As with many items in your home, your kitchen knives can serve you longer if you take steps to look after them. If you repeatedly use your knives without sharpening them, they will become blunt and unusable. Not looking after your knives will cost you considerable amounts of money when added up over the years.
So, to help you to save money and keep the knives you have bought in working order, we have gathered information about how to sharpen your knives. There are a few different methods that can be used. Many people we have spoken to do not sharpen their kitchen knives as they do not know how to.
Below we will give you advice on different methods for knife sharpening to help you to get started.
Preparing To Sharpen Your Knives
Preparation is needed to sharpen your kitchen knives. You will need to decide whether you are going to use a manual sharpening method or an electric sharpener. You may have observed someone sharpening a knife, using a straight block, or sticking against the blade. You may, then, be surprised to find out that this is not sharpening the knife but simply honing it.
Honing a blade is essential as it keeps the blade of your knives straight. Over time the blade of a knife can become tilted in addition to blunt. Tilting of the blade happens as the knife cuts over time, and the tilt will affect how smoothly your knives will move through the item you are cutting.
Honing your blade will be beneficial if the knife is still cutting well but not as well as it did when you first bought it. When honing a blade, you will see an improvement in the smoothness and tilt of a cut but not an improvement in the quality of the cut if a knife is too blunt.
To hone your knife, you rub it against the steel honing tool, and you should complete this at an angle. To achieve the best result, you should change the side of the knife as you move it across the steel. This will balance the edges and ensure the knife does not become honed too much on only one side. You should be able to visually judge when the knife has evened up.
The Sharpening Process
If, rather than becoming tilted, your knife has become blunt, you will need to sharpen it instead. A knife is considered blunt if it will not cut your skin if you slide the knife against it. To stress – we do not recommend you begin sliding a knife against your skin to see if it is sharp enough. You will know if a knife is blunt because it will be difficult to cut with.
If you need to saw through a loaf of bread or a piece of meat, your knife needs to be sharpened.
When sharpening a knife, you are not realigning the blade as you do when you are honing the blade. Sharpening is the act of trimming small parts of the blade from the knife to restore the original crisp edge of the knife.
How to sharpen knives is easier than this description of the process makes it sounds. Providing you have a strong surface to sharpen the knife, you will be able to restore the blade. You can use either an electric or handheld whetstone to sharpen your kitchen knife, and both will achieve the outcome you are hoping for.
You may want to consider the amount of physical exertion that you will experience when using a manual whetstone to sharpen your kitchen knives. If this is a concern for you, then an electric sharpener may be the best option.
Choosing Your Sharpening Tool
When choosing which sharpening tool you are going to purchase for your kitchen knife set, you have a few different options:
- Check if the same manufacturer as the knives sells a knife sharpener. If it is the same manufacturer, you can be reasonably certain that the sharpener will be suitable for the knives you are buying.
- Check the packaging of the knives to see if sharpening advice is given. If there is sharpening advice included in the packaging for your kitchen knife set, you should use this advice. If the manufacturer has gone to the trouble of putting the information on the packaging, there is a reason for that.
- Buy the sharpener using the advice of the salesperson or site you bought the knives from. If you are buying your kitchen knife set from a store, you could ask the salesperson for advice on the sharpening tool to use for the best outcome. If you are buying online, you can look for recommendations on the website, or you can look for a website feature such as ‘bought together.’ This will show you what other customers frequently purchase together and may give ideas for the best product.
As a guide, we always advise that you check the specifications of any sharpening tools you buy to ensure they do not state they cannot be used with certain types or brands of kitchen knives. If there is nothing specified for which type of knives the sharpening tool can be used, it is usually fine to assume it is suitable for all types of knives.
To sharpen the blade, you will repeat the actions taken to both sides of the blade equally to ensure an even sharpness. If you are using a manual whetstone, you should rub each side of the blade against the whetstone until the desired sharpness has been reached. You can test this by cutting something to check the blade.
If you are using an electric sharpening tool, it will be a similar process, but you should always check the instruction manual. Again, you can test the blade by trying to cut something between uses of the sharpening tool.
It is unlikely that you will achieve the perfect sharpening process the first time you try. Similar to any new skills, it will take time and practice to learn how to use the tools you will need to sharpen your knives. However, practice definitely will make perfect, so you should persevere until the process becomes more natural for you.
If you are still unsure of whether or not you are completing this process correctly, you can search for video tutorials online for further advice.