I wrote recently about how I prevent my kitchen knives from prematurely dulling.
But, truth be told, all blades do eventually dull, even with the utmost care. After all, your knives are not in your kitchen for ornamental reasons!
As some of you are aware, I’m on a mission to cook as many homemade meals as possible in a bid to get my ‘picky eater’ 11 year old daughter to be more adventurous with food.
So I now find myself using my kitchen knives on a daily basis, and even with me taking preventative measures to stop my blades dulling, I know that I still will need to sharpen my knives eventually.
For this reason, I’ve decided to research the different sharpening options available.
Grinding slot knife sharpener or sharpening steel?
Here’s something I learnt from a chef friend. What most people think of as sharpening is not actually sharpening…..it’s honing!
A lot of people think getting one of those long sharpening steels with sharpen their knives. In fact, all a sharpening steel does is to realign the blade.
Over time, your blade accumulates microscopic dents which misalign the blade. The blade could actually still be sharp, but as parts of it has been pushed off to the side, it will feel dull when you use it.
A sharpening steel realigns the blade so the full length is completely straight.
However, if your blade is actually dull, no amount of sliding it down a sharpening steel will bring back the sharpness (no matter how impressive you look as you emulate chefs on various TV shows!)
Are sharpening steels good to have? I guess if you just like the idea of ‘feeling a like a TV chef’ then yes!
However, I don’t have one, as a good knife sharpener (link to knife sharpener item when live on Shopify site) will have more than one grinding slot where one is a fine grinder that mimics the honing of sharpening steel.
How do you know if your knife is genuinely blunt, or just suffering from misalignment?
You can’t tell from just looking at it, or by using it. The only way to tell is to use a sharpening steel, or the fine grind of a grinding slot knife sharpener (link to knife sharpener item when live on Shopify site).
If, after a few slides of the blade, it’s sharp again, your blade was merely misaligned.
If it’s still blunt, your knife is genuinely dull, and it needs the coarse grind of a grinding slot knife sharpener (link to knife sharpener item when live on Shopify site).
These knife sharpeners actually remove the layer of dull metal from your blade to reveal fresh, sharp metal underneath.
Electric versus manual grinding slot knife sharpeners
Knife sharpeners can be manual or electric. Which is best? It’s up to you! Electric models work faster and you’ll have a sharp blade in under a few seconds.
However, I prefer a manual sharpener . Why? A knife sharpener removes a layer of metal. Electric models can be quite aggressive, removing more than is required for the blade to be sharp again.
You may now have a sharp blade but, as you are removing more metal than is actually required each time you sharpen, the ultimate longevity of your blade is compromised.
I truly believe a good set of knives should last a lifetime. But aggressively removing lots of metal will mean they certainly won’t!
A manual sharpener may take a few more seconds to sharpen a blade than when using an electric model, but I like how I’m in control.
I can check for sharpness in stages. If I feel the blade is still not as sharp as I would like, I just pull my blade through the sharpener again.
I can make sure that I’m removing just enough metal to get that razor sharp edge, and I’m not overdoing it.
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