Knives (or cutting tools) sharpened on only one side are common in certain industries such as woodworking and cabinetmaking where such knives are used as marking tools. Their advantage, to send craftsmen, is that they make a very fine and accurate line. A pencil, for example, leaves a line that's wide (1-64" is considered wide in fine cabinet work) and doesn't give a good reference for cutting.
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These knives, called marking knives, are commonly bevelled (and sharpened on) only one side,depending upon whether they will be used to scribe a cutting line on the right or left of a rule.
Many of these marking knives stem from the Japanese woodworking tradition where razor-sharp marking knives are common. And I mean razor sharp! I use and sharpen these knives and, indeed, they can be used to shave the hair from your forearm!
Japanese chef's knives, in general, are well made of hard steel, often laminated, and will take and hold a razor edge. Sushi knives can be sharpenened to a razor edge on only one side depending on a left-handed or right-handed preference. One of my favorite kitchen knives is a Japanese chef's knife that's razor sharp and a delight to use.
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