One of the sharpening hot topics that pops up all the time is Thinning. I'll give you my thoughts on this:
As you know, the process of thinning results in reducing the width of the knife from a cross sectional perspective behind the edge, reducing the width of the "shoulders" of the blade. This is done to restore geometry or just improve performance.
To me, thinning is a buzzword that too many people are using to recommend the process be done on a knife. It seems to me that if there is problem with the way the knife is working, it just needs thinning. I'm talking in most cases about knives that are already thin and are less than two years old, often less than a year old. Owners browse forums and see the word thinning as the answer to a problem, or, worse yet, something that is required.
A knife does not become thick if its just a year or two old and if it hasn't been sharpened so why thin it?
Yes, thick knives that are made thick at the factory or become thick with use and repeated sharpening will definitely benefit from a thinning.
However, if the knife is not slicing as well as the owner thinks it should be, perhaps the problem is not that it needs thinning but it needs to be sharpened properly. That would be the first thing I think about. I am just suggesting that thinning may not be the answer being looked for, it may be sharpening instead.
Thinning is not easy and it can impact the way the knife looks. I have nothing against thinning, I do it a lot but not every single knife needs to be thinned. Be careful what you read and who the author is.
Clearly if the knife is damaged, thinning is common follow up after the repairs are made because the new edge is often higher up in the thicker part of the blade.
I taught a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to sharpen his knives the other day and he gave me this beautiful coin.
Here is a knife that was severely damaged. I did have to thin this one a little after I repaired it. I say a little because the knife was ridiculously thin to begin with.
Again, I love thinning a knife, my point is that I love thinning knives that need it. It is usually not my first option when I get a knife. I inspect it for thickness and then go from there. If the owner has pointed out a problem with slicing performance, I think about sharpening it first.
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