Can A Knife Be Too Sharp?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 04/24/21 •  5 min read

Whether you’re using it for the outdoors or for the kitchen, you need to make sure that you keep your knife‘s edge sharp.

Ideally, you would want it to be as sharp as it was when it came out of the box.

This can be done from proper maintenance and regular honing and sharpening, but this can also beg the question:

Can a knife be too sharp?

The simple answer to this question is no, a knife can never be too sharp. That being said, there are times when people sharpen a blade so sharp that it doesn’t serve its purpose properly.

For example, while a super-sharp blade can help you slice garlic very thin, it might actually be counterproductive to use the same sharp knife if you’re trying to cut through the heavy rope.

For that reason, you need to be well-acquainted with each of the blades you own and what they are used for, that way, it will always be able to get the job done.

If you’re looking to learn more about whether you can sharpen a blade too much, then you’ve come to the right place as that’s exactly what we’ll be looking at in this article.

Read on to learn more.

Can A Knife Be Too Sharp?

As we’ve mentioned earlier, you can never have an edge that is TOO sharp but keep in mind that each knife has its own purpose and unique set of uses, and the edge of the blade is specifically designed to get those tasks done.

So that means, that it is possible to have the wrong edge on the wrong type of knife.

Take for example heavy rope, to slice through that, you would need a relatively heavy and toothy blade and if it’s too thin or polished, it might not be able to get the job done.

Another example would be slicing tomatoes.

To get a nice, clean, and even cut, you would need a blade that has a sharp edge that can easily glide through ingredients.

If you’ve spent a lot of time doing cutting and slicing tasks, you’d know that having the wrong edge for certain purposes can be really frustrating.

That’s why it’s important to make sure to sharpen your blade to the point where it’s very sharp, but also to think about what you’re going to use the blade for and what type of edge you’d need to accomplish those tasks.

What Angle Should I Sharpen My Blades?

This will depend on the type of blade you have and its purpose.

For Japanese kitchen cutlery, it’s best to sharpen it to a 15 to 20-degree angle and for German-style cutlery, the recommended angle is 20 to 25 degrees.

Cleavers and machetes need more heft to them, so it’s recommended to keep them between a 30 and 35-degree angle.

And if you’re dealing with hunting, pocket, and survival knives, anywhere between 25 and 30 degrees is ideal.

How Do I Test My Knife‘s Sharpness?

There are many ways to figure out if your knife is sharp enough, but by far the easiest way to do this is the paper test.

To do the paper test, all you’re going to need is your knife and a piece of paper.

From there, all you have to do is hold the paper between your two fingers and slide the knife through it.

If you can slice through the paper without applying pressure and only using the weight of the knife, that means your edge is sharp enough.

However, if it doesn’t try using honing steel on the blade, and if it still won’t cut through the paper from there, you might need to take out your whetstones or knife sharpeners.

How Do I Maintain My Blade’s Edge?

Cleaning & Washing It After Every Use

This is the most important aspect of maintaining your blades.

After every use, make sure to clean it and wash it with water and soap.

If you can, use a non-abrasive sponge to get the job done.

Once finished washing, make sure that you properly dry it with a clean cloth to make sure it won’t get corroded or further damaged.

Also, remember never to put your blades in the dishwasher as that can cause irreparable damage.

Regular Honing & Sharpening

Another thing you can do to make sure your blade’s edge is always sharp is to hone it and sharpen it regularly.

Remember, honing and sharpening are two very different things.

Honing straightens your edge and should be done before every use, while sharpening requires more effort and should be done at least once a year, depending on how much you use the blade.

To sharpen your knife, you can either use a whetstone, manual sharpener, electric sharpener or have it professionally sharpened.

Just make sure that you learn the proper techniques before doing it yourself to avoid damaging the blades.


With that, our article comes to an end.

You can never sharpen an edge too much, but keep in mind that you can sharpen it too much for its intended purpose.

And as long as you remember that whenever you go about your knife maintenance, your blades will perform to their fullest capacity for a long time coming!

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.