It’s been a lifelong journey since I was a wee Cub Scout learning to whittle soap with my first trusty old folding knife. Even as a young boy, I was fascinated with how things worked, all things. That includes why rubbing my knife blade over an oil dark rock as if I was slicing off cheese from a block. Why did that make my knife work better? How do you know when the knife sharpening is complete? What happens if you, well, you get the idea.
As it turns out, there are lots of ways to make knives work better. But, all knives are not the same. Dozens and dozens of variations exist for knives beginning with the kind of material from which the blade is made. There are hundreds of brands, too, each having many shapes, styles, and handle materials to choose. There is much to share. I’ve learned a lot since my Cub Scout days.
Now more than five decades later, I’m still learning some new things thanks to modern technology and some inquisitive experimenters. In this series, About Knives and Knife Sharpening, I plan to share what I know to be true about a particular product, technique, method, or result. I’m hoping to post about stuff people want to know, as it is stuff I wanted to know and managed to figure out.
One thing I know for sure about knives and knife sharpening is that there is a lot of information floating around out there in the world. And, while much of it is good, too much of it is baseless lore and myth. It’s bunk. Monkeyshine. I promise you that I will be sharing empirical information about things I know or tried and I’ll do my best to separate my opinion, and those of others, from established and proven facts.
I’m going to try and avoid re-inventing the wheel and posting yet additional explanations for things. So many great explanations of all manner of things about knife sharpening are shared already. Things like apex, and burr, and stuff like that. I’ll try to reference them for you wherever appropriate, so you can check it out if you so choose. Otherwise, I intend to keep it less theory and more practice. If I think I can elaborate in a new or different way to help people better get a concept or technique, I will try my best.
The goal here is to help you get to a place where you can repeatedly create a satisfying edge for the task at hand on your knives. Another is to call out great knives and why they are great. Why is it that some stay sharp longer? Some are easier to sharpen, and some have flexible utility. Some knives, and sharpening tools, are bargain workhorses for people who just want a decent knife, or sharpening solution, for a value price.
I plan to take you there with this series of articles. Enjoy!