What is a Hollow Ground Blade?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A hollow ground blade is a knife blade that has been ground down to create a characteristic concave, beveled edge along the cutting edge of the knife. This effect is accomplished by starting the grind below the midpoint of the knife, creating a small wedge with concave sides that is extremely sharp and very easy to care for. Many mass produced knives are made with such blades, since they are also easy to create in a factory and consumers like to have knives that can be readily sharpened.

A hollow ground blade.
A hollow ground blade.

The “grind” of a blade refers to the way in which it is cut to prepare it for polishing and sharpening. There are a number of different grind styles, all targeted at the potential application of the knife; a hollow ground blade is one of the most common types. Once a blade has been ground, it is shaped for life, and further adjustments are accomplished with sharpening. In rare cases, a knife may be re-ground, but this is not often called for or even possible.

Chef using a hollow ground blade.
Chef using a hollow ground blade.

When a hollow ground blade is made, a grinding wheel is used on the lower half of the knife to take a convex scoop out of the blade. The cutting edge is at the bottom of this scoop, and it is extremely sharp because it is so fine. In cross section, the blade looks rather like an old fashioned pen nib, with a solid upper section and a delicate, fluted base. This base is easy to grip with a sharpening tool such as a whetstone, making sharpening it very easy.

This type of blade does have a serious downside, however. It tends to be brittle and fragile, because it is so thin, so it cannot be used for heavy tasks such as chopping or cutting dense foods. The knife is appropriate for fine cutting tasks, like skinning, butterflying meats, and cutting sushi. By using the blade appropriately, a chef will prolong its life.

In all cases, when a cook selects a knife, he or she should look for one with a solid blade that is made from high quality metal. If possible, shoppers should go to a knife store in person so that they can pick up and handle the knives. A buyer needs to make sure that the handle feels right in his or her hand, and that the knife feels balanced when held. A cumbersome, awkward blade will not be easy or enjoyable to work with. Knives should not be run through the dishwasher, as this can cause them to dull. Cooks should get in the habit of wiping their knives dry after washing to keep the blades in good condition.

Hollow ground blades are often used in making sushi.
Hollow ground blades are often used in making sushi.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


So when it comes to sharpening a hollow ground blade, is that something I could do myself, or is it a much more specialized process?


Circular saw blades can also be hollow-ground. Hollow ground saw blades are used to cut delicate or high quality materials that are prone to chipping. They are often used for cutting melamine counter tops, laminate flooring, veneer, soft metals, plastics, and steel.

The hollow grind prevents excess friction, keeping the blade cool enough to cut through materials with low melting points. Less friction also leads to less chipping and burring of composite and particulate wood (laminate, plywood, etc).


@ Wlscissors- A convex blade is one that is ground so that when you were to look at a cross section it would curve gently to the edge. The cross-section would look like a bulging blade, fattest at the top and middle, and coming to a point at the bottom. Folding buck knives, survival knives, and some large chef knives (Henckel, Wusthoff) often have convex blades.

Concave blades are just the opposite, curving inward as it gets closer to the tip. These blades have very sharp points, and are often flexible, but can also have delicate edges. Serrated knives are a combination of a beveled edge with concave serrations ground into the blade.

Beveled edges are ground straight to the point. They are easy to sharpen, and can be very sharp. Sushi knives are often concave, or hollow-ground, on one side and beveled on the other, making them razor sharp and durable.


Can you tell me what is convex edge concave edge and beveled edge, what's the difference of them,

Thank you very much! Amily

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