What is Knife Thinning?
Knife thinning is exactly what you would think, it is the process of thinning the profile of your knife. Now how is this different to sharpening your knife? When you sharpen your knives you focus on the cutting edge of the blade but a sharp edge is just the first step to a high performing blade, the initial cut comes from the edge however we need to take into consideration the thickness of the material behind that edge. The thicker the knife, the more resistance it will encounter in the cut and the harder it will be to use. Japanese knives like the Gyuto or Santoku are known for being much thinner than their western counterparts and this can contribute to the far superior cutting experience of Japanese knives.
Can I thin my existing Knives?
Yes, you can! There are different ways to thin your knife yourself however many opt to have it done professionally as it takes a bit longer than sharpening and there is more to bear in mind.
You can thin your knife on a low grit stone by sharpening the bevel of the knife (sharpen at a more shallow angle) this is one of the safest ways to thin your knife but is also the most time consuming. You can use a lower grit stone to speed up the process however it will scratch the face of the blade more and will need extra polishing to bring back a mirror finish
If you have access to one and know how to safely use it, then a belt sander is one of the fastest ways to thin your knife. This removes a lot of material very quickly however be careful to not overheat the blade as this can damage the heat treat and temper of the knife.
Another way you can thin your knife is by using a slow grindstone, these are often water cooled and so reduces the risk of damaging the heat treat of your knife.