Wednesday 10 June 2009

Are you a manic knife sharpener?

I am pretty keen on keeping my kitchen knives sharp. This is something I inherited from dad, who spent decades searching for the best way to put an edge on a blade. Luckily for me, he found a good solution years ago, and passed it on. I use a sharpener apparently favoured by professional fisherman, who like a sharp blade for filleting mounds of fish.

Until today, I had always thought it a good idea to keep all the knives nice and sharp. Apparently not:

Now you may be thinking this will dull the knife and make it less effective in a last ditch combat situation. This is not so. The fixed blade knife is not intended to be razor sharp. The damage is caused by the sheer size and weight of the knife. Do you remember the instructions that came with the bayonet? They said the attached sharpening stone was to remove burs only, and not to sharpen the knife.

The most important reason not to sharpen your combat fixed blade is that heavy, sharp knives tend to cut into bone when used for thrusting, and therefore “stick to ribs”. A slightly less sharp knife will deflect off of bones and into soft tissue where it will do the most damage. Your knife does you no good if it’s stuck in the guy on the ground.

Not that I am in the habit of keeping a knife around me for sticking into someone else. But I will keep this in mind, next time I am honing a knife with the intention of dismembering a tomato for a sandwich.

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