How to Sharpen Your Knives?
Every cook wants to have a sharp and durable knife in his kitchen – after repeated use of your knives, it is inevitable that they will gradually lose their edge over time.
To keep the blade on your knives sharp for the best result for slicing and cutting, it is recommended to sharpen your knives every so often.
Although there are many varieties of kitchen knives online, they all share one common trait; they demand proper care and maintenance.
There is the option to take your knives to an expert for sharpening for a fee. However, if you would like the convenience of sharpening your knives at home at your own discretion and saving money in the process, there are just a few things to keep in mind.
Step 1: Know your knife
The very first thing you need to do before sharpening your knife is to know some essential details about it. Ask yourself…
- Where along the blade has it gone dull?
- Is it a double-beveled blade or single beveled type design.
- What is it made of? Is it stainless steel, carbon steel, or made of some other material?
Once you are able to analyze all these details, it becomes easier to choose the right sharpening method for your kitchen knives.
Step 2: Soak your sharpening stone
Before you begin sharpening, it is important to soak your stones so that their surface does not chip or scratch the blade. This is a critical step to ensure perfect results during your sharpening process. You may need to soak them for at least 15 minutes so that the desired level of sharpness can be achieved.
Step 3: The grip and angle
Using your dominant hand, place your thumb on the blade spine, the index finger must be placed over the heel, and the remaining three fingers wrapped around the handle. The off-hand can be used to apply the sharpening force to the knife.
Position the knife facing you at 45 degrees to the centreline of the stone, with the blade tilted to 15 degrees.
Step 4: Run the blade
Holding the angle, run the blade back and forth starting with the tip, using the other hand to apply pressure.
Step 5: Check for burrs
Check the back of the blade for burrs, this means you are taking metal off the blade and sharpening it.
Step 6: Work in sections and repeat
Continue working in sections from the tip to the heel of the blade, repeating steps 4 and 5 till burrs emerge from the entire back edge.
Step 7-8: Remove burrs
Remove the burrs from the back of the blade by turning the knife to face away from you again at a 45-degree angle to the stone, and tilted 15 degrees.
Work the back of the blade lightly from tip to heel until all burrs are removed checking regularly.
Step 9: For a finer edge
To refine the edge, select a finer stone and repeat the process.
But how do I sharpen serrated knives?
When slicing through food, the serrated edges don’t come into contact with the chopping board, meaning less wear and tear and it holds much longer. And when you combine this with high-grade steel, your serrated knife is likely to last for a very long time.
In saying that, with continued use from cutting through crusty bread or tough-skinned food, your serrated blade will gradually become dull and start to rip and tear your food.
We will cover two methods to get your bread knife back in prime condition.
Method 1: Ceramic Sharpening Rod
This method is very manual, the most difficult, and consumes a lot of time. However, ceramic rods are inexpensive and yield the best results if your knife is blunt and it’s overdue for a sharpening.
Ceramic rods are harder than the steel of the blade and are very fine usually around the 1000 grit mark.
It is important that the diameter of your ceramic rod matches the serrations of your knife. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to get the rod into each of the serrations and sharpen int.
When sharpening, point the tip of the blade away from your body. And ideally have the knife on the edge of the table to avoid any accidents and to keep it secure in place for consistent results.
You only need to sharpen one side only, and this is usually the right side (the side of the blade with the serrations).
Gently and lightly pull your ceramic rod through the scallop, moving in one direction only away from the body (moving it towards your body is dangerous for your hands).
Make sure to regularly check that you are hitting the full length of the serration, as you may be hitting it at the wrong angle and missing some of the serration if the angle of the rod changes over time.
Repeat several times for each serration before moving on to the next.
Finally, we recommend passing both sides of your blade over a leather strop or a finishing whetstone to further polish and remove any unwanted fine burrs that have developed as a result of sharpening.
Method 2: Electric Serrated Knife Sharpener
Your other option is to use an electric knife sharpener.
Although a more expensive option, with built-in guides setting the angle of the knife, is extremely easy. This method of sharpening your serrated knives is great for beginners as no skill is required and it’s extremely quick.
The only drawback besides the price is that as the knife angle setting on the machine is pre-determined, it makes it less versatile.
In other words, if you are sharpening knives with all similar angles than using an electric knife sharpener is a great option.
If you need to sharpen other kitchen utensils and possibly tools from your shed which all require different angles then this is not an ideal method.
There are electric knife sharpeners such as those from the KitchenIQ range which have a range of pre-determined settings to cater for Japanese knives, German knives as well as scissors which should cover all your bases for the usual cook.
Are you sharpening your knives like the pros?
Make sure to take proper care of your knives, and in return, your knives will look after you for a lifetime.
To get yourself equipped with the best knife sharpeners or whetstones for an affordable price, shop here.