What’s the Purpose of a Sharpening Choil? – [Explained]

A choil is an unsharpened indent at the end of a knife’s edge nearer to the handle.

The purpose of sharpening a choil is to allow for consistent sharpening, This makes easy and effective knife maintenance by allowing you to sharpen all way up through heel level on your blades, which can save time when doing so in between cuts.

If the choil is not sharpened, it can be extremely difficult to sharpen the base of the cutting edge fully, making the knife less precise when it comes to chopping items.

What’s the Purpose of a Sharpening Choil?

Sharpening Choil

Choils are ergonomic instructions that force the user to hold the knife in a certain position. If your hands don’t fit inside the choil, you’re out of luck. A knife with no choil can have more ‘neutral’ ergonomics, allowing for various grips.

On the other hand, a finger choil is a section of unsharpened metal that protects your finger from being sliced if your folding knife mistakenly shuts.

The sharpening choil is a tiny notch milled into the knife’s edge where the sharpened and unsharpened metals meet. Before hardening, it’s normally drilled into the knife blank, although it can alternatively be ground in with a chainsaw or round file.

A knife’s plunge line and bevel may begin to appear a little wrong after a lot of use and constant sharpening. The sharpening choil eliminates the piece of metal where this would begin and creates a clear sharpening line. A sharpening choil or notch has the problem of snagging on the material you’re cutting, such as rope.

Is a sharpening choil necessary?

No – however, it would be a good idea for knives intended for long-term usage.

Is It Required To Use a Sharpening Choil?

On the other hand, a sharpening choil is considerably smaller than a finger choil. It’s made to allow for constant sharpening all the way to the cutting edge’s very end. It might be difficult to thoroughly sharpen the cutting edge base where it meets the unsharpened ricasso without a sharpening choil.

What Exactly Is the Purpose of a Choil?

An unsharpened depression on a blade that meets the handle or the plunge line is known as a choil. The role of a choil is determined by its size; if it is large, it can be utilized as a front finger grip. If the choil is modest, it may be present to create a stopping point while sharpening to protect the handle.

There may not have been sufficient room in the choil for a finger. Its major function is to make the edge of a pocketknife and the end of the edge on other knives be sharpened all the way to the tang. The choil and the finger space, and even the choil and the handle, are not comparable.

Blackie Collins, a Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame member, defined a knife choil as “the region just in front of the guard at the bottom of the blade” in an older version of the American Blade, today’s BLADE Magazine.

It is sometimes fashioned to receive the index finger to provide a more stable grip on specific types of blades during certain tasks. It serves a more practical role because it permits the cutting edge to be honed over its whole length.

Although a knife choil may have enough room to accommodate a finger for some cutting activities, this is not the choil’s declared function. A finger choil is a term used to describe such a feature in some cases. Such a reference is “improper,” according to Russell’s definition.

In truth, what is frequently mistakenly called a finger choil is really a finger groove that runs along the undersides of both the handle and the ricasso or blade tang. Meanwhile, several modern manufacturing knives appear to be minimizing, if not completely removing, knife choil.

How Do You Sharpen a Choil or Blade of a Knife?

One can sharpen a knife either manually or electrically. A manual knife sharpener, also called a “pull-through sharpener,” has two core components: a firm grit to sharpen the blade and a fine grit to polish.

An electric knife sharpener can also be used.

This can be done by pulling the knife through the slot smoothly and slowly, allowing the motorized abrasives to do most of the work. This process needs to be repeated up to 3 or 6 times. This will sharpen the knife precisely, allowing the person to have expert knife skills.

Testing if the Knife Is Sharp

There are a few tests that one can conduct to figure out whether their knife needs to be further sharpened or not. These include a paper test that is as simple as the name suggests. A sharp knife should be able to cut through a piece of paper pretty easily.

The next test is a tomato test. Tomatoes normally have a tougher outer layer and a very soft interior.

Therefore, a blunt knife will squish the inside of the tomato before breaking the skin, whereas a sharp knife will do the opposite. There is also an onion test, which consists of cutting the outer layer of an onion. A blunt or a duller knife will not be able to cut through the vegetable.


There are a few precautions one must take while sharpening a knife or any sharp object. These include not exposing your fingers to the blade and wearing kitchen gloves for protection.

After sharpening the knife, one must remove any lingering steel shavings by using a towel or a wet cloth to avoid any sharp objects lying around.

These will ensure that the individual does not carelessly injure him or herself. Reduce the discomfort of small stone spaces and limited bevel space by adding a sharpening choil to your blade.

This will minimize tight plunge line circumstances, resulting in unattractive bevel begins on blades that are difficult to sharpen. Please select a size after measuring your blade to see which is the greatest fit for your needs.


In conclusion, the purpose of sharpening a choil is to have superior knife skills and ensure that the blade one is using can do the job precisely and efficiently.