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Drawing a Burr

When you’re first sharpening a blade, successfully drawing a burr from each side of the knife is the most important step. It is very difficult to know for certain without the presense of a burr if the bevels on each side of the blade actually extend to the edge. If the bevels do not extend all the way to the edge, the edge of the knife will be blunt and the knife will not be sharp.

A burr is defined as (From Wikipedia) ‘In engineering, a burr refers to the raised edge on a metal part. It may be present in the form of a fine wire on the edge of a freshly sharpened tool or as a raised portion on a surface, after being struck a blow from an equally hard, or heavy object.’ A burr, also called a wire edge, is created as a result of sharpening metal. The burr forms on the edge of the knife where the planes of the bevels (or, in the case of one-sided knives or chisels, the plane of one face and the bevel) intersect. The diagram below shows the burr projecting from the edge of the knife:

knife edge

The next diagram shows the formation of a burr in greater detail.

raising-a-burr

 To draw a burr simply sharpen one side of the knife at a time. If this is the first time the knife has been sharpened in a Wicked Edge we recommend using your 200 grit stone to draw the burr. If you are just touching up your edge we recommend using your 600 grit stone to draw the burr. Sharpen one side of the knife with 10 passes of the stone and then check for the burr. You’ll be able to feel the metal rolled over with your finer nail, or you can use a cotton ball or a Q-tip and see if the cotton catches on the burr. It will be obvious if it’s there. If you can’t find it do make another 10 passes and then test to find it again. Once you’ve drawn the burr on one side, switch and find it on the opposite side of the blade. When you have successfully drawn a burr from both sides you can begin sharpening both sides simultaneously by alternating from left to right with every stroke.

Updated on June 26, 2017

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