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.
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 all set.
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
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
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 Lelievre describes.
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
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
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 anything.
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
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 chefs knife.
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
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.