Reeder Knife Sharpening Attachment set to a precise angle for edge thinning
Professional Sharpening Requires ACCURACY! Hapstone Sharpener and Angle Cube, preparing to hand finish a knife.
Illustration shows how knife edges wear and become thicker over time.
Professional Sharpening Service Requires measuring Sharpness. Edge On Up Sharpness Tester
Professional knife sharpening means clean. polished edges at Keith Nix Knives!
Professional Sharpening Service Requires Professional Results. The BESS sharpness scale allows measurement of sharpness.

How I Sharpen Your Knife

Why Choose Professional Knife Sharpening?

Done correctly, professional knife sharpening can correct flaws in your knife that were ignored at the factory or appeared after extensive use. Thickness behind the edge is what I'm talking about, and it is the elephant in the room that most sharpeners avoid addressing. This measurement needs to be appropriate to the use of the knife.

Professional Knife Sharpening Service Near YOU!

What I haven't done is talk about how I sharpen your custom heirloom knife, or any other blade you might bring to me for service. Whether you've purchased any one of the knives I make, or dropped your knives off for sharpening, the process is the same! Let's talk about that.


Thin edges slice. Thick edges bludgeon!

No act of custom knife maintenance is more important to the user than edge maintenance and sharpening. I've written several posts in this blog about the tools and techniques used to sharpen knives. I've written a maintenance and care article describing how YOU can make your sharp edges last longer! I've written about how your choice of cutting boards can destroy your keen edge. We've discussed various devices to assure the angle of the bevel is the same on both sides of the blade, different types of stones, strops and the polishing compounds applied to them, and honing steels.


Assessing Needs

First thing I do is an assessment of your knife, whether it's a kitchen blade, a hunting or camping knife, or the myriad of other jobs people use their knives for. I always measure "thickness behind the edge" to within .001"over the length of the edge , to be sure that dimension is suitable for the knife's intended use. The illustration to the left helps explain how thickness behind the edge gets greater with repeated sharpenings. Even though the knife could be "hair shaving" sharp, it still requires extra effort to push through what you're cutting. So I take a measurement of this dimension. This will determine what happens next.


Preparation of the Blade-

Usually step one after assessment is a visit to the belt sander to set a bevel angle and thickness behind the edge appropriate for the knife I'm sharpening. For kitchen knives this angle is usually 12 -15 degrees per side, and higher for hard use knives. (Contrary to what some "sharpeners" will tell you, properly utilized variable speed belt sander will NOT ruin your knife. Idiots ruin knives!) At this initial angle, I bring the edge just to the apex (a sharp edge) on kitchen knives. I use the Knife Sharpening Attachment from Reeder Products to achieve a very precise angle, and an angle cube to measure this, instead of the more time consuming trigonometric process. After that I use exclusively 3M Trizact structured abrasive belts to rebevel your knife. Trizact belts and slow belt speeds run much cooler than normal abrasives and greatly reduce heat transfer to your blade. I may shape your blade with up to five belts of progressively finer grit to polish and refine the bevel.


HAND Finishing the Edge-

After the bevel is set and thinned I go to the Hapstone hand sharpening machine, where I refine and set a micro bevel on your knife. This micro bevel is usually 2-3 degrees steeper that the primary just set on the Reeder. While only a few thousandths of an inch tall, it significantly strengthens the edge and apex of your knife. Here, if I set a 12 degree bevel per side on the Reeder, we'll do the final sharpening at 14-15 degrees per side for fine kitchen knives.

The Grit Progression-

This final edge is shaped with a progression of up to nine different bonded diamond stones, from as low as 80 grit, through 100, 150, 240, 400, 800, 1200, 2000, and finally 3000 grit. Each progressively finer stone polishes and refines the edge of your knife until it is hair shaving, phone book paper slicing sharp.



As a final treatment I have a selection of six homemade strops, one denim and five leather. Each is treated with progressively finer polishing compounds, down to .25 micron diamond spray(roughly 10 millionths of an inch!). Just a few strokes removes the burr and polishes the edge to smoothness.


Measuring Sharpness-

After final stropping your blade on .25micron diamond loaded leather, I'll MEASURE the sharpness on the Edge On Up BESS sharpness tester to make sure it meets my specifications. If your knife doesn't fall below 170 on the BESS "C" scale, it gets resharpened. Read more about this instrument HERE!

I've refined my process to be able to sharpen and polish your knife relatively quickly, with a high degree of accuracy, sharpness, keenness, and polish. Keeping my prices low for quality hand sharpening is second only to your complete satisfaction. Keith Nix Knives sharpening services are available to individuals and businesses in Asheville, Weaverville, Swannanoa, Black Mountain, and greater Western NC. Call or text 828-337-7836 to make your appointment!


More FREE Learning:

Knife Safety Tips

Quantifying Sharpness

Quantifying Sharpness II

Properties Of Steel


Order Your Heirloom Knife From the Keith Nix Knives Shop Now!


Thanks for reading,


Keith Nix Knives