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How To Sharpen Kitchen Knives

Sharpening the Knives
Image by omefrans via Flickr

How To Sharpen Kitchen Knives

The fresh flavors of summer mean plenty of delicious fruits and vegetables to serve on your dinnerware to delight your family and guests. To prepare them right, sharp cutlery knives are essential. Dull knives are not only frustrating to use, but can be dangerous. The more force needed to cut through an item, the greater the risk of the knife slipping and injuring the cook. (It’s happened to me!)

Chefs know that all knives dull with use and a sharpener is a necessary tool and, regardless of knife quality, it must be resharpened to maintain and restore the edge.

Knife Sharpener Basics:

There are two types of knife maintenance tools: those that straighten and realign the edge (traditional butcher steels) and those that use abrasives to create a new, sharper edge.

Conventional steels are often included with knife sets. These rod-like tools can be difficult to use – they require skill and can damage the blade when improperly used. Steels don’t actually sharpen the edge. When a knife dulls, the edge will curl. Hidden to the naked eye, the tiny metal burr on the blade’s edge folds over. Steeling straightens out this burr. Eventually the metal breaks and the edge has to be resharpened.

Selecting A Knife Sharpener:

To sharpen a knife, a new edge must be created. The key features to look for in a sharpener are diamond abrasives, angle guides and multi-stages.
100 percent diamond abrasives will sharpen any metal alloy and won’t overheat (detemper) the blade.

Precision angle guides insure uniform sharpening, angle control and ease of use.

Multiple-stages are required to create the most durable knife edge. The strongest knife edges are arch-shaped, not typical small angle “V-shaped” or hollow ground. The arch-shaped edge is multi-beveled on both sides of the blade, providing more metal support to the cutting edge. Proper sharpening requires both shaping the edge with coarser abrasives in the initial stage and polishing closer to the edge with finer abrasives in following stages. The sharpener angle must be slightly smaller in each successive stage to create the ultimate beveled edge.

Instead of replacing dull knives, renew and reuse them—it will make kitchen prep easy and efficient for years to come.

This info was provided by Chefs Choice.

  1. We just noticed last night that my large chef’s knife needs sharpening and not honing. Think it’s time to take it to a pro and then get a small whetstone for the kitchen for regular touch-ups.

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