Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sharpening Knives


weinoo
 Share

Recommended Posts

There's a great topic about Knife Maintenance and Sharpening, written by knife guru Chad Ward. That topic morphed in a book by Chad, called An Edge in the Kitchen, and it's a good book to add to your collection.

I always usually run my knife over a ceramic "steel" before using. I have good knives that have been sharpened well, so that normally brings them right back into tip-top condition.

What I'm wondering is how ofter do you physically sharpen your knives? And do you do it manually (either on a whetstone or with a system like Edge-Pro) or with a machine like a Chef's Choice?

Edited by weinoo (log)

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Edge Pro Acme.

I sharpened 2 knife-rolls worth of knives a week ago Sunday. These knives are used in the Renaissance faire kitchen I volunteer in as the leader of the team. These knives get sharpened every spring for the SoCal faire I do and every (almost) fall for the NorCal faire I do. 15 knives took me probably 2 1/2 hours.

At home I more or less sharpen our kitchen knives once a year, but that is really hard to nail down because it really is a matter of "suddenly" noticing that a given knife needs a new edge.

I highly recommend Chad Ward's book if you have not already got it. It was searching for info on knife sharpening that brought me to eGullet.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sharpen on free stones, and probably too often. I've used Edge Pro in the past, but I find I can get the knives a good bit sharper by hand, which I have been doing for 20 years or so, and there are some things about the edge pro angle I don't love, mainly how they deal with the tip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also recommend this book.

I use the EdgePro system when Im in the mood to tune up the part of my collection that gets used the most. Its

very rewarding to see what this does to them. they have a newer 400 grit stone that I highly recommend. the EP system is not cheap, but well worth it for the long run

for a day to day tune up i use the jewelstix:

http://www.amazon.com/Jewelstik-CN10-10-Inch-Kitchen-Sharpener/dp/B000IAZD9A/ref=sr_1_3/180-5600967-4653122?ie=UTF8&qid=1379354073&sr=8-3&keywords=jewelstik

there are 2 sided and 3 sided.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have some globals, and quite a few Granton Knives from England Its too bad the Granton Knives are not

more widely available. they have some mighty fine boning and slicing knives, plus the usual assortment of

smaller knives.

I have two Henckels chef's knives, they used to be my go-to knives. the Granton's have replaced them as they are so much lighter.

i agree about the tip issues withe the EP. I just take my time there. I also have a set of water stones to 1000 grit but never use them anymore.

the angle on the EP is so much easier to perfectly maintain.

BTW its my opinion that the electric pull through knife sharpeners will ruin good knives. they might work with inexpensive SS knives for those not particularly interested in the finer points of a well sharpened knife.

Edited by rotuts (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What kinds of knives are you guys using who use the Edge Pro? I wonder if some thing react better than others.

3" inch paring knives to 10" chef's knives; 12" slicers, Santoku knives, utility knives, and my pocket knives. I just ordered a replacement medium grit stone because I put so much mileage on the original that I just plum wore it out.

Before I got the Edge Pro I did learn to sharpen free-hand. The Edge Pro by design allows me to repeatably put the angle that I want on the edge. I can put a complete new edge on a 10" chef's knife in 10 to 12 minutes.

While I heartily recommend it I recognize that each of us has to choose what we personally feel comfortable with.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BTW its my opinion that the electric pull through knife sharpeners will ruin good knives. they might work with inexpensive SS knives for those not particularly interested in the finer points of a well sharpened knife.

Plus 1.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also heartily recommend the book by Chad.

I learned as a young boy to sharpen by hand, but when living in India (when I purchased Chad's book) I ordered an edge pro apex that I absolutely love.

My two main knives are globals - not the best but far beyond WalMart fare. My wife has a collection of various other things, plus my utility carry-around knife is a lovely anodized blue Kershaw open-assist. I sharpen all of these on the EP.

I like the EP for repeatable angles. I do a compound edge on my globals and being able to set a specific angle I can recall is great.

I think I actually sharpen the knives about once every 6 months or maybe longer, but a quick hit with the ceramic stick usually gets them back into 'tomato performance'.

PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My eG Food Blog (2011)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to use my Edge-Pro more. I have a heavy 10" Wusthoff that'll hack bones...bought it way back when I was in cooking school. A bunch of other German and Global knives. I use Edge Pro and have gotten some great edges on these.

An 8" Mac Santoku. A 10" Gyutou - Tojiharu. Another Tojiharu Nakiri. I'm kind of afraid to put my Japanese knives to the Edge Pro, as I think I'll screw them up. I have brought them back in once or twice to Korin, where they resharpen for free.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sharpening is rarely needed if you frequently hone and strop.

I do the occasional sharpening touch-up with a DMT Diamond Steel sharpener.

I have Edge Pro, KME and Gatco sharpening systems that I maybe use once a year to perfectly true-up an edge,

Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use a Chef's Choice for sharpening. Works well for me. I used to hand sharpen on a stone but I never achieved a good edge. This led to embarrassment when my son brought home a friend in the restaurant business. When we started to fix dinner she commented favorably on my knives...until she tried to cut with one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Never buy knives in the store because they can slice paper. Any cheap knife can do that after you first sharpen it.

2. Keep a few sheets of wet/dry (silicone carbide) sand paper of various fine grits in your kitchen drawer. They don't take room, they sharpen quick and they last a long time.

3. You need sharp knives in the kitchen, but you don't need razor sharp knives. Just one that you use only for making sushi.

4. I can't think of a food that can dull a good knife, except bones and frozen food. Bad cutting boards and careless cutting habits can quickly dull the best knife knife.

dcarch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an EdgePro as well as a set of Shapton glass stones which is my preferred method of sharpening

There is the tomato test and then there is the tomato test. The one where the knife will drop through a tomato on it own wait is not easy to achieve. I have done a few times directly after sharpening. I sharpen about half dozen times a year but on demand. When ever there is any resistance to my edge breaking the skin of a soft tomato it's time to resharpen. Doesn't take too many pass to raise a burr and chase it. Break it off on a felt block and strop on balsa wood charged with an ultra fine diamond sprays. These are used regularly between sharpenings

Edited by scubadoo97 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

balsa, wow with diamond spray. sounds like fun.

after the 600 stone, I dont think much really happens for kitchen knives. I go to 1000 because i enjoy the 1000 feel while Im doing it.

over on the knife.forum, some suggest the the technique for these guide systems is much more important.

I have noticed that the EP and I assume all 'sturdy' guide systems make a much bigger difference with the globals than other knives.

there is a lot of chat on to why this might be on the other forum with global knives in particular.

the EP 220/400 set up will get you a long long way to very fine knives, once you master the technique

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a light touch and a little understanding of how abrasives act on steel go a long way and are much more important to results than having the "right" stones or system. Nice gear is tautologically nice but you can get very good results on almost anything if you understand what you're doing.

I've tried freehand on a variety of stones and a lot of systems over the years and a very coarse bench stone and Apex EdgePro for the first sharpening and repair work and the Spyderco Sharpmaker for everyday maintenace is what works for me.

For stainess, I think finer grits are pretty much a waste of time, and cheap/free (with a diamond tool) abrasive files will work just fine if you don't mind scratching the blade a little.

If you decide to try those abrasive files or other cheapies, prepare them using the three plate method and you'll get some really nice results.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sharpening is rarely needed if you frequently hone and strop.

4. I can't think of a food that can dull a good knife, except bones and frozen food. Bad cutting boards and careless cutting habits can quickly dull the best knife knife.

Not all of the volunteers who help in my faire kitchens have good knife skills, but they are willing to show up - so my knives can take a bit of abuse at their hands.That is part of why I put a new edge on all of the knives at the beginning of each faire season. I also don't bring higher-end knives into that environment. I am fond of Fosrchners (SP) that I buy from restaurant supply stores and I have a few Spanish henkles, the rest are KitchenAid et al so that if they get destroyed or wander off I am not dismayed.

RE Bones: we do cut through cooked chicken and pork rib bones on a reasonably regular basis. I always try to use the Forschners for that. After several years they are holding up nicely.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

Link to comment
Share on other sites

very true:

"you can get very good results on almost anything if you understand what you're doing."

but the variable that's up to you is staying true to the angle you want.

the jigs take that variable out of the equation and allow you to get a very true angle on your blade with no concern about that.

this has been done for eons with those with a steady hand.

now I can do it under most circumstances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also recommend Chad's book. Makes a great gift too. I have tried just about everything. Didn't like even the most expensive electric sharpener. I have Spyderco Sharpmaker with some added coarser diamond stones. Don't care for that much at all. Finally bought an EdgePro Apex and I love it.

Now I primarily use Shun Classic knives. I haven't had them long enough to need to sharpen them, except a nakiri that was a demo knife and had a few dings in the edge. The EdgePro brought the edge back in a few minutes. Per Chad's recommendation I do regularly use a ceramic steel on them.

Edited by mgaretz (log)

Mark

My eG Food Blog

www.markiscooking.com

My T shirt site: Guy Bling

My NEW Ribs site: BlasphemyRibs.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

very true:

"you can get very good results on almost anything if you understand what you're doing."

but the variable that's up to you is staying true to the angle you want.

the jigs take that variable out of the equation and allow you to get a very true angle on your blade with no concern about that.

this has been done for eons with those with a steady hand.

now I can do it under most circumstances.

I agree with this post, but I think it can be misunderstood.

I don't think you need to stay at a given angle - slight variation will just produce a convex edge, which is actually desirable - and it's basically impossible anyway, since neither the jig or the knife are perfectly rigid. All you need is a "good enough" geometry at the cutting edge to get the results we seek.

Where the jig systems shine is in allowing you to be approximately consistent in each stroke without having to focus on a very repetitive task, so you don't knock off your lovingly created 15° edge with a single 45° pass on the stone.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have Spyderco Sharpmaker with some added coarser diamond stones. Don't care for that much at all.

I think the "Sharpmaker" should be called a "Sharpkeeper." I've found it works really well for maintaining an existing edge but is much too slow to set an edge or repair a chipped edge. I keep mine set up next to the cutting boards so I can do a pass or two to restore that "light saber" feeling you only get with a really fresh edge. A steel will work just as well in most cases, but can damage some of your really hard knives, which won't get any benefit from honing (technically burnishing) anyway.

Like I said above, it is much too slow for major work, and it does require a bit more focus (not that much, though) and hand-eye coordination than the EdgePro. Using the EdgePro is messier and more time-consuming, though, and just feels a lot more like a project.

What did you not like about the Sharpmaker?

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Using the EdgePro is messier ..

I will readily agree that it is messier. I took to using it set on an old thick bath towel and that solves the "creep" movement of the sharpener on the counter, absorbs the excess water from the stones, and since it is a large towel I can wipe the blade easily before using the ceramic steel to finish the job.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread has reminded me I'm well overdue for a session with my EdgePro. I give my knives (mostly Sabatier) regular tickles with a steel and that works pretty well, but it's probably close to two years since I did a 'proper' job on them.

I like the Edgepro, but I need much more practice to get good with it.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...