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Polished edge good or bad?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by hemi1300, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. hemi1300

    hemi1300 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 9, 2013
    Getting pretty good results on my edge pro with the new diamond matrix 1100 stone. Thinking about the 2300 stone for a polished edge, is it worth it? Polished edges look great, but do they perform well for daily cutting tasks on a EDC folding knife?
  2. halden.doerge

    halden.doerge I'll Sharpen Your Knife Gold Member

    Aug 17, 2014
    Depends on the steel and on the tasks they are used for.
    Mo2 and lonestar1979 like this.
  3. Barman1

    Barman1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 21, 2013
    I personally don't care for a polished edge no matter which steel I'm using.
    Did a few, then after they got scratched to hell and looked crappy I went back and hit them with a 600 grit to blend the scratches.
    I find 6-800 works really well in most applications.
    BITEME likes this.
  4. CableGirl


    Aug 19, 2018
    Does seem to depend on steel but in general it seems to depend for me on what I use the knife for. I am using my knife for trimming 3D printed plastics, cutting foam, removing solder from copper, stripping Teflon cable insulation, shaving various materials, so I like polished edges but if you were cutting rope, cord, boxes, or fibrous things Ive found a polished edge unacceptable. Here is an example Ive found: I can take a Benchmade Buggout with a 12k grit polished edge and shave foam but it needs half the blade to cut paracord. The same Buggout with a 600 or 800 grit edge will slice through paracord with great ease.

    If you're spreading cream cheese on a bagel, it doesn't matter.

    Just my findings, your results may vary.
    GABaus, knarfeng, BITEME and 3 others like this.
  5. hemi1300

    hemi1300 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 9, 2013
    Thanks for the replies. Think I definitely prefer an edge a little more toothy for my daily use. Got the edge pretty dang sharp with 1100 matrix stone, but almost too polished/smooth for my liking. Might go back to the 650 matrix
  6. Mr.Wizard


    Feb 28, 2015
    I find this result surprising; in my experience push-cutting paracord and other nylon cordage is easy with a sharp polished edge. In fact it is one of the better tests of a refined edge that I have found.
    GABaus, kreisler and CableGirl like this.
  7. Ourorboros


    Jan 23, 2017
    In cooking, some say no more than 3K for meat but it's okay to polish for vegetables.
    As I say, some people. But I take a gyuto to 12K and cut up several raw pork shoulders (40 plus cuts) just fine. Fat, meat, connective tissue, skin. So I find conventional wisdom. A credible sharpener agrees.
    But I don't think we all polish the same.Without seeing each other sharpen and without using each other's blades it's hard to compare.
  8. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    Do both; try both . . . decide for your self.
    I do a lot of push cutting in my daily work, I cut almost no rope.
    For me it is polished(ish) edge ALLLLLLLL DAYYYYYYYY.
    I say ish because I don't go for a true mirror; generally I only go to a Shapton Glass (Edge Pro) 4,000. It looks nice and whittles hair and all the other stuff I whittle like crazy. Of late I have been refining that edge to a Gritomatic G8 8,000 just because I have the stone and have been playing with it. It's fun ! ! ! !

    That said the edge off the 4,000 ABSOLUTELY does all I need it to do and stays very sharp for long periods (relative to the blade alloy).

    I have an aversion to toothy edges boardering on the irrational. I use them all the time. I don't care for them.

    Try both; see what you like. You will probably have both as I do.
    PS: I don't strop / I produce the shinO dineO just off the stones. With my woodworking edges (mostly A2) I go to a pretty true mirror finish up to a Shapton Pro 8,000 or 15,000 using a Varitas jig. :thumbsup: . . . now that's an edge.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
    GABaus likes this.
  9. willc

    willc Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 13, 2013
    A polished edge is less likely to corrode so if going with non stainless steel a polished edge can help in that respect.
  10. Bill3152


    Nov 27, 2018
    325 DMT edge seems to be the have all for my needs including kitchen work. I've done some up to 15 k suehiro for contrast. Nice toothy deburred edge.
  11. CableGirl


    Aug 19, 2018

    Excellent point. Push cutting is fabulous with a polished edge. The example I was thinking about when I posted the above isn't when I had a firm surface to push cut though. Was more of a wrap cord over blade and slice.
    Eli Chaps and Mr.Wizard like this.
  12. weeping minora

    weeping minora Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 24, 2017
    I believe the steel characteristics are the biggest factor when deciding edge finish. How each steel performs and wears will indicate which can hold the appropriate edge finish you seek so you can maximize your efforts (or lack thereof).
  13. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    As with most things, I don't think it's black and white as good or bad.

    For me it's less about the steel as the application. Yesterday, I gave my Case MiniTrapper a tune up. The clip blade was ran over a Norton India Fine and lightly stropped so it's pretty aggressive. The Wharncliffe saw the India, an Arkansas soft, hard and then black stone followed by a few stropping steps. Pretty smooth and polished.

    Today, throughout my grazing period (as I get older I eat more like a cow than a wolf :confused:) I used both to cut my radishes and carrots. The polished edge was a stark contrast to the clip blade and not in a good way. The aggressive edge was much better suited to the task. However, the polished edge is very nice in push cutting, say like breaking down cardboard. I've been playing with these edges on multi-bladed traditional knives for a couple months and it is very enlightening as you can test both right away in the exact same circumstances. I think the ability to tote different edges is a big and all too often overlooked advantage of multi-bladed knives.

    There's no right or wrong here so why not carry a knife that allows for both? :)
  14. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    If your going to draw your cut through something, a coarse edge may be more preferable. If your going to push into the material a mirror may be idea. There may be exceptions to those for sure. But that's typically true in general. You can certainly do either pull or push with both finishes. One may be more effective/efficient over another though.

    One may differ in edge retention depending on some factors too, but that can be debatable.

    Most people just don't know because they don't use an edc much at all. It's just there for when they need it. Others don't have the abrasives to go mirror or the time. Some like there knives to be pretty.

    So many things vary on the person behind the blade.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    J D Wijbenga likes this.
  15. lutejones

    lutejones Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    In general as others have said, if you are push cutting a majority of the materials you cut polished is better, if you are draw cutting specially fibrous stuff go toothy aggressive.
    For edc I find 600 grit and no stropping or very minimal on hard backing strop a happy average on single blades.
    As @Eli Chaps has said multibladed knives get you the luxury of carrying both. So I do dmt 325 + stropping on paper with compound for the main blade and full polish on secondary.
    On woodworking blades I go polished too because they go easier in the wood and for the quality of the surface left.
    All this said, a well done full blown polished edge(the kind you could do with the jig) is a worthy experience in itself. It will introduce you to a new way of separating matter for sure.
    Not worthy of my time sharpening and maintaining it for edc after trying, though
  16. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    I do very similar. For a while I was doing the main blades on a 300grit Ultra Sharp diamond and then whatever the secondary blade shape, it gets more polished. Right now I'm using the India more than the diamond but basically the same approach.
  17. samuraistuart

    samuraistuart KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 21, 2006
    I think whether you stop at 45 micron (DMT C) ~400JIS or go all the way up to sub 1 micron, the type of cutting is more important than steel type. If push cutting is what you do most of the time, then a polished edge will serve better, especially if the finish on the material being cut is important, like woodworking plane blades, for example. If you do more slice cuts, then a less refined edge just might serve you better. Straight razor sharpeners will almost always go way beyond 8000JIS, but butchers seem to prefer coarse edges, like ~45 micron/DMT Coarse. For knives, I usually stop around the 6 micron range, regardless of steel type. That's about the equivalent of the Fine Spyderco ceramic, roughly 3000JIS, between the DMT EF and EEF, and close to a translucent/black Arkansas stone, just for comparison. The only reason I might go to 8000JIS is for aesthetics.
  18. I've liked a polished finish on thin convexed grinds. Great for kitchen use, done that way. And a polished convex also works very well with cardboard. It's all about reducing drag, in cutting cardboard. So, a convex takes away the hard shoulders that would otherwise bind up in cardboard, and the polish makes it that much slicker, literally. The improvement is more noticeable with relatively thick blades, used for cardboard. With some fruits or veggies, same rules apply: reduce drag and friction with thin geometry, no hard shoulders to bind up, and a slick, polished finish.
  19. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    This is the key to polished edges imho... The edge angle. Polished edges don't do well unless they are at relatively low angles (15-17 dps). Much over 20 and you will notice serious performance issues.

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