Home‎ > ‎About I SharpenIt‎ > ‎How I Sharpen‎ > ‎

Knives and Their Care

Knives:
         Knives are investment.  Following these easy steps will help to care for them.
 
  • Sharp knives are much safer and easier to use.  A dull knife causes more work, stress and danger. Working with a dull knife, you have to apply more pressure, the knife slips easy, resulting in cut fingers. 
 All knives become dull with normal wear and tear.  To keep your knife at it's best, and as Alton Brown (Good Eats: Food TV Network) says:  "Keep it honed and leave the knife sharpening to the professionals". 

 *Please note, most knives will sharpen nicely, but a less expensive knife may not hold a sharp edge as long as a better quality one.  

  •  Hand wash knives rather than putting them in the dishwasher as that can dull blades.
  • Use either a knife block or a magnetic strip to keep them separate.  Storing knives in a drawer dulls the blades as they bang against one another and other items. If  you must put your knives in a drawer, use plastic or heavy cardboard blade guards to protect them.
  • Use a wooden or plastic cutting board, not the counter top or ceramic board.
  • Use a Sharpening Steel regularly.   After professional sharpening is done, you can help keep the edge sharp longer by using a Sharpening Steel until it becomes dull again.  Note that a sharpening steel does not "sharpen" a knive, but it is a temporary measure to re-straighten the edge.  
 
 
Using a Sharpening Steel:
Many clients ask me how to use a steel.  Here are the very simple steps.  
 
First of all, look at the edge of your knife.  If the edges look dull,  use your steel.
  •  Start with a clean knife. 
  • On the counter top, hold the sharpening steel vertically in a fixed position, with the handle straight up and the end (the point).  You only need to move the knife, not the steel, moving your arm and not your wrist.  You do not have to "put on a show" to steel your knife by holding it up in the air. Keeping the steel in a fixed position is safer and quicker. 
  • Start with edge of your knife near the handle of the steel.
  • Hold the knife at about a 20-degree angle against the steel with slight, gentle, even pressure. There is an easy way to determine a 20-degree angle. A great article I found, and the diagram as seen below, is by: (How To Use A Knife Sharpening Steel By Danilo Alfaro, About.com)  http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/culinarytools/ht/honing.htm
    •  Hold the knife crossways against the steel at a perfect hortizontal angle. (90-degree)
    • Keeping edge in contact with the steel, slowly tilt the knife up to approx a 45-degree, then 1/2 of that to be about a 20-degree angle.

 This is what a 22½-degree angle looks like.Diagram © Danilo Alfaro

  • Start near the handle of the knife, Stroke each side down the knife, dragging it towards (not away) from you with even, light, gentle pressure, keeping approx. the 20-degree angle
  • Stroke the knife down using the same number of strokes on each side of the knife. (5-10 strokes per side is good).  Look at the knife for dullness. Repeat as necessary.
  • You can test sharpness with a plain piece of paper.  The knife should be able to cut 'ribbons' from the paper.
 
 
Comments