Knives made from the finest stainless steel will have a
sharp edge longer, but will eventually require sharpening after sometime.
Keeping knives sharp is important because it is easier to
use, and safer. Dull cutting tools require excessive force to cut, increasing
the risk of knife slipping and causing injury.
There are two basic types of sharpeners. The first type
straightens and conditions the edge, while the second type uses abrasives to
create a new and sharp edge.
The traditional sharpening steel can straighten and
recondition the edge. This, however, requires skills since there are no angle
guides. The straightened edge can still be weak and fold quickly.
Stones, Rods and
The ancient art of using a sharpening stone can create a new
edge. It requires skill and practise to maintain an accurate sharpening angle.
Some stones tend to be messy due to the need to be coated with water or oil.
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. The strongest edges are arch-shaped, not
small angle, "V" or hollow-ground. The arch-shaped edge is
multiple-angled on both sides, in order to provide more metal to support the
sharp cutting edge
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. Never use overly aggressive
single-stage sharpeners (like those built into many can openers) which grind
away excessive metal and detemper the blade. 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.