Book Review: The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening
If you’ve ever wanted to have the sharpest blade around, one that impresses and maybe slightly scares your buddy who asks to borrow your knife, then The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening is worth a read. It covers folding knives, sheath knives, axes, arrowheads, fishhooks and other cutting tools, with each category getting its own chapter that focuses in on specific sharpening concerns, based on the intended use of an edge.
The author, John Juranitch, has made a scientific study of what works and what doesn’t for getting bladed tools sharp. He runs a business that sharpens tools for places such as meat processing facilities. The contents of this book are based largely on the author’s research and years of trial and error experience.
The early chapters cover the physics behind how a good cutting edge works, sharpening theory and tool selection. The later chapters cover how to sharpen specific types of tools, from the pocket knife, to the chain saw, adz and ice auger. The author has tested the things we wonder about, such as stainless vs. high carbon steel and different types of oil vs no oil at all, and explains not only what works best, but why that is the case.
After reading this book, I really did change my process for sharpening knives and other edged tools. I started with an inexpensive folder as a test knife and could tell a huge difference after following the directions in Chapter Three. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been able to get knives plenty sharp in the past. But once you read the The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening and understand the physics behind sharpening and what is really going on while you are working on your knife’s blade, it really does kick your game up a notch.
The author does produce his own knife sharpening tools and spends some time discussing how and why they work so well. I have never used any tools made by his company. However, I did get excellent results using the ideas from this book with sharpeners like the Lansky Professional Sharpening System and ended up with truly scary sharp blades.