Why Can’t I Get My Knife Razor Sharp (6 Common Reasons)

If you just can’t get one of your knife razors sharp, or it does not get as sharp as before, our article might help you. Here we will give you the most common reasons why your knife razor does not get sharp. At the same time, we will give you tips on how to get your knives sharp again.

So, let’s find the answer to “why can’t I get my knife razor sharp?” and how to solve it.

Your knife razor really needs to be sharp to cut hair without hurting the skin. 
Your knife razor really needs to be sharp to cut hair without hurting the skin.

6 Reasons Why You Can’t Get Your Knife Razor Sharp

Bad Knife Steel

Basically, the cheaper the knife, the worse the steel, making it more challenging to get it sharp.

Good knife steel must possess specific characteristics. For example, it has to be tough enough not to break easily, while it has to be flexible enough not to deform.

The steel of low-quality knives is often too thin and too soft to produce a really sharp edge. These knives often become dull quickly, making them unlikely to last long.

Not only do these knives not give you the sharpness you need, but they make you sharpen them too often. Last but not least, poor-quality steel also affects the use of your knife. Specifically, it may crack or break during use.

The worse the knife steel, the harder your knife will be to sharpen. 
The worse the knife steel, the harder your knife will be to sharpen.

Tips:

Lee's Razors x
Lee's Razors

In this case, the best thing is to replace the current knife with a new high-quality knife. 

With any knife, suitable steel is crucial. As a rule, the cheaper the knife, the worse the knife steel, and the more difficulty you will have in getting it sharp.

So, it is best to invest more in knives. However, it does not mean you have to buy a costly knife. In fact, it is feasible to buy quality knives at an affordable price.

You should also not underestimate the role of sharpening materials. We recommend investing in sharpening materials because they are worth it.

Your Technique Sucks

In the process of sharpening your knife razor, most guides focus on “easy” or choosing the right tools rather than on sharpening techniques.

There is no denying that most efforts to sharpen a knife razor will be in vain with less efficient techniques. In other words, you will just waste hours getting a knife razor that isn’t sharper.

Tips:

There is no shortcut to success. Therefore, you need to practice a lot before you get something worthy. We mean that you need to be patient and sharpen your knife many times to improve your skills.

In addition, you can also refer to articles, watch videos or consult experts to get the proper technique in sharpening.

Wrong Sharpening Angle

To get the best results, you need to sharpen at the right angle to the current knife. Grinding at too high or too low an angle will not give you the results you want.

Specifically, sharpening at a higher angle will tend to be less sharp, sharpening at a lower angle will significantly increase the sharpening time.

If you sharpen your knife to the wrong recommended angle, your knife will not get the perfect sharpness.
If you sharpen your knife to the wrong recommended angle, your knife will not get the perfect sharpness.

Tips:

We would not recommend knife sharpeners or sharpening systems as they usually only come with a certain number of adjustable angles, causing you to sharpen the wrong angle.

It is essential to know the exact cutting angle of your knife razor so that you can sharpen it with the correct sharpening angle. The “correct” we refer to here means that you must sharpen the knife at an angle that matches the current angle on the knife. This will help you get the best results.

To check if your sharpening angle matches the existing angle on your knife, you can follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Utilize a marker to color the bevel of the knife.
  • Step 2: After that, do three or four strokes on your stone.
  • Step 3: Look at the knife bevel and you will see if you are matching the angle or not. 
  • In case you have removed the marked area above the edge, you are sharpening in the too low angle.
  • If you have removed the marked area only at the very edge, you are probably sharpening in the too high angle. 
  • Finally, if you have removed the marked area in the middle of the bevel, your sharpening angle matches the existing angle of the knife.

Unsteady Grinding Angle

This usually happens when you sharpen the knife by hand because shaking can significantly reduce the sharpness of your knife.

So, to make your knife razor sharper, you have to keep a constant grinding angle, which is not an easy task for beginners. Also, during sharpening, it is essential to put constant pressure on your knife.

Tips: To keep the knife at a constant angle when sharpening, you need to practice many times. You can also get help from an angle aid. Every beginning is complex, and the key to success is patience!

Your Grinding Stone Does Not Wear Down Sufficiently

If your grinding stone is too fine, it can take a long time to sharpen, especially if your knife razor is too hard or too dull. In this case, your knife hardly becomes sharper even if it is sharpened for a long time.

Tips: You just get a coarse grinding stone. One of the recommended options is diamond grinding stones, which can help you sharpen your rigid knives.

Your Stones Aren’t Flat Enough

The materials are removed from the knife and the grinding wheel during sharpening. That is why your stones become uneven over time.

An uneven sharpening stone can produce similar results compared to a shaky grinding angle.

You cannot get perfect sharpness with an uneven sharpening stone.
You cannot get perfect sharpness with an uneven sharpening stone.

Tips:

For best results, your sharpening stone should be straightened every few years. Consider a dressing stone for this.

3 Methods To Get Your Knives Razor Sharp

How to Sharpen Your Knives Razor

You can use a Diamond Stone or a Whetstone 

Using a diamond stone to sharpen knives is one of the most popular methods.
Using a diamond stone to sharpen knives is one of the most popular methods.

Step 1: Pick an Appropriate Angle

Everything becomes very easy if you already know what angle your knife is sharpened. Then all you need to do is re-sharpen your blade at this angle.

If you can’t determine which angle is right for your knife, it’s best to contact the knife shop or knife manufacturer.

If you must make the correct decision yourself, it is best to apply an angle of 10° to 30° to each side.

While the shallower angles will allow you to get a sharper edge, your blade will quickly break in use. Conversely, steeper angles are more durable.

So, in general, the 17° to 20° angle is a good compromise between the two.

Step 2: Lubricate the Diamond Stone/Whetstone

Honing oil, also known as mineral oil, can lubricate the whetstone and help the blade glide through the stone more easily. Moreover, it can also keep the steel chips from clogging the stone’s pores.

Some stones, such as carborundum, are designed for wet or dry use. However, some are specifically designed for oil, while others are destroyed when oiled. Therefore, it is essential to check the user manual from the manufacturer for lubrication.

Step 3: Control the Edge’s Angle With an Angle Guide

The angle guide is placed below the knife to maintain a constant angle when sharpening.

It is beneficial for beginners who do not yet have a well-formed perception of angles. If you are more experienced, you can control the angle by hand.

Step 4: Start With the Rough Grit Side

Most whetstones/diamond stones have rough grit and fine grit. You will start with grinding the steel down with the rough grit. Then, the fine grit is used to hone and sharpen your knife.

Step 5: Using the Finer Grit

Flip the whetstones and start sharpening one side of the blade. This step aims to remove and flatten any burrs created in the previous step. As a result, you will get a finer and honed edge.

Then, flip the knife and sharpen the other side of the blade on the fine grit. Do this several times for the best results.

How To Hone Your Knives Razor

Using a Honing Rod

The honing rod is not used to keep the blade sharp during use.
The honing rod is not used to keep the blade sharp during use.

Step 1: Use a Honing Rod to Keep the Blade From Degrading.

The honing rod is not used to improve a dull blade. Instead, you will use it to keep the blade sharp during use. One of the biggest advantages of this tool is that it doesn’t remove any appreciable amount of metal from the blade.

Using it frequently will reduce the need to use sharpening stones and diamonds. The fact of the matter is that using diamond stone or whetstone to remove metal from the edge of your blade will shorten the life of the knife.

Step 2: Hold Your Knife and the Honing Rod Firmly

Use your non-dominant hand to hold the honing rod at a comfortable angle facing away from your body.  

Meanwhile, hold the knife’s handle with the four fingers of your dominant hand. Your thumb rests on the spine of the knife but away from the edge of the blade.

Step 3: Move Your Knife Across the Honing Rod

Hold your knife at a 20° angle against the honing rod, and then slide the knife over the top half of the rod. After that, move the knife gently over the bottom half of the bar and still apply pressure as the weight of your knife itself.

Repeat this process 6 to 8 times for the best results.

Using a Porcelain Mug

Step 1: Take Advantage of the Bottom of the Coffee Mug

Your coffee mug ​can be used as an effective sharpening tool if you don't have any specialized equipment.
Your coffee mug ​can be used as an effective sharpening tool if you don’t have any specialized equipment.

Let’s start by turning an old ceramic mug upside down. It can be used as an effective sharpening tool if you do not have any specialized equipment.

The ceramic, which is often used to create coffee cups, is coarse enough to give you an excellent sharpness.

Step 2: Sweep Your Knife Across the Grit of the Mug 

Maintain the blade at a 20-degree angle against the bottom of the mug. Then, grind it through the grit of your mug several times.

After that, repeat the process with the other side of the knife.

Step 3: Finish the Process With a Honing Rod

After sweeping each side of the blade several times across the bottom of your mug, you need to make about 7 swipes of your blade across a honing rod. At this point, use a reliable honing rod to smooth out any burrs or kinks left on the blade.

Conclusion

Voila, you have received an answer to, “Why can’t I get my knife razor sharp?”.

Follow our guide to getting perfect sharpness. Remember that patience is the key to success. Your skills will improve through repeated practice.

Lee Cantor

Provide the best shaving product reviews and shaving advices to the wetshaving community and friends.

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