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Thread: Primary edge or micro bevel

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Primary edge or micro bevel

    I was wondering about different opinions on how big a difference there is between putting a micro-bevel on an edge or what you would call a primary edge in addition to the secondary bevel. Also, why would you opt for one over the other?

    Do you see a micro-bevel at first glance? A secondary and primary bevel on an edge is easy to see just by turning the blade under sufficient light.

    Just curious,
    Jack

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    Jack, I see all these terms used for different things by different people. To me (and I could be as wrong) the secondary grind is the grind of the blade itself - full flat, flat saber, hollow saber, etc. The primary grind is the "edge grind", unless the knife has a "zero edge" grind like scandi or Moran. Then things can get really confused. Normally the primary grind will be somewhere between 1/16" and 1/8" wide, but on knives ground thin behind the edge it can be much narrower. The primary grind on the Schempp Persian that Tom Krein gave his FFG treatment for me is closer to 1/64". Some would call it a micro bevel, but to me a micro bevel is just that - a few strokes on each side of the blade made with the spine raised a bit hinger off the stone. If done "correctly" it's barely visible, if visible at all, with the naked eye. The person who taught me to sharpen knives nearly sixty years ago didn't call it anything, he just told me always to do that when sharpening.
    Paul
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deacon View Post
    Jack, I see all these terms used for different things by different people. To me (and I could be as wrong) the secondary grind is the grind of the blade itself - full flat, flat saber, hollow saber, etc. The primary grind is the "edge grind", unless the knife has a "zero edge" grind like scandi or Moran. Then things can get really confused. Normally the primary grind will be somewhere between 1/16" and 1/8" wide, but on knives ground thin behind the edge it can be much narrower. The primary grind on the Schempp Persian that Tom Krein gave his FFG treatment for me is closer to 1/64". Some would call it a micro bevel, but to me a micro bevel is just that - a few strokes on each side of the blade made with the spine raised a bit hinger off the stone. If done "correctly" it's barely visible, if visible at all, with the naked eye. The person who taught me to sharpen knives nearly sixty years ago didn't call it anything, he just told me always to do that when sharpening.
    Deacon,
    Very helpful. What you referred to "knives ground thin behind the edge" that is what I would have called a secondary bevel. The bevel I put on the knife. The actual grind of a blade from manufacturing is the saber, full, etc. grind. That's how I saw it but I've only known that these different shapes or grinds actually had names for about a year. I'm 52 years old just never got into knives like I have lately. Another thing you said I liked about the person who showed you how to sharpen. He put a micro-bevel on the edge automatically, almost without thought it seems. That is what is hard about teaching sometimes. The teacher may not understand why a student didn't pick up on something that he takes for granted.

    Thanks for your help,
    Jack

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknifeh View Post
    Deacon,
    Very helpful. What you referred to "knives ground thin behind the edge" that is what I would have called a secondary bevel. The bevel I put on the knife. The actual grind of a blade from manufacturing is the saber, full, etc. grind. That's how I saw it but I've only known that these different shapes or grinds actually had names for about a year. I'm 52 years old just never got into knives like I have lately. Another thing you said I liked about the person who showed you how to sharpen. He put a micro-bevel on the edge automatically, almost without thought it seems. That is what is hard about teaching sometimes. The teacher may not understand why a student didn't pick up on something that he takes for granted.

    Thanks for your help,
    Jack
    Again, don't take my terminology as anything but mine. When I say thin (or thick) behind the edge I'm talking the blade thickness at the point where what I call the primary grind meets the overall blade grind (saber, etc). If you compare a Caly 3 and a Stretch II, for example, both are full flat grinds, both come from the factory with similar width primary grinds, but the Caly 3 is noticeably thinner behind the edge than the Stretch and that makes it the superior slicer. I don't have a micrometer, but I can feel the difference just "pinching" the blades between my thumb and forefinger. You mght also want to read Ed Schempp's post in the "Less Force = Better Cutter" thread for some further insights on the relationships between various parts of blade geometry.

    As for the gent who taught me, yes, he'd probably either been taught the same way, figured out on his own that it helped, or possibly only knew a name for it in his native language.
    Paul
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deacon View Post
    Again, don't take my terminology as anything but mine. When I say thin (or thick) behind the edge I'm talking the blade thickness at the point where what I call the primary grind meets the overall blade grind (saber, etc). If you compare a Caly 3 and a Stretch II, for example, both are full flat grinds, both come from the factory with similar width primary grinds, but the Caly 3 is noticeably thinner behind the edge than the Stretch and that makes it the superior slicer. I don't have a micrometer, but I can feel the difference just "pinching" the blades between my thumb and forefinger. You mght also want to read Ed Schempp's post in the "Less Force = Better Cutter" thread for some further insights on the relationships between various parts of blade geometry.

    As for the gent who taught me, yes, he'd probably either been taught the same way, figured out on his own that it helped, or possibly only knew a name for it in his native language.
    I know how you feel about having your own terminology. I have mine as well because I have no formal training. I just repeat what I hear or read and think it's right until I learn different.

    Blade geometry is one thing that is interesting to me now as far as cutting and the right tool for the right job.

    A little while back there were a couple of threads about ZDP-189 and it being harder to sharpen than say VG-10 or others. I had problems myself which I have overcome just by patience. The harder steels just take twice the number of strokes because less metal is removed by each stroke. The reason I mention it is my first ZDP blade knife was a Michael Walker. I had problems. I questioned the inventor of my sharpener and his basic reply was to put a final micro-bevel on the edge because with harder steel sharpening wide bevels takes much longer. I then bought a Stretch with ZDP and out of the box it had two bevels on the edge. There was the grind, FFG. Then there was what I call a secondary unpolished bevel. Then came the primary bevel (edge), also unpolished. There was a razor edge one it. This was very easy to see with just a glance if you were looking for it. I have never looked at an edge closely enough to see if that was there before on a new knife and now I don't own a knife I haven't sharpened eliminating the original edge. Anyway, it' fun learning and I appreciate your opinion and help.

    Jack

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User unit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deacon View Post
    Jack, I see all these terms used for different things by different people. To me (and I could be as wrong) the secondary grind is the grind of the blade itself - full flat, flat saber, hollow saber, etc. The primary grind is the "edge grind", unless the knife has a "zero edge" grind like scandi or Moran. Then things can get really confused. Normally the primary grind will be somewhere between 1/16" and 1/8" wide, but on knives ground thin behind the edge it can be much narrower. The primary grind on the Schempp Persian that Tom Krein gave his FFG treatment for me is closer to 1/64". Some would call it a micro bevel, but to me a micro bevel is just that - a few strokes on each side of the blade made with the spine raised a bit hinger off the stone. If done "correctly" it's barely visible, if visible at all, with the naked eye. The person who taught me to sharpen knives nearly sixty years ago didn't call it anything, he just told me always to do that when sharpening.
    Interesting info Paul, You and I use completely different nomenclature regarding primary and secondary bevel definitions. Yours is probably more widely accepted than mine (I think I just dreamed mine up based on what makes sense to me). Now that I think about it, yours makes quite a bit of sense.

    FWIW, I viewed the Primary bevel as the one you put on during reprofiling, and the secondary was the one(s) you put on during subsequent sharpenings/touchups (some would call these micro bevels).

    On another related topic, I have a fundamental hangup of calling anything a micro bevel if it is visible to the naked eye. This is why I call it a secondary bevel. In the end, your nomenclature names the bevels from cutting edge up, and mine seems to go from spine down.

    As I said, I am inclined to believe that your nomenclature is correct, but wanted to offer the anecdote(s). Perhaps I need to go studying...it would be nice to have this in the edge-u-cation glossary perhaps so others will not build their own definitions as I have.
    Thanks,
    Ken (my real name)

    ...learning something new all the time.

  7. #7
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unit View Post
    As I said, I am inclined to believe that your nomenclature is correct, but wanted to offer the anecdote(s). Perhaps I need to go studying...it would be nice to have this in the edge-u-cation glossary perhaps so others will not build their own definitions as I have.
    I wanted to compliment Spyderco on the edge-u-cation issue. That is really great to provide customers and potential customers with this info. I've learned a lot from it. Unit's suggestion to put this primary, secondary, micro stuff in there would be a great addition.

    Thanks,
    Jack

  8. #8
    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unit View Post
    Interesting info Paul, You and I use completely different nomenclature regarding primary and secondary bevel definitions. Yours is probably more widely accepted than mine (I think I just dreamed mine up based on what makes sense to me). Now that I think about it, yours makes quite a bit of sense.

    FWIW, I viewed the Primary bevel as the one you put on during reprofiling, and the secondary was the one(s) you put on during subsequent sharpenings/touchups (some would call these micro bevels).

    On another related topic, I have a fundamental hangup of calling anything a micro bevel if it is visible to the naked eye. This is why I call it a secondary bevel. In the end, your nomenclature names the bevels from cutting edge up, and mine seems to go from spine down.

    As I said, I am inclined to believe that your nomenclature is correct, but wanted to offer the anecdote(s). Perhaps I need to go studying...it would be nice to have this in the edge-u-cation glossary perhaps so others will not build their own definitions as I have.
    Thanks, but if you check Wikipedia, we both are wrong. Hear you on visible micro bevels, too many years working with microprocessors and micro computers, not to mention savoring a few microbrews, have made it easier for me to accept.
    Paul
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User ChapmanPreferred's Avatar
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    Hi Jack,

    If you review the "Grind" section of Knife Anatomy, which can be found here:

    http://www.spyderco.com/edge-u-cation/knifeanatomy.php

    Read the Zero Grind and Zero Grind Sabre sections at the bottom and compare them to the first two entries you will see reference to the secondary grind vs the "grind". I consider the "grind" a primary/main grind, but that is my take on this topic.
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deacon View Post
    Thanks, but if you check Wikipedia, we both are wrong. Hear you on visible micro bevels, too many years working with microprocessors and micro computers, not to mention savoring a few microbrews, have made it easier for me to accept.
    I object to micro brews. The larger ones work better.

    Jack

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User unit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deacon View Post
    we both are wrong.
    That is one I had not counted on.

    I will check it out. Thanks again.
    Thanks,
    Ken (my real name)

    ...learning something new all the time.

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChapmanPreferred View Post
    Hi Jack,

    If you review the "Grind" section of Knife Anatomy, which can be found here:

    http://www.spyderco.com/edge-u-cation/knifeanatomy.php

    Read the Zero Grind and Zero Grind Sabre sections at the bottom and compare them to the first two entries you will see reference to the secondary grind vs the "grind". I consider the "grind" a primary/main grind, but that is my take on this topic.
    You know something Chap, I have about 4 of the Spyderco catalogs just for 2010. You get one every time you buy something. Whenever I sit and watch TV I have my own little area and one of them is there. I'll be reading up on grinds because that has come into the picture in addition to bevels or edges. I think it is a different part of the same picture.

    Jack

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User unit's Avatar
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    OK I did some checking around...Let me know if we can all agree on this...and even if we do, I guess we could all still be wrong.

    According to the searching I have done,

    The Primary Bevel = the grind of the knife (i.e. a FFG has a primary bevel that is the FFG, and then it has an "edge" that is typically where "sharpening occures).

    The Secondary Bevel = the edge grind (i.e. if if we say a knife is 30 degrees inclusive, we are discussing the secondary bevel angles added together)

    The Micro bevel is basically a tertiary bevel but is never referred to as such (AFAIK). The micro bevel can range from visible only with magnification, to a visible step in the secondary bevel. (common practice with the Sharpmaker, may be to re-bevel the Secondary bevel with the 30 degree setting, then put on a micro bevel (or maintenance bevel) with the 40 degree setting).


    As an example, My Endura FFG.

    This thing has a Primary bevel (the FFG) that is probably about 4-5 degrees inclusive and that bevel extends from the sharpened edge to the spine. I reground the Secondary bevel from the stock ~30 degrees inclusive, to 15 degrees inclusive, and currently the knife has no micro bevel.

    The Bushcraft (http://www.spyderco.com/catalog/details.php?product=471) has a zero grind scandi which appears to extend from the cutting edge to about 1/3 the way up the blade face. So we might say it has a primary bevel (the scandi grind) and no secondary or micro bevel.

    Sound about right? I appreciate anyone's input here, as I really would like to have my nomenclature to be correct and understandable when discussed here.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by unit; 09-04-2010 at 12:04 PM.
    Thanks,
    Ken (my real name)

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    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unit View Post
    OK I did some checking around...Let me know if we can all agree on this...and even if we do, I guess we could all still be wrong.

    According to the searching I have done,

    The Primary Bevel = the grind of the knife (i.e. a FFG has a primary bevel that is the FFG, and then it has an "edge" that is typically where "sharpening occures).

    The Secondary Bevel = the edge grind (i.e. if if we say a knife is 30 degrees inclusive, we are discussing the secondary bevel angles added together)

    The Micro bevel is basically a tertiary bevel but is never referred to as such (AFAIK). The micro bevel can range from visible only with magnification, to a visible step in the secondary bevel. (common practice with the Sharpmaker, may be to re-bevel the Secondary bevel with the 30 degree setting, then put on a micro bevel (or maintenance bevel) with the 40 degree setting).


    As an example, My Endura FFG.

    This thing has a Primary bevel (the FFG) that is probably about 4-5 degrees inclusive and that bevel extends from the sharpened edge to the spine. I reground the Secondary bevel from the stock ~30 degrees inclusive, to 15 degrees inclusive, and currently the knife has no micro bevel.

    The Bushcraft (http://www.spyderco.com/catalog/details.php?product=471) has a zero grind scandi which appears to extend from the cutting edge to about 1/3 the way up the blade face. So we might say it has a primary bevel (the scandi grind) and no secondary or micro bevel.

    Sound about right? I appreciate anyone's input here, as I really would like to have my nomenclature to be correct and understandable when discussed here.

    Thanks!
    Those definitions do seem to jibe with both the Wiki and Spyderco Edge-U-Cation definitions.

    Does show that, when talking about grinds/bevels (and a bunch of other things), it's somewhat necessary to explain what you're referring to, rather than just throw out a name and assume it means the same thing to everyone.
    Paul
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unit View Post
    OK I did some checking around...Let me know if we can all agree on this...and even if we do, I guess we could all still be wrong.

    According to the searching I have done,

    The Primary Bevel = the grind of the knife (i.e. a FFG has a primary bevel that is the FFG, and then it has an "edge" that is typically where "sharpening occures).

    The Secondary Bevel = the edge grind (i.e. if if we say a knife is 30 degrees inclusive, we are discussing the secondary bevel angles added together)

    The Micro bevel is basically a tertiary bevel but is never referred to as such (AFAIK). The micro bevel can range from visible only with magnification, to a visible step in the secondary bevel. (common practice with the Sharpmaker, may be to re-bevel the Secondary bevel with the 30 degree setting, then put on a micro bevel (or maintenance bevel) with the 40 degree setting).


    As an example, My Endura FFG.

    This thing has a Primary bevel (the FFG) that is probably about 4-5 degrees inclusive and that bevel extends from the sharpened edge to the spine. I reground the Secondary bevel from the stock ~30 degrees inclusive, to 15 degrees inclusive, and currently the knife has no micro bevel.

    The Bushcraft (http://www.spyderco.com/catalog/details.php?product=471) has a zero grind scandi which appears to extend from the cutting edge to about 1/3 the way up the blade face. So we might say it has a primary bevel (the scandi grind) and no secondary or micro bevel.

    Sound about right? I appreciate anyone's input here, as I really would like to have my nomenclature to be correct and understandable when discussed here.

    Thanks!
    I have done no research but this is my understanding of the terminology:

    Grind: shape of blade from spine to spot where "sharpening" will occur.

    Secondary bevel or edge: sharpen any grind blade to 30 degrees inclusive for example. If you only do that and leave it alone it could just be called the edge or edge bevel.

    Primary edge: put a 40 degree inclusive bevel on the already created 30 degree bevel. If it is really small it could be called a micro instead of primary edge. If it is very easy to see because the bevel (flat) area is wide I would call it a primary edge instead of micro. This would result in an edge that is very easy to resharpen because you would only resharpen the "primary edge" if that's the correct term, until the primary edge moved far enough up into the "secondary edge". Then you would want to "thin" the blade again by removing steel from the "secondary bevel". Also you would have a thinner blade but still have a stronger actual edge to help prevent chipping and such. I did read where someone puts multi-bevel edges on blades. Three or four different angles creating a convex shaped edge with flat spots instead of a constant curve. I'm not going to even try that. I'm not that bored.

    I think we are on the same page as far as what to do and why. Just getting the same terminology is iffy. There may not be one world-wide standard. I saw a TV show several years wher two people were being interviewed. Both were Americans and thier job was being experts on the english language. Like when to say who and when to say whom. Even they didn't always agree. I mean damn! Talk about a boring job (for me anyway).

    One of my questions is in the real world, when would a micro edge be better than a primary edge and vice versa? I mean no matter what we call it. Maybe it's just a matter of preference. Actually my cutting needs aren't that varied. Just something to use up brain cells. Like you unit, I could be wrong but, I know how to get the results I want even if I don't know how to talk about it. The sharpening gods in the sky if they read this would probably just be shaking their heads and laughing.

    Jack

  16. #16
    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknifeh View Post
    One of my questions is in the real world, when would a micro edge be better than a primary edge and vice versa? I mean no matter what we call it. Maybe it's just a matter of preference. Actually my cutting needs aren't that varied. Just something to use up brain cells. Like you unit, I could be wrong but, I know how to get the results I want even if I don't know how to talk about it. The sharpening gods in the sky if they read this would probably just be shaking their heads and laughing.

    Jack
    In theory yes, at least in some respects. I look at the micro bevel as something of a compromise. You get most of the benefit of a thin, acutely angled edge grind with a bit more edge life from the slightly thicker actual edge. How well that works in practice is probably a function of several factors including steel, hardness, blade thickness, material being cut, and person doing the cutting.
    Paul
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    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deacon View Post
    In theory yes, at least in some respects. I look at the micro bevel as something of a compromise. You get most of the benefit of a thin, acutely angled edge grind with a bit more edge life from the slightly thicker actual edge. How well that works in practice is probably a function of several factors including steel, hardness, blade thickness, material being cut, and person doing the cutting.
    I think you stated the reason to going to all that trouble is exactly right.

    I lied also in my last post. I said I wasn't bored enough to sharpen a knife with 3 or 4 different angles on the edge. I guess I am that bored because I'm planning on doing that tonight. It's the only way I have to create somewhat of a convex edge which for a while now I've wanted to see how they cut. But, if the cheerleaders show up tonight I may have to put off the sharpening. Or maybe I should put the cheerleaders off. NOT!

    Jack

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    I think this common confusion is because in Juranovitch's book "Razor Edge Book of Sharpening" 1985, p23, he calls the primary angle the actual angle of contact (or the beveled edge, or back-bevel). He calls the secondary angle the main grind, for instance according to his def, "Spyderco typically would place a 40degree secondary edge, then put at the tip the 30degree primary edge."

    Leonard Lee reverses these definitions (p.16 The Complete Guide to Sharpening, 1995), and I believe this is the current convention: that is, the primary angle is the main grind, then the secondary angle is the "micro"beveled point of contact or the tip. That is, "Spyderco puts a 40degree primary edge on the blade, then grinds the tip to the 30degree secondary edge."

  19. #19
    Spyderco Forum Registered User unit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pleeho View Post
    I think this common confusion is because in Juranovitch's book "Razor Edge Book of Sharpening" 1985, p23, he calls the primary angle the actual angle of contact (or the beveled edge, or back-bevel). He calls the secondary angle the main grind, for instance according to his def, "Spyderco typically would place a 40degree secondary edge, then put at the tip the 30degree primary edge."

    Leonard Lee reverses these definitions (p.16 The Complete Guide to Sharpening, 1995), and I believe this is the current convention: that is, the primary angle is the main grind, then the secondary angle is the "micro"beveled point of contact or the tip. That is, "Spyderco puts a 40degree primary edge on the blade, then grinds the tip to the 30degree secondary edge."
    This is confusing, but I think you have it backwards (perhaps it is just me)?

    The bevel farthest from the spine of the knife will have a LARGER degree angle than any "back" bevel. Said another way the bevels found closer to the spine will be either the same as the edge or LOWER angle (assuming some variation of flat grinding is used)
    Thanks,
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  20. #20
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jackknifeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unit View Post
    This is confusing, but I think you have it backwards (perhaps it is just me)?

    The bevel farthest from the spine of the knife will have a LARGER degree angle than any "back" bevel. Said another way the bevels found closer to the spine will be either the same as the edge or LOWER angle (assuming some variation of flat grinding is used)
    I agree. The edge described it seems could be obtained if you used a grinding wheel to create a concave edge. It would look like a hollow grind as you see in "grinds" in edge-u-cation (without the edge bevel pictured).

    Jack

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