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Knife sharpening myths: Part-2

Knife sharpening myths: Part-2

As promised, we’re back with the second part of knife sharpening myths.

4. Coarse edges cut better than other edge typesThis misconception is driven by the fact that many people tend to equate the functional ability of the usual serrated-edged blade with that of a coarse blade having “micro serrations” or an unkempt edge.

 However, there’s plenty of empirical data that proves otherwise. Extensive research and experimentation have shown that blades with coarse edges usually require a higher grip force, take longer to cut and more importantly, coarse blades do not hold edges for very long resulting in a knife that dulls a lot faster.

 Also, if you’re big on presentation and precision cutting, then coarse edges will give you less than satisfactory results. Moreover, working with coarse-edged blades has been associated with strain issues.

5. Convex grind does a better job than hollow and flat grinds: A grind refers to the shape of the cross-section of the blade. The grinding process dictates how the blade is thinned to achieve the cutting edge.

People often believe that since a convex grind offers more metal to support the edge, it will prolong its life and prevent the edge from going blunt. The facts are quite the opposite though. Most cutting tools perform better with grinds other than convex. The reason is that a convex blade will offer a lot less precision in cutting and is quite prone to slipping in tight corners. Interestingly, outdoorsmen often prefer a convex blade; however, they overlook the fact that a hollow blade is a lot easier to maintain in the field.

However, if the primary purpose of the tool is to chop bones or wood, then a convex grind will serve you better. That’s because a convex grind multiplies the force being exerted on the bones or wood thus making the job easier. 

 6. Super steels result in a very high degree of sharpness: Many people spend quite a bit of cash on high-end knives crafted from superior grades of steel believing that it will provide a much higher degree of sharpness. 

The important thing to learn here is that these high-end knives experience an almost identical rate of decline in sharpness as their mass-produced counterparts.  The difference, however, is the lifespan. After the initial sharpness declines, the high-end knives will stay in working order for a lot longer than the mass-produced variants.      

7. Sharpening angle from the factory ensures the best performanceUsually, when knives roll off the assembly line, they are sharpened at an angle meant to make them last for as long as possible. They aren’t really optimized to give you a sushi chef sharpness or precision.

You’d be mistaken to think that a slicing knife will not have an edge optimized for slicing. Most factory-made knives will carry an angle that lies anywhere between 30 to 40 degrees without any regard to the knife’s actual purpose. And if you’re a keen cook, it makes sense to check if your knife needs a bit of “customization” to suit your needs.

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