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Home > Sharpening Videos > The Anatomy of an Edge

The Anatomy of an Edge

In this video we discuss the anatomy of an edge. Understand dull and damaged edges and how sharpening fixes them.

View Transcript

In this segment called "Anatomy of an Edge", I want to just visually show you what the sharp edge does and basically the process of going from a dull edge to a sharp edge.

Here is my first example. We've got a piece of wood that is sharpened to 20 degrees. This is essentially what a sharp edge is going to look like.

This is our example of a dull edge. As you can see this is very rounded. No matter what I do this is not going to injure me at all. So this is an example of a very dull edge.

This here is what I would call a damaged edge. While it is relatively sharp, this one does have some damage marks on the edge, so this would require sharpening.

When you have a really dull edge like this and when you sharpen, you are basically removing the sides that were creating that big rounded u-shape on top. So when I do remove these sides, what we have left over is an edge that is about half-way sharpened. At this point all you have to do is continue to sharpen. Don't get discouraged, it is not going to feel any sharper than it did a few minutes ago. But as you bring that in you are going to bring this to a coarsely sharpened edge. At that point it will feel considerably sharper.

Now here we have reason to illustrate a coarsely sharpened edge. It feels very sharp now and we have a nice 20 degree angle on both sides on this very standard looking edge. But it is coarsely sharpened so basically you have ridges along the top that are more succeptible to damage. This edge, while it would cut, really is not going to be as long lasting. From here all we need to do once we've established the edge with our coarse stone, we are going to take a finer stone to further refine this edge.

The next option we have is putting a microbevel on an edge. So basically when we've taken our coarse stone we've created these little grooves on the edge. Instead of sharpening the whole bevel with our fine stone, what we can do is increase our angle by just a little (a degree or two is just fine) and sharpen just the top of the edge. It does make the process of sharpening go much more quickly, and you can see that the edge itself is very finely sharpened. It is very sharp and will be long lasting, but it didn't take nearly as long to create this edge.

Well I hope I've helped you understand the anatomy of an edge. If you still have questions please just give us a call: 1-800-351-8234


My praise for your very instructive videos for their clarity and production values. Thank you for your willingness to advise me about my options and steer me in the right direction. Great customer service! I wish you every success in your business!
Enrique S, Rockville, MD
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