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What is the point of feeling the edge when I buy a knife?

Oct 4, 1998
After reading the other thread, I ask myself the above question.

I come to the following conclusion for myself:

1. knives of crap steel and poor geometry can be brought to razor sharp....it just don't hold it.

2. I will buy the knife even if it is dull if...I know it is made from good steel and gonna hold an edge, and it has a blade geometry that I like. Hey! I can bring it to razor sharp in a matter of minutes.

3. I won't allow anyone to feel the edge of my blades. Reason? I have sharpened a pukko the other day, and try to shave a few hair from the back of my left hand just to prove it's sharp, I have done it thousands of time but.... the edge bites my skin....no pain at all and almost no resistance. Lesson? sharp blade catch the skin of my thumb and I'll feel it... razor sharp blade just cut through it...without any catching.

4. Absolutely no touching on antique Japanese swords. It is safety and respect.

I often wonder why anyone cares if a knife is sharp out of the box. I always sharpen them as soon as I buy them; even if it meets my standards it's never sharpened to the angle I want.

I would certainly want to see if the joint wobbles if I were so heretical as to buy a folder any more. I can't seem to think of any reason to touch the blade of a real knife at the moment.... Maybe at the choil -- I want to see where the balance point is, so I balance the knife on one finger and that's often at the choil. I always wipe it off if I touch a blade though -- on my pants; I don't carry Tuff-Cloth when I go shopping....

-Cougar Allen :{)
Cougar I agree with both of you, I usually sharpen knives that I get anyway, it's just a normal thing to want to touch and feel that edge, can't help not wanting to. Some knives come very sharp, a BlackJack knife I had gotten came extremely sharp as well as the Sebenzas. But on most knives they are sharpened with a belt and the bevels can be less that smooth, or rather in the same plane, if you hold the knife up to the light and look at the initial bevel of the edge you can usually see some dipping up and down, a good stoning will bring those back into the same plane. I use the big Norton stone set and then move to the Spyderco ceramic stones and finally to a strop. When the steel is good the edge can be amazing!

A friend told me that when he was at a gun show once he had some butterfly knives on his table to sell and a cocky kid came up and started to whip it around without asking permission, well he grabbed the wrong handle, on some models the safe handle has the latch and I guess he was used to those, laid his fingers open across the top real quick! some never learn though!


When a fellow says, "it ain't the money but the principle of the thing,"
it's the money.
F. McKinney Hubbard


I am not sure, but I think people are looking for a good "bite" on the edge of a knife.
I too, will resharpen(or touch up and edge) to bring it to my specs. The only one thus far it was not needed on is the Sebenza, oh and the Military.
The majority of concern for me is lock strength, action(smooth vs rough) blade play, ease of deployment etc.... and the list goes on.
I say, indulge the uninformed(with appropriate warning of course and bring plenty of band-aids

God bless!

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!
Most knowledgable Knife folks (like the Forumites)sharpen the knife out of the box and on a regular basis. The other knife users, don't sharpen their knives out of the box and in some cases can go months w/o sharpening. And if they do sharpen it, it ends up being a frustrating experience. Which is why manufactures try to deliver drop dead sharp knives out of the box. Most customers I come in contact with are sharpening impaired like myself. The only reason I can get a sharp knife is that I have the shop sharpen for me. Although you can show us all day long, the will to practice and learn this skill (yes it is a skill) can elude us. I used to sharpen my knives way before I worked here, but do not remember it as a pleasent experience. Got them sharp enough, but never razor sharp.

Just my .02

Jeff Hubbard
Quality Supervisor
Buck Knives
If I suspect the blade may have a small chip, I may put my pink finger behind it to see if I can see any of that pink showing through. It makes a chip easier to see. I'm not really touching the edge. I know better than that. But, it may look like that.

I collect butterfly knives and it is very important to check the blade for chips which indicate manipulation by an unskilled operator.

I will not do this with a knife that I am not serious about buying. I will not even pick up a knife at a show, for example, without asking permission, I always make sure my hands are clean before picking up someone's knife, and at shows I always carry a cloth with me to wipe off my own fingerprints (an occupational habbit, leaving no fingerprints).


Obviously you don't have to go far or go to much trouble since you can get a knife sharpened at work. For others there are clamp type sharpening fixtures such as those from Lansky that will allow even a novice to get a blade as sharp as it can get.

These devices are a little cumbersome and slow to use, but they really work. I use one all the time for folders that don't lock. I sharpen fixed blades and locking folders the same way they do in your shop simply because it's faster, not because it's better. Take care.

Knife Outlet

I don't care how well sharpened the edge it from a utility point of view as my take is identical to Cougars. However I see no reason to pay for less than optimal workmanship on a production folder. Of course if it is a custom knife I will request the desired angle and degree of polish.

What is the point of NOT feeling the edge when I buy a knife, as long as I'm careful and promise not to cut myself? It won't hurt the knife. Not all knives are capable of becoming acceptably sharp. (Exhibit A: my replica Fairbairn Sykes Commando knife.) If a knife is sharp in the store, there is convincing proof that the blade is capable of becoming sharp. I believe that a pair of athletic shoes should be comfortable right in the store. Sure, I'll break them in eventually, but why not start out with a pair that's already comfortable? Even mechanics test drive a car before they buy it, don't they--even though they can and probably will improve its performance after they buy it? It's just part of knowing what you're getting. Wouldn't it be nice if you could fire a round or two before you bought a gun? Well, with a knife I can actually perform a simple and effective cutting test right in the store, by gently touching the edge with my thumb. If information about the product is right there at your fingertips, isn't it reasonable to check the edge?

It's not like I'm lighting matches before I buy them.

David Rock

Particular be careful with the Puukkos
. Actually I started this thread after a bite by the mora #22 in carbon steel. It gave me a new definition of what is called sharp. These great workers are a bargain too. This particular one costed me about $25.

I have to admit that I have the habit of feeling the edge with my thumb
, many edges catch my skin, but until this knife, I know that they'll bit quietly!


I haven't used many of the setups that are avaialable. The ones I have seen/used are as you describe. I find that alot of people don't want to invest in the time it takes to train themselves to use any method (part of the NowNow Now syndrome). Which why I believe that small shops that provide sharpening will never go away...
I'm one of the lucky ones that has access to people that can sharpen. (BTW I've been practicing)


Jeff "Without data it's just another opinion" Hubbard
Watch for Pete's Custom Knife Shoppe on www.buckknives.com