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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.