Sharpening your knife or any tool for that matter is an intricate process that takes place at a microscopic level. While the naked does provide some feedback as to how the sharpening process is shaping the edge but it never truly gives an assessment that 100% accurate.
A “burr” in sharpening terminology is known as a microscopic imperfection or a scratch that may be left on the knife’s edge during the sharpening process. These imperfections mean you may need to sharpen your knife more often.
So the question is how do you know precisely what is happening to the edge when while you’re sharpening?
We recommend using a magnifier as it lets you observe very closely all the minuscule details of the edge of your knife. A quality magnifier can give you up to 20X magnification on the edge. To catch the reflection of the edge find yourself a spot under bright light and observe the scratches on it.
Carefully inspect the toe, heel, and center of the edge on each side and you will notice areas that may require more work than others. You’ll be surprised to find that these imperfections can even be present on brand new knives, which have what is called a “factory edge”.
The key benefit of using a quality magnifier is that it takes out the guesswork from the sharpening process. It lets you focus precisely on the area that needs work creating a more even, consistent edge.