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FAQ: My knife has a convex grind -- how do I sharpen it?

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Before getting into the "how," first we're going to talk about the "why" of convex edges.

When you think about the edge of a knife, you probably picture a V-bevel -- an angle, two flat surfaces producing a sharp edge. A convex grind, with two gently curved surfaces ending at the edge, is fundamentally different, so a flat sharpening system designed to hold a precise, consistent angle won't get the job done.

What's required, then, is an abrasive surface that ever-so-slightly "gives" to follow the curvature of the blade. The best solution is a leather strop -- a piece of leather affixed to wood base, with abrasion provided by stropping compound or sandpaper.

For complete step-by-step instructions on honing convex edges, we refer you to KnivesShipFree's series of sharpening videos. We're proud to say that literally thousands of people have learned how to put an edge on their convex knives after watching these excellent videos.

KnivesShipFree offers a complete selection of tools and supplies for sharpening and maintaining convex edges -- strops, pocket hones, compounds and even complete sharpening kits that you can carry with you into the field.

The stropping compounds we carry are from Bark River Knives because, although there are many other brands on the market, that's what they use. And if they're good enough for the crew in Escanaba, they're good enough for us.

For stropping today's "super steels" that don't yield as easily to standard compounds, you may have to use diamond paste (we carry the Wicked Edge brand) or the CBN (Cubic Boron Nitride) Sharpening Emulsions from Bark River. Those products, and a little extra patience, will give you great results with even the most stubborn steels.

Like freehand-sharpening a V-bevel, stropping a convex edge takes time to accomplish and practice to master, but it's not rocket science. The results will be worth it, we promise.

What's more, stropping is a great final step to sharpening any knife -- in fact, like many of our customers you may end up making it your only sharpening method, for all of your knives.

To learn more, visit our Knife Sharpening page.

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