Four-Part Mini Course on Sharpening Your Knife


This is the first post in a four part series in the month of January on sharpening your knife. My four part post is designed to be kind of like a mini-course on knife sharpening. There is a very special announcement that I will make at the end of the series so stay tuned to see what I have in store! You will not be disappointed.

This four part mini-course is designed to take you through the process of establishing a burr. This course will get your blade to razor sharp in no time. Of course if you have been around MTKnives for any amount of time you will know that I am not satisfied with razor sharp. Again, you will have to stay tuned for my big announcement at the end of the month… Hint, hint.

If you are afraid you will forget to check back then make sure you sign up for my email list because I am going to be making the announcement via email also.

Lastly, here is a quick road map before we get started:

  1. Know These 4 Important Terms Before Sharpening Your Knife
  2. What is the Right Angle to Sharpen Your Knife?
  3. Top 5 Worst Mistakes Made When Sharpening Your Knife
  4. How to Establish a Burr on the Edge of Your Knife

Know These 4 Important Terms Before Sharpening Your Knife

Confusion of Terms

If you study blade sharpening you will quickly discover that not all people use the same terminology to describe their process for sharpening your knife. The most common in-congruency is the reversal of primary and secondary edge. There is a third term that some use called the micro edge. We will address all of these and more.

I need to address terminology up front so that you will be able to follow along during the rest of the series. This is especially if necessary if you have done research on blade sharpening in the past or plan to do additional research in the future.

So here is what I mean by…



Because there are many different types of faces that a knife has, I will refer to the flat of the knife blade as the face. Your knife could have a different type of face than the knife I will be sharpening (e.g. full-flat grind or saber-flat grind). To avoid any confusion when I teach sharpening I will refer to the flat part of the knife as the face of the blade.

Secondary edge

 Secondary Edge:

This is the edge of the knife that tapers from the flat part of the face to the primary edge. It can have various shapes (e.g. planar concave, or wedge) and we will refer to all of them alike. The secondary edge is the part of the knife that, barring any serious blade damage will remain untouched during the sharpening process.

primary edge

Primary Edge:

This is the part of the knife that primarily does the cutting. It is the primary cutting edge. This edge tapers from the secondary edge down to practically nothing. Ideally you want to sharpen the primary edge of the knife only. During the sharpening process this is the one place of the knife that metal will be removed from. Again, barring any serious edge damage that requires serious repair, you should only need to maintain the primary edge of the knife sharp.



Some like to call this the wire edge but I prefer the simpler and more traditional term of burr when I teach blade sharpening. This is the part of the knife that during sharpening folds over the edge of the knife opposite of the edge you are grinding. Whatever side you are sharpening if you feel the opposite side of the knife by lightly brushing your finger or fingernail from the spine of the blade toward the edge you will feel a slight lip of metal at the very edge of the knife. This lip is called the burr.

Establishing a Burr:

The burr is critically important to a sharp knife and we will focus on “establishing a burr” in part four of this series. It is one of the most important aspects of sharpening your knife.

Bottom line:

Various people will use different terms causing confusion to the knife sharpening novice. The terminology I use is specifically chosen to avoid confusion leading to frustration. I teach amateurs and experts alike using these four basic terms on a regular basis. The face, secondary edge, primary edge, and burr are the four terms you will need to take your knife beyond razor sharp.

Next up…

What is the Right Angle to Sharpen Your Knife?

In this post we will discuss the various options you have when choosing the right angle to sharpen your knife blade at. If you don’t want to miss it be sure to sign up for my email list. I will be making a huge announcement in the last week of the month and you won’t want to miss that either!

Tell me if you use other termonology in the comments below! I am always interested in knife lore and if you have any unique terminology please share it! Would you like to learn more about sharpening right now? Pick up Beyond Razor Sharp Digital Download Now.

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