Sharpening away from the blade from spine to edge is recommended for safety
The universal type joint of the guide rods allows you to sharpen in the direction of your preference with the Wicked Edge. Many arguments are made regarding the proper direction to sharpen a blade. Our test results indicate that whether you sharpen into or away from the blade, the practical results will be virtually identical. Theoretically, there may be some slight differences between the methods though the theory does not appear to extend into the measurable ability of a knife to cut or hold an edge. More important is the way that the micro-serrations are oriented in relation to the type of cutting you wish to do, referred to as the scratch pattern orientation, or rake. The micro-serrations are minute teeth on the edge of the blade left from the sharpening process and function like the teeth on a saw or file. The finer the stone used to sharpen the knife, the smaller the teeth. Large teeth from coarse stones initially cut aggressively but wear quickly requiring more frequent touch-ups. By choosing the orientation of these teeth, you can improve your cutting efficiency. For example, if you are using the knife for slicing, you will most likely be slicing from the heel toward the tip, in which case you would want the teeth facing the heel of the blade as shown in the figure below. To create your scratch pattern with this rear facing orientation, you can move the stones into the blade from heel to tip or away from the blade from tip to heel.