You've decided to sharpen your knives yourself. No more squandering money by handing them over to a professional sharpener. No more throwing away your dull knives just because you don't know how to sharpen them?and refuse to turn them over to a professional. Good for you! Sharpening angles are extremely important to the effectiveness of your knives. Pay close attention to them because, if you don't, you really will be wasting your time.
The sharpening angle of a knife is the angle of the bevel, the sloping angle of the edge. It determines the cutting effectiveness, just how sharp you knife will be. Kitchen knives, especially a chef's knife, have a small sharpening angle. This is good because you want your knife to work fast.
In the kitchen, you don't want to keep repeating strokes with all the cutting you'll need to do. Utility knives and hunting knives have a much larger sharpening angle. This is also good because you want these types of knives to be durable, reliable. Their cutting jobs are much tougher than what you'd find in the kitchen.
Generally speaking, then, small sharpening angles are best for fine cutting, when you really need razor-sharpness. Large sharpening angles are best for rough cutting, for tough jobs that need a strong edge. Achieving the correct sharpening angle for a certain knife takes a bit of skill as a knife sharpener. But don't worry. It's not that hard. Any skill that you have, like brushing your teeth, took a few tries to get it done well.
You needed to get some experience under you belt. Then you became really good at it, didn't you? Okay, brushing your teeth or tying your shoes isn't even close to sharpening a knife. But the level of difficulty in performing any of these acts is very close. You've just got to practice. And just like brushing or tying, once you've got it, it's yours.
You'll have that skill for your lifetime. Sure will be worth it when you notice how you haven't had to buy new knives for many years, saving hundreds of dollars. Maybe you're thinking that it's not so important. Sharpening angles don't really matter as long as you can make it sharp. Allow me to answer freely. Don't think that way.
You'll be doomed from the start. If you've achieved sharpness, without the correct sharpening angle, your knife edge won't be very durable. Its sharpness will only last a few times. You won't be able to rely on it. And so the sharpening angle is monumentally important.
Compare the angles of different types of knives to each other. Really look at them. The bevel on their edges will tell you clearly. It really does matter.
Len Q. is a master blade sharpener and an adventurer who strives to protect the natural world. If you would like to learn more about ▪ Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them ▪ The Fastest Way to Sharpen, Tests for Sharpness and Much more ▪ Sharpening Other Edges (e.g. Chain Saws, Lawn Mower Blades, Gardening Tools, Axes) Find it here at http://www.MakeKnivesSharp.com .