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1500/2200 Diamong Worth It?

Recent Forums Main Forum Techniques and Sharpening Strategies 1500/2200 Diamong Worth It?

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    In day to day cutting with a kitchen knife or EDC I would doubt that there are very many people who truly need anything beyond the 600 grit edge. Everything beyond that is nice to have, but not necessary for the vast majority of users. Like many things in life, sharpening is a game of diminishing returns; with each additional level of refinement you see less and less difference in real world cutting performance.

    Those tasks that require precision push cutting (like is often done with chisels) will see greater benefit from highly refined edges.

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    Part of the motivation to sharpen knives to an elevated standard lies in the desire to make a $40 knife cut like a $300 knife.  Most home cooks, for instance, have never had an opportunity to use a high-end kitchen knife – an experience that would change their perspective for a long time to come.  The way a kitchen knife cuts is the primary key factor we use to judge quality.  Yes, there are other factors as well – quality of build and ergonomic design are the next two, but the home cook isn’t usually a judge of good build quality and similar (if not exact) ergonomic design is not necessarily a cost-related factor.  You can buy a $40 knife that has excellent ergonomic design, fair-to-good quality steel and very good fit-and-finish.   A less knowledgeable user may not perceive a difference between that and a high-end knife of similar design.  He/she cannot feel the quality of the steel while cutting, which will show up in edge retention and what is the lowest practical bevel angle.

    Cutting performance is perceived as improved where the blade is thin and the bevels are polished.

    • Thin blades are usually found only on high-quality knives, because it requires more expensive steel to stand up to the increased forces seen at the cutting board. 
    • An edge with polished main bevels and a coarser grit microbevel will allow the blade to slice through a material with little resistance.  The microbevel will provide the “bite” needed to slice into the skins of slippery (or tough) materials.

    I demonstrate this by gifting very inexpensive chefs’ knives to friends and family.  I have thinned the edge to about 0.015 inches at the bevel shoulders and polished the bevels at 17 dps.  I included a microbevel of 20 dps at 1500 grit.  Recently, I’ve added convexity to the bevels, thereby enhancing performance even further.  The purpose wasn’t that I wanted my “giftees” to get a cheap knife that cuts good.  I wanted them to have an appreciation for what an excellent knife could provide in terms of performance.  Hopefully, a few of them will someday dig a little deeper in their pocket books and give themselves a long-deserved birthday present.

    All that having been said, I still sharpen knives at least four grit levels higher than necessary.  Because I can.

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