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Guide to Knife Grinds

Written by:
Aleks Nemtcev
Updated:
November 23, 2022
blade grinds

The bevel is the part of the blade which narrows and tapers to form the cutting edge. It is created by a grinding process, in which the metal is carefully shaped and sharpened. This area can range from a few millimeters to several centimeters wide, depending on the type of knife.

Knife Blade Grinds

Although to a beginner it might seem that a quality  blade  is everything required to make a knife a perfect cutting tool, the reality is a bit more complicated. The grind is an aspect often overlooked by knife owners, and every true knife lover has to understand how the grind impacts the use of a knife.
The word ‘grind’ stands for the shape of knife’s blade and depicts how exactly the blade is made thin enough to cut with it. Explore the different edge types, their properties and strengths, to better understand how to have the best of your  knife.

blade grinds

 

Flat Grind

The simplest type of grind comes in three main varieties: the Full Flat Grind, the High Flat Grind, and the V Grind (also known as the Scandinavian Grind). The V Grind and the High Flat Grind are more common today.

Full Flat Grind

The Full Flat Grind implies the edge is tapered from the spine evenly on both sides. A genuine Full Flat Grind, without a secondary bevel, is rare today, as this kind of edge is very sharp but not as durable.

High Flat Grind

The High Flat Grind (the second type of flat grind), unlike the Full Flat Grind, leaves a small portion of the blade untouched before it begins tapering toward the edge. In the High Flat Grind (as distinct from the V Grind), the bevel begins close to the spine.

flat grind

 

Convex Grind

Instead of curving inward (like in the Hollow Grind), the Convex Grind has rounded curves that meet at the tip. The Convex Grind is really durable and keeps an edge well. Knives with the Convex Grind have a stronger edge and are great at cutting. However, this type of grind is difficult to craft and sharpen, therefore knives featuring it are rare and specialized.

convex grind

 

V Grind (Scandi Grind)

The V Grind (also known as the Scandi) doesn’t begin tapering until closer to the edge, and much more of the blade is left the same thickness as the spine. The V Grind and the High Flat Grind are recommended for survival knives, as they are easier to sharpen in the field. However, a major shortcoming is that these types of grind dull fairly quickly.
Where the V grind has bevels extending from around the centerline of the blade to the cutting edge, it is sometimes referred to as the Saber Grind. However, the normal Saber Grind is expected to have an additional bevel near the edge. Where there is no second bevel, and the V grind starts close enough to blade centerline, such V (or ‘Scandi’) grind is sometimes called the Zero Sabre Grind.

scandi grind

 

 

Chisel Grind

In the Chisel Grind (aka Single Bevel Grind), one side, from the spine to the edge, is completely flat and the other side has a single bevel that tapers toward the edge. Chisel Grinds are found most commonly on chisels (expectedly), foldable knives and chef’s knives, as this type of grind provides excellent sharpness required in woodworking and cooking.

chisel grind

 

Asymmetrical Grind

An asymmetrical grind has two different grind styles on the same blade. There are different combinations with Asymmetrical Grinds, and each has its own strong and weak points. In general, this type of grind is easy to sharpen and has a durable edge that is less likely to chip.

asymmetrical grind

 

Compound Bevel Grind

The Compound Bevel Grind (aka the Double Bevel Grind) adds a second bevel to the existing grind. The presence of two bevels enhances cutting ability and decreases the risk of chipping. The Compound Bevel Grind is the most common type of grind in knives nowadays.

compound grind

 

Hollow Grind

In this type of grind the sides of the blade curve inward until they meet. The Hollow Grind provides exclusive, razor-like edge sharpness, but this grind is not durable and can dull easily. The Hollow Grind has been historically popular in the hunting community, as this type of grind is perfect for specific hunter’s operations like skinning.

hollow grind

handmade custom knives

 

Different knife grinds (video)

YouTube video by: The Old-Fashioned Woodsman.

FAQ Corner

 

Why are there different knife grinds? What’s the purpose?

Each grind serves a specific function. Just as a blade’s shape is tailored to its intended use, its grind is honed to optimize performance in tasks ranging from precise slicing to rugged chopping. The diversity in grinds allows for a fine-tuned balance between edge sharpness, strength, and durability.

What’s the difference between a hollow grind and a flat grind?

A hollow grind features a concave curvature, resulting in a razor-sharp edge that’s great for precise tasks but can be more fragile. In contrast, a flat grind has a straight taper from the spine to the edge, offering a robust and versatile cutting edge suitable for a variety of tasks.

How does grind affect knife maintenance?

Certain grinds, like the hollow, might require more frequent sharpening due to their fine edges. Conversely, more robust grinds like the saber might not demand sharpening as often but could require more effort when they do. Understanding your knife’s grind can help you maintain it effectively.

Can I change the grind of my existing knife?

While possible, altering a knife’s original grind is a task that requires expertise. Changing the grind can affect the knife’s performance, durability, and even its balance. If you’re considering such a modification, consult with a seasoned knifemaker or professional.

Conclusion

In the heart of every knifemaker’s workshop, amidst the clang of metal and the shower of sparks, lies the pivotal process of grinding. This isn’t just about shaping steel; it’s about breathing life into a blade. As we’ve journeyed together through this guide, we’ve uncovered the intricate dance between edge geometry, functionality, and the soul of the knife. From the sleek hollow grind to the robust flat grind, each has its story and purpose. To the uninitiated, it’s just an edge; but for us makers, it’s a testament to craftsmanship, experience, and passion. So, whether you’re crafting your first blade or your hundredth, remember that the grind you choose speaks volumes about the knife’s essence. It’s not just metal meeting stone; it’s artistry in motion. Keep those wheels turning, and those edges sharp, fellow smiths!

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Author: Aleks Nemtcev | Connect with me on LinkedIn

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