Halloween is a holiday where a sharp knife can be really useful. Each year, Wicked edge takes an afternoon off to sharpen our favorite knives for pumpkin carving fun and to see what edges work the best.
Pumpkin Carving Sharpening Tips
What's The Best Edge For Carving A Pumpkin?
You're knife's overall size should make sense for the size of the pumpkin you're carving. Bigger knives will work well with bigger pumpkins but carving a smaller pumpkin requires a smaller knife. Since a sharp knife will reduce the amount of pressure and effort needed to cut through the pumpkin and reduce the chance of the knife slipping, we recommend starting out with knives that have been freshly sharpened or touched up with a 1000 grit diamond stone. This gives the knife a sharp but toothy edge to help get through the tough skin easily.
After the messy (but fun!) part of cleaning out the pumpkin, you can use a smaller knife to make you're initial cuts. For finer cuts and an easier time cutting curves or taking off thin slivers of pumpkin, you'll want to improve the knife's edge before starting that work. A low angle (something between 15-20 degrees) with a refined edge but not super polished will improve the knives ability to do fine carving and finishing work. Use your diamond stones and sharpen to a finish between 1500 grit to 3000 grit. We don't recommend using ceramic stones, lapping films or strops to create an edge for pumpkin carving as the knife's edge will become too polished and less toothy which inhibits it's ability to cut easily through the pumpkin.
What kind of knives are best suited to pumpkin carving? We found that any knife sharpened to the above finishes will work but some styles work better than others for different types of cuts. Using a stout pocket knife or pairing knife to cut your basic shapes works well as these knives don't offer a lot of flex in the blade and their shorter length can be controlled more easily. For cutting rounded shapes, longer more flexible blades, like fillet knives, work well.