Question of the Day: Factory Edges?


I used to say I never met a factory edge that couldn’t use a little work. Factory edges would usually be sharp, sometimes even sharp enough to shave hair, but they are often fairly rough and not very refined. This type of edge will quickly degrade unless you fix it up yourself.

As I’ve seen more examples from different manufacturers, I’ve found that is not always the case.

When I won the Hogue EX-03 pictured above, the edge on it was nearasdangit perfect. Just feeling it gave me that electric sensation that only a very keen blade can do. It was (literally) razor sharp with a nearly mirror finish and a perfect point. I’ve encountered handmade knives that weren’t honed this well.


Closeup of the Hogue EX-03 factory edge.

Close second, Cold Steel. I bought their Pendleton Mini Hunter on a whim and it certainly  has the best edge I’ve seen on a knife under $50. Not as polished as the Hogue, but very refined and my previous benchmark for a factory edge.

Worst I’ve ever encountered? Excluding no-name flea market knock-offs, definitely Ka-Bar. I found the edge on my Becker BK-9 to be lacking and a set of Ka-Bar Snody knives that I acquired last fall were just as bad. Across the board they were all shaving sharp, but toothier than Hilary Swank working a red carpet. Close examination revealed tiny aberrations across the edge, visible to the naked eye. I love my Becker, but its initial sharpness was inexcusable.

The edge on my Case Large Stockman is nearly as bad as my Ka-Bars

The edge on my Case Large Stockman was nearly as bad as my Ka-Bars

So what have your experiences been? I am not talking about customs or handmade knives, but factory made. What is the best or worst factory edge you have seen?


  1. DuroSIG556R says:

    Factory edges do indeed suck. Which is a real shame.

  2. elcas says:

    I am not that mad about factory, when you get nice well made production knife, i can take care of the edge. Up to a point obviously, and up to a price: it has to be usable out of the box, and when it’s above a certain amount of money it has to be perfect!

  3. stuartb says:

    Several recent factory edges on blades I have came with asymetric angles to the grind faces, sharp enough for day 1, but they need to be completely reground so they can be kept sharp using a sharpmaker or similar. Its a lot of effort!

  4. Dakota says:

    My worst factory edge was my ZT had a grind that was rough littlerally dull and the grind was at 30 degrees per side. That’s like an axe. I had to put it down to 15 per side and took me around 3 hours to do. Ridiculous for a knife over 200$.

  5. stuartb says:

    The cheaper knives typically have steel that’s easier to fix, the more expensive steels are harder to regrind and more frustrating as they shouldn’t require the extra effort.

  6. travis m. says:

    Helle knives come very sharp, if you like Mora knives, these are a step above in both quality and price.

  7. Sam L. says:

    My William Henry was excellent.

  8. Hogue Knives are hand sharpened and honed to a mirror finish. It’s the only way to ensure the type of edge you found on your EX-03. Thank you for a great article.

    1. Thanks for stopping by our little corner of the interwebs.

      I owe Kevin M. a phone call. Got swamped after Blade Show and it fell through the cracks.

  9. sagebrushracer says:

    all my Swiss Army Knives have had good factory edges. My spyderco Endura 4 was decent. My old Coast brand knife was pretty bad.

  10. Raina Wolfenstein says:

    My various cold steels have been good from the factory, but none could touch my Wal-Mart sold Spydie Native 1. The worst I’ve bought, aside from total junk, was…wait for it…a Benchmade large Grip. I think I got a bad heat treat or something. Initial sharpness was as bad as the Bucks that I’ve bought in the last ten years and it fails to take or keep an edge like nothing I’ve ever seen. I have a junker from Pakistan that takes a better edge. I use the Grip for pulling up welds on batteries at work now.

  11. Gary Perryman says:

    I have many different brands both folders and fixed. By far the sharpest from the box is my Mcusta Damascus folder from Japan in VG-10 steel. I own 7 Fallknivens and they are a close 2nd. The Mcusta is what comes to mind when I hear the term ” Scary Sharp “. I know scary sharp, I’ve been shaving with Straight Razors for over 30 years.

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Question of the Day: Factory Edges?

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