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Knife Sharpening Tips

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.

Sharpening Steel

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 Files

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

•             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. 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.