Knife Sharpening Tips

Do you know how and why a knife gets dull? When the knife gets blunt, it meant that the sharp edge has been lost and/or that the blade's edge is no longer properly aligned. 

Keeping knives sharp is important because it is easier and safer to use. Dull cutting tools require excessive force to cut, increasing the risk of knife slipping and causing injury.

Knives that are made from the finest stainless steel will have a sharp edge longer, but will eventually require sharpening.

There are two methods to making a knife sharp. The first type straightens and conditions the edge, while the second type uses abrasives to create a new and sharp edge.

1) Honing Steel

The honing steel re-align the edge of the knife.

2) Sharpeners

(a) Sharpening Stone 

The use of a sharpening stone is to create a new edge when the edge is blunt. Knifes are usually sharpened to 15-20 degrees. It requires skill and practice to maintain an accurate sharpening angle. 

(b) Electric and Manual Sharpeners

Chef's Choice recommends using a multi-stage sharpener-whether electric or manual-with guides (to ensure angle control) and diamond abrasives (which will sharpen any metal alloy and never overheat/detemper the blade). 

•             Create An Edge That Resists Folding. The secret to keeping knives sharper longer is to make certain your knives are made of a high strength steel and then to create an edge shape that resists folding. 

•             Avoid Detempering the Blade. Conventional old-fashioned single-stage sharpening wheels or grinders remove excess metal and can overheat the edge so that the steel is weakened and folds over quickly again. Select sharpeners that use diamond abrasives. Because of their extreme hardness, diamonds remove metal efficiently without heating or damaging the blade edge.

•             Shape and polish your edge. To obtain the ultimate edge, use a sharpener that has multiple stages. Proper sharpening requires both shaping the edge with coarser abrasives in the initial stage and polishing closer to the edge with finer abrasives in the final stage. The sharpener angle must be slightly larger in each successive stage. The use of finer abrasives, which remove only microscopic amounts of metal, is very important for re-sharpening the knife, thereby extending its life.

All in all, sharpening should only be done once in awhile but honing can be done frequently.