ON KNIFE MAINTENANCE
Few Knife Sharpening Hints
straight edge knives need to be sharpened regularly. When
we see a chef shapening his knife it makes us green with envy
becasue he makes it look so easy. The fact is it is easy -
just learn the procedure of washing the knife, drying it,
and then steeling it before putting the knife away in a protected
sleeve or knife holder.
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Every once in a while, you will need to use a whet stone or
a knife sharpener (different from the steel) to bring back
the edge. Then, finish the knife with the steel and you are
knives hold the edge better than others. Always use a wooden
or a plastic cutting surface when chopping and slicing. Glass
and ceramic surfaces are very hard on the edge of the knife.
It is good when there are slash lines left on the wooden or
plastic surface as that indicates that the knife cut right
through your food and found little resistance even on the
board or cutting slab. When the sharp edge meets a very hard
surface, such as a glass or ceramic surface, the sharp edge
gets flattened and you will quickly lose the edge of the knife.
put your good knives in the dishwasher. Detergents are hard
on them, and they could jiggle around, harming the edges.
those knives sharpened. You will enjoy cooking even more when
using sharp knives.
using a wooden knife holder, place the knife in up-side-down
so that the cutting edge is facing up and thus not resting
on its own weight.
. . . DRY . . . STEEL . . . PUT AWAY!
following are two opinions on knife sharpening that were posted
to one of the cookery newgroups by Steve and Pete:
steel is only useful when the knife is already
sharp. If it is totally blunt, start by scarpenit on a carborundum
"stone" or a real stone if you live in sandstone
country, until it will cut paper. Then procede as Steve
word of warning steels wear out. If the longtitudinal ridges
are blunt you wasted 35p. A good steel should have triangular
ridges. If they are semi circular put the offending object
in the dustbin.
Have you seen the new knife shop?
Well worth a look <click
you imagine the cutting edge of any knfe seen close up,
you get a thin bit of metal which is very sharp. Cutting
things with the sharp bit can make it fold over rendering
the knife blunt and the steel is used to comb the sharp
edge back into line so it will cut properly again. Note
that as in this case, a sharpening steel will not in fact
sharpen the knife, it will only return the blade of a sharp
knife to full funcion again. If you have a blunt knife you
need to take more drastic action!
bear in mind that differering knives are designed with different
uses in mind, for example, all the knives sold in a supermarket
(kitchen devil, etc) are using a metal alloy designed to
withstand the dishwasher and chemical attack rather than
holding a sharp edge. On the other hand a professional knife
like a Global is designed to hold that ultra sharp edge
for as long as possible as the expense of being a bit tempramental
(like going rusty in the dishwasher and that).
you really want to sharpen stuff, you'll need a way of removing
metal to re-grind the blade. My favourite thing at present
is a diamond steel (which you can get hold of for less that
£15) comprising an oval bar studded with about two million
diamonds that really will put an edge back on just about
had great fun with this steel as for me it is the only sharpener
that really really works, I got the hang of it by putting
a sharp edge back on a pair of supermarket kitchen devil
knives which now work fine though the smaller one has a
blade like a bad haircut.
also don't really go in for technique, a grind angle of
about 20 degrees I do by just flailing knife and steel in
the air as the very microscopic) jagged edge left the diamond
steel gives a cutting edge I'm happy with on my big cheap
would not be this viscious on my one and only Global knife
which really needs to be only steeled till it's blunt and
then sharpened by a professional - If you've not tried a
Global, they start off almost unbelievably sharp and after
some months of use decline to being only bloody sharp.
Have you seen the new knife shop?
Well worth a look <click
was taught to do it the other way round. That is,
pulling the blade backwards over the steel, rather than
cutting into it. My method is:
the steel horizontally (I find it helps to push the tip
against a cupboard door in order to keep it stable). Rest
the knife on the steel so that they touch near their handles,
with the knife tip pointing upand away from you, and the
cutting edge facing you. Position the knife at 45 degrees
to the steel like an open pair of scissors, and also slant
it outwards somewhat so that only the cutting edge of the
knife is in contact with the steel (the knife should still
be horizontal along its own length). The amount of slant
depends on the cross-section shape of the cutting edge of
pull the knife downwards, while keeping the same slant and
the 45 degree scissor angle. As you do this, the point of
contact travels towards the tip of the knife and of the
steel, until the tip of the knife drops off the steel. Repeat
a few times, pressing firmly but not hard. You need even
pressure throughout the whole stroke to ensure the whole
length of the blade is sharpened equally. Now repeat the
process for the other face of the knife. This either means
having the knife underneath the steel this time and slanting
it downwards, or changing hands and doing the operation
in mirror image.
method works well for me, but it took me a while to master
do one or two sharpening strokes before each use of a knife.
That seems to work better than doing all my knives more
thoroughly as a weekly or monthly job.
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