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A noob question, would it be better to get my cheap knife sharpened or to buy a new knife. Other than it's sharpeness, the knife it self is built well and handles good.

Now I am thinking if it is better to get this knife profesionally sharpened or buy a new expensive one. Or maybe, in more general the question is, when is sharpening a knife a good idea?

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  • Is the blade damaged or just dull? Have you been honing it? Am curious if you're using "sharpening" in the technical sense or the generic "blade is dull and it needs to be made sharp" sense. Oct 2, 2023 at 3:03
  • If you're going to buy a new one, wouldn't it be worth a shot sharpening the old yourself? There's lots of methods and how-to video out there to choose from.
    – dandavis
    Oct 2, 2023 at 23:47

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It's generally worthwhile to sharpen knives until they run out of hard steel at the edge. Whether it's worthwhile financially depends on how much a new knife would cost you.

Every sharp knife has a certain amount of steel at and near the edge that has been tempered to be hard (but brittle) so that it holds a very sharp edge. When you've sharpened the knife enough times (meaning an activity that removes metal to bring back a sharp edge), you will take off all the hard steel and the knife will become effectively unsharpenable. At that point, discard it (or move it to the garage/garden shed as a tool), and get a new knife.

How much sharp steel a knife has depends entirely on its manufacture. In general, heavier, more expensive knives have more hard steel, but that can vary a lot. Some knives can only be sharpened 5 times before being out of hard steel, and others can be sharpened hundreds of times.

You can also hone your knives between sharpenings, extending their lifespans.

For comparison, some of my (very sharp) knives are more than 30 years old.

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