A Complete Guide for Knife Sharpening like a pro. Everything from the best tools to use, to the proper techniques for honing your blade.
Sharpeners are one of the most important tools for maintaining knives. Polishing, maintaining, and restoring a knife’s sharpness is made possible by it.
To achieve that, you will need the best knife sharpener on the market, as there is nothing more frustrating than a blunt knife that simply will not function properly.
WHEN TO SHARPEN YOUR KNIFE?
Knives lose their sharpness when they are used repeatedly. What is the best way to determine when it is time to resharpen it? Knives do not exactly send out weekly reminders these days, do they?
Upon receiving it, I recommend sharpening it immediately, before using it. It will provide you with the sharpest blade possible, allowing you to maintain maximum output for an extended period of time.
As the knife becomes more familiar, you’ll notice it crushes fruit (like tomatoes), rather than slicing it perfectly. It is at this point that you will know that your knife requires resharpening. Afterwards, you can use any knife sharpener on the market.
It is important to understand all the options that are available to you before you decide to purchase one.
Read also: Best Camping Chef Knife
TYPES OF KNIFE SHARPENERS
The most common method of sharpening a knife is with a sharpening stone or whetstone. A rectangular, brick-like stone usually composed of a single material.
With a little practice, anyone can use it, whether they are amateur or professional chefs. As opposed to other types of knife sharpeners available, they provide a certain amount of control and a firm grip. Sharpening stones, however, are only effective when used with straight blades. If you have a knife with a serrated edge, they will not be very useful to you.
Water stones: Knife enthusiasts have been using water stones since the 18th century. There are both natural and artificial forms of these. The mining of water stones has been done naturally for many years in countries like Japan and Belgium. They require soaking in water before use, as their name implies. A fine thin blade is created by lubricating the blade with water.
Oil stones: Aluminium oxide or silicon carbide are the main components of oil stones. During sharpening, it is necessary to lubricate the stone with oil. The hard work is certainly worth it, even though it is a lot messier than using a water stone.
Diamond stones: The plate’s face is covered with small diamonds, making it extra hard and strong. Despite its flatness, it provides a sharp, clean edge. The initial cost of this product is a drawback. Although it is more expensive, it lasts a long time. At Blade HQ, you can always find diamond sharpening stones at discounted prices if you are looking to save some money.
ELECTRIC KNIFE SHARPENERS:
It’s the gadget for people who don’t want to learn the skill of manually sharpening knives or who don’t want to do the hard work.
Knife sharpeners work quickly and efficiently with almost no effort. Sharpeners grind and hone the blade to create a sharp edge in 2-3 steps.
There are usually three slots on an electric sharpener, each with a motorized wheel. Just place the knife inside and they will sharpen the blade on their own.
Commercial use is more appropriate where there is a frequent need to sharpen kitchen knives. It is not portable due to the requirement for an electric connection.
The easiest way to do it is to oversharpen the blade, but it can damage the blade and reduce its life.
Similarly to electric sharpeners, handheld sharpeners simplify the process, but may require more effort than automatic sharpeners.
Unlike their electric counterparts, they do not have automated rolling stones, so you will have to practice to use them efficiently.
Manual sharpeners offer greater control, but the angle setting guide on the side can still prove helpful. As you pull your blade through the slot, both sides of your blade are sharpened simultaneously. Manual sharpeners may have different slots. First, the coarse slot removes excess material, and second, it straightens the blades.
Manual sharpeners are also portable, which is another great advantage. An example would be Smith’s knife sharpeners.
The compact size and ease of carrying make them perfect for travel, camping, hunting, etc. They may also be stored in a small kitchen drawer, unlike other electric sharpeners which require a great deal of maintenance.
KNIFE SHARPENING SYSTEMS:
We are now entering into the tough part of the knife-sharpening game. There is a balance between being as user-friendly as a knife sharpening system and providing angle control like a sharpening stone.
As the knife is held in place, the system applies a sharpening/whetstone stroke to the blade edge. The sharpening stone is mounted on the unit with a rod, with an angle measured for ease of use.
Once you have established the right angle for your blade or knife type, you can begin the process. Despite it being hard to learn, you can get the hang of it after a few weeks.
You can get insane control with this knife sharpener, but you need a firm hand and a certain skill set to get the most out of it.
It is evidently not designed for use in a backpack when you are out in the jungle. A large proportion of its users are professional chefs or Japanese knife enthusiasts.
This probably isn’t the product for you if you’re just looking to get things done quickly and easily.
There is no official way to sharpen a knife, but this method works like a charm (from personal experience). Assume that you do not have any of the sharpening devices I mentioned earlier, but you need to sharpen a blunt knife.
Getting a simple job done would not justify spending $50 on a sharpening tool. It is only necessary to grab a coffee mug or ceramic dish in such a situation. Place it on a hard surface after turning it upside down.
Get your knife, place it at an angle of around 45 degrees (or according to how it’s bevelled), and swish it around. Afterward, you’ll see some metal residue on the ceramic’s rim if you repeat the step 5-10 times.
There’s a residual there, so your knife’s blunt edge has been shaved off to a sharp blade.
If you don’t mind that it doesn’t look perfect, this is probably the easiest, most practical way to do it.
HONING VS SHARPENING:
There is a common misconception that honing and sharpening are the same thing. My thought today was to clarify this doubt once and for all while talking about knife sharpening.
Honing and sharpening are not the same thing. What is the difference between the two? There are two main reasons why a knife becomes dull.
Sharp edges are lost from frequent use, or they are no longer aligned, which causes them to slip off items. The edge may still be sharp but may not function due to misalignment.
Therefore, honing fixes the problem and aligns the blade. The blade should be honed regularly to remain effective. While sharpening your blade is an important part of regular maintenance, it is insufficient.
To sharpen our knives, what is the best tool to use? Below you will find the answer to your question.
Are you familiar with any cooking competition shows, such as Masterchef? You may have observed either a contestant, a judge, or a chef effortlessly stroking their knives along a steel rod.
A rod such as this is known as a honing steel. Essentially, it restores the alignment of the blade that has been distorted as a result of excessive use. The honing steel should be placed on a hard/stiff surface such as a cutting board.
The knife should be moved up and down the steel at an angle of approximately 15 degrees. For each side, repeat the process approximately eight to ten times.
Your knife will not become “sharp” by doing this. By pushing the blade back to the centre, it would be able to function.
The following tests can be carried out to ensure that your knife is sharp enough for use.
WHAT TO USE FOR MY SERRATED KNIVES?
Using a whetstone to sharpen a blade sounds easy, but it does not work with straight blades. How can you slice perfect pieces of bread if your serrated-edged kitchen knife no longer works?
It has been answered for me. Almost the same tool will be used as for honing steel rods, but slightly smaller. Various thicknesses can be useful for different types of serrations on knives. A wide variety of ceramic or steel sharpening rods is available on the market. You must only rub each serration against the sharpening rod four to five times.
There are approximately 35-40 serrations on each knife, so this can be lengthy. However, due to the simplicity and ease of the process, it is not such a significant issue. You’re going to see the burr on your knife when you move it to the flat side (for most serrated knives).
You’ll need to use your sharpening stone to remove this. When you’re done, wash your knife, dry it, and store it properly.
HOW TO KNOW IF MY KNIFE IS SHARP?
Sharpening your knife can be accomplished in several ways. A well-known test for kitchen knives is the tomato test.
Get a tomato, place it on your counter, place your knife on top, and slide the knife back without applying any pressure.
You need to put the knife back in the knife sharpener that is lying in your drawer if the knife does not slice right through it.
It is also possible to administer a paper test. Grab a piece of computer paper by the top and hold it firmly. The knife should be inserted right through it. The knife needs to be re-sharpened if it slides down the paper or is not able to cut through it, assuming it cuts cleanly.
You will be able to learn knife sharpening over time and with a great deal of practice. To guarantee a razor-sharp blade whenever needed, establish a sharpening/honing regimen for your knives.