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Knife sharpening


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Most of my knives now are of the Asian angle variety.

I’ve used any number of hand held sharpeners as well as sending my knives out to be professionally done.

Yesterday I dug around and found the Chef’s Choice that I bought at least 5+ years ago and had never used.

i pulled out all the knives from my block and ran them through.  Hopefully I’m good for another few months.

Anyone else use this kind of sharpener?

 

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A friend of mine recently tried this service, and said his knives came back in great condition.  

 

Has anyone here used it?  Seems like they have tattoos, so they must be good.

 

Knife Aid

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I saw a piece on TV about this a while back..  It looks interesting.

Quite a few years ago I send a half dozen or so knives to a shop in Chicago (don't remember the name now, it was a long while back).  They came back beautifully done.  Not expensive either.

Never had any luck using a steel; could never get the angle just right.

 

Edited by lindag (log)
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7 hours ago, lindag said:

Quite a few years ago I send a half dozen or so knives to a shop in Chicago (don't remember the name now, it was a long while back).  They came back beautifully done.  Not expensive either.

 

Northwestern Cutlery, I suspect. I recently bought this knife during their Black Friday sale.

Edited by Alex (log)

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I admit that this is my superstition.

 

A good knife is all about the condition of the edge. A knife's good  (expensive) edge is about two things, i.e. quality of the metal and proper hardening and tempering of the edge. A commercial knife sharpener uses mostly motorized grinding stones and belt sanders. Both tools require the best skills and patience. It takes very little time to remove too much metal and it takes a fraction of a second to de-temper the best edge and permanently damage the knife.

 

I use water and sharpening stones and lots of patience to sharpen my knives.

 

dcarch 

 

Edited by dcarch (log)
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On 12/26/2019 at 9:47 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I use a Chef's Choice 1520 about once a week.  But don't tell anyone here.  They will make fun of us.

 

That's the one I have.  I plan to  use it more regularly, now that I know where it is.

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Linda,   While some suggest the machine can be counterproductive because it can be overly aggressive,  I  have used it at a friends house, and it worked fine, and I would not make fun of you for using it.  I am not a professional sharpener, but have more equipment than many of them do  and have spent tons of time sharpening all sorts of edges, including plane blades, chisels, bandsaw blades, as well as kitchen knives, and have made my own blades.   My suggestion for using that machine is to find a method to determine what is sharp enough, and when a knife is dull and needs to be resharpened.  Once you are comfortable with that,  you will know when to use the Chef edge on the finest slot and get the blade back to sharp pretty quickly. 

 

One problem is that if you don't keep a blade fairly sharp, you run the risk of hurting yourself when using it  ( there is an adage that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one, because you have to put more pressure on it to cut, and it can slip).  If it gets too dull, then you will have to use the coarser wheels, which can change the shape of the blade.  The other problem is if you sharpen too regularly, or too aggressively, you can shorten the life of the knife.

There are several ways to test sharpness - some try to slice paper,  the type of test you use is not as important as you becoming familiar with what is sharp enough  for you.  My favorite way to check is the fingernail test.   anatomy_of_knife_1.png    If you hold the knife like this, but upside down so that the spine just rests on the top of a fingernail, and then try to wave the knife from side to side  ( not in a sawing motion like you were cutting, but instead like you were trying to push something off your fingernail, )  you will find the knife moves pretty easily.   Then flip it so that it is in the same orientation as the image and gently rest the edge on the top of your fingernail and repeat the test.  If the knife moves easily, with no scraping of the fingernail, or digging into the nail, then the blade is dull.    You would then take it to the sharpener and run it through the finest stone 2 or 3 times on each side of the slot, then repeat the test. If you don't notice any improvement, then go to the medium stone and repeat.  You should get it so that the knife feels like it is catching on the fingernail with no downward pressure other than the weight of the knife.  You want to check it all along the edge from the tip to heel, because the knife can dull unevenly.  Keep going back to the medium stone,  I think they call it stage 2, and draw it through a few times on each side, then retest.  Once you get it sharp all along the edge, then do a few passes on the finest stone , it is called the 3rd stage or honing stage, then repeat the test to confirm it is still sharp.   

 

Then use the knife as you normally would until you start to feel it is not sharp, and if you think it is starting to get hard to use or dull, then do the fingernail test, and if it does not feel like it should,  you should be able to go to the 3rd stage or honing stone, and get it sharp in a few strokes.     

 

If you have some really dull knives, you may have to use stage 1 ,  the most aggressive stone,  but generally you want to stay with the less aggressive stones.

 

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8 hours ago, Barrytm said:

( there is an adage that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one, because you have to put more pressure on it to cut, and it can slip).

 

I have a hard time understanding that. I know many experts say that. I know I am not an expert, I just can't seem to figure out the reasons that make sense to me.

It seems to me logical that a sharp knife is much more dangerous.

 

dcarch

Edited by dcarch (log)
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1 minute ago, dcarch said:

 

I have a hard time understanding that. I know many experts say that. I know I am not an expert, I just can't seem to figure out the reasons that make sense to me.

It seems to me logical that a sharp knife is much more dangerous.

dcarch

This is the way I see it. A sharp knife does what I want it to do. A dull knife will do whatever it wants to do.  It is uncontrollable and hence dangerous. Obviously you see it differently.  Vive la  difference. 

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15 minutes ago, Anna N said:

This is the way I see it. A sharp knife does what I want it to do. A dull knife will do whatever it wants to do.  It is uncontrollable and hence dangerous. Obviously you see it differently.  Vive la  difference. 

 

I can believe that more people are hurt by dull knives. I think that's because dull knife owners are  in general people with poor knife skills.

 

dcarch

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11 minutes ago, dcarch said:

 

I can believe that more people are hurt by dull knives. I think that's because dull knife owners are  in general people with poor knife skills.

 

dcarch

Dull knives and bad skills may be aligned. 

but, yeah I think a sharp knife may be more dangerous than a dull one. 

Ive advised a few klutzy relatives to use steak knives rather than a chefs knife. Very safe and pretty effective. 
 

re Chefs Choice, I like their sharpeners. It’s not sushi chef sharp, but it’s pretty damn sharp.  And it’s a local company which counts for something with me. Their employees speak well of it. 

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Cuts both ways. Sharp like  scalpel - easy heal. Dull like a tearing saw blade wound. Just my experience in kitchen and seen in ER

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17 hours ago, gfweb said:

... but, yeah I think a sharp knife may be more dangerous than a dull one. 

A couple of years ago my DD and SIL asked me to sharpen his mother's knives (Henkles International from Costco) while she was traveling. I declined, but said I would be glad to sharpen them if she said yes to it. Never happened. I know his mother well and I think her biggest achievement in the kitchen has been to retain all ten of her fingers. Not a bad cook, just a brain riddled with mis-information.

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On 12/27/2019 at 7:24 AM, weinoo said:

A friend of mine recently tried this service, and said his knives came back in great condition.  

 

Has anyone here used it?  Seems like they have tattoos, so they must be good.

 

Knife Aid

That service certainly looks expensive compared to what you can get them done for locally in most cities.

I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/27/2019 at 7:30 AM, lindag said:

Most of my knives now are of the Asian angle variety.

I’ve used any number of hand held sharpeners as well as sending my knives out to be professionally done.

Yesterday I dug around and found the Chef’s Choice that I bought at least 5+ years ago and had never used.

i pulled out all the knives from my block and ran them through.  Hopefully I’m good for another few months.

Anyone else use this kind of sharpener?

 

Me too. Though I heard that it might be tricky to sharpen authentic asian knives with it - as they have slightly different angle + different type of steel. 
Mine are mostly german and usa made, and it works great for me.

 

On 1/2/2020 at 8:26 AM, dcarch said:

 

I can believe that more people are hurt by dull knives. I think that's because dull knife owners are  in general people with poor knife skills.

 

dcarch


True.
But as Anna already mentioned, you have better control when you're using a sharp knife. With a dull knife you have to apply more pressure and force to get the result, so if it slips... for me it sounds like a potential disaster. Also - especially if you're an unskilled person - you'll be more careful while working with it as you know that it could be dangerous.
Just me and my two coins. 

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7 hours ago, kitchen_muse said:

True.
But as Anna already mentioned, you have better control when you're using a sharp knife. With a dull knife you have to apply more pressure and force to get the result, so if it slips... for me it sounds like a potential disaster. Also - especially if you're an unskilled person - you'll be more careful while working with it as you know that it could be dangerous.
Just me and my two coins. 

 

That's another common one I can't figure out.

Try this with a butter knife and cut something with force  until it slips. You will find that the knife edge always slip away from your fingers.

It seems to me most knife  accidents happen because of carelessness, like, having a conversation while cutting or watching TV. A very sharp knife can be a disaster in careless  accidents .

 

Dull knife cuts can be fixed with bandage.

Sharp knife cuts need stitches.

 

dcarch

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13 hours ago, dcarch said:

 

That's another common one I can't figure out.

Try this with a butter knife and cut something with force  until it slips. You will find that the knife edge always slip away from your fingers.

It seems to me most knife  accidents happen because of carelessness, like, having a conversation while cutting or watching TV. A very sharp knife can be a disaster in careless  accidents .

 

Dull knife cuts can be fixed with bandage.

Sharp knife cuts need stitches.

 

dcarch

Glue works quite well too!

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Dull knives make you use force to cut things. If you're using force, you can lose control. If the knife or the thing you're cutting slips, the knife will suddenly be moving fast. Maybe toward your other hand. When you see huge gashes on people's hands in the kitchen, it's almost always a dull knife that did it.

 

If you have a truly sharp knife (very few people do ... even most pros get by with blades that are just serviceably sharp) it will cut with little more than the weight of the blade. The only way you'll ever lose control of a knife like this is if you drop it (please don't). Or if you're trying to cut something you shouldn't. When I cut myself on a sharp knife, it's almost always because it was sitting on the cutting board and I reached past it without paying attention. This is annoying and embarrassing, but has never been serious. I also sometimes shave some skin off my knuckles, or shave off a thin slice of fingernail. This is scary but rarely even merits a baindaid. 

 

If you want a very sharp knife—the kind that requires no force—you either have to learn to use water stones or an edge pro. The former is quicker, the latter has less of a learning curve. But they both do the same thing as far as the knife is concerned.

 

I only keep 3 of my knives this sharp. I appreciate the low-maintenance versatility of a traditional European blade that you sharpen once in a blue moon and just keep banged into shape on a butcher's steel. I have a burly German chef's knife that I maintain like this (for rough stuff), and also a cheap Forschner utility knife. These guys see a lot of action. I can understand why some people would be uninterested in anything more high-maintenance than this. 

 

Very sharp knives can be a bit of an addiction, even if they're not necessary. They do allow some things that regular knives don't. For example, you can do your most delicate cutting (herbs) before you cut anything else. They won't go brown or lose freshness, even if service is 6 hours away. No one believes this, but it's true. Traditionally, cooks have to add herb prep to the dozens of other last minute tasks before service. You can also very easily slice things so thinly that people will assume you used a mandoline. But you probably finished the task in the time it takes to pull a mondoline out of the cabinet and set it up. Fruit won't brown. Onions won't make you cry (at least not as much). 

 

Those Chef's choice machines aren't terrible. The important thing is to only use the coarsest slot when absolutely necessary, like when repairing edge damage. It removes a lot of metal and will greatly shorten the lives of your knives. The machine sets bevels at a pretty stout angle compared to what a Japanese cook would choose. Which is to say, it's about durability, not sharpness. It will do pretty sharp but not very sharp—probably a little better than the factory edge on German knives. 

Edited by paulraphael (log)
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