The Chisel Grind - Why?

Discussion in 'Daniel Fairly Knives' started by Daniel Fairly Knives, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 9, 2011
    Why? Because I think they are the best.

    The chisel grind...

    Planes versus wedges - you can't beat a chisel grind for removing material

    The unground side has excellent cutting geometry - it is flat with nothing to catch or cause much friction

    Easy to sharpen - no need to maintain a bevel on each side, just sharpen on one side, it is easier and takes less time

    Strength at the weakest point - the ricasso on chisel ground knives transitions gently through the plunge to the edge instead of quickly narrowing and making a bend point

    Increased cutting performance - they do work better in the hand the bevel side is ground on - right handed/right hand bevel
    the performance is shifted to the cutting side, I find a chisel grind to work faster because of this

    Whatever you are cutting falls off to the correct side, this is especially useful during food preparation or carving
  2. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 9, 2011
    I don't make chisel ground knives because they are easier to make, in fact they take me more time. The flat side takes much longer to clean up when sanding resulting in more work and grinder time. The heat treat can be more of a challenge but that isn't much of an issue. I use the chisel grind because of the high performance.

    I am finding that a zero bevel chisel grind with an edge bevel on the opposite side works great as well, I need to use this style of grind more to evaluate it completely. So far the performance is excellent and sharpening is literally as easy as it gets.

    I like a double grind better for ambidextrous use, for splitting, skinning (although the above mentioned opposite micro bevel excels at this task), some chopping, cutting towards myself... they are obviously great for many uses.

    The chisel grind is for high performance... it isn't made to do everything but it does it's job very well
  3. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    The Voice of Reason. ^
    Thanks for posting this, Daniel.
  4. Matt Markell

    Matt Markell

    May 12, 2012
    Amen, the more I use the ones I made, the more I like them!
  5. s_f


    Nov 17, 2009
    One thing I appreciate in (pocket) knives is that they are tools that are meant to be used for pretty much everything.
    And I guess these points are very valid reasons that speak for the chisel grind, but when I buy a knife for every day carrying I do not want it to be specialized. That's why I skip basically every chisel grind I see and why I bemoan the chisel grind if the knife itself was very well looking (because I usually don't want to ask the maker if he would build one with a v-grind and wait for it - but I might think about the same knife if it had a v-grind). But that's just my opinion.
  6. trkJr


    Jul 4, 2007
    Interesting stuff........ If only we could get some Lefty grinds to try out........:D
  7. rjdepedro


    Oct 26, 2011
    I've been studying the product from Daniel Fairly Knives, and I've been very impressed. I'm hoping to soon be able to justify another cutlery purchase, so I can send for my first one (probably an EDC fixed blade). For this reason I looked into this thread, wanting to know the point-of-view on chisel grinds.

    Other than EDC as I go through daily life my knife usage is on the field, and in the kitchen. I do have a few chisel grind blades, and a couple of them are not the best cutters and also hard to sharpen, to make things worse. After reading the two initial posts I've reassessed my opinion on those couple of bad ones, and realized (and have to admit) that the problem with those blades is not the chisel grind, but actually the quality of the blades.

    I have some Japanese sushi slicers that are superb cutters and very easy to maintain. But I never gave this too much thought. This should have made me rethink my position on chisel grinds before now. It's surprising how one can lead oneself to the wrong conclusion when we fail to test the source of our opinions. I probably should give more work time to my good chisel grinds, and finally get rid of those bad ones.

    As stated, the chisel grind is probably not best for everything, but the use of my knives is generally quite specific. I may very well be missing out on superior cutting power because of previous misconceptions and prejudice.
  8. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod

    Apr 6, 2000
    Many people avoid the chisel grind because they are right-handed and see so many left-hand chisel grinds. These are not the best for utility. I have a massively-strong right-hand chisel-ground Daniel Fairly kiridashi. Despite the exotic blade characteristics, it is comfortable and effective for a wide range of small tasks. And it's my favorite staple remover! :)
  9. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    Are you^ taking the staples out of yer head again?
  10. Esav Benyamin

    Esav Benyamin MidniteSuperMod

    Apr 6, 2000
    No, I'm reoving the staples from the pantry -- you know, the rice, beans, flour, sugar ... :)
  11. mr_badexample


    Mar 1, 2012
    I first encountered the chisel grind on a Mike Snody Boss. Admittedly I was skeptical based on not having much knowledge about this type of grind. It didn't take long for me to realize the advantages. For me the biggest plus is the ease of sharpening. I liked it so much that I soon began looking at other makers that have a preference for the chisel grind. And that's how I found Daniel Fairly and his awesome blades.

  12. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    Gotcha, Esav!
  13. GatorFlash1

    GatorFlash1 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 28, 2012
    Chisels are great for cutting stuff like ham or cheese. The beveled edge lay over the slice perfectly and the flat edge cuts a nice straight surface from the uncut portion.


    Oct 2, 2009
    Horton's are chisel ground, and they're awesome, insanely sharp, so that's all the proof one should ever need. I concur, maintaining a Chisel edge is pretty darn easy. Plus its cool to be different from the majority. Conformists love Vgrinds lol.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2012
  15. Emi1099


    Jun 9, 2005
    Daniel - Would you mind elaborating on what you mean by high performance? Also, what job's do you think the chisel grind excels at if its not made to do everything? Many of my kitchen knives are from Japan and have a chisel grind with urasuki, so I'm a huge fan of it.

  16. gooeytek


    Jul 12, 2011
    A chisel grind gives you a much more acute angle than a double-sided grind. It just cuts better, which is what you want a knife to do. The Havok X that Daniel made for me has a 9 1/4" cutting edge on its 10" blade that has a zero chisel grind on the first 3 1/2 inches that is scary sharp then transitions into a convexed chisel all the way to the tip. The convexed part is what does all the hard work when I'm chopping, but that zero edge closer to the ricasso makes fine slicing effortless that you wouldn't necessarily be able to use a 15" chopper for. The Havok X wouldn't be what it is without the chisel grind.
  17. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 9, 2011
    Thanks guys for the contribution to the thread, everyone has brought up some great points! :cool:

    Emi1099 - great question about performance, I think it is hard to pin down exactly what makes a chisel grind perform so well. Gooeytek brought up some great points I have to agree with. I also think the cutting edge being in line with the wrist angle has a lot to do with increased performance, whenever I use a V ground knife now I feel like I must compensate for the angle on the side away from the cut.

    The chisel grind is used commonly in industrial machines where cutting performance is the main objective, I feel there is something to that. I need to find the machinists manual I have read that explains how a blade cuts, it compares a chisel grind to a double grind and explains why a chisel is better for manufacturing purposes.

    By the way, I think every grind has it's place, double grinds are great too!
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  18. shaymanx

    shaymanx Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 25, 2012
    Great discussion.

    I'm not very knowledgeable, but to my simple mind...

    With a chisel grind, you grind at 20 degrees and you get a 20 degree cutting edge. With a V grind and the same 20 degree grind, you grind (each side) at 20 degrees and you have a 40 degree cutting edge. Smaller angle equals better cutting performance for something like slicing. Also, with the flat grind, you have a nice large flat surface that you can use to orient for a very precise cutting thickness.

    The urasuki is a great idea. (I looked it up, because I had no idea what it was.) The concavity of the urasuki helps remove the friction of that big "flat" surface by reducing the amount of the blade in contace with that ham, or whatever is being sliced.

    This forum isn't just about art, it's about education. :thumbup:

    I think I doubled my knife knowledge today. :D
  19. Emi1099


    Jun 9, 2005
    So I've heard people use the term "Zero convex edge" (that doesn't sound right but i'm going with it :)) So I'm wondering what is a zero chisel grind? The urasuki puts a "concavity" on the back side, does the "convexed" chisel do the opposite? And if it is a convexed chisel grind, how is that still a chisel grind, would that be more of a chisel with back bevel that is convexed? Sorry still trying to learn all the terminology as well :)

    Me too :thumbup: :D
  20. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 9, 2011
    Great stuff here! I almost bought a 36" platen to simulate a wheel for the concave Urasuki grind, it is a really cool grind. One day! :D

    I see the terminology used in many ways, in my opinion you can bring any micro bevel to a zero edge but a zero grind has no small or micro bevel... it only has one grind going directly to the edge.

    I use both, they both have their place.

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