Originally Posted by Walter
What exactly is the benefit of the polished edge on a knife?
For the most part, I try to keep 'my edges' at the same bevel angle as they came from the factory. I figure the cutler knew the strengths and weaknesses of the metal used, so why re-invent the wheel. This is especially true on premium knives like Emersons and Striders.
So, it's a 'no' to one of your questions. The edge is not stronger, but then, it is not weaker. It's the same.
The reason is simply the quality of the cut and edge retention.
It's amazing how many 'experts' think that an edge on a knife used for field dressing deer must be toothy. They believe that it must 'bite' to be a manly tool. And yet these same guys are afraid to handle a real-deal samurai sword.
Polished edges slide through any material and do not breakdown or dull as fast as knives with a traditional American edge.
Another reason is quality. The first step in this process is to fix or perfect the bevel. That means the bevel is the same width, front to back, left to right. The edge goes straight down the center of the blade blank. Then I polish.
I will use descending grades of water stones (three or four grit sizes) and then finish with two or more polishing tapes, which duplicate the rice paper or pumice that an original Japanese sword polisher may have used. I also use commercial chromium oxide paste on some papers.
There are still polishers who completely duplicate the original procedures. I use modern renditions of the tools. I do not seek to be confused with the guild craft of polishing, nor do I claim their title of polishing. I respect the tradition.
Having said that, I'd be careful around my knives. You cannot feel much when you are cut. Most people report "the brush of a feather." Then lots of blood.
Originally Posted by Don Gwinn
That's right, a genius.
You're either a collector or a polisher.