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Micro Bevels

Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:15 pm

Hey Y'all. I'm new to sharpening. I've successfully ( if you'd call it that) sharpened a hand-full of knives and I'm curious to hear other peoples opinions on micro bevels. The first knife that I attempted to freehand sharpen was a Shun Classic 8" chef. It's easy to see that these knives come with a factory micro bevel. I'm thinking the primary edge is around 16 degrees with the micro bevel being 18 or 20.

My question is this:
When trying my hand at sharpening these knives, by default, I ended up essentially "thinning" the edge and eliminating the micro bevel to achieve a "sharp" edge. Is this "proper" or normal procedure?

The way I see it in my head; sharpening a dull knife with a factory micro-edge would have to go something like this;

1) remove microbevel and sharpen ( thin the micro portion) to factory primary edge-angle.
2) re-grind microbevel if desired.

I've done step one and elected to opt out of reapplying the micro bevel. I don't see a need for it. The knife is sharp as it is and I don't feel as though, in my case, edge durability is an issue.

Thoughts? Am I doing this wrong? I'm able to get an edge that is sharp enough to shave (painfully.) I figure that's decent for a newb.

Re: Micro Bevels

Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:36 pm

Hi Clayton,

Good question and you answered it correctly.

You in effect thinned the knife and removed the micro bevel and there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing this. You will get better performance out of your knife. I rarely put a micro bevel on my knives.

What was your stone progression and did you strop it?

Re: Micro Bevels

Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:05 pm

As you probably figured by now---

King 1000/6000 and stropping on news print. I should probably, eventually, invest in some sort of spray/paste and a strop.

I got the news print idea from Murray Carter. It seems to work for him, but he has quite a bit more experience than I do.

Re: Micro Bevels

Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:12 pm

clayton, (myself also a sharpening amateur) I currently own 3 stones 1k, 2k, and 5k. Of course a stone flattener but thats all. No strops nothing else. Now this is my freehand gear, I also have an edge pro set-up but thats irrelevant here. Now from my experience (which is a lot less than most members on here) in the past few weeks of owning my 3 freehand stones, I get a sharp enough knife with finishing with a stropping motion (edge trailing) on my 5k rika then stropping on newsprint. Now I am in a professional kitchen so my edges last longer this way due to the "bitey" edge. As others say it is all about intended use and that is what depicts what stones used in sharpening. This is my opinion on the matter, and as for micro bevels, I personally see no point in them. I have heard people say it is to have better blade geometry with a tougher edge. IMHO micro's are pointless. Take the edge as far as YOU feel you need too. Remember it is your knife, it is all a personal opinion.

Hope this helps

Re: Micro Bevels

Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:35 pm

I very very rarely put a micro bevel on knives usually a 13-15 degree edge and I have never had a problem unless someone requested it. But that's just me and I beat to a different drummer most times but I can shave with ever knife I got without a microbevel so unless u just want one do your own thing. Peace bullman

Re: Micro Bevels

Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:18 pm

Here's one of the first all steel shuns they came out with 10 yrs ago and I use it daily and have kept a razor sharp bevel on it sharper than new I hope this helps in your questions


Re: Micro Bevels

Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:19 pm


Re: Micro Bevels

Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:20 pm


Re: Micro Bevels

Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:21 pm

This knife is around 8-10 yrs old the all steel ones and cuts perfectly and will outlast me. Peace bullman

Re: Micro Bevels

Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:40 pm

A microbevel is useful for finding out the limits of a knife. If you sharpen at an angle too acute for the knife given it's intended task, you can back off that acute angle with a - by definition - less acute angle microbevel. If this angle suits your needs just keep using it until it eventually becomes the main bevel.

Additionally if you sharpen at a more acute angle than needed and put a microbevel on it, you have essentially thinned the blade behind the edge. As the knife gets used over time, keeping the same angle as the edge gets closer to the thicker spine will make the same angle wider, giving you less cutting performance than when the knife was new, so it is desirable to thin the blade for this reason.

It takes far less metal removal to make an edge less acute than more acute.

You can also differentially change the angle with a 'tapered' microbevel. Thus for a deba or Traditionally shaped kiritsuke, you may wish the heel area to be less acute than the tip - to chop off fish heads with the heel and do delicate slicing or katsurumuki (eg thin daikon sheets) near the tip and middle section. You could achieve this with a less acute microbevel near the heel tapering to a disappearing microbevel further up the knife. Typically this is done freehand, but a skilled user can accomplish this with an EP WEPS or Gizmo by properly aligning the knife at an angle.

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