kitchen knives I use steels for maintenance. A ceramic or ribbed steel rod will remove a little metal from the edge and some folks don’t like that. A smooth steel will correct any tiny bends in the very edge of the blade and perfect an edge that is slightly impaired by use.

Short version: I recommend reading one of the above books and practice, practice, practice.

You will find that every knife enthusiast has a passionate opinion about the best sharpening method. Try some – – – until you become passionate about one yourself!