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Do you care about a knife's out of box sharpness?

Discussion in 'Knives' started by jzmtl, Sep 4, 2009.

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Do you care about a knife's out of box sharpness?

  1. Yes

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  2. No

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  3. Sometimes

    0 vote(s)
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  4. Don't know

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  1. Etowah Edge

    Etowah Edge Loaded Pockets

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    I think knives should come serviceable. When the edge is a blunt obtuse angle it says the worker who finished that knife didn't care much details. The edge is part of the overall design and if the edge is not right the knife is unserviceable. I don't require them to shave out of the box but some attention to the edge's functionality should be apparent.
     
  2. GregY

    GregY Loaded Pockets

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    The analogy that I prefer is tires. Carmakers, like knifemakers, aim their product to appeal to the uses and needs of a broad audience, most of whom aren't that picky about the details they just want their car/knife to work and not have to worry about it.

    So knifemakers put on durable but relatively low-performance obtuse edges that don't cut so well but they keep it up a long time.

    Carmakers (or at least Honda, who I have the most experience with) tend to put on durable but relatively low-performance tires that don't grip well or give a good ride but they give good mileage and have awesome tread life.

    I'm not the average buyer.

    So when I buy a knife I tend to reprofile, to put on an edge that suits me better. With the steels I buy and the way I use my knives, that generally translates to a good all-around (for me) 15deg per side, with maybe a 20deg microbevel. (I'm more demanding than average, but I'm not "extreme".)

    When I buy a car I would prefer to put on new tires (I usually wait for the OEM tires to wear out, buying 4 tires costs a whole lot more than sharpening a knife), and when it comes time to put on new rubber I *never* put on a new set of OEM's. I generally go for one of the better-rated high performance all season tires. I can get more grip *and* a better ride (both softer and quiter) if I'm willing to give up some tread life and maybe 1 or 2 mpg. As a plus, good high performance all seasons tend to cost ~60% as much as OEM's. (It snows where I live, but I don't go with dedicated summer and winter tires. I'm more demanding than average, but I'm not "extreme".)

    It would be nice if knifemakers would save me that work, and Honda would use less awful OEM tires, but I understand the needs of catering to the larger population as a whole. So I don't worry about it and don't take it personally.
     
  3. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

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    Does out of box sharpness matter? Yes and no...

    In theory if I am going to use a knife for a long time, I am going to need to sharpen it, so whether I have to give it a quick once over out of the box, or after a months use makes little difference to me - it will need sharpened at some point anyway.

    At the same time though, out of box sharpness does say something of the companies quality and care - a knife that is brilliantly sharp has obviously had more time and care put into the manufacturing and qc to get it out the door in such a nice condition, compared to a cheaper model where they do a 'good enough' job and pack it in a box, so while it is not a perfect indicator, it does give some clue as to how much care a company puts into their product.

    So it doesn't matter from the viewpoint of 'my knife is a tool', but it does in general and in giving an opinion of the general quality of a knife and a companies output.
     
  4. P35

    P35 Loaded Pockets

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    I would rather a knife be sharp from the start
    If it starts out sharp it's easier for me to keep it that way
     
  5. Eclipse159

    Eclipse159 Loaded Pockets

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    I think that out of box sharpness is important, not only is it convenient but having paid good money to buy the knife I like to think the manufacturer has taken some care/pride in giving a good product/service.
     
  6. codewarrior

    codewarrior Loaded Pockets

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    Repeating what others have said, but if the maker doesn't care about the edge then what else don't they care about? On the other hand, I recognize that if I didn't pay much for the knife, then I can't really expect them to care, do I? So, if I pay a premium and don't get a sharp edge...it goes right back to them and I get my money back. :evil:
     
  7. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

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    While sharpness is not really a main concern of mine with a brand new knife I do expect it to be ground evenly to make it easier to touch up later. I also believe that new knives should always come sharp because as a knife's primary purpose is to cut, it makes little sense for them to not perform well out of the box. Echoing what has been said above, a lackluster sharpening job on a knife only makes you wonder where else the maker's attention to detail is lacking.
     
  8. Mister Scribble

    Mister Scribble Loaded Pockets

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    :iagree:
     
  9. Marlinaholic

    Marlinaholic Loaded Pockets

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    I just hope the bevel is less than 25 degrees per side, and I prefer 20-15 really. That way I can use my Lansky Croc sticks on the 20 or 25 degree settings, or the Sharpmaker with its 20 degree setting for fast, easy touch ups. If the bevel is more obtuse, then I have to dig out my Apex to change it or freehand sharpen the knife. I'm not horrible at that, but I really like the ease of using Croc sticks ect. as even if you are tired you can touch up a blade perfectly in no time if it isn't real dull. I also always hope for an even bevel. Some knives have one side way off compared to the other, or sections of the edge ground less than other areas. I put them on the Apex and even the main bevel out. What a headache though, one shouldn't have to do it on a quality knife, but it happens.
     
  10. Johnathan

    Johnathan Empty Pockets

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    My two cents - quality of the edge out the box shows the devotion of the company. If I get two identical blades from different company's, and A has a good starting sharpness and B is crap. I'm not going to buy from B again.